Bruce Brantley: “A Complete Racer”


Racing Connections

Brantley and drag racing legend Hubert Platt share a moment during the annual Peach Bowl reunion.

Another connection was the people down and Max Auto Parts in Atlanta.

“They were always letting me go through their used stuff because I seldom had the money to go first class,” Brantley said.  “Max’s specialty was building straight shift transmissions.  Charles Sweatland worked there and was always lending me a free hand and even a transmission now and then.  Sadly, he was killed with Paul McDuffie in the 1960 Darlington pit row tragedy.”

Through drag racing Bruce met Hubert and Houston Platt, two of the best.

“I remember Hubert giving me a three-carburetor setup for my car, even though those ’55 Chevrolets with two four barrels were giving me a headache,” he told us.  “I had the best Ford out there, but in 1959 when I graduated from high school I switched to a ’58 Chevrolet.  Hubert and I ran the Atlanta area and flip-flopped through the Carolinas and Southeast for the next couple of years.”

“He should get much credit for getting drag racing to the next level,” Brantley added.  “Here in the south it had been a racing for the trophy type deal.  He was a good PR man and initiated getting appearance and tow money for the drivers.  He and Don Nicholson were responsible for the match races that helped the sport.”

Friend Larry Adams shared some memories of Bruce’s drag racing days with us.

“Now that the statute of limitations is over I must confess, anyone thinking they heard a low flying jet in Chamblee late at night in Chamblee in the sixties, it was just Bruce and Jack Childs testing a top fuel dragster capable of 250 mph.  They would start at the old Chamblee Drive Inn and run down Peachtree Industrial Boulevard back to their shop.  And so did the other top stars of the day, such as the Platt Brothers, Nicholson, Phil Bonner and many more.”

Brantley acknowledged they were merely testing the fuels.

“To test the fuel, you had to put it in the car and do a burn run,” he confessed.  “Hubert had taught me more about racing fuels than anyone else.  With this knowledge, I started busting less pistons, which I had done on a regular basis since school.”

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