October 25, 2021

Vintage-Nitro

Still car-crazy after all these years

Al Bergler's More Aggravation

Even in 1966, Al Bergler's craftsmanship could rival anything racing today.

Al Bergler’s More Aggravation dragster

Like all of Bergler's machinery, everything on More Aggravation was first class. And like the earlier version, it was also very fast.
Al Bergler, 1967 Detroit Autorama
Al Bergler’s 1967 version of More Aggravation at Detroit’s Cobo Hall. Notice Roger Lindamood’s Color Me Gone Charger in the upper right. Tom Bonner photo (Instamatic 126)

Hopefully some of you caught the veiled reference to Al Bergler’s More Aggravation in my last post. Bergler is probably best known for his string of Motown Shaker funny cars, or as the aluminum artist who was responsible for the “tin” work on many of the nation’s top race cars in the sixties, seventies and eighties.

Bergler’s first claim to fame, however came with front-engine dragsters. His original More Aggravation earned Bergler the Ridler Award at the 1964 Autorama, which was also the very first time the Ridler was awarded.

That car featured a much modified Austin Bantam coupe body with a full-width windshield grafted on to it. After the jump, you’ll find a video that includes the restored version of the original Bantam bodied car.

For the 1967 Detroit Autorama, Bergler showed this version of More Aggravation, with a streamlined roadster body behind the big blown Chrysler.

I’m not sure if this was a an all new car or whether Bergler simply updated the older Aggravation. In any case, it was a eye-catcher, with that tiny canopy enclosing the driver’s head.

Like all of Bergler’s machinery, everything on More Aggravation was first class. And like the earlier version, it was also very fast. Bergler’s gas powered AA/Comp entries won several prestigious events, including Super Eliminator at the 1966 NHRA Spring Nationals.

I didn’t meet Bergler in person until many years after this photo was taken. In the late seventies, I covered some of the projects in Bergler’s Mount Clemens shop, and we did a photo shoot with the Motown Shaker Corvette at Metro Breach.

One thing I liked about Bergler was that he always referred to his race cars as hot rods, as in “Did you get any good pictures of my hot rod last weekend?”

I’m delighted to hear that Bergler is still around, and has taken an active interest in restoring old race cars. One of the restored cars is the original More Aggravation. Bergler found the old car and bought it back. Many of the original pieces were beyond salvage, but Bergler recreated the items that were no longer useable and returned the digger to it’s the Ridler winning appearance, with a Bantam Coupe body.

The following YouTube video shows More Aggravation running through the streets at a 2006 Cacklefest in Frankenmuth, Michigan.

I guess all of Brergler’s racers were hot rods after all…