Has anyone noticed that gas has gone over four dollars per gallon again – but this time – without much fanfare!?
Are we so complacent or conditioned, that when these price-spikes occur now we just take it all in stride? I do not know about you, but I am so tired of the oil companies gouging us. US gas reserves are incredibly high, there is no lack of production anywhere, no fuel lines or shortages, but yet – the prices keep climbing!! Why? No one is questioning it this time around!
Remember two years ago when gas was hitting four bucks – the stink that everyone made? Where is that now?
And for us folks with classic and specialty cars that need premium (or higher) grade fuel, we are paying through the nose!
Speaking of rip-offs; Hess is at it again. Yes, Hess. The nice green and white gas stations that dot the L.I. landscape like so many neatly ironed NY Jets uniforms. I like the Hess stations – big, clean, in and out without any fuss. But – they are ALL company owned. They are not franchises or independent operators. No Vinny or Ahmed or Phil, or Jacob or Nancy or Singh to set prices as they see fit. They are supplied by themselves and the cost of fuel to each station is exactly the same as any other station on the Island. Yet, ( here’s the rip-off part ) they charge different prices depending on location!
When you live on the North Shore, you can expect to pay higher prices than on the South Shore or Mid-Island! The Hess station in Oyster Bay (where there is very little competition) is always the highest around. (Of course – that is where I live). For example: On a recent weekend, as I drove out of town – I saw that the prices had gone up from the day before. Being justifiably irritated, I decided that since I was heading out to Suffolk, I would wait to buy gas there. Sure enough – CHEAPER!! Here is my route and what I encountered at Hess stations along the way-----
Oyster Bay on RT 106 was $3.84, $3.94, and $4.04 for regular, plus, and premium. (The highest anywhere I found)
Syosset on Jericho Tpk was $3.79, $3.89, and $3.99
Bethpage near DMV on Hempstead Tpk was $3.71, $3.81, and $3.91 THAT’S 13 CENTS PER GALLON LESS THAN OB!!!!
Figure with a 20 gallon tank – they are “surcharging” you an extra $2.60 per tank in Oyster Bay!!! Times how many cars a day?!?!?
In Suffolk most stations were pretty much the same price as Bethpage, and much lower than most of Nassau.
One was higher and one other was a tad lower at $3.69, $3,79, and $3.89!! That is fifteen cents less per gallon than in Oyster Bay!!
THREE BUCKS A TANK if you are still counting!!
Of course, I called Hess, just as I did two years ago when the same thing was occurring. And of course, they had no answer for me. Just like last time. Are you surprised? Well, don’t be. They were not able to offer me a legitimate answer nor reason for the price differences – BECAUSE THERE IS NONE!! They are just ripping us off, plain and simple.
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OK, I’ve sounded off. Once in a while I have to do that. Now, read on, enjoy this wonderful edition of the Newsletter, and send your comments in to us! We will be publishing them next time out.
PS – HEY all you CAR CLUBS!! I still have not heard from MANY of you and the people are rioting! I am getting calls and emails every day asking for updates to the listings and schedules! It is almost May people! C’mon already!!
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1 Editor’s Introduction
2 Automotive Picture Caption Contest
3 Cruise Night & New Car Club Information
4 Guest Writers’ Columns
Rich’s Tech Tips
5 My Car Story
6 The Archive
7 Editor’s Closing
Long Island Classic Cars’
Submit your entry along with your name and e-mail address to: firstname.lastname@example.org
This contest is open to everyone! (LI Classic Cars.com paid personnel, regular column writers, and business advertisers are not eligible.)
Winners will be notified by e-mail and/or phone.
Please submit all entries by the 20th of the next month. (Ex: for August’s contest the entries are due by September 20th)
No substitutions of prizes will be allowed.
In the event of prize choices, winner will be given the opportunity to select the one they want.
All decisions are final and are made by the paid personnel of Long Island Classic Cars.com
Winners must claim their prizes within 30 days of contest end or forfeit the prize to the runner up.
If there are multiple correct entries on puzzle, matching, fill-in, or Q&A contests - winner will be randomly selected from all correct entries.
A few simple rules:
1) Be funny and creative!
2) Keep it somewhat clean!
Here is last month’s winning entry from Mitchell S. Hackett….
“Beep Beep my ass! Drive me to Acme Fireworks!”
Mitch wins a Mr. Clean Car Wash Kit! Congratulations!!
Here is this month’s picture…
Go to it! Send in your funniest creative captions by 5/30/11 and win the prize!
“EXTRA EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!!”
The Cruise Nights are starting now that it’s April. I will be posting the listings and updates AS I GET THEM.
If anybody knows of any changes or new places – enlighten us and we will pass it on.
If you know anything about the ones listed below highlighted in light orange – if they exist or not or are up and running – please let us know -
TUESDAYS: McDonald's. Metropolitan Ave. & 69th Rd, Forest Hills, NY.
Sponsored by East Coast Car Association/Toys For Tots. $? to charity
TUESDAYS: Tri-County Flea Market. Hempstead Turnpike, Levittown, NY
Public Gathering. FREE
TUESDAYS Old Key Food Center. Dogwood Ave, Franklin Square, NY
Public Gathering. FREE ????
WEDNESDAYS: Nathan’s. Long Beach Rd, Oceanside, NY
Public Gathering. FREE
THURSDAYS: Wendy’s Shopping Center. Montauk Hwy and Locust Ave, Oakdale, NY ????
Sponsored by Still Cruisin’ Car Club. FREE
THURSDAYS: Kings Park Plaza-Located on Indian Head Rd & Meadow Rd. Kings Park, NY
Sponsored by Kings Park Chamber of Commerce and Professor’s Diner. FREE
THURSDAYS: Bridge, Glen, & School Streets. Glen Cove, NY
Sponsored by the Glen Cove Fire Dept. & The Downtown Business District. $5
THURSDAYS: Atlantic Avenue between Merrick Rd and Sunrise Hwy. Lynbrook, NY (June-August) ????
Sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce for “Community Chest” soup kitchen. $? to charity.
THURSDAYS: Cradle of Aviation Museum. Chas Lindbergh Blvd, Garden City, NY ????
Sponsored by The Cradle & The Autoseum. FREE (July-August)
FRIDAYS: Stop & Shop Center. Cypress Hills St & Myrtle Ave. Glendale, NY ????
Sponsored by East Coast Car Association/Toys for Tots. $? to charity
FRIDAYS: Bellmore Train Station. Sunrise Highway. Bellmore, NY
Public Gathering. FREE
FRIDAYS: Massapequa Train Station. Sunrise Highway. Massapequa, NY
Sponsored by Massapequa Chamber of Commerce. Two cans or more of food – to charity. (July-August)
SATURDAYS: Bob’s/McDonalds Shopping Center. Sunrise Highway, West Islip, NY
Sponsored by the Long Island Road Gents. FREE
SATURDAYS: Pep Boys Shopping Center. Waverly Ave & Sunrise Highway, Patchogue, NY
Sponsored by the Impressive & Aggressive Motor Club. FREE
SATURDAYS: Cedar Beach. Ocean Parkway, Cedar Beach, NY ????
Public Gathering. FREE
SUNDAYS: *AM Cruise* Ocean Pkwy, Captree Beach thru May, then at OBI. Babylon, NY
Public Gathering. FREE
SUNDAYS: *AM Cruise* Bob’s/McDonalds Shopping Center. Sunrise Highway, West Islip, NY
Sponsored by the Long Island Road Gents. FREE
SUNDAYS: *Afternoon Cruise* KC O’Malley’s. Gardiner’s Avenue, Levittown, NY
Public Gathering. FREE
CAR CLUBS –SEND ME ALL YOUR EVENTS & FULL INFORMATION ABOUT THEM!!!
Guest Writers’ Columns
Lou Refano gives us the first of a two-parter on Carroll Shelby. Yes, with all this man has done it will take a while to discuss it! With great detail and historical information, Lou does his usual excellent job of giving us info we didn’t already know, and does it in a very fluid fashion that keep us reading and wanting more.
We welcome a first time columnist - Scott Snizek writes about a vehicle and a performance team that is legendary in drag racing circles. They are Long Island Boys that have built and fielded multiple race wining machines over many decades. The car that fills most of this story is so cool that it could be a two-part series unto itself. In fact, this was going to be our My Car Story feature for this month, but Scott’s writing and the developing story was so good that I decided to let him run with it – and the result is a treat for you readers! Enjoy – and make sure you go see this car in person at the upcoming “Cacklefest” listed in our EVENTS section!
Rich’s Tech Tips column this month is “Johnny-on-the-spot”: right in time for the car season, when hungry buyers are out there scouring the market for a great vehicle. Read this column, print it, and take it with you when you go look at that next car! It could save you big bucks and big headaches!
In the My Car Story section we have a story about an absolutely beautiful ’64 Pontiac Gran Prix. These cars had stylized interiors and great detail in and around the dash! They have always been a car that I’ve admired, and I am delighted to finally have one in our Newsletter. Danny Stanco is the proud owner and he relates a tale about how he came to acquire it, and what he did to bring it to its present state of glory!
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SHELBY’S LEGACY…A NEED FOR SPEED
One of the defining hallmarks, when looking at the history of the American automobile, is the recurrence of mavericks, innovators, and a broad assortment of individuals with huge egos, who went with their gut instincts in their attempts to advance automotive transportation as they saw fit. This was especially true in the early to mid-20th century when the automotive environment was far less encumbered by federal regulation…guys could shoot from the hip and follow the roads that were paved with their dreams. One such man who has a legacy of dreaming big, and has a personality to match, is the Texan known as Carroll Shelby.
There is no getting around it…the name Shelby is synonymous with performance. The man built a muscle car dynasty…working his magic with ACs, Mustangs, and Mopars. You could say he was one of the main accelerators of the whole muscle-car movement. Without doubt he is one of the great success stories of the American automotive scene, and he is still with us today at the age of 88.
Shelby’s automotive journey began in 1952 when he entered a quarter-mile drag meet. This was his first race, and it was behind the wheel of a hot rod fitted with a flathead Ford V8. Then in May of that year, he entered his first road race, behind the wheel of an MG TC roadster. He won that race against other MGs, and also another race later that day against Jaguar XK 120s. A race career was off and running!
Shelby’s full-time job was being a farmer. He realized he'd have to hurry to the track to get in any practice, so he wore his work clothes—coveralls—from the farm. When his odd racing attire got him more attention than his racing record, Carroll stuck with the striped bib coveralls, which became his trademark.
Soon Shelby got the attention of famous race team managers and international drivers. He became a driver for the Cad-Allard, Aston Martin, and Maserati teams. He went racing in Europe, and became friends with Donald Healey of Austin-Healey Motors of England. Driving for Healey in a streamlined and supercharged, specially-modified, Austin-Healey 100S, he set 16 U.S. and international speed records.
In November of ’54 he suffered what most would consider a major setback: At the Carrera Pan-Americana Mexico, at the 175-kilometer marker north of Oaxaca, he hit a large rock and flipped his Austin-Healey four times. Local Native Americans found him and offered him strong drinks to ease the pain of his broken bones, cuts, contusions, and a shattered elbow. By March of ’55, while still undergoing operations to recover from this horrific accident, he continued to race with his arm in a specially made fiberglass cast and his hand taped to the steering wheel.
In early ’57 he opened his own race car shop, Carroll Shelby Sports Cars. Later that year he was named “Driver of the Year” by Sports Illustrated. Teamed with Roy Salvadori, and driving for Aston Martin, he won the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans.
After retiring from driving in October 1959 for health reasons, he opened a high performance driving school which was quite successful. In 1961 he had correspondence with Charles Hurlock, owner of AC Motors of England. The company was not doing well; AC was losing its British engine source, which was a six-cylinder Bristol engine. Shelby airmailed AC Motors a letter asking them if they would build him a car modified to accept a V8 engine. AC agreed, providing a suitable engine could be found. He first went to Chevrolet to see if they would provide him with engines, but not wanting to add competition to the Corvette, they said no. Ford, however, wanted a car that could compete with the ‘Vette and they happened to have a brand new thin-wall small-block engine which could be used in this endeavor. It was Ford's 260 cubic inch HiPo (4.2 L) engine - a new lightweight, small-block V8 tuned for high performance. In January 1962 mechanics at AC Cars fitted a prototype chassis with a 221 cubic inch Ford V8. After testing and modification, the engine and transmission were removed and the chassis was air-freighted to Shelby's shop in Southern California.
Carroll had a dream revealing to him the name Cobra appearing on the front of his car. In Carroll's words, "I woke up and jotted the name down on a pad which I kept by my bedside -a sort of ideas pad -and went back to sleep. Next morning when I looked at the name 'Cobra,' I knew it was right." In less than eight hours, the 260 HiPo and Borg-Warner four-speed were installed on the AC chassis, and the Cobra was born.
In March of ’62 the new Shelby-American Company set up shop on Princeton Drive in Venice, California, and hired Ray Geddes, a Ford business school graduate, to coordinate the program with Ford. Among his first duties were his efforts to keep Ford's involvement at a low profile, due to Ford's liability concerns. In this shop Shelby’s vision was realized: He created the first Cobra Roadster, which was the fastest production car ever made at that time: 0-60 in 3.9 seconds.
This first car, painted Pearlescent Yellow, was shipped to the New York Auto Show where it appeared in the Ford display. Dealers began ordering and with deposits in the bank, Shelby-American formally committed to building its new Cobra, thus creating a legion of fans who, decades later, are fiercely dedicated to the style and screaming performance of this lightweight, street-legal race car.
AC Cobras had an extensive racing career. Shelby wanted them to be a "Corvette Beater" and at nearly 500 lb less than the Corvette, the lightweight car did just that. It was February 2, 1963 at Riverside International Raceway that driver Dave MacDonald beat an impressive field of Corvettes, Jaguars, Porsches, and Maseratis to give the Cobra its first-ever victory. Later, Shelby offered a drag package, known as the Dragonsnake, which won several NHRA National events.
A new model made its debut in 1965 and was designated the Mark III. This car was designed in cooperation with Ford in Detroit. The new chassis consisted of 4" main chassis tubes (up from 3") and coil spring suspension all around. The new car also had wider fenders and a larger radiator opening. It was powered by the "side oiler" Ford 427 engine (7.0 L) rated at 425 bhp, which provided a top speed of 164 mph in the standard model. The competition model offered up 485 bhp with a top speed of 185. After two prototypes had been sent to the U.S. in October 1964, Cobra Mark III production began on January 1, 1965. Cars were sent to the US as unpainted rolling chassis, and they were finished in Shelby's workshop as before. Although an impressive automobile, the car was a financial failure and did not sell well. In fact to save cost, most AC Cobra 427s were actually fitted with Ford's 428 cubic inch (7.0 L) engine, a long stroke, smaller bore, lower-cost engine, intended for road use rather than racing. A total of 300 Mark III cars were sent to Shelby in the USA during the years 1965 and 1966, including the competition version.
The Cobra was perhaps too successful as a performance car and allegedly contributed to the implementation of national speed limits in the United Kingdom. An AC Cobra Coupe was calculated to have done 186 mph on the M1 motorway in 1964, driven by Jack Sears. However, government officials have cited the increasing accident death rate in the early 1960s as the principal motivation, with the exploits of the AC Car’s team merely highlighting the risk.
Although successful in racing, the AC Cobra was ultimately a financial failure, which led Ford and Carroll Shelby to discontinue importing cars from England in 1967. AC Cars kept producing the coil spring AC Roadster with narrow fenders and a small block Ford 289, and called the car the AC 289. AC shut their doors in 1984 and sold the AC name to a Scottish company. The company's tooling, and eventually, the right to use the name, were licensed by Autokraft, a Cobra parts reseller and replica car manufacturer owned by Brian A. Angliss.
One of the best reasons I’ve heard for the enduring popularity of the AC/Shelby Cobra is the fact that it had a great British sports car body, combined with an American monster engine…truly the best of both worlds. And of course, a power-to-weight ratio that is among the all-time best in a production car.
Next time…Carroll Shelby achieves his greatest automotive influence working his magic on the Ford Mustang…then two decades later, he reunites with Lee Iacocca.
Sources: carrollshelby.com, wikipedia.org, musclecarclub.com, supercar.biz, chrisescars.com
(Gee Lou – you really need to put some effort into these articles and give us some detail. They are too short with no information! HA! Great job again!)
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The Snizek & Dodge Racing Team
by Scott Snizek
In 1955, a Long Island Hot-Rodder named, George Snizek, brought together a group of friends who had fast, custom cars and formed The Valley Stream Pacers Hot Rod Club in his parent’s basement. Each weekend, members would drive their cars, along with their club car, a channeled ’32 Ford 5 window coupe, out to the newly opened Westhampton Dragway for flag-start, heads-up drag racing. The club was very successful with George’s ’55 Ford Victoria and the club’s Chrysler Hemi-powered deuce coupe.
The following year, a friend at the track, known as Charlie Dodge, told The Pacers that he could make their coupe run faster if they used a different camshaft in their hemi. Charlie had a spare one they could use at his friend’s shop in Jamaica, NY. The Pacers agreed to try it out and brought the coupe out to Henny’s Welding, which was owned by drag racers Mike Sforza and Dick Yarkin. Charlie installed the cam into the coupe and that weekend the cam did exactly what it was supposed to do. The coupe ran faster, but it exposed the next weakest links of the car shortly thereafter.
This cycle continued as they tried out other custom made parts and combinations. When parts were pushed to their limit, breakage would often occur, so any weak areas were then strengthened, readjusted, or retuned. This testing & tuning of custom made speed parts each weekend eventually became a side business between George & Charlie, and The Valley Stream Pacers Hot Rod Club evolved into The Pacers’ Snizek & Dodge Racing Team.
George, Charlie, and their friend, Kenny Braun, had full time jobs at the prestigious George Haug Company in Manhattan. Since Haug only serviced high end cars, George & Charlie needed a place where they could do their own work in their spare time. They found a small garage in Hewlett, NY and began working on cars after work and on the weekends. It’s where they built their first racecar, the “Snizek & Dodge Roadster”. It was a dual-nosed ’30 Ford Roadster with a ‘53 354 cubic inch Chrysler Hemi with 6 Stromberg Carbs on a manifold made by Charlie. They proudly advertised their new automotive service “Pacers” on the side. It was the first of many purpose-built racecars that the Snizek & Dodge team built specifically for drag racing. The car was fast and well-engineered and its unique look stood out among the more popular dragsters at the time. It even was invited to Dick Clark’s American Bandstand show.
The Pacers’ second car, a B dragster, was built from a Scotty Fenn Chassis kit and powered by a 354 c.i. Chrysler Hemi running 6 Stromberg carbs like the roadster. It crashed on June 15th of 1959 at a NASCAR sponsored meet in Montgomery, NY seriously injuring George with a broken back. Charlie finished up the rest of the season doing double duty as both driver & tuner of the roadster while George recovered. That winter, they built a new B dragster using the new TE-440 Slingshot frame from Chassis Research Co., and powered it with a bored & stroked, injected, 454 c.i. Chrysler Hemi. A removable Simca body was created for it so it could run in the Competition Eliminator class whenever possible.
Each winter, the Snizek & Dodge team built a new racecar. The one created over the winter of 1960, really put Pacers Auto on the map. The car literally became the Quickest and Fastest altered in the country. George & Charlie purchased a new Chassis Research Co. R-16 roadster frame and installed a GMC-supercharged, Hilborn 4-port injected, 454 c.i. Hemi with a fiberglass Bantam body. The potent combination in that car made it run as fast as some dragsters but also made it hard to stop without using a 16 foot ribbon slot drag chute for braking. It was the first car in its class to use the parachute system before it became mandated.
The Snizek & Dodge Racing Team's new self-sponsored roadster was nicknamed "The Tasmanian Devil" after the ferocious but lovable Warner Bros. cartoon character. It was a mechanical incarnate of the cartoon right down to its quarter-mile long tire smoke trails and the ravenous, unstoppable appetite that it had (for racecars). With Charlie tuning and George driving, The Pacers’ car began breaking numerous local track records for MPH and ET’s, racking up over 150 wins in its first 3 years.
In 1963, they moved into a newly built ten-car shop in Oceanside, NY and replaced the Bantam body with a customized fiberglass 23T body with a unique turtle deck and belly pan. On its debut run on May 19th at Island Dragway, The Pacers ran a class strip record with a 9.63 ET @ 159.86 MPH, well below the National Record mark of 9.79 seconds. The run was captured by young filmmaker, Walter Ungerer, in a 20-minute black & white film titled, “The Tasmanian Devil”. While The Pacers ran faster that day at Island Dragway, they did set the official National AA/A Class Record the next month at Atco Dragway in NJ when they ran 154.9 MPH on June 16, 1963.
The Pacers became a feared competitor in the Northeast Division 1 and were always at the top in the Points race. Their immaculate roadster along with the Pacers’ coordinated professional team appearance enabled them to take home best appearing awards wherever they went, which included the “Best Appearing” award at the 1963 NHRA US Nationals. The roadster competed in the ever-changing Eliminator category that spanned across the AA/A, A/FD, CC/FD and AA/FA classes. The Tasmanian Devil quickly became a featured car at meets and favorite of the fans and the editors of the speed magazines.
In 1964, Pacers continued to break their own times at Island Dragway with a best of 9.496 ET @ 162.45 MPH on August 18th, an unofficial National Record.
The following month at the 1964 NHRA US Nationals, Pacers made it official by setting both ends of the National AA/Altered Record with a 9.56 Second-161.87 MPH mark. They actually ran a best time and speed of 9.51 @ 163.04 that weekend and had set the record 3 times before it became official.
In 1965, The Tasmanian Devil became the founding car of the CARS Magazine Racing Team. Taz was set up to compete on either Gas or Fuel and CARS Magazine editor, Marty Schorr, put its performances in print and personalized the racers behind The Pacers team. At the first NHRA regional meet of 1965 at Cecil County, the Tasmanian Devil on a nitro-alky fuel setup ran an 8.81ET @ 167 MPH despite shutting down 200 feet before the finish line. The impressed crowd voted it “Best Appearing car of the meet.”
Pacers Auto created a magazine-sponsored AA/ Fuel Dragster to be part of CARS Magazine Racing Team. It was called the Pacers Auto “CARS Magazine Special”. They bought a brand new chassis designed by Roy Steen and Frank Huszar of Race Car Specialties and powered it with a blown-injected, 392 c.i. Chrysler Hemi. A series of articles written by Marty Schorr covered its construction and its performances in CARS. The fully enclosed aluminum trailer that George & Charlie custom built for it was a spectacle to see at the track because no one had anything like it at the time. With it all lettered up, it was a rolling billboard of Pacers Automotive. It was impressive to see The Pacers’ caravan arrive with their ’57 Chevy pickup towing the Tasmanian Devil and the ’65 Carryall towing the Pacers’ AA/FD trailer. Pacers debuted the new “CARS Magazine Special” at the opening of Gil Kohn's NY National Speedway on March 20th of 1966 and ran the low ET of the day (7.93 ET@199 MPH) on its first run. Immediately after the event, they brought their fueler into Manhattan to participate in the NY International Auto Show.
Two months later, on May 22nd, George and Charlie set both ends of the National Record again with the roadster, this time in the new CC/FD class, by running a 9.34 ET@165.13 MPH at Island Dragway. They reset the MPH Record again by running a faster 167.59 MPH on June 11th at Sanford Dragway in Maine.
Pacers Auto holds a rare single day version of the “Double-Up” award (same driver, 2 different cars, 2 different titles). Pacers Auto accomplished that feat at the NHRA Division One Championships at York US-30 Drag-o-Way in July of 1966. On a hot Sunday, The Pacers-CARS Magazine Racing Team cars took home the Super Eliminator title with The Tasmanian Devil CC/FD roadster and the Top Eliminator title with The “CARS Magazine Special” AA/Fuel dragster.
George & Charlie became the Official Road Test Consultants for Hi-Performance CARS magazine and SPEED and CUSTOM magazines. Countless speed & how-to tech articles featuring The Pacers wound up giving them worldwide recognition, which was unheard of at the time for an EAST coast team. Since Marty lived near the Pacers’ shop in Oceanside, it was easy for him to follow The Pacers’ National record holder and the other projects that were in the shop, or bring down a new car model to test & tune.
From their success on the track, and expertise shown through the magazine articles, Pacers Auto became the place in the Northeast to go for specialized speed work, custom fabrication and nitro-alky racing fuel. Pacers Auto serviced everything ranging from competition B and C-rig drill team fire trucks to offshore Hemi-powered SK racing boats.
As business grew, George & Charlie chose to retire their cars from active competition so they could service the volume of customers they had built up. They decided to sell the Taz Roadster first (in 1967) because the payouts were much less than the race winnings paid in the top fuel dragster class. At the end of the ’68 season, they sold the dragster as well.
They seamlessly began building dune buggies, creating their own model, the Pacers Sand Cat, based on a VW chassis powered by a high performance VW or Porsche engine. An old friend, Otto Qualliotine, joined them as a partner and business grew. Customers were able to walk in and order a potent Sand Cat dune buggy and pick it up the next week.
Pacers Auto, Inc., continued in operation doing various speed work, fabrication, and servicing their customer’s cars for another twenty years. They sold the business in 1989.
A few years later, in November of 2002, “Charlie Dodge” Hagenmayer passed away. Some people were surprised to find out that his last name was actually, Hagenmayer. The “Dodge” nickname had been given to him by his friends Mike Sforza and Otto Qualliotine when they saw him come down Bootleg road behind Henny’s Welding in his Ford coupe that he had re-powered with one of Mike’s Dodge Red Ram Hemi engines. Mike jokingly said, “here comes ‘Charlie’s Dodge’” and it became a nickname for life.
In 2006, The Pacers racing days were resurrected when Jerry Joaquin, from Phoenix, AZ contacted George looking for permission to recreate The Tasmanian Devil. Being a retired firefighter as well as a retired police officer from NY who grew up watching The Pacers race, Jerry wanted to pay his respects to the rescue workers killed on September 11th, 2001 in his own unique way. His idea was to create a modern Tasmanian Devil-9/11 Tribute car which would serve as a reminder to never forget the accomplishments of The Snizek & Dodge Racing Team and to never forget those who were killed in the World Trade Center attacks. Drag racing specialist, Southwest Custom Trucks in Apache Junction, AZ was chosen to fabricate the new car. It would be a blown 392 c.i. Chrysler hemi-powered, 23T body on a 100 inch 6.0 certified funny car chassis. All NHRA mandated safety tech requirements would be incorporated while trying as much as possible to resemble the original Pacers car. Since Jerry had no experience with racecars, there was only one condition that Southwest Custom Trucks gave Jerry before agreeing to build the car - he had to get his NHRA license first. Jerry enrolled in Frank Hawley’s drag racing school in California and was lucky enough to have Fast Jack Beckman as his instructor. Two years later, the car was completed and ready to run. Taz II, as it is known, made its debut runs at the NHRA Hot Rod Reunion in Bowling Green, KY in June of 2008 and continues to be actively raced out West today.
In October of 2008, the East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame recognized The Pacers’ achievements in drag racing and inducted The Pacers’ George Snizek, “Charlie Dodge” Hagenmayer (posthumously), Kenny “KB” Braun and Otto Qualliotine, as a team. The following year, the National Nostalgia Drag Racing Association inducted Charlie and George into their Legion of Honor at Darwin Doll’s show in York, PA.
In 2009-2010, a group of former Top Fuel drivers from Long Island were assembled by Billy Lynch with the idea to create a nostalgia cackle car which could participate in the increasingly popular “Cacklefest” events and represent the incredible talent from Long Island. They chose to recreate the best known Pacers’ car, but this time, they wanted to recreate it exactly as it was (in 1965) sparing no expense. Top fuelers, Billy Lynch, Roy Miller, Bernie Shacker, George Snizek, along with his son, Scott Snizek, and veteran drag racer Dennis Quitoni, painstakingly researched and fabricated a stunning, authentic, working, recreation of The Original Pacers AA Fuel Altered. The build was code named Project Pacers and kept relatively quiet so it could be built without any interruptions over the winter. Incredibly, including finding all vintage parts from the era, the car was built in just six months time. The car’s T-body was built from a mold casting by Rod & Race down in Maryland using the same specs from the original body and molds back in the 60’s. Step-by-step coverage of the entire Project Pacers build can be found at: www.projectpacers.typepad.com.
The Miller & Lynch / Snizek & Dodge “Tasmanian Devil” has already won the Mirabella “Best Original” award at the 2010 Funny Car Reunion and Nostalgia Summer Nationals in Englishtown, NJ and the “Best in Show-Altered” at the 2010 East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame Reunion and Car Show in Henderson, NC. The car is a testament to the knowledge, teamwork and talent behind the build, and the level of friendships that these drag racers have. As for its fans, the car is a nitro-burning, full-sensory, thunderous, experience that transports them right back to the year 1965.
More info about The Pacers can be found at the official Pacers Auto® websites.
For a special tribute to Charlie Dodge by his daughter Nancy, see: www.charliedodge.com.
The following is a photographic journey through the history of The Pacers’ Snizek & Dodge Racing Team. Snizek & Dodge Racing Team Slideshow: http://video214.com/play/Lg5X5xHAJd0lyFyq3PtA8w/s/dark
(Fantastic Scott! I have seen the car in person twice – and it is stunning and one of the loudest beasties I have ever heard and felt! ) Pete
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RICH’S TECH TIPS
By Rich Fiore
DO YOUR HOMEWORK AND IT MAY SAVE YOU TIME, AGGRAVATION, AND MONEY
Before purchasing a new collector car it pays to have a nice checklist on hand and to perform a thorough inspection. Ever buy a vehicle and find it needs many repairs to get it up to snuff? These disappointments can very easily be avoided. If the seller does not permit you to do most of these inspections, move on to the next car!
So lets start with the basic stuff. Pull the dipstick and if its black, ask when the oil was last changed and how often. Ask about the brand and weight. ( Heavier oil could mean it burns some oil ) . Look for milky-white sludge on the dipstick. This could mean coolant in the oil or a PCV system not working properly. Do the same thing for the automatic transmission if so equipped. Fluid should be clear with no burnt smell.
If the owner permits, perform a dry compression test. If pressures varies by more than 10% the valves may need service or a cylinder wall could be scored. You can then perform the wet compression test by squirting some oil in each cylinder. If there is a 10% or more increase in compression, the engine may need rings. Inspect the spark plugs when out. They should be a light tan and almost white if it’s a computer controlled car. Black would mean it’s overly rich and oil would mean there are other problems.
When the engine is first started listen for any knocking and look for immediate oil pressure if equipped with a gauge. Also look at the tailpipe and check for blue smoke indicating oil burning from bad rings or worn valve guide seals. Let it warm up for about 20 minutes and check for signs of overheating on the gauge ( if equipped ) or a non-contact thermometer can be used. Test drive the car and listen for engine knock on acceleration, cruising, coasting and again at idle. Feel and listen to the shifting of the gears in the transmission, and/or slippage of the clutch if it a four speed. Feel for any vibration at highway speed or any whine from the rear.
A vacuum gauge for testing manifold vacuum can easily be hooked up to check the status of the engine ( see previous article on vacuum gauge readings ). Also a quick test of the alternator can be performed with a voltmeter to verify that the charging system is working properly. Look for any loose or unattended wires that are “heading nowhere” and ask about them. Could be that some modifications were done and then pulled out without a complete re-hookup back to the original configuration.
Getting under the car would be a great idea for inspection of the engine, trans and rear for oil leaks. Now is a good time to inspect the exhaust system, frame rails, floor pans and trunk pan for corrosion. The shocks and springs should also be inspected.
Other items to check while the car is in the air are the tires. Check for scuffing, or wear on the inside or outside edge. If there is cupping it could mean more serious front-end issues. Check the brake lines and hoses too. Also see if any suspension parts are loose and wobbly. Check the steering column tightness by grabbing the column and trying to move it in any direction. If it moves – you could be looking at a worn steering box.
A final check would be items like the wipers, lights, and windows especially if equipped with power windows. Check the radio, defroster/heater and A/C if equipped, and all other electrical systems. Of course, the headlights and directional signals too. Don’t forget that reverse light! And the side markers! Many times if these items don’t work, it is not just a simple bulb issue, but can be electrical connections gone bad, or even worse – faulty or shorted circuits or parts.
Check paint and body straightness. Look for uneven or worn paint, chipping, cracking, surface lines, stress cracks (especially on convertibles). Also check body panel alignment and all of the rubber weatherstripping. Look for over-spray from poorly done patch-jobs or repaints. Check for straightness under the hood and on the radiator support and inner fenders to rule out any big front-end accidents. Look at the glass all around the car. See if it is clear and check for any evidence of water leaks. (Always lift up that trunk mat too!!)
So that's it. With a a game plan in hand, perform these test and inspections ahead of time. If you can't do them yourself hire an auto technician to do the job. You can then evaluate the soundness of the vehicle and spot any possible defects prior to purchase.
Smoke em if you got em !!!
(Rich – I have inspected hundreds of cars over the years and it is amazing what people don’t think to look for!.) Pete
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Daniel Stanco: 1964 Pontiac Grand Prix
As luck would have it, I found this car during a lunch break one day while walking in Sea Cliff, NY. I was passing by a ship called Deans & Sports near a park where I had a habit of having my lunch. I noticed a blue Pontiac with its paint beaten off from exposure to sunlight and the weather.
I had just recently finished a frame-off restoration of a ’69 El Camino and I was looking for a new project. At first the Pontiac didn’t strike me as a worthy candidate, but I put it down as a “maybe”. The owner, Steve, told me it was a low mileage car that was very solid. The interior was in good shape as were other areas of the car. He had gotten it as a “Mechanic’s Lien” because the previous owner did not want to pay for the repairs – he didn’t think it was worth the money it would cost to fix it up. This was 1993 – a recession year and the car was for sale, but there were no takers. – Yet.
A year later, the car was put into storage, and I had forgotten all about it. I ran into Steve at Sea Cliff Beach and he asked me if I was still interested in the car – so I decided to take another look. A short test drive convinced me that the car was in pretty good shape with no squeaks or rattles either. It ran very well, so I decided to buy it. At the time, a friend of mine thought that I had lost my mind to buy this full-sized car, but as I started working on it, I realized that this car was far superior to the mid-sized muscle cars that I was used to, and that most guys were collecting and running around in. You see, these cars rode nicer, were a bit plusher and had nicer interiors and details to them.
I then sold the El Camino because I got a very good offer for it, and with those funds I dove into the restoration of my new Pontiac! The car needed full paint and bodywork, but it was easily accomplished since the car had no rust on it! The body was painted in the original color: Yorktown Blue. The interior needed a new carpet, package tray, and wood insert on the dash. All minor items. After that was taken care of, a new set of Cragar 500 wheels with Diamond Back Red-Line radial tires, gas shocks, bushings and sway bars were installed to complete the look and give it a very smooth ride. The rest of the suspension was in good shape and I didn’t have to delve into that area to deeply.
Many mechanical areas did need attention though, some of them were – a new radiator, water pump, fuel pump, carburetor, alternator, belts and hoses, and a couple of other essential little parts. The car was treated to everything it needs to be road worthy and reliable. I have owned it for seventeen years now and it has been an excellent ride with lots of power and good handling. Pontiac Grand Prixs also were the recipients of a full-boxed frame that added to the sturdiness and ride characteristics of the car. It is a pleasure to drive and has made me a big fan of the full-sized cars of that era. The build quality and ride is a step up from the smaller pony cars of the day.
The car is running its original 389 Four-Barrel engine that makes 303 HP. It has 10.5:1 compression and dual exhaust. It is stock specs all the way. The tranny is a GM Roto Hydromatic three-speed unit that is affectionately known as “Slim Jim” because of its thin profile. The rear-end is a 3.23:1 Safety Trak unit. It also has power steering, power drum brakes, and four-row radiator with a fan shroud. The car has a very cool and little known option – the “Reel Out” trunk light. It is so cool – the trunk light and housing which are about 4” in diameter, are attached in a little bracket on the underside of the trunk deck, you can slide it out, and the cord extends out of its retractable housing (kind of like today’s drop light reel assemblies you see in shops), and you can use it to light up your work area! After that, it reels up and slides back into its housing!
The interior is gorgeous and has bucket seats, a full-length console, and plenty of details in and around the dash and door panels. Even the seat material (vinyl) has detail to it. The mileage is only 52,000 original and the car has led a relatively easy life.
Some things I have added are an on-dash tachometer, auxiliary gauges, and an AM-FM cassette stereo system that looks pretty darn near factory original. Under the hood I have the snorkel assembly painted black with a little red-line stripe around its circumference that matches the tires on the car. It looks pretty stock under there.
Plans for the future include a front disc brake conversion and an overdrive transmission to make the cruising even better!
( Sweet ride Danny! Gotta love that interior detail too! Quality car all the way! ) Pete
PS – Who took all these nice photos?
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