GAA Will Feature This Awesome 1964 For Thunderbolt Tribute at Their April Auction

Mar 26, 2024 2 min read
GAA Will Feature This Awesome 1964 For Thunderbolt Tribute at Their April Auction

A meticulously crafted tribute to the original Thunderbolt driven by Len Richter.

In an homage to automotive history and racing legacy, a meticulously crafted 1964 Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt Tribute stands as a testament to the original Thunderbolt that Len Richter piloted to victory in the 1964 AHRA Championship. This vehicle, a centerpiece of dedication and craftsmanship, has undergone a comprehensive multi-year rotisserie restoration to recreate the iconic racer's glory, distinguishing itself not just as a replica but as a high-quality tribute to both the car and its legendary driver.

The tribute car's heart is a powerful 1967 FE 427 CID Ford Side-Oiler engine, paired with a 4-speed Ford Close Ratio Toploader Transmission and a 9" custom Currie 31 spline rear axle. Despite its competition-ready build, this Thunderbolt has never been used in drag racing competitions, preserving its pristine condition. Its engine setup includes a .600 lift camshaft, Ford Low Riser 427 Heads, and dual quad 600 cfm carburetors, ensuring tremendous torque and a performance that rivals, if not surpasses, the original.

Ed Machcinski, a retired Michigan iron worker and close family friend of Len Richter, spearheaded the tribute's creation. With Richter's guidance and memories imbued in every detail, the tribute car features professional hand-painted lettering, authentic components like the original aluminum Thunderbolt intake air box, and a gold paint finish chosen by Machcinski to honor but distinctively differentiate it from the original Thunderbolt.

Notable figures in racing, including "Hammer" Mason and Hubert Platt, have lauded the tribute car's impeccable quality and attention to detail. Len Richter himself, until his passing in 2012, expressed immense admiration for the tribute, leaving his signature on the dashboard as a seal of approval.

Today, while the original Thunderbolt resides with Dennis Kolodziej, co-founder of the Thunderbolt Owners Association, this tribute car stands as a living monument to the racing achievements of Len Richter and the enduring legacy of the Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt. With its meticulous maintenance, this tribute car is more than just a nod to the past; it's a masterpiece in its own right, celebrating the spirit of competition and the timeless allure of classic American muscle cars.

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