On August Fourth, Cacklefest.com sponsored an event
strictly for Cackle Cars at Irwindale Speedway. As it happens,
Irwindale is right across the 605 Freeway from the original two
San Gabriel dragstrips and just around the corner from the original
Irwindale. This added an element of sentimentality for many because
some of the cars that attended this event had made their "bones"
at San Gabriel.
The track allowed the group to
bring cars Friday night and get situated and the event took place
between 10:00 A. M. and 4:00 P. M. on Saturday. There were fewer
cars than had been anticipated but some last minute additions
made up for that in a big way.
For those who missed the Irwindale
Cacklecar Showcase, here are some shots. Due to various unforeseen
problems they had a lower car count than hoped for but the cars
that did show up made the day for everyone in attendance.
There were about a dozen cars
and the push start practice time was well used. Bob Muravez took
a spin in the Shubert & Herbert car, Tom Ivo got out of bed
before noon and was there at 11:15 to drive the Barnstormer.
The "spectator" count
was not huge but people like Paula Baldwin and her boyfriend
Gary Flanagan were there as were a number of people who weren't
expected. Barry Kaplan, Marvin Graham, Bob Muravez, to name a
few. The NHRA crew were great, Steve Gibbs ramrodded the deal
with some help from Ron Johnson. Rod McCarrell and Gary Edwards
came and helped. Ray Lake drove his 57 Ford F-100 push truck
up from El Cajon area and had a great time. Jay Carpenter said
Poison Ivy was all loaded in the trailer, but Ken Blackmore didn't
have a spare truck to tow it so it stayed at home. Jay brought
his 67 Chrysler wagon and pushed someone.
Photos by Tim & Cindy
Cope, Jim Phillipson and John Ewald
Steve and Gloria Gibbs
and Gwen Drury.
Kol Johnson's rig was one of
the first there and he and his dad, Ron, planned to stay at the
track Friday night so a few of the others joined in for a good
old fashion BBQ.
The cars started arriving around
9 AM Saturday. Bill Pitts brought his legendary Fuller chassied
Magicar. Pitts has also had this car at every Cacklefest and
is the originator of the static start display, having done this
for the first time behind the grandstand at the Bakersfield California
Hot Rod Reunion in 1998. The original driver of the car was Jeep
Hampshire who has been at almost every major event the car has
The NHRA Museum crew, Dusty McWilliams,
Gwen Drury, Wayne Phillips and Jim Adolph led by Steve Gibbs
brought three cars from the Museum. The Howard Cam Rattler here
sits in front of the Museum trailer. In the foreground is the
Swamp Rat VI which was one of the two top fuel cars to go to
England with the US Drag Team that NHRA |assembled in 1964.
The Rattler has been a perennial
entry in Cacklefest since the very first one. Here Dusty McWilliams
has his back to the camera, his son Shane is on his left and
his fiancé Gwen Drury is peeking over his shoulder.
Ivo needed a comfortable
place to sit down.
The NHRA Museum also brought
the famed Kent Fuller car which was campaigned by Greer, Black
and Prudhomme. The car was restored some years back by Steve
Davis and is owned by collector/preserver Bruce Meyer and has
been in the Peterson Museum, however now resides in the NHRA
The Ewell, Bell and Stecker "Chubasco"
is now owned by Clyde Diedrick who just completed a mechanical
update to make the car more Cackle friendly. Rick McDonald or
Pro-air in Escondido performed the upgrades and would be in the
car on this day.
Bob Deburn of San Diego brought
his Paradise Alley car. It was the top competition car trophy
winner at the 2006 Grand National Roadster Show. This is Bob's
second car, as he first restored the Poison Ivy car which now
belongs to Ken Blackmore of Temecula and is brought to events
by Jay Carpenter.
Ron Johnson, owner of Cacklefest.com
brought his two cars. The newest is the Tommy Ivo Barnstormer
which was completed just two months ago. The car appeared in
two entirely different colors between 1962 and 1965 and Ron has
not yet made a final decision as to which of the color it will
be. It was Ivo Red originally and made the first side by side
seven second run across the street at San Gabriel Dragstrip in
1962 with Greer, Black and Prudhomme. It was the other Top Fuel
car to go to England in 1964 along with Swamp Rat VI and was
then sporting a Candy Tangerine paint job by George Barris. In
the meantime, the magnificent body work is appreciated by all
who see it in bare metal. Also in the pit was Johnson's Shubert/Herbert
"Worlds Fastest Chevy" recreation.
The Mastercar is owned by John
Ewald and is a 60's Jim Davis chassis. Ewald is more active than
anyone in the Cackle Car realm, attending as many as 30 events
a year, often sponsored by Firestone. John and Bob Danly take
two cars to all the events, with the able assistance of Mario
The BankAmericar is the other
Ewald entry and was originally campaigned by Don Ewald in the
late 60's and early 70's. It is a John Buttera chassis built
for Don Ewald and was located about 6 years ago in Georgia running
with a Chevy motor. John and Don got the car back and did a complete
restoration taking it back to the exact appearance of it in 1969.
team brought out their restored AA/FA.
Don Prieto of Torrance now owns
the Chrisman & Cannon "Hustler VI" which was the
last in the line of Hustler dragsters. Don is getting close to
getting the driveline installed so he will be able to join in
push start events. Up until now, he has settled for static starts
and is anxiously awaiting completion of the car to do push starts.
Later in the morning Bruce Dyda
pulled in with the newly finished Ivo "Showboat" 4-engine
recreation. Dyda was commissioned to this project over 1 year
ago and it turn out to be the longest, hardest project he has
ever done. However, the finished product was worth it all as
it is magnificent - and perfect to the point Ivo could find no
The 4 motor car was built originally
by Kent Fuller and Ivo. This time it was built by Dyda and overseen
by Ivo. Dyda is in the black shirt and pants. The car is a stunner.
It is not operational, but was built strictly as a Museum piece.
It will be displayed at The NHRA Museum for the next few months
and will ultimately end up alongside it's later iteration "The
Wagonmaster" in a museum being created by a wealthy collector
in Winnemucca Nevada.
Needless to say the car,
at one time or another, attracted everyone in attendance.
The Showboat next to
it's successor, The Barnstormer.
There were two "photo
op" line-ups during the day and this was the first.
The "Bank Cars"
getting ready for their respective push starts.
Promptly at 11:30, the push starts
took place, here Muravez guides the Shubert/Herbert car, overseen
by Kol Johnson. The cars were lined up at far end of the return
road and started one by one, stopping in front of the main grandstand
for a minute or two and then proceeding back into the pits.
In no particular order the cars
that wanted to did push starts (both for practice and fun) on
the return road. Here Tom Ivo cackles Ron Johnson's Barnstormer.
All are hoping the car will be painted by the CHRR to distinguish
its appearance at the NHRR.
Ivo, a notorious late riser,
got out of bed hours early to be at Irwindale and sit in the
Barnstormer. Ron Johnson is attempting to plug his ears, as the
din from the Barnstormer, with the weedburner pipes, is something
Jimmy Scott's son (Jimmy
Jr.) here is going through an orientation push in Paradise Alley.
It was pushed by Chuck Ross, in his Chev pickup. The car was
not fired up in this session.
Rick McDonald lights up Chubasco
for the first time, being ably pushed by Ray Lake of Tierra Santa
in his ever-so-nice 57 Ford F-100.
Another "newbee" behind
the wheel as Maxed Out Racing's Mario Garcia gets his first experience
in a dragster. That was what this event was meant to be, an opportunity
for practice starts, new people working together and everyone
to have an opportunity to spend some time together in a low stress
The only museum car to
fire was the Howard Cams Rattler with Dusty McWilliams in the
After having the car for 9 years
the Godfather of Cacklefest, Bill Pitts, finally did a push start
in his MagiCar and did it with the skill of an old pro. It was
the first time Pitts had ever push started any dragster so kudos
to The King.
After firing on the track Pitts
drove the car back to the pits to savor the whole experience.
When all was said and done he was "pumped!"
The second "photo
op" line-up included the Showboat.
Finally, "The Girls"
knew how to enjoy a warm Saturday at Irwindale!
Another first time cackle "driver"
was Vic Woods in John Ewald's Mastercar. Woods, who once ran
TF cars in Australia, had no problems and a lot of fun.
Check back for more
event coverage as they happen.