David Vermilya and Nick Marshall began their drag racing journey in Mattapoisett, Mass. in the late 1950s. But they earned their spot in the New England Hot Rod Hall of Fame by traveling to California.
David Vermilya left Massachusetts for the West Coast late in 1958 with two friends and a 1932 Ford pickup truck. The trio planned to get away from the New England winter weather, get jobs and stay warm in Southern California, and return home in the spring. And his two friends did just that, but Vermilya liked the California lifestyle, so he stayed. For eleven years.
Nick Marshall and a friend also made the trek west in Nick’s 1934 Ford coupe. They wanted to see the epicenter of hot rodding and drag racing, and that was Southern California. Since they were both from Mattapoisett, Vermilya and Marshall ended up spending time together at the local race tracks, but they raced individually in the beginning. Eventually, they decided to team up and build a Top Fuel dragster. Marshall took the driver’s seat and soon become known as “Slick Nick.”
They worked hard, building their dragster and the engines at night, racing on the weekends, and supporting the whole effort with full-time jobs during the week. Once they had the car running well, they took off on a national tour, setting track records and winning races along the way.
They won the Top Eliminator trophy in Pomona, and in Cordova, Illinois. They set low ET and top speed in Bakersfield versus 105 other fuel dragsters. They set top speed with a 214 mph run, had low ET at 7.41 second, and won Top Eliminator at Long Beach. Marshall and Vermilya took the M&V dragster to a top speed of 216.85 mph and won Top Eliminator in West Salem, Ohio. At the NHRA Nationals in Indy, they had the top speed at 218 mph. In Irwindale, they ran at more than 220 mph. And they had a triumphant return to the East Coast with a win against Dick Roberts in the Clyde McKaba Straight Arrow dragster at Sanford, Maine. They also had the first car to break 200 mph at Sanford.
Marshall and Vermilya have received recognition for their accomplishments over the years. They have been inducted into the Ty-Rods New England Hot Rod Hall of Fame and in 2015 they were inducted into the National Hot Rod Association Hall of Fame.
The Orientals Hot Rod Club is proud to induct David Vermilya and Nick Marshall into the New England Hot Rod Hall Of Fame.