LA Auto Show : Fueled By The Fallen

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Originally Published Nov 20. 2013.

SEE ALSO: 2013 LA Auto Show Press Pass Coverage

By Bob Gordon
The Auto Channel

Los Angeles November 20, 2013; In the lower exhibition hall at this year’s LA Auto Show will be a unique and important “don’t miss” exhibit.

Along with all of the new and exciting vehicle offerings from the world’s car makers will be an exhibit from Fueled By The Fallen a charitable organization that assists in supporting U.S. Military Members, Public Safety Personnel, and their Families to aid in their emotional, physical, and financial recovery needs by displaying these special cars.

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Fueled By The Fallen was founded in 2007 by Kevyn Major Howard, the actor who played “Rafterman" in Stanley Kubrick's blockbuster film Full Metal Jacket. His inspiration came from a nightly news that announced that “12 service members died this day in the ongoing wars ”.Kevyn woke up the next morning and challenged himself to name just one person who has died for his freedom" and couldn’t."

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So Kevyn decided to do something about it. He started the Fueled By The Fallen, a 501(c)3 non-profit. Kevyn, enlisted the expertise of Chuck Spiker, a lifelong drag racer and former National Go Kart Champion, to create a memorial that would get the attention of all Americans. "The reason we chose race cars is because you can get the attention of a two year and a ninety-two year old with one", Kevyn said. Chuck took a 1963 Nova and created a 10 second quarter mile door slammer drag car representing fallen Marines from Iraq and Afghanistan. "Maybe I can get people who look upon the race car to remember just one name. If I can do that, I have accomplished my mission", Kevyn continued.

The determination was made that more cars are needed. The '63 Marines Nova was already filled with 867 fallen Marines. Fueled By The Fallen acquired a Bickel chassis custom drag car with a fiberglass 1966 Nova shell to become the second Marines car.

A second 1966 Chevy Nova was acquired to become the Navy car in 2008.

As more people viewed the Memorial Race Cars, the need for the other branches became immediately apparent.

A 1992 Ford Mustang LX "Fox Body" was acquired to represent the fallen Army soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, there is a second Army Mustang ('93 GT 5.0) that is a parade car to increase the visibility of those Army Heroes whom have given the ultimate sacrifice.

In April of 2010, the Air Force car was acquired. It is a 1970 Chrysler Challenger R/T featuring 99 fallen Air Force Heroes.

In August of 2010, a Ford Anglia was acquired from Niagara Falls, NY. It is currently being built into the first in a series of "Allies" cars to represent those brave fallen Heroes from our friends across the globe.

In 2009, Kevyn recognized the sacrifices of our brave public safety personnel by creating the National Law Enforcement Memorial Cruiser featuring over one thousand fallen peace officers from around the United States since September 11th, 2001.

In August of 2010, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and the Association of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, in conjunction with Fueled By The Fallen, created the Los Angeles County Memorial Cruiser featuring 477 fallen peace officers from Los Angeles County since 1850.

Fueled By The Fallen and J & B Motorsports, Pittsburgh, PA, collaborated on two nitro funny cars. One is a "Marines Dress Blues" Memorial car and the other is a "USS Enterprise Tribute" car. Today, those cars can be seen racing at drag tracks across the United States.

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The 9/11 "Angel Cruiser Series"

The 9/11 "Angel Cruiser Series" proudly displays the names of all Heroes that lost their lives on September 11, 2001. To Commemorate America's Heroes, this crest Graces the Hoods of the "Angel Series".

1963 Chevy Nova "Marines" Drag Car

This car features the names of 867 fallen Marines from Iraq and Afghanistan, six of which are female. Some of the most notable names on this car are Jason Dunham, Rafael Peralta, Mike Anderson Jr., and Chance Phelps. The first car to be created, it was completed in 2007 by Chuck Spiker. The car has a 406 cubic inch motor. It can do the quarter mile in 10 seconds.

1966 Chevy Nova "Marines" Drag Car

This car is the only car on the team that was not originally a street car. The frame was created by Jerry Bickel as a custom drag car. The fiberglass shell is that of a '66 Nova.

It has a 500 cubic inch Chevy big block with dual Holley Dominators 1250s. It is capable of doing the quarter mile in 8 seconds.

This car features the names of 174 fallen Marines from Iraq and Afghanistan.

1970 Chrysler Challenger R/T "Air Force" Drag Car

This car features the names of 99 fallen Air Force personnel from Iraq and Afghanistan.

This car has a 540 cubic inch 'wedge' motor with an 1150 Holley Dominator on it. Chuck Spiker is still in the process of tuning this car. He believes that it will be capable of doing the quarter mile in about 8 seconds.

1992 Ford Mustang LX "Army" Drag Car

This car features the names of fallen Army personnel from Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of the most notable names on this car are Cody Carver, Michael Benson, and Ivan Merlo.

This car has a 460 cubic inch big block motor with negatively offset 10 inch tires. It can do the quarter mile in 9 seconds.

2001 Ford Crown Victoria "National Law Enforcement Memorial" Cruiser

This car is the first in a series of Law Enforcement Memorials. The car was created after the tragic shootings of four police officers in Oakland and Philadelphia. The car features slightly over one thousand names of fallen police officers from around the United States since September 11th, 2001.

Some of the most notable names on the car are Hagop "Jake" Kuredjian, Ronald Buca, and Matthew Pinchot.

A second 'sister' cruiser will need to be created to bring the memorial up to date with all of the officers that have died in the line of duty since 9-11.

The Navy "USS Enterprise" Tribute Nitro Funny Car

This car is the only car on the team that does not feature fallen military service members. It is a tribute to those who have served aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise, the first nuclear powered Aircraft carrier and the second oldest Naval vessel in the American fleet next to the USS Constitution.

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