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The Kidney Kicker

In about 1959, Ray Hudnut’s brother Bernie’s four-year enlistment was up with the U.S. Marines, and he came to live with them for a couple of years. “On his own, he visited the drag races that were happening at the McMinnville, Oregon Airport (1958-66) and showed us the 35mm slides he took. I had only seen drag race machines and some race coverage in hot rod magazines and was really excited.”

“Immediately, we started dreaming of having our own drag racer, and our attention focused on my Dad’s commuter, a 1952 Willys Aero 2dr sedan. He’d already let me paint “Kidney Kicker” on the sides (with fuzzy snowball monsters), spider webs on the quarter glass (with spiders in tuxedos, top hats, and spats), bloodshot eyeballs on all his round dash knobs, and gold scallops on the fenders. (He actually drove this to work! Sorry, Dad.)”

“Neither Bernie nor I had any automotive mechanical experience (nor did our folks or neighbors), but that didn’t stop us. We knew that to be a real race car, it had to be loud, so to improve the performance of the stock 134 CID inline 4 flathead we punched holes in my Dad’s mufflers! Then from the slide pictures, we knew that a true drag race sedan had to be “jacked up”… higher in the rear than in the front, so we jacked up the rear end and hammered in wooden 4x4s cut to fit tightly between the axle and frame. Then we took it for a test ride! Wow, did it seem fast! This was really cool! I was hoping that some of my school buddies could see me now!!” Read more >

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