BRUTUS RIDES AGAIN

Written by Bobby Bennett.

Noted Race Photographer Turned TAD Driver Dave DeAngelis Writes A New Chapter in Career
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Dave DeAngelis believes that some dreams need to be followed up.
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The veteran drag racing photographer, who traded in his Nikons for a Top Alcohol Dragster a decade ago, has embarked on another chapter in his storied drag racing career. This summer, DeAngelis will make his Nostalgia Nitro Funny Car driving debut behind the wheel of a 1971 Mustang flopper, a tribute car to the legendary Lou Arrington and his Brutus entry.

“I have wanted to build a Funny Car since I was ten years old,” DeAngelis said. “The only reason I didn’t want to do it at five was that there were only slingshot dragsters.”

DeAngelis admitted this project might have been attempted years earlier had he not have gotten “head over heels” in Top Alcohol Dragster racing with Steve Zavor.

“We started doing really well and I built the new car hoping that we would win a few races,” DeAngelis explained. “We did win some points races. But the initial idea got sidetracked from that point.”

DeAngelis’ plan to build a nostalgia Funny Car might have been well ahead of its time. In the midst of his heavy participation with the dragster, the nostalgia flopper movement began to take shape.  

“It got my attention when chassis builders began building the chassis and there were bodies being made,” DeAngelis admitted. “It was all coming together and I knew it was time to begin working in that direction.”

DeAngelis originally planned to build an old style Corvette and name his Funny Car after the dragster, Public Enemy and even went as far as a putting together a rendering. Then he experienced a change of heart.

“It wasn’t what I wanted to do or what I remembered,” DeAngelis admitted.

His memories of the Funny Cars he kept dear to his heart just didn’t jibe up with the rendering. To be a true retro car, his project had to mimic an established brand.

Enter Lou Arrington III and the Brutus legend made famous by his father.

“I knew Lou for over 22 years,” DeAngelis proclaimed. “We talked about it and then the 1971 Mustang bodies came into production again. We got the blessings from his dad and decided this was the best one to pursue.”

The elder Arrington welcomed the DeAngelis tribute and said, “It’s just nice to be remembered.”

The Arringtons spared no expense in providing DeAngelis with reference pictures with which to recreate the legendary Ford.

DeAngelis turned toChuck Buckler at Banshee of Glendale for the paint and Glendale Collision for the body. Bob Rossety at the Funny Farm fabricated the chassis and aluminum work.

DeAngelis is 95-percent finished with Brutus and displayed the car at the NHRA SuperNationals in Englishtown, N.J., two weeks ago. He plans to campaign the car mainly at east coast events.

“I would love to see some kind of circuit on the east coast where we can race for points but we definitely need to get the number of cars up,” DeAngelis said. “There’s about a dozen now and a few more getting built. It’ll get going and I’ll be ready to go when it does.”

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