Pro Stock Icon, Bob Glidden Leaves us in a Trail of Smoke
Bob Glidden started as a dealership line mechanic and proceeded to rise to fame and fortune in the highly competitive NHRA Pro Stock ranks. He started it all in a lowly Ford Pinto of all things. We were reluctant to report on this earlier due to inaccurate reports of his demise. However it is now official.
During his initial rise, this writer was a Navy sailor aboard the USS Chicago on WESTPAC, Subic Bay, Philippine Islands (does anybody remember Alongapo City). I was reading of his exploits in the pages of Car Craft and National Dragster, as he took charge of Pro Stock, winning back-to-back championships in 1974 and 1975. This guy literally wrenched his way to fame and stardom with hands on mechanical expertise.
Him and his wife, Etta then went on a winning streak in Pro Stock that is unparalleled. They made numerous appearances during the Heyday of big time, professional drag racing at Portland International Raceway.
They had two sons who went on to make their marks in NHRA drag racing as well. I believe it was Billy Glidden who was banned from NHRA for life for using nitrous in Pro Stock.
Billy and Rusty went on to make their marks in Outlaw door car racing with a Mustang. Bob Sr became heavily involved with that as well. The Glidden name continues to storm on in those ranks.
We are not quite sure what it was but as in life and in death - it took him quick. Bob Glidden was 73.
The Ford Pintos came to be in the early 70s along with their cousins, the Chevy Vega (and other GM iterations). These cars were already in place during the first Arab Embargo of '73 as this gas monkey was pumping gas like a maniac down at the Ross Isl. Exxon. Who remembers the endless gas lines, the odd/even plate number sales days and the "Out Of Gas" signs? Any way, these cheaply built econocars were the Big 3's answer to all the hysteria that led to the decline of the American musclecar during that time.
Anyway these little babies were built cheap and light. They were transported stacked on one another. Of course these little throwaway cars became great drag racers. You will have a hard time seeing many of them on the streets these days but you will still find plenty of them at dragstrips everywhere. This era ultimately led this writer to hump onboard the Pro Street band wagon with the creation of the "Avenger" Vega pictured elsewhere in this Blog (click the Street Racer tab at the top of this page).