December '18

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 33 of 103

28 THE SHOP DECEMBER 2018 Green's legendary AA/Fuel Altered Rat Trap. With a new IFS chassis by Dennis Watson and a Green-built 392 Chrysler Hemi, the team took the growing nostalgia racing world by storm. It wasn't that many years since the NHRA had more or less outlawed Fuel Altereds by bouncing them into Pro Comp Eliminator, but now those awful fuel altereds were once again tearing up the 1/4-mile and pleasing crowds with their short-wheelbase antics. Unfortunately, during its first year out in 1997 at Thunder Valley, Oklahoma City, they pushed the side out of the block. That, in turn, set the car on fire and burned off the chute, causing the car to turn over and go into the guardrail. The whole left side of the car was destroyed—the right side, though, looked pretty good and it was right-side-up. Green passed away in 2007. Ron, how- ever, was determined to make the Rat Trap internationally famous and began a series of world tours that have taken him and his family racing as far away as Rod Millen's Leadfoot Festival in New Zealand and the Duke of Richmond's Goodwood Festival of Speed in England. BACK WHERE IT STARTED Despite a full schedule of drag and exhibi- tion races—many of which Ron organizes or coordinates—Ron and Steve have always kept four feet on the salt. The family stable now contains four land speed cars. There's Ron's twin-turbo Chevy-powered Modified Roadster, built, of course, by Steve. Ron's son Brian has a supercharged, rear-engine modified road- ster in which his daughter Victoria set a land speed record at 216.522 mph. The record, set in 2012 when she was just 17, still stands. There's also an '84 Shelby Dodge Charger that has been setting records steadily since it was new. Sponsored by USAutomotive, a UK-based importer of American auto parts, the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-banger pro- duces about 650 hp and with Jere Teepen driving holds the G/Blown Gas Coupe record at El Mirage at 190.587 mph. Team- mates are Jim Alvaney and Chris Thoman. The fourth car is a similar-but-not-the- same '85 4WD Shelby Dodge Daytona with Ron's wife's name Dianne above the driver's door. When Dianne's not driving the car is given over to all and sundry to experi- ence—for example, daughter Wendy just took it to 140 mph. Rod Millen and the Duke of Richmond have both driven the car at Bonneville and, at the East Coast Timing Association Ohio Mile event in October 2016, Ron's grandkids Wyatt Veal and Blake Landsiedel took turns driving, with Landsiedel going 108.5907 mph and Veal 108.6694 mph. Fifty years on from the debut of Rat Trap in 1966, Ron decided a celebratory world tour was in order. He went on to record his fastest speed ever in Rat Trap, going 231 mph at Santa Pod's Dragstalgia event in 2016. As if that wasn't enough, at the 2018 Holley Hot Rod Reunion in Bowling Green, Kentucky he set his third-fastest E.T. and won his class on his 74th birthday. Then, he finally got into the exclusive 200 MPH Club with a Bonneville record of 257.729 mph just 10 minutes after Brian set a record in his own rear-engine roadster at 227.522 mph. Two months later, in October, Ron broke his own record, but rain prevented the backup run. The crew chief was, of course, younger brother Steve. It took them a long time but they finally got Ron that coveted red hat. At age 74, Ron is as busy as any man you have ever met. When he's not racing he's running his business, Capital Automotive Reconditioning Services, with more than 800 employees and when he's not doing that he's enjoying spending time with his family. Crew chief son Brian, who also drives Rich Guasco's Pure Hell AA/Fuel Altered— sometimes while he's crewing for dad with son Michael and brother-in-law Todd Landsiedel—operates TechnoCraft/ outfitting race trailers with his wife Rebecca and Michael. Steve continues to run his race shop in Whittier and his son Tom of H&M Racing races SCCA Formula Continental and has his own business preparing drivers and their cars for SCCA racing and the Runoffs. As we go to press Ron and Brian are plan- ning a tour to Australia, New Zealand and Europe. It just goes to prove you can't keep a good racing family down, and that Hope springs eternal. B o r n i n E n g l a n d , TO N Y THACKER is an accredited automotive journalist, author and book publisher, and served as marketing director at the famed SO-CAL Speed Shop. HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL Ron shows some smoke at the Duke of Richmond's Goodwood Festival of Speed in England. The Hope family has spent decades making friends and winning races.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

view archives of THE SHOP - December '18