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“Wheelstander,” racer Bill Maverick Golden

by David Zatz on

According to a widely distributed Facebook post from a man who says he is Mr. Golden’s nephew, famed “wheelstander” and racing driver Bill “Maverick” Golden has recently died.

No mention of his death was found on obituary sites, but Michael Spurbeck wrote:

 I had the privilege of being up close with him in his garage, and helping him with a couple of projects… he was honest even when we went hunting the scrap yards for spare A100 parts and heavy banjo-type truck axles. I last saw him in 2013 … when I paid a visit to a mutual friend (his doctor), and saw him suffering from Alzheimers, unable to remember anything more current than about 1985. I will miss you Bill. Still my hero and my friend.

While he had many trophies and championships to his name, “Maverick” was perhaps most famous for the Dodge “Little Red Wagon,” a Hemi-powered A-van with which he invented or discovered the “wheelstand” (where the front wheels lift high up in the air during a drag race).

A Mopar racer for decades, he won over 1,800 trophies, and set hundreds of records; his 1963 Dodge was voted one of the top ten Super Stock cars of all time. In 1958, driving a 361-powered Custom Royal, he set a 14.70 second quarter mile; by 1964, with a Dodge 330, he was down to 10.94 seconds at 131 mph.

An ex-Marine, Bill “Maverick” Golden came to the attention of Chrysler’s racing crew with his Stock Eliminator victory over Don Nicholson’s factory-backed 409 Chevrolet at the 1962 AHRA Winternationals.

Mr. Spurbeck continued: “He was all about the show. He loved his fans. His tow rig for the ‘wagon’ had a modded 360 with a heavy duty four speed (manual transmission) and an auxiliary 3 speed. He drove it like a 12 speed in a big concrete truck. Quite a treat to watch the fast hands and coordination.”

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