~ Byron's Gasser Madness! ~

~ Rest in Peace ~

~ Frank Cali ~ (1943 - 2008)

The sport of drag racing lost another good man. Frank Cali passed away on April 16, 2008. Frank was born on September 9, 1943 on Long Island New York and began his life long love of cars. Not only was he a nice guy, but a fix-anything-hands-on mechanic. He later developed welding and fabrication skills that produced many one-off custom street cars and notable track cars. Beginning in the early 60’s Frank and his brother John began collecting cars, fixing them up and were often firsts in the neighborhood to hand build many fast hot rods that terrorized the streets of Queens. Frank always wore a smile and had something comical to say expressing it with his heavy Brooklyn accent…”fa-get-a-bout-it!”. John was the quiet bad boy type that everyone liked; together they were always involved in neighborhood antics. In the mid 60’s Frank and John operated a gas station in Queens and inside Frank spent countless hours hand crafting their “Cali Brothers” Chevy powered little red Anglia. You could not help but be in awe of Frank’s self taught fabrication skills and sometimes doing it on his back clearing away snow so he could weld underneath the car while others would just wait till Spring, not Frank. Frank proudly wore the Jack Merkel Racing logo on that little red Anglia and teamed up with fellow friends and racers Pat Di Stefano, Ray Kobel’s 40 Willys Coupe, Willy Feyh and Dave Daly’s MG, Vinny Tarentola’s 41 Willys and Jack Merkel’s 33 Willys. Frank raced all over the East Coast, from Connecticut Raceway, Dover Drag way, English Town, Island Drag Way, Islip and even to Indy setting many NHRA records of the day…. classic gassers at their best.
Later in life Frank relocated to upstate New York and kept at his love of cars by buying, fixing and reselling cars and also working on his classic Caddy with air ride for his street cruiser. Frank also turned his creative skills to hand crafting stained glass and many works of art.
Frank lost his brother John whom he so loved, but still continued at his love for cars by keeping in contact with his old gasser buddies at the annual Queens neighborhood reunions each year. Please join us in remembering Frank Cali.
Remembered by friends Les Cobb of California, Pat Di Stefano and Dave Daly of New York.