Did Al Matuska intend on changing the future of the Northern Ohio drag racing scene when an old friend came knocking on his door 15 years ago? The answer is no, but that is exactly what happened!
When he was just 17 years old, Matuska bought himself an Oldsmobile 442 and it was time to go racing. Living on the west side of Cleveland in 1984, the streets and the track were often one in the same. Even though Matuska had been to the track off and on as a kid when his father raced, the street racing scene is what really got his heart pumping.
It wasn’t just the intensity of the street scene that drew him in. An Artesian Turquoise 1965 Chevelle also caught his eye. Matuska often raced against the car and always told the owner if he was ever going to let that thing go to let him know.
It wasn’t until the late ’80s that Matuska began to race at the track in addition to the street. As time passed, laws changed and the police began cracking down on the street racing in the Cleveland area, so he chose to devote all of his time to the legal quarter- mile versus the risk of losing his car or ending up in jail. However, the draw of the heads-up style racing that is done on the streets never left him, and he knew that is where he wanted to be.
Fast forward to the year 2000 and a knock at he front door at Matuska’s home was the start of it all. Opening the door, he saw the owner of that ’65 Chevelle and knew that there could be only one reason for it. The car’s owner offered up the Chevelle and for the sum of $1000 it was sitting in Matuska’s driveway! He didn’t really have the money at the time, but he wanted that car in the worst way so he was not about to let it slip through his fingers.
Matuska initially pilfered the motor out of the 442 to be able to race the Chevelle. The car was pushing a very respectable mid-10s in the quarter with the 489-cube big block on pump gas. The… Read more of this article. Just click on the digital feature below this introduction.
Read more stories like this at www.rpmmag.com