Nostalgia is synonymous with drag racing for Rick Thielen, who owns Thielen Brothers Flooring in Perry with his brother, Kirk.
One look at his dragster and the nostalgia is hard to miss. The multi-colored car is painted with colors known as “plum crazy,” “viper yellow,” “garnet red” and “Hemi Orange.” Eight Hilborn fuel injection system stacks rise above the hood. The gas tank is mounted in the front grill. The hood can be completely removed to expose the engine.
“That was popular in the ’60s,” Thielen says of the Hilborn fuel injection system. “You don’t see them much now. After having a Hilborn for a while, I see why. They are hard to keep tuned.” The engine is a 500-inch, 850-horse power Chrysler.
Garnet was the original color of the car, a ’65 Coronet. However, the car was painted black for about 20 years before Thielen decided he wanted a change.
“I took about three different paint jobs I had seen and liked, and put them all together to come up with the current color design,” he says. “Yea, the color is a nostalgia thing.”
Thielen has owned the same car for 30 years, and simply upgraded the engine periodically to gain faster speeds.
“This used to be a 14-second car and now it is a 9.5-second car,” he says. “It can go 0-150 (mph) in 9.5 seconds.”
Thielen added, “The car could go faster, but to do that I would have to spend a lot of money on another engine and all the equipment that goes along with that. If I went up to the next step, the fuel alone would be $16 a gallon.”
He likes to take his tricked-out car and race in nostalgia races, and he’s not alone.
“Nostalgia races are becoming more and more popular,” he says. He races nostalgia classes in Earlville, Cedar Falls and Eddyville, just to name a few places.
Drag racing seeped into his blood when he was in high school, watching his father race and doing some racing of his own. His father, Ron, raced cars for a number of years and then gave it up for a while. About four years ago, Ron started racing again. Now Ron races nearly every weekend, more than Rick.
Father and son have a friendly rivalry going. Ron beat Rick’s time recently — by one-half second.Contact Darren at 953-4822 ext. 304 or firstname.lastname@example.org to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of “What’s In Your Garage?”