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The Saga of the Magic Muffler Fuel Altereds

Ron Lahr was photographing the race at Lions Drag Strip when the genie decided to unload the internals from the Magic Muffler Fiat’s 331 C&T Stroker Hemi and snapped this iconic shot when the bottom literally fell out.

The pale purple 1948 Fiat Topolino known as the Magic Muffler Fiat might be more famous for the fiery starting line explosion of its nitromethane-breathing blown Hemi engine in 1965 than for any of its successes. In Part 1, we revisit Cole Coonce’s history of Jim Miles — builder of some of Fuel Altered’s most unlucky contenders — which originally appeared in slightly longer form in Elapsed Times magazine in 2015. In Part 2, we’ll show you the amazing recent recreation of the incredible Magic Muffler 1948 Fiat. —HRM

“I was 13 years old, looking through a magazine when I saw that picture of the car exploding the engine,” professional car enthusiast Billy Corbett recalled about his initial infatuation with the Magic Muffler machine. “It was the wildest car I had ever seen. I remember thinking, ‘I have to have that car!'”

Commercial Art and Drag Strip Competition: During the 1960s, there were a dozen Magic Muffler stores across Southern California. It was “the friendly purple place,” according to the late Howard Hudson, who founded the company in 1956. Hudson’s sense of humor came across in his store’s eye-catching Pop-Art logo, which featured a wispy but muscular Malaysian Sultan with his Herculean arms folded, escaping out of a tailpipe into some Arabian night. The message: The genie’s out of the muffler. The genie is here to grant your wish… read more >

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