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Nostalgia Dragsters take centre stage at 13th California Hot Rod Reuinion

The superstitious needn’t have worried at the 13th annual California Hot Rod Reunion at Fomoso Raceway, Bakersfield, October 1-3, as the event went off without a hitch and again proved to be one of the top nostalgia drag racing and hot rodding events of the year.

Vagabond was another Kent Fuller creation

The theme of this year’s reunion was undoubtedly the front-engined dragster. Not only was there a field of over 16 new wave nostalgia top fuelers bidding for glory with easy sub-six second quarter mile potential, but over 20 beautifully restored front-engined diggers from a bygone era were in attendance.

Poison Ivy - a faultless and truly mind-boggling AA/FD

Walking through the paddock and discovering these immaculately restored old cars put you in a 1960/70’s time warp - Greer Black, Prudhomme, Beebe & Mulligan, Poison Ivy, Assassin, Vagabond, Samurai, Freight Train, Red Stamp Special, Magicar and Addict – names that will mean much to FED devotees.

The restoration of the famed Beebe & Mulligan car was completed a few years ago - but it still looks fresh

On the track, the estimated 10,000 – plus Saturday night capacity crowd was treated to night time top fuel eliminations followed by a 37 car cacklefest – yes 37!! - which stretched around 1/8 mile up the drag strip. Nitro filled the air, the earth shook and the fans went wild!

Swamp Fox in the cacklefest, now restored to 1967 specification

The Ewald Bros BankAmericar AA/FD 

The Greer Black Prudhomme gets a helping hand

While there was no shortage of oldies on display, Tom Hanna, noted for his beautiful hand formed metalwork which graced many a dragster in the 1960’s, had the Egyptian (his modern interpretation of a nostalgic dragster) on display. This car debuted in 2002 and is still widely regarded as the most beautiful FED ever - and we tend to agree.

Tom Hanna's flawless Egyptian

“You can’t look at that car for too long - you have to sit down and let it all sink in as the detail and the workmanship is phenomenal,” one journalist told me.

“I wanted to create a dragster that embodied the classic style of an original but using state-of-the-art materials and assembly techniques to produce the best possible solution for today,” says Tom. The Car was not built to race, though it has the specification to do so, but has served to showcase Tom’s unbridled quest for perfection.

Tom Hanna - a true perfectionist

The restored Assassin AA/FD features a chassis and drivetrain by Jim Green, a Tom Hanna body, upholstery by Tony Nancy, paint by So Cal Speed Shop and lettering by Tom Kelly/Dennis Ricklifs 

Addict with the Ewald Bros BankAmericar car in the background

Chubasco - an ealry sixties AA/FD now looking better than ever

Freight Train was announced on track by a penetrating locomotive horn blast in the support truck

Magicar was used to start the cacklefest phenomenon in the 1990's

The freshly restored Stellings & Hampshire Red Stamp Special

The Kuhl & Olson Woody Gilmore built AA/FD

The calm before the cacklefest storm

Short Video clip of cackle fest action

Story and photos: Andy Kirk

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