Rejuvenating the Joker with Greg Stelse

Click Here to Begin Slideshow When Greg Stelse opened Greg’s Speed Shop in the spring of 2018, he was filled with dreams about what he could do after he got his business humming at full speed. Stelse had given up a successful career in the trucking business to create a facility inspired by a trip to the Henry Ford Museum’s long-running “car culture” exhibit. He bought a commercial building and redid it with a Texaco Station, a pinup girl dress shop, a pinup girl photo studio and an old-fashioned theatre inside. He decorated it with car dealer signs, hot rod club jackets, gas pumps, hot rods and racing cars. He even replicated a 1940s Pontiac dealership sign with the famous Indian head logo. Once the first building was finished, Greg added two more brand new shop buildings where his skilled crew could build hot rods and gassers. Then, he moved in a full speed shop with hot rod and drag racing parts for sale. In between working on these projects, Greg traveled coast-to-coast meeting hot rod celebrities such as Jo Coddington and Gene Winfield. At home, he worked seven days a week, except on those weekends when he took his ’57 Pontiac racing car to the drag strip. On those weekends, he piloted the two-tone green “The Joker” over the quarter-mile as fast as it could go. Of course, just fast wasn’t fast enough for Stelse, so now he is tearing The Joker apart to install an aluminum floor, an aluminum trunk and a specially-made plastic windshield and back glass to shave about 700 lbs. off the car. He also plans to replace the small-block Chevy that previously powered the car with a 1,000-hp Pontiac mill. All of this is only part of the dream, of course. Whatever Greg does, each step makes him dream about the next big step. So, he’s got a dream to make the rejuvenation of the Joker into a how-to-do-it cable television show. When the car is finished—which won’t take a real long time, since he wants to retain its overall old-time drag racer looks—Stelse wants to enter The Joker in the 2020 Hot Wheels™ Legends Tour and hopefully win more than races with it. Eighteen regional 2020 Hot Wheels™ Legends Tour events are scheduled to be held at Wal Marts across the country and Mattel headquarters. The winners of these will go to SEMA. At that show, one car will be selected to become a future Hot Wheels™ toy. “I don’t think anyone ever made a ’57 Pontiac toy,” Greg said. “Maybe someone should.”

Rejuvenating the Joker with Greg Stelse

Click Here to Begin Slideshow

When Greg Stelse opened Greg’s Speed Shop in the spring of 2018, he was filled with dreams about what he could do after he got his business humming at full speed. Stelse had given up a successful career in the trucking business to create a facility inspired by a trip to the Henry Ford Museum’s long-running “car culture” exhibit.

He bought a commercial building and redid it with a Texaco Station, a pinup girl dress shop, a pinup girl photo studio and an old-fashioned theatre inside. He decorated it with car dealer signs, hot rod club jackets, gas pumps, hot rods and racing cars. He even replicated a 1940s Pontiac dealership sign with the famous Indian head logo.

Once the first building was finished, Greg added two more brand new shop buildings where his skilled crew could build hot rods and gassers. Then, he moved in a full speed shop with hot rod and drag racing parts for sale.

In between working on these projects, Greg traveled coast-to-coast meeting hot rod celebrities such as Jo Coddington and Gene Winfield. At home, he worked seven days a week, except on those weekends when he took his ’57 Pontiac racing car to the drag strip. On those weekends, he piloted the two-tone green “The Joker” over the quarter-mile as fast as it could go.

Of course, just fast wasn’t fast enough for Stelse, so now he is tearing The Joker apart to install an aluminum floor, an aluminum trunk and a specially-made plastic windshield and back glass to shave about 700 lbs. off the car. He also plans to replace the small-block Chevy that previously powered the car with a 1,000-hp Pontiac mill.

All of this is only part of the dream, of course. Whatever Greg does, each step makes him dream about the next big step. So, he’s got a dream to make the rejuvenation of the Joker into a how-to-do-it cable television show.

When the car is finished—which won’t take a real long time, since he wants to retain its overall old-time drag racer looks—Stelse wants to enter The Joker in the 2020 Hot Wheels™ Legends Tour and hopefully win more than races with it.

Eighteen regional 2020 Hot Wheels™ Legends Tour events are scheduled to be held at Wal Marts across the country and Mattel headquarters. The winners of these will go to SEMA. At that show, one car will be selected to become a future Hot Wheels™ toy.

“I don’t think anyone ever made a ’57 Pontiac toy,” Greg said. “Maybe someone should.”

Rejuvenating the Joker with Greg Stelse 1

The SBC V-8 will be replaced with a Poncho mill.

Rejuvenating the Joker with Greg Stelse 2

An aluminum floor will be installed.

Rejuvenating the Joker with Greg Stelse 3

Legendary customizer Gene Winfield put the vintage stickers on Greg's car.

Rejuvenating the Joker with Greg Stelse 4

The frame will be boxed.

Rejuvenating the Joker with Greg Stelse 5

This will also be little changed.

Rejuvenating the Joker with Greg Stelse 6

This will remain mostly as is.

Back to Post
Avatar
About John Gunnell 137 Articles
John “Gunner” Gunnell has been writing about cars since ‘72. As a kid in Staten Island, N.Y., he played with a tin Marx “Service Garage” loaded with toy vehicles, his favorite being a Hubley hot rod. In 2010, he opened Gunner’s Great Garage, in Manawa, Wis., a shop that helps enthusiasts restore cars. To no one’s surprise, he decorated 3G’s with tin gas stations and car toys. Gunner started writing for two car club magazines. In 1978, publisher Chet Krause hired him at Old Cars Weekly, where he worked from 1978-2008. Hot rodding legend LeRoi “Tex” Smith was his boss for a while. Gunner had no formal journalism training, but working at a weekly quickly taught him the trade. Over three decades, he’s met famous collectors, penned thousands of articles and written over 85 books. He lives in Iola, Wis., with his nine old cars, three trucks and seven motorcycles.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


I agree to receive emails from RacingJunk.com. I understand that I can unsubscribe at any time. Privacy Policy
Copyright © 2005-2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands
All Rights Reserved.

Internet Brands