Andy & Jan Mears “Dragon Slayer”
1957 Chevy Bodied N.E. 1 Funny Car
by Paul Caster
I first laid eyes on this beautiful creation at the season-ending final points meet of the Southwestern Heritage Racing Association (SHRA) that was held in conjunction with the Outlaw Fuel Altered Association’s (OFAA) point finale at San Antonio Raceway in July of 2014. The car really caught my attention, not only because of the unique ‘57 Chevy body, but also the detail to craftsmanship, the beautiful paint scheme and one very small but very unique addition, the original appearing factory fuel injection emblem that was only available on the fuel injection models in the early years.
Andy Mears and wife Jan have been married thirty-five years and racing has been very instrumental for most of their time together. Daughter Jamie, her husband Bobby, and Jan make up the crew while Andy does the driving.
Mears was born and raised in Lubbock, Texas and has never had the desire to leave the area; he likes the people, the town and the climate. Well…most of the time anyway. Three things to hate about this town he says, are: “March, April and May.” If you’ve ever been to west Texas, then you understand about the wind. Personally I don’t remember ever being in west Texas when the wind didn’t blow in any month, but March, April and May can be like a dry hurricane.
Andy always had a passion, or curiosity, for anything with an engine. As a kid growing up in Lubbock, rebuilding lawn mowers was his thing. In a natural progression for a normal gearhead, he then turned his attention and tinkering with lawnmowers to cars and what was hidden under their hood. At age 14 his family had a small car lot, so he did repairs to make them sellable to help offset his obsession with trying to make them go a bit faster. He then worked for an independent shop for a while and became an ASE Master Certified mechanic at age 16 (a very big hurdle for a person that age!). In 1975 his family acquired the Mazda franchise in Lubbock where they naturally started him at the bottom - working as a technician in the dealership’s shop. He did the technician thing for a while, then on to the parts department, car sales, etc. Andy and his brother, however, were learning every aspect of the business from the ground up and honing their business skills in the process. Andy then moved back to the place where he felt most at home, in the shop. He has been the service manager/owner of the dealership for 30 years now.
Before I change directions, I need to mention “Mini Me.” Andy and Jan were at the D.R.A.W. auction at Dallas, when it was rolled out. Jan looked at Andy and said, I don’t have a chance do I? Andy’s reply was, not at all. It was purchased, though, and then repainted to match the “Dragon Slayer.”
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