One of the original
nine Cacklefest cars, the Steinegger & Eshenbaugh AA/FD (1962-1964)
comes with impeccable documentation as one of the quickest and
fastest dragsters to hail from Arizona in the 1960's.
Driver: Al Eshenbaugh.
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ. This car, with a 130" Rod Stuckey
chassis and a 392 hemi on 98% saw runs of 6.98 at 208.00 during
its era. In addition to winning no less than 15 Top Eliminators
in a row at Beeline Dragway in Phoenix during 1964, it also took
first place one year at the Arizona Fuel & Gas Championships
and held the No. 9 spot on the Drag News Mr. Eliminator List
for a period of time.
They were Arizona
State Champions in 1964 & 1965. S&E believed in function
over form so the car was, by definition, no frills. This fuel
dragster was built to race and that's exactly what it did.
After selling the car in 1966
Steinegger and Eshenbaugh did their own things including raising
families. The car was just a great memory for them. It wasn't
until the California Hot Rod Reunion's became the event of the
year that Steinegger's interest in drag racing was revisited.
But even then he didn't actively seek out his old car - that
happened by fate.
In early 1999 an old friend of
Larry and Al, Tom Walsh was checking out wrecking yards and body
shops for treasures when he found a dragster chassis behind a
small body shop in Higley, Az. He called Steinegger and wanted
him to help identify the thing. Walsh thought it was their old
car but wasn't sure. On instinct he bought it and brought it
Sure enough it was the S&E
Stucky car. The rear end had been moved and the front axle and
torsion bar were gone. The chassis also had some "new brackets"
and small block Chevy motor mounts. Not "needing" a
dragster, Tom Walsh was looking for racing stuff to decorate
his house and Steinegger had an old windowed 392 with a couple
of rods out the side. The trade was made and Walsh had a coffee
table... Steinegger had his old dragster. Everybody was happy.
Steinegger then took the car
to Paul Henderson's shop and started thrashing on it. They had
lots of pictures and memories to go by and also help from Clint
Brown who built the original nose and other body parts. Steinegger
is a self proclaimed 'pack rat' and was amazed at how much stuff
for the car he had stashed away. He had Hemi parts, blower drive
parts and the original steering wheel. Ray Agee even had the
original push bar key and he donated it to the cause. A lot of
elbow grease and machine work from J.T. Stewart and the thing
came together... but not instantly.
The S&H team showed up at
the 2000 CHRR (Cacklefest One) with the car in pieces... hauled
from Arizona in a four horse trailer and they finished it up
in the pits. Drag racers then, drag racers now.