“It’s about finding that last tenth.” That’s how Scott Birdsall sees competition — and clearly, he knows where to go looking for it. Birdsall, is the visionary builder and driver of Old Smokey – a 1949 Ford F1 pickup equipped with a 12-valve, 6.7L twin-turbo Freedom Racing Engines* Cummins* – that holds the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb diesel record with a time of 11:24.065. Birdsall and Old Smokey also hold the half-mile diesel land-speed record at 167 mph. Those accomplishments are even more incredible considering that Birdsall simultaneously operates two award-winning fabrication shops, Chuckles Garage and Resolute Motorsports in Santa Rosa, Calif. But instead of slowing down, Birdsall is just getting started. When the milestone 100th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb runs on June 26, 2022, he will be back with a new car intent on resetting his own record. And AMSOIL will be there to help.
“I bought Old Smokey off craigs list for $225,” said Birdsall. “I was just going to flip it, but it started to grow on me. I decided to make it into a shop truck to run around in and grab parts and stuff with, so we put a 12-valve Cummins diesel in it and some standard stuff.
“But I don’t have any personal restraint,” he continued. “So, one turbo turned into two, and two turned into two really big ones – and then it turned into needing big breaks. It turned into a 1200-hp street truck. Before I knew it, it was a full-blown race truck with a license plate on it.”
Old Smokey debuted at the 2016 SEMA with a lot of buzz, going viral on social media and making Car and Driver’s Top 10 of SEMA 2016. But Birdsall decided to take the truck to yet another level.
Old Smokey went through another rebuild with “literally everything” upgraded with $400,000-plus of premium components. He says you can think of Smokey as a World Challenge Cup GT race car hiding under a ’49 Ford F1. It has a computer designed aerodynamics package that creates tons of downforce. The Freedom Racing Engines* Cummins* runs on NexDiesel,* a renewable fuel that burns clean and efficient. FASS Fuel Systems* pumps and Dynamite Diesel* injectors deliver the fuel, creating a staggering 1,463 hp and 2,100 lb-ft of torque. Birdsall says that Smokey is a beast to drive at 4,400 nose-heavy pounds and no driving aids like traction control or ABS.
“Smokey is like sitting on a silverback gorilla and giving it the taser,” joked Birdsall. “It’s a purely analog machine with no driver aids at all. The only drivers aid is your fear of mortality.”