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1974 Maxwell Sprint Car news, pictures, specifications, and information

 
The Al Hamilton Special was built in the fall of 1974 by Don Maxwell and welded by Doug Wolfgang in Lincoln Nebraska.

Jan Opperman won the 1975 Florida Nationals. The car has many wins wîth other drivers such as Mitch Smith, Kramer Williamson, Van May, Lynn Paxton, Smokey Snellbaker, Rich Eichelberger, Ralph Splithaler, and Smokey Snyder.

Jan Opperman began his racing career in the mid-1960s, on motorcycles and in midgets in the San Francisco Bay Area. He gained attention when, more than once, he drove an even-then-antique Ford V8/60-powered midget to victory at Ascot against nationally known drivers running brand-new equipment. But his long hair and counter-culture attitude made him an outsider among the generally more buttoned-down drivers of that time.

In 1968, car builder Bob Trossle offered Opperman his first ride in a competitive sprint car. By 1970 Opperman was known as one of the premier 'outlaw' sprinters in the Midwest; and the 'Flying Hippie' had become a marketable oddity. Promoter Jack Gunn lured Opperman to Pennsylvania, which was already known for the toughest outlaw sprint car racing int he country. In a winged car, Opperman could circle the half-mile at Selinsgrove without lifting. He ran as many as 99 events in a year, and once told journalist Brock Yates that he raced so regularly it had become 'like carrying a lunch bucket to work.'

Dom Maxwell, himself a respected driver, began building sprint cars wîth Opperman in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1972. This car was completed in the fall of 1974 by Maxwell and Doug Wolfgang and Al Hamilton. Its fuel-injected alcohol-fueled Chevrolet 383 cubic-inch stroker V8 produces 600 horsepower. With Opperman behind the wheel, it won its inaugural race, at the 1975 Florida Winternationals, and many other events back in Pennsylvania that spring. It was later driven by Mitch Smith, Kramer Williamson, Lynn Paxton, Van May, Smokey Snellbaker, Rich Eichelberger, Ralph Spithaler and Smokey Snyder.

Now owned by Gloria and Dale Holder of Holsopple, Pennsylvania, it is restored as it appeared at Opperman's victory in the 1975 Florida Winternationals. The symbol on its hood is called the Cross of Peace, which Opperman also wore on his helmet.

Source - AACA Museum
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