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AK AND THE GUYS

AK AND THE GUYS
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 I got to know Ak Miller sometime way back when. It was one of those acquaintances that you have where you don’t remember when, or why you met, only that it was. It was at Bonneville, I think, maybe 49 or 50. Somewhere about the time he was working up to do the Mexican Road Race, with that conglomeration of parts the Mexicans were quick to christen El Caballo (the Iron Horse). From the git go, AK (that’s a capital  A followed by  a capital K, as in Aaaaaa – Kaaay) thought outside the box. Usually way outside.

For a while there he had a roadster with a humongous independent front end from some kind of  a GM  frame I think, and by the time I was on the scene he was starting to expand his shop out in Whittier, California. All this time, he was active in a car club that included Wally Parks and Doc Ostich and  Sealed Beams and I think even Jerry Kugel was a member. Kugel was the kid at the Miller garage complex, but he learned quickly. An aside: AK was never in the salt flats 200mph club, despite all his other automotive heroics. So, XXXXXX and Kugel and such nefarious hangers-on fixed up a car in this last decade which they determined that AK should chauffer at B’ville. By then AK was getting on in years, but he treasured his red baseball cap. The fact that he never seemed to drive any of the Nevada roads at anything under 200 didn’t enter the equation.

Miller and all those guys in the XXXXXXXX club were totally independent thinkers, and actors. For instance, one night at a club meeting discussion arose over the clubroom telephone costs. Back and forth went the mumbles, until finally frustrated with all the bitching, AK stood up, walked to the phone and summarily ripped it from the wall. “There,” he announced to the not-at-all-shocked club members, “That takes care of the problem.”

When I was in the Air Force, flying out of Germany, AK and his crew came over with the El Caballo Two, a purpose built sports car hot rod. The intention was to run the Mille Miglia  sports car race in Italy. They didn’t win, and I’ve forgotten what they did do. But AK stayed on to visit with Pegge and me up in Germany. You need to understand Miller was a Scandinavian, so he was not at all pleased with the then recent Germany  foray onto the international war games scene. I spent an untoward amount of time, with my broken German language, extricating AK from some tense moments.

 Miller was a vocal opponent of Richard Nixon. RN went to the same high school with AK, so when Nixon got into politics, AK went ballistic. AK was one of the founding members of the NHRA.  Diplomatic he was not.

But he was one of the most entertaining story tellers ever. And it is said that every time he told a story it changed, often for the better. I loved to be around one of those story fests, so I could interject a mislaid fact or two, which he could then embellish on and festoon with even greater elucidation.

Anyway, if anyone ever does a book on the life of AK Miller, be sure and get one, or maybe two since the second one may be different from the first. In that, it would only be in holding with the man’s history!