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…Lost Another Legend…An Old Friend…RIP John “Tarzan”Austin…

Willie B

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… Got word yesterday that a long time old friend John “Tarzan”Austin passed away Friday… in addition to his drag racing accomplishments… He also was the first centerfold for Playgirl magazine… A true legend from the golden days of drag racing…

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DILLIGAF

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Condolences to you and RIP

Found out an old school buddy dropped dead from a massive heart attack this week

More will follow as we all age.
 

Willie B

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…I could be wrong but I think it was Tarzan…when he was the mechanic/crew chief for Tommy Ivo… Pretty sure it was Tarzan who came up with the idea for Ivo to do burnouts in gasoline instead of bleach… which was common at the time… Well needless to say when you do a burn out in gasoline…poof… flames everywhere…The crowds loved it and other teams started doing it… The practice soon got a little out of control… Starting line stuff started getting burned…
…And in no time gasoline burnouts were NHRA banned…😳
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OLDRAAT

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Sorry your friend is gone. Ran into him in the early 70's a few times. Quite an individual with balls of steel. Rest in racer's heaven big guy. 👍
 

Willie B

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… Got word last night that Tarzan had a stroke …and was admitted to the ER… He was released the next day…and passed away at home???…
… Note to self …if having a major health issue…do not go to the ER in a small town such as Farmington or Oakdale Ca…
…on the other hand…Knowing him as well as I did …I can actually see see him saying to the people in the ER …”I don’t care what you say I’m leaving”…
… however it worked out…RIP John Austin…
 

Willie B

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…Another Tarzan hospital story… Actually before the nickname Tarzan got stuck on him…
…We were hanger outers at Toluca Lake Bob’s big boy… Mike Greco had just graduated from a 62 Chevy 409 Biscayne… to a ‘63 split window Corvette…
… Dont know where they were going but Mike Greco didn’t make the curve on Hollywood Way just before it crosses…. I believe it’s Magnolia???…anyway there was a crash…
… Austin took the brunt of the impact.. Took us a couple of days to find out what hospital he had been taken to… Pretty sure it was USC… So myself and a couple of friends went to the hospital and found him on a gurney in the hallway… They had Just barely looked at him… So we went yelled and screamed at people and were assured later by somebody …I can’t remember who???…That he was in a room… had been x-rayed… Etc.…Turns out he had a punctured lung and a broken arm…Typical of him he was back at Bob’s for some more of our shenanigans probably in a short period of time…but with a cast on his arm… I wouldn’t be surprised if he went right back out on the road with Tommy Ivo…with the cast on his arm???..,
 
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