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Mr. Mazooty's Misfortune

Few people can make the claim they have had their classic Chevy for 46 years, however Russel Schleicher, aka "Mr. Mazooty" can. Russel bought his '57 Chevy in 1963 when the car was just 6 years old and Russel was in high school. At the time the car was already known as "El Bandito". Through the years the car has become host to quite a few different motors. Early on it had a handful of smallblocks and in later years a couple of big blocks. The car has evolved into the slickest '57 4 door sedan I have ever seen, also, one of the most unmistakable. First off, you will notice the roof of the car is painted candy stripe red and white. The interior carries the same theme on the upholstery from the dash to the package tray. I have an awesome picture of the car taken from atop the timing tower at a local dragstrip, which shall remain nameless for reasons you will see, that clearly depict the paint-interior scheme. Another cool feature of the car is the shaved door handles and deck lid that really smooth the body lines. (Tech inspectors at the drag strip frown on shaved door handles, I wonder why?) The slick red and white paint make the car nearly as colorful as the owner! Russel recently brought the car out and it was a treat for everyone. It was only the third time I had seen the car out in 20 years and was looking forward to seeing it regularly again. Problem was, Russel wanted to give it a real test on the dragstrip before hitting the streets again. With a 468 big block, "El Bandito" would kick most street driven cars rearends. After a couple of days of time trials and fine tuning it was time for the Sunday eliminations. Mr. Mazooty, at the insistence of his friend Bill, decided to strap himself in tightly with the full shoulder harness for the Sunday eliminations. Time trials were run using only his lap belt. "El Bandito" came out of the hole strong, like any respectable big block, however at about 3/4 track there seemed to be transmission/shifting problems. Russel, not being a quitter, kept trying to get high gear. He kept slamming the shifter and shortly before the finish line, found a gear. Big problem though, it is speculated the gear found just so happened to be reverse. Russel got a experience few of us will ever have, that is, trying to control a car that is nearing 100 mph that suddenly goes into reverse! Luckily, "El Bandito" headed for the nearest wall where Russel quickly broght it to a stop. OUCH!! Russel made it out of the car before the safety crew made it there and had to break a window to get in. (Remeber what I said before?) Well, the car was loaded on a rollback and hauled off the track however the paramedics had to check Russel over before they returned him to the pits. When they brought him back, they made sure there was someone to keep an eye on him for a while. They told us that if he started acting unusual, he should get medical attention immediately. We all looked at each other and started laughing, then someone said that he always acted unusual! Anyway, closer inspection showed that "El Bandito" would probably need a new hood and fender and the frame would need straightening. Before the day was over, Russel had found all the replacement parts he would need. I offered to exchange a nice left fender for the bent one that advertised "Mr. Mazooty's Hot Rod Shop" but he hasen't taken me up on it yet. Russel has vowed this will be another case of, "Old Chevys never die, they just go faster!"


You can't easily tell by looking at him but he's not smiling.