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Glen Hyder, Sr., Fuel Altered Racer

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Glen Hyder, Sr., Fuel Altered Racer

by David R. Burlington

I have always been a nut for the old AA/Fuel Altereds. Unfortunately, that wasn't a popular class down south.

A few years ago I discovered that old-time fuel altered racer Glen Hyder, Sr. had retired to Hendersonville, North Carolina. I live in upstate SC, very close to the NC line. The knowledge that a fuel altered legend was living only 35 miles from me was too good to pass up. I called him and found him very pleasant and approachable. I drove up 3 or 4 times and talked about his old days at Lions, Irwindale, and Orange County International Raceway (the fabled OCIR). He had a million stories. He said his people were originally from the western NC area but he had relocated to southern California in the late 40's in search of better employment opportunities after leaving the service. He started Hyder's Garage. Later, that name became synonymous with hot running drag cars. Noted drag racing photog/writer Jere Alhadeff even wrote an article about Hyder's Garage in the Goodguys organization's paper a few years ago. Mr. Hyder started dragging very soon after organized drag racing was started by in famous C.J. "Pappy" Hart. He raced at Lions from when it opened in 1955.

This photo shows his circa 1967-68 AA/FA. Hyder built the chassis and engine himself (the days before checkbook racing!). He had just about quit driving by this time, and that's friend Tom Koulan at the tiller. As you can readily tell, the pic was taken at OCIR. The body is an odd one, a one-off '26 Dodge roadster. The MT rear wheels and the trick Scott "slot" injector were given to Hyder by Mickey Thompson and Mr. Scott, respectively. As that tells you, everyone in SoCal fuel racing knew Mr. Hyder.

He raced in AA/FA until about 1973, when he made a reluctant switch to AA/FC, in a early Chrysler powered Camaro cleverly called "Z-92." By this time Glen Jr. was driving. Their heart wasn't in FC and they soon lost interest.

The Hyders relocated to Hendersonville in the early '80's and they opened a shop also called Hyder's Garage. On one visit, Mr. Hyder showed me stuff he's accumulated, such as the front American mags off the 1970 Hawaiian that Roland Leong sold him. He also had a complete fuel 392 in an engine stand, complete from Hilborns to pan, exactly as it had been taken out of their fuel altered in 1972.

Sadly, Mr. Hyder died in 2001. But he let me copy many of his photos and regaled me with lots of stories of the "good old days."

(Also, see Photos by David R. Burlington in our Photo Gallery.)