For almost as long as man has done battle in the air, aircraft have been adorned with cool artwork. Growing significantly in popularity during World War II, nose art in particular grew both more common and more elaborate. Sometimes intended to intimidate like ferocious shark teeth and other times intended to unify ground and air crews around a personal (and sometimes racy) image (usually a scantily-clad pin-up girl), cool graphics found their way onto aircraft like the Memphis Belle and Flamin Mamie. The detailed hand-painted art helped make their namesake unique and memorable. It is a tradition that, in some ways, continues today.
Likewise, Joe Murphy’s 1990 Mustang, the Leslie Jaye, is a standout wherever it goes. Maybe it’s the NASCAR heritage of the Roush Yates Ford small block under the scoop. Or perhaps it is the incredible craftsmanship of the C&F Race Cars 6.0-certified chassis. But both of those are only visible on closer inspection. It’s the cool fighter plane-inspired paint scheme that’s the real conversation starter. It took a bit to get there, though.
Murphy has been into cars his whole life, but drag racing is a relatively recent development. He has a 1955 Chevy Belair, a ’69 Camaro, a ’69 Chevelle, and a ’66 Chevelle, but are all street cars. It was a chance encounter with drag racer and friend in 2008 that changed Murphy’s course forever.
Murphy’s wife Leslie likes to tell the tale. “I was in a speed shop in Carmel, NY to pick up parts for Joe’s 1986 Ford Mustang with a 351 Hampton blower motor,” she said. “While I was there, I ran into a long-time friend George Rubistello who we hadn’t seen for years.”
Rubistello, whose Loose Screw Nova was featured earlier this year in RPM, informed Leslie that he was going to drag race at the Pinks! All Out event in Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ—and that they should go. “I wanted to surprise Joe and our son Joseph since that was all they watched at home on TV,” she said…. Read more of this article. Just click on the digital feature below this introduction.
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