Wednesday January 20, 2016 I was watching the news David came up from the basement asked me if I would come down and look at something. He said it gave him goose bumps. I looked at the computer screen all I could say was "holy cow".
There was our 1966 Chevy Nova that we sold in 1975. Following is what the email said.
Hey David I believe this was your car in the mid 70's. My uncle Jimmy Cornwell
from Hammond IL bought it from someone in Decatur, IL around 1975. Uncle Jim never got to race the car. He died in a drag racing accident April 1976. My dad Harold Cornwell Atwood IL. brought the car to our house where it sat in the backyard for a few years. The picture above is me standing by the car. Dad sold the Chevy II to some guys in Lovington, IL. in the late 70's early 80's. I tried for years to find the car. I finally got it back just before Christmas this year. They took the straight axle out of it and the rear end. I want to put it back together like it was in 75. I have a few pics of it but no interior pics. Do you have any pics of the car? The only thing I remember about the interior was orange shag carpet and the roll bar. Thanks JR Cornwell Atwood, IL.
This is what we replied.
Wow, you want to sell it? The straight axle came from an econoline van. We have talked about this car a few times. Where are you located? I can't believe it's still around. Is it still orange? It had barrel type seats. Does it still have the fiberglass bumper? Just call me please right now.
JR did call right away. JR said it's not for sale but I will sell it to you for what I paid for it.
David came upstairs and said we bought our race car back. I was in tears so was David when can we go get it? David said we have to get the trailer out and there is soft ground I don't want to get the truck stuck. Before David and I talked about going and getting the car David called our son Keith. The day we sold this car in 1975 Keith cried all day he loved that car he was only 7 and it broke his heart. David told him we bought another race car Keith asked what kind. David told him and Keith had to hang up because he got so emotional. He sent me a text and said tell dad I will call him tomorrow I can't talk right now.
I know what this car means to David and Keith it means a lot to me also but in a little different way. That was a time in our lives where it was just me and David. We did everything to the car replacing broken parts to me driving the tow car. I could tell him if the car was running to rich or to lean I even told him when he blew the engine in it. We were in it together. As our son grew and started taking more interest in the cars I started backing away. Now the only part of the racing program I'm involved in is this web sight.
Let me take you back to Friday May 11,1973. Earlier that day we had buried David's Uncle Ben. We were in a rush to get things loaded and head to the track.
We raced at Assumption Dragway in Assumption IL. on this night we had a group with us Joe Stephens and his wife Gloria, Gary Winholtz and Dana and Buster Barr I think. For once I got to set in the bleachers and watch the racing someone else was doing the tow car thing. David had just put a parachute on the car that day our son thought that was the greatest thing ever.
I don't recall if it was his first run or his last of the night. He was out running who ever he was racing. All of a sudden he disappeared ,the announcer said he is rolling. I remember coming off of the bleachers and the next I remember I was at the end of the track. A paramedic or someone like that grabbed me and said you have to go back to the tower. I wanted in the ambulance, what if I needed to sigh papers for his treatment. Someone handed me his billfold and picked me up and put me in a truck and told the driver take her to the tower. Gloria had our son and met me at the tower. I was furious because the paramedic would not tell me anything or let me go to the hospital with David. An hour and a half later we got the call from the hospital that David was ok. The track owners would not let me drive so Gloria Winholtz drove me to the hospital and I think her husband Joe drove our car and brought Keith our son to the hospital.
Let me say this, The Jones boys that owned the track were absolutely wonderful
they did every thing they could to keep me calm and entertain a little boy that was worried about a new parachute. They took Keith and showed him that the chute was ok they would not let me see the car.
When I got to the hospital I had to call David's Mother she came right away and she was worried and still upset after the funeral that day. I told her David isn't seriously hurt bruised ribs and scrapes. She said to him you need to come home with me so I can take care of you. I said no, I can take care of him just fine. Note---Several years later she said to me I'm sorry I should never had said that to you. I said you didn't do anything wrong you were just being a mom.
One of the girls that was with us that night told me that when I was running to the end of the track I jumped over and cleared an open car trailer. I don't remember doing that. The next day when I saw the car I knew why they didn't want me to see the car the night before. We did take pictures of the car but only one came out and you can't see much.
The next day we were on the hunt for a new car soar ribs and all. I don't know how long it took David to find the 1966 but it was 2 weeks from the time of the wreck till he was racing again. He purchased the 1966 from David Adams that lived on Greenhill Road in Decatur IL. Over the winter of 1973 and into spring of 1974 David painted the car hugger orange and had the Roman Chariot II put on it.
We raced through 1974. David has a lot of trophy's from those races.
In 1975 he made the decision to quit racing because it was just getting to expensive (compared to today's race car it was nothing).
He started showing cars. He had a 1962 Corvette that he showed for a long time. From there he built a street legal funny car, we had moved to Galesburg in 1977. Some of the guys in this town was let's say jerks. Because we were considered "outsiders" and David could build a car and lay on paint that "they" couldn't do.
When we decided to build her again we want to do it just like it was in 1973-1975. Think about that a minute, where are we going to find the injection, tires interior, engine etc.
Well, it's all falling in his lap. David found the injection on Racing Junk the front tires on EBay, he knows where to get the sheet metal, got the 4 speed, has a line on an engine. Starting to look for interior parts. It has the original tach in it and all the gauges. This is what the car looks like right now.
Note--When David was taking stuff off of the 62 to use on the 66 he had to get the front tires off of the rims they were full of dirt from rolling the car. He purchased the exact tires and rims from Dave Oliphant on EBay. David said one of the tires was leaking air and he had to break it down so yesterday when our son was here they did that and it was full of dirt
Updates when they happen.