Pink is not the average, everyday color choice for a hard-driving guy. But big Al Graeber did not feel constrained by everyday conventions during his colorful racing career. And when he raced his 'Tickle Me Pink Dodge Charger' funny car, he wore a pink helmet, to put an exclamation point on his disdain for humdrum stereotypes.
And as a man of substantial dimensions, his contemporaries were rarely inclined to make fun of his taste in colors. During a career that began in the 1950s, Graeber raced short track jalopies, midgets, sprint cars, and stock cars, as well as cars designed for pure acceleration.
Sponsored by Chrysler Corporation, Tickle Me Pink was built by Al Graeber's Speedway Engineering shop in Springfield, Pennsylvania, better known at that time for sprint cars. It employed a spring car-style torsion bar front suspension and tube frame chassis.
The fiberglass Dodge Charger body was fabricated by Ron Pellegrini. Unusual body shell features include a functional passenger door, making it easier for Graeber to extract himself in a hurry, and a removable front end. The car was powered by a Chrysler Hemi V8 with Hillborn fuel injection, sending thrust to the rear wheels via a Chrysler pushbutton Torqueflite automatic transmission. The best quarter-mile recorded for the car was 8.47 seconds at 165 mph.
Tickle Me Pink had several owners after Graeber, then dropped out of sight for many years before being found in Canada and restored in 2009 and 2010.