1 was built by Bobby Langley of Everman, TX. He and his wife
Ruth still live in the same house where the first car was built
beginning in 1955. Bobby was a tool and die maker at Convair
aircraft (General Dynamics). He would work on the car in the
mornings and go to work for the second shift. At times he was
allowed to build some small parts at work.
The first incarnation
was called Needle Nose. It had a body made from a jet wing tip
fuel tank. The pointed rear end of the tank was turned to the
front of the car. Needle nose ran a Cadillac V-8 engine with
four two barrel carburetors.
The needle nose
was a participant at Kansas City in 1956. It briefly had a flat
head Ford V-8 then it got a new body and a 354 Chrysler was installed.
Nose at Caddo Mills, TX. Circa 1956
The newly re-bodied
Scorpion 1. An Everman policeman nicknamed it Scorpion and it
stuck. As seen here it had a 1957, 392 Chrysler from a local
Bobby Langley and "crew"
with his Scorpion I at the 1957 Oklahoma City Nationals. Car
won best appearing car and crew.
Here the car
is shown in Monterey Mexico In 1958, seated is Bobby Langley,
standing on trailer ramp is Bobby Walcott, and next is his current
Partner Bill Collins. They towed the Scorpion with the 51 Olds
coupe with the swoopy side pipes. Below Bill tells the short
story in his own words.
1958 trip to drag race in Monterey, Mexico
The 1958 trip to drag race in
Monterey, Mexico By Bill Collins Somehow Bobby Langley or I got
notice of a drag race in Monterey, Mexico in January 1958. A
club in San Antonio and one in Monterey sponsored the race. We
put the ole short pencil to the expense of the trip and decided
to "do it". What with the expensive price of gasoline
at $.22 cents a gallon ($.19 cents in Mexico), we decided we
could make the 800 mile trip (one way), eat, get a motel, etc.
Bobby got off work Thursday night
from Convair in Fort Worth at about 11:00 P.M. Bobby Walcott
and I were at Bobby's house when he got home, Loaded up with
the clothes (blue jeans and Isky T shirts) trailer, Scorpion
1, tools, nitro, Etc. and set out going south in the middle of
the night. We had little money (you understand), Bobby had no
personal car and I had no racecar at the time. Here we go all
the race stuff, no spare parts and very little money all hooked
up behind my 1951 Olds with Walcott's flames adorning the front
fenders and four chrome blooie pipes running up the rear on each
side. What a site, like a circus with no animals. Just three
idiots and a doll out to conquer the drag race world. We were
just in our early 20's. After 21 we found we did not know everything
as we previously thought.
We got to the Mexican border
in the middle of the next night. "Papers please" from
the border guard, What are papers we asked? You know, visa's,
passports, car titles, I.D. stuff we had never heard of. We were
just going down to Monterey, race a little bit, and be right
back, promise! They took our driver's license as I.D. and I had
a motor number for the Olds. They also insisted on an I.D. number
for the Scorpion, racecar or not, we all got to looking for some
numbers on the block. We looked all over, nothing; Bobby spotted
a number on the Weiand six carb. two barrel manifold. Here it
is he said to the guard, right on top for all to see 18436572.
The guard said yippee, wrote it down, finished the paper work
and we were off. For Ford people I won't even try to explain
the numbers, Mopar and GM people know. Phil Weiand knew what
he was doing when he put the numbers there.
Thank you Phil for the I.D. number to cross any border in the
world. We giggled all the way to Monterey.
The highways were asphalt all
the way from the border to Monterey. Good but narrow. Not many
signs. Lots of sage brush, good for relieving your self behind.
NO TREES! In Monterey we checked into a Hotel. This was really
new to us as we usually slept in a Motel room, one room with
one bed for Bobby and Ruth, while the rest of us slept on the
floor We were all excited about having some authentic Mexican
food that night. We ordered verbally as we could not read the
menu. We took a few bites and discovered that they did not know
what spices were, flat as a flitter, bland, but we ate it anyway.
We got up the next morning (Sunday),
had breakfast, which was good, and set out for the drag strip.
We parked in the basement of the hotel and had to go up a ramp
to get out. I put the Olds in first gear and headed up the ramp.
We got almost to the top, but the Olds would not pull the scorpion
and trailer up the ramp. Every one got out of the car. I backed
up into the garage and around a curve, would you believe. I got
sort of a running start with the guys pushing and made it to
the top. They all piled in again and we headed out.
When we got to the strip we saw
gas under the Olds. The fuel pump was leaking! No problem, I
went to a parts house with a local while the others removed the
worn out pump. The new pump was $3.00; those people knew how
to gouge a foreigner.
We got the Scorpion ready to
run at the "strip". We were at a major traffic circle
with a Statue in the middle and were to run down one of the four
feeder roads. At our age we still knew more than most folks,
right? We could not see the end from the starting line and we
didn't go down and look at the end of the "strip".
There was a small rise in the road and then a small drop down
to the end. We put 98% in, lined up and blasted away. I tried
to follow Bobby in the Olds but as soon as Bobby went down the
Spectators, who were on both sides of the strip, ran out to see
the dragster. We could hear Bobby but could not see him. We honked
the Spectators out of the way and finally reached Bobby and the
dragster. By the time we got there Bobby was out of the car.
As we nearly reached the end we found that Bobby had run over
a set of railroad tracks. That's not good on frame rails made
of 36 Ford drive shaft tubing with an unsprung rear end. I think
we bent the frame rail about two inches. But as smart as we were
we did not have to even take a look. Off in the distance we heard
a lot of shouting. A goat herder was chasing about fifty goats
out in the field, all going in different directions. Apparently
the noise of the header pipes scared the poop out of them and
they took off. He may still be looking for some of them.
We made the day winning dragster
class and Top Eliminator, and collected some of the most beautiful
trophies I have ever seen for a drag race. Bobby still has them
in a trophy case built into a wall in his home. They are front
and center with hundreds of others. There were no clocks so we
did not know how fast we went, but not very fast because of the
We started back to Fort Worth
as the sun was setting. At about dark 30, we noticed the gas
gage almost setting on E. we were in the middle of nowhere with
no stations in sight or a town on the map. Everybody kind of
woke up then. We also had no spare gas can. We were still partially
smart. With every experience we got wiser.
Then in the middle of pitch black of the night in the desert
we saw a small light bulb glowing way off in the distance. What
was it? As we got closer we saw a shack the size of an outhouse
with a gas pump in front.
Hallelujah, gas! We got the car filled up, then had to pay the
attendant. He could speak no English and we spoke no Spanish.
So we just started putting Dollar bills in his hand until he
shook his head no. We put some more in his pocket, loaded up
and headed to Texas, thanking him and the Lord for the gas.
What an experience and so much
fun for us. Something to remember for the rest of our life. Today
we would not do that without weeks of planning. Then we just
jumped in the car and took off.
I say Bobby won the 1958 Mexican Nationals.
By: Bill Collins, March 2006
In 1959 Bobby sold Scorpion 1
to Bob Taylor and Charles (Smiley) Sitton. They raced it with
a new red paint job and called it The Red Hoss. The car had A
blown 354 on gas to run B dragster class. The Chassis was made
of drive shaft tubing and through the years had started to bend
in front of the engine. We finale got Bob Taylor to admit that
he had scraped out the aluminum body and chassis around 1960.
The plan to recreate
Scorpion 1 B was hatched on an all night trip to CHRR 2002. Bill
Collins, Paul Adams and Don Ross were driving straight through
to California. At around 2:00 in the morning some where in Arizona
Ross blurted out "Do you know what is missing from the Cackle
car group"? That woke every body up and they started talking
about the parts we would need. This got them all the way to sunup
and the California border. At the reunion they asked Bobby and
Ruth (Langley) about the project and he was glad they were going
to do it and not him. Bob was a great help in the recreation.
As progress on the car went on he would consult with Ross as
to how the car was originally built.
The start of the frame: the front
tubes are 1936 Ford inside drive shaft tubing that tapers down
to 1-7/8" to mate to 1-1/2" pipe cross member. A model
"A" axle and 1940 Ford front spindles were used.
Don Ross began bodywork on the
tail section first. Here the right tail skin is shown with edges
shrunk on the pull max machine with thumbnail shrinking dies.
After much hammering, shrinking
then then rolling in English wheel the tail took shape and could
be welded together.
With the body done, the
chassis was painted and ready to assemble.
The rolling chassis ready
for final assembly.
With the tail all but done, the
nose was Ross' next project along with the engine cover.
A 1957 392 was built and owned
by Tinker's machine Shop of Yantis TX. It has an Isky 505
hydraulic cam and four Two barrel carburetors.
Craig Hulls of Wylie, Texas did
the paint work. The complete body will Dzus to its self then
delivered to Daniel Gay the Pin striper to do his thing just
like Langley did In 1957.
After the striping was done the
body was trailered back to Ross' shop for final assembly.
The car made its debut
at Bowling Green 2004 National Hot Rod Reunion.
Wayne Bayles at Bitchen Stichen
upholstered the seat. The Seat was the last thing they did and
it was finished one day before leaving for Bowling Green NHRR
Don Ross in the seat for his
and Scorpion 1's first Cacklefest at NHRR 2004. Bill Collins
and Don discuss the Push down routine. Bill was one of the most
helpful people in the early days with Bobby Langley, as Bob did
not have his own family car to pull the original Scorpion with.
Bobby Langley got his first fire
up at his home in Everman, TX. After all of his family got their
turn in the seat they took the car to Ed Mabry's shop. Ed didn't
know they were coming and was quite surprised when Bobby drove
the car right up under his drive way cover and yelled out asking
if he could machine some axles like he used to do.
Group pose, Don Ross, Sharon
Ross, Ruth Langley, Bobby Langley and Bill Collins. The trophies
are mostly from the Mexico trip. Only about 1% of what Langley
has on display in two showcases in his den.
Ruth gives Bobby a kiss
before he pushes out for Cacklefest IV - his first.
Langley and The Scorpion
out for the Cacklefest Parade.
The Scorpion was the
first car down to fire for Cacklefest.
Langley parked in his
spot. What a thrill it was for him.
The cars next appearance was
on the Left Coast at the 2004 California Hot Rod Reunion Bob
and Ruth Langley, who have been married for over 50 years, resting
at the teams display tent.
Bill Collins makes a short blast
at Temple Academy Raceway in Texas.
Langley on their "ill-fated"
pass at Ennis, Texas. The old cast iron clutch Ross had put in
the car let go as he wound out second gear and clutched to shift
to high. The car has a 1940 Ford trans. running second and high
gear. Ross also installed reverse as a convenience to move the
car around. Bobby was not hurt, just surprised.
Texas car show in 2005
They displayed the car at Texas
Motor Speedway for the Goodguy's car show in 2005. This was their
first time out after fixing the damage from the clutch explosion.
They now have a complete McLeod flywheel and clutch set up that
They took Scorpion 1B to the
Tyler, TX. car show in Feb. 2006. They plan several outings for
2006, one of which is NHRR IV in Bowling Green, KY.