Spotlight: Bob Hamilton’s “Red Alert” ’70 Chevelle SS 454

It’s not too often that an enthusiast’s car is used as the basis for a scale model, but that’s exactly what happened to Bob Hamilton’s car – twice. And the funny thing is, this ’70 Chevelle SS originally was bought as a Valentine’s Day gift for his wife.

Hamilton was an experienced NHRA racer, having campaigned an Poppy Red 1965 AFX Mustang Fastback known as “Long Gone” in 1965 and 1966. Long Gone was later sold to John Skistimas and renamed the “Jersey Rattler.”

So, it may not come as a surprise that the wife’s grocery getter was soon storming the 1320 at local tracks, with greater plans in the works.

The car exhibits a unique twisting launch that entertained spectators and intimidated competitors, By mid-1971, plastic model maker AMT noticed the unique car and began sponsoring Hamilton.

AMT decals appeared on the car’s flanks and it wasn’t long before a model was on the shelves of hobby stores across the country.

The 1/25 scale Red Alert Chevelle SS quickly became the best selling AMT plastic model ever, and has been reproduced as a diecast 1/18 scale model by Ertl, in two separate runs of 2500 cars.

Much of the car’s popularity came from its dominating performance the following year, when the SS/DA class record with an ET of 10.75 seconds at 123 mph. Red Alert would further go on to set and hold the track record at New Jersey’s Island Dragway for over two years.

Before selling the car to Terry Carney in 1976, Hamilton drove Red Alert to 14 Top Eliminator wins, out of 16 events at Bradenton Dragway in Florida. This early history leads many to claim that Red Alert is “the world’s most famous Chevelle.”

In 1990, Red Alert was brought out again for nostalgia racing and continued to run in the low ten second range with trap speeds over 130 mph.

Today, the Chevelle remains almost as Hamilton originally raced it. The car’s sheet metal and interior are said to be in top notch shape and it’s extensive documentation has been faithfully maintained.

Red Alert is going to auction at Dana Mecum’s Original Spring Classic Auction in Indianapolis, May 17-22, a the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The fully documented, factory LS6 454cui, 450hp automatic transmission Chevelle is certain to be among the more unique opportunities at the event.

For additional information about this car, or the auction, please see the event web site.

About the author

Don Roy

Don's background includes 14 years in the OEM and Tier2 domestic auto industry, as well as three years as Technical Editor of a muscle car enthusiast print magazine. He is a mechanical engineer by trade and completed his first project car when he was 16 years old - after rebuilding the engine in his bedroom. His hobbies include photography, film making and building the odd robot from time to time.
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