Monday, 29 July 2013

Pure Hell

Words & photos: Daniel Bevis

A 'Fuel-Altered' dragster must be a challenging thing to drive up the historic Goodwood hillclimb: a machine designed for driving very quickly for a quarter of a mile over a flat straight line, having to weave and snake steeply through the trees... nevertheless, the old girl handled it with aplomb. If in doubt, deafen everyone nearby - that's the Pure Hell way.

Pure Hell was built by Rich Guasco, who owns and runs it to this day. Sitting atop a custom 92" chassis is a chopped-about Austin Bantam body, with the eyecatchingly lurid whole originally powered back in 1964 by a small-block Chevy V8. After a fairly catastrophic crash it was rebuilt with a Chrysler Hemi; like many cars of this ilk, it served as a test-bed for the development of various drivetrain and chassis set-ups, so it's down to the keen-eyed enthusiasts of the vintage drag scene to identify which bits appeared in which years... however, the car in its current form was rejuvenated in 1994 as a sort of optimised, modern iteration of the classic Pure Hell concept. And you can take it from me, the sound it makes transcends mere decibels - Pure Hell, as befits its name, penetrates your very soul when the throttle opens, forcing race fuel into your eyes, tyresmoke up your nose, and the sensation of something way beyond your earthly concept of 'loud' squarely through your ears and into the centre of your brain. It's a cerebral, multi-sensory assault. Which is exactly what Guasco was going for.

Spotted at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed - click here for more photos

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