One of drag racing’s legends has passed away. A very popular drag racer especially in Southern California circles, Arias has been rodding for over 50 years. Some of you may be familiar with his 498ci Arias Hemi, which was based on the Chevrolet big block bust used his own Hemi head. It became so popular that he had his own Hemi head business that converted different types of engine types to be able to accept his application. But his most famed accomplishment would remain the “Chevy Hemi.” Arias was also a vital part of the New Century Aluminum block.
Arias grew up only a few blocks from downtown Los Angeles and was one of the attendees of “the first drag race” in Goleta, CA in 1949. As a young man, Nick worked at Wayne Manufacturing which specialized in cylinder heads in the 40s and 50s. After starting a car club, he went on to fight in the Korean war, upon returning he got into dry lake racing and started his own company: Arias Piston Co.
Aside from the Chevy Hemi, Arias went on to develop the 10-liter in 1975 and got into Top Fuel and alcohol engines.
Arias received the NHRA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000 and was inducted into the Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 2005, and the SEMA Hall of Fame in 2012.