Fezell’s Classic Car Collection A True Passion


DUBOIS, Pa. (EYT) – Don Fezell has made his living as a grocer for 60 years, but his passion for classic drag cars goes back even further.

Fezell has owned and operated grocery stores across the region since the early 1970’s, and he still owns stores in DuBois and Franklin.

Fezell’s deep interest in drag cars led him to owning one of the most remarkable collections of race cars in the United States.

Fezell, at 78, still races some of his classic rods, and just four years ago, he set a national record (in April 2012) in Charlotte at the zMAX Dragway at the National Hot Rod Association Four-Wide Nationals.

According to a story on dragzine.com, Fezell recorded the first 8-second pass in the history of Stock Eliminator driving his 2008 Ford Mustang Cobra Jet.

Fezell’s 8.954 seconds at 153.88 miles per hour on the 10.00 AA/S index had never been done before.

“Getting into the 8-second zone had been pretty elusive,” Fezell said.

While Fezell enjoys the competition and the records, it’s truly more about the cars, their history, and the process of restoration that interests him.

“These are the cars I grew up with,” Fezell said. “The sport keeps us young and we love the history of the cars.”

Ron Lykens, a good friend of Fezell’s for nearly 20 years, works with him on his collection. Lykens opened Xtreme Wear in DuBois in 1995 and soon the two discovered their shared affection for classic cars.

“We have a lot in common, we love cars, we like to play golf, we enjoy working on these cars.

“It’s just really, really cool working on cars of this caliber, to be able to touch ‘em and drive ‘em, to experience it and see what these cars are all about,” Lykens said. “It’s been a super gas, it’s just a day-to-day fun time.”

Don Fezell with '57 Chevy

Don Fezell with ’57 Chevy

According to an article on hotrod.com, Fezell was a founding member of the Rev-Masters car club in Beaver Falls, Pa. The club was formed in the parking lot of a Loblaw’s grocery market in 1956 where he was the manager.

Fezell owned two unblown gas-class cars, but by 1966, he had bought a L79 Chevy Nova with a four-speed 327/350 horsepower stocker.

Fezell raced many different cars over the years, but as he and his wife Mary Lou’s family grew and their grocery business did as well, time with his beloved cars took a back seat.

But, that didn’t last long.

In 1977, Fezell decided to restore a 1957 Chevy, and it grew to where his collection included 70 cars by 2015.

However, Fezell is dealing with some bittersweet feelings now as he sold 20 cars from the collection a year ago and is going to sell 42 more at the Mecum auction in Kissimmee, Fla., in January.

“We aren’t quitting; we’re keeping 10 to 12 cars, but our families just don’t have the interest in keeping and maintaining the cars,” Fezell said. “It’s emotional, knowing they are going to be leaving.”

“The restoration has been a life time of devotion.”

For Lykens, his devotion runs deep as well, but he sought to dispel rumors about the sale.

“There are lots of rumors about why it’s being done, about Don’s health, but he’s just shifting gears. The market is good and it’s just time,” Lykens said.

Fezell not only cherishes his collection and the efforts to amass it, but also the relationships he has developed with the many people that helped him work on his cars.

“I’ve had a lot of help from a lot of different people over the years in restoring these cars. It’s been a lot of fun,” Fezell said.

This is the description of Fezell’s collection at mecum.com.

“If you keep up with modern sportsman drag racing, you may have heard Don Fezell’s name before. After all, the DuBois, Pennsylvania-based racer made history when he clocked the very first 8-second pass in NHRA Stock Eliminator back in 2012, running an 8.95 while driving his factory-supercharged 2008 Cobra Jet Mustang. While few may know this fact, Fezell’s latest foray into history could well come at Kissimmee in January as the treasures he accumulated over literally decades cross Mecum’s stage.”

“To amass a collection of this magnitude today would be very difficult, if not impossible. Names like Bill Jenkins, Phil Bonner, Ed Miller, and Bud Faubel, classes like A/FX, S/S and A/MP, plus engines like Z11, Hemi, Cobra Jet and so on, are legend.

“Fezell was careful about what he chose, taking the effort to locate and buy some of the best, most significant drag-racing door cars in history, focusing on the northeastern United States. In addition, he and his wife Mary Lee also purchased excellent unrestored muscle and other cars with important pedigrees and scarce options.

“The result, coming to Florida, is no fewer than 44 selected gems, the very cream of the group and one that will likely astound attendees in terms of buyer intensity and interest.

“What is more, literally every race car here is properly prepped to its as-built specifications. Unlike some restored trailer queens, the true compression ratios and blueprinted engines have allowed Fezell and even the original drivers to make at-speed 100-mph-plus runs in them. Not built or updated with modern nostalgia specifications, these are restored to exact-to-the-era excitement, which makes this offering a standout opportunity for every ‘real race car’ aficionado.”

 


Copyright © 2021 EYT Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Any copying, redistribution or retransmission of the contents of this service without the express written consent of EYT Media Group, Inc. is expressly prohibited.

Comments are temporarily closed. A new and improved comments section will be added soon.