EVOLUTION, From where we came

Old 01-10-2009, 06:31 AM
Senior Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: La.
Posts: 2,890
Default EVOLUTION, From where we came

Images furnished by Hotrodharley

Formatted and uploaded by Zipper

Back in the day, anything was possible. How about an Offy with a

side-mounted blower on Ed Donovan's dragster?

Nothing says drag racing like way too big of an engine stuffed into

too little car; reminds me of the models I used to imagineer as a


Rear slicks churning, front tires grabbing air, and, an acrobatic


Uhhh, dude? I don't think you asked for a big enough head start.

A wheelstander with everything but the kitchen sink

Who said snakes can't fly? Prudhomme gets air in the lights in

Seattle .

Hard to believe that today's Top Fuelers evolved from this; from

its whitewall tires to its Rat Fink-like shifter placement, I

really dig this car.

(Above) So you still think that Don Garlits invented the

rear-engine dragster, do ya? (Below) Donnie and Gene Bowman's

flathead-powered Vineland Villain wasn't pretty, but it sure looked

crude. Back then, functionality trumped almost everything.

I love this shot, taken in the pits at Lions. No, not the neat old

flip-top panel wagon -- the lady, dressed in skirt and heels.


Kinda funny, too, but for a different reason is Surfers pilot Mike

Sorokin almost having his helmet sucked off at speed (center).

One of the first production chassis shops

Another vintage chassis on this cool twin. Always amazing to me to

see how primitive the early driver-protection devices were.

Okay, if you don't like this photo, you can hardly consider

yourself a drag fan. Classic Lions stuff.

A couple of engines, four tires, a little extra tubing, a welder,

and there's little that early drag racers couldn't -- and didn't --


I looooooooove this shot. The photographer did such a great job of

exposing it and allowing you to see every detail, nut, and bolt on

the blower. Arthur Trim tells me that this is Connie Kalitta's

Logghe-chassised Ford-powered digger, photographed on a chassis

dyno in one of Ford's labs.

Indy is a place where magical thi ngs happen. Look closely, and you

can see that "Big John's" battle-scarred 'Cuda has all four tires

off the ground.

Not all new ideas were good ones; Exhibit A is Noel Black's

two-engine, four-wheel-drive Top Fueler from 1967.

Call me an astute observer, but I reckon that "Big Jim" Dunn was

pretty much done for this run at Lions in the rainbow-hued Dunn &

Reath digger.

Who says you need four wheels?

Scary fast

In the same vein, who says you even need four wheels or three

wheels? The famed Leffler-Coburn Iron Mistress coupe had six! In a

true example of the sum of the parts not being equal to the whole,

Neil Leffler and Bill Coburn each took the fuel-burning Hemis from

their competition coupes and paired them for this interesting

experiment. It wasn't real fast, but it was spectacular.

We've seen lead weights and tubes filled with lead shot as

front-end ballast, but a rock? I kid you not. Clearly, the Red

Mountain Boys knew how to rock.

I think we've all seen the classic photo above of Don Garlits'

career-changing transmission explosion at Lions, but at left is the

less-seldom-seen but equally-breathtaking downtrack angle. I'm not

sure who circled the fan in the stands or why, but that's how this

image was posted.

I've never seen this car before, but it can't be any mistake that the names on its side are Capp and Fedderly, as in future Top Fuel partners (and Indy winners) Terry Capp and Bernie Fedderly. Both are still at it years later, Capp in nostalgia racing and Fedderly as Auston Coil's alter ego on the John Force team.

The first rule of running against a jet dragster: Always leave


Herman Munster , far lane, and Grandpa dueled at Lions in a

ghoulish go that was featured on the popular television show.

The driver's reaction in this photo is classic after his blown Fiat

puked all over the Lions starting line.
zipper06 is offline  
Old 01-10-2009, 06:37 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 504

Very nice. Thank you for publishing this blast from the past! I enjoyed every picture.
TopspeedLowet is offline  
Old 01-10-2009, 07:11 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Independence, Missouri
Posts: 1,186

The last pic is the magic mufflers fiat at Lions. That picture has an honored place in my family room. Check out the oil pan in front of the rear tire, and misc. engine parts in the track, along with all the oil showering down. Gray Baskerville said it was the coolest drag racing photo ever taken. OUTSTANDING, Zipper,and hotrodharly, totally made my day!!!
suicidebomb is offline  
Old 01-10-2009, 07:53 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Batesville Ms.
Posts: 167

Excellent ZIP, Later J.Smith 4521racing :P
JimmySmith is offline  
Old 01-10-2009, 07:57 AM
Senior Member
TheYellaBrick's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Emmett, Idaho
Posts: 7,334

OUTA SIGHT !!!!!!!!!!

I get such a kick out of seeing the progression of 'technology'. Those were back when there were no rules in trying ANYthing to go fast !! TRUE hotrodding at it's finest !!
GREAT POST !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
TheYellaBrick is offline  
Old 01-10-2009, 11:58 AM
Senior Member
BEAST477's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Michigan
Posts: 1,908

That was GREAT Zip, thanks for the pics hotrod harley.
BEAST477 is offline  
Old 01-10-2009, 12:29 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Staunton, IL
Posts: 943

Thanks for the pics zip!
slowmotion is offline  
Old 01-11-2009, 02:17 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: spring creek nv.
Posts: 329

thanks zip for posting these..i was sure everyone would enjoy them..i know i have..
hotrodharley is offline  
Old 01-11-2009, 03:06 PM
Senior Member
fla1976's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,535
Default Old dragsters

Thanks for than nostalgia!! Great days of racing.
fla1976 is offline  
Old 01-11-2009, 04:01 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 11

Great stuff! If it wasn't for those pioneers we would't be where we are!
hemicop is offline  

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -