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'Injecticide' and the '55 Ford that got awayPete Gentile still has his drag racer from the '60s, but his dream is to finish restoring a '55 Ford. He let that car get away from him once. He won't let it happen again.
[SOUND] [MUSIC] You know, I'm a gear head. I've been working with cars ever since I was eight, nine years old. There's no other occupation that I would have ever wanted. [BLANK_AUDIO] When you have these cars and work on them for so long, there's a lot of heartaches that go into it. It isn't always smooth when you're working on it. The ultimate thing is when you're driving it down the road, and it's moving, and it's stopping. And that's a high you can't replace with drugs. And I mean, and this is a drug, I guess. Today, everybody's more in a hurry than they were back then. We didn't have things to be in a hurry. My name is Pete Gentile. I drive a '55 Chevrolet, that's a next drag race car. And I have a 1955 Ford convertible that I'm in the process of rebuilding, making my own custom car out of it. I got into the hot-rodding thing, because the hot-rodding thing was more a blue collar type of a hobby. People were building cars that had a personality to them. You could tell that they took a lot of time. When they completed a car, it looked really nice. I bought the car from a friend of mine that. He was gonna go drag racing with it. It was just a bare, bare body with four wheels on it. And I says well, I says, if you wanna sell it, let me know. And he says well, just give me what I got in it. And i think at the time I gave him $400 for the car and I took it home and I started doing The initial work on the car to get it, to put an engine in, to get it running. The name of the car Injecticide. One of the young kids, that worked for us, he was into horse racing and he come in one day and he says I got the The name for the car you know, he says Injecticide. I said Injecticide what's that. He said well you got the hilborn fuel injection on it, and some horse that was racing in detroit at one of the horse tracks. At the time I had a garage and a gas station. I felt that if I had a car. With a name on it, and the car was a fairly good runner that I could make money installing, doing engine work, and things like that for other people. Which proved out to be a pretty good mix that we were doing this. It was fairly competitive, and for not being sponsored like a lot of them were sponsored, that were able to put more money in it. I was feeding a wife and two kids and working, and I ran from 1965 to 1972. The end of 71 was the last year I ran detroit Dragway and Milan, Motor City on the other side of town, and then in Windsor, Canada. Them were the four primary tracks. This guy ran 11 77 at 119 mile an hour, which was a tenth and a half off the national record. In 72, NHRA changed the rules, and I decided to stop racing along with many many other people. I took apart the car in the chicken coop, it sat in the chicken coop for many years. [MUSIC] [NOISE] It doesn't have the hilborn injection on it. Now it has a supercharger. A GMC 671 d-tuned to about 600 horsepower right now but it's capable of Probably 750 with more carbonation and more cam shaft. I just crew in the car fast. I take grand kids taken them up to the Dairy Queen, take them on a cruise, take them for a ride. It rides very well on the street it never overheat in fact it runs a little on the cool side I had overheating problems. With it originally and it took me a year or so to work through them. [SOUND] When you're going down the road and you have people that are tooting the horns taking video of the car, you can't replace that. I've had guys that, they'll walk right out in front of the car and stop me And say is this the same car that raced at Windsor Dragway back in the 60s, and you say yeah. And the guy says, you made my day. [SOUND] I had this 19 1955 Ford. I was eighteen years old. I bought it out of a scrap yard. It had a blown motor in it. I teamed up with a friend of mine that was a trimmer. We worked one winter and we did a padded top on the car. I put a 322 cubic inch Ford motor with dual quads on it and it was supped up quite a bit. At 21 I got married and I got activated in the National Guard during the Cuban Missile Crisis. So, I took the car and I dropped it off at the Alexander brothers, which were the eastern division of [UNKNOWN] And they were doing some work to the back end of the car. I was gone for a year, and when I came back and I picked the car up, I was married, I needed a home to live in. My wife was expecting, so the car kinda took a back seat. One of the kids that used to come in all the time, he was bugging me about the car and At the time I didn't think the car had any value to it. So, I signed the title over to him. He was gonna fix the car. It ended up that he didn't do any of that. He left it on a side street in front of his house. The car eventually was sent to the scrap yard and cubed, and that was the end of the car. After that, it was always in the back of my mind that I would like to To do another car, and try to complete the job that I had started on it. At one point, I was looking and there was an article in there that was featuring Alexander Brothers, cars that they had completed. I was scrolling and I seen some of the cars, and I said well, I don't have enough time to To sit and go through all of them. So I went back, I was gonna get out and I said, well I'm gonna go back. The first picture that I came to was a picture of my car sitting in front of the Alexander Brothers shop. And I said wow, that's incredible. I've just been kicking myself all these years and all of a sudden Here is a picture of it. So then I contacted the individual that had posted the picture. And he says he thinks he knows where these books might be. The next day, when I opened my mail, there were pictures of the magazine cover and the articles from one of the magazines. I couldn't hardly believe it. And I'm saying my stars are starting to fall in line here, I've got to get busy. So I located one and it was in Owensville, Missouri. The car wasn't as good as he said it was so we negotiated the price. I brought the car home and since then I've taken the car apart. And it's worse than anybody would have thought. If they had left it sitting in the water for 15 years it probably would have been in better shape than being out of the water and the air get at the metal. And that's what helps the rust start. The car was pretty much into two pieces, the front half and the back half of the car they were just hanging together. The main goal is to get that Ford in one piece so it can be lifted off of the frame and I can do the frame work and then finish the work on the body and do the paint work on it and reassemble it and Work on getting the interior, getting all of the chrome re-chromed on it because it's all pitted. The car pretty much is gonna be like a new car or like a new 55 Ford convertible that will have some modifications done to it. Back then I could work eight or ten or 12 hours on a car and maybe even more depending on what it was but Now with the back issue that I have about four, five hours is equivalent to about 12 hours of what I used to do before. I thought it'd be about two years, two and a half years I think it may still be another two year before I'm done with the car. No, I'm not regretting it, not at all. I just hope I live long enough to finish it. [BLANK_AUDIO]