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Projects The Original "Purple People Eater" dragster 1957

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Fast Elvis, Feb 9, 2019.

  1. About 5 years ago my hunt for the Galt Strokers dragster called the "Purple People Eater" which was built in 1957 finally made a good turn when I saw a post on Facebook about old Canadian drag racing items that lead me to a field north of Toronto. There in the tall grass was the remains of this once famous Canadian dragaster. I was told it had been there for decades and it was in very rough shape. The current care taker of this piece of cool drag racing history confessed he really didn't have the ambition to do anything with it and made a hand shake agreement that he would pass the torch to me if I agreed to restore the dragster back to her old glory. A hand shake was quick from me and I soon begun to load up all the remaining parts with the help of my pal Chris Nemeth. We soon had everything loaded up and were heading back home. I don't think you could wipe the smile off my face as reality set in that I had finally found the dragster that I had been searching for these past 15 years. 14876510_675679339255460_6406828331797281839_o.jpg 14612370_1856848591210741_9208265003515141583_o.jpg ppe1.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
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  2. During the past number of years I had been storing up parts to complete this project . The "Purple People Eater" was built by the Galt Strokers C.C. in Galt Ontario, Canada. The Strokers are one of the oldest hot rod/ drag racing clubs in Ontario. Back then the guys were taken by the beauty of the "Class Slipper" rail in the United States and decided to build a full body dragster with a airodynamic body like the "Glass Slipper". The design lay out started late 1956 and actual consrtuction started in 1957. ppe3 (1).jpg
     
  3. Stogy
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 10,859

    Stogy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Congrats @Fast Elvis that's a beautiful dragster...I look forward to the resurrection.

    I could see that Rusty frame confused with a dune buggy real easy but that's a real cool bunch of parts.

    Just doing some close up detail searching and that flaming graphic on the back looks really cool...I hope you gathered some visual history with your newly acquired treasure.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
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  4. With the dragster missing it's original chassis, wheels, rearend, motor etc.... it was great to have some talented pals jump in with the hunt for parts and skills to build the chassis from 60+ year old photo's I had collected over the years. My pal and fellow ELTA club brother Russ Moore jumped in to build the chassis at his families 1880's black smith shop.... great surrounds to build such a vintage dragster in...great vibe. 28166917_2086914258204172_1459081723342275919_n (1).jpg 27752076_1865844566790730_1755136354121664314_n.jpg 27973658_2086914408204157_3258808497513472653_n.jpg
     
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  5. Thanks Stogy for the kind words...much appreciated brother....actually that old rusty frame was another dragster that was in the same field ...so you can see I found two early rails from the 1950's.
     
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  6. s55mercury66
    Joined: Jul 6, 2009
    Posts: 3,160

    s55mercury66
    Member
    from SW Wyoming

    Nice that you scored the body panels.
     
  7. Stogy
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 10,859

    Stogy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    That's a lot bigger than I first thought looking at the vintage pic...
     
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  8. So far over this past year the construction of the chassis has gone well. Russ Moore has done great work and the old dragster is starting to take shape. 27752509_2086914294870835_8119849370058231242_n.jpg 30707314_2116731258555805_6728860155233959936_n.jpg 37634811_2183347245227539_7766927894974038016_n.jpg 28872126_2099084546987143_3340513996758319104_n.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
  9. Hard to believe that those fiberglass body parts servived close to 50 years out in the weather.....lol.
     
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  10. The dragster has a 109" wheel base.
     
  11. rusty valley
    Joined: Oct 25, 2014
    Posts: 661

    rusty valley
    Member

    any idea what happened to the original chassis? scrap iron? hope not. good on you to find and restore the history
     
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  12. s55mercury66
    Joined: Jul 6, 2009
    Posts: 3,160

    s55mercury66
    Member
    from SW Wyoming

    Were those panels laid up in molds, and if so, did the molds survive?
     
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  13. WB69
    Joined: Dec 7, 2008
    Posts: 529

    WB69
    Member

    I'm hooked! Keep showing the progression on this awesome resurrection.
     
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  14. One of my favourite pictures of the build inside the old blacksmith shop..... love those old board floors. 30708732_2116730845222513_5828475722540253184_n.jpg
     
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  15. The body was acually layed out in chicken wire to shape th ebody which they covered in plaster to hold it's shape. They then went to a local dump and grabbed fiberglass risin that the local factories had discared plus mixed in bags of hair from the local barber shop to give the fiberglass risin some body to put over the plaster body....this was all done in the old Galt Strokers club house which was a old barn...... no molds.
     
  16. Stogy
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 10,859

    Stogy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    :rolleyes:...Wow that's some hairy trivia...:D
     
  17. The original driver of the "Purple Peolpe Eater" dragster Andy Marsh (83 years old) even showed up one day to check out his old drag car that he hadn't seen since 1960. He even gave me his original helmet that he wore from 1957 to 1959. 35239400_2147260122169585_9014561236708229120_n (1).jpg 35404352_2147260328836231_5932174916173430784_n.jpg 35300544_2147260245502906_9157195953852121088_n.jpg 35305543_2145438385685092_1456213845734326272_n.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
  18. Stogy
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 10,859

    Stogy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Man that's some cool photography Elvis and really stunning subject matter.
     
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  19. The actual chassis was sold in about 1960 after the club felt it was going to be too expensive to rebuild the dragster to be competitive with the newer lighter rails of the early 1960's. The Fergus Wheelers C.C. bought the origianl chassis back then for $45 and threw a flathead motor into it, only to realize this old home made frame was too heavy, so they scrapped it at the end of 1961 or 62.
     
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  20. Making sure I fit....lol.
    29542124_2105020113060253_8381473458025922560_n.jpg
     
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  21. 40ragtopdown
    Joined: Jan 13, 2015
    Posts: 1,111

    40ragtopdown
    Member

    To cool barber shop hair what a ride.
     
  22. VANDENPLAS
    Joined: Dec 14, 2009
    Posts: 1,584

    VANDENPLAS
    Member

    C25F0C06-0279-4FE3-AAAA-15446D0CDC35.gif


    That’s some incredible history you have there .
    Can’t wait to see and read more !!
     
  23. s55mercury66
    Joined: Jul 6, 2009
    Posts: 3,160

    s55mercury66
    Member
    from SW Wyoming

    So the will new chassis be certified so you can make a full pass if you wish?
     
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  24. Stogy
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 10,859

    Stogy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    What kind of rules are at Nostalgia Drags?
     
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  25. s55mercury66
    Joined: Jul 6, 2009
    Posts: 3,160

    s55mercury66
    Member
    from SW Wyoming

    I honestly do not know, but I have read where some of the cars from the '60's we used to see run back in the '80's are a no go in today's world.
     
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  26. Stogy
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 10,859

    Stogy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Hopefully Elvis doesn't experience restrictions after all that would be the reward for completing such an exercise.
     
  27. Offset
    Joined: Nov 9, 2010
    Posts: 1,463

    Offset
    Member
    from Canada

    Cool thread Fast. Like the pictures.
     
    Fast Elvis likes this.
  28. The old Purple People Eater is being built back to it's 1957 form, so no it wouldn't meet todays certification. But the plan is to have the dragster able to smoke some tires and go down the track safely. I'm very lucky, I only live about 20 min's from the oldest purpose built drag strip in Canada.... St. Thomas Dragway. I'm pretty sure I'll get the chance to make some solo runs down there to see how she handles. It would be a pity, a rail this rare and old to modernize it ....in my book you lose all her sole by doing that. It'll be just to cool to expience the feel of how she must of felt back in 1957 when Andy Marsh took her down the old Kohler Drag Strip for the first time. At 83 Andy Marsh the original driver has always expressed interest in taking her for a pass...... that would be outstanding.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  29. 33135336_2134318960130368_297524290243264512_n.jpg Here's a very old hand flyer for the old Kohler Drag Strip from back around 1956.
     
  30. Here's a rare picture of the dragster's origianl chassis from around 1961 after it was sold in 1960 for $45 to the Fergus Wheelers C.C. which they put a flathead in it and found out the old frame was just too heavy to compete so they scrapped it. 29497419_562795174101286_2606473209605190983_n.jpg
     

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