He had a few other cars in between then and now. There was a ’57 Ford coupe with a 312 and the factory supercharger on it. With it, Wurtz beat his main competition, a Chevy guy named Harold Ramsey from Delaware, at Vineland Drag Strip, and then NHRA had the East Coast Nationals at Atco in July 1960, and he won that and beat Ramsey again. Then Ramsey got a ’60 Pontiac with three twos, and at a big race at York, Wurtz beat the Pontiac with his Ford there. “I ran into the owner of York, Bill Holtz, later, and he said, ‘They’re still talking about that Ford up here.’ I had a cigar painted on the side, Dutch Masters. I won Top Stock that night and I told Holtz, ‘Yeah, I had a good time that night. I beat them all,’” he says.
Then came a ’63 and ½ Ford 427 Lightweight Galaxie, but Frank didn’t have much luck with that. One, it weighed 3,500 pounds. Two, he wasn’t a “factory” guy. “I couldn’t get the special parts from Ford. We ran that in Modified Production and won some, but it wasn’t as prominent as with the ‘big’ Super Stockers. We tried to get a deal for an A/FX car in 1964from a Maryland dealer but didn’t, so I got the Cougar instead,” Frank says. Before that came a ’62 Corvette that Wurtz dropped in a 427 Ford engine, but it was a street car and has since been long gone.
“I hired a driver, Barney Lorentz, for the Cougar, and he was really good. He drove it in Super Stock Eliminator when they ran them all together, A through H, sticks and automatics, and we won five weekends in a row at Atco, and also won 18 races out of 21 entered that year, 1969. The management at Atco Raceway wanted to pay me to stay away. One owner came to me one time and told me, ‘You’re chasing all the business away from here. We want to pay you to stay the hell away.’ I said, ‘There’s no way. I built this car to race. I’m down here to win, not to stay home.’ From then on, they protested me every week. They tore me down so much that my car was the most torn down in Super Stock Eliminator. It ran G/ and H/ Automatic. Plus NHRA changed things on us. They did their power factors. We were in a lower class and they kept moving us up,” Wurtz says.
He and his wife Buzzy now take the Cougar to Atco and run it just to see what it can do. “I sold the 428 Cobra Jet engine that was in there and put a 460 in it just to see how things would go. The first time I ran, I got up to the line and they had the Christmas tree starting and I started thinking, ‘This is the first time I’ve been on the drag strip in 30 years.’ I turned 13-flat at 100 mph. Then I kept fooling with it -- a cam, headers and a few other odds and ends -- and I got it down to 11.50 at 117 mph. Then they threw me out because I didn’t have a roll bar. They came out of the tower waving their arms and saying, ‘You gotta have a roll bar, you’re going too damn fast.’ But I don’t want to put one in there because the car is original, 150 miles on it, all drag racing, nothing on the street,” he says.
Just about any place he goes nowadays, one or two persons will come up to Don Garlits and ask, “Hey, you know a guy from Paulsboro, New Jersey?” Garlits will usually say, “Yeah, Frank Wurtz.” “That was his first big win,” Wurtz says of the man we now know as “Big Daddy,” “and usually you’ll remember everything about that day. It’s a mark in life for him. He won Top Eliminator but he knows who he beat. If I’d had the overhead valve engine in there that day, I’d have had that trophy now.”