Important Canadian Reclamation!

Having an appreciation for Canadian drag racing history is very important.  Manitoba’s Brian Friesen agrees with that notion and is “walking the talk”….

During the recent NHRA Hot Rod Reunion event out in Bakersfield the public got it’s official first glimpse’s of Friesen’s very poignant restoration project.   The Winnipeg-based Dentist, who in his career had a very successful run within the TAFC class over many seasons, unveiled a meticulously rebuild of one of Terry Capps’ “Wheeler Dealer” dragsters — this one which was active during the mid 1970’s.   To say that Friesen’s project was perfect would probably be an understatement.    

Brian Friesen & Terry Capp

It took some five years from idea conception to final product and Friesen’s effort is giving back to Canadian drag racing fans one of the most important machines in our countries rich motorsports history.  

After a lot of digging and consultations, Friesen did task Indiana’s Shawn Dill (a key crewmember within Al-Anabi Racing) with the project and the results speak for itself.

“This is the end result of a long journey,” Brian said.  “I found the car sitting in a state of disrepair and I felt it was something that just needed to be done – so I stepped up and did it.”

“It was about a five year project after I purchased it,” he continued.  “Over that time I spent a lot of time researching the history of the car with Terry Capp and his crew chief of that time — Bernie Fedderly.  We went back and forth with a lot of archived photos and bundles of information.  I then had the good fortune to hook up with Shawn Dill, who took the idea to a reality.  He did a perfect job – the car is exact — right down to the smallest detail.”

For the car’s driver Terry Capp, clearly one of Canada’s most famous racers of all time, the news of the restoration was both exciting and humbling for him. 

“This is the original Woody-built first back-motored car that I drove,” he confirmed.  “When Brian first called me a few years ago and told me he had found what he thought were some of the car’s remnants in and around Winnipeg and that he wanted to restore it – I was totally honored.   I was involved in the collaboration for the reconstruction.  Then when I saw the car for the first time at Indy this year – it took my breath away.”

Terry revealed he had a lot of fond memories racing this machine and his biggest win in it probably came during an All-American Drag Racing series event in Tulsa, Oklahoma.   This is the car he drove prior to switching to his Swindal-built chassis with which he ultimately went on to win the NHRA U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis with back in 1980 — his most famous career event win.

One of Canada’s most historical drag racing vehicles has been restored. It was unveiled officially to the public at Bakersfield recently.

“We decided to bring the car to Bakersfield and reunite it with a lot of racing fans who remember it from that era,” Terry added.  “In fact the car actually did race at Bakersfield a few times when we were touring with it.  I’m so totally pleased with what Brian and Shawn have done and the outcome.  This car is definitely all Canadian – and we are all very proud of it.” 

Super talented Shawn Dill was tasked with the “Wheeler Dealer” restoration project.

At Bakersfield the team participated within it’s first ever “cacklefest” with it.  Plans going forward include some more events like that and also displaying it at car shows in Canada next season.   NHRA has also sent an invitation to the team to show the car for 3-4 months soon at it’s official NHRA Museum located at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in Pomona.    

 (Editors NoteOn behalf of all Canadian drag racing fans – Thanks Brian for doing this!) 

Photos and posting by:  Bruce Biegler