Reflecting on the life of Bill Golden, the Maverick!

I’m proud to be on the Board of the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum. As I suit up for our board meeting this morning I’m reflecting on the life of Bill Golden, the Maverick! Bill Golden raced Mopar’s. He was clever about it. He kicked some serious ass back in the ’60’s!

He went inside that long Mopar cross ram setup, tuned for torque at 3200rpm, cut out the dividers and presto it was tuned for 5000rpm! Suddenly the car was quicker and faster and nobody knew what happened.Especially Don Nicholson in his Chevy!

When the factory TorqueFlite Trans was forcing early shifts, he figured out the where the transmission could be altered to fix the problem. Then he spent most of the night making tach runs down Long Beach Boulevard refining it. The neighborhood tolerated it. The cops never came.

Down on Isky’s Dyno he suggested backing down the valve spring pressure to reduce friction and make more power. At a time when we all were adding monster spring pressure so we could rev the snot out of our Chevys this Mopar guy only wanted enough to approach six grand! It worked and he won!

Bill won the AHRA Winternationals at Fontana Drag City in his ’62 SS/A 413 Max Wedge Dodge taking the Stock Eliminator trophy and getting a huge boost in his career. That it happened at Fontana is especially cool for me because my life long racing partner, Bruce Geisler ran the strip and Geisler Construction did the construction.

And then there was the “Little Red Wagon”! Boy did that capture my imagination. At a time when daylighting the front wheels was a sign of your prowess…Bill Golden put all four in the air! He was a United States Marine after all…stuff like that was to be expected.

So today I’m saying a prayer for Bill Golden, a man who helped define the sport of Drag Racing. Bill, you impressed and entertained us all. I’ll never forget it. Thank you for that.

Gale Banks

nhra little red wagon
Bill “Maverick” Golden demonstrates his severe lack of wheelie bars. Are the Doug Robinson headers really JATO rockets in disguise?
Banks Power Mopar
Bill Golden’s Mopar’s were quick enough to strike fear in the hearts of the Chevy and Ford guys!
They didn't call Bill Golden, Maverick for nothing...there was no question, he did it his way!
They didn’t call Bill Golden, Maverick for nothing…there was no question, he did it his way!
The Banks Sidewinder Diesel Dragster at the NHRA Museum. You must visit this place, it's the celebration of all things gearhead! Put it on your list!
The Banks Sidewinder Diesel Dragster at the NHRA Museum. You must visit this place, it’s the celebration of all things gearhead! Put it on your list!

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