AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- A replica of the 1957 Plymouth Savoy that NHRA Founder Wally Parks drove to record speeds during time trial races at Daytona and Bonneville will be part of a new exhibit at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum near Detroit.
Parks will attend a gala at the museum on Friday, Nov. 22 to launch FirePower: The Legendary Hemi, which will run from Nov. 23 - March 3, 2003.
Parks' '57 Plymouth, named 'Suddenly,' inspired by Plymouth's 1957 sales slogan, was converted by Parks and Hot Rod magazine Editor Ray Brock in just 10 days. The car then set the Experimental category record at 166 mph during NASCAR's 1957 speed trials at Daytona. In 1960, the car competed at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats where it recorded a speed of more than 183 mph.
'Suddenly' is on loan from the NHRA Motorsports Museum which is located in Pomona, Calif.
The Walter P. Chrysler Museum's salute to the Hemi engine will feature a display of engines, related artifacts and more than 30 vehicles. The 55,000 square-foot museum houses 65 vehicles, displays, interactive exhibits and a 125-seat theater. Parks, 89, who founded the NHRA in 1951, was an early recipient of Car Craft magazine's prestigious "Ollie Award" for his many contributions to motorsports. Parks was named "Man of the Decade, 1962-1972" by Popular Hot Rodding magazine and was recognized as "Man of the Year" in 1973 by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA). The American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) honored Parks in 1988 and again in 1994 for his pioneering efforts in motorsports.
Parks received two of his highest honors in 1992 and 1993. He was drag racing's first inductee into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1992 at Talladega, Ala. In 1993, he was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame at Novi, Mich. In yet another example of lifetime accomplishments, Parks was awarded the 2001 Eagle One Shav Glick Award, which honors the venerable motorsports writer of the Los Angeles Times and is given as a symbol of extraordinary achievement in motor racing by a Californian. In 2002 Parks was recognized for his lifetime achievements in the sport of drag racing. He was presented with the inaugural Robert E. Petersen Lifetime Achievement Award at the fourth annual Hot Rod & Performance Trade Show, which honors entrepreneurs who have contributed to the history, growth and well-being of the hot rod industry.
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