FLYIN’ THE FLAG

STRONGER THAN A GOOD SHOT OF SCOTCH WHISKEY

Drag Racer - - Over Center - Text by Andy Will­sheer Photos by Tim Mar­shall, Jamie Shores-Fraijo, Andy Will­sheer and Jim White

Stronger Than a Good Shot of Scotch Whiskey

COLIN MIL­LAR BE­CAME IM­BUED WITH THE WORLD OF HOT-RODDING AT 14 AF­TER READ­ING BOOKS AND MAG­A­ZINES ON THE SUB­JECT. THE SCOT­TISH SCHOOL­BOY PRO­CURED AN OLD MOR­RIS

MI­NOR BE­FORE HE WAS OLD ENOUGH TO DRIVE, AND HAV­ING PASSED HIS DRIV­ING TEST THE FIRST TIME WHEN HE WAS 17—THE MIN­I­MUM AGE TO HOLD A DRIVER’S LI­CENCE IN THE UK—IT WAS JUST NINE DAYS LATER THAT THE MI­NOR WAS SCOOTING AROUND HIS NEIGH­BOR­HOOD. It wasn’t long be­fore the Mi­nor was dis­posed of in fa­vor of a Ford Pop­u­lar em­ploy­ing a Rover 3500cc V-8 and out­fit­ted with the ubiq­ui­tous Jaguar rearend and Vaux­hall Viva front sus­pen­sion setup so beloved by rod­ders at the time. Colin said, “I used to race with some bud­dies down to Santa Pod Race­way, cam­paign the car on the strip all week­end, and then we’d race all the way back home [to north of the bor­der, a roundtrip of just more than 800 miles] as fast as prac­ti­cally pos­si­ble.”

Life in the fast lane was en­joy­able for many years, un­til a de­ci­sion was needed about whether to con­tinue us­ing the street Pop on the strip or ac­quire a purely on-track con­tender. The lat­ter choice was made in 2011 when Colin bought a former strip stand­out, the ex-Pete Ash­worth Day­glo Twis­ter fiber­glass-bod­ied, tube-chas­sised, 101-inch-wheel­base ’48 Anglia, orig­i­nally con­structed by Andy Robin­son Race Cars in Hamp­shire, a well-known and re­spected com­pany headed by a long-time drag racer who cur­rently runs one of the more com­pet­i­tive cars in Bri­tain’s Pro Mod ranks. The car had been sold to a racer in Malta, and fol­low­ing Colin’s pre­scient pur­chase it was repatriated to the UK and up­dated as nec­es­sary for the new owner’s out­ings with the Out­law Anglia Rac­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion. The or­ga­ni­za­tion was founded in 1992 and has en­joyed quite a de­gree of pop­u­lar­ity through­out the past cou­ple of decades. Colin had Web­ster Race En­gi­neer­ing

un­der­take some chas­sis work, “it had been bent at some time be­fore I bought the car,” he said, and the en­gine was fresh­ened by Ian Whit­worth, a spe­cial­ist in For­mula 1 Stock Car power plants. The at­ten­tion-ar­rest­ing paint scheme and side car­toons were un­der­taken by a sex­a­ge­nar­ian Scots­man, Michael

Masters, and in­volved some 152 hours of air­brush work. The Flyin’ Fyfer moniker be­ing the owner’s ini­tia­tive, it de­rives from the fact that the com­pany for which he is the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor has its reg­is­tered of­fice in the town of Glen­rothes, Fife, Scot­land. Any­one who comes from the area is col­lo­qui­ally known as a Fifer. “I changed the ‘i’ to a ‘y’ so it coolly com­ple­ments the Flyin’ term,”

Colin ex­plained.

The first sea­son of run­ning the new ride was largely spent ac­cli­ma­tis­ing driver and crew, dur­ing which time it recorded ETs in the nines. Sub­se­quent sea­sons saw the car dip into the eights, and later—with the as­sist of nitrous ox­ide—the seven-sec­ond sec­tor. Colin and com­pan­ions were cer­tainly pleased with the steady per­for­mance im­prove­ments that have seen the owner’s name rank high up in the class’ cham­pi­onship ros­ter. He has fin­ished in the sec­ond spot three times since 2012 and is de­ter­mined to se­cure the top spot be­fore too long.

Mov­ing on, it was while he was seated in the stands at the 2014 Cal­i­for­nia Hot Rod Re­union and soak­ing up the om­nipresent SOCAL sun­shine that long-time part­ner Lynn Purvis told Colin his 50th birthday treat would be an ex­cur­sion to Famoso Race­way in 2015, along with the Flyin’ Fyfer. Al­though the date was one year up the road, there were many lo­gis­tics to work out, but suf­fice to say mat­ters gelled and Lynn and Colin flew out to the Golden State in au­tumn of 2015 for the trip of a life­time. Ar­range­ments had been made to com­pete in five races (many thanks to NHRA Divi­sion 7 Di­rec­tor Mike Rice for go­ing be­yond the call of duty to ac­com­mo­date the ful­some itin­er­ary of the vis­it­ing Scots­man) with the first runs on Amer­i­can asphalt be­ing made at Famoso’s ANRA Fuel & Gas Fi­nals the week­end be­fore the Cal­i­for­nia Hot Rod Re­union (CHRR). This gave Colin the op­por­tu­nity to sort any grem­lins be­fore a group of friends and reg­u­lar crew mem­bers flew over to join him and Lynn at the big Bak­ers­field bash. En­tered in the Ex­hi­bi­tion class be­cause there was no B/Gas cat­e­gory at CHRR, the driver was de­lighted to make a num­ber of passes in the eights and emerged the win­ner in four pair­ings. The wins, along with an­nouncer Mike English ex­hort­ing the phrase “all the way from Scot­land!” when­ever the car with the home-coun­try wing-mounted na­tional flag and the Stars & Stripes ap­peared on track

with the kilted and booted co­terie, cer­tainly made for an epic ex­pe­ri­ence. “I was blown away by the friend­li­ness of fel­low com­peti­tors and of­fers of as­sis­tance and hospi­tal­ity from com­plete strangers,” he said. This bode well for the next stop on the U.S. tour, NHRA’s Las Ve­gas na­tional event. He ran in the 8.90 in­dex Su­per Comp class, com­prised pri­mar­ily of throt­tle-stope­quipped drag­sters. Colin was un­fazed by the class en­try of 100-plus and by be­ing elim­i­nated dur­ing a round-one dou­ble break­out.

He and his merry band of Scots did a bit of sight­see­ing be­fore re­turn­ing to The Strip for the Lu­cas Oil di­vi­sional race. The high­light of the event was when a gen­tle­man in a golf cart stopped by his pit and spoke at length be­fore in­tro­duc­ing him­self as Peter Clif­ford, NHRA’s pres­i­dent. “I was amazed that he should take the time to chat with me,” Colin re­called, and was even more pleas­antly sur­prised when the Wally for Best Ap­pear­ing Crew was awarded to the Flyin’ Fyfer squad, no small achieve­ment con­sid­er­ing the hundreds of teams on hand.

At the Lu­cas Oil event he com­peted in Top Sportsman, which al­lows the use of nitrous ox­ide. Ini­tial em­ploy­ment of stage 1 nitrous on the 560-ci big-block pro­duced a low-eight ET, prompt­ing the driver to turn up the wick for an­other qual­i­fy­ing pass. This call un­for­tu­nately brought his racing en­deav­ors to an end when the en­gine ex­pired in a cloud of smoke. “It was my fault. I shouldn’t have gone over the top with the tune-up,” Colin hon­estly stated af­ter­wards.

With no spare en­gine, the team was forced to forego run­ning the last event on their sched­ule, the Auto Club NHRA Fi­nals at Pomona, but at least they had the car on dis­play in the Hot Rod Junc­tion.

So was the five-week jaunt worth it? You bet, even though the bud­get was well over­spent, and the credit card took a heck of a ham­mer­ing. Colin wouldn’t have missed the ex­pe­ri­ence for all the tea in China, and it’s safe to say that even af­ter telling the world of the team’s U.S. ex­ploits through post­ings on Face­book it’ll still be a sub­ject of rem­i­nis­cence and ban­ter in the Santa Pod and Shake­speare County Race­way pits for the fore­see­able fu­ture. Heck, it may en­cour­age other sportsman rac­ers to save hard and fol­low in the Flyin’ Fyfer foot­steps by run­ning their own car in the na­tion where or­gan­ised drag racing be­gan.

/ LEFT. Though the 560-ci Chevy/Mer­lin 3 was crafted in Eng­land by Ian Whit­worth, it fea­tures the best of Yank parts: Ea­gle, Moroso, COMP, Je­sel, To­tal Seal and MSD. The Brodix heads fea­ture T&D com­po­nents. The in­take is also

Brodix and the carb is a Hol­ley 1050 Dom­i­na­tor. The BHP is rated at 900.

/ ABOVE.The mates par­tic­i­pat­ing in this “liv­ing the dream” ad­ven­ture: (L to R) Lynn Purvis, Sheila Climie, Ni­cole Wardrope, Colin Mil­lar, Scott Crook­ston and Jim Fair­bairn.

/ Eng­land’s Andy Robin­son Race Cars (AARC) welded up the chas­sis. The front end/ sus­pen­sion is com­prised pri­mar­ily of Strange com­po­nents, the A-arms are ARRC. Out back, Strange com­po­nents, in­clud­ing brakes and shocks, are pre­dom­i­nant. The 9-inch rear is

Mark Wil­liams.

/ ABOVE. The Flyin’ Fyfer does just that! With a whiff of nitrous, this stubby flyer (101-inch wheel­base) runs in the low eights. Fans on both sides of the Pond love the paint work, es­pe­cially the graphics. Scots­men get credit for this as­pect: Paint by Glen­cairn Coach­works, and John Young signs did the graphics.

/ LEFT. The in­te­rior fea­tures a full cage, Kirky seat, TRS belts/har­nesses and data ac­qui­si­tion by Motec. Andy Frost of Penn Auto in Eng­land built the pow­er­glide, the con­verter is Neil Chance, and the air shifter is by Chee­tah. No de­lay box or throt­tle stop is em­ployed.

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