An endless race car collection includes the most original Jeff Gordon NASCAR Lumina
Ray Evernham has moved Big Iron Garage into a new building. The shop itself is still under construction as are many of the timeless race cars.
“I’ve been working on cars since I was 14-15 years old,” Ray Evernham stated. “I’ve done everything from NASCAR to Indycar to Off-Road to Pikes Peak to Hot Rods. Now, we just hang out and have a lot of fun.”
Part of the warehouse is a showroom. The area remains under construction but 20+ cars sit in immaculate condition. Some of the cars were raced by Evernham himself, others were cars he raced against and some he just bought because he’s a car guy.
One of the cars is a 1971 NASCAR Race Car driven by Dave Marcis. Evernham has a connection to the car as he changed tires on it as a crew member in his early days of NASCAR.
Open wheel modifieds sit at the front of the showroom, it’s the kind of racing he grew up on. IROC machines, ASA, dirt sprint cars, NASCAR race cars and bad to the bone one-off customs rest on the floor.
“Back in those days, this was the way to get to Cup. You went through Sprint Cars and Midgets to get to Indy. But, you went through Modifieds and Late Models to get to Cup.”
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Booker #24: NASCAR
Ray Everham served as the crew chief for the Hendrick Motorsports #24 team. He was with Gordon as he claimed three of his seven driver championships.
Booker is Hendrick Motorsports chassis No. 2409. It was driven in 1994, the year Gordon claimed his first career NASCAR Cup Series victory.
“We finished 4th in the 1994 Daytona 500. That car sat in original condition, in a museum. So, it’s one of the most original #24 cars, I think, that exists.”
“It has so many of the original parts on it. Including, Jeff Gordon’s driving seat, the electronics. There’s a lot of work that I actually did on this car, that still exists.”
“We’re going to basically do a clean and mechanical restoration on it. We need to find some more correct engine parts and that’s what we’re doing.”
“But, everything else on that car, it’s pretty much the way it left Daytona Speedweeks in 1994.”
Everham adds, “This is one of those cars that really remind me of the good old days.”
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In 1968, Chrysler brought two 1969 Charger 500s to Hot Rod Magazine. The cars were taken to a drag strip where they performed in the 13 second bracket.
After the cars were dropped off, one was stolen. The B-5 car was found in a neighborhood and recovered. However, it was missing the driveline.
Chrysler decided to make it an R&D car from that point. Nichels Engineering installed a roll cage, a race Hemi and the car was transformed to NASCAR spec.
After a crash in Daytona, Chysler decided to take it to the next level. The famous wing was installed and the Charger Daytona was born.
On March 24, 1970, Buddy Baker broke the 200mph average at Talladega Superspeedway in a closed test session. This was the first car to break the 200mph barrier on any closed circuit.
Headlines were made worldwide.
Soon after, Bill France requested the car for the NASCAR Museum. But, DC-93 wasn’t sent to the museum. Instead, Chrysler painted DC-74 to look like DC-93 allowing Chrysler to continue using DC-93. This trick was unknown to NASCAR.
“This is DC-93, the real car that broke the record for 200mph on a closed course with Buddy Baker. Just a ton of history. Many of the real parts,” Ray Everham points to his new project.
“It was in pretty rough condition when we got it. We’ve been working on it now for about a year and a half.”
“It has many of the original pieces, including the engine pieces. We’re suppose to be running the dyno this week.”
“We took the engine to [Richard] Petty. We thought, ‘Ok, how cool would it be to have Petty do the engine.’ “
Everham has plans for DC93, “That car will be going up to auction.”
More than cars
Other things sit in his garage just because they’re insane. Like, the front wheel drive dirt midget made of John Deere tractor parts.
Aside from cars, Everham has a collection of old school parts. That includes racks on racks of old tires.
“If you can find new, old stock tires and wheels, it’s gold. I paid $2,000 for original Holman Moody stock car wheels. These things are as rare as anything. And, I don’t even have a project for these but that’s why I have so much stuff.”
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Ray Evernham shop tour
Ray Evernham – Big Iron Garage – Jeff Gordon – Hendrick Motorsports – Richard Petty Motorsports – NASCAR – Indycar