We recently came across a file of old photos taken at Baylands Raceway in Fremont, California, back in 1986. I traveled to Fremont in my old Deuce highboy roadster and shot these photos on a freelance basis. I believe that some of these photos were published in American Rodder. What I find remarkable about this event a quarter century later is how many famous cars were actually making full passes down the quarter-mile. I remember the Fremont Nostalgia Drags being a whole lot of fun, but looking at the list of famous cars that were there and racing seems truly remarkable today.
Just a quick look through an old stack of 8×10 black & white prints showed Art Chrisman making an 170-plus mph pass in the “Hustler”, the old Mooneyham & Sharp “554” ’34 coupe smoking the tires the length of the track along with the Glass Slipper dragster, the Stone, Woods & Cook Willys, the “Pure Heaven” Fuel Altered and even Chrisman’s #25 dragster in action. This was also at the peak of the rivalry between “Fat Jack” Robinson’s ’46 Ford coupe and Jerry Moreland’s ’40 Ford sedan. Even Pat Ganahl was on hand racing his “Low Buck Special” Hemi-powered Altered.
The event was officially titled the “6th Annual Nostalgia Nationals” and was put on by the Nostalgia Drag Racing Association. The NDRA was the brainchild of Nor-Cal hot rodders Tom Prufer and Brian Burnett. It was truly a treat to see this group of cars smoke the tires down the drag strip. What we show here is just what happens to be left of an old stack of prints. If you would like to see more from Fremont let us know. We still have all of the old negs. –Steve Coonan
Art Chrisman made several fully smoked-in passes in the original, but freshly restored Hustler dragster at Fremont the first weekend in May back in 1986.
Pure Heaven Altered
Bob Nylander faithfully restored and campaigned the Leon Fitzgerald’s Pure Heaven back in the ‘80s. The Fuel Altered was powered by a blown big block Chevy.
Both Tom Prufer and Brian Burnett, promoters of the event, ran cars that weekend at Fremont. Tom was on hand with one of his “Power King” dragsters, while Brian was running the freshly restored 554 coupe. Both Brian and Tom are still active in the sport. Prufer has moved to Texas, while Burnett now calls east coast home.
Mike Cook has been racing his father’s famed Stone, Woods and Cook Willys since the 1970s. I remember first seeing it run at OCIR with a tunnel rammed big block Chevy. By the 1980s he had restored it to its original blown-Hemi AA/GS configuration. Mike still owns the car and his dad’s ’37 Chevy coupe today.
The Glass Slipper was one of the prettiest dragsters of the 1950s. Ed Cortopossi was still at the controls in the mid-‘80s when it was hazing the slicks to half-rack at Fremont. It used an injected smallblock Chevy on alcohol.
Low Buck Special
Pat Ganahl along with Bob McCray and Gene Adams teamed up to run the Nostalgia Drags back in the ‘80s. First with this Altered and then with an injected dragster. The stroked 354 Hemi powered the fiberglass T-bodied roadster to 9-second times. I believe that is Bob McCray driving.
Fiat Fuel Coupe
The Mews and Poncia Fiat-cloaked dragster was a regular at nostalgia meets of the era. It originally ran at Half Moon Bay back in the ‘60s. The supercharged Hemi provided more than enough horsepower to smoke the tires the full length of the strip. These weren’t burnouts, but full-power runs.
Fat Jack and Jerry Moreland
Fat Jack and Jerry Moreland were at the forefront of the rivalry for Super Street bragging rights. Both were powered by blown big block Chevys. Moreland’s (below) efforts were spearheaded by Bob Bauder, while George Striegel supplied the alcohol-burning rat motor used in Fat Jack’s ’46 Ford coupe (above). This weekend, however, both succumbed to mechanical difficulties. Cole Cutler won the class with his Boss 429 motivated ’34 Ford coupe