The Inaugural Xtreme Wheels Show,
Alexandria Palace, 14th & 15th February 2004
Report and pictures by Richard Stirling © 2004
(This report was originally prepared for and published by Phil and Gary Cottingham at www.dragsterworld.com; The pictures were also used by the show organisers, Obsession Motor Sports, on their 2004 web site. I recently (Nov 2006) had need to check the vehicles present at the 2004 show and found that neither site continued to host the original report, (seeing that it is nearly 3 years old it's hardly surprising!) so I have now re-published the report on www.topnitro.co.uk)
Obsession Motor sports have worked hard to secure Alexandra Palace as a fitting facility to house the Xtreme Wheels show for 2004. At first impression it surely seems to hold the promise of being a permanent fixture for the show for years to come. I sauntered into the expansive entrance hall and found the new Topolino blown altered of Bob and Cathy Glassups most arresting. It was beautifully finished and emblazoned with the Xtreme Wheels Show logo and simply looked gorgeous. The supercharged Chevrolet Big Block V8 engine hopefully should make it go as fast as it looks. When entering the long drag strip entrance to the Grand Hall, I was quite taken with the drag strip layout. A functional starting light Christmas Tree was in place and a sound presentation was running. A Monster Dairies milk float, sporting a nitrous oxide injected Chevrolet V8 engine, looked impressive and it would be nice to see this ‘Full Cream Ahead’ racer at the strip some time.
The Grand Hall seemed very light and airy and the there was plenty to see. The hall seemed ideally suited to this function and one can only hope that this inaugural show is the first of many at this wonderful facility. Nobby Hill’s new Nitro Funny Car was again prominently featured, as it was at the Autosports show in January. It would have been nice to have had an opportunity to ‘see under the hood’ but I guess we’ll have to wait for that until we see it at the race track. The shapely lady who we saw at the Autosports show was again in attendance and slinked around the car whenever a willing camera was pointing in her direction. I hope to see the team do well this season in an overdue return to the race track.
Moving around, the next thing that caught my attention was Ian King’s superb Top Fuel bike. The beautiful purple paint job and sparkling chrome surfaces were simply dazzling and though looks are not everything, rumored new performance parts should pose a serious threat to Roel Koedam’s FIM/UEM Top Fuel bike championship defence, in the coming season.
I then wandered over to the American Car Imports stand and their Dodge 5.7 Hemi pickup caught my attention, to say the least. I expect this red monster will send women and children running for cover when it thunders down leafy country lanes! This is a definite ‘must have’ vehicle for any professional drag racing team. Parked next to the Dodge was an enchanting new concept car from Chevrolet. It looked superb and is a testament to the new era of design which has recently been coming out of Detroit. Over at the back of the ACI stand was a gorgeous Ford from 1940, which is the personal transport of ACI Principle Anthony Cohen. He purchased the vehicle in Southern Ireland and had it fitted with an outrageous new Chevrolet 550/550 engine and it looked absolutely awesome in its bright yellow paint job. Despite the 550bhp motor, Anthony confirmed that it ‘idles like a pussy-cat’ and said that the car is a regular visitor ‘down town’. Also on the ACI stand I also bumped into Top Fuel pilot Darryl Bradford and he seemed in fine fettle. He was looking forward to racing again this year but would be happier if the sponsorship situation was brighter, as I’m sure would all racers. Good luck for the coming season, Darryl!
The new Santa Pod stand looked purposeful and I’m sure it will be a great race and exhibition asset. The huge launch pictures of Top Fuel racer Barry Sheavills and Nitro Funny Car driver John Spuffard really set the whole thing off. On the stand itself, the new Top Fuel Dragster looked superb. We can only hope that Santa Pod run the car at some time in the future. Martin Hill’s Fireforce Jet car looked fantastic, too, after having had a replacement body fitted. This follows the frightening incident back at the European Finals in September, when the old body parted company with the car and shot off to the heavens, leaving spectators fearing the worst. Back on the Santa Pod stand and Rick Cuthbert was admirably holding the fort. I must take this opportunity to thank Rick and his assistant for tracking me down after I stupidly dropped my wallet when purchasing essential FIA 2003 videos. That could have been a nightmare. Good old John Price was in full attendance and I can’t help thinking that he must have been born with a microphone in his hand! He conducted interviews and presented prizes throughout the show and generally kept all and sundry amused.
Heading off again in a roughly anti-clockwise fashion around the stands, I came across the Twisted Sanity rocket car. Their unique polyethylene and nitrous oxide propulsion system is still under development but when the multi-rocket vehicle appears later in the year we should start to see some quicker times and speeds.
Moving on, several amphibious vehicles were on display and I’m sure I’ve seen one or more of these vehicles on film or TV. One thing I have definitely seen on TV is the motor bike and side car hearse that was on display for that dignified final ride for the dedicated biker. I was excited to see, situated just round the corner, the original Batmobile from the TV series Batman. I loved that show as a kid and underneath all the flamboyant bodywork, I understand, is a Lincoln Continental. Sadly no-one was around to confirm this.
I then came upon the impressive Lucas Oils stand. The main area of drag racing interest here was the Gleadlow Brothers’ blown Small Block Chevrolet altered which is now driven by the personable Martin Gleadlow. Now sporting a dashing bright blue Mohican haircut, Martin excitedly told of plans for a new body for the car and new race transmission. These improvements must surely overcome the teething troubles of the past couple of years. Martin hinted of his younger sibling’s intentions to climb into the cockpit at some point, an ambition that I hope he achieves in time. In fact Martin and I recorded an entertaining “60 Second Quickie Interview” and that can be seen by clicking on this link. You will need an updated Windows media player and preferably a broadband connection as, unfortunately, it is a large file.
Whilst moving around the sledge pulling tractor from the sport of tractor pulling with its five blown alcohol burning big block Chevrolet motors, I couldn’t help noticing Top Fuel racer Andy Carter in earnest conversation with the owner. Was he negotiating some sort of Fueller/Tractor swap? Or was he planning to put of couple of fuel engines into one of these tractors? Who knows… the Tractor was impressive and, more importantly has strong links to drag racing. On the same stand was the Firestorm jet funny car and it looked resplendent in its blood-red paint scheme. Over on the other side of the Custom Car stand was Steve Pateman’s awesome Custom Car Street Eliminator Vauxhall Calibra. I have caught this car on camera in the past with its near side front wheel still off the floor when it was near the 330 foot marker. This has got to be a contender for the first street legal 7 second machine.
In the secondary hall, there were a number of vehicles present more from a street tuning and accessories perspective than drag racing. There was a most entertaining mini-drag strip from the BHRA and I was captivated by how fast these little scalectric type vehicles zipped down the strip. My initial attempt to photograph them got empty track and I was staggered to see the alarming velocity that these little things traveled at. I felt like nudging the kids out of the way and confiscating the controls for ‘scrutineering’ reasons!
Further on in the display was simply the most ridiculous stretched vehicle I have ever seen. It was a new shaped Hummer and stretched as far as the eye could see well, not exactly, but a good 40 feet I would guess. The interior was furnished in a most opulent mix of white leather and garish fittings which would have suited even the most exotic tastes.
There was a selection of various period cars including a Superbird Dodge Charger and a Superbird Plymouth Roadrunner. I was rather excited at the prospect of seeing Chrysler’s iconic 426 Hemi V8 engine nestling under one of the hoods, but was disappointed to see the wedge 440’s in abundance – not that we should be disappointed with a 440 with ‘Six Pack’ – I just love Hem's.
I then returned to the main hall and to the Hoosier stand. Paul Wright’s Outlaw Anglia looked good with its extensive Aerodynamic modifications. A huge rear wing helps keep that supercharged Chevrolet 555 cubic inch motor under control. Just alongside was Gary Malin’s Serious Playtime Super Comp dragster which looked great with its new paint job. A little further along on the Hoosier stand was Dale Gibbons with his Alien altered. Next to that was the terrific looking green pro stock bike racer of Martin Bishop. This was wisely set up on a pedestal making it easier to view for the spectators.
Andy Carter’s Top Fuel dragster looked absolutely fantastic in its orange and blue corporate colours of Go Talk. Although this is the repaired dragster that was damaged last August in Gardermoen, this has been repaired to the highest possible standards by Top Fuel racer John Webster and his greatly respected Webster Race Engineering company. This car is expected to be on ‘Exhibition’ Tour this year but will be ready for action, if needed. The whole team of Andy Carter seems to be consummately professional and Andy deserves to do well on this year’s FIA Top Fuel tour driving for Rune Field. His race car will be the ex-Paul Romine Spitzer chassis which Oyver Jacobsen and Peter Beck drove to 4.93 and 4.91 bests during 2003. Andy seems to be doing well with his diet, for it will be a tight fit in that compact race chassis.
Mention must be made of a couple of other vehicles. Just round the corner from Andy Carter’s Top Fueller is Xtreme Wheels show organiser Obsession Motor Sports and taking prime position on the stand is their Super Mod/Pro Mod 69 Camaro. Craig Gibbs will be handling the driving chores this year and will be running in Super Mod. A step up to Pro-Modified for 2005 is on the cards if things go well.
Surely vying for ‘Most beautiful car of the show’ has to be The Streamliner. This car is based on a 1938 Ford Tudor and is simply sensational. The lines are simply delicious and I was charmed by its beauty. Eager to compare my thoughts on another good looker, I quickly went to visit my other personal favourite and all round prettiness contender – Andy Robinson’s gorgeous Pro Mod ’53 Studebaker Commander. I checked it out to see if it more beautiful… and my personal winner of the “Xtreme Wheels Beauty of The Show Contest” is… The Streamliner. Sorry, Andy!
In conclusion: all in all ,a jolly good show. Good value, well organised and thoroughly interesting. Let’s hope that this becomes a regular feature on the show tour calendar as it is an essential show for any drag racer, petrol head or motoring enthusiast. Well done to Obsession Motor Sports for establishing this new and exciting show.
Copyright © Richard I Stirling