The Origin of "Pure Heaven II" AA Fuel Altered

The Origin of "Pure Heaven II" AA Fuel Altered
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The Origin of "Pure Heaven II" AA Fuel Altered

By Dave Brackett

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In mid 1965, I was finishing my college degree in Southern California, and was sharing a house with Tom McMullen, working on hot rods at the house. I had finished redoing Tom's "Chevy Two" and needed more room, so I moved my tools and equipment to Anaheim Speed Engineers in Anaheim, California. Leon Fitzgerald had just moved his speed shop from Fullerton, Ca. and with new partner Glenn McCulloch, opened Anaheim Speed Engineers. I worked in the back, building race cars and hot rods and paid them a percentage for using the shop.

I also helped out with Leon's fuel altereds, "The Flintstone Flyer" and "Pure Heaven", Leon and Glenn's answer to the successful "Pure Hell" fuel altered. I built headers for those cars and did chassis welding. I also built the front end for the new "McCulloch and Brown" AA Gas Dragster, for Glenn McCulloch. I was enjoying helping with the "Fuel Altereds", and was thinking of building one for myself. In these years, fuel altereds were very popular and common, their ill handling being the attraction.

By the end of 1965, I needed more room, so I rented an industrial building and opened "Brackett Speed Products". I was busy building dragsters, headers and various hot rods, and I had borrowed a chassis jig from chassis builder Jack Eskelson to speed up chassis building. I sketched up a different style chassis for a fuel altered for myself. Altereds were very different then, the chassis had a short wheelbase and the motor sat very high. This meant the torque of the motor twisted the chassis and the result was ill handling cars. I decided to split the chassis, the lower half going to the front wheels, and an upper portion attached to the motor. Both sections connected toward the rear of the car. This allowed the motor to move independent from the rest of the chassis allowing the upper chassis to flex, but not affect the lower part. The upper part with motor sat on saddles that rested on the lower chassis, this made for a better handling car.

I was building a lower class altered for a small block Chevy on gasoline. I finished the chassis, lightweight magnesium rear end, and torsion front suspension with strait tube axle. I wanted to use an old Messerschmitt three wheeler body, because it was sleek and narrow. I checked with NHRA and they said I could not use that body, so I decided to go with a Bantam fiberglass body.

 

pure heaven

Altereds were very different then, the chassis had a short wheelbase and the motor sat very high.

pure heaven 1

Pure Heaven 1

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Unfortunately, in late 1966, I was drafted in the Army, so everything stopped. I closed by business and gave the chassis to friend R.T. Reed. R.T. was a good mechanic and he got together with Leon Fitzgerald and they decided to finish the car, but upgrade it to a AA Fuel Altered with a newer Big Block Chevy. They got chassis builder Jack Eskelson to finish the car, he changed the rear end and front end, adding a transversal spring to handle the added weight. The "Bantam" fibreglass body was installed and the car was finished by late1967.

pure heaven 2

Pure Heaven 2

Named "Pure Heaven II", the car was an immediate success. It was one of the best handling altereds ever. Leon and other driver Rick Rockman, ran the car very successfully for many years, going on the national tour. I had the pleasure of helping when they raced near my Army base in Maryland. The car set a record for winning seven national events in a row, and in 2005, Leon Fitzgerald was inducted into the NHRA Hall of Fame for his contribution to drag racing.

 

I always wished I had been able to finish the car and race it myself, but I am so glad of what happend to the car, it became more famous and successful, than it would had I kept it. The car was restored many years ago and can still be seen around the country at different nostalgia events, especially the Hot Rod Reunion in Bakersfield. It is often on display at the NHRA Museum in Pomona, Ca., and has recently been offered as a die cast model.
It was great to be a part of early drag racing, hanging around with fuel altereds and helping to create "Pure Heaven II", possibly the most successful nostalgia fuel altered ever. What fun!