Words from Mr. John Dicksa

So as some of you have seen i did a pseudo Streetfighter style history spot on Mr. John Dicksa’s 73 Camaro a couple of months back.
I was in in japan for the time and when i came home i checked my email to discover an email from Mr. Dicksa himself!

The email was simple:

Thanks for the kind words. Won every car show and race ralley I entered, back in the day. Loved that car. My favorite times were out cruising Van Nuys Blvd at its peak, when that was popular. You have some awesome cars on your site…….John
Sent via DROID on Verizon Wireless

I thought.. wow.. is this really him?.. so i decided to reach out to the man and ask him a volley of questions about his ride that we all love so much.
His email back was proof enough that it was him with some nice never seen photos and some magazine shots that were of the those times.

pretty damn cool, huh?

so heres what i asked him.. and what the man said..

. Since the 1981 issue of HOTROD “Street Heroes” magazine what have you been up to?

By trade (now retired) I was an exercise physiologist. I trained pro athletes and actors for tv and movies. Also developed corporate fitness and pro public speaker……
Of coarse always a die hard car nut. I always wanted to build and design cars for a living.Back in my day, Chip Foose and others wer not doing it yet, so making a living at it proved too difficult.

. What inspired you to design your car that way?.. were there others with that style?

Growing up in the 60s, drag racing was everything.My dad used to take me to Lyons drag strip as a kid. By the time I had my first ride, I put air shocks in the back, raked up the rear, put big tires in the back and skinny ones up front…presto I’m a drag racer, like everyone else. I was in the pits of the Winternationals one year and watched the crew remove the shell of a funny car. It hit me—–the frame was low to the ground. Only the body was raked to clear the tires. We had it all wrong. I started going to Riverside raceway to watch SCCA, IMSA and IROC races. I studied the stance and function of the cars and suspention. Turning and braking required a more complete driver skill set, in my mind. I then attended Bob Bonderant’s driving school at Ontario Motor Speedway. Wow, I thought I knew how to drive before watching the instructor throw a van sideways and recover (at speed). Lower air resistance, better handling and braking and big front tires did not signifacantly slow down a street car in a drag race (if the motor is set up right). My launches got better, due to less weight shift and wheel hop. Presto, now I am respected by the drag racers AND the road race crew who knows what an apex is…..
I wanted my camaro to be the poor mans (or in my case kid) version of a Ferrari, and I beat plenty of them.

Strait up 80s business in the interior..

. Your car had a distinct road race/streetfighter look to it back then, what did folks think of it?

There were not too many cars like mine, in the mid to late 70s. Most everyone still wanted to drag race. I helped build and design several of my freinds cars at the time. We all hung out together. For the most part, I was different. I won every car show I entered, was featured in several magazines (even in Europe). But still no way for a 23 yr old to turn it into a career.

I was well respected out on Van Nuys Blvd cruising in the 70s (when crusing was the most popular activity on the weekends). It was packed out there, and fun. All the different car clubs had sections of the Blvd they would park on, during cruising. I knew I had “made it” when they gave me my own designated spot in which to park. Anyone else parked there, would move to allow me my spot, once I arrived on the Blvd. The respect felt great. Those were good times. I would stand out there for hours and talk about all the mods I had developed and/or designed (way too many for a magazine to even cover). Some I am pretty proud of (maybe another interview).
Man.. gotta love that 80s engine bay shine

. Do you know what happended or where your 2nd gen is now?
I did eventually sell it (had too for money), but still have the photos on the wall today.

. In these years your car would have been considered a Streetfighter( a built for road race no frills type car on the street)
with its widebody, wide tires, tacked on front spoiler, window braces, etc.. what do you think of the diffrent cars out now that have a kinship to your car?

I like the direction the modern muscle cars are going. It is nice to see the throw back models again. I like the blend of new high tech with old school look. I can’t help but look at the new mustangs, camaros and challengers with what I would do to them. Might be a new project in there somewhere. I have often thought of taking an old body and merge it with modern components, with my flare of coarse.

Heres a recent HOTROD magazine bullet point to Mr.Dicksa’s car and its styling so early in the protouring game.

this mag showcases a gang of camaros that influenced many after they were shown..

they titled it “the Mulhauler”

the excerpt reads:
One of the Jan. ’81 cover cars was what in retrospect looks like a progenitor of Pro Touring but that the staff might have called a Mulholland car back in 1981.
the story said “Mulhauler” Indeed, L.A.’s twisting Mulholland Drive was where Gray Baskerville shot John Dicksa’s ’73 that incluced Dick Gulstrand suspension, Essence 18×8 and 15×12 wheels,
Goodyear Blue Streaks, and a interior loaded with a fabricated dash, beard seats and a rollcage.

We love your car Mr.Dicksa.

Posted by Mr. Vengeance on December 1, 2010 under Events,Interviews