Nostalgia Super Stock Inc. - Dave Campbell
by Bob Wilkiewicz
Nostalgia Super Stock Inc. Staff
In any human activity, there are leaders and there are followers. However, in some endeavors the leaders are true pioneers. Dave Campbell is one of those few true and rare pioneers for Nostalgia Super Stock racing.
Growing up on a farm, he was taught by his father to always finish the job. “This is just the way I am. Cleaning and putting the equipment up at night, bringing it into the barn was just expected,” he said. “My dad saw no sense in leaving things outside to rust and fall apart. I learned to do a complete job.”
In his younger years, Campbell also worked at various off-farm jobs, earning about a dollar an hour. Then in 1957, General Motors needed more line workers at its Kansas City MO (Leeds) assembly plant. “When we heard about that, we got ourselves down to the employment office fast,” he said. He was hired at $2.65 an hour. “We thought it was a fabulous rate,” he said.
For that, he helped originally assemble all the various performance machines of the time, up to the now famous 409 Super Stockers. But Campbell earned his money. “The line moved at 60 cars per hour and it didn’t stop,” he said, his discrete way of saying there were no bathroom breaks. “We had to work together, make sure to cover for each other in case we had to be away.” But for car guys, the landscape was OK. “There were about 2,500 guys at the plant and of course not all of them drove GM products,” he said. So that obviously lead to rivalries, all kinds of talk and occasionally action about which manufacturer had the superior product. In other words, the foundation of Super Stock racing.
Eventually, Campbell owned what he built, a 409 4-speed Super Sport in 1963. But in time that was let go in favor of more family-friendly transportation. However, in the mid and late 1960’s, Campbell did a lot of class racing with a Nova in the old American Hot Rod Association, perhaps a story to do in more detail in the future.
The story of the ‘Faded Memories’ Nostalgia Super Stock car is documented in the following media sheet and in Campbell’s web site blogs, the name coming from the work of remembering the historically accurate way of assembling the machine. However, before any formal organization, there is usually a period of pick-up games, which is what NSS was in the mid to late 1980’s. That time is documented in a history I wrote from multiple sources and also by Campbell’s more recent blogs on the club’s website.
After completing the construction of ‘Faded Memories’, Campbell went on to be one of the founders of the Midwest Nostalgia Super Stock Association, the original formal NSS organization (1989). In addition, he had the foresight and fortitude to document and archive all the activities of the early years, serving as club secretary, so they would be preserved for history. These archives include all the club’s meeting minutes and also a newsletter which was published monthly during the racing season.
Now in the club’s vault, the records along with Campbell’s memories tell the fascinating story of how NSS racing was born and grew during its infancy and teenage years. At one event in 1989, Campbell recalled that he was running in the 12’s and Arnie Beswick was in the 10’s. The story also includes the club’s early back-and-forth with come-and-go promoters, the cooperative work with the National Muscle Car Association and The Goodguys Association; how the original MWNSSA club survived a rebellion, a taking of the name and how the club went on to rename itself and not only just survive but to also to prosper after the rebels fell to the long, hard road.
Although this is primarily the story of ‘Faded Memories’ and Campbell, being the way he is, Campbell also wants to credit specific club supporters from the early years. These include Doug Marion, who was the editor of Super Chevy Magazine, a car owner, driver, and promoter of the Super Chevy Series and who invited Campbell to his first big-stage event in 1988. Others were Len Greco, a promoter who offered the club its first professional-level appearance; Russ Smieltnicks, an early sole owner of NMCA; Gary Meadors, the owner of Goodguys and later his son, Mark Meadors.
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