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Precision Miniatures preserves history – 2

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Winged express Probably best known of the Fuel Altereds, the Marcellus & Borsch “Winged Express” was driven by “Wild Willie” Borsch. He earned the name honestly, usually driving one-handed while holding on to the body with the other. The huge wing mounted above the roll cage made the car look like the World of Outlaws had decided to go drag racing. This blown Chrysler-powered car was famous for sideways launches, crossing both lanes of the drag strip with Wild Willie never lifting. It was often said that it took Willie half a mile to go the length of the quartermile track. Willie once bumped out Don Garlits in qualifying for Top Eliminator at a major meet. The other dragster drivers told race officials that they’d pack their cars up and leave before they’d run side by side with Wild Willie. The “Winged Express” turned a 202.70mph with a 7.29-second elapsed time in 1968.
Pure Hell Rich Guasco’s “Pure Hell” was named as such because he had some temper “issues.” The car started out with a blown small-block Chevy but was soon fitted with a blown, 392ci Chrysler Hemi when Rich decided he needed more power to run with the “Big Dogs.” Dale “The Snail” Emery was the car’s best-known driver, and it set speed and elapsed-time records up and down the Pacific coast. In August 1968, the car turned 208.8mph with a 7.68-second elapsed time.

Mondello & Matsubara Joe Mondello of Mondello’s Porting Service and Sush Matsubara teamed up to build two Fiat Topolino Altereds. Precision Miniatures replicated the first car, which was often known as the “Purple Car.” Joe built the engine, and Sush built the car and handled the driving. Power came from a 427ci blown Chevy Rat Motor. Its best times were 200.88mph and a 7.25-second elapsed time.
Pure Heaven II Leon Fitzgerald, with his partners Richard Rockman and R.T. Reed, built this car in Orange County, California. Its name was a takeoff on Rich Guasco’s “Pure Hell” car, and they had occasions to race “between Heaven and Hell.” A 6-71 blown big-block Chevy Rat Motor powered the car. Fitzgerald was the primary driver, and Rockman took some turns at the wheel as well. Leon still owns this car, and it’s seen at the annual NHRA Cacklefest at Bakersfield’s Famoso Drag Strip. The rest of the time, the car is at the NHRA Museum at the Pomona Fairplex. The car’s best performance was in the low 200s with 7.30 elapsed times.

Updated: June 30, 2011 — 11:28 AM

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