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History

 

One of the true legends of the sport, the Speed Sport Roadster is often referred to as " the sound of a million bumble bees" when it runs. The team, made up of Gary "Red" Greth, Lyle Fisher and the late Don Maynard, ran with a 331 hemi with 6 carburetors on 100% nitro. Based out of Tucson, AZ, they campaigned a 102" chassis that was constucted by the trio and covered basically with a '23 T Ford body that had a nose and rear canopy made out of fiberglass that was painted by George Witt. Best times or the red racer were 9.10-169.11. In addition, it also took top honors at the AHRA Nationals one year in Great Bend, Kansas and during three years of competition it was never beaten in its class. The car was dubbed "Ol' Noisy" because of its unique header system which had all eight pipes under the rear of the car which created a sound, especially on the top end, like no other car in the sport. In 1958 the team retired this car and built a blown version - Speed Sport II.
Commentary by Bud DeBore

 

These are the earliest known photos of the Speed Sport roadster taken during its construction by Bill Turney in 1955. Childhood friends Gary "Red" Greth and the late Don Maynard installing the 6-carb mainfold on the 331" Chrysler hemi. The date of these photos makes this the oldest current cacklecar.

 

Don Maynard sands the fiberglass engine cover while Red Greth and Lyle Fisher work on the engine. Note the weird design on the nose of the car. The Speed Sport roadster is thought to be the first drag car to ever use fiberglass in the body configuration. The entire nose was hand formed from a flowerprint fiberglass drapes... this the weird designs on the nose prior to paint.

 

One of the cars first outings in early 1956 at Davis Monthan AFB in Tucson that allowed drag races once a month. Maynard (with sunglasses) Greth with one shoe off and his sister-in-law, who was also the Trophy Queen, on the rear tire.
Bill Turney Photo

 

Greth in the far lane racing another legend Emory Cook in the Cook & Bedwell dragster at Davis Monthan AFB in 1956.
Bill Turney Photo

 

Great Bend, KA 1957. Greth vs. Bobby Joe Ruttledge (above) and on a single below.
Don Elliott Photos

 

 

Cordova, IL 08-24-57 - ATAA World Series - Greth in the cockpit with crew members Don Myers, Lyle Fisher, Joe Bush and Don Maynard. Greth had just run the meets best 9.83 at 169.

 

Lyle Fisher at the ATAA World Series in 1957.
Ron Johnson Photo

 

"Another Top Eliminator Trophy". Paradise Mesa Drag Strip in 1957. Red Greth, Joe Bush, Don Maynard, Trophy Queen Louise Muller and Lyle Fisher.
Bob Hardee Photo

 


1959 - Ralph Guldahl Photo

 


1959 - Ralph Guldahl Photo

 

 

Orangeline

 

Restoration


Like many other racers, Greth is a consummate pack rat. He initially restored the car in 1997 to fill a display spot in the then new NHRA Motorsports Museum (and for Memory Lane at the CHRR's). The Speed Sport Bunch (as they are known) took the back to Tucson in 1999 and made it "race ready" and did a push start and made a run at the 1999 CHRR. When Cacklefest was born the car was ready to play.


Greth does a push start during the 2000 CHRR.

 

 

Parked in its spot at the 2001 Cacklefest.

 

 

Pre 2002 Cacklefest parade.

 

2002 Cacklefest push start

 

Greth to his spot at the 2002 Cacklefest

 

 

 

Flag start pass at the 2003 CHRR

 

 

The first nighttime Cacklefest was in 2003 and the Speed Sport car was present and accounted for.

 

 

 

 

When its not on the road the "Speed Sport I" is on display at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum located at the Pomona Fairplex in Pomona, CA.

 

 

 

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