Glenn Cupit had been drag racin'
regularly since 1957. Terry Cunningham & Glenn met while
in high school in New Orleans and enlisted in the Army together
in 1956. Glenn was a Chevrolet Factory Service Rep in New Orleans
& Dallas and then worked for various Chevrolet dealers in
New Orleans as Service Manager for 20 years. Terry was the Sales
Manager. They had no sponsors, worked 40 hrs @ week, worked on
the car at nights, raced on Sunday.
In 1964, Glenn won the Green
Valley (Dallas) AHRA Nationals in B/GS with a Henry-J, B&M
Hydro stick, 337 cu. in. blown small block. He then moved back
to New Orleans, took the motor out and went in partners with
Terry on the AA/FD in late '64. Glenn changed nozzles and cam
on his gasser motor and went fuel racin'! Later in '65 he went
to a stroked 327, 383 cu in motor.
Original race car:
A New Orleans drag race friend,
Wayne Smythe, built the AA/D chassis in his garage in Westwego,
LA. Wayne was a Draftsman for Avondale Shipyards. Wayne was a
good friend of Lefty Mudersbach and had purchased Lefty's last
twin Chevrolet dragster, less motors. Wayne converted this car
to a single unblown Chevrolet and Terry ran this car in A/FD
in 1964, when Glenn was running his B/GS Gasser in Dallas.
Wayne bought components and probably
drawings from Lefty. This was a "Lefty designed" car.
Lefty's dragsters of the early '60's all had a 2-piece Volkswagen
laminated front torsion bar. Most other dragsters used the VW
torsion bar, but used it in one piece anchored in the center.
Lefty's split torsion bar also anchored in the center, but separately.
Each side anchor point could be adjusted separately to "jack"
weight into the chassis. Glenn never adjusted them.
On this car, Wayne obtained a
fiberglass chute pack body from Baton Rouge custom painter, Arty
Ross. See link to story at the end of this page.
Glenn made all the brackets,
built the motor and painted the car in his one-car garage in
Jefferson, LA. Glenn lived a mile from another old drag race
fabricator friend, Boogie Scott.
Terry drove the car, Glenn was the wrench. Glenn's brother, Robbie
and friend, Forrest Ball were the crew.
Terry & Glenn had $6000 TOTAL
in their car. Including enclosed trailer (bought from Garlits
for $600), spare short block, blower, extra pair of slicks &
wheels. They WON $4500 in 1965! Terry & Glenn made under
$800 a month each, were both married with kids. Both were 27.
That was the time of their lives, which Glenn is re-living now
with his cackle car!
Glenn & Terry stopped drag
racing in 1966 as they saw the handwriting on the wall. They
knew they could no longer compete without big sponsors. Week-end
warriors would not be able to win consistently in top fuel anymore.
Glenn was never a spectator and
only went to 3-4 drag races in 40 years. He got involved with
hydroplane racing in the '80's, was always the wrench.
This was Glenn's 1965 fuel motor set-up: 327 'Vette 4-bolt block,
Milodon full main girdle, Milodon oil pump & pick up, Crankshaft
Co stroker crank (3 ¾") for 383 cu in, Ansen chrome-moly
rods, copper o-ringed block, Isky 550 ("Super LeGuerra")
gear drive (reverse rotation) roller cam, high rev kit, mousetrap
springs on roller rockers, Mondello ported '64 F I 'Vette heads
(2.020 in, 1.625 ex), ForgeTrue 7:1 pistons, SS Dykes top rings,
Weiand 6-71 blower manifold & drive, 18% overdrive, Stock
GMC 6-71 blower clearanced by Glenn (nothing special), Hilborn
2-port, 150 pump, Scheifer mag.
None of the 1965 small block
fuelers in Glenn's area could pull that cam in high gear. He
knew that when he put the cam in. The only thing he did that
they didn't know about, was that Glenn advanced the cam 8 degrees
and opened up the valve lash +.003 on intake & exhaust.
Most all the other Chevy fuelers
were running the blower @ 1:1 or 10% over. Glenn decided to try
18% overdrive, like the Chryslers were running. He figured his
motor was only 9 cu in smaller than the 392's, so should need
the same boost they had? Well, he lucked onto a combination that
really worked for them.
The motor set-back, cam, power,
tires, all worked in their favor. Car weighed 1175-1200 lb.
Glenn usually ran 25-30% nitro, tuning by varying the load instead
of changing the pill. He would run 35% if they got in the finals.
Glenn used an air density meter, barometer, hygrometer and thermometer
and would document all results, good or bad.
Remember, this was the time BEFORE
burnouts, slipping clutches, good tires, VHT prepared tracks,
and long wheelbase diggers. Glenn's car had 140" wheelbase,
engine out 32".
To hook-up these cars required that you smoke 'em at least 1/3
the way down, with the tires still slipping slightly through
the eyes. The Chryslers were arguably makin' 1500 hp on 90%.
Glenn figured he was makin' 1000 hp on 25%. Once you could spin
'em through the lights, it wasted energy (and et) to "overspin"
'em, even though those thick, smoky runs LOOKED good!
Cupit & Cunningham beat many Chryslers who smoked 'em all
the way while Terry pulled them bad and won.
In 1965 Glenn & Terry's car
was the "World's Quickest Chevrolet", 7.43 sec, 200
mph. They had low qualifying time at the 1965 AHRA Green Valley
Nationals (Dallas). They beat current World champion, Art Malone
in eliminations. They ended up 3rd overall and were the only
Chevrolet to qualify. Watus Simpson, driving the Anderson Bros
Chrysler beat Terry with a 7.35 and won the event. Watus also
drove for Glenn's old friend, Vance Hunt. Glenn regularly sees
Watus & Vance at reunions.
Shubert - Herbert was the "World's
Fastest Chevrolet" in 1965. They had gone 201-202, but had
never run below 7.7. THEY were the FASTEST - Cupit & Cunningham
was the QUICKEST Chevrolet in 1965.
Glenn has several NHRA time slips
from 1965 under 7.43. In fact they set the NHRA strip record
at Monroe, LA with a 7.19! Glenn doesn't claim that time as their
lowest ET, as they did not back it up.