It is a long story how we came
to be at Bakersfield. A guy I raced with here in Australia called
Dennis Young owns the car. Dennis has been a resident of Anaheim
CA since 2000 but left his racing operation here in Australia.
I have been racing with Dennis since 1995 and drove his car Scorcher
with my injected alky small block Chevy. I knew at the time the
car had some history but I had not that much knowledge of its
famous past. The car I drove was only half the original Scorcher,
the car was back halved in 1989. The remaining back half was
hanging from his garage roof, I would always look at it and marvel
at the rusty old frame. When Dennis moved to the states to start
a business we stopped racing and the car was put into storage.
In August 2006 I attended our
Nostalgia Nationals in Brisbane Queensland, the event included
a Friday night dinner with old racing legends in attendance.
The original owner Ash Marshall was at this event as a guest
of honor, so I decided to go meet him. Ash Marshall now aged
78 moved to the USA in the mid 70s and was a resident of
San Diego, he flew out just for the event. I got to know Ash
and he told me some great stories about running the car in the
late 60s and early 70s. After that I was hooked on
the history of the car, Ash drove the car to Australias
first 200mph pass in Feb 1st 1969. Ash owned the car for 2 years,
in that time he raced at 55 meetings. Ash was a household racing
name, was an Australian drag racing legend. I started looking
into the cars history from before and after Ash owned, I uncovered
a very colorful past.
Scorcher was originally built
by RCS for Leland Kolb in 1966, Ash purchased the car from Kolb
at Lions Dragway in late 1968. Ash sold the car in 1970 and it
changed hands another 3 times before Dennis Young
stumbled across it in 1988. When Dennis found the car it was
on display in a Queensland drag racing club room as a monument
to its deceased owner and club president. It had been there for
In late 2007 we hatched a plan
to restore Scorcher back to its original glory and attend the
2008 March Meet and later CHRR Cacklefest. In November 2007 I
retrieved the rebuilt Scorcher along with the original back section
and got to work rebuilding the old frame and panels. It was like
a big jigsaw puzzle, I had to cut the newer car in half again
and rejoin it with the original back section. Working at home
at night and weekends I had the car finished as a roller at Christmas,
by mid January 2008 the car was on the water headed for the USA.
The car was picked up by Dennis with less than 2 weeks to go
before the March Meet. I flew in from Australia with just enough
time to assemble the car with a mock up hemi engine and tow her
up to Famoso. We made it to the March Meet and had the car on
display in The Grove for the whole event. Ash Marshall
drove up from San Diego to be reunited with his old car, it was
a special moment for us.
Our journey was not complete.
In months to follow after I had returned to Australia Dennis
continued with the rebuild and gathering parts for the hemi engine
so we could participate in Cacklefest. This turned out to be
a huge job for Dennis, he had to run his business as well as
find time and money to devote to Scorcher. I flew in to the states
again on the Monday before CHRR with the clutch in my bags and
the chassis was only just back from getting coated. Dennis was
till assembling the hemi and the panels were still at the painters.
We worked on the car day and night sorting out all the little
problems it threw at us and headed to Famoso on Thursday without
even firing the engine.
We fired up the hemi for the
first time on the Thursday afternoon, man she sounded sweet.
At that point we realized our dream was actually going to come
true. We went out onto the track on Saturday morning to try our
first push start but the clutch did not play along and slipped
refusing to turn over the motor. At Cacklefest we blower started
in front of the grandstand and ran it for as long as we could,
I was lucky enough to be in the drivers seat. Man what a buzz
! Anyway the car told us it was time to shut off when leaking
oil from a valve cover lit up a fire on the hot headers. Man
we did it all, we ran on nitro with two foot header flames and
set her on fire!