THERE was no happier person at last weekend’s Day Of The Drags at Sydney Dragway than Ezio Cacciotti, who made the relatively short trip from Minto to make his driving debut in his funky ’64 Plymouth Fury coupe, Green Fing.
The modified gasser looks every inch an old-school race car, but, like its owner, this was its first outing of any serious note. Ezio bought the Fury a few years back from his mate Al Burgers – a bloke who has built more cool cars than most of us have had hot dinners.
Al has a long history with hot cars, and is probably most famous for his wild seven-second ’59 El Camino, which he campaigned during the height of Wild Bunch racing between 1994 and 1998.
Inspired by the Ramchargers’ ’63 and ’64 Plymouths that he saw racing at Castlereagh in 1966, Al bought the Fury in 2009, with the goal of turning it into a Factory Experimental-style weapon (SM, Jun ’14). Al shifted the rear axle forward by 18 inches and made the necessary mods to the flares to create the classic gasser look. He also dropped in the 350ci Chev small-block, applied the green paint, and named it. The car debuted at the Rocket Open Day in 2010, winning People’s Choice. Al ran a best of 11.00 in that format, backing off at half-track at Sydney Dragway’s Mopar Rumble. Later, he swapped the SBC for a ballistic 6/71-blown 500ci Keith Black Hemi and ran the car at numerous cackle meets and also raced it on the dirt at Chopped. With other fish to fry, Al moved it on to Ezio, minus the Hemi donk, but with the 350 SBC.
Ezio has since put his own personal stamp on the car here and there. “I just changed a few things like accelerator linkages, put an MSD in it, put an alternator in it, just updated a lot of the stuff,” he said. “Al built it to race, but things change, so I got it off him and my full intention was to race it.”
The 350 small-block is breathed on hard by a TBS 6/71 blower, fuel injected and running on alcohol.
“It was a quick combo and it seems to be working today, so we’re proud of that,” Ezio said. “Our first pass, we didn’t know what the car was going to do. And sure enough, first pass it tried to turn right and I had to get out of it and just cruise down the track. We made adjustments to the wheelie and sway bars and from then on it ran nice, straight, strong.”
Ezio spent his Day Of The Drags in pursuit of his racing licence. Completing five passes – working up gradually from a quarter-track blast to two full-track passes complete with ’chute pull (where he ran a pair of 10.45s even with tentative throttle-work) – he impressed officials enough to get his ticket and he plans to put it to good use whenever nostalgia calls.
“I basically built it to do nostalgia stuff, ’cos the gasser scene is sort of coming back,” he said. “The car would be classified as a Super Sedan, but when the gassers come out I want to run with them. Like back in the old days – just full-throttle and hang on!”
Once Ezio gets fully up to speed with the subtleties of the car and the drag strip, he’s confident it’ll quickly get into the nines.
“I could feel it wanted more and I was a bit reluctant, first time out,” he said. “I’ll just have to squeeze the throttle a bit harder to run a nine, and that will happen eventually.”