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Hubert Platt, The Georgia Shaker
Hubert Platt, the Georgia Shaker, was known for his great looking, strong performing cars, his on-track showmanship, and his off-track flair. He was called a "controversial racing showman" in local racing newspapers as early as 1962.
Platt was born in Conway, South Carolina on December 8, 1931 and was raised in the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina area. From 1953 until about 1955, Hubert was in the illegal bootlegging business, hauling moonshine between Georgia and South Carolina. Hubert recently said that he "hauled a million gallons of moonshine" during these years. When Hubert got out of Army in 1958, a buddy talked him into making one more illegal bootlegging run. The authorities were tipped off to Hubert's activity and he was caught--losing the car to the police in the process and having to pay a $300 fine to get out of jail.
That was the end of Hubert's moonshine hauling!
Moving to Atlanta near the end of 1958, Hubert raced a little on the street, but soon started racing at Atlanta area drag strips.
In late 1960, Hubert began driving for Joe Katz's Terminal Transport Racing Team. The Double T team featured a checker board style paint scheme and consisted of several cars that were transported to the track via a tractor-trailer. Platt drove the '57 and the '38 Chevy that was raced in A & B/GAS. Hubert won several record meets and local races in the '38 Chevy.
After leaving the Terminal Transport team, Hubert successfully raced several Chevy S/S cars in the early 1960s. In 1962 (and part of 1963), Hubert was a teammate of Dyno Don Nicholson, racing out of Nalley Chevrolet. About three months after Nicholson and Platt received the Z11s in 1963, Chevrolet pulled the plug on all of their racing support, ending the Don Nicholson/Hubert Platt Chevy racing days.
The first Georgia Shaker, a blue 1963 Z-11 Chevy, was Hubert's next drag car, followed by a driving stint in a 1963 (?) R-Code Ford Galaxie fastback that was owned by Alan Hyder and named White Lightning. In 1964, Hubert was now a full time, professional drag racer and he drove a Ford Thunderbolt (Little Georgia Shaker) sponsored by Frank Vego Ford. His next drag car was the wheelstanding 1965 Falcon, The Smallest Georgia Shaker. It was built by Platt in his Chamblee, Georgia shop and raced on the match race circuit in 1965, occasionally running nitromethane. After altering the wheelbase of the Falcon, Hubert renamed it the Georgia Shaker III. This car was a real crowd pleaser with its wild, jumping starts.
One of Hubert's proudest moments in racing was when he defeated NASCAR star Richard Petty in this car at a match race at Lassiter Mountain drag strip in Birmingham, Alabama. Richard was driving his 43/Jr. Barracuda and was a serious drag racing contender while Chrysler was boycotting NASCAR. Late in 1965, Platt built a tube chassised, steel bodied, longnose 1965 Mustang with a fuel injected 427 engine. This was a nationwide popular car that was known for its wild wheelstanding starts.
Hubert's next car was one of the first modern-type funny cars. A tube frame, fiberglass bodied Mustang funny car was built by Race Car Specialties in California. It was powered by a fuel injected 427 SOHC engine and featured a two-piece lift off fiberglass body. This car, with Dick Walters Ford sponsorship, was on the cover of the October, 1966 issue of Hotrod Parts Illustrated magazine. Hubert said that he only raced the car one time before being selected to drive the Holman-Moody built, (ex-Dick Brannan driven) 1966 long nose Mustang for Ford.
Ford did not want Platt racing his own Mustang funny car while driving the Holman-Moody car, so he sold the Race Car Specialties Mustang to Dick Loehr. The Holman-Moody Mustang funny car (classified A/XS) was Hubert's favorite race car. This car was the strongest Ford in the nation and it showcased Hubert's driving talents. Second only in performance to the Mercury Comet flip tops, Hubert won races all over the country in this car. The event that put Platt on the national drag racing map was the 1967 NHRA Winternationals where Hubert won the A/XS class with an 8.49 @ 171.42 best. This Paul Harvey Ford sponsored car was driven by Platt until mid 1967, setting the NHRA A/XS record at least two times (8.85 @ 164.83 on 10-29-66 at the NHRA World Finals and 8.61 @ 171.10 on 4-1-67 at Phenix City, Alabama). Hubert also won at least two NASCAR drag races with this car: the Match Bash class at the 1966 NASCAR Grand Finale in Atco, NJ with a best of 8.76 @ 168.53 and the Heads Up Eliminator at the 1966 NASCAR Nationals (Dragway 42 - West Salem, OH).
In mid-1967, Ford put Hubert in a R-Code 1967 427 Fairlane that competed in SS/B and was sponsored by Paul Harvey Ford. Hubert and his Fairlane were terrors on the drag strip, winning many of the races he competed in. In early 1968, Hubert was selected to campaign a 1968 1/2 factory 428 Cobra Jet Mustang in the super stock category. Platt set the NHRA SS/E National Record (11.67 @ 120.96) at Phenix City (Alabama) on April 7, 1968 with this car, but later rolled the Foulger Ford sponsored Mustang at Dallas, Georgia. Platt said that he wasn't hurt and he just kicked the windshield out of the car and got out.
Late in 1968, Platt was chosen to head up the Eastern Ford Drag Team. The eastern team consisted of Platt and Rome, Georgia's Randy Payne with Platt serving as Captain of the team. Platt and Payne hit the road with Hubert's CJ Mustang and Randy's Torino Cobra Super Stockers in 1969, fulfilling a heavy schedule of drag racing and clinic dealership presentations. Hubert held the NHRA SS/IA National Record (12.41 @ 112.92) and also beat teammate Randy Payne for the Super Stock Eliminator win at the NHRA Winter Championships (Miami-Hollywood Dragway) in February, 1969 (SS&DI May 1969). Hubert also won Top Stock Eliminator at the 1969 AHRA US Open at Rockingham, NC, defeating the late Don Carlton (driving a Sox & Martin Roadrunner) in the final. An early 1970's article in National Dragster stated, "The combined wit of the two hospitable Southerners made for the most talked about acts of all the Clinic Teams".
In 1970, Hubert started the year with a factory-built 1969 427 SOHC Pro Stock Mustang that he had raced occasionally in match races the previous year. This car was featured in the January, 1970 edition of Super Stock & Drag Illustrated magazine. Hubert won several match races and open Pro Stock shows in the Ford Drag Team Boss 429 Maverick Pro Stocker (and a 427 SOHC Maverick) that followed, but the team was disbanded in early 1971 due to the change in Ford Motor Co. marketing. The oil crisis and rising insurance rates were ending the years of factory built street driven muscle cars and economy cars were soon to be the focus of the auto industry.
In 1972 Hubert became partners with Larry Yates (a former Platt employee and fellow drag racer) and Ed Edwards (a real estate investor) for a short time, but later bought them out, going back to individual ownership of his racing operation.
In 1973, Hubert went to a small block powered, Paul Harvey Ford sponsored, Ford Pinto Pro Stocker. This Pinto was another in the line of Platt's great looking Georgia Shaker cars. He raced this car until 1977 when he retired from drag racing after finally tiring of all the traveling.
Platt then went to work for J.A. Jones Construction Company as a welding foreman and worked there until he retired in 1993 at age 61. In 1994, Hubert bought and operated the Sugar Hill Drive-In restaurant that was originally built in 1946. He has since sold the restaurant and currently lives in Forsyth County, Georgia with his wife Linda. He has three children from a previous marriage (Annette, Hubert, Jr., and Timothy 'Allen').
Mr. Platt was inducted into the NHRA Hall of Fame in 1986, into the Super Stock & Drag Illustrated Hall of Fame (in the initial class of ten drivers) in 1995, and into the East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2001, Platt was chosen as the Grand Marshall of the NHRA Southern Nationals held at Commerce, Georgia. Most recently, he was inducted into the Old Drag Racers Reunion Hall of Fame in September, 2003 Hubert said recently that he loves to attend the nostalgia events and reunions that are currently popular.
"I've had one hell of a great time. I've been all over the world, met all kinds of really nice people and I've enjoyed every minute of it!" - Hubert Platt 2002