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
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.
paint job on the car was what really made it. Fuller doesn't
remember one like it before it was done.
Jeep Hampshire in the
car during its 1964 season.
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
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 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
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
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",
gin, when the S&H was painted over.
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.
Don Ewald was in the
seat for the cars Cacklefest debut in 2002.
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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
Rightfully, chassis builder
John Shoemaker got the seat for Cacklefest IV.
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.
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.
Original driver Jeep
Hampshire was in the car for Cacklefest IV.
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
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.