In a 25-year career, lifelong friends Pelle Lindelöw and Gunnar Elmqvist enjoyed one of the longest Drag Racing partnerships outside America. It began during the sport’s earliest days in Scandinavia, with a chance meeting of old school friends in 1970 at Sweden’s Mantorp Park. Pelle had never witnessed a Drag Race but was instantly hooked by the speed and power. Pelle, Gunnar and another friend, Janne Rosquist, found they shared a passion for the Renault 4CV. Having hot-rodded their little French cars with modified engines, they embarked on an inspirational road trip to England for Santa Pod’s 1972 International meet.
Impressed by the smaller-capacity vehicles, Pelle and Gunnar decided to buy another 4CV and convert it into a race car with a modified R16 Arne Berg engine. Following its debut in 1974, the pair became the team to beat in the Competition Altered ranks, defeating every American machine in sight.
British fans first saw this amazing little car at Snetterton in 1975, but the pair hadn’t bargained on the might of that staple of British Comp Altered teams, the trusty Jaguar, in particular the one campaigned by a certain Barry Sheavills, known as Stagecoach.
After a move to an injected 454ci A/Gas Dragster produced a nondescript couple of seasons in 1977 and ’78, Lee Anders Hasselström convinced Pelle and Gunnar (P&G) to take the Top Fuel challenge.
A year later P&G were proud owners of a new Kjellin Brothers chassis powered by an ageing iron-block Chevy. After breaking into the 6-second, 200mph zone, driver Pelle rolled the car on the short Mantorp Park track. Armed with another Kjellin chassis the team were soon deep into the mid-sixes.
1983 was a significant year. The team secured its first major sponsorship from Clarion Car Stereo and began clocking regular low sixes, eventually dipping to a 5.95sec.
Helped by Jarmo Pulkkinen, Pelle purchased the ex-Dick LaHaie Miller Beer dragster, considered at the time the first ‘real’ Top Fuel Dragster in Scandinavia. With hired help from US Funny Car racer and tuner Gary Burgin, P&G Racing quickly became one of the European scene’s most feared Top Fuel entries, leading the way with numerous national records and championships.
The tide turned again in 1991 with the acquisition of the ex-Kenny Bernstein “Budweiser King” dragster and came good in 1993 as Pelle dominated the class, winning four out of six races and the ETFA Challenge title. As reigning champions, the team was invited to Japan by the NHRA in 1994 and ‘95 to represent Europe against racers from America and Australia at Fuji, enjoying great success.
Over the next two years, however, further European success proved elusive and, with Pelle now suffering back problems, the pair reluctantly decided to retire the team.
It is for their achievements in rising from humble beginnings to the sport’s highest international echelons, accomplished in a good-natured spirit throughout, that Pelle Lindelöw and Gunnar Elmqvist – P&G Racing – are hereby inducted into membership of the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame.
Profile by Jerry Cookson