Larry Steinegger and Al Eshenbaugh teamed up in the late 50s and had other race cars before this one, which was their last. Their teamwork and friendship was solid and long lasting with Steinegger making the horsepower and Eshenbaugh pushing the pedals. This post includes a gallery of vintage photos from Phoenix, another of photos of the restored car, and two videos.

The team of Steinegger and Eshenbaugh is generally credited with bringing professional racing to the Phoenix area and they carried the Arizona banner at tracks throughout the nation. Steinegger was the builder and crew chief and Eshenbaugh drove the car at a lightning pace down the quarter mile drag strips around the country. They list many championship wins in their resume, and although not as young as they used to be, they are not through yet. They are preparing a car to run on the Bonneville salt flats.

One of the original nine Cacklefest cars, the Steinegger & Eshenbaugh AA/FD (1962-1964) comes with impeccable documentation as one of the quickest and fastest dragsters to hail from Arizona in the 1960’s. The driver was Al Eshenbaugh from Phoenix, Arizona. This car, with a 130″ Rod Stuckey chassis and a 392 hemi on 98%, saw runs of 6.98 at 208.00 during its era. In addition to winning no less than 15 Top Eliminators in a row at Beeline Dragway in Phoenix during 1964, it also took first place one year at the Arizona Fuel & Gas Championships and held the No. 9 spot on the Drag News Mr. Eliminator List for a period of time. They were Arizona State Champions in 1964 & 1965. S&E believed in function over form so the car was, by definition, no frills. This fuel dragster was built to race and that’s exactly what it did. From Cracklefest.


Vintage Drag Racing Photos

A couple of years ago I was privileged to become involved with the project of creating artwork for a body wrap using vintage photographs. Thanks to Brian Wilson of Clear Vision Printing and Graphics.


History Repeats Itself

After selling the car in 1966, Steinegger and Eshenbaugh did their own things, including raising families. The car was just a great memory for them. It wasn’t until the California Hot Rod Reunion’s became the event of the year that Steinegger’s interest in drag racing was revisited. But even then he didn’t actively seek out his old car. That happened by fate.

In early 1999 an old friend of Larry and Al, Tom Walsh was checking out wrecking yards and body shops for treasures when he found a dragster chassis behind a small body shop in Higley, Arizona. He called Steinegger and wanted him to help identify the thing. Walsh thought it was their old car but wasn’t sure. On instinct he bought it and brought it home.

Sure enough it was the S&E Stucky car. The rear end had been moved and the front axle and torsion bar were gone. The chassis also had some “new brackets” and small block Chevy motor mounts. Not “needing” a dragster, Tom Walsh was looking for racing stuff to decorate his house and Steinegger had an old windowed 392 with a couple of rods out the side. The trade was made and Walsh had a coffee table, and Steinegger had his old dragster. Everybody was happy.

Steinegger then took the car to Paul Henderson’s shop and started thrashing on it. They had lots of pictures and memories to go by and also help from Clint Brown who built the original nose and other body parts. Steinegger is a self proclaimed ‘pack rat’ and was amazed at how much stuff for the car he had stashed away. He had Hemi parts, blower drive parts and the original steering wheel. Ray Agee even had the original push bar key and he donated it to the cause. A lot of elbow grease and machine work from J.T. Stewart and the thing came together. From Cracklefest.

Restoration Completed

This is how the project turned out. Pretty cool.

Steinegger & Eshenbaugh Dragster running on alcohol

1958–1962 Phoenix Drag Racing Home Movies.

20 minutes from the way-back machine. Thanks to Paul Henderson.

  1. John Evans

    I am a modeller from the U.K. and came across pictures of the Steinegger & Eshenbaugh car on another website and aquired an instant itch to build a replica of a nostalgia dragster (I was involved in a couple of drag racing projects myself in the ’60s & ’70s). While researching the project I stumbled across the Dean’s Garage site and thus the templates for the body decor and the die was cast – this had to be the car! I can’t thank you enough for including these shots.
    There is a problem however, I have an intense dislike of including detail which I know to be innaccurate, and there are areas for which I cannot find the detail information that I require, such as the detail arrangement of the front axle (specific to the shock absorbers), engine mounts, cockpit interior (which would also help with chassis design), and general dimensions such as wheelbase etc. Is anyone able to help me with the means to aquire this and any other information?
    I have been modelling for over 60 years on any subject (from flying aircraft to live steam, resin ships to plastic cars), and in all materials. I am a prescision engineer by trade and a regular exhibitor at U.K. model shows, and can assure you that any time and effort spent aquiring information will not be wasted.
    Thank you in anticipation, John Evans.

  2. Brian Clark

    Enjoyed the video. My father Larry Clark raced with Larry and Al at Bee Line in the early 60s. Sadly we lost Dad last week was feeling a little nostalgic so ran a search for Bee Line Dragway on google and chased links here. Thanks!

  3. Norman Gaines Jr.

    Saw this car at the CHRR a number of times, including the time it caught fire during the runup at the Doubletree Hotel in Bakersfield. It was right next to Tom Hanna’s “diamond” car, and you should have seen his face when he saw the flames.


    These days I tend to assume my 63 year old addiction to this sport is fading.
    And then I see content like this and off we go again !
    The machinery was wonderful, the settings evoked the first days of English racing.
    And the people are inspirational !
    Patrick Knight in UK.

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