BEHIND THE SNAKE AND MONGOO$E


McEwen’s freshly-repaired ’79 ‘Vette body at the Salinas Boys shop – photo furnished by Cole Foster

Our man-about-town in Bennington, VT, Dan Strohl at Hemmings, posted up the latest trailer for the oh-so-anticipated “Snake & Mongoose” film releasing this year and we couldn’t resist mentioning it here, again – especially since Cole finished up the Mongoose ‘Vette body that was roughed up a little bit during the making of the film (above).

Now, one of the things, as journalists, that bugs us the most about the Glory Days of Drag Racing (roughly 1965 to 1973) is that the guys (and let’s face it; the girls, too) who were living those wild and wooly years to the wildest-wooliest don’t wanna talk about it.

Sure, they’ll talk about it, but only if they get a swearsies-double-knuckle-cocotaso promise from us that we’ll never write about them talking about it. Late at night, in the back shop at Gotelli’s in South San Francisco – on the same floor that the #19 car was built (the most beautiful dragster ever to roll through the box), we’ve heard some of the most epic stories of what happened at tracks, bars, motels, cargo slabs in chase wagons, truck beds, roadsides, service bays and up against chain link fences among these gladiators and the people who loved them.

And having heard enough of these stories in wide-eyed wonderment, we can say with every ounce of certainty that the generations since them – ours definitely included – have not LIVED. Nossir, you may think you have some epic stories to tell, but unless you drove/built/wrenched a drag car in the days when so many died going so fast, brother, you ain’t shit. And we include ourselves in that group, too, so don’t get your t-back in a wad.

Back to Prudhomme and McEwen. As much as this little film promises, we’re quite certain that the stuff we’d love to hear about the most was probably not left on the cutting room floor, but never broached to begin with. And that’s a shame. Story is what we’re all about. Story is what lives on after we’re gone – the good, bad, ugly and epic. And while we don’t know Don or Tom personally, we’ll slap leather that the epicness we really want to know about won’t be revealed in any film backed by the NHRA.

But hey – we’re still gonna see the film. We’re still stoked that the cars have been restored, the haulers dragged back out and repainted, Don and Tom celebrated and lauded in a much-deserved way. Stoked. And it just strengthens our resolve that much more to get to the stories nobody else will. Or can.


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