1970 factory Hemicuda convertible sets NHRA and IHRA Super Stock records.
Story and photos by Cliff Gromer
Chevrolet, back in 1970, nailed the National Record in SS/EA turning an 11.33 ET with a Truppi-Kling prepared ’70 454 LS-6 Chevelle convertible sponsored by Briggs Chevrolet and piloted by Ray Allen. A lot has been said about that car over the years including its fetching a winning bid of $1.15 million at Barrett-Jackson. Much less has been said about another convert- ible—this one a 1970 Hemicuda. Of the 18 factory Hemicuda ragtops made in ’70, this one is listed as number 5 in the registry. This ’Cuda set the 1973 NHRA National Record in SS/EA of 11.09 at 125.17 while winning Super Stock at the US Nationals with Terry Earwood behind the wheel. Terry also drove the ’Cuda to the IHRA record which he set at Rockingham—11 flat at 125 mph, while winning the Pro Am Nationals there in 1974. (Ironically, Terry’s Brother, Steve, cur- rently owns and operates Rockingham). Whereas the Chevy was converted to a race car right from the git- go, the triple-black ’Cuda was sold new by a dealer in Marietta, GA, to a young Mo’fan with a heavy foot and a light wallet. That combina- tion resulted in a blown engine and a warranty replacement block, and the car being repossessed with 6000 action-packed miles. The dealer parked the convert on his used car lot and hoped to unload it.
Alex Bowers and his brother, Bob, were high school students back in 1970, but they had a passion (but no car) for drag racing. They hung around the strip and eventually landed volun- teer positions with John Beidencamp and his group in NHRA Division 2 as assistant tech inspection helpers at points meets in the south. Wanting to get into the action, the brothers decided to build a coupe to run SS/DA, and they asked Terry Earwood, a pretty sharp racer, and Division 2 Super Stock Champion in an SS/DA Challenger Hemi for advice. Earwood suggested they find a ’71