The Eagle Electric AA/FD made
its 1966 debut at Sheldon Dragway. Driven by Frank Rupert the
car ran almost exclusively in the northwest. All finances, including
building the car was from David Herensberger, owner of Eagle
Electric and Plumbing, (Spokane). John Mead ran the car - was
the engine wizard, etc. When Herensberger merged his company
with the Pay 'N' Pac hardware chain in Bellevue, WA. he quit
the racing program for a little while to concentrate on business.
Mead kept the car and parts but it never saw another run down
a drag strip. It was sold and passed around the Northwest until
Bucky Austin found pieces of it in early 2005.
Who else but Tom Hanna (above
in 1966) could have create the one-of-a-kind body the "Eagle
Electric" AA/FD sported. All he had to work with was a concept
drawing given to him by David Herensberger. According to Hanna,
"It was big. It was ugly. And it was difficult. But it was
exactly like the picture, and that's all that counted."
it or hate it, the Eagle Electric car (Woody chassis) was a prime
attraction in 1966.
ran with and without the massive tail piece and its best runs
were recorded without it.
The unique "Eagle
Electric" AA/FD sits in its state-of-the-art trailer in
Rupert in the Eagle Electric fueler is out on Rich Rogers in
the Norton Bros. car at Puyallup in 1966.
Bryan Thurber photos
No matter how
beautifully finished it may have been, a race car was just an
implement and few received little if any protection from the
We pick up the restoration
after the body panels had been repaired or replaced.
Bucky Austin is no stranger to
drag racing. He started his career in 1956 as a spectator, then
when he was old enough he raced with his brother Walt Austin.
He got his own car in 1968, a Top Gas Dragster. He raced sporadically
in the early years and then moved into the Pro Comp classes.
From 1974-1981 he raced FE injected nitro and then blown alcohol
rear engined dragsters. He moved into the Funny Cars, a class
that suited his fiery attitude. He cut his teeth not only racing
the NHRA but also in the AHRA at Seattle and Spokane, Washington.
Starting with his Bucky's Muffler
Shop, over the years Austin has parlayed his automotive expertise
into 18 Bucky's Complete Auto Repair locations in the Seattle
area. His success has allowed Austin to not only keep racing
on a national level but invest in some "toys". His
first restoration was his "Northwest Hitter" Top Gas
dragster. He then found the roll cage and tail piece of the Eagle
Electric top fuel dragster and decided that would be his next
project. The restoration (more so a recreation) took place in-house
at Austin's massive race shop in Tacoma, Washington.
The original tail piece
fitted to the original cage.
Besides the massive tail piece,
the other unique feature on the Eagle car was the "arrow
head" (aka Platypus) nose.
With everything painted
and assembled for the first time, the car was magnificent.
Note the push bar designed
to clear the massive tail section.
Once the body was fitted and
finished the chassis was painted, the applicable parts polished
and chromed and controls mounted.
Just a note: The Eagle Electric car was originally
painted by George Cerny Jr in Compton, CA for Dave Herensberger.
At the same time Herensberger was racing an unlimited hydroplane
called Miss Eagle Electric that Cerny had painted earlier. The
boat and dragster paint jobs mirrored each other. The big feathers
on the back of the dragster were also done on the back tail fin
on the hydro. Also on the hydro there was a huge, probably 5
ft across, gold leaf eagle on the nose. Both paint jobs were
pretty amazing. At the onset Cerny's didn't want to paint the
hydro as it wouldn't fit inside their paint shop. So Herensberger,
at his expense, had Cerny Sr modify the building so he could
put it inside and paint it. This was a real exciting time in
drag racing. All the cars and people coming into Cerny's was
Commentary from Terry Almy
The car was first seen
by the public during the Goodguys 1st Northwest Nationals in
September of 2005.
Austin crew member, Matt
Mahoney got the seat for the cars first Cacklefest.
Along with the Eagle Electric
fueler Austin also made the official Cacklefest debuts of two
other restorations... his Top Gas dragster and Jerry Ruth's 1969
Don Long car. Here is the Eagle car in the staging lanes prior
to the Cacklefest Parade.
The car put on a great show throughout
its first big dance. It will be back for a long time to come.