First met Stuckey when he came to town with Bob Sullivan's car. I was
pretty impressed with that act. I think now that he claimed more
responsibility for that car than he actually had. He claimed to be a very
good body man and if he had a good chassis, he could make a neat looking
car. I wanted to build my car at the time but didn't have any money for
pipe, so we made a deal that he would buy tubing for two cars in exchange
for my doing a frame and front end. I didn't mount the engine or rear end
and he went home. I started building my car, ZPF, and got Wayne Ewing to
build the body. That was right after he helped me with the Magwinder.
Stuckey got back to town a few months later with a completed car and ran
Half Moon Bay. Impressed everyone up North and started me in the fuel
I'd only built gas dragsters and roadsters to this point. Got calls
from Gotelli and Masters and Richter right away, I'm now in the fuel
dragster business. Owning to the fact that Stuckey had a sign on the car
that said "Chassis by Fuller" and talked me up pretty good. He
was a hell of a salesman. Car was sold to Cash Auto Parts to help pay
hospital bills. Bay area guys had a benefit race for him. He went home to
recoup for awhile. By the time he came out again, Louie Senter had the
car. Stuckey planned on running the car with Louie and I didn't hear any
of that story except Stuckey said, those guys down there didn't know what
they were doing. By this time, ZPF has won Bakersfield and I had quite a
few fuel cars running.
Stuckey was still going being my best salesman and I was planning on
building him another car to be my representative. Prudhomme and I were
having trouble with Zeuchel's ego and had broken up the ZPF partnership. I
was going to put 2 unblown fuel Chevys side by side in the car and had
figured out a really slick driveline where I wouldn't have to alter the
looks of the car. Chet Herbert said he would sponsor the engines so I
bought two sets of heads and started on the driveline. Sent the heads over
to Dick Harryman to get ported. He got them all done very quickly and sold
them to someone when he ran short of money. Hardly pissed me off at all.
By this time, Louie had sold the car to Greer and Stuckey was going to run
it for them.
Back under the heading of "loose lips sink ships," Stuckey
was still out at the shop telling me all his plans. Keith and (I think)
Dan Broussard came and took me to lunch, said they were leery of Stuckey
and what could I tell them about him. What I said was "I thought he
was my factory rep" Keith said if he was, he wasn't a good one and
told me a few disparaging things Stuckey had said. Keith didn't want to do
any chassis work and still thought chassis were some mysterious thing. I
was looking for a place to park Prudhomme so I could get him back after I
got my car done. He was back hanging around with Ivo and that was not to
my advantage at the time.
Stuckey had told me he was going to let Keith build the engine but was
going to slip in his own cam, time it and not let Keith know what it was.
He thought he was the only one in the country that could make the chassis
work by changing the timing, in this case it was 8 degrees retarded. When
I mentioned this to Keith, he got as pissed off as I had ever seen him so
we made a deal to do the chassis work for nothing if he would give
Prudhomme a ride.
I was sharing a shop with Wayne Ewing when they brought the car out. I
started on the chassis work and they made a deal with Wayne for the body.
What was different about my car was the mid section and motor mounts.
Keith wanted a standard Donovan rear end so he could use the billet axles.
I cut the top rail out from the front motor mount to the rear end upright.
The original way was the Donovan engine plate with the ears out the side
so to pull the engine, you had to take off the clutch can, clutch
flywheel, engine plate, then you could remove the motor. My way was to
make an aluminum engine plate that was a body former-firewall and rear
engine mount. It hung over the top frame rails and was easy to take out
with four small bolts. I put a new top rail engine plate upright, rear end
mounts, and motor mounts. The chassis went next door to Wayne.
By this time, Ansen and Pink decided to buy the ZPF car and I decided
to move North because of a lot of promises from Jim McClennan. Just eat a
piece of pie in the sky and things will be wonderful. This is the time for
the story of Stuckey tracing my flame cut patterns and going into business
with Ivo happened that I've told too many times and I'm not going to do it
here. I had moved North by the time Wayne got the body done.
I drove down to help put the car together and we took it out to Pomona
for the first time. The only two parts left on the car that Stuckey had
anything to do with were the streamline tubing draglink and steering
wheel. The draglink broke first time out because Stuckey had made it out
of two short pieces of tubing welded in the middle and you will notice in
the picture of the first time out the black tape on the draglink where it
broke. Made him a new round tubing draglink but I could never get him to
take the ugly steering wheel off as that was Prudhomme's favorite thing in
drag racing. Probably still is.
Stuckey's last comment to Black as he is driving out of town was
"you have really screwed up and nobody will ever hear of this car
again." And that is more than enough of this story. Make a copy and
pass it on so I don't have to tell it again.