"Glenn McCulloch", Drag Racer, Friend

"Glenn McCulloch", Drag Racer, Friend
By
noderel: 

"Glenn McCulloch", Drag Racer, Friend

 By Dave Brackett


a070394b
Dave

When I was in college, I wanted to pursue building hot rods and race cars. I had been working at a local speed shop, running the counter and doing welding. The owner, Leon Fitzgerald, of top fuel altered fame, had a friend Glenn McCulloch. 

He had a small junkyard in town, and did mechanical work as well. I had met him in the summer of 1963, through a friend who had Glenn install a fourspeed transmission in his 50 Olds. This man would soon change my life. 

Glenn 1
Glenn McCulloch

Glenn 2

He came by his knowledge, in part, from growing up around cars and helping at his father's junk yard.

Glenn 3

He grew up with the sport, and with his background in motorcycles.

In late 1963, Glenn McCulloch and Leon Fitzgerald opened Anaheim Speed Engineers, selling hot rod parts and doing work on cars. I hung out there a lot, working on cars, helping with welding, and going to the races with them. I soon realized Glenn had a wealth of knowledge about cars in general, and also about drag racing. He came by his knowledge, in part, from growing up around cars and helping at his father's junk yard, but because he was there when drag racing got its start. 

In 1952, when NHRA had its first drag races at Santa Ana, California, Glenn was there, either racing his cars or helping others. He grew up with the sport, and with his background in motorcycles, and in auto mechanics, became a part of the early history of drag racing, even before NHRA existed. 

Glenn's first car was a 1941 Chevy Club Coupe, still had the six, but it was hopped up and pretty fast for a stocker. Always looking for more horsepower, Glenn bought a 49 Olds 2 door, with V-8, the most powerful engine in that time.  The car was powerful, but heavy, so this is when Glenn started to realize some secrets of drag racing. It was not all about horsepower, weight and gearing were the key to success. He installed a 4.30 rear end to help. He later learned, if he welded up the spider gears, the car ran better at the races.

Glenn got a 38 Chevy Coupe and cut everything he could out of the car. He got the weight down near 2400 pounds. He built the stock six, installed lower gears, and ran 82 mph in the 14's. In 1956, he then got another 38 Chevy Coupe, and with partner Don Hicks, installed an Olds motor, ran C gas, doing 99.44 mph in 14.05.

Needing a new street car, he bought a 1938 Chevy Panel, put in a 370 Olds with Hydro, what a great, fast street car. This is what he drove when I met him. Around this time, he got together with Leon Fitzgerald, and built another 38 Chevy. This one had a big Olds motor, and did well at the track, besting 108 in the 13's.

What I liked about Glenn, was his quiet thoughtful approach to his work, and life. In addition to being the best wrench and automotive trouble shooter I ever knew, he also had great ideas about life and how to weave your way through it. I did a lot of work at his speed shop, and we talked endlessly about racing and life. When I needed advice about racing, cars, tune ups or anything, he was always there. He even gave me the confidence to start my first business, Brackett Speed Products.

Glenn had some good ideas about motors and racing. I remember he spent a lot of time designing a two cycle small block Chevy motor. His ideas were sound, the motor was destroked, had a wet sump, a 4.71 blower, and should have turned around 12,000 rpm. It was unfortunate that Glenn never finished that idea, I think it would have worked.

I had been working at Mickey Thompson's for a year or so, and Glenn's advice about work there was helpful, so when Glenn started to build a BB Gas Dragster, I wanted to help. He had Jack Eskelson build a dragster chassis, but it had no front end. I built a tube axle front end for his car, complete with billet mini Anglia style front spindles. The dragster had a blown small block Chevy motor, check out this story "McCulloch and Brown BB Gas Dragster".

He helped many local Southern California drag racers and partnered with some. Leon Fitzgerald's Chevy powered "Pure Heaven" altered, Campos Brothers' Chevy powered altered "Lo Blow", Jerry Herouix's Chevy powered C gas dragster, Ron Fleenor's eight hour enduro boat, Phil Nation's Corvair powered off road racer, were a few. Glenn sold his interest in Anaheim Speed Engineers in late 1968, and started doing mostly mechanical repairs. 

Glenn 4

When Glenn started to build a BB Gas Dragster, I wanted to help.

Glenn 5

Leon Fitzgerald's Chevy powered "Pure Heaven" altered, Campos Brothers' Chevy powered altered "Lo Blow"

Later, we had both moved to the Sierra's east of Sacramento, California, and we built a dirt track modified, to race at the local circle track in Grass Valley. The car was very competitive, thanks to Glenn's motor and tuning, check out this story "Building a Dirt Track Modified". Glenn was always there with a helping hand, whenever I was in trouble. Sadly, I moved away in 1980, but still picked his brain by phone for years. 

After a very sucessful automotive career, he retired several years ago and is enjoying retirement. Thanks to Glenn McCulloch for his contributions to drag racing and for stabilizing my life and career.