In Memoriam: Bill “Maverick” Golden, Driver Of The Little Red Wagon Wheelstander, Has Passed Away

In Memoriam: Bill “Maverick” Golden, Driver Of The Little Red Wagon Wheelstander, Has Passed Away

In hindsight, the men who had placed the 426 Hemi in the bed of the Dodge A-100 pickup should have seen what was going to happen. Originally built as a match racer by Dodge, when it came time to test the truck out they only had one name in mind: Bill “Maverick” Golden. Golden, who had been running Super Stock for years and had landed on Ma Mopar’s radar after putting “Dyno” Don Nicholson on the trailer at the 1962 AHRA Winternationals, had been making a name for himself in the racing world. He was one of the first successful racers running an automatic car, which came about when he and a friend started messing with the spring-loaded weights inside the TorqueFlite. He gained factory support with a “parts deal” in 1960, was getting factory cars by 1962, and by 1964 was something to fear on the AHRA circuit in a bright yellow Hemi-powered Dodge 330. Around the end of the 1964 season, Dodge asked Golden to come up to Detroit to check out a new vehicle that they had prepared.

maverick hemiThere, at the shop of Dick Branster (of “Color Me Gone” fame), was the truck: a Dodge A-100 with a 426 Hemi and TorqueFlite mounted pretty much mid-ship that was drinking 30% nitro. Originally it was designed for A/FX and ran some races, but the reaction of the fans to the truck’s notorious nose-high runs soon inspired Chrysler’s PR guy, Frank Wylie, and in short order the Little Red Wagon wheelstander was born. Over the years, several A-100s became the Little Red Wagon: in addition to the original truck, which was wrecked in 1969, there was one replacement (wrecked in 1971), a truck built from parts scavenged from the first two (which wrecked in Canada in 1975 and almost killed Golden), and the “show truck”, built in 1967 and repurposed in the mid-1970s as the performance truck. This last A-100 would be the wheelstander that would be seen by fans worldwide up until Golden’s retirement in 2003. In 2011 Golden was reunited with his last drag car, the 1964 Dodge 330 nicknamed “The Taxi Cab” for it’s trademark yellow-and-black paint.

golden LRW



Sadly, Bill Golden passed away September 14th, 2015, leaving behind a legacy of drag racing entertainment. All of us at BangShift send our sincere condolences to his family.

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12 thoughts on “In Memoriam: Bill “Maverick” Golden, Driver Of The Little Red Wagon Wheelstander, Has Passed Away

  1. Chevy Hatin' Mad Geordie

    Yet another hero of mine from the good ol’ days gone to that drag strip in the sky.

    I have never seen such insane creations in my life – wheel standing tanks!

    Such utter lunacy will never leave us and I just hope there is a new generation out there to carry on the good work.

    Maverick – I cherish my memories of you.

  2. Don

    I had the pleasure of setting up one of the Castrol cars next to Bill at a car show. The word Legend gets thrown around a lot but you certainly are one. Thanks for the memories and photos of the Wagon Bill. They still hang on a wall to this day. RIP.

  3. dusty

    saw in the late 60s back east…and 70s ..still got a red a100 behind my shop…waiting for the time and money… MAVRICK

  4. Chaun Benfield

    Thanks for the memories Mr. Bill Golden, Family and Crew. Our Thoughts and Prayers to the Family, Crew and Friends. Thanks Again.

  5. frank

    Saw this little red wagon here in Oreg ok n way back when we had a strip… what a show… Rip my friend.. U brought many happy moments to my life

  6. Jakey

    I watched at San Gabe as you cleaned up the Fords and Chevy,s in the finals on Saturday and Sunday and anyone else that came along, thanks for the memories Bill they are locked in my mind forever… R.I.P.

  7. Kevin

    I never met the man but my my uncle owns the little red wagon pull truck that my grandfather baught from a family friend Bill golden (maverick) my grandfather was really good friends with Bill. John force told me today Saturday 17th 2015 that he was a legend that will never be forgotten rip bill

  8. Daniel t Grego

    I have built a 1966 A 100 Little Red Wagon with a 426 Wedge and take it to car shows and cruised I have so much fun listening to the people’s memories of first time they saw Bill Maverick race the wagon

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