When he's not racing cars, Westminster's Spriggs is restoring them

MOTOR SPORTS

June 06, 1993|By STAN DILLON

Matt Spriggs of Westminster enjoys taking older cars and restoring them to their original beauty. He enjoys racing the cars as much as showing them in major shows.

This year, Spriggs joined the points at 75-80 Dragway in Monrovia. Even though he can't race twice a week, he hopes to do well enough that he can make the top 16 and qualify for the bracket finals in the fall at Maple Grove Raceway at Reading, Pa.

"I have been racing on and off for the past 10 years," said Spriggs. "I raced about once a month for trophies and had a good time. The middle of last year I decided to get serious about racing and moved up to Class II from the trophy class. I am trying to go at least once a week now. If I can, it will be worthwhile."

Spriggs does most of his racing in a 1973 green Chevrolet Vega, a car similar to the first one he owned.

"I always wanted a Vega with a V-8 in it," said Spriggs. "My first car was a Vega with an original four-cylinder motor. When I saw this car, I knew I wanted it because it had a V-8 in it."

The car needed work. As Spriggs worked on it, he raced it when he had time. The 327-cubic-inch motor that came in it, which was worn out when he purchased it, gave way to a larger and more powerful 350-cubic-inch V-8.

His elapsed time improved dramatically as well. He lowered his time for the quarter-mile from the 15-second to the 12-second range.

Experimentation and racing go together. Spriggs continually looks for ways to improve the performance of his Vega. He has changed the

cam, rear, tires and mufflers, resulting in increased speeds.

Spriggs, a 31-year-old mechanic for Fisher Tire Service in Westminster, is a perfectionist. He has done all the motor work himself. He calls it a low-budget motor built from parts from the Sears catalog. The engine has been running without any problems for nearly 10 years.

In addition to racing, Spriggs enters his cars in shows throughout the area and the Midwest. Last Sunday, he was among several hundred Chevy enthusiasts at 75-80 for Super Chevy Day.

Later this summer, he will enter a 1967 Pontiac Firebird in the Hot Rod Super Nationals car show in Illinois. He has been a regular since '81.

Spriggs shows and races the Firebird, which is powered by a big-block Chevrolet 396-cubic-inch motor. The Firebird was in rough shape when he found it, but after almost four years of hard labor it is a show-stopper. He has won numerous awards in shows for his cars.

When one car is completed, he starts on a new project. His last zTC project was a 1978 Chevrolet Malibu with a 400-cubic-inch small-block Chevy. He now is working on a 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Super Sport.

Spriggs always will have cars to restore. He keeps his eyes out for good buys. It seems as if any GM product from the '67 era catches his attention.

As for racing, Spriggs is looking forward to the 1993 season as the point races get under way. He is looking forward to winning some money.

"I found the competition a lot tougher in Class II," said Spriggs. "When I get a little better, I may move up to Class I."

Spriggs enjoys drag racing and has entertained the thought of drag racing professionally, like Todd Harris of Westminster.

But right now he wants to concentrate on Class II and maybe

running his Firebird in Class I in the future.

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