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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

More Old B.S. Double Features

2002 by Bill Ott

12/08/02 - Blah! Sitting in front of the 'puter... which is situated in a bay window... I can look out and see about seven inches of snow any way I turn my head. 'Ya know, that means the racing season here in the Northeast has officially ended. Actually, the 'official' end was a few weeks ago, but somehow, knowing that the shutoff area is covered with about half a foot of the white stuff really brings it home. So... until the spring thaw, no more races, nostalgia events, car cruises, nothin'! Hell, I'd have to shovel my way out to the ol' pickup just to sit in it!

But wait! There IS some hope. I'm forgetting about the monthly get togethers over at Mashie's place in Myerstown. As a matter of fact, we just kicked off the 'official' start of the off season last weekend. Yep... happened right there in Mashie's garage. A couple of huge pizzas, a three foot long sub, a tub of chili, a few gallons of refreshments, a hundred or so old photos, a couple of hundred more slides, an advance screening of a yet to be released nostalgia video... and most important of all... the right group of old friends, and the season never really ended, did it? Nope... there's just 'gonna be a long lull between rounds. After all, the guy cleaning the shut off area is armed only with a broom.

So there I was. Showing off my new laptop to these guys (someone's 'gotta be the computer geek, right?). Bragging about the more than three thousand images I have saved on this one disc, with lot's of space still left over... when I zipped to this one particular image. Someone in the back of the gathered crowd says "See the body on that dragster? I can tell 'ya something nobody here knows about it." Well he certainly stole all of my thunder with that comment, as I could sense everyone's attention shifting over to him. So I did the only fitting thing... I yielded the floor to my distinguished colleague, the gentleman from Pennsylvania.

Figure 1.

He continued... "That dragster you showed a few images ago {Figure 1} is one of the most formidable dragsters ever built" (so far... he's right). "But how can you even tell what car it was without the body mounted to it?" someone asked. "Easy" he said, "Check out that scoop over the injectors." He was right... you didn't see scoops like that every day, and you STILL don't.

Continuing on, he commented about how that 'ol digger "has that 'just right' look (he's right again). A classic Fuller chassis... motor nosed down just a touch... cool hairpin style front radius rods... even the fuel tank seems to be located in just the right spot. You've all seen it before. When it was terrorizing the country, it was featured in all the magazines. Made a lot of magazine covers too."

NOTE... among it's many other credits - it set Top Time and low ET at the '62 AHRA National Championship Meet down in Green Valley, Texas... won 1st UDRA Meet at Lions in '64... had an unreal win/lose ratio in match race competition... and set more track records than anyone could even begin to list. It first roared to life in June of '62 and competed thru the '64 season. It was also instrumental in solidifying the drag racing careers of at least three people.

Figure 2.

Next, he commented on the dragster I showed a few images later. He told us to look real hard at that image {Figure 2}. The same classic Fuller chassis? Motor nosed down just a touch... hairpin radius rods... fuel tank located in the same spot... and that unmistakable scoop up top. Same car, no? Nope... matter of fact except for two features, there's very little they have in common. But at first glance, you're convinced they're the same dragster.

OK... time to back up some... in case you haven't guessed by now, Figure 1 is the California based Greer-Black-Prudhomme car. Tommy Greer did the money... Keith Black did the engine (Chrysler 392)... Don P. did the driving. The chassis was welded up by Kent Fuller at his Sherman Oaks shop. And the body was made by some of the guys over at Wayne Ewing's (of Indy car fame) place in Studio City. As mentioned before, this beauty was featured in literally every Drag Race magazine published at the time. Anything else you need to know about this car has already been documented tenfold.

Now he continued on about the car in Figure 2... told us that's the Philadelphia, Pa. based "Outlaw." The late Joe Nocentino was the money man on this one. Joe was involved with quite a few diggers in these parts over the years. All of Joe's diggers were 'class'. Matter of fact, the next Outlaw, "Outlaw II" sported a swoopy body designed by Steve Swaja that Walt Kinsley drove. The beautiful Dragmaster Joe partnered up with Jack Kulp and George Van with, and the Fox brothers '97 Keystone Nationals Top Alcohol champ (driven by Ned Ott... no relation) also come to mind. George Van wheeled the first "Outlaw" as well as quite a few other Northeastern fuelers and spent some time behind the wheel of the SoCal based Orange County Metal Processing (OCMP) dragster.

The Outlaw's chassis was made by Fred Allen at his shop in Philly. Fred built two more just like it... one for Dick Belfatti... and another for the team of Billy Young and Ron Vargo. Our friend couldn't recall who built the engine... hey, everyone's entitled to at least one senior moment per conversation... but it's also a 392 Chrysler.

Hardly anyone one the east coast could hammer out an aluminum body like the boys out west, so when the chassis and engine were finished it was shipped to California. Turns out it hitched a ride out west with some local guys who were heading out that way for some winter racing in '63. Remember that long lull between rounds this time of the year?

Everyone in the garage was still quietly paying attention to the gentleman from Pennsylvania as he continued. "First stop for the unfinished fueler after it arrived in sunny California? Wayne Ewing's place. The guys at Ewing were booked pretty solid with orders for new bodies, so it might be a long time before they can get around to it. But the guys weren't planning on spending all winter out here... just a race or two."

But there was one alternative. Remember that chute pack body they built for the Greer-Black-Prudhomme car? Well, actually they built TWO of them at the same time! That's right, a twin (but NOT an identical twin) to the G-B-P and it was still here in the shop! But that's all there was... just the back half... they never built a second nose for the body. No problem at all "We'll take what there is!" So, in no time it was fitted to the Allen chassis and on its way back east. Joe and George campaigned the "Outlaw" with just the chute pack part of the body... never did have a nose built for it.

He really had everyone's attention after the remark about "NOT an identical twin." If it's a twin, how come it ain't identical? Well... if you look close at the G-B-P body {Figure 3} you'll notice a small scoop on each side of the drag chute. No one was really sure if they aided in helping the chute open, but they sure look nice. Now if you look at the "Outlaw" body {Figure 4}... no scoops. Guess they planned to add them... when and if it became necessary.

With that he turned and headed back over to the refreshment table. But that ain't quite the end of this tale of trivia. The Greer-Black-Prudhomme dragster is still around, body and all. It's owned by Bruce Meyer and it usually can be seen on display at either the Prudhomme Exhibit at the NHRA Motorsports Museum or at it's permanent home at the Peterson Automotive Museum... both are in the L.A. area. It can also be seen 'cackling' at the California Hot Rod Reunion.

And the 'twin' body? It's still around too... gathering dust sitting up in the rafters at a friend's garage. Honest... I've been there and saw it! More old B.S. later.

Badco
badco@comcast.net

Thanks to Jim Amole
The Fullers
and the 1320 Standard Group.

Thanks Bud

 

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