In the mid 1960’s my grandfather, Rick Richter, and his business partner, Sid Masters purchased a dragster and put together a racing team. I was a baby in the height of the racing years. I grew up hearing the stories (what he could tell me at least) of racing, mixing nitro, and traveling to events. The name of their dragster was the M&R Special. They were known for building the best, racing the fastest, and pushing the limits of speed. July 19th, 1964 the car set a new NHRA speed record of 198.66 in Fremont, California, with Denny Miliani in the seat. It was a time in the sport when speed was king and Masters & Richter were at the top of their game.
Fifty years later, I am getting the opportunity to have my family history brought to life. Roger Lee, a long time participant and fan in the racing world re-built a full size, running, nitro burning replica of the M&R Special. Roger started building 1/25th scale replicas back in the 1970’s. Since Top Fuel Dragsters were his favorite, that’s where he began. Contacting both the Richter and Masters families to get permission to rebuild the dragster, he began the building process. He painstakingly re-created the M&R Special with the finest detail. Even machining parts that don’t exist and creating the same decals that were on the original dragster.
Recently, he brought the dragster to a local car show. This was my first opportunity to meet Roger in person. He had already created a facebook group dedicated to the M&R Special and the community that follows this sport. It was great getting to know Roger through facebook and getting to see pictures I have never seen before. And, getting more history about the racing team and fans. The Richter extended family gathered to meet Roger at the car show. I can’t tell you how exciting it was to meet Roger in person. He has brought my family history to life! I could feel and touch the actual dragster. When he poured the nitro in the engine, and Ken “Kackle” Riley (driver) fired up this powerful machine, you could feel the sound bounce off your chest. It was such an exciting moment. In that moment, I could feel my grandfather’s presence and all the stories were live right in front of my eyes! I can’t thank Roger enough for bringing this history to life for me and my family. And, that is just my family. There are the Masters family and all the racing fans that get to experience the M&R Special like never before.
Roger said, “When you place yourself on the stage in front of the world with your subjects of interest, you can only hope for the best from reactions of others when showing what you have learned over the years. My dreams have become 3 dimensional creations to share with you my passion. Thank you.”
The scrapbookers and album makers of this world make connections with family stories much like Roger has done with re-building the M&R Special. His quote and my experience shows that while we do what we love, whether working with pictures and telling their stories or building dragsters, it can build connections we never dreamed possible and bring our family histories to life.
I hope you are inspired to dig through your family photos, organize them, and tell their stories. It doesn’t matter whether you like to make simple or elaborate pages. Do what you love and you never know who it will reach.