(06-15-2019) – It was one of the most iconic “Wheel Standers” out there when it made it’s debut in late 1964-early ‘65. The first Plymouth Barracuda’s with the enormous picture window in the back seemed perfect for a drag racer in the mind of the late George Hurst. Wheelies were King and putting a Hemi that everyone could see while it races down the quarter mile on two wheels was a mind blower! There were several versions as years went by….’65, ‘66, ‘67 and of course the ‘68 which is what Mike Mantel drives and owns along with the original “Little Red Wagon” Dodge A100….AND, Mantel has plans for an updated version of the “HUG” using the recent Dodge Challenger body (considering the “Cuda” died after the 1974 models.)
While at the recent “Nitro Revival” at Irwindale Speedway with occasional TAC co-host “Hot Rod” Bob Beck (Great American Auto Scene/GAAS), I caught up with Mike and original “HUG” driver “Wild Bill” Shrewsberry who gave me some background on their automotive journeys and why “Wild Bill” came out to California originally to run Pontiacs then got a call from George Hurst himself. Mike also talks about that segment on CNBC’s “Jay Leno’s Garage” where Jay had a harrowing ride in the ‘69 “HUG” that looked a bit more scary than it actually appeared on TV.
Then we listen in with Steve Gibbs as he honors some classic names from the short history of the “San Gabriel Raceway” from the 50’s and 60’s, including “TV Tommy” Ivo, the former child star and race car fanatic.
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