Class rules were stringent, and "stock" was taken literally by tech inspectors. To get the most horsepower out of a stock engine meant careful "blueprinting" of every component, micro-checking each dimension, opening clearances, and making sure piston ring seal and fine-tuning was close to perfect. Tough to imagine with today's wide array of high-quality aftermarket "stock" parts, but the best motors back in the day saw a fair share of handwork and massaging to make sure the factory components were at their very best.
The car began turning low 14s on South Florida's typically sandy, ex-airfield strips, and when traction was available, high 13s at 105-plus mph. By 1964, the two-door grocery-hauler was the car to beat in South and Central Florida. Joe and Bob notched wins at tracks such as Amelia Earhart in Hialeah; Masters Field, Miami; Ft. Meyers Dragstrip; Valkaria Dragstrip; Palm Beach International Raceway; SpruceCreek Dragstrip, (outside Daytona Beach); Deland Dragstrip; OrlandoDragway; Miami-Hollywood Dragway; and plenty of others. The car also scored wins at the Big Go East Winter Nationals in Miami, the FloridaState Championships, and at the Dixie Drag Festival in Valkaria, Florida.
Ultimately, the demands of life replaced drag racing as No. 1. BobGittleman took over operation of the family's construction and propertydevelopment companies, effectively halting Joe and Bob's racing activities. Over the years after Bob let the car go, The Xcellerator wassold and re-sold, finally ending up in Orlando, Florida. Now grown up, Bob's sons Keith and Gary wanted to find a similar 210 two-door wagon to build a replica of their dad's car as a present and a way to honor his life. They contacted nationally known Tri-5 expert and restoration guru Wendell Snowden to find the appropriate car.