A Smith Performance “Space Age” Speciality
It may seem like a broken record — but once again the news surrounding a recent production from F.J. Smith’s Performance Specialties (in Cayuga, Ontario) is having a ripple effect within drag racing’s Sportsman circles…..
During 2013 yet another creation from the highly respected facility came to be – this time a truly masterpiece 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner for Super Stock eliminator.
First conceived and owned by Ron Gallagher and based from Ajax Ontario, it is the first actual drag racing car to be driven by Gallagher, who is a long time proponent of the Mopar racing brand and Mopar vehicle restorations.
Originally a California street car, Gallagher began planning it’s radical conversion from Stock to a race car just after Labour Day in 2012. That process started with some very specific instruction for FJ himself ; “build the car the way you want — but make it not only fast but also the prettiest car you have ever built,” reported Ron Gallagher.
Following that, fabrication and assembly took almost a year with the car first hitting the drag strip for testing during August 2013. Upon final receipt — Gallagher who been involved previously with restoring 6 cars himself, was totally impressed.
“Bar none — this car was built way in excess of any car I have ever been involved with,” he stated. “Fred and his crew did everything to absolute perfection. It’s no wonder that Fred has won NHRA Chassis Builder of the year 3X.”
The detail on the car is both immaculate and meticulous. The car already draws huge crowds wherever it goes and people seemingly cannot get over both the workmanship or how fast a car of this size is.
Ron’s Roadrunner is powered by a 426 Hemi which was built by Tim Banning at FHO (For Hemi’s Only). That engine, which Ron admits is not too radical is built for endurance and ease of maintainence versus brutal HP. The car uses an automatic transmission by Dwight Vorsterveid (Dwight’s Place – Campbellcroft ON) with only the very best available components.
When it came time for testing, Fred’s daughter and super skilled driver Victoria Smith, actually took the car on it’s maiden voyages down track. The initial run amazed everyone – a full pull at 9.10 secs.
After that Gallagher, who had never actually drag raced a car himself before, began driving it and by year had made some 30 runs with it, recording a best time of 8.87 secs at 152+ mph.
Ron who is the President of an Excavating company along with his crew member Paul Day, have thus set in place an impressive racing foundation and their car will be a major attraction for Canadian drag racing fans in 2014.
“Paul and I are having a ball learning about how to go drag racing,” Ron added. “In the past I have had lots of fun with show cars but I found out quickly that racing is way more enjoyable then sitting in a field somewhere. I’m very thankful for the help of Fred and his family and staff, Kevin Dundas (of Karbelt Speed & Custom) Chris Leeder, and a lot of other racers who have been extremely helpful and patient with us.”
“In 2014 we are going to focus on the Can-Am Stock/Super Stock series initially — but if a NHRA event presents itself — I would like to go to do that too.”
Posting by Bruce Biegler
Photos by Bruce Biegler and Smith Performance Specialties
Visit Smith Performance Specialties website : HERE