Saturday, March 11, 2006

Emergency 1

To kick things off, I will post the history of our first jet car, The Emergency 1.

In the early 70's, my dad was driving an econorail dragster. After all his time running Stock, Junior Fuel, and Top Fuel, he wanted to just go out and have fun. At the time the econorail class was new and supposted to be economical. But with everything as you go faster, so does your spending. My dad was never one to go 7.90 if he could go 6.90.

After a few years, Bill Mattio would worked on the fuel cars with my dad, came and talked with my dad. Throwing out words like fun, fast, and putting money in the bank vs withdrawls sparked an interest in this "Jet stuff". Bill was already running the J-34 Westinghouse powered Chicago Fire, and wanted to build a second car. After more discussions, they teamed up and Bill's new car would be the New Chicago Fire, but what to call the old car. After some brainstorming the Emergency 1 "World's Fastest Fire Truck" was born.

The car was taking to Lee Austin to design and build the body to resemble a fire truck, and Dan Onate applied the candy apple red and gold paint to it. All it needed was the final touch, the red strobe on the roll cage!

After running the Emerency 1 for a few years, Bill wanted to build a newer car again. We had decided to sell the Emergency 1 and buy Bill's car. A man named Joe Donaldson bought the car, but not the body or the name Emergency 1. He had a new body designed by someone in Southern Califorina that was a cross between a ski boat and a space ship. He went through the entire car and rebuilt it all.

Unfortunately during the first test fire at Orange County International Raceway, something was wrong and the car was destroyed and Joe seriously injured.

The remains of the car and body was sold and eventually rebuilt into the transforming jet car known as the Vorian.

The Vorian is own by a man in New Mexico, and from what I was told currently in the process of being restored with some assistance by Doug Rose of the Green Mamba fame.


Blogger Michael said...

Had the opportunity to take my son to his first night at the drags tonight and got to let him experience his first jet dragster. The interesting part for me is that growing up Bill Mattio lived across the street from me in Chicago Heights. One of my best stories is telling people that Bill was nice enough to let me sit on his lap during one of the event parades and drive the original Chicago Fire down the track at the ripe old age of about 6. I was just showing my wife the pictures last night in fact. Regardless, do you happen to have any of Bill's contact information. Sure would be nice to say thanks.

12:51 AM  

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