FREYA

Freya-Smith

If you’ve been to one of the local bullrings in the last twenty years, you’ve probably seen Freya Smith. She’s no shrinking violet and openly admits to committing every summer since 1995 to either River City (St. Helens) or Sunset (Banks) Speedway.
It was none other than Gary (Meep! Meep!) Meyers that indoctrinated her: “I started out crewing for Gary,” she explains “and knew right away that I wasn’t going to be content on the sidelines. I’m not one to sit and muss with my hair!” She wanted to know how everything worked and Meyers was willing to teach her. “I remember him explaining “stagger” to me, rolling around a Solo cup!”  Because of her hands on approach to the sport, it wasn’t long before she was being offered rides in the woman’s division. Freya believes she won her first race in ’96 driving somebody’s jalopy or low budget street stock. Clearly, it was no milestone in her book.
When Mike McCann took over Sunset Speedway, she left St. Helens and went to work for him. Freya occupied various posts at the clay oval but is probably best remembered for her work as Pit Steward. Ushering racers on and off the track in the heat of battle isn’t for the faint of heart. Freya was always easy to spot with her headset slammed down over her curly blonde locks, strutting about in Day-Glo pink sweat pants! She was content at this level of involvement for several years, but the desire to drive never left her.

Racing with Earl Claypool Jr. at Sunset Speedway

Racing with Earl Claypool Jr. at Sunset Speedway

Then when the right car at the right price became available, Freya couldn’t resist. It was a 1978 Camaro built for up and comer Colin Winebarger. In reality, the street stock had seen very little action as young Winebarger leap-frogged directly up to late models. Little needed to be done to prepare the Camaro for Freya other than relocating the seat. Green had become her trademark color and so her father Mike Batalgia blended something special and sponsor Mike Sweere gave it a good slathering. When Freya hit the track on opening day she had a racer that reflected her extroverted personality. It was neon lime with plum crazy purple scallops on the nose! On the flanks was #37- a tip of the hat to her mentor Meyers who runs #36 to this day.
The competition didn’t know what hit them. Between Freya’s experience and the fact that the Camaro was already sorted, no one could run with her. She won all but one event, effortlessly claiming the 2013 woman’s title. In retrospect, Freya downplays her accomplishment. “It was all in preparation to run with the (men) street stock class in 2014,” she says.
The following season started off well enough but an experience on Fan Appreciation Night changed everything. Freya invited a young terminally ill girl to sit in her car for a photograph. The next weekend prior to the races, the girl’s family came down to thank Freya again and inform her that the girl had passed away. They gave Freya the gift of a “Love Rock” which the emotional driver promptly tucked into the seat of her Camaro. That night she drove with new inspiration, starting in the back and charging forward. She won her first street stock feature and dedicated the win to her young fan. It was a special Fourth of July race weekend with another feature planned for the following night. For that event, Freya started on the pole and simply checked out. “I kept watching for the nose of another car,” she exclaimed afterward, “and I never saw one.” According to her crew, no one was even close. Freya finished out the season third in overall points.
Towards the end of last year Freya hauled her car to Willamette Speedway (Lebanon) and Grays Harbor (Elma, WA) to experience racing on a faster venue. At Elma she was looking at a top five finish until throwing a belt. Still she came away encouraged and wants to travel more.
Soon she and fiancé Mike Sweere will lay schedules from Banks, Willamette and Cottage Grove side by side and plot out their own schedule for 2015. Sweere runs an IMCA-type modified so they will go to tracks that feature street stocks and modifieds on the same card. Spending the summer at one racetrack or another…That’s what Freya has done for twenty years…Why would you change now?

Celebrating with a young fan after winning night two of the 4th of July doubleheader

Celebrating with a young fan after winning night two of the 4th of July doubleheader

Rodorama 2015

1941-SD-Coupe

The Showplex at the Washington State Fair Event Center in Puyallup was home to an amazing display of hot rods, cool rides, tricked out imports and more on March 28th & 29th at the Northwest Rodarama.
Much to the delight of the spectators, there’s something for everyone at Northwest Rodarama! It’s great to see a family come through the show where not only a grandson, father and grandfather find vehicles of interest to them, but mom and grandma too! During my 4 hour trip down memory lane, I took note of the many pictures being taken in front of the vintage motorized bicycle display, which was one of my favorites at the show.
A couple local celebrities, Lance Lambert of The Vintage Vehicle Show and David Dickinson, Editor of The Old Car Nut Book Series, were on hand throughout the weekend to sign autographs and books. There never seems to be a loss for words when guys get together to talk about old cars. Both bring a personal touch to the show and their presence was enjoyed by many.
If you’re building or restoring your own custom hot rod, there’s endless ideas that’s bound to get your creative juices going, with the vehicles on display, the automotive vendors, and the pin striping bash. If you weren’t able to attend this year’s show, be sure to check it out next year!

 

 

All for the Love of Street Rods and Custom Cars

Pete-Emery

 

The year is 1948 and B.F. Goodrich has just introduced the first tubeless tire to the American Highway. Land introduces the Polaroid camera for instant photographs and the first microwave oven is introduced by Raytheon. The big news of the year was a little boy was born in Seattle Washington to the Emery family and his name would be Pete J. Emery. His formative years were spent in Everett Washington where he attended grade school and then on to Cascade high school where of all things they had an excellent auto shop class for young enthusiasts.

Pete didn’t bother as he had his own private Auto Shop class in his own back yard. That, being in the form of a fantastic uncle named Stan Baker. Thanks to Uncle Stan, the love for street rods and custom cars, seed was planted in young Pete and we at R&R NW Publications are excited to bring you six of the forty five plus cars Mr. Emery has created in the past sixty-seven years.

 

1932-Ford-Roadster
1932 Ford Roadster sporting a 383 ci Chevy for power with a 671 blower and dual 4’s on the intake. A 350 turbo tranny and a 9” Ford rear-end. She wears an orange pearl color on the top half of the body with a pearl black on the bottom and introducing some flamed out super colorful graphics in the middle, created by Mitch Kim and Richard Pruitt.

 

1936-Ford-3-Window-Coupe
1936 Ford 3 Window Coupe. This all steel, all real, pretty much stock body runs a ‘48 Ford Flathead for power with dual 97’s.  A three on the floor tranny for fun with a ’40 Ford rear-end. She sports a 2 ½” chop-Job on the top and that rear back window still rolls down. A super set of Smitty glass packs makes this ride sound and look classic old school.

 

1932-Ford-3-Window-Coupe
1932 Ford 3 Window Coupe just freshly built running a 350 Chevy for power with dual fours and a 350 turbo tranny. Sporting a ’38 Ford old school banjo rear-end. This is a show street rod that comes alive with power windows, power trunk and door locks and A/C for a comfortable ride. She wears that black paint with style sporting a quality stitched red interior. The one piece custom hood and the fuel cell upfront, really turns some heads on this classic fender-less beauty.

 

1967-Cobra-Super-Formance
1967 Cobra Super-Formance Body. She sports a 406 ci 580 h/p for power and a 5 speed on the floor tranny. Radiant Cobra Blue color with white comp stripes really shows this clean and neat ride off with style.

 

1928-Ford-Model-A-Pickup
1928 Ford Model “A” P.U. She hauls with a 305 ci Chevy for power, 350 turbo tranny, and a 9” Ford rear-end. This original all steel body features a one off louvered firewall by Bitchin Products and an all steel box and fenders from Brookville Inc.  Flat red on the body and flat black on the fenders create another fantastic ride from the house of Emery.

 

1936-Ford-Phaeton
1936 Ford Phaeton all steel all custom 2 ½” sectioned body, 2” chopped custom one piece Carson top with Mercedes fabric. For power a 427 ci Ford with Kenslor Stack Injection and a Ford AOD tranny. She sports a Winters Quick-Change rear-end and a C-5 Corvette suspension and brakes. A world class delicious black paint job on a flawless straight body and see-n is believ-n with the Camel Leather Interior by Gabe Lopez. The Halibrand Wheels, on all four corners top this world class number one custom car and custom street rod off with style in any company.  She has earned her share of first place trophies from coast to coast where-ever she shows.

 

Pete has a quality history of working with his hands and building not only world class street rods and custom cars, he has a history of creating some world class building material products. He also has over the years designed, developed, manufactured and marketed some of the finest skylight fixtures for both residential as well as commercial applications in the industry today.

I’m not surprised after knowing of his high standards in the building trades that he would design and create some of the finest custom show cars in the world. He is the first to admit his life really started all over again back in 1978 when he met a young lady in Milwaukie, Oregon by the name of Janet Forman. It took some selling on his part but by 1981 they were married and for the past 34 years they have enjoyed raising a combined total of three fantastic kids into adulthood and are now blessed with six super fantastic Grandchildren.

They make their home in Happy Valley Oregon where Pete has created a six car working garage and is in the process of another body off custom build as we speak. Pete agreed to our interview and the sharing of their story as long as we remembered the individuals, who along the way, played some big roles in the building of all these custom creations. First, Uncle Stan Baker, Dick Pruitt, Mitch Kim, Daryl Schroeder, Al Swedberg, Gabe Lopez and especially to Janet and the Family.

We at R&R NW Publications would like to thank Pete and Janet for sharing their fantastic story with us and our thousands of readers in the Pacific Northwest. “All for the Love of Street Rods and Custom Cars.”

When a 1938 Dodge Meets Up with a 1953 Hawthorne

1953-Hawthorne

The Fall of 1953,the second week of September, a time and date I will never soon forget as it was the week of my older brothers “B” Day. Now I was under the weather and kinda out of commission for a while and both my little sister and my big brother were a good foot to a foot and a half taller than me at this time in my life. Now I’m not complaining but having to eat lunch with the third graders and not with my buddy’s in the fifth grade was a bit hard to explain  but I guess size was everything back then. Because of the fall weather my Mom and Dad had planned a very special birthday outing for my brother and as it turned out it included me also. My birthday is just 86 days later than brothers and it’s already winter by then and it was not uncommon for snow to be falling in eastern Washington by December. So as a giant super big surprise for our “B” days  my parents rewarded both my brother and myself with brand spanking new Hawthorne Deluxe Bicycles complete with chrome suspension shocks, a big sealbeam light upfront, a deluxe horn and a set of hand brakes that really brought this new ride together in style. Now I was only twelve years old at the time and my dad in his wisdom suggested that maybe I should just ride my new wheels in the immediate neighborhood for a while until I got used to those new brakes plus see if we could make that seat go a little lower so as to accommodate my somewhat shorter than normal one foot long legs. This was a full size fancy super-duper “Schwinn” wanta be, a Hawthorne Deluxe big guys bike direct from the shelf at Montgomery Wards.

The Fall of 1953, The fourth week of September and hadn’t I cruzed the immediate neighborhood enough?  The seat was as low as it could go, I was getting somewhat comfortable with the braking system on this thing and the light and the horn worked fantastic. Now two of my buddies suggested we go and sell some of those fundraising cookies for our schools tumbling program and why didn’t we see how that new Hawthorne deluxe handled on the open highway. As luck would have it I knew my aunt would love to support our school program as she loved cookies and would probably buy several boxes or maybe even a whole case. Now the only problem was she lived on the other side of the tracks in a little town called Millwood. It was a bit of a push out of the neighborhood  but a dare is a dare and never being one to use much common sense when it came to a good old fashion dare we each hoped on our rides and we were off. Wow! This new Hawthorne Deluxe was a sweetheart of a bike. Of course I had to let each of my buddies get a free ride on it to try it out, plus ride it over that one big up-hill climb to the top of the Pines Road, then it was time for me to take it back and on to Millwood and Aunties house. Well this bike really was a racing kids dream, I was so far ahead of those guys they said later they could hardly see me I was so far ahead. We passed the Drive-In Movie theatre on Trent Ave. and  were just a few short blocks away and  as I looked back those guys were a good three blocks behind  so I thought why don’t I slow down and give those guys a chance to catch up . I proceeded to turn some circles in the middle of the road, even stood up on the peddles and was giving a good show as I was being applauded by my buddies as they were yelling and waving their arms with delight. Just then as I was turning around to see my aunt’s house coming up on the right, the man who lived across the street was pulling out of his driveway. I guess he didn’t bother looking for kids on brand new racing bikes as he smacked right into me and my beautiful Hawthorne Deluxe.  I caught  that 1938 Dodge  4 door sedan just about the middle of the running board and I went flying right on over that worn out old pile of sheet metal and landed about twenty feet away face down right on my Aunties front lawn. No broken bones, but had a little trouble getting up and walking.  My brand new two week old birthday bike was a wipe out. The total front end was smashed, my beautiful chrome suspension springs were of no use anymore, the handlebars were now in a circle, the headlight was gone, the horn didn’t work and forget those crazy hand-brakes. As it turned out my buddies weren’t applauding my theatrical performance on my new bike they were trying to warn me of the guy pulling out. My aunt and uncle came to my rescue as we picked up the remains of my bike and they gave me a ride home. As it turned out the operator of the 1938 Dodge didn’t have a driver’s license and shouldn’t have been driving that old beater anyway. He reimbursed me for the loss of the bike a cool $39.95.

My brother Richard being a super guy didn’t tell dad about my mishap and took it upon himself to come to my rescue and got his friend Mr. Larsen to customize my Hawthorne Deluxe Bike. They installed a smaller wheel on the front creating a super dago rake, added conventional brakes, a fantastic new Schwinn seat complete with name and gave it a new paint job to match the seat. Best of all they replaced the handlebars with a Steering wheel out of an old 1926 Ford Model “T”. I almost forgot my Aunt Haddy, God Bless Her Soul, she did buy a whole case of cookies.  All and All that birthday in 1953 was one of the best ever.

PS: It was several months later and well into the Spring of 1954 before my Dad made the connection that there wasn’t two fancy new Hawthorne bikes in the shed at his last check and where was the other ride? #@&?? I had him somewhat fooled as I would borrow brother Richards spotless, always clean and shiny new Hawthorne  whenever Dad was in the yard and ride it like a pro, just like it was my own pride and joy “B” Day gift. The game was over when brother came riding in one day when Dad was home on that Dago-Raked, Steering Wheeled, no seal-beam headlight, no-horn, no fancy hand-brakes.  What and where was the other bike my Dad inquired with some extra spirit in his voice? As I recall I let brother Richard try and talk his way out of this one as wasn’t it his buddy Mr. Larson who did the custom work on the other bike and wasn’t it Richard who was in proud possession of the other said bike in question as he rode it into the yard steering wheel in hand with his fancy paint job to match the fancy Schwinn seat and wasn’t he the purchaser of said Schwinn seat? Case closed! Dad always loved me best, I was always his go to, “Yes Sir PoP Your Right” kind of kid but Richard was still my favorite buddy brother of all time and still is today… End of story.

1965 Dodge A-100 Pick-Up

We’ve all heard the phrase, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day.’  And neither are Hot Rods and Custom cars. In 1981 Art Laws owner of Timberline Dodge formerly in Portland Oregon was in southern California on a car buying trip, when he came across a 1965 Dodge A-100 pick-up. The truck had been used as a delivery truck.  It was in pretty rough shape, but it was an original V-8 automatic, very rare and very hard to find.  The majority of these trucks were 6 cylinder, 3-speeds.  Art had been looking for an A-100 like this to use for his own dealership, since it had the right power train, Art bought the truck and shipped it back to Portland.

Once it had arrived at his shop, he had his mechanics go over the truck and it was determined that the engine and transmission needed to be rebuilt.  Work commenced immediately and the engine and trans were out of the truck the next day.  The truck was rolled over to the body shop with the idea that when they had the spare time, they would work on the body and paint work it needed.

Over the years the truck sat in the body shop without much work being done to it.  In other words, it was put on the back burner so to speak.  In 1993 the motor was finally finished and it sat on an engine stand in the showroom on display for years.

When Art retired in 2009, the truck still sat in his warehouse awaiting completion.  In December 2013, Ed McLarty, a friend of Arts was asked if he wanted to help Art finish the restoration.  Ed agreed and he worked on it until its final completion.  That is, if projects are ever really complete.

The truck wasn’t an easy project because of its rarity with so few being built and so few remaining most companies don’t make after-market parts for this vehicle.  It’s also very hard to find good used parts.  What made it even harder was that a lot of the parts to the truck were missing by the time Ed started working on it.

Ed says that the truck couldn’t have been completed without the help of the following:  Wild Cat Auto Wrecking, Vicious Brand Auto Art, Russ’z Auto Upholstery and Restorations, Mt. Hood Glass, Industrial Finishes and Terry Sorvik.

Now that it is finished Art and Ed are looking forward to displaying it at the Portland Roadster Show and a couple Good Guys event this summer, along with Beaches Cruise-In on Wednesday evenings at PIR in Portland.

All for the Love of Street Rods and Custom Cars

Frank and Veronica Tobias maybe only had one child but the one they had turned into one super Dude that wears the name Tobias with style and distinction. Fast forward sixty six years and you find a guy who graduated from Clackamas High School in 1966, served honorably in the US Air Force and then joined the world of telephone communication for the next forty plus years. Along the way he owned, designed, created, traded and purchased some fantastic automobiles.
R & R NW Publications is honored to bring you six of “Mr Chevy Guy” Len Tobias’s fantastic Chevrolet creations.


1963 Chev 409 Impala SS Hardtop
2 ½ year build time
 Power: 409ci Dual Quad Intake, M22 “Rockcrusher” wide ratio tranny w/ Centerforce clutch, Currie 9” Ford rear housing and axles w/Detroit Locker. Exhaust w/Flowmaster Super 40 Series mufflers. Color Azure blue and white .This is one fine and very rare 409 Chevy Impala hard top.


1967 Chev Malibu 2 Dr Hardtop L 79

2 year build time
Power: Built by EAM 383ci, 430 hp, HEI ignition, aluminum high performance dual plane stock intake SB Chev, E/W dual feed Holley 770 CFM carb., 4 speed Muncie M-21 tranny, E/W Hurst competition Plus shifter. Eaton Posi-traction rear-end/ w Richmond gears. Color: Tuxedo Black exterior, red interior. A clean and neat trophy winner.


1972 Chev Nova SS 2 DR Coupe
2 year build time
Power:  454 ci Chev, 700 R tranny w/ 4×11 gears, 9” Ford rear-end. Black leather interior, color Rally Green Metallic.    
This lean and green machine has won it’s share of hardware.


1956 Chev 2 DR Post

2 year build time
Power: 350 Chev crate, tranny 4 on the floor, 355 stock rear-end, super exhaust / laker cut outs. Reversed custom chrome wheels on all four corners. Color: Matador Red w/ white ghost scallops.  Interior: All white leather deep  rolled and pleated. Another one off crowd pleaser and big show winner.


1937 Chev Pick-Up                    
Power: 355 ci. Chev, 350 TH tranny, updated Blazer rear-end. Power windows, Vintage Air, Moon Gauges, electric doors. The wheels are full polished American Torque Thrust. Clarion stereo system and gray tweed and leather interior. Color: Aqua Metallic. Seein’ is believing on this custom ride. Clean and neat w/ frenched tail and brake-lights and recessed rear license plate and a super smooth finish under the hood. A real quality build and a super crowd pleaser.


1970 Chev Chevelle LS6, 2 Dr. Hrd. Top
2 year build time
Power: Chev 454ci / 450 HP, four-on-the-floor for fun tranny, 411 Posi rear- end. Interior: black rolled and pleated, Exterior: Cranberry Red w/ black comp. stripes front and rear. White lettered rubber sets off super polished chrome on all four corners of this super ride. On and off the track she wins.
Len’s father Frank kinda got the Chevy thing going in his son as he was employed at Fanning Chevrolet in Gresham for a good many years back in the 50’s and 60’s and the seed was planted.  Only GMC, Chevrolet or Cadillac’s are all you ever see around or in the Tobias garages. Unless they are welcomed visitors.
Len and Lily Tobias reside in a beautiful home overlooking the Sandy River and a super view of the mighty Mt. Hood. They have been together 32 years and combined they have four fantastic children and four super fantastic grandchildren. For as long as I can remember the two of them have played a very positive roll at the annual Sandy Fly In / Cruze-In and together they have helped raise tens of thousands of dollars for local charities in and around Sandy as well as all over Oregon. They are big supporters of Doernbecher Children’s Hospital through their involvment with Kiwanis Children’s Cancer Research Program.

In addition Len is an active member of the Route 26 Cruisers, The 3 Boys Car Club, Fri Morning Good Guys Breakfast Car Club and the NSRA. Len’s automobile creations are truly works of art and like Len, Lily is also a superb artist creating beautiful world class hand-made quilts. Many have raised thousands of dollars at the Sandy Fly In over the years as they are raffled off for charity. We at R&R NW Publications would like to thank you for all the thousands of hours you have both volunteered to those fantastic charity activities and we thank you for sharing your story and you’re  automobile creative wonders with our readers. “All for the Love of Street Rods and Custom Cars.”

49th Early Bird Swap Meet

The Early Bird Swap Meet held in mid-February at the Washington State Fairgrounds in Puyallup Washington is indeed one of the earliest of the year. I’ve gone in the past when it barely rained and now I can say I’ve gone when it poured. Fortunately a lot of the vendors where inside one of the many buildings. This years’ event seemed a little bigger than last year even though the weather was threatening. I know I’ve told you I like swap meets but I really like this one. There always seems to be a ton of great used parts available and at very reasonable prices too. I’ve been going to this one for many years and it never disappoints. You should put it on your list for next year.

Featured Car of the Month

This delicious Emerald Green 1931 Ford Model “A” owned and 80% built by Lance Marguson from Beavercreek, Oregon.

Believe it or not this gorgeous ride started out as a Model “A” Pick Up when Lance decided he might get more use out of a Roadster, so off came the P.U. Body and on came the Roadster in about fifty pieces later and over a thirty year build time. Both Lance and his wife Sandee were educators in the Oregon City school system for over thirty years and there wasn’t a lot of spare time dedicated to building Boy Toy’s.  This ’31 Roadster takes on the look of a Model “B” as Lance liked the clean lines of the ’32 grill shell over the ‘31 Model “A”.

For power she sports a 350 Chev. w/Mallory Ignition, a turbo 350 tranny and a 55 Chev Rear-End narrowed. He’s running 750/15’s on the rear and 195/14’s up front with a super set of Wheels on all four corners. Fantastic leather interior stitched to perfection by Darrell’s Upholstery, with special thanks going to Don Lowe and A&M Deluxe Customs for their input on the finished look.  We at R&R NW Publications are proud to select this 1931 Ford Model “A” Roadster as our Featured Car of the Month April 2015.

Legends & ’68 Camaros

Ya gotta admire the guys that set the trends rather than just following along. The fearless “free thinkers”. The guys that march to a different tune. The guys that really don’t give a damn what anyone else thinks. Smokey Yunick and Duff Burgess were two guys like that. Yunick you may have heard of, Burgess is my best friend Drew’s older brother. Both became legends among their peers. Oh, and both built race cars out of ’68 Camaros.

Yunick survived fifty plus raids piloting a B-17 in World War II. After coming home he set up shop in Daytona Beach Florida where a fledgling racing club called NASCAR was just getting started. His first winner was a Hudson Hornet but it didn’t take long to draw the attention of the big wigs from Chevrolet. When the small block V-8 was introduced in 1955, Yunick was in charge of research and development. His race cars were always competitive. Over the years Yunick became better known for his ingenuity (and creative interpretation of the rulebook) than winning races. Some of the stories about his escapades became part of racing folklore. The most famous of which involves a rigorous inspection wherein the officials required Yunick to remove his racecar’s fuel cell. Certain that the car was somehow carrying more than the legal amount, the tank was confiscated pending further inspection. Outraged, Yunick reportedly jumped into his racer, fired it and drove off, leaving the officials gas tank in hand. Another tale involved a 1966 Chevelle that supposedly was constructed at 7/8 scale. It turns out that Yunick had moved the body back on the chassis to improve the center of gravity and for that reason, it failed to fit NASCAR’s template.

It is known that Yunick was provided with at least three ’67-’68 Camaros from the factory to rebuild as racecars, only one of those cars exists today. That car was stripped to the bare bones and rebuilt on a rotisserie so that Yunick could get at it from any angle. The body panels were all acid dipped to reduce weight. The windshield was laid back and composed of a thinner safety glass. All bolt-on components were either shaved down or rebuilt in lighter versions. Knowing that he couldn’t get away with altering the stock engine location, Yunick instead Z-cut and lowered the chassis around the motor giving the Camaro the lowest profile possible. As sleek and slippery as the finished racer looked, it was just as aerodynamic underneath.
Yunick set off for Bonneville but when he heard that the factory Cougar team was testing at Riverside (CA), he couldn’t resist taking a detour. With slicks mounted all around and Indy car driver Lloyd Ruby at the controls, the Camaro promptly shattered the track record. Yunick loaded back up and continued on to Utah leaving the Mercury boys in an uproar.

 At Bonneville the car broke several FIA records but Yunick refused to dumb it down enough to pass road race tech. The Camaro was sold to fellow racer Don Yenko who made the required changes and won races in the car including the Daytona GT race in 1969. The car remained a competitive SCCA club racer (still in Yenko’s stable) for another ten years until it was literally falling apart. A decade after that, historian David Tom found the Camaro and restored it to its former glory. Today the Edelbrock family owns and races the car in vintage events throughout the country.

Looking back, Duff Burgess wondered if he’d had A.D.D. as a kid (“hyperactivity” they called it in my day). I’d known him as long as I’d known Drew and we’d struck up a friendship in kindergarten. I don’t remember anything unusual about Duff’s behavior. In fact in my opinion, Duff was cool. He was upbeat and funny. He was always goin’ but it wasn’t “willy-nilly”, Duff always had a plan. If we were drawing, he might sit down and draw with us. Or he might plop down in front of the upright piano and hammer out a little boogie woogie. Usually though, he was building something. I was a night owl but there were nights when I could hear Duff in the next room toiling away into the wee hours.

 Drew and I were H.O. slot car nuts and one morning Duff emerged from his bedroom, his latest creation cupped in his hand. It was a Camaro stripped of all chrome and windows and painted a deep metallic purple. The most impressive feature was its rake- nose to the ground, tail way up. On the rear were mounted the largest sponge slicks I’d ever seen…Ever. Like, wrong scale to be honest but when you’re twelve years old, you don’t argue. Duff casually planted the well lubricated machine on the track and grabbed a pistol gripped controller. What Drew and I witnessed next was unprecedented. Whereas our best racers skittered around the track, chattering like little locomotives, Duff’s Camaro flat git! Effortlessly, almost silently, it glided. It was easily the fastest slot car we’d ever seen. Duff laid down a couple quick ones then put down the controller.

Drew and I were just coming to grips with the reality that we were never going to win a race again…when fate intervened. As he plucked the oily Camaro from the track, it slipped from his fingertips and did a full gainer into a poorly placed bowl of decal water.
Turns out, Drew and I had nothing to worry about because the Camaro never ran again. In all likelihood it was taken back to the bedroom and disassembled and Duff moved on to something else. Why wouldn’t he? He had nothing more to prove. Like Yunick at Riverside, he’d shown us who was fastest without even racing us. That’s how legends roll…