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Hemi Under Glass’ new driver – Hellcat next?

by David Zatz on

The world’s most famous drag racing exhibition car, the Hemi Under Glass, has a new driver, Mike Mantel, who will take over the driving honors from Mopar Hall of Fame inductee Bob Riggle.


Bob Riggle started working for George Hurst in 1964, working on the Hairy Olds and the Hemi Under Glass; he got behind the wheel  in 1966 after the original test driver, Wild Bill Shrewsberry, left to pursue his own project – the LA Dart.

The Hemi Under Glass was one of the first race cars to be fitted with the powerful 426 Hemi, nestled under the huge rear glass of a 1968 Barracuda.  The tremendous power and traction led to full quarter mile wheel-stands, and a legend was born.

When Riggle appeared on Jay Leno’s Garage, Leno called the car the king of the wheelstanders and one of his all time favorite cars. He got a ride with Riggle, but a poor track surface and short shutdown area led to a roll-over crash – fortunately, both Jay Leno and Bob Riggle were uninjured.

Riggle selected Mantel to take over the Hemi Under Glass because “he is a talented driver who will take the brand into the future and entertain generations to come.” The run that helped seal the deal for Mantel was in a Dodge Ram – below.

Mantel becomes only the third driver in the 51 year history of this American icon. He will soon pilot the ’68 Cuda that Riggle made his final run in, and there is talk of an updated version of the Hemi Under Glass using a Dodge Challenger Hellcat.

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304

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