1994 - Four of seven I had owned. I still have the Big Animal and Zeke
In ‘98 I got Zeke out for Fun Ford events but I wanted to run a contemporary Pro Mod once more.
In winter of ‘98 I looked at Ronnie Sox's Comet but I bought the McAmis Thunderbird Super Coupe Pro Mod Chassis from Roy Wasco. It fit me well. I put my drive train in it and we dubbed it the "Ballistic Bird." It was not the car the WunderBird was but in 2001 I managed to win the UDRA Pro Mod championship, totaling six. I was 60 years old. I then sold the Ballistic Bird McAmis chassis to a party in Switzerland. Last I knew it was in Finland with a blown KB. The Finns sent me pictures a few times.
I then resurrected Zeke leaving it as it was in ‘89. I did a few Nostalgia type bookings a year from 2002 till 2012. The 2012 match at the World Series vs my old friend Arnie The Farmer Beswick was my last hurrah.
Due to my racing I ended up semi famous, pretty much in one piece surviving four crashes on the drag strips. I crashed the Comet in 1975 at Oswego, Illinois, my Zephyr Zeke at Humboldt, Iowa, 1980, the WunderBird twice, Budd's Creek, Maryland, September of 1993 and Englishtown summer of 1996. That was part of the price for six championships, at least 200 event wins, and countless records and special awards.
As I drift back remembering all that happened in my racing career, especially the early days; I ponder sometimes if it was all just a dream? A movie I saw? perhaps a book I read.
But hey! Don't count me out. The fat lady has not sung for me yet!!
Here I am now-in my mid 70s.
However -- Unlike the Big Labowski - I do NOT abide!
I still have the Big Animal ‘57 Merc. I plan to run a bit again after 37 years. I have been working on it towards that goal.
The last time I drove Big was October of 1979. Oswego manager Bub Thurlby asked me to bring The Big Animal for the last day and make a tribute goodbye run down the track. Oswego was closing for good. Big and I were the last down that wonderful ‘50s, purpose built, legendary drag strip. I never ran The Big Animal again.
And hopefully, I plan to freshen up and run Zeke once again in 2017. And if a choice driving opportunity comes along, my NHRA Pro Stock license is renewed. I had that license 40 years, Pro 346.
NOSTALGIA DRAG WORLD - By Animal Jim Feurer; Images courtesy of AJ