Dick Wells, 1934-2010 by ProQuest


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									                                                    Dick Wells,
                                  NHRA board member was first editor of
                            National DRAGSTER and respected industry veteran

         HRA board member Dick Wells, who died                                                                  school with his tuba in tow. Wells scratched his
         Jan. 18, was National DRAGSTER’s first                                                                 head and said, “It would have to be you or the
         editor and a lifelong wordsmith. In March                                                              tuba. Both won’t fit in the Crosley.” Paul was
2007, he authored this entertaining and interesting                                                             incensed, didn’t understand, and never spoke to
biography that tells of his amazing career in the                                                               Wells again. The Lincoln High School football
world of motorsports. Although written in the third-                                                            team on one occasion picked up the Crosley,
person, it’s genuine Wells prose.                                                                               carried it up the stairs to the main entrance of the
                                                                                                                school, and left it there, crosswise, so the doors

         ick Wells began his career in the field of                                                             couldn’t be opened. The principal was angry and
         motorsports much the same as other                                                                     demanded that the coach force the team to “…
         Americans: when he was a teenager and                                                                  put that car back down on the street where it
got his driver’s license for the first time. His                                                                belongs!”
interest in cars became apparent quickly. At 16,                                                                    But eventually, Wells got the hot rod bug and
his dad gave him the family’s ’36 Chevy two-                                                                    fixed up a black ’48 Ford two-door — lowered it,
door, today known as the model with “suicide                                                                    installed dual exhaust, box-style fender skirts,
doors.” There was one problem with the car: It                                                                  and added the cat’s meow of the day: twin
jumped out of high gear when traveling at a                                                                     Appleton spotlights. Eventually, he needed a
normal speed, so when he and his pals were out                                                                  good job to pay for all of the toys, and he began
cruising, one had to hold the floor-shift lever                                                                 working in an automotive parts store in Lincoln,
down to avoid having the car pop out of gear. At                                                                Neb., as a stockroom clerk, then quickly moved
16, he remembers, he simply didn’t have the                                                                     up to become a salesman, and after a few years,
money to get it repaired, and at that point, he                                                                 took over as manager. The store, Hank’s Auto
didn’t have the knowledge to repair it on his own.                                                              Store, sold auto parts and speed equipment. Later,
    His father had mixed emotions about Wells’            the vacuum cleaner sucked up dry leaves and           Wells was hired by Speedway Motors, today one
interest in cars. The Chevy was polished and              twigs, and Dale destroyed his mother’s new            of the largest distributors of automotive
waxed so often that the paint was wearing                 prized vacuum.                                        performance equipment in the United States, and
through to the primer in many spots, but after an             And Wells favored “odd” cars. He even had a       he remained there as assistant manager until
experience with his pal, he chose not to repaint it. ’48 Crosley station wagon while in high school. It         relocating from his native Lincoln to the Los
    Here’s what happened: His high school friend, made sense: very good economy. But there was a                Angeles area.
Dale, also had ’36 Chevy, which he decided to             downside: It never started on a cold Nebraska             It was in California that he became actively
paint. The two 16-year-                                                         winter morning. And the         involved in motorsports as a career pursuit. He
olds began to paint on a                                                        upside: It was small, light,    was the first editor of National DRAGSTER when
Saturday morning when                                                           and easy to push. Pr
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