Some combinations are an institution in drag racing. For instance, we could always automatically assume that Bill Jenkins was a Chevrolet man, and the talented “Dyno Don” Nicholson was pretty much a Ford man at heart, and we always picture Ronnie Sox in a Mopar. In the same vein, we could always associate Bob Glidden with a Ford-powered entry. Sure there were the flirtations with a Chevrolet in 1976 at Indy and the record-setting season of 1979 in a Mopar, but for the most part, the cagey veteran from Whiteland, Ind., was always a dyed-in-the-wool Blue Oval man.
However, a little over two decades ago, unbeknownst to many Pro Stock aficionados, the Hoosier legend nearly ended up in an Oldsmobile as part of a revered Hurst/Olds project. Just what changed his path at the last minute? That answer may never fully be revealed on the record, but the word on the streets is that the folks at Ford objected, and at contract time, they flexed their muscles by strongly suggesting that those pursuing their star driver “cease and desist.”
Taking a ride in the time machine back to the storied season of 1982, the Pro Stock division was in a transitional stage. Gone was the pounds-per-cubic inch formula that had enabled Glidden to dominate so ruthlessly with his Fairmont-bodied machines. In was now a standard 500-inch ceiling, and the trend was to go for smaller compact vehicles such as the Ford EXP, which Glidden debuted. It’s no secret that that year was one of those in which Glidden would just as soon forget. It wasn’t that Glidden was unhappy with Ford; he just didn’t have a good year.