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Gordon Leland/Alamo Hot Rod Parts passes

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We are sadden to announce the passing of a true pioneer in the racing community. Gordon Leland of Alamo Hot Rod Parts received his racing wings today. Many drivers owe him a debt of gratitude as they adorn the Alamo Hot Rod Parts logo on the side of their race car. Always one to support a new class and tracks across Texas, Gordon loved racing. On behalf of the ACM staff we send our prayers to his family. Gordon you will be missed....

Gordon Leland has been a central figure in drag racing and hot rodding in the San Antonio area for more than 50 years. Like many of us, Gordon got the drag racing bug in high school, taking his daily driver to the old Double Eagle drag strip, with modest success. Taking a vacation to drive to California to check out the scene, Gordon was working his way back from the Bay Area when he decided to visit Woody Gilmore’s chassis shop in the L.A. area. He left for San Antonio with a brand new Woody dragster chassis strapped to the roof of his ’56 Chevy. At the ripe old age of 21, Gordon was the proud owner of the beginnings of a state-of-the-art fuel dragster.

Back here, Gordon quickly did a deal to combine his chassis and the blown fuel hemi then powering a rather dated Top Fueler owned and driven by San Antonio Speed Shop proprietor Danny Rightsell. Thus was born the second Texas Longhorn, now restored and on display in the cacklefest area here today.

Together, Gordon and Danny raced Texas’ first modern-era Top Fuel dragster to considerable success across the state of Texas and beyond. Racing against the major competitors of the time — men like Vance Hunt, Bobby Langley and Eddie Hill — they won as often as not, achieving best performances of 7.02 seconds and 205 miles per hour.

By the late ’70s, Gordon was back in drag racing, partnering in a Funny Car with Bobby Rex, a previous Hall of Fame inductee, and driver Jon Barrett. The trio raced in Funny Car for 10 years, achieving considerable success including Top Alcohol Funny Car at the Mile High Nationals in 1982, and won three consecutive AHRA Nationals at Alamo Dragway.

Gordon-Leland-2After the Funny Car, Gordon ventured into circle track racing, sponsoring George Hagy in Late Model Stocks. Hagy, by the way, had a major hand in the restoration of the Texas Longhorn II, and was a force in Late Model racing, as a driver and car builder.

In 1988, Gordon opened Alamo Hot Rod Parts. As the name implies, Gordon made a conscious decision to cater primarily to the street rod and street machine builders. Alamo Hot Rod Parts continues as a thriving business today.

Throughout, Gordon Leland has been heavily involved as a sponsor and partner in a wide range of racing cars. Among them are the carbon-bodied ’68 Camaro Top Sportsman driven by Trent Wilson, and a 1929 glass Model A-bodied C/Gas Roadster that has run 239 miles per hour at Bonneville in the hands of Ian Brown.

In a career spanned everything from circle track racing to Top Fuel and land speed racing, Gordon has been a central player in motor sport, and provided a helping hand to countless other racers and street rodders throughout Texas.

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