Jason has been the main driver of the Tin God for the last 2 years, and they still run it with the original 67’ El Camino push car, which they have gradually been rebuilding. “Luckily, my dad doesn’t throw anything away. We are very fortunate for that. Those two cars had to stay together.” John still takes it for a spin down the strip on occasion, in fact, he was the primary driver at this year’s Meltdown Drags, which was the Metler’s fifth year running there.
Tin God at Meltdown 2017 (photo by ClearOne Photography)
Jason notes everyone at the Meltdown Drags as a large part of the Metler’s journey with Tin God and getting it making passes again, stating, “If it wasn’t for the Meltdown none of this would have happened...it’s changed my life. It truly has.” The Meltdown Drags was the Metlers first event with Tin God and it is where they later met Bill Feusting of America’s 1320 Legends, a club of front engined dragsters and altereds. The Melters joined the club and ran the car with them in Union Grove. The Meltdown also reunited them with one of the original drivers of Tin God, who saw the car in Gears and Gals Magazine and decided to attend the Meltdown just to meet them.
Those relationships and experiences are exactly what Jason describes as the best part of this whole journey. What he and his dad truly value is the relationships they have built over the course of these events, specifically the Meltdown Drags. Jason says, “It’s such a unique event because of the spectators there. People go because they know they will see cars they ran or watched in the 60’s and 70’s. The expectations are higher. You can’t compare it with any other drag racing event...There is no other place to see that many cars going down the track. It doesn’t happen anywhere else...It’s magical.” Jason also appreciates how people in the pits and the spectators are always willing to help each other out, whether that’s sharing food, helping with a tune-up, or just looking out for each other. It seems there is a level of loyalty, camaraderie, and care between the people who attend and put on the event. “I can’t thank the crew enough for putting on this event...They’re willing to do whatever it takes to help people and take them down the track safely.” Even though the Metlers only took one full pass, their time at Meltdown was well spent and the event is one of their favorites of the whole year.
Tin God (photo by John Corrao)
Looking to the future, Jason knows he may continue racing, but his time with Tin God may be limited. Jason knows he needs a bigger car with more room and space, possibly a tribute car. Tin God is a tight fit. He jokes with his dad about taking up yoga for a more comfortable ride in Tin God, “When you think you’re off the clutch, you’re not. You’ve still gotta pull your legs back even more.” However, Tin God’s ride isn’t over yet. The Metlers are planning on some events in the future, including showing their commitment to the Meltdown crew and Byron Dragway by attending the Uncle Sam’s Pie Eating contest. Discussion of the event led to some confusion with John’s wife, who was under the impression they needed to take pies and she was most likely going to have to make them. This led to some funny experiences with racing that included Mom too, which is truly what it’s all about for Jason. He is incredibly grateful for the time shared with his dad, his family, and so many people with a common passion and interest. What started as racing on a whim has become 5 years of revival for the Tin God.
“It’s been an awesome ride. I never thought we’d still be doing the 5 years later,” he says. There are surely plenty of others that hope to see the car and its original push car for years to come. It’s a wonderful thing to watch the bond between the original pairing of Tin God and the El Camino, but nothing compares to the bond it has fostered between father and son.
NOSTALGIA DRAG WORLD - By Mimi Meow