Been Reading Issue 29

Ah, nostalgia isn’t what it used to be… although with the nostalgia-themed events and race classes at Santa Pod drawing some of the biggest crowds, it seems it’s coming pretty damn close.

Here’s the story of a guy who lived through it all first time around, and shone pretty brightly, too. Hubert Platt, the ‘Georgia Shaker,’ a guy who started out with a B/Gas ’38 Chevy he won in a card game in 1959. Yes, the guy who was famous for being a staunch Ford man started out in a Chevy, and was still racing Z11 Chevys when he switched to a Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt in 1963.

From there he moved up and up, into the A/FX altered wheelbase cars, into a home-built all-steel stretched-nose Mustang, the first of the ‘funnies’, then into a one-piece-body Mustang funny car. While he was making a good living at racing, picking up wins and trophies left, right and centre, the factory overlooked Platt for years until they finally brought him into the fold in ’66. Then the big three jumped on the new bandwagon for muscle cars – Super Stock – and Platt came too. He stayed through the Mustang and Torino Cobra Jet years, and became a travelling ambassador for the Ford Drag Team, doing appearances and dealership seminars all over the US, until Ford pulled its backing in late 1970. Then Platt took his hot new Maverick into the hot new class – Pro Stock – and stayed there until he parked up his Pinto and retired at the end of ’77.

The author of this biography is the perfect person to write it, because he had the whole inside story at his fingertips. Well, he’s Hubert’s son. It’s the story of a good ol’ boy who used his talent and hard work to get to the top of his game and stayed there for almost 20 years, and Allen tells it beautifully. It’s a tale told with much love and respect, and with hundreds of period and family photos, it paints a superb picture. Right up until the end, in 2015, Hubert was still doing the nostalgia drag events, and helping people to build replicas of his old race cars. He sounds like quite a guy. If you’re into your old-school door-car drags, then you’ll love this. I certainly did. It’s definitely one for your list to Santa.

Hubert Platt – Fast Fords Of The Georgia Shaker, by Allen Platt, is published in softback by CarTech, with a RRP of £30.