Mack Presley might be the poster child for persistence.
His story of persistence is even greater than winning from the No. 1 qualifying position during the Greer Dragway inaugural Nostalgia Gasser race in Greer, SC,
Pressley, of Matthews, NC, found an old Anglia he wanted and never gave up hope, even though the owners wouldn’t sell for twenty years and then when they did sell, sold the Gasser to someone else.
Eventually Pressley procured the apple of his eye. No one wanted the legendary AA/GS Hartsoe Brothers entry more than Pressley.
Pressley finally purchased his dream car in 1992 when the then owner lost interest.
“I’d been after (WHAT) for almost twenty years when Elmer’s [Hartsoe] second wife had the second car and got tired of messing with it,” Pressley explained. “Mike Norris bought it and he got tired of it. I bought it with the intention of putting it back on the strip.”
Pressley said he finalized the sale on a Friday and by Sunday had it on the strip.
The Hartsoe Brothers, Elmer and Gwyn, raced the legendary Willys from 1965 and parked it in 1972.
“The car stayed parked for nearly 20 years,” Pressley explained. “It sat in a garage on stands, no motor, no trans for 20 years.”
Presley says his Anglia is period correct right down to the big block between the fenders. He said the original car was supercharged but would have made the car quicker than he would have preferred.
The original car ran as quick as 5.70s in the eighth-mile and since Pressley purchased the classic Gasser, it has been as quick as 5.40s.
“That’s boogying,” Presley pointed out. “You can tell how short the wheelbase is when it get up with no wing and spoiler. It’s floating and I’m not fond of the floating experience at this speed.”
Pressley suffered a non-racing accident five years ago which limited his ability to drive the hot rod. He’s found a quality replacement in 19-year old Chris Simms. The accident, Pressley said, left him within an inch of paralysis.
“I do the engine, get it to the track and hand the driving over to someone else,” Pressley explained.
Pressley says he races his Gasser all over and has traveled the eastern seaboard from Buffalo, NY, to Bradenton, Fla., in his quest to race the vehicle. He’s been as far west as St. Louis.
“I’ll still drive it every once in a while but I pull a lot of horsepower out of it,” Pressley admitted.
Pressley admits he gains a measure of satisfaction by living vicariously through Simms; a driver he says has a good head on his shoulders. Simms has been driving the car for three years.
“It’s an honor to drive,” said Simms. “I thank Mac a lot for this opportunity. I get in the car and I respect the fact it’s his car and the history associated with it. I couldn’t ask for a better ride.”
And for Pressley, he couldn’t have asked for a better reward for his persistence.
For all the stories from the inaugural Greer Dragway Nostalgia Gasser event - GASSER NOTEBOOK
For Roger Richards' PHOTO GALLERY
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