dWRENCHED SPECIAL - BOOTHILL EXPRESS


     Another ''SPECIAL'' was in order, since I wanted to have this one showcased here @ dWrenched for so long...

      Before we dive right in I just want to say that these ''specials'' are so rare because I mainly don't have the time to document them as well as I want. Cleary, I keep some of these awesome topics in my bookmarks hoping that someday I'll be posting them for you guys. And sometimes I curse myself for not doing this more often. But what can you do, right ? If it's not laziness, it's something else; like work, bad mood... life in general.

    Even though the interweb is not filled with informations and photos of this crazy creation, I managed to put everything head to head  for a nice (maybe even complete) read. The basic story comes from one sourse only, so everybody else just copy-pasted it along the way. I think I will do the same but with some additions; considering the fact that there's no need to chew and spit some words just to make them ''mine'' .

       ''To thousands of custom-car fans who grew up during the 1960s, Ray Fahrner created some of the most memorable and radical show rods of all time. Fahrner, who sadly passed away in 2005, first came to prominence in the late 1950s with his groundbreaking 1932 Ford Roadster Pickup dubbed the Eclipse, which somehow managed to bridge the rapidly growing divide between custom and hot rod vehicles. Once on the map, Fahrner’s Independence, Missouri-based custom shop continued to push the edge of the custom-car design envelope during the 1960s, with his work truly echoing the unbridled creativity and experimental nature of American society during the turbulent 1960s.





   By 1967, Fahrner completed what many believe to be his signature creation, the outrageous “Boothill Express”. As a basis for this stunning vehicle he chose a circa-1850 horse-drawn funeral coach by Cunningham of New York, which reportedly carried James Gang member Bob Younger to his grave on “Boot Hill”. Featuring solid and stately construction, the exterior of the wooden hearse body displays ornate carved moldings as well as a set of brass lamps reportedly dating to late 18th-century India at the front and rear of the vehicle. Inside, the hearse is fitted with proper funeral equipment, including tasseled velvet curtains and a set of polished coffin rails.

   The chrome-plated suspension features a gasser-style CAE tubular solid front axle and hairpins, along with a simple, yet effective steering system from a 1963 Volkswagen Beetle up front. At the rear, a pair of full-elliptic leaf springs, a 1948 Ford rear end and a pair of drum brakes round out the suspension features. The engine is completely outrageous – a 426 cubic inch Chrysler Hemi V8 topped by Hilborn fuel injection, with extra-tall velocity stacks jutting through the top of the hearse body, while eight individual pipes route the spent exhaust gases to the rear of the vehicle. A stout pushbutton-operated Chrysler A-727 TorqueFlite automatic transmission handles the engine’s output, while the car’s aggressive rake is provided by a pair of E-T 10-spoke spindle-mounted front wheels, along with taller and wider Cragar S/S wheels and Goodyear Blue Streak slicks at the rear. Other features include a Ford Model T steering wheel, a Moon hydraulic throttle and canister-style fuel tank as well as an instrument cluster fitted with Stewart-Warner gauges. The open bench-type front seat features black diamond-tufted upholstery.
















     Following its completion, the Boothill Express formed part of Fahrner’s “Boothill Caravan” travelling show, which toured dragstips and the auto show circuit nationwide during the late 1960s, thrilling countless spectators nationwide. And in the best 1960s show-rod tradition, the Boothill Express was immortalized with the 1967 release of a 1:24-scale plastic model kit by Monogram, complete with a skeleton packing a six-shooter and wearing a 10-gallon hat. In fact, due to strong public demand, the model kit was reissued in 1994.






   
     Today, the Boothill Express benefits from an expert detailing and is offered in period correct, unrestored condition. It is ready to resume its show career, or to form the prized centerpiece of a carefully assembled collection of the most famous and iconic show rods ever created. The Boothill Express truly remains a lasting tribute to the wild genius of Ray Fahrner, a custom-car legend with an unbridled imagination.''


          ''Ray built the original from the "stocker" shown in this Polaroid (above). Two years later, he made one clone from fiberglass, which was meant to make easy runs down the strip. The photo of it on the strip was taken the only time it ran, at Beeline in Phoenix.

 The difference between them is that original had a 331 Hemi, the copy has a 426. They both exist. The original is the only one with the Avon motorcycle slicks mounted on 18" spindle-mount Americans in the front; the copy has 15' Americans on the front.

Ray sold the first one to Jay Ohrberg and I think he sold it to Barris. I don't know who Ray sold the second one to.''


-states Tom Davison via Jalopy Journal, in a dedicated topic.

It looks like the copy,. the outdoor circuit version is being kept at the Peterson Museum.

     ''Stan Nystrom and I did all the work on the Boot Hill Express and I drove it. Ray had the idea and the money and we all worked for Ray. He was a great guy and a super promoter. I drove the BootHill a number of times . . . Contrary to what Tom said. There were runs he knew nothing about, because they had nothing to do with car shows. I drove it in parades, and down the main street of Mesa Arizona. I made a pretty strong run at BeeLine Dragway, at the Winternationals. While some may say different, I was there, I did what I did, and plenty of folks snapped photos that still exist. Proof trumps faulty memories, every time!''

-states ''Carbuilder727'' in the same JJ topic as Tom.




     You can be irritated or even fascinated by it. You can say ''wow'' or ''oh, f#ck no!'' ... Whatever your reaction is, one thing is for sure. This crazy cool automotive creation is a living proof that the 60's were the years of the DOers. I mean for fucks sake...after all, this is a repurposed horse-drawn hearse ! With some giant dragster rear slicks and a Hemi inside. It doesn't get any better than that !

Wonderful, absofucking dWrenched !







Photo cred : Bold Ride, American Auctions, Jalopy journal (Mazooma1), Rod & Custom Magazine, flickr, Kustorama, www...
Artwork by MOB. 

Quoted article from Kustomrama


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