A Few Wonderful Things Begin to Happen
Vern Scholz is restoring the Wonder
One of my good friends, Vern Scholz from
Calgary, who really wants to put together a similar car to my
Nova, has been in search of a starting point. I've emailed him
two-dozen possibilities, and finally he told me he was set on an
early, flat-nosed Vega.
One day, I picked up a National Dragster,
turned to Dragmart and instantly spied the perfect candidate.
There, under the vintage section was a familiar shape – a
really rare Vega panel. Underneath it said, "Wonderwagon
body" and a price. I called the number and a nice voice
described what he had and I Emailed Vern. A few days later I
went to visit Scott Cole and the Wonderwagon near Glendale. It
would take some effort, but eventually, the infamous Vega was
purchased. Plans for it include doses of nitro, possibly with a
One of the main problems I'll face in
touring a fuel funny car in 2003 is expenses. Way back when,
virtually everyone moved their racecars on open trailers or even
better for the FC guys, a ramptruck. A ramptruck has always been
my first choice. There is nothing that looks cooler going down
the road than a funny car on a ramptruck.
Another view of the WW.
But, there are drawbacks. One, there is no
space for living quarters beyond a simple sleeper. Another is
that although it is cool to draw attention to the racecar, you
truly draw attention to the racecar – even those you might not
want to attract.
So, I made an offer on a derelict 3/4-ton
late-70s Suburban that has been sitting for several years. It's
a 454 and Turbo 400. The body is nothing to write home about but
it seemed solid enough. And, a sad body seemed to fit in with
the low buck theme. I figured I'd find a nice used 30- or
32-foot tow-a-long and build a nice cozy 8x10 room in the front
with a shower, toidy and bed. Plus, as a back up, I could crash
in the back of "daBurb," as I began to call it.
But I contemplated the whole thing way too
much. One of my favorite analysts once suggested that I "…analyze
things until they turn into dust." He was right. I do it
all the time, about everything. In the case of this funny car, I
hope it works to my advantage.
The rear of the Wonder
In my spare time, I searched around for
alternatives. I decided a small 1-ton motorhome might be a good
alternative -- if I could find one with big block power or maybe
diesel. I would still need a trailer with that plan, but a 20-
to 24-footer would be adequate if living quarters were
So, why am I so obsessed with living quarters?
It's strictly expense related. If I have to
spend every night of my tour in motel rooms, I can't even
begin to afford this venture. Simple fact.
OK, so the overanalyzation wasn't getting me
any closer to tow and support vehicles.
How to tow the Nitro Nova
is no longer a problem.
I looked on used car lots and in the paper,
even searched a couple online sites for trucks, trailers,
motorhomes and Star Trek-style transporter beams. One night I
decided to check eBay. After looking at station wagons, racecar
trailers, and reasonable motorhomes, I stumbled onto a prize. A
mid-70s Chevy 60 series Chevy with a big ramp, tons of storage,
and about an 8x12-foot box. OK, it's really a schoolbus
conversion, but it does have a diamond plate ramp, a fairly
fresh 454 and a big-truck automatic, air-over-hydraulic BIG
brakes, 20-inch wheels, and the ability to do and be just about
everything I need/want. The bidding had not reached $2,000 yet
and I asked what the reserve was. He said "$4,000." I
asked if he'd take that for it and he said, "Yes."
There seemed to be only a couple things that
would make it better -- if it was free and was next door instead
of near Green Bay, Wisconsin!
Remember what I said about analyzing things?
Of course, after calling about the truck a few times, and
telling the person on the end of the line I'd call back the
following day, when I did, he said it was sold. Damn! I asked
the man to please take my number just in case the deal fell
through. That was a Friday. My heart sunk. I called again on
Saturday, and he said that the deposit had arrived. Double Damn!
I called again Monday and the buyers had backed out, saying
there was rust on the body and the inside wasn't quite
finished the way they'd hoped. My only question was, "For
$4,000, wwhhaaaattt did they expect?" but also quickly said
that I'd take it, and promised to send the deposit the
following day. I did, and soon I'll be making a trip to the
tiny town of Kewaunee, Wisconsin to pick up my rolling home and