Our June meeting we had our special guests George Snizek, Scott Snizek and our own member Anthony Marchesi. It was a throwback to the 50s & 60’s and ride down memory lane. It was an exciting evening for all, to hear the stories and times of their lives.
The Tasmanian Devil was the name of a drag racing car in the 1960s, named after the Tasmanian Devil cartoon character. During the same time period that The Tasmanian Devil cartoon character was making a name for itself, a mechanical incarnate of this cartoon character was growing in popularity on the drag racing scene. Drag racing was in its early days and the cars and popular racing teams were always known by nicknames. Don Garlits had “The Swamp Rat” and Pacers Automotive had “The Tasmanian Devil”. The Snizek & Dodge Racing Team at Pacers Auto created a powerful mean machine worthy of its nickname. The Tasmanian Devil in racecar form was always loud, snarling all the way to the starting line and then unleashing a deafening roar as it raced down the track leaving behind a long hazy smoke trail. Crowds loved it as it devoured anything in its way – both race cars and speed records. Driver, George Snizek and his partner Charlie Dodge (1931-2002) were perennial finalists in NHRA sanctioned events and set numerous track, class, and NHRA speed records while becoming a true force in the 1960s drag racing scene. Aside from being the East Coast distributors of Nitromethane Racing Fuel, the team from Pacers were known as innovators in their field-being credited as the first to use silicone as an engine sealant and being the first car in its class to necessitate use of a parachute to stop “The Devil” in a class other than dragsters. Charlie Dodge & George Snizek joined forces with Murray Gellman of Sydmur Electronic Specialties to design and sell a competition-designed ignition system known as “The Thing”. Pacers Auto was one of the first racing teams to incorporate appearance and ability having color co-ordinated racecars and matching racing team uniforms. They were among one of the first raceteams to utilize a team-coordinated tow trailer as well. They were members of Hi-Performance “Cars Magazine” Racing Team and were featured in Walter Ungerer’s 1965 film called “The Tasmanian Devil” which documented the AA/A roadster and the crew that built it to become the number one racecar in its class. It was filmed on location at Island Dragway, New Jersey one week after it set the NHRA AA/A Class Speed record in Atco Raceway in New Jersey. According to Martyn Schorr, the former editor of CARS Magazine, the Snizek & Dodge Racing Team amassed over 150 event wins together on the East Coast dragstips. After a long absence, a resurrection of The Tasmanian Devil NHRA AA/A Roadster is being sponsored by AAA Firefighting Equipment’s Jerry Joaquin, with guidance from original driver, George Snizek, to once again light up the tracks and race once again. Chassis, Body, Paintwork and final engine assembly are being handled by Southwest Custom Trucks in Apache Junction, Arizona, while the custom enginework is being performed by Greulich’s Engine Machining in Phoenix, Arizona.
Thanks to Jack Schoenfeld who came to the rescue for part 3 of the this segment.