In 25 years of building/owning/driving the car, there were way too many escapades to recall here, but the highlights began on the maiden voyage and continue, unabated: Like blasting sideways in a cloud of noise and tire smoke, inches from a startled Iowa State Trooper on a Des Moines, Iowa freeway interchange; breaking a chintzy throttle cable in Omaha evening traffic and proceeding home with a friend running alongside the car, working the carb linkage by hand; towing to Bonneville, only to be rained out, then joining dozens of other frustrated racers from around the world in an impromptu street race, where we drove each others’ cars; getting caught in a cattle drive in eastern Oregon and literally covering the car with bullshit; coasting six miles down a mountain grade after running out of gas (and losing a $5 bet with my dad in the process); getting into the tens for the first time; driving two miles up a steep, deeply rutted mountain trail to surprise a friend on his birthday; filming movie scenes on a city backstreet at 2:00 AM for a whacky comedy about street racers; taking my family members and friends for their first ride in a real hot rod; returning to Bonneville, running 140 (complete with funhouse spin-outs) and writing a feature story about it; teaching my girlfriend to drive the car; participating in three of the Americruise events and a bit of one Power Tour; this list could go on for a number of pages…
There were no cameras present for most of those high jinx, but I was lucky enough to get some snapshots of a few other high points of my time with Lil Zilla…
Racing against personal heroes (and friends) like Craig Wallace was priceless. This particular match was a classic: Something went wrong with my transbrake at the launch and as I slowly coasted to the 330’ mark, waving my fist at Wallace to entertain the troops, I finally realized he had redlit! I idled it downtrack and beat him. Or so I thought – I carded a 31 second ET on that pass and it was explained to me that anything over 30 seconds was a disqualification – no time. So I managed to lose the same race twice to a guy who redlit! Anyone here ever hear of such a thing?
After Dr. Lockjaw whipped up one of his top secret Custom Metal anti-roll bars for me, the nose stayed grounded and level. Now the runs are mostly drama-free, but still fun enough to keep the driver awake. (Dennis Vollmar Photo)
At Bonneville, I spun out at anything over 137 MPH, but CC somehow finessed it to 140 – all of this at half throttle. I had the flu and still had the time of my life. Details are in the April 2008 Rod & Custom magazine.
Old pal CC is taking excellent care of Zilla Jr and occasionally uses it as a work commuter. It still has cooling and charging issues, fouls plugs, rattles like a can of skeletons, and the combo of camshaft overlap and open headers shakes every window in the neighborhood. Just the way I left it. We’ve been invited to display it at the Hot Rod Magazine Homecoming in 2013. All we need is travel money and vacation time (ie: Ain’t gonna happen).
CC re-enacts a recent full throttle pass through town. Due to packaging constraints, this vehicle must be driven in the “Giving Birth” position – but is worth it (ergonomic, no - egonomic, sure). Besides, with a two gallon Eelco fuel tank and an EPA estimated 5 MPG, frequent gas stops offer plenty of leg stretching opportunities.