winged express

Just got word from the folks at The California Hot Rod Reunion that they’ll be honoring none other than Al “Mousie” Marcellus at this year’s deal (here).

Now, for those who don’t know (yet), Al is best known for building the one and only “Winged Express” Fuel Altered dragster. Which was driven, most famously and one-handedly, by “Wild” Willie Borsch.

During their short-lived years in the Sixties, the Altereds were probably the best bang for the hard-earned buck. These things were short-wheelbased, humongously-motored devils that could barely get down the track in a straight line, due to the insane power-to-weight ratio –– not the least of which was upstaged only by the insanity of their pilots. Whether they blew up, smacked the wall, went through the traps upside-down or backwards, they never disappointed. The Altereds were the Mickey Rourke acceptance speeches of their day: a guaranteed show, most likely ending in carnage, brought to you by some sort of mysterious rocket fuel and obviously masterminded by the Devil, himself.

Wild Willie piloted the less-than-graceful Winged Express with one hand on the wheel and one on the door sill –– a well-known signature of the bearded one who marauded across the country’s dragstrips, pushing the unruly class of dragster into the 200mph club (sometimes nodding off in a narcoleptic bout in the staging lanes before such runs).

Well, Willie may have passed on nearly twenty years ago, but Mousie has a habit of traveling with Willie’s ashes in an urn that he carries with him everywhere, so even though the NHRA will be celebrating 50 years of The Winged Express this year, both Mousie and Willie will be there with the Winged Express to do the ‘ol meet-n-greet the weekend of October 15th at Famoso Dragstrip in Bakersfield, CA (here). Weird, huh? Not really. It’s drag racing, after all.


  1. Church says:

    Any time the wing is in the staging lanes, it’s time to head for the bleaches. The burnout alone is worth the weekend pit pass, and Mike Boyd carrying the front wheels to 800 or 1000 ft is nothing short of a miracle. Congrats Mousie…. well deserved.

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