Back in the formative years of Pro Stock one of the most technically advanced examples of the breed was the “Red Light Bandit” Dodge Challenger campaigned by Bill Bagshaw. The car was constructed by Ron Butler, who had previously gained industry notoriety as a fabricator of the Ford GT-40s for Carroll Shelby. Among its more noteworthy features were a roll cage that tied together various chassis components and extensive lightening. The “Bandit” was honored as the “Best Engineered Car” at the 1970 NHRA Nationals, and went on to set numerous track records, win the NHRA Division VII Championship, The Last Drag Race at Lions and several March Meet titles.
After being acquired by John Gastman, a noted Mopar enthusiast who owns Roanoke Motor Co. (a Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep dealership known for its work with Dodge Drag Pak Challengers and Vipers) in Roanoke, Illinois, the “Red Light Bandit” was turned over to famed Hemi Challenge racer Bucky Hess and his son, Travis, for restoration. Bagshaw himself participated in the project, building a 426 Hemi to period-correct specs.
The totally refurbished “Red Light Bandit” Dodge will return to the site of its earliest honors, Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, and be on display in the paddock area. Bill Bagshaw will be on hand to sign autographs, and the car will
also be in a parade in conjunction with the Mopar Hemi Challenge.
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