Bruce Brantley: “A Complete Racer”


Hangin’ It Up

David Adams, Johnny Waddell and Bruce Brantley at Chamblee Carburetor and Electric.

Around this time Bruce sold a racecar for a cabin on the lake.

“I had a couple of Chevelles left in the garage,” he said.  “One was the old Curtis Turner car, and the other wouldn’t run worth a crap.  I never figured that one out, but a fellow wanted it, so I swapped for the car, less the motor and transmission, for his cabin on Lake Jackson.  I kept it for three or four years until my little girl saw a snake in the water,” he joked.  “But really they had just outgrown going there so I sold it and eventually built a shop on North Peachtree Road.”

Around this time he quit driving.

“The growth of our business was one of the main reasons I quit racing, which was in 1972,” he said.  “Our shop on North Peachtree Road was requiring more of my time.  I had to make a decision on what was to come first and the garage did.  Plus I had built and driven about everything I was interested in.  I even tried a little Grand National racing back in 1963.  We ran the Atlanta 500 in an old Bud Moore 1961 Pontiac that Joe Weatherly had raced.  The car was good for 27 laps before the fuel pump quit.”

Brantley ran a few NASCAR Grand National events in 1963. This was a ’61 Pontiac from the Bud Moore/Joe Weatherly stable.

Brantley’s best finish out of a handful of NASCAR’s top tier races was sixth and Spartanburg in 1963.

“Too expensive, too long and too drawn out,” Bruce told us.  “To be competitive you have to have the proper backing.  I remember robbing my coke machine too many times to get to these events.  I would have loved it, but the big money wasn’t there.”

However, some time later, Bruce considered a “mild” comeback at the age of 42.

“In 1981 a friend of mine named Ferrell Lee bought a car from Ronnie Sanders and wanted me to drive it,” Brantley said.  “I figured what the heck, so we took it to Jefco for a 200 lap ASA or All-Pro race and did pretty good.  Then they had another one lined up in Macon and I just told Ferrell to get Shorty Tanner’s son Roger to drive it.  I was over 40 and didn’t want to get back in the grind again.”

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