1969 Buick Electra GSX "FAITHFUL PURSUIT", TAI NY Chapter: This is the first Tuskegee Airmen tribute show car known. Designed as such in 1979 it was built to represent the Tuskegee Airmen's massive P-47, the first actual Red Tail escort fighter. The design lay dormant for many years until construction began in 1993. In 2003 the design was shown to the Tuskegee Airmen who approved of its use to represent their NY/NJ/CT Chapter. It was dedicated on April 24, 2004 by Major General Mike Hall, USAF, retired; with 7 original Tuskegee Airmen, chapter members, and 200 guests present.
Lt. Col. Spann Watson, Original, 99th Pursuit Squadron; 2008. Faithful Pursuit is adorned with the large bold 99th Pursuit Squadron shield, and smaller crests of Strategic Air Command, US Army Air Corps, & Tactical Air Command.
Faithful Pursuit and Col. Harry Stewart's 1949 Gunnery Meet anniversary trophy. Michael Joseph, II; Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.; Nevada, 2009. I had served as the chairman of the event honoring the winners of the first USAF Fighter Gunnery Meet; held in Las Vegas in August 2009. Col. Stewart was not able to attend due to his wife's poor health so I delivered his trophy to him personally to his home in Michigan a few days after this photo was taken.
FP #47 and Michael Drag Racing at Empire Dragway in Mt. Morris, NY. The 2006 revision featured a 4.11 to 1 positive traction gear ratio, 30"x12" slicks and the torquey Buick 455 STAGE-1 power-plant bored out to 462 cubic inches and delivering 500HP. A best of 12.99 seconds at 103mph trap speeds was achieved with this configuration. Future targets of beating the Scotty Guadagno '70 Buick Electra record of 11.7seconds at 117 mph were in my sights but more than 700hp would be needed. The new revision of FP will be ready in 2016 to tackle the challenge!
2005 Faithful Pursuit on display at the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, NY. Retired Corning division president Jim Kaeser was given a tour of the vehicle during a "CMOG" gala.
2008 MUSTANG REV A, TAI NY Chapter/TOP COVER RACING: Owned by Tony Brakohiapa and developed as a rolling representation of the Tuskegee Airmen's famed Red Tail P-51 fighter, the Ford Mustang car was used to compete professionally in Formula Drift across the us. The brainchild of Captain Waymon Watson, US Navy, retired; son of Tuskegee Airman Span Watson, pictured above with Faithful Pursuit; this Mustang has been the international representative of the Tuskegee Airmen. Waymon's "Top Cover Racing" organization was developed to encapsulate Tuskegee Airmen race car activities. Tony Brakohiapa owned and drove this car.
MUSTANG REV B, TAI NY CHAPTER/TOP COVER RACING: Owned by Tony Brakohiapa, this was the second Top Cover Racing Mustang which also competed successfully in Formula Drift with Tony Brackohiapa driving.
MUSTANG REV C TAI CHAPTER/TOP COVER RACING. This was a purpose built Ford road racecar specially painted to represent the Tuskegee Airmen and was owned by Mark Ackley in the Southern Tier in upstate NY. It was displayed at the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. National Convention in National Harbor, MD in 2012 as well as the 11-11-11 Veteran's Day Parade on a TAI Chapter Float in NYC.
1964 Plymouth Valiant, TAI Dayton Chapter: The convertible parade car offers a brilliant display of the signatures as well a striking image of the men who served during WW II.
Similar to the TAI NY Chapter/TOP COVER RACING designs; this MUSTANG was developed by FORD MOTOR CO some time after our design was shared with them. It is a fine tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen and the P-51 Red Tail fighter. The P-51C was originally restored by Don Hinz. The Red Tail on the right is the same aircraft pictured with Michael Joseph at Tuskegee in 2000. Don Hinz was killed tragically in 2004 when engine failure in that same aircraft caused a a fatal low altitude loss of power. The beautiful aircraft was painstakingly restored by the CAF and tours the country today.
My major inspiration for developing the FP in the 1970's was the P-47 Thunderbolt, which was actually the first Red Tail aircraft the Tuskegee Airmen used. The old Jugs are rarer than the Mustangs although they were built in greater quantities than any other fighting aircraft back in war time. TAI members Michael Joseph and Roy Ely at Tuskegee with the only two Red Tail fighters in existence at that time, P-51c models. No Red Tail P-47s exist but prints can be acquired through this site.
2000 Michael pictured with Tuskegee Airman Roy Ely at a TAI National Convention event in Tuskegee Alabama. The special homecoming event was part of that years Atlanta based convention hosted by the Atlanta Chapter of TAI.
2014, I rented the Don Hinz P-51 for our Return of the Red Tails event. We wanted it for the original dedication of the FP in 2004 but it was too costly for the two days of transport for a one day showing. Sadly, a few months after our spring 2004 dedication Don Hinz was killed in the aircraft. After years of dedicated work by CAF and the aircraft being located in Canada, the FP fund raiser could now afford to rent the aircraft as a proper tribute to the men and women of the Tuskegee Airmen. Hundreds if not thousands of local area residents saw her fly over the region and the event that day.