The story of a drag racing legend, Mr. Plymouth | Taza Khabre

Key findings

  • Robert Nance, also known as Mr. Plymouth, is a drag racing legend who has driven Plymouth Dusters and Barracudas.
  • Nance’s racing career spanned from the 1950s to the 1980s, and he became one of Mopar’s most influential racers.
  • Nance had numerous victories, dominated local races and raced various Plymouth cars equipped with powerful engines such as the 426 Hemi.

Legends are made, not born, as they say, but in the world of racing, legends are those who ride to victory. Each type of motorsport has its own legends drag racing also has a long list. With that in mind, Robert Nance is a drag racing legend who has managed to make a name for himself in the sport and become a legend behind the wheel. Plymouth Dusters and barracudas.

Nance, also known as Mr. Plymouth in the racing community during his racing days was a local drag racer hailing from Ringgold, Georgia. The story of how he became a drag racing legend deserves to be told. Fortunately, Hot Rod Hoarder YouTube Channel shared his story in one of his videos.

Robert Nance’s Mopar legend begins with a bang

Robert Nance: From Dairy Farmer to Drag Racer

  • Robert Nance was a dairy farmer from Ringgold, Georgia
  • He conquered the Daytona Beach measured mile
  • Nance soon moved on to drag racing, driving body cars
  • He first drove a 1951 Henry J and then in 1961 a 1932 Ford.

According to Hot Rod Hoarder, Nance’s racing career spanned from the 1950s to the 1980s. During this time, Nance became one of Mopar’s most influential drag racers. It is not known exactly when Nance started taking cars to races, but the first mention of the dairy farmer’s racing career appeared in 1958.

At this time, a short clip from the Chattanooga Daily Times mentions how Nance received a Daytona Beach Chamber of Commerce Century Club certificate for driving his amazing 1958 Plymouth at 115.95 mph on the famous measured mile course.

After this feat, Nance moved on to regular drag racing. At this stage he drove several stock cars and also competed in the gas class with a 1951 Plymouth-powered Henry J. He then changed cars and in 1961 started driving a 1932 Ford.


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Nance switches to Drag Racing and starts winning

Robert Nance becomes Plymouth factory driver

  • He competed in 1962 with a 420 horsepower factory Plymouth drag car
  • Nance drove the car to the quarter mile in 12.45 seconds
  • He improved his times and began to dominate drag racing
  • Being a factory driver, Nance also reports on his races at Plymouth

In 1962, Nance was still driving his 1932 Ford with a Mopar engine in the gas class. However, that year he purchased a new 1962 Plymouth, which was one of the first cars built at the factory. This Plymouth had a 413-ci engine rated at 420 hp. Interestingly, Nance was only able to purchase this car because he was officially sponsored by Plymouth as a factory racer.

Nance’s car only had 270 miles on it when he took the Plymouth to the race at Hixson. According to Hot Rod Hoarder, Nance won the event with a quarter mile time of just 12.45 seconds. Two weeks later, he managed to drop his quarter-mile time to 12.39 seconds. With such speed, Nance and his Plymouth won every Stoke Eliminator race in the area.

Armed with this local dominance, Nance went on to bigger races, racking up wins. Being a factory driver, he still had to report to Plymouth every time he raced. This involved reporting any problems encountered during the race and detailing the successes achieved while driving the car.


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Racing with Plymouth Max Wedges and 426 Hemis

Mr. Plymouth Robert Nance won
Via: Hot Rod Hoarder on YouTube

Robert Nance calls himself Mr. Plymouth

  • Nance raced a 1963 factory Plymouth with Max Wedge 426 engines
  • His next Plymouth car had a 426 Hemi engine
  • He began using the nickname Mr. Plymouth in 1964
  • Nance competed in Super Stock and A/FX

Then in 1963, Nance purchased a factory new 1963 Plymouth with lightweight components and a massive 426 Max wedge engine. It was a quick and fast car and Nance took a few wins with it as well. He also had a red Stanley and a 1940 Willys Coupe that competed in different categories.

In 1964, Nance received another new factory car from Plymouth, this time equipped with a 426 Hemi. It was at this time that he began using the pseudonym “Mr. Plymouth. He began branding his cars with this nickname, and Nance gained a reputation as a driver of light blue cars with yellow steel rims. In 1965, Nance moved up to other classes with another new car from Plymouth.

In the same year, cars with a changed wheelbase appeared on the scene of drag racing. Nance had several significant wins, including one at Greenville, South Carolina, where he dominated the competition with a relatively stock car. Nance also began changing the wheelbase of his Plymouth A/FX by moving the rear end forward. In later years, he withdrew from Super Stock racing due to increasingly strict rules.

A successful racing career continued in the 1970s

Nance’s drag racing success continues with new Plymouth cars

  • Nance named his modified Plymouth Valiant 426 Little Mr. Plymouth
  • He soon switched to a long-nosed Plymouth Barracuda 426
  • Nance also drove a Barracuda BO29 and a Duster 426 Pro Stocker
  • He also ran another Duster in the Super Stock class

Nance also raced a modified Plymouth Valiant with a 426 Hemi. He called this car “Little Mr. Plymouth” because it was smaller than his previous rides. Due to some issues, he did not race that Valiant and went on to drive a long nose Plymouth Barracuda that also had a fuel injected 426 Hemi.

In later years, Nance competed only locally, although he also competed, albeit rarely, with his Valiant and Barracuda funny cars. In 1968, Nance purchased a Super Stock Hemi Barracuda BO29 with fiberglass bodywork and a 426 Hemi with a crossbar. He also drove a modified Cuda that ended up in the Pro Stock class in 1970. Nance then built and ran a custom built Pro Stocker based on a 1970 Plymouth Duster body with a 426 Hemi engine.

Nance sold his Duster in 1973 when his interest in Pro Stock waned. He purchased another Duster 340 and made it competitive in the Super Stock category. Interestingly, this car can be equipped as a 1970 model. Other racers also raced Nance’s Duster with a number of wins.


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A true legend of a drag racer

Mr. Plymouth's Museum
Via: Hot Rod Hoarder on YouTube

Robert Nance is a drag racing legend known as Mr. Plymouth.

  • Nance ended his racing career at the end of the 1984 season
  • He sold his last Plymouth, racing equipment and tools
  • The doors of his last Plymouth are kept in a museum owned by his grandson
  • The mini-museum also features Nance’s photographs, trophies and papers

In the years that followed, Nance slowed down his distance racing and began competing only locally. By the end of the 1984 drag racing season, Nance decided to sell his last car, a Plymouth Duster, along with all of his racing equipment and tools. The new owner had to fix some issues with the car and remove the doors, eventually giving it to Nance to serve as a memento of the drag racing legend’s career.

The door of Nance’s beloved Plymouth Duster now hangs on the wall of a mini-museum owned by his grandson. The museum also houses several photos of the legend, as well as his trophies and documents. According to Hot Rod Hoarder, some of Nance’s race cars still exist, but only one of them bears the Mr. Plymouth name. Fortunately, photographs, trophies and surviving race cars continue to carry on Nance’s legacy as a true drag racer who influenced many people in his area and the southwestern United States.

Source: Hot Rod Hoarder on YouTube

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