A Midnight Run

During the change-over from 1964 to 1965 (New Year’s Eve), a culmination of activities at a party held at my home in Kahoka, MO, transpired. Of course we were all young then and had partaken of considerable adult beverages by the time the ‘run’ occurred.

To establish the scene, my home had an attached two-car garage which had been pressed into service from ’58 on as a race car shop. Don Garlits even made use of the shop to change pistons and flywheel after racing in Denver and just prior to winning the ‘Fall Festival of Drag Racing’ at Kahoka’s Tri State Dragway.

Jack Briggs, a Quincy, Ill., racer, had taken delivery of an 864 model Plymouth sedan which was built solely for drag racing. This model car came with NO BACK SEAT, aluminum front fenders and hood, magnesium front wheels and small tires, and, of course, a 426 cubic inch Hemi power plant.

Briggs had won a lot of hardware with the car during the Summer and Fall of ’64, including the AHRA 1/8 mile National Championships at Pacific, Mo., a St. Louis suburb. He wanted to make several up-grades and changes to the car during the winter months and contracted with me to do the work at the Kahoka Auto Supply. He dropped the car off and left it with us even though we had no room at KAS.

The car was placed in storage at my home garage until we had all the parts gathered to do Jack’s work. Time marched on and it was NYE. That day a light snow fell on top of streets covered by freezing rain.

During the party, guests wanted to play ping-pong on my table in the garage. But there sat the Kroc-a-gator Plymouth squarely in the way. So we opened the garage door and pushed the ‘Gator’ out onto the slightly inclined driveway. Ping-Pong had arrived!

It wasn’t until nearly mid-night and ‘Pong’ had ended that the ‘RUN’ began. There were several drag racers there who were sure we could push the Plymouth back into the garage. However, conditions did not allow this. Two or three inches of dry snow on top of ice created a scene where 7-10 racers (somewhat to totally inebriated) all lost their footing and rolled in the snow as the mighty Hemi Plymouth stood its ground. What to do?

This incident was only a far-off memory until my recent ‘Bucket List’ tour. And it is so prominent in the minds of my friends we decided to share it with DRO readers.