The dragster body was rescued from the bush up north and is currently being restored by Mark Rogerson of the ELTA club in London, Ontario. The following is his account of the restoration. Page two is now up here.
After finding this rare and historical dragster sitting outside in a field up north for over 50 years...the "Purple People Eater" of the Galt Strokers C.C. which ran from about 1956 to 1959 at Kohler. Today it was time to get the resto started. So I loaded it up and got it over to Russ Moore of Moore Speed Chassis. The body looked pretty cool sitting in the back of my 66 F100 on such a beautiful Dec. day.....lol. Next is to get rebuilding the dragsters hemi......only 7.5 months till next years ELTA Big Go Drag-O-Rama and I'm looking forward to hazing the tires plus having some of the original builders and driver there after 60 years off the track.....the adventure has begun.
Here's a few pictures of the dragster.....frame rails are in and the hemi should be going into the machine shop soon. Funny to see the original floor pan was a old fuel sign. I even threw in an old picture, of when Andy Marsh (original driver) came by at the drag show, to see the old girl. Al Howlett has been in to see the Purple People Eater up close and told some great stories from back in the day....lol. Just cool to see this old 1320 warrior coming back from the grave.
The dragster will run a 392 hemi.....it will have a 1958 Chevy rear end....with 4:11 gears....here's another picture of her progress so far.....I feel very lucky to be able to restore such a rare piece of Canadian Drag Racing history.
Progress on the chassis is going well.....Russ Moore is doing a great job with the help of 60+ year old pictures of the old Purple People Eater's chassis......it took me close to 15 years to find this dragster and it's hard to believe that dream is coming to reality....it'll be outstanding to see this rare piece of Canadian Drag Racing come back to life.
A few more pictures of the progress....finally tracked down some original 16x4 1940 Ford rims for the front and the rear rims plus all the tires ...painted them white and getting closer to a roller. I should note...the rear tires in the pictures are not the ones going on the dragster...lol...I have a pair of vintage Firestone 8.20 slicks.....and that's only a temporary steering wheel to check steering and size.
The old Purple People Eater has now got a hemi and tranny sitting between the rails to check fit and a pair of new vintage Firestone 8:20 dragster slicks on the back. I dropped off the shortened 9 inch rearend.....made a change from using the 1958 Chevy 10 bolt rear based on strength and lasting power...lol....here's a few more pictures of the progress.
Here's a few pretty cool pictures..... the "Purple People Eater" dragster on all wheels trying out it's freshly built single axle vintage trailer.......plus my ELTA brother Russ Moore (craftsmen who is building the chassis for the dragster) sitting in another original 1950's Canadian dragster at my shop..... 1955 Dodge 270 Super Ram Hemi sitting between the rails of the original chassis of the Gray Yanocko dragster....1956 O.T.A. Top Eliminator at the old Kohler Air Strip..... waiting to be restored.
Progress is still going well on the dragster....pretty cool to see her sitting as a roller on her vintage tires...... 109 inch wheel base of coolness.... lol..... the upright tank in the front is a cut down 1940's airplane gas tank..... remember....no one at that time was using moon tanks up this way in Canada around 1957.
Great having Andy Marsh drop by to see the old dragster he once drove back in the 1950's . Andy is a original Galt Stroker member.... gave me his blessings and thought the dragster was looking really good. Andy also gave me his original helmet that he wore back in the day when drove the Purple People Eater..... it was a fun day hearing some neat stories.
Got the chassis out to the paint shop last weekend. After prepping the chassis and taping it up....put a nice coat of bright white paint....just the way the Strokers had....... looks pretty cool on the trailer behind the 1966 Ford F100....just back in the day.