Marco DeCesaris / Lothian, MD
For car collector and enthusiast Marco DeCesaris, buying old race cars has become a passion. After all, Marco's family was deeply involved in the history of East Coast drag racing, with relatives like his uncle Al Procopio, who founded Aquasco Speedway and Cecil County Drag-O-Way in Maryland. Marco admits that he has a close affinity for both Ford and Chrysler products from the glory days of Super Stock and Pro Stock racing, though there is some GM stuff around his shop complex as well. Shown here is just one building on his property. It is his hope to eventually create a small museum to display the gems in his collection. There are other significant cars that still await restoration, including A/FX Fords and Max Wedge Mopars. And for fun, Marco has a replica of the Bill Jenkins-piloted Black Arrow '65 A990 Hemi Plymouth set up to run at the nostalgia drags.
(A) Shoved up against the wall is an array of hardware for ongoing and future restorations of vintage drag cars. Those two large crates contain aluminum '64 front fenders for the original Melrose Missile Plymouth.
(B) The '73 Pro Stock Dodge Dart Sport was the final A-Body Mopar that the late Dandy Dick Landy campaigned, and it's full of mid-'70s tricks. Landy built four cars that year; this one was created for Larry Huff, but Landy bought it back from Huff after a wreck and raced it until he retired in the mid-'70s. Yeah, it's got a Hemi.
(C) Tucked in the back here is the original '62 Motor Trend Dodge 413 Max Wedge, restored back to perfection. Marco lent the car to the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles soon after it was done. The magazine raced it at the '62 NHRA Nationals and lasted a few rounds.
(D) Proving it's always better to be lucky than good, Marco won this Hot Rod magazine giveaway Chevrolet Dale Earnhardt Monte Carlo during Power Tour(r) in 2002. It shows 94 miles on the odometer; it toured all over the nation with General Motors, including the Daytona event where Earnhardt lost his life.
(E) The original '63 Ford Galaxie drag car was campaigned by Len Richter for the Bob Ford franchise near Detroit. These fullsize cars that used the '63 NASCAR-style Medium Riser powerplants and BorgWarner four-speeds are well remembered. This is one of seven preproduction lightweights, five of which were built on a '62-model chassis, and the only black one to boot. Henry Ford would have been proud.
(F) One of the latest acquisitions and in need of some TLC is this Roy Hill Arrow, a short-wheelbase Plymouth Pro Stocker. Unlike the one Glidden ran with 340 power, this beast is packing IHRA-legal Hemi motivation.
(G) Tucked off to the side are three great Chevrolets, though they are not professional race cars. Behind that rare, bitchin' 396/425hp '65 Corvette (one year only) are a '69 COPO 427 Chevelle (one of 17 that went to Canada, and it's documented) and a low-mileage '68 Z/28 Camaro in Corvette Bronze.
(H) A highlight of Marco's collection is the matched pair of Ed Terry '70 Ford factory drag cars. Several years ago, both the Pro Stocker and this 428 Cobra Jet Super Stocker were offered at Barrett-Jackson. Marco admits that he ended up buying this car once the Pro Stock Mustang was already his, warning his main rival that the sky was the limit when bidding started. Ironically, the total for both cars was less than $100,000, chump change in today's marketplace.
(I) This is Bob Glidden's world championship-winning Ford Fairmont. The car was acquired from its second owner in restored but unlettered shape. In 1978, it put Glidden on top at midyear with wins at four events, including Indy and the World Finals. Powered by a worked 351 Cleveland with Glidden magic, it was retired undefeated when Glidden went to Plymouth in 1979.