Project Description

Swamp Rat 27: the “Sidewinder” was built by Chuck and Mike Sage, two brothers in Bellevue Ohio. The body was by Al Bergler in Detroit. The Sage Bros. were big in tractor pulling and were quite familiar with transferring power through gears. They had done a little testing with their alky dragster and decided to go for the gold and put the gear box into a fuel car, so they gave me a call and I liked the idea. I tested the car at Miami Hollywood and all went well, but remember the track didn’t have the traction of the West Coast. My first event was OCIR in Santa Ana and I broke the gearbox, losing the match to Shirley. The Sage Bros. went back to the drawing board. By early spring, I had a new gearbox and tested at several match races, my last one was Rockford IL, where the Chi-Town Hustler beat me two straight as I ran 6.20s. That was the last straw, as the engine had just turned 252 MPH in 5.86 in SR 26. I called my engineering friend at South Florida University, gave him all the information on the gears and he told me I was losing at least 21% power through the gears and only 7% through the Dana rear. End of the project. The Sage Brothers were no convinced and took the car back to Ohio for more testing. About two years later I looked down the driveway and here comes Mike Sage with the “Sidewinder” in his pick-up truck. He said he had not been successful and maybe the Professor was right! We put the car back together and it is on display here at the Museum.