Fun With Fiats!                 
By: Bruce Biegler
One of the cooler stories within that very successful PMRA Victoria Day Weekend event recently was the re-emergence of one of Canada’s favorite Alcohol Funny Car racers .
In a rather unexpected development, Paul Noakes, from London, ON, a multi-time IHRA national event winner before the demise of the AFC category, showed at the Cayuga Dragway race driving a radical new ride — a ’48 Fiat Topolino body on top of his proven Alcohol Funny Car chassis.  

Paul Noakes Fiat

Noakes, in his first ever race in the Q32 Dragster category (technically Top Dragster) promptly qualified #1 with a 6.048 secs at 230.65 mph.  He then ran a 6.076 secs during round one but that was under his 6.09 dial in and he lost out to the dragster driven by Bill Moloughney.
Noakes was pleased with the effort but also admitted that his touchdown within the Q32 class may be only temporary.
“I knew I had to stop Funny Car racing because unfortunately there just doesn’t seem to be any light at the end of that tunnel,” Noakes said.  “We are looking to sell the Funny Car but during the interim we acquired this body (from Roth Racing) and modified it to fit our chassis.   I will be staying closer to home this racing season and trying to keep the expense more real.  I also want to get good at bracket racing — so my plan is to go out there and have some fun.”
Noakes revealed that very long hours were put in by his team including his father Brian Noakes, Les Mellows, Bill Denny and Terry Buffet to make the modifications and the fit.  They also installed an automatic transmission behind their proven Alcohol Funny Car motor combinations.
“We cut it close — in fact we didn’t pull into the gates until midnight the night before the event,” Paul added.
Expectations are that once the car is sorted out it will easily dip into the 5-seconds zone.   That performance is probably very likely for the next Q32 event.
Noakes hopes that the revamped car and chassis will be more marketable too.  He did reveal that his ultimate plans are to migrate to the Pro Mod category at some point in the future.
(Bruce Biegler photos)

Hard Work = Cool Fiat!