Classic Push Start
The Old Days
A look back at
Texas Drag Racing
This website is of the history of the Stephens & Venables AA/FD restoration as the car is finished from being restored by Rip and Natalie Wiley out of Tennessee. Not only is this site created for the restoration but of all the cars that were campaigned by Stephens & Venables along with a look back in time of South Central Drag Racing.
6/19/08 Photo's From 2008 Bowling Green
Finally at last!
Venables getting ready for his 1st Cackle
the cackle, what else would put you next to Heaven after
this doesn't look like a kid in a candy store, I don't know what does.
for sure what size the helmet was, but no matter how big it was.
Venables and Steve.
Dickie Venables getting some seat time cackle.
Venables probably signed more autographs this one weekend than
Steve Stephens and Dick Venables after the Cacklefest
(left to right) Natalie Wiley, Dick Venables, Steve Stephens, Eddie Wilbanks and Rip Wiley
Dick Venables Cackle
Steve Stephens Cackle
Dickie Venables Cackle
Rip and Natalie
have poured 4 years of
Blood, Sweat and Tears completing
Wilbanks, motor, body & pain assistance
Photo's From the Past
Making progress from this to the fire up below
Picking up the car from Indy during the snow.
Repaired nose piece, as you
cat ell from the photos above,
The pictures above are a few modifications done at Rooman's shop.
Eddie Wilbanks welding a mount for the throttle peddle.
The Masters at work, of course with Rip on the left Supervising.
4/25/06 Photo's From the Past
The 4 photos below are
courtesy of Mark Collins taken
The 4 photos below are
courtesy of James Fullingim taken
Well, as you can tell from the website, our project has been on hold for a while. We haven’t made many updates because for a long time there wasn’t any news.
When we bought the car, we used money that was supposed to build our dining room and sun room. I agreed to buying the car and said the addition could wait. Well, 2004 was the time for building. However, what was supposed to be a quick contracted job turned into a slow no-show contractor job. Needless to say, Rip and I ended up firing the contractors and did the work ourselves. It took a while since we could only work on it nights and weekends. But that’s not what you want to hear about, is it?
In June 2004, we took the car to Bowling Green to the Nostalgia Drags. We met a lot of nice people. Some had even seen the Stephens and Venables team race the car.
In November 2004, we were honored to be asked to display the car at the Memphis Rodders Association’s yearly banquet. There are a few pictures from the event attached. I’m sure you’ll recognize Mr. Ray Godman, Preston Davis, Eddie Wilbanks, Amy Falk, Clay Millican and others.
November 2004 through April 2005 was the house project. The rest of 2005 was spent playing catch-up on everything and stock piling motor parts for the dragster. We now have enough stuff to build a Hemi for our ’53 Chevy—another project for another year. We wouldn’t know how to act if we didn’t have projects waiting in the wings.
2006: The Year of the Dragster
We’ve sent motor parts all over the USA to get them “dialed in” and reworked. I don’t even ask where the money is going anymore. It’s easier to write the checks and not think about it. Have I mentioned that we had to sell the house and move into the car trailer to fund the project? Just kidding, we’ve not gone that far—yet.
We’re hoping to have all components back and the motor together and ready to crank by the end of March 2006. YIPPEE!!
I can imagine us making passes down our cove already! It will be great to actually hear the car running instead of sitting it in and playing CDs of dragsters doing burn outs and making passes. Don’t laugh, I’m sure some of you reading this have done the same thing.
Once the motor is ready, it will time to complete the body work and add paint.
We plan to be cackling in Bowling Green in June. We are hoping that Mr. Stephens and Mr. Venables will be there to drive the car in the Cacklefest. After all, it really is their car. We just happen to own it. There will be plenty of time for us to enjoy it.
See you in June, Natalie
Preston Davis working on the block under the watchful eye of Eddie Wilbanks
Joe Lunati signing a dragster cowling with John Callies looking on
Car on Display
Amy Faulk , Rip & Natalie Wiley
Natalie Wiley, Preston Davis, Rip Wiley, Ray Godman & Clay Millican
It was a beautiful day—sunny and clear, temperature in the upper 70’s, Nitro and smoke in the air, the sound of burn-outs and racing in the background. Old race cars, new street rods—this was the place to be, Bowling Green, Kentucky at the NHRA Hot Rod Reunion-June 2003. Yep, this is the place to be and there’s my dream car or so I thought.It’s beautiful. An original front engine dragster. Yeah, it’s
real alright and in really good shape. It was about 170 inches or so long and set up for Junior Fuel, a small block Chevy, zoomies and a blower. It was stripped down to the bare aluminum but, had a real-deal Tom Hanna emblem! With some work and cubic dollars it could have a HEMI in it! AND it had a “For Sale sign on it! But what was I thinking, I/we couldn’t afford that. Back to earth, let’s .................. the rest of the story
Last updated 7/1/09, by Gary Osborn