There’s not much better during the cold winter months than settling up with a good book and letting your eyes do the walking. In this case, I recently rip-sawed my way though the new book Hemi Under Glass: Bob Riggle and His Wheelstanding Mopars by Mark Fletcher and Richard Truesdell. Right off the bat I can tell you that any lover of drag racing history needs this one on the shelf. Why? Well for starters the photos in the book are amazing. We’re talking about build photos including build photos and inside stories on the Hurst Hair Oldsmobile along with the Hemi Under Glass as well.
Secondly and most importantly, it is a book that details with great story telling the career of Bob Riggle, the legacy of the Hemi Under Glass, and all that stuff but it also tells a story about a company that was lead by a visionary guy who knew how to reach his customers. Learning about the Hemi Under Glass means learning about George Hurst and that’s another great element to this book. In today’s world to think of someone doing what Hurst did to effectively rule a marketplace is nearly unfathomable. How he had cars built, knew that Linda Vaughn (who completed the foreword in this book) would be iconic, and hired people like Riggle to represent his company showed that he was operating on another level back then.
The Hemi Under Glass is likely the most influential and iconic exhibition car in drag racing history. Seen by millions in its different iterations over the years, Bob Riggle was its most longstanding and formidable pilot. Umpteen thousand runs made and hundreds of strips places him in a group of one when it comes to wheelstander experience. The stories and insight into the “life” of a drag racing performer here are great.
I’d 100% recommend this read to anyone who has an interest in drag racing on any level. It will teach you about the people, about the era, and about a man and his car so intrinsically linked together one name can scarcely be said without the other.
I give this one two wheelstanders up on a scale of two wheelstanders.