New Hemi Under Glass & Little Red Wagon Announced for 2020


Many Mopar and racing fans recall the famed Hurst Hemi Under Glass exhibition wheelstander from the 1960s. A Plymouth Barracuda was the perfect choice for this particular car. A 426 cubic-inch Hemi was installed in the middle of the car and was visible from the rear window, hence the name Hemi Under Glass.

The car was driven by Bob Riggle, and “Wild Bill” Shrewsberry, who also drove one of the four 1966 Batmobiles built by the late car customizer George Barris. Over the years, there were several generations of the Hurst Hemi Under Glass, starting off with a 1965 Barracuda, followed by several other Hurst Hemi Under Glass cars up until 1968.

The original 1965 car was cannibalized, and turned into the second generation of the Hurst Hemi Under Glass. A new build 1969 car emerged, and was later crashed on Jay Leno’s Garage. That car ended up being rebodied. In 2013, four Hurst Hemi Under Glass cars were featured as a single lot at the Mecum Auction in Chicago, Illinois.

Current owner Mike Mantel is planning an all-new build of the Hurst Hemi Under Glass, using a new LX Dodge Challenger as the base. He says that it falls in line directly with the original car from 1968, which he currently owns and races.

“The ’68 Hurst Hemi Under Glass is the most historical”, he said. “It’s been in the US Nationals, and beat the Little Red Wagon at a drag strip in Englishtown, New Jersey.” Mantel plans to continue touring the 1968 car, and bring the new Hurst Hemi Under Glass along with it.

The new Hemi Under Glass will feature the 426cui Hellephant powerplant mounted right behind the driver’s seat. After being invited to the LX Spring Festival in Pomona, California, Mantel was motivated to get this project rolling.

A drawing of the new Hurst Hemi Under Glass features the new car, painted in gold, just like the original. “Everyone who saw it was very excited about the new car,” Mike said. “People are using new Challengers and Chargers as daily drivers. The timing is just right,” he continued.

The new Hurst Hemi Under Glass Hellephant is scheduled to debut next year in 2020. We are very excited for Mike and his new project to take shape. People will be able to see five decades apart of the Hurst Hemi Under Glass after its debut.

Probably the most famous wheelstanding truck has to be the Little Red Wagon. In 1965, this Dodge A-100 truck was the creation of Dick Brantster, and original drivers Jay Howell and Roger Lindamood. A 426 cubic-inch Hemi was installed in the middle of the truck, with a Hilborn injection, number 116. Due to the fact that the truck kept standing on its rear wheels, it was then used for exhibition runs. Later on, the late super stock driver Bill “Maverick” Golden stepped up to drive the Little Red Wagon.

During an event in 1975, the Little Red Wagon was crashed heavily, and a replacement truck was built. Golden drove that truck until his retirement in 2003. Later on, the replacement truck was sold at an RM Auction held at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California, for a whopping $550,000.

Bill “Maverick” Golden passed away in 2015, and the original Little Red Wagon was acquired by Mike Mantel, who decided to tour the truck as it was; completely original from its 1975 wreck. “Wayne Carini of Chasing Classic Cars saw the truck and told me that I should leave it as is,” Mantel stated. Currently, Mantel is building an all-new Little Red Wagon to be up to par with the original, and was seen during the Classic Auto Show in Costa Mesa, CA during the weekend of March 16th-17th, 2019.

Mantel was able to tell the story of the original Little Red Wagon, and stated that it was in fact the real deal. A Certificate of Authenticity from Hilborn showed that the injection system, number 116 was originally purchased by Dick Brantster, who owned the car in 1965, along with a copy of the original invoice from Hilborn. The original Little Red Wagon still retains its magnesium American Racing Torq Thrust wheels from the 1960s.

Mike has since tested the new Little Red Wagon at a drag strip in Arizona, and is currently being readied for several coats of the famous Candy Apple Red, once worn by the original and replacement Little Red Wagon.

We are very excited for Mike, as he brings out the new Hurst Hemi Under Glass Hellephant, and the new build of the Little Red Wagon. If you happen to see the original Hemi Under Glass at an event, be sure to stop by, and catch a glimpse of Mopar history.

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Maxx Kominsky

Feature Contributor Maxx is a Southern Californian hot rodder and classic car aficionado. With a passion for vintage surf rock, American iron and everything tied to these two genres, Maxx brings his love and passion to Mopar Connection with aplomb.

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