Prologue by Peter Crane

After serving an apprenticeship with Doves of Croydon, I emigrated to the USA in 1965 and worked for Carroll Shelby at his LA airport facility. I worked on the Mustang GT350 production line and then onto the 427 Cobra's. I returned to England in 1966 and for a while worked for Alan Allard at Upper Richmond Road on rally preparation and also fitting Shorrock Superchargers to customer's vehicles. On hearing about Santa Pod and having caught the drag racing bug whilst in the US, I entered my 1964 Ford Cortina, Shorrock supercharged (of course), this would have been in 1966. After a season, I became involved in my business and stopped competing.

Some years later, I bought a wrecked Pontiac Firebird 400 convertible, and a 1948 Austin A40 2 door, and with Mike Knapman's help and assistance built what was probably the first Proper English hot-rod? The car ran, but was not trimmed or painted when I sold it to Cliff Jones, he finished it off and won many shows etc with "Devon Cream", as he named it. I sold the car because I had become more involved with my business again, and could not see me having the time to complete the project.

My return to drag racing came about via a joint project with long time friend Ray Edmondson.The 70.1/2 Chevrolet Camaro was sourced from Garlits through Peter Billington of G Max fuels. The car was called "Eazy Ridin", but should have been called the "Bottomless Pit"!!! since everything that could break - did - at least once!! When Ray and I finally decided enough was enough, and we put Eazy Ridin up for sale .It now had roller cam ,Crower injection and a clutch turbo trans.

We were approached by Bob & Roy Phelps with an offer to run a Top Fuel dragster. Obviously we accepted, our team consisted of Ray and his brother Ron Edmondson, Jim Hone, Graham Whalley, Jim Barrington, Norm Bristow, and last but not least Eve Whalley. We campaigned "Stormbringer" the "Hustler" and Dave Lee Travis' "Needle" dragster (which I drove on occasions).

Trakbytes Archive Entries For Peter Crane

A BDR&HRA newsletter at the end of the 1970 season mentioned the name of Peter Crane for the first time. He was selling his 'almost complete' Pontiac powered 1948 Austin A40 to concentrate on "other projects".
April  1st 1973 SPR BDRHRA Season Opener. This meeting saw the first ever UK Pro Stock eliminator. Only three cars entered, Kevin Pilling in 'Satans Toy', Peter Crane in the ex-Rod Shop Camaro and Tony Dickson in the 'Money Hungry' Camaro, the first US Pro Stock car to be imported to the UK. Dickson took the title on a solo run.
April 22nd/23rd 1973 SPR. Custom Car Springnationals. A five car Pro Stock field saw Peter Crane go out in qualifying when he put a couple of rods through the sump of his Easy Ridin' Camaro.
July 21st/22nd SPR. BDR&HRA Internationals. Finals. Pro Stock saw Peter Crane loose his propshaft in qualifying.
April 14th/15th 1974 25,000 people attended SPRs Easter meet. In a three car Pro Stock field Peter Crane ran a gentle 12.30/105.48 to qualify. Piston trouble put him out of eliminations.
May 5th 1974 SPR. May Day meeting. Peter Crane, in the 'Easy Ridin'' Camaro, ran his best ever time in Pro Stock qualifying with a 10.74/131.06. Damaged engine bearings prevented him from competing in the eliminations.
May 26th/27th 1974

SPR. Whitsun Holiday Weekend Big Go.Peter Crane put in two runs, with a best of 11.1, the quickest so far for the car. During this meeting a deal was done with Mustapha Errol who purchased the car minus engine and transmission. Rumors circulated that Crane was moving on to a Top Fuel drive. In Monday's eliminations Colin Mullan soloed to 9.67/136, and then Gary Goggin beat Pete Crane 10.59/118 to 10.86/127. Mullan took the final running 9.63/140 to Goggin’s losing 10.31/117.

July 6th/7th 1974 SPR International. Peter Crane was taking a turn at driving the Santa Pod fueler 'Firefly'. He put in some burnouts and a half-pass but the motor in the temperamental car would not keep running. This received some criticism from the press that it was allowed to happen at a major meeting. These days of course we see licencing runs quite often and Crane wrote and replied with a response that explained the reasons for this decision. His reply appears in Volume Four of The Retford Scrapbooks.
The August edition of National Drag Racer magazine reported that Peter Crane had purchased the ex Cannon & Soares Top Fuel Dragster from the States. The car featured a 225" Don Long chassis, a 500ci Ed Pink motor and a two speed Lenco transmission. The best time for the car in the States had been a 6.21 with a direct drive. The car was re-named 'Stormbringer'.
August 4th 1974 SPR. G Max Trophy Meeting.Four Pro Fuel cars entered the meeting with Pete Crane in Stormbringer qualifying third with a 7.07/184.5 In the eliminations Dennis Priddle ran 6.63/206.61 to defeat Crane’s first six second pass at 6.91/186.57.
August 25th/26th 1974 Supernationals SPR. In the Pro Fuel semi-finals Dennis Priddle ran 6.61/196.46 as Pete Crane in Stormbringer slowed to a 7.23/168 due to a blown head gasket.
November 2nd/3rd 1974

SPR. Fireworks Spectacular. Rain and mist played havoc with the racing and times and speeds were affected by the slick track conditions. Many finals were not held and some classes didn't progress beyond the first round. Saturday saw most vehicles get at least one run in, but the track conditions meant that nobody was able to run anywhere near their full potential.On Saturday evening Peter Crane had a few attempts before successfully performing a fire burnout. In the first round of Pro Fuel on Sunday Mike Hutchinson ran a solo 8.18/160.77. The remaining two cars of Dennis Priddle and Peter Crane lined up for the next race. Priddle pulled a red light and then had to wrestle an out of shape Mr Revell to a 9.99/150.83 as Crane blasted through to win with a 7.46/196. The final took place in darkness and the rain was starting to fall. Both cars left hard but Hutchinson shut off early while Crane drove to half track before lifting and taking his first Top Fuel win. No times or speeds were announced.

November 30th/December 1st 1974 SPR. Winternationals. Peter Crane ran the fastest speed (a personal best) with a 7.4/207 in Stormbringer against Mike Hutcherson in Houndog in the first round. This wasn't without it's drama either as the car grounded in a shower of sparks in the shutdown area necessitating a change of sump before the final against Stardust. With fading light, and limited track illumination, this was limited to both cars performing multiple burnouts, with Stormbringer putting in a fire burnout for good measure. Cranes final burnout took him over the finish line much to the appreciation of the crowd.
March 30/31st 1975

SPR. Easter Meet. In qualifying Peter Crane's Stormbringer had a flashback on his first launch on the Sunday. Monday morning began with more qualifying, and a practice session. Crane came out again but his chute came out during the burnout. With the car still running the track crew re-packed it and he set off on a full pass of 7.07/199.60, only to have the chute fail to open. He just about managed to get the car stopped safely before it went into the field. In the first round  Roz Prior got very out of shape, shutting off to a 14.75. In the other lane though Pete Crane ran the quickest ever seen in Europe, a 6.37/204.08. Again his chute failed to open, and again he got the car stopped safely.

March 30/31st 1975 SPR. Easter Meet. Peter Crane set a new UK record of 6.37/204mph in the Stormbringer.
April 19th/20th 1975 SPR. In Pro Fuel the final was Crane v Priddle. Peter Crane ran 6.79/204 while Dennis Priddle ran a 6.04sec 218mph in his 'Mr Revell' slingshot. This world  record for a front engined fueler stood until the 1990s.
May 11th 1975 SPR. Peter Crane was making demo runs in Stormbringer. His first pass was a 6.46/213.68 followed by a 6.40/219.78.
May 24th-26th 1975

SPR. May Day Holiday Weekend Big Go. The meeting being run as two seperate events over Sunday and Monday, with qualifying on Saturday. Qualifying saw Peter Crane in Stormbringer put in a an 8.19/80.97 check out pass before blasting out a 6.18 which was the low ET of the meeting. In Pro Fuel on Sunday the four entries were reduced to three as the Houndog 8 car had spun a bearing the previous day. This left Peter Crane to solo to a 6.39/201.21,  Ronnie Picardo then took Firefly to a 7.32/203.67 win over Dave Stone in Hemi Hunter, who lost traction on the launch, sending the car towards the barrier on its rear wheels. In the final it was Crane that took the honours with a 7.27/198.91 win over Picardo who struggled to a mechanically troubled 14.45/61. In Pro Fuel on Monday the first round was reduced to two solo runs for a place in the final. Dave Stone suffered a stuck throttle as he brought Hemi Hunter down the fire up road, resulting in an encounter with the barrier that damaged the front axle. Peter Crane took a 6.79/203.25 bye. Ronnie Picardo then went through in Firefly despite a broken throttle linkage after Owen Hayward overstaged in Houndog 8. It was Crane who took the final with a 6.66/210.53 as Picardo got out of shape, lost a blower belt and came close to the barrier, shutting off to an 8.78/128.21.

June 8th 1975 SPR. Two Top Fuellers turned up for this meet, Peter Crane with the Stormbringer and Ronnie Picardo with the Firefly. They ran two match races. Crane won both with no recorded time or speed to Picardos 8.05/189 in the first race, and took the second with a 6.70/205 after Picardos car broke on the line.
July 5th/6th 1975

SPR. European Grand Prix incorporating the first British funny Car Grand Prix. Peter Crane took Stormbringer to a best of 6.44/210.53 in qualifying. On Sunday Crane had an easy bye to the final with an 8.54/102. Hayward then disposed of Picardo with a 7.41/204 to an 8.0/166. In the final it was Crane who took the win with a 6.81/203 to a 7.07/205 from Hayward.

July 27th 1975 Santa Pod Raceway. BDR&HRA Drag Racing News Meeting. Two fuelers a Fuel Altered and a Funny Car were present at this one day meeting. Peter Crane and Owen Hayward fought it out for the Pro Fuel honours. The first outing saw Crane take the win with a strong 6.28/216.45 to Haywards 6.93/211.42. The final had Crane taking the win with a 6.46/218.34 to Haywards 6.88/213.22. For all class results click here.  
August 23rd-25th 1975 SPR Holiday Weekend Supernationals. Peter Crane was number one qualifier in Pro Fuel with a 6.42/216.45. The first round saw Dennis Priddle match up with Crane. Both cars left hard together but as Priddle took a slight lead Cranes 'Stormbringer' veered to the left causing the chassis to twitch violently and send the car on to one-and-a-half wheels. Pete managed to get it back together and still crossed the line in 7.81/165.93. Meanwhile Priddle took the win with a 6.58/221.73.For all class results click here
September 20th/21st 1975 Anglo American International. In Pro Fuel Peter Crane took a win in the semis with a 6.45/222.72 in 'Stormbringer' despite a valiant 7.05/217.89 from Picardo in "Firefly'. The final saw Crane set low ET of the meeting with a 6.37/222.72 defeat of Dennis Priddles 6.67/210.97.
September 28th 1975 SPR. G-Max trophy. Two Pro Fuel cars were present, Peter Crane in 'Stormbringer' and Owen Hayward in 'Houndog 8'. Crane won 2/2 taking the first round with a 6.37/213.22 to Owens 6.96/210.08. Round two saw Owen improve to a 6.81/214.13 but Crane was there first with a 6.50/181.82.
October 12th 1975 SPR BDR&HRA Meeting. The Pro Fuel class had three entries and they all suffered problems, so much so that after one round of qualifying nobody was able to compete in the elimination. Peter Crane took "Stormbringer" to the best time of 7.35/220.26 on a solo pass.
November 1st/2nd 1975 SPR Fireworks Spectacular. The weather on Saturday was so bad that very little took place on the track, except some shakedown runs for the new track drier. With no qualifying completed eliminations were arranged using previous performances. Top Fuel saw Peter Crane take the final win on a solo run after opponent Owen Hayward failed to make the call. For all class results click here.
April 17th-19th 1976 Over 50,000 people attended SPRs 10th anniversary Easter meet starring the legendary Don Garlits in his  1975 car, the Swamp Rat#21 fueler. For the first time in Europe there was an eight car top Fuel entry. Garlits had mechanical problems and qualified no.5 with a 6.89/215mph. No.1 qualifier was Peter Crane in the 'Stormbringer' with a 6.21/215mph pass. Garlits and Crane met in the first round of eliminations, Garlits pulled a red and Crane became the first person outside the U.S. to run into the fives with a 5.97 run. Clive Skilton beat Crane in the semi finals but Crane still managed a 6.03 to back up his record. After the meeting Cranes car was subjected to long and exhaustive tests to make sure that everything was 100% legal and there was no device or mechanism to cheat. Santa Pod had offered a £1000 payout for the first five second run and they carried out the tests before paying up. To see results, Pro Fuel qualifing results and elimination ladder click here
May 29th-31st 1976 Holiday Weekend 'Big Go'. SPR. Pro Fuel was an eight car field with Pete Crane leading the way with 6.47/185 and 6.48/211, In the first round Crane had a bye as Owen Hayward in Houndog was on the trailer with a spun main bearing which he suffered in qualifying. In the first semi-final, Crane couldn’t make the round due to head trouble which allowed Gerry Andrews back in but he went down to Picardo in Firefly 7.21/204 to a losing 8.24/143.
August 28th-30th 1976 SPR. Supernationals. Rain caused the abandonment of the meeting before any of the eliminations began. In Pro Fuel qualifying, Pete Crane led the field with a 6.82/196.
September 18th/19th 1976 SPR. Supernationals Re-Run.The weather certainly was a lot better for the re-run. Pete Crane in Stormbringer led the Pro Fuel qualifying with a 6.57/196 blast. In the first round of eliminations, Crane took an easy 6.65/194 win over Tony Froome. In the final opponent Ronnie Picardo pulled a holeshot but Crane drove around him to take the win in 6.37/201 to a losing 7.03/196.
June 5th-7th 1977 SPR. Silver Jubilee Big Go. Rain hampered proceedings and the organisers struggled to run one days eliminations out of a scheduled two. Highlighting the meet was the Jubilee battle of the Funnies and Fuelers. Peter Crane in "Stormbringer" beat Owen Hayward in Round One, 7.25/199 to 7.80/176. In the semis he beat Allan Herridge with a holeshot 7.25/199 to 6.95/195 but broke his transmission in the process. This allowed Herridge to progress to the final. For all class results and Pro Fuel/Funny Car elimination ladder click here.
July 9th/10th 1977

SPR. July Internationals. In Pro Fuel Ronnie Picardo took the number one qualifying spot with a 6.55/214 in Highway Patrol. Don Garlits made number two with a 6.68/217 and third was Peter Crane with a 6.86/200. Picardo got a bye in Round One but damaged his crankshaft, putting him out of the running, and then Crane ran a 7.07/190 against an ailing Froome. Crane was given the win after much discussion and consultation of rule books, although the win light came on in Froome's lane suggesting Stormbringer had pulled a red.  Round two saw Trevor Young brought back to replace Picardo but a 7.51 wasn't enough to stop Crane who went 6.68. Before the final it was discovered that the diff on Stormbringer had been devoid of oil and was trashed, thus denying Crane the opportunity of facing Garlits in the final.

 August 27th-29th 1977

SPR. Holiday Weekend Supernationals Including fourth round of the Motorcraft Pro Fuel Masters Championship. Peter Crane was number one qualifier with a 6.75 from Stormbringer. Close behind, at 6.81, was Roz Prior. Crane disposed of the Stone's Hemi Hunter with a 7.05 in the first round. The semi finals saw Crane march on with a win over Ronnie Picardo, the latter suffering a small fire as oil leaked onto the headers. In the final Roz Prior red lit as Crane took the win with a 6.95/209, but she maintained her lead in the Championship points.

September 17th/18th 1977 SPR. International. Pro Fuel saw Peter Crane qualify at #1 with a 6.73/210 followed by Trevor Young at 7.06/191. Sunday was race day but intermittent drizzle ruined the chance of any serious racing. Despite this the eliminations went ahead as far as possible. Pro Fuel eliminations saw Peter Crane solo to an easy first round win and round two never happened.
March 24th-27th 1978 SPR. Easter Springnationals. Peter Crane was making shakedown runs in Dave Lee Travis’ new car "The Needle".
August 26th-28th 1978 SPR Supernationals. In Top Fuel Peter Crane returned to the track with the now repainted Stormbringer.
August 26th/27th 1979 Bank Holiday Supernationals. SPR. Trevor Young ran a 7.19/206 for top qualifying spot followed by Peter Crane who was driving "The Needle" with a 7.70/197. Both Crane and Roz Prior broke in their semi final match but Crane rolled through the lights first to take the win. Despite much hard work from the crew the car was unable to make the Final and Crane soloed to a 7.00/208. 
April 4th-7th 1980 Easter International SPR. In Funny Car Peter Crane made his first appearance in the ex-Gladiator Vega, now re-named 'Hustler' but went out in the first round when he lost fire against John Anderson who ran an easy 7.98/163. The old 'Stormbringer' chassis, now re-named 'Krypton', was being driven in Pro Comp by newcomer Rod George.
May 3rd-5th 1980 SPR. Spring Nationals. Funny Car saw only three cars attend. Number two in qualifying was Peter Crane who made his first full pass in the ex-Gladiator 'Hustler' at 8.26/178. Crane beat Paul Manders with an 8.09/184 to an 8.34/145 in the semis. The final saw Owen haywards Houndog refuse to run so Crane soloed for the win with an 8.37/176.
May 24th-26th 1980 Whitsun Big Go. SPR. Peter Crane ran a personal best of 7.78/193 in the Hustler funny car during qualifing.
September 12th-14th 1980 SPR. World Finals. A field of twenty Funny Cars competed for a sixteen car eliminator. Peter Crane in the Hustler failed to qualify.

Epilogue by Peter Crane

When I moved into funny car, I had hoped to get a better ride, than the "Hustler", which was never going to be competitive. The car was too heavy, and the motor was not up to much. After struggling with this unreliable and uncompetitive car, the last straw came at the big funny car meet in September 1980. We had finally managed to ring some horsepower out of the car , and low and behold the transmission could not handle it and broke. Since my team, and I had been working on this car for ages, with no prospect of a competitive run, let alone a win. And as it was made clear to us, that there was no prospect of a better car on offer, and that the Hustler was just there to make up the numbers, we unanimously decided to pack it in as we were racers and not there to make the numbers up.