Dec 11, 2013
The 2014 calendars are ready for shipment. Email me if you need one for yourself and/or one of those super hard to shop for people on your list. At $5 +$1 shipping, the price hasn't gone up in 22 years!
HISTORY OF WAGONS OF STEEL 5
Dec 3, 2013
Even though I didn't know it at the time, Josephine was now becoming "too good for the street". She was sporting a spectacular flame job, minimal interior, a giant "Super Six Pack" scoop on a flat black hood, and an excessively loud exhaust system. She was reducing the world wide stock of 8 3/4 rear end assemblies at an alarming rate. Transmissions and torque converters were used up and sent off to the recycler with the beer cans and the newspapers. I was on a shoestring budget so the big wagon spent many weekends at home while I honed my drag racing skills in anything that I could drive to the track. This was during our pre trailer years. You might see me in a work truck one weekend and a Chrysler the next. On one such weekend I was bracket racing in "Rinaldo", a slow '64 Plymouth Valiant wagon. I went out early and a friend had me take a time trial run in his '67 Dodge Dart. The car was set up in homage to the original "D-Dart" package, a factory 273 powered race car. It was good for high twelve second time slips, a couple seconds faster than I'd ever gone before. It was a blast. I couldn't believe the sensation of coming off the line that hard. I had to make Josephine much faster!
I told Dr. Big Block and he enthusiastically agreed that we should turn up the wick. We started by going to Art Morrison Enterprises to get a custom roll bar hoop bent and a bunch of mild steel tubing. Then Dr. Big Block welded up his first roll bar and tied the sub frames together. It was crazy to see all that race car stuff in a big wagon. We were definitely getting into unexplored territory. We painted her Mopar Sublime green and lettered her up "Wagons of Steel" in chrome vinyl. She looked really great. For a motor we had cobbled together the best 440 that we could with our limited budget. It had pretty good heads, a big hydraulic cam, and enough compression to make some serious noise through the open headers.
This marks the beginning of our "Trailer Slut" stage, where we borrowed trailers to bring our race car to the track. It's amazing how many people are willing to loan out their trailers to a couple of drag racers. Our first benefactor lent us his very well used 16' double axle open trailer. It was smallish for hauling the 20' station wagon and it turned out that the neck was bent and of course it had no brakes. It was perfect. After securing the car with an assortment of chain binders and come-alongs we hooked up to a buddy's half ton Chevy Suburban and set out for Seattle International Raceway for a Wednesday night Test and Tune session. It was a big occasion and the Suburban was full of crew and spectators. The trip was uneventful until we were on a beat up piece of highway about three miles from the race track.