Safford-Gaide-Ratican

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History

 

The so-called "Sour Sisters" A/FD (1961-1964) of Safford-Gaide-Ratican dragster was very successful during its competitive years and one of a handful of Oldsmobile powered fuelers ever. It it had a 135" Rod Peppmuller chassis. Engine was a 400" Olds running on 70%, that in its heyday, saw runs as good as 7.88-197.64. It also took home honors at an AHRA national event (Fresno ’64), captured three top eliminators over New Years weekend 1964 (Ramona, Pomona & Fontana) and won the Last Drag Race before San Gabriel closed its gates in the mid-‘60’s. It may have been dubbed the "Sour Sisters", but to the legions of Olds fans, its motor was nothing but "sweet" music to their ears. After this car was sold in 1966 (and turned into a dune buggy), Safford went on to own or co-own other dragsters and drive for some of the biggest names in the business. He retired from the seat in 1970. Don Gaide and Don Ratican also went on to be involved in several race cars throughout the 60s and 70s.

 

Safford and Gaide found their drag racing roots as members of the Road Kings car club in Burbank, CA. Arguably the Road Kings is not only the oldest "car club" still in existence, but it has also spawned more drag racing "super stars" than any such organization in history. To think that a bunch of kids from the San Fernando Valley (just north of LA) could endure (and basically survive) 50 years of drag racing is remarkable. And the Road Kings are? To name a few: Tommy Ivo, Don Prudhomme, Tony Nancy, Tom McCourry, Bob Muravez, Roy Fjastad, Don Prieto, Don Johnson, Harry Hibler, Jimmy Miles, Ralph Marshall, Skip Togerson and many more.

 

Kenny Safford (Safford-Gaide-Ratican) and Tom Hanna (Hanna & Blair) smoke the hides at Ramona, 1963.

 


Great shot of the "bathtub" cockpit in the Safford, Gaide & Ratican fueler at Pomona, 1963.

 

Kenny and the car were one of the dragsters used in the 1963 Frankie & Annette "Bikini Beach" film.

 

 

 

Safford on a classic pass at Lions Drag Strip in 1963.

 

 

San Gabriel, 1964

 

Orangeline

 

 

Kenny Safford had the car was recreated in 1999. It has a 135" Rod Peppmuller chassis (the original chassis builder) with a Steve Scott body. Safford built another fuel burning Olds. It is an exact copy of the original.

 

 

"Sour Sisters" on display at the 1998 CHRR. Safford had restored the car to its running trim in 1992 and it was one of the first dragsters to call the NHRA Motorsports Museum its home.

 

Safford brings the famous "Safford-Gaide-Ratican" (Sour Sisters) A/FD to a halt after an exhibition run on Sunday during the 1999 California Hot Rod Reunion.

 

Push start for 2000 CHRR - Cacklefest One.

 

Safford, followed by his restored (and original) push car (1959 El Camino) push starts at Cacklefest One in 2001.

 

 

 

Kenny Safford, fresh off a very serious medical procedure, was a welcome site at the first NHRR at Bowling Green in 2003.

 

2004 NHRR at Bowling Green, KY

 

 

 

 

The S-G-R car was also featured at the 50th NHRA US Nationals in Indy. Here it waits in line with the restored "Bounty Hunter" of Connie Kalitta.

 

 

Pre Cacklefest parade.

 

2004 CHRR push start.

 

2005 NHRR at Bowling Green, KY

 

Don Gaide and Kenny Safford kick back prior to the 2005 Cacklefest.

 

 

Don Gaide watches over the fuel burning Olds in 2005. Be sure to check out the "Sour Sisters" at the next CHRR!

 

When its not at the CHRR or doing a special event Safford's car is on display at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum.

 

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