RICH GUASCO'S PURE HELL

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RICH GUASCO'S PURE HELL
« on: July 29, 2015, 01:27:42 AM »
COVER OF DRAG RACING OCT. 1965
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TS3X65MPH

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Re: RICH GUASCO'S PURE HELL
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2015, 01:33:48 AM »
Rich Guasco started his love affair and racing career by building his first street roadster at the ripe old age of 12. His first actual race didn’t come until he was 14 and that was at the old Belmont, California 1/8th mile track. By the time he was 15 he was involved in building and driving a flathead powered belly tank. Next came an A/Street Roadster that he entered for the first time in 1959 at Kingdom Raceway.

Shortly after that he went into the Army but upon receiving his discharge in ’61, he built his first Chevy powered gas dragster. One of his most memorable outings was at the old Denver, CO track where he won top eliminator in AA/Gas dragster class then proceeded to add nitro and beat the top fuel dragster of Kenz & Lesli. After that event he sold the car and built a new AA/Fuel dragster. This car was very competitive from day one but on January 13, 1963 Rich had a terrific accident that nearly took his life. A year later, Rich completed the rebuilding of the dragster but traded it to his friend Pete Ogden for a nearly completed roadster Pete was building. Rich debuted the car, a Chevrolet powered, 92 inch wheelbase Bantam bodied roadster designed by his friend Rich Railton. This was to become the first in a series of “Pure Hell” cars. Rich drove the roadster for its shakedown runs but shortly after that permanently retired from driving and focused on building and tuning the engines for the now famous series of roadsters. The original Pure Hell roadster was the first FF/FA to run over 180 mph and under 8.50 seconds. In 1968 the Chevrolet engine was replaced with a Chrysler that made its first appearance at the Winternationals that year and set a new class record of 207 mph. By this time there was also a new driver was also at the wheel, Dale Emery. Dale set the Fuel Altered class on fire, eventually turning a best speed of 218 mph and a low ET of 7.27 seconds. The combination of one of the most beautiful cars ever raced, Dale’s unique and colorful driving style and the speed and et’s turned by the car made it into one of the most famous cars of the sport still today.

Rich is still the only hot rodder in the history of the sport to win the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster crown with his purple ’29 roadster in 1961 and his front engine top fuel dragster the next year.

After the unbelievable success of the first “Pure Hell” roadster and his success in the Top Fuel arena, Rich decided to switch to a Dodge Demon bodied AA/ Fuel Funny Car in 1970 and in 1973 notched his first NHRA national event win when, with Dave Beebe at the wheel they won the spring Nationals in Columbus, Ohio. While they were on tour later that year, the Demon was destroyed in a highway accident. His next AA/Funny Car was a Lil John Butera production that was successfully driven by some of the most noted drivers of that time including, Dave Beebe, Richard Tharp, Pat Foster and Elwin Carlson.

In 1992, Rich restored the original Pure Hell roadster and with Larry Huff driving debuted the car at the Goodguys vintage drag races that same year. With more horsepower than the original car ever had coupled with the original short 92 inch wheelbase, the car was plagued with handling problems. To solve this problem, Rich had his friend Dave Uyehara build a modern, longer wheelbase version of Pure Hell that, with Larry Huff driving, eventually went on to set a record time and ET of 238 mph and 6.30 seconds.

While Rich Guasco retired from active racing in 2000 he hasn’t given up his love of cars and has spent his time since, focusing on restoring some of his original cars and building some new ones. He also still attends selected events such as the Goodguys 1st Nostalgia Nationals in Bowling Green, Kentucky where he served as the official “Hot Rod Hero” for the event and most of the NHRA Hot Rod Reunions.
From Pure Hell Racing.

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Re: RICH GUASCO'S PURE HELL
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2015, 01:34:52 AM »
Don Petrich at the helm of Rich Guasco's Pure Hell, circa 1964.Photo by Joe Arts.
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Re: RICH GUASCO'S PURE HELL
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2015, 01:38:28 AM »
Dale Emery.
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Re: RICH GUASCO'S PURE HELL
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2015, 01:40:01 AM »
At Fremont.
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Re: RICH GUASCO'S PURE HELL
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2015, 01:42:14 AM »
From the NHRA
Although Emery is most widely associated with Texas, he actually was born in Stillwater, Okla., and grew up in Northern California after his family moved there when he was 5. He began his racing career in 1955 with a C/Gas ‘41 Chevy coupe and graduated to a rear-engine fuel coupe in 1959, then a gas dragster in 1960 and, finally, a Top Fuel car with partner Woody Parker in 1962. It was through the Parker car that Emery met Pete Ogden, who had built Emery’s Top Fuel car and the famed Pure Hell fuel altered for Guasco.

Emery took over the controls of the famed fuel altered from Don Petrich in 1965 and drove it for five seasons of wild wheelstands, sideways passes, and off-track excursions, becoming known as one of the class’ finest and fearless wheelmen, which made the Pure Hell a popular match race attraction; his battles with friend “Wild Willie” Borsch for class supremacy kept the fans enthralled.

“I think because we had the engine so high up is why it did those wheelstands, but as long as the tires were lit, it was easy to drive, but when the tires dried up, you’d better look out,” he noted.

The car, which sported an 89-inch wheelbase, originally was equipped with Chevy power and a primitive lockup clutch. “When it locked up at half-track, it was anybody’s guess which way it would go,” he told National DRAGSTER in a 1994 interview. “To my way of thinking, you just have to be well-coordinated to drive a Funny Car. But that altered, well … you just really had to work at it to keep it straight.”

And it helped to have a working steering wheel, too, as Emery found out one day at Fremont Raceway, not far from his then home in Livermore, Calif.

“We used to have a Crossley steering box on the car, but they put a new P&S in it, and they told [Guasco] you had to pin the steering wheel, but he forgot. As soon as it took off, the steering wheel came back with my hands. It went off the right side of the track into the grass, but it had rained the night before, so it didn’t slow down when I pulled the brakes because the grass was still wet. It went into a ditch filled with water, dug in, and flipped it upside down.”

For a brief time, Emery was underwater, holding his breath, until the car was righted, which led to a scene “right out of The Three Stooges.

“I was still choking a little bit, and the ambulance guy was trying to pull my helmet off without even unstrapping it. Tony [Del Rio, a huge, badass wrestler who used to paint the car] smacked him and knocked him out in the water. I went to the hospital to get checked out, and the ambulance driver came in looking to see who knocked him out. I told him, ‘Don’t even start because he’ll finish it. …’ ”

Guasco also tagged Emery with his famous nickname “the Snail” for his laid-back nature. “He was kind of nervous, and I was always just hanging out. He used to say, ‘Look at him: He’s just like a snail; he never goes anywhere fast.’ ”

A Chrysler engine and a slipper clutch were added in 1968 and really paid off. Borsch was the first to top 200 mph with a 200.44-mph run at Irwindale Raceway Sept. 23, 1967, but the next year, Emery blasted to a 207.36-mph clocking while winning the Hot Rod Magazine Championships at Riverside Raceway, a speed that would not be bettered that year. A week before the Riverside win, the Pure Hell had dispatched a field of floppers at a Funny Car vs. Fuel Altered battle at Orange County Int’l Raceway.

“Driving the Pure Hell was the most fun of anything I ever did. There was no money to be made doing it, but we did it because we liked racing.”

The Pure Hell was heavily damaged in a highway accident near Deming, N.M., while Emery was on his way home to Dallas from the U.S. Nationals. The trailer blew a tire, and the rig ended up in a culvert. The car sat for a while as Guasco decided what came next (a Pure Hell Funny Car that, despite historic notations to the contrary, Emery insists he never drove).

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Re: RICH GUASCO'S PURE HELL
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2015, 05:38:14 PM »
Popular Hot Rodding Aug. 1967
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Re: RICH GUASCO'S PURE HELL
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2015, 05:47:08 PM »
Rich Guasco's Pure Hell.
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Fordors

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Re: RICH GUASCO'S PURE HELL
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2015, 09:18:24 PM »
The golden age of drag racing- high front suspension and even higher engines. In fact BITD the 24" rule was put into effect; the crank c/l could be no higher than 24".
I know the basement floor is down there because it's holding everything up. I just can't see it anymore.

TS3X65MPH

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Re: RICH GUASCO'S PURE HELL
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2015, 10:32:30 PM »
The golden age of drag racing- high front suspension and even higher engines. In fact BITD the 24" rule was put into effect; the crank c/l could be no higher than 24".
Thanks Fordors.
 I have a few early rule books.Never really read the specs for all the classes.Never drag race on a drag strip.
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Re: RICH GUASCO'S PURE HELL
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2015, 09:25:04 AM »
The primered Bantam, before the paint and Pure Hell name had been applied shows A/HR and then eventually the car was lettered AA/HR. Back in the '50's-early '60's outlaw strips (non NHRA) ran fuel cars during the NHRA nitro ban. Wally, in his infinite wisdom, banned nitro as "unsafe" but regardless, track owners knew fuel put fans in the bleachers and many ran fuel cars without NHRA sanctioning. Coupes were designated A/F, B/F, or C/F and ran fenders. Roadsters on the other hand were A/HR and B/HR and fenders were not required. Why they got the HR designation that stood for Hot Roadster is lost to time I suppose, but eventually the classes were blended together and run as Fuel Altereds, thus AA/FA, etc.
I know the basement floor is down there because it's holding everything up. I just can't see it anymore.

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Re: RICH GUASCO'S PURE HELL
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2015, 11:27:40 AM »
The primered Bantam, before the paint and Pure Hell name had been applied shows A/HR and then eventually the car was lettered AA/HR. Back in the '50's-early '60's outlaw strips (non NHRA) ran fuel cars during the NHRA nitro ban. Wally, in his infinite wisdom, banned nitro as "unsafe" but regardless, track owners knew fuel put fans in the bleachers and many ran fuel cars without NHRA sanctioning. Coupes were designated A/F, B/F, or C/F and ran fenders. Roadsters on the other hand were A/HR and B/HR and fenders were not required. Why they got the HR designation that stood for Hot Roadster is lost to time I suppose, but eventually the classes were blended together and run as Fuel Altereds, thus AA/FA, etc.
Thanks.
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Re: RICH GUASCO'S PURE HELL
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2015, 02:50:49 PM »
A few more.
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Re: RICH GUASCO'S PURE HELL
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2015, 02:52:49 PM »
With Hemi power.
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Re: RICH GUASCO'S PURE HELL
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2015, 12:38:45 AM »
A few more.
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Re: RICH GUASCO'S PURE HELL
« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2016, 08:29:12 PM »
A few more.
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Re: RICH GUASCO'S PURE HELL
« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2016, 08:30:03 PM »
A few more.
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Re: RICH GUASCO'S PURE HELL
« Reply #17 on: January 06, 2016, 01:41:40 PM »
Pure Hell & Stocker.
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Re: RICH GUASCO'S PURE HELL
« Reply #18 on: January 06, 2016, 01:46:04 PM »
A few more.
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Re: RICH GUASCO'S PURE HELL
« Reply #19 on: January 06, 2016, 01:49:37 PM »
A few more.
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Re: RICH GUASCO'S PURE HELL
« Reply #20 on: January 06, 2016, 01:52:25 PM »
A few of Rich's other cars.
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Re: RICH GUASCO'S PURE HELL
« Reply #21 on: January 06, 2016, 01:52:55 PM »
1 & done.
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Re: RICH GUASCO'S PURE HELL
« Reply #22 on: May 11, 2017, 03:18:09 PM »
Pure Hell
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Re: RICH GUASCO'S PURE HELL
« Reply #23 on: May 11, 2017, 03:19:19 PM »
Pure Hell
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