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History

 

In 1963 Kent Fuller originally built what became the S&H car for himself. He was going to run Jim Kamboor's unblown Chrysler out of the old Jado's Special. It incorporated yet another Fuller inovation in that the drivers feet were under the rear end housing opposed to over it. Fuller did this because of the rear ends in other cars braking loose at the time. He figured in the worse case, he could pull his legs back and cross them and maybe loose a foot instead of vital parts. The steering on the right side came about from 12 brand new steering gears, that he bought for a dollar a piece and used Donavan clutch shafts to extend them. Kent Fuller crafted the chassis and the beautiful body was hand formed by Arnie Roberts and Fuller. The roll bar cover (tail piece) was the shape of the rear fender of Fullers '57 Cadillac that he was going to use for a push car.

It was about 90% done when Jeep Hampshire crashed the first Stellings & Hampshire car at Fresno. Fuller figured if he didn't get Larry Stellings a new car pretty quick, he would go somewhere else. In fact, Frank Huszar (RCS) had one he could have gotten right away.

In early 1964 Larry Stellings debuted the "Stellings & Hampshire" (Red Stamp Car) AA/FD and it would forever be known as one of the top-10 nicest dragsters ever built. The icing on the cake was the metallic red and silver Joe Anderson paint job. It raised the bar for all dragsters that followed, but few ever accomplished "The Look".

 

Stellings didn't have deep pockets so he used the front axle off the old car that was still in good shape. They put the car together in Huszar's shop and after Fuller saw the pictures of the car with the old (straight) axle at the 1964 Winternationals, he told Larry he would give him the nice dropped axle that was made for the car if he would bring it up to his shot for the swap... which Stellings did.

 

The original headers, with the big radius, Fuller made for himself but when he sold the car he no longer needed them and they were sold to John Wenderski. They were polished but Fuller hadn't gotten them plated yet. By the time the S&H car was done Wenderski hadn't used them yet and Stellings needed a set right away so John sold him those. Larry never did get them plated, but kept them shiny and polished bright every week so no one knew they weren't chromed. One day Fuller asked Stellings why he didn't use Donavan valve covers, he said he couldn't afford them, so Fuller had Donavan engrave his name in a set and gave them to him for a present.

 

 

The paint job on the car was what really made it. Fuller doesn't remember one like it before it was done.

 

In 1964 the "Red Stamp Car" was featured in "Bikini Beach" which stared Don Rickles, Frankie Avalon (seen here as his "Potato Bug" character) and of course, Annette. The drag racing scenes were filmed at Pomona Dragway.

 

 

Jeep Hampshire in the car during its 1964 season.

 

 

The car was running pretty good with Keith Black engines until they ran out and had to use Hampshire's "garage floor motor". Got the name because Jeep built it in a garage with dirt floor. Chet Herbert had given Jeep a cam that he ground in the early '50's for Bonneville. Chet said it was a copy of Triumph motorcycle. The cam didn't do what Herbert wanted at Bonneville and wound up on the shelf. However it sure did work at the drags and became the Herbert 70, that everyone either ran or had copied by another cam grinder.

 

Fuller had a good association with Stellings and he was one of a few guy who put Fuller's name on the car where he asked him to, in exchange for $200.00 off the price of the car. Keep in mind that $2K was a lot of money in 1964!

 

 

In late 1964, the red and white scalloped Stellings and Hampshire car went to Carlsbad for a race. At that track, which ended at a cliff, the red car ended up in the catch fence with damage enough to cause a rebuild of some body panels and some front end components which made for a perfect excuse to change the look of the car for it's new driver, Bobby Tapia. The car was not ready for the 1965 Fuel and Gas Championships in Bakersfield in March, despite the fact that it was on the cover of the program for that race. But it did make notable races after that including the Annual Hot Rod Magazine Meet with it's new candy apple and black scalloped paint job (pictured here) and Goodyear Blue Streaks. Same exact car ... same dimensions - basically the whole S&H Red Stamp car except in Gold and Black, and called the Stellings & Tapia "Tanguray". Photo & Commentary from Bill Pitts

In 1966 the S&H (S&T) car went from Stellings to Jim Busby. Their shops were in the same complex and actually just on the other side of a wall in Laguna Beach. Busby had the front end, from the engine forward, redone by RCS because the Fuller pipe had been bent. He had a body man put on new nose paneling in Costa Mesa. Busby still wasn't happy with the car so they moved the rear end back 6 inches but they still had trouble with the car wheel standing or smoking the tires. He finally took the engine out and put it in an RCS car that worked fine for them. So the S&H car sat.

In late 1966 or '67 Busby sold the car to Fred Blanchard who didn't do anything with it. In 1969 Blanchard sold it to Greg Daebelliehn who raced it in brackets until 1974. Finally the NHRA tech would not pass the cage so the car went back to RCS for a back half which meant that the last of the original Fuller chassis was gone. All that was left of the original car was the back half of the body. Also, by this time the car had been stretched to a 169 inch wheel base. Now to clarify some of the pieces that help put this together. Daebelliehn reported that when he removed the orange metal flake paint the S&H logo was still on the cowl. That left no question that it was car that Tapia drove until they got their next Fuller car. The car was called "Tanguray", like the gin, when the S&H was painted over.

Daebelliehn then sold it to the Coleman Bros. who ran the car with an injected small block Chevy until they sold it to Dennis Prater in 1982. And that is where the story of the rebirth and Cacklefest career of the Stellings & Hampshire "Red Stamp Car" begins.

 

Orangeline

 

 

After bringing the car the way he got it from the Coleman Bros. to several California Hot Rod Reunion's, Prater showed up for the 2002 event with a live, fire breathing hemi between the frame rails. A.J. Ewald got the maiden fire-up in the pits.

 

Don Ewald was in the seat for the cars Cacklefest debut in 2002.

 

 

 

In 2003, after getting the blessings of original builder Kent Fuller and driver Jeep Hampshire, Dennis Prater contracted chassis builder John Shoemaker to do the reproduction of the classic chassis. He started with the original tail piece and side panels and a rear cage section from John Mitchell's car that had been up in Fuller's loft for 40 some years. It was given back to Fuller by someone down the line of owners after Mitchell. It was a very similar rear section to the S&H car other than the rear end mounting position. Shoemaker ended up cutting it off behind the rear end mounts and spent about 50 hrs restoring what was left, welding, filling small holes like where upholstery snaps were, etc. He had to move the bottom hoop back 3 or 4 " to leave enough room to sit in the legs under position. It ended up being identical to the original as there were enough "witness" marks on the original tail piece and side panels to refer to.

 

Working off of old photos and Fuller's memory, Shoemaker methodically recreated the chassis.

 

 

Original driver Jeep Hampshire and brother Ronnie were at Shoemaker's shop several times during the recreation and were pleased with the progress. They both sat in the car (one of the few ever built with your legs going under the rear end) for "fittings".

 

 

Shoemaker (red shirt) discusses the cars progress with a couple of friends.

 

 

Lining up the engine to the rear end making sure the angles are true to the original.

 

Once the chassis was a "roller" it was time for tin. Arnie Roberts who originally built the body is retired and living in Hawaii. The plan had been to ship the car to Roberts but shipping charges were going to reach $7,000 and that was not cost effective. So it was decided that Randy Ayres of Sacramento would craft the missing body pieces. With the original tail section, belly pan and side panels to work from, Randy did an outstanding job recreating the nose for the car exactly as it was.

 

The final touches for Shoemaker were the cables and fuel lines. The car was ready for paint. But Prater wanted to have it at the 2003 CHRR so he opted to go sans colors and do the paint work over the winter.

 

 

Rightfully, chassis builder John Shoemaker got the seat for Cacklefest IV.

 

 

 

 

 

Orangeline

 

The car was painted by Don Honstein of Sacramento over the winter. Bob Thompson recreated "the stamp" and did the lettering. Stunning - awesome - incredible... any superlative you can think of works for the beauty.

 

The cars official full color debut was at the 2004 CHRR where it was fired up in front of the Red Lion Hotel after the Honorees Presentations on Friday night.

 

Original driver Jeep Hampshire was in the car for Cacklefest IV.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2005 "The Stamp Car" sat out Cacklefest VI due to engine problems. Prater promises the car will be "fresh and ready for Cacklefest VII in 2006.

 

 

 

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