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History Willys Gasser Veteran Del Wiesner Story

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by loudbang, Apr 27, 2020.

  1. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 37,833


    All photo and captions from

    Disclaimer: Some of the photos have been modified by me for size and lightened.

    Always one of my favorites and some of these photos I have posted prior to this in the Willys thread.

    In the early 1960s, Del Wiesner and Dean Seevers were a couple of guys from Loveland, Colorado, who built a '33 Willys to drag race. It wasn't long before they and another partner, fellow Loveland racer Harold Owens, found themselves in the thick of the Gasser Wars.

    The trio spent several years on the circuit, towing their Olds-powered coupe all over the country to race the likes of Doug Cook, K.S. Pittman, Bones Balogh, George Montgomery, and other warriors of the era. Some weekends were spent match racing at local events, others put them in the national spotlight with fellow A/GS competitors in the NHRA. At their peak, e.t. 's were in the low 10s with trap speeds over 140 mph. In 1964, carrying 400 pounds of ballast to compete in B/Modified Gas, the Seevers/Wiesner/Owens Willys held the AHRA record at 136 mph.

    Fifty-plus years later, the Seevers/Wiesner/Owens A/Gas Supercharged '33 Willys is still pleasing the crowds, albeit in an updated version. "People really love seeing the car. That's what keeps me going," Del says. "They love it because it has an Olds Rocket engine in it. That's not something you see all the time, much less the original owner and driver in it."

    Asked about racing today, Del says, "I do still love it, but I look at it different now. I've been in some bad wrecks. I about wrecked this thing at a nostalgia event a year or so ago. I'd hate to wreck it now, so late in life. And I made a promise to my wife that I wouldn't drive it so fast. So rather than running 8 seconds at 155, I'm content to go 115 in the eighth at 5.70, which is what it will run on a good track. That's plenty of thrill for this old feller."

    Del will be 81 on his next birthday.

    Del Wiesner's tribute to his Gasser Wars days is no static display. He built the new Seevers/Wiesner/Owens '33 Willys to be legal for nostalgia racing. "About quickest that car has gone is 5.70 at 118 to 120 miles per hour in the eighth-mile."


    Early days, Dean Seevers was driving here; Del drove at the 1964 NHRA Nationals and wheeled the car from then on.


    Dean Seevers had a "wild" '39 Chevy coupe with a blown Olds motor that he drove on the street and raced at the drags as the 1960s dawned. Dean, Del, and Harold Owens were founding members of the local hot rod club, the Loveland Zephyrs, and part of a group of guys who raced in NHRA Division 5.

    Harold mustered out of the Air Force a year later, and he wanted to join the team. He had an engine he wanted to build. "It was his baby motor, a '49 Olds Rocket at 303 cubic inches," says Del. When it was done, it displaced 308 inches and was fed by a 6-71 blower and Scott fuel injection. The "itty-bitty engine" put the Willys into B/Gas Supercharged.

    Dean Seevers poses with his hot 39 Chevy in the early 60's. Olds powered it ran hard at the strip.

    "We went out to Pomona racing some of the biggest names in the country," Del says of their trip to the 1963 Winternationals. The three friends from Loveland ran "131 miles per hour at 10.75, and we didn't have to apologize to anyone for anything."

    What they did have to do, though, was be quicker. Doug Cook, running 10.60s, beat them in Pomona.

    So in the winter of 1963, the Willys went on a diet. The steel front end was replaced with a liftoff fiberglass nose. The factory doors with their glass windows were pitched in favor of fiberglass doors with Plexiglas. Out, too, was the baby Olds. In went a 324-inch Olds motor bored and stroked to 396 cid. Lighter and more powerful, and with a new Dean Kennedy Hydro, the Willys showed "a dramatic improvement in e.t.," remembers Del. Times dropped to the low 10s, and speeds increased to 140-145 mph. The Willys' appearance in 1964, with the Seevers/Wiesner/Owens lettering and the assigned number 239, was the template for the tribute Willys, as that was the last year the trio raced as a team.

    Dean and Del's Willys in 1962, when a '57 Olds engine earned them "a lot of trophies" in NHRA's Division 5.


    "Dean decided he wanted to build one of those Mark Williams dragsters, and he wanted to put his Olds in the dragster," Del says. "So he went his separate way. That left Harold and me to run the Willys."

    By 1966, Del had moved on, too. He and Harold built a "super light" '23 T roadster with an Olds capable of sending the car to 150-plus top-end speeds. But the car "nearly killed" him in a bad accident that ended his racing days.

    "I still have the scars," he says.

    Randy Holt at the 1963 Winternationals, the Seevers/Wiesner Willys beat the Mallicoat Bros. '41 Willys in the first round of B/GS, but lost to Doug Cook in the next. They were using Harold Owens' "baby" Olds mill.


    The Willys went through major changes before the 1964 season. That's Del lifting off the car's new fiberglass nose in the pits at Pomona, and the little motor was replaced by a 396-inch Olds. Del called the improvements to the car's performance "dramatic."


    Del remembers this round of the 1964 Winternats well. Dean went up against Bones Balogh driving Big John Mazmanian's Willys. "We were out on Bones by three car lengths when we broke a rocker arm. We ran a 10.34, but Bones ran the first 9.99, at 151 miles per hour, in supercharged class history and beat us in the lights."


    Dean left the team after the 1964 season, so the SWO Willys became the Wiesner/Owens car in 1965. Here Del is racing at Mickey Thompson's invitational 200 MPH meet in Fontana. "We drew K.S. Pittman in the first round and got beat, but we were allowed to grudge race the other A/GS cars the rest of the evening between rounds of Top Fuel and A/GS. Our top time was a 10 flat e.t. at 146.69 miles per hour."


    OK a slight inconvenience if you please. :(

    The REST OF THE STORY is too modern for this thread therefore it will be CONTINUED

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  2. Still racing at 81? Now that's a real hot rodder!
    Nice post loudbang!
    VANDENPLAS, mad mikey and loudbang like this.
  3. little skeet
    Joined: Jan 27, 2008
    Posts: 309

    little skeet
    from huston

    Here is a article/photo National Dragster 1963. Our 1949 Buick powered D/A putting the Wiesner/Owens gasser on the trailer. We beat them several times during Division 5 points contest that year. We won Division 5 Hot Class points contest 1962 and 1963 with the straight eight roadster.crmhamannchuck63gardencity1.jpg

    Attached Files:

  4. Great history. Thanks LB.:cool::)
    loudbang likes this.

  5. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 7,001


    Even though I don’t know much about the era, I really enjoy reading these posts, especially the quotes from the studs doing the driving.

    Thanks for posting!
    loudbang likes this.
  6. ironandsteele
    Joined: Apr 25, 2006
    Posts: 5,342


    What a great story. Thank you for posting this.
    loudbang likes this.
  7. 1940Willys
    Joined: Feb 3, 2011
    Posts: 554


    Seen it out at Famoso Chrr 2015 DSCN2637.JPG DSCN2638.JPG
    41 coupe, Deuces and loudbang like this.

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