Mystery Car Revealed…Sort of. Also, Pretty Pictures!

vintage dragster (1)

I honestly had no idea what the mystery car was, but got a kick out of the fact that it was being used as a tow vehicle in what might be the most quintessential 1970s drag picture ever taken. I picked these two up at the flea market last year, and ever since I’ve been curious as to what happened to “Hasty Ben Jammin’”. Jump for some details.


vintage dragster (1)So, before we move on to Hasty Ben, it’s worth taking a second to appreciate this first shot. We’ve got a very fiberglass-y looking bucket sporting “Racemaster” slicks lining up against a first generation Camaro. In the background someone with groovy hair and a cowboy hat mans a clipboard and a few campers provide sanctuary from the sun. There’s either a faint glimpse of what might be the smog-shrouded mountains of the Angeles National Forest, or my scanner had a hard time with a very old picture. The “Felker” of “Felker-Schindler” on the Camaro appears to be Bill Felker who, sadly, passed away in September ’09. I found one other picture of the Camaro running here. The only info I can track down on the bucket is via “McClintic Industries”, which does (or did) make drag engine parts (alcohol carbs and the like). Here’s a dude buying an old VW bus with their logo on it.

On to our mystery car. I had no idea what that thing was. Looked vaguely mid-70s Japanese to me…I guessed Datsun. Luckily Jim was all over it, calling it out as a Corona. Odd that they’re using it as a tow vehicle, but it’s not like a dragster weighs that much, anyway. Gotta save all the gas you can, what with this fuel crisis going on, right? On to Hasty Ben.  I’ve got nothing on this guy or this car. There are no numbers and “Hasty Ben Jamin” (or “benjamin” turns up nothing). Most obvious, we have a monster hemi engine topped with a monster blower. There are no brakes up front and what look like 33″ tall by 24″ wide rear tires out back. Personally, I dig the way the back of the bucket is shaped into a spoiler. What we really need to point out is how awesomely 70s Ben (we’ll assume that’s Ben) looks. Click through to the full-size version and take in his groovy hair, bitchin’ sideburns, mustache and aviators. The brown-on-black metal-flake open face helmet is just icing on the cake.
Like I said, I bought both of these pictures off of the same person at the Pasadena Flea Market some time in the last couple of years. There’s no info on the frames or the backs of the pictures. Obviously, if anyone has any more info, feel free to weigh in (and/or forward the link to Hemmings and the H.A.M.B.) with more info.

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  1. Tomsk Avatar

    The berm running parallel to the guardrails in the second pic suggests it's OCIR; the El Toro Marine base was on the other side.

  2. OA5599 Avatar
    OA5599

    "Nasty", not "Hasty". It's a Fuel Altered with a Donovan. Ben Jamin refers to Dave Benjamin's last name.
    http://www.draglist.com/stories/SOD%20May%202000/
    Another photo here: http://www.mysterion.net/AAFA/socal9.shtml

    1. Matt Avatar
      Matt

      Ahh you beat me! I thought the "Nasty" was more appropriate than "Hasty" and looked it up.

    2. RSDeuce Avatar
      RSDeuce

      Great article. I am glad someone knew exactly what it was. Click the link, it is a good read.

    3. dukeisduke Avatar
      dukeisduke

      Wow, a Donovan. I remember reading about the Donovan (for some reason the number "417" sticks in my mind) in Hot Rod, when I was a kid. It was the first purpose-built drag racing engine I'd ever heard of. This was back when Keith Black, and Ed Pink ("Think Pink") were famous engine builders.

      1. dukeisduke Avatar
        dukeisduke

        Gee, in this issue:
        http://www.donovanengineering.com/History/Donovan

  3. Feds_II Avatar
    Feds_II

    Bah, I thought it was a Crown, not a Corona. Now I am going to have to put on a crown and drink some Corona.

    1. Smells_Homeless Avatar
      Smells_Homeless

      Or, you could drink Crown until you see coronas.

  4. Bret Avatar

    Nasty Dave Benjamin is it. Google-fu reveals this story he wrote for Drag List: http://www.draglist.com/stories/SOD%20May%202000/

  5. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
    mr. mzs zsm msz esq

    You all kick butt! I have done NO work in at least the last hour now devouring all this! Thanks for all the links! Best Monday ever! I need less coffee.

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