Very few of us get to choose our nicknames (unless you’re some orange-spray tanned idiot from “The Jersey Shore”). Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins was called that because of how seriously he took racing, and, embracing the name and even emblazoning it a succession of “Grumpy’s Toys.”
The serious attitude paid off; he racked up thirteen NHRA drag racing records between 1965 and 1975, mostly using a four-speed manual transmission. In 1972, he was one of the highest-paid athletes in the country (Wilt Chamberlain being the other) and was the first drag racer to be featured in Time Magazine. Basically, the man is a legend, as are the various Toys he drove to various victories.
One of his cars, the 1970 “Grumpy’s Toy XIII,” is going up for sale at Mecum’s January auction in Kissimmee, Florida. It’s one of Grumpy’s less successful cars, but one of the most enduring.
Like most of Grumpy’s Toys, it was fitted with a four-speed manual transmission. The 430 cubic inch GM rat motor has special forged internals, a HEMI clutch fan, a 1962 Corvette tach-drive distributor, an Edelbrock tunnel ram intake topped with two Holley four-barrel carburetors and “Jenkins” stamped aluminum heads. There were high expectations for Grumpy’s Toy VIII after successful 1969 season with the outdated 1968 “Grumpy’s Toy VI,” which the first ever Pro Stock Eliminator Title at the Winternationals.
Grumpy raced the car into 1971 without much success, and ended up renting the car out to two other racers, who performed their own modifications. The car was racing all the way up until 1974, disappearing from the public view until it was found and restored in 2003 to its original specifications (save for an extra 38 cubic inches), and unveiled in 2005. Now, it can be yours at Mecum’s auction January 26th-30th.