Perry S. Wyatt, Jr., has put together a great story for his dad,
Perry Wyatt, Sr., who owned and tuned the Super Camaro funny car. He
kindly consented to share his story with Draglist.com readers. As it spans
40 years, we are running it in installments. Check out the links at the
bottom to navigate the entire story. Perry is looking for any info on his
dad's old funny car, the Super Camaro. If you know of any info or photos,
please drop him a line. bp
1972. The new "Trader Ray" arrives. It has slightly
different paint and an updated Mustang body. The "Live" axle is
gone, in its place a more "standard" version.
This is the car that really makes the "Trader Ray" name
They take this car everywhere and race. As always, I only get to see it
at Detroit Dragway. The one weekend at Detroit, they along with the
"Ramchargers" and Jim Murphy's "Holy Smoke" (former
Whipple and McCullough car) were running in the 6.40s.
This was also the year they took the "Trader Ray" to OCIR and
they were in the movie "Funny Car Summer." Plus they ran the
manufactures meet and got magazine coverage. They were #2 qualifier for
Ford (Mustang body, Hemi engine).
This is the car that was featured in the magazine ad for Don Kirby,
where he had several examples of his "Art Work" displayed!
I was in sixth grade and my mom and dad were going though a divorce,
outside of going to Detroit Dragway, it was not a happy time.
My dad goes down to Florida on one weekend to be with Ray while they
are racing. Ray and my dad party allot! My dad had just turned 30 and now
he is single, so a whole new way of life is on the horizon.
1972. This whole year, I live at either my dad's or Ray's shop! My dad
had moved out of the house and I spent all my time with him.
Every night at one of their shops was a party. They would work all day
and party all night. They would drink and shoot dice. I heard so many
stories being around that, I could fill volumes from them. Most of what I
heard; I would do better not to repeat!
The "Trader Ray" stayed at Dwane's house. It was his full
time job to "service." He and Jerry Shields traveled the country
with the car. Ray would fly in on the weekend to meet up with them. One
weekend he flew to New York, my dad went with him. This was my dad's first
trip to New York, they were going to New York National, and boy did I hear
stories about that weekend.
Learned why Taxies have the "big" bumpers and boy the things
that happen in rental cars!
Then there was the weekend that Ray and Dwane had a dispute over going
to Kansas City, MO. I don't know what the dispute was over, but Dwane
wouldn't go and Ray was determined the car would make the race.
So Ray says the hell with it, I'll drive! They head for Kansas City,
Ray, Joe, Jerry, and my dad. They get there and prepare the car to race.
Ray's inside and they have fired it up. They put the body down, but the
car won't move. Ray motions for them to raise the body and he kills it!
Jumps out of the car and says something's wrong, collects his
"show" money and they come home.
Ray accuses Dwane of sabotaging the car. Dwane swears he did nothing
and states that Ray didn't have the "nerve" to drive it!
Whatever happened, Ray didn't have anymore "disputes" with Dwane
and racing continued.
This year took a heavy toll. Ray had spent allot of money, he was
partying all the time, his wife had had enough!
1973. Another brand new car from Gilmore. This one had the
prettiest Kirby paint job yet! It had what looked like a tropical island
painted under the name "Trader Ray," kind of fit the new party
I saw this car at Detroit I think just the one time. This is the car
that had the big fireball and left Dwane in the hospital for two weeks
with severe burns. I don't remember for sure where it happened, Ray tells
me it was at the Summer Nationals in E-Town (maybe Bob could verify that).
Once Dwane had recovered I remember him coming down to my Dad's shop.
He had some of the parts from the engine that let go on that fireball
pass. The crankshaft was broken into 3 pieces. Well Dwane got the car back
together and they ran out in California (probably OCIR).
The car was loaded in the ramp truck and the whole rig was parked in
the motel parking lot. Dwane and Jerry came out in the morning to find
that the rig had been stolen, it was later recovered, but that was the end
of the "Trader Ray"!
Ray had divorced his wife and moved to Grosse Ile. We had moved in with
my dad. Dwane moved in with Ray. Ray made no plans to build a new car. Dwane
got offers to drive some other rides, but I think that after the fire he
was ready to give it up.
That was it! Life was going to be different!
Up Next: 1974, 1975
Perry S. Wyatt, Jr.