We spotted this promotional car in the parking lot while waiting to go out on the wet beach during The Race of Gentleman West. This 201-cubic-inch flat-six 1938 Plymouth is the ambassador vehicle representing the Black Cat Hell Drivers. They are the only operating new-car automobile stunt tour in North America, and the team still frequents many state and local county fairs. Based in Ohio, most of their shows are performed east of the Mississippi.
The Black Cat Hell Drivers have frequented the Vermont State Fair in years past, where they use a similarly equipped 1938 Plymouth with the larger 217-cubic-inch six-cylinder in the stunt show. That car is a little more banged up than the one pictured here, and is lacking all the original chrome emblems seen on this car. Most of the two-wheel driving and stunts are performed with late model Darts and Avengers, but the team also stages ramp-to-ramp car jumps using clunkers they find at local salvage yards.
The team features drivers Tonny Petersen, Johnny Wiser, Jim “Crash” Moreau and Justin “Wrong Way” Bellinger. Below is a long YouTube video of the stunt team in action at this year’s Big Butler Fair in Pennsylvania:
The stunt team is certainly a throwback to another era. I recall seeing the Black Cat Hell Drivers about eight years ago, and have seen the Joei Chitwood Thrill Show many times, when their five teams of stunt drivers were also touring. Chitwood’s shows stopped in the 1980s after 40 years and thousands of shows. Joei Chitwood’s grandson, also Joei Chitwood (III) is now the president of Daytona Speedway and a former president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where his grandfather competed in the Indianapolis 500 seven times and was the first driver in the event to wear a safety belt.
More information on the stunt team is available at BlackCatHellDrivers.co/.