Like many of the current cacklecars,
"The Poachers" has a solid west coast pedigree. The
car was originally built in 1969 for the late Jack McCloud by
Frank Huszar at RCS (Race Car Specialties). McCloud, had deep
roots in the SoCal drag racing scene including a part in the
"Force Clan". Jack and his brothers Jake and Don were
related to John Force, the Beaver Bros. and the Condit Bros.
so drag racing was a natural sport of choice. McCloud was in
the majority of fuel racers of the era in that he was limited
by funds so the car never ran on a regular basis. However, when
it did run it always looked and performed on the A list.
Walt Stevens was the original
driver as seen here at OCIR in 1969 with its Hanna "shorty"
body. In the photo below car owner, Jack McCloud has just poured
the VHT for a burnout.
The car was lightly raced
in 1970 and received a Kenny Ellis nose and new paint for the
Stevens in the car at
Lions in 1971.
In late 1971 McCloud took over
the driving chores himself when fire burnouts were all the rage
and here is Jack doing one at Irwindale.
McCloud coasts through
the traps at Bakersfield in 1971.
Photo by Tom West
The car ran into the 1972 season
and was one of the last front engine dragsters in competition.
The car was sold in 1972 and
basically disappeared until 1999 when Tim Calhoun from Louisiana
bought it. The car had been update some (but not butchered).
Rather than race the car Calhoun decided to try to find its history.
He knew right off that an RCS car with a Hanna/Kenny Ellis body
wasn't something built in the last 30 years. After cutting through
several layers of paint, Tim uncovered the lettering Race Car
Specialties and Poachers. The ID was confirmed by photos from
WDIFL.com. Calhoun made the long trip from Louisiana to the 2000
CHRR where Walt Stevens further confirmed its validity.
Calhoun took the car home and
had every intention of restoring it to its 1970 trim. However,
due to financial constraints the project never happened and the
car sat untouched until 2004 when Paul and Pam Schavrien purchased
In August of 2004 Paul, Pam,
Ryan Schavrien's new project arrived at their home in Rancho
Santa Margarita, Calf.
Paul prepared the Poachers for
it's trip to Dyda Race Engineering in Gardena, CA for restoration
in February of 2005. Schavrien was extremely impressed with the
perfect restoration Dyda had done on the BankAmericar and was
confident his would perfect as well.
Dyda first repaired or
replaced the damaged chassis parts.
With the chassis repaired
and the rear end in and aligned the car waits for the mock-up
392 Hemi at Engine Dynamics
getting ready for assembly.
The original Poachers body panels
at Kelly and Son Crazy Painters in Bellflower, California. ready
to undergo the Kelly's magic touch!
Mitch Kelly studying old photos
of the Poachers car to make sure they get it right.
Mitch Kelly preparing
the car for paint.
Tom and Mitch Kelly prepare
the car for pinstriping.
The old master at work...
Tom Kelly working his magic.
The original cowl art by Tom
Kelly in 1970 was a reflection of Jack's life style. Kelly's
beautiful recreation of the Poachers' Hash Pipe Hippie cowl art
is now a tribute to the late McCloud.
Poachers body panels painted
and clear coated. The incredible gold leaf laid down by the famous
Back at Dyda's the car
Paul (co-owner) at Mike Kuhl's
adjusting the valves on this stout 392 Hemi in October of 2005.
Bruce's beautiful restoration
is unveiled and his work was done... time to go home.
Mike Kuhl and Paul Schavrien
getting ready to light the potent 392 for the first time. This
was a day and a half before the cars Pomona debut at the NHRA
World Finals Cacklefest.
The Poachers looked great
out of the trailer at Pomona Sunday morning at Pomona.
Original driver, Walt
Stevens with Pam Schavrien prior to the warm up (below).
Stevens, experiencing an emotional
trip back in time, in a seat he occupied so many years ago.
Prior to the actual Cacklefest
the car did a "test" push start - which went flawlessly.
Paul and Father-in-law,
Don Atkinson servicing the car before the Cacklefest.
Walt Stevens in the pre-Cacklefest
parade before the huge crowd at Pomona.
Stevens suited up and
ready to go, getting final instructions from Mike Kuhl.
Show time - push start
and ignition for the 2005 World Finals Cacklefest.
Parked in place in front
of the stands, the 392 hemi hits on all eight.
The proud owners of the beautifully
restored Poachers - Paul, Pam, Ryan Schavrien at the John Force
Christmas Show at Force Racing standing by Ryan's 1967 Chev El
Camino push car.
Poacher car at Trabuco Hills
High School, Mission Viejo Ca for 1st annual car show. Ryan Schavrien
is senior there.
Paul, Ryan's Grandpa
Don mixing the fuel, getting ready for the cackle!
Car running with Mike Wehmer
the schools Head Custodian in the car for the thrill of his life.
Ryan, with his friends, Brian
and Sarah after the successful fire-up! The school will never
be the same!