A GIFT FOR FRANK RUPERT - SONS BUY DAD'S FIRST AA/FD RIDE
Jason Rupert grew up at the drag strip watching his father Frank run up and down the roads all over the west coast racing both Top Fuel and Funny Car.
Rupert aspired to be a drag racer for as long as he can remember. When the opportunity to give back to Frank, he quickly pounced on the opportunity.
One of Rupert's favorite and more successful rides was the Eagle Electric AA/FD; the car was restored by Stan Canter. Together he and brother Matthew,along with friend Dave Schwartz purchased the car as a gift.
"It was very important that we got the car," Rupert said. We had an opportunity to grab it. The guy Stan Canter that restored it did an immaculate job, and it’s actually restored to the exact way it was. When we had a chance to buy it, we thought it’d perk my Dad up. Ever since he’s had it in his garage, it seems like he’s had a lot more energy lately. It’s really a neat deal."
There was no doubt it had to be this car.
"The car was influential in my life because when I was a little kid, I got hooked on drag racing by going to Orange County, and Irwindale, and all the places with my Dad," Rupert explained. "He was racing Funny Cars at the time, but my Grandfather had a scrapbook with the Eagle Electric car in it. Me and my brother used to go through that scrapbook, I mean page by page and read all the articles, and re-read, and look at all the pictures.
"When I walk in my parent’s garage and look at it sitting there, it’s almost surreal that it’s there, and we were able to end up with it to give to my Dad."
When the legendary Drag News publication ceased to include their top ten rankings, Rupert's Eagle Electric entry was forever frozen in time as the third-ranked dragster behind Pete Robinson and Jerry Glenn.
"Before all the sanctioning bodies had a national points system or divisional points system there was what was called the Drag News Top 10 list," Rupert explained. "I don’t know exactly how it worked, but I basically think that it worked like if you were number four you can challenge the number three guy, and I think you had to put money up and you had to say, 'ok, we’re going to run on this drag strip."
"Then the guy would accept your challenge, and then you go race him in a match race. Drag News would promote the race, and if you beat him, you ended up going one step higher on the ladder."
The seemingly unemotional elder Rupert was clearly touched by his son's gesture.
"He’s not really that emotional of a guy, but basically when the presentation happened on the starting line up in Barona, I looked over, and there were tears coming out of his eyes, and that made me feel pretty good," Rupert admitted. " About two days later in the evening, I get a call from my Dad, and he’s a man of few words. His name’s Frank, and he is frank. But he basically said, ‘You know with you guys doing that with that car, giving that car to me means to me?"
"It means you guys must really like me a lot."
And this was all the validation Rupert needed to know they'd done the right thing.