The Walker Brothers Pay Tribute to Their Racer Dad

September 30th, 2011

Text by Pete Ward

Photos by Pete Ward and Courtesy of Walker Family Archives

Pro Mods are the modern day bad boys of drag racing, wildly erratic in their behavior.  Randy Walker’s radically modified ’74 El Camino is one of the baddest of the bunch.

Forty years ago, the Walker’s dad Robert piloted one of the original bad boys, a nitro-burning, stubby wheelbase, evil-handling Fuel Altered. His was cloaked in the body of a Fiat Topolino, carrying the moniker Super Rat.  Robert defiantly refused to relinquish his big-block Chevy rat motor in the face of the overwhelming Chrysler Hemi opposition. He and his rat remained competitive throughout the Southern California drag strips until its retirement in 1969.

Walker is one of the key players in West Coast Pro Mod competition, having won multi-year PSCA and WCHRA championships. During last season, the decision was made to build a new ride. Rob Matheis Race Cars of St. Louis got the nod.  But before the chassis could be welded up, they needed a finished body to ensure a proper fit.  Walker’s business in Bermuda Dunes, California, is capable of building just about any car you can dream, so even though building a carbon fiber body from scratch is quite a daunting task, it was well within their capacity.

On Dec. 10, the team began by whittling down their old body, cutting and shaping until they achieved the desired proportions.  Then the plug and mold were created. In just six weeks the completed, feather-light 52-pound El Camino body was shipped to Matheis.

With liberal use of titanium, Rob fabricated a race-ready vehicle weighing in at a svelte 2,319 pounds. With an ear-to-ear grin, Randy told Drag Racer, “Matheis was an excellent choice, and we couldn’t be happier with the way the car turned out. It’s stunningly lighter, narrower and shorter in height than our previous car. We now feel we’re equipped to compete with the best cars on the West Coast.”

After two weeks at the painter and some final prep, Randy’s brother Duane blasted out of St. Louis at noon, Thursday, April 28 and rolled into The Strip at Las Vegas on Friday afternoon for the Super Chevy race.  From a blank slate to the beauty you see here in just a little more than four months? That’s fairly amazing!

Team Walker unloaded with the same engine combination that brought much success last season. The 822-ci unit features a nitrous management system by Paul Albino of Nitrous Management Solutions and Charles Carpenter, the godfather of Pro Mod racing, continues as tuner.

Walker and crew experienced the expected new car gremlins at Vegas, limiting runs to one half-track blast. The team was dog tired, but happy with the very promising numbers.

By the time you read this, Super Rat 2 will be out thumping some Hemis. Randy and Duane’s dad must be mighty proud.

 

Walker Racing would like to especially thank the following:

 

Boninfante Performance Clutch Parts

Charles Carpenter

DragNuts.com (http://www NULL.DragNuts NULL.com)

Goodyear Tires

GRP Rods

JE Pistons

Lenco Transmissions

Lucas Oil Products

Matheis Race Cars

NAPA Auto Parts

Nitrous Management Solutions

Phenix Industries

Ram Clutches

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