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Fuel Altereds Flash-Forward at Famoso

May 17, 2017

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“…In the stone-age times of eight spark-plug wires, dragstrip dinosaurs coexisted with other primitive forms of life in a land known as 1320. To the scientific community, the phylum of these creatures is “fuel,” the class is “Altered” and the order is “Awful Awful.” In those antediluvian days, the species known as “AA/Fuel Altereds” foraged and frolicked and fought amongst the tribes for supremacy and survival, from the drag cities of Famoso to Fremont, from Great Lakes to Green Valley, and from Tucson to Puyallup….”

Fuel Altereds Flash-Forward at Famoso by Cole Coonce

http://www.hotrod.com/articles/fuel-altereds-flash-forward-at-famoso/

2017 INDIANAPOLIS 500 MEDITATIONS, PART TWO: THE 4TH INDY GRAND PRIX PREVIEW

May 13, 2017

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“…. the Indy GP solves two dilemmas for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway: 1) What to do with a road course that is often mothballed; and 2) How can we call this thing “the Month of May” when there are only 33 cars and no bumping and no point in prolonged testing?”
“INDIANAPOLIS 500 MEDITATIONS, PART TWO: THE 4TH INDY GRAND PRIX PREVIEW by Cole Coonce”

INDYCAR – “MEDITATIONS ON THE MONTH OF MAY, Pt. 1”

May 7, 2017

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“When is a two-time Formula 1 champion also a rookie? When it’s Fernando Alonso — the  F1 driver’s champ in both 2005 and 2006 — suiting up for his Rookie Orientation Process this morning in pursuit of a position in the grid in the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500.”

Cole Coonce on Fernando Alonso, Ayrton Senna, and the death of Joe Leonard in FuelCurve.com

https://fuelcurve.com/indycar-meditations-month-may/

THE MAGIC MUFFLER FIAT: Pop Art On Fire

October 11, 2016

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(Originally appeared in Elapsed Times)

by Cole Coonce

The Magic Muffler Pop Art Iconography

During the 1960s, there were a dozen “Magic Muffler” stores across Southern California, mostly in Northeast Los Angeles across the basin to the San Fernando Valley.

It was “the friendly purple place,” according to Howard Hudson, its owner, “doing it right” since he founded the company in 1956. An “honest automotive family repair shop,” Magic Muffler epitomized California’s version of the American Dream. Free enterprise, fueled by sweat equity, resourcefulness and a wry sense of humor. Hudson died in 2007. In his wake, there is one store left, out in Simi Valley.

Hudson’s sense of humor came across in his store’s eye-catching signage. The Magic Muffler’s Pop-Art logo featured a wispy but muscular Malaysian Sultan with his herculean arms folded, escaping out of a tailpipe into some Arabian night. The message? The Genie’s out of the muffler. The Genie is here to grant your wish.

The logo is iconic and, by extension, memorable. It had to be. It had to pop. Along any boulevard in Los Angeles, Magic Muffler’s genie fought for space and attention from motorists distracted by huge signs like Western Exterminator’s cartoon of a dapper man hiding a mallet to be used on an imminent assault of an unsuspecting rat, or a twenty-foot Big Donut or Madman Muntz, a larger-than-life huckster hawking his car stereos with a caricature of himself as some twisted-but-towering Napoleon. The skyline was filled with similar creative cartoons. Hudson trademarked his Genie and even the style of lettering.

Times change and free enterprise is malleable. Many of those businesses with the gargantuan kitschy signage died. Somehow, Magic Muffler survived and, even if it is down to one store, the memory of that image with the Smiling Genie will last forever. The logo is eternal.

And one second of one night at Lions Drag Strip in 1965 made the Magic Muffler brand even more unforgettable. Read more…

Small-Block Chevy-Powered Champion Speed Shop Mouse Saws Through the Elephant Jungle

October 11, 2016
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photo by Ted Soqui

The Champion Speed Shop dragster is a front-engine Top Fuel car out of South San Francisco, California, that features a couple of distinctions: first, a bulbous cockpit canopy from an outer-space movie buttressed by a swoopy, streamlined body with sumptuous, saucy red paint thicker than marinara; and secondly, a small-block Chevy replica that gulps and pukes nitromethane like Beelzebub on a bender.

READ THE WHOLE STORY AT HOTROD.COM

Frying The Baloneys Off of Danica Patrick at the Smog Cutter

November 1, 2014
The Smog Cutter

The Smog Cutter

My friend Myron and I were sipping good, smoky whiskey at the Smog Cutter in the Thai Town section of East Hollywood, while listening to various Burmese chanteuses chirp out ballads on the jukebox. We began the night by bench racing, but ended it by arguing about IndyCar sensation Danica Patrick and female racecar drivers.

Myron is a drag racing writer and is a geeky, greasy-haired academic type with Clark Kent-type cheaters. His goofball nerdiness is mitigated by penchant for pop art t-shirts. Tonight he was wearing a white cotton t-shirt featuring a photo of a vintage Barracuda Funny Car doing a burnout. Through the copious clouds of smoke, the garment is emblazoned with the motto: “I’d Rather Be Frying the Baloneys.”

Read more…

Top Fuel Wormhole, Volume 2

October 25, 2014
Potential cover for Top Fuel Wormhole, Volume 2

Top Fuel Wormhole, Volume 2: The Post-Millennial Cole Coonce Dragstrip Reader

With his second collection of musings on all things nitro, drag-strip journalist Cole Coonce pulls no punches in his mind-warping analysis of the greatest sport in the history of western civilization, drag racing.

Volume 2 of Cole Coonce’s “Top Fuel Wormhole” features in-depth conversations with the luminaries of drag racing, including Don Prudhomme, Tom McEwen, Don Garlits, Chris Karamesines, Roland Leong, Dean Skuza, Brent Fanning, Clay Millican and Austin Coil! Only $10.99 at Amazon.com.