This denoted that the car was equipped with the new Chevy V-8 engine 265 cubic inches. I'm not sure exactly how they picked Leonard Harris as their driver. His real claim to fame were the innovations he created in the development of camshaft design, not the least of which was the introduction of roller lifters for hot rodders. This car was able to top 150 mph in the quarter mile, something that many dragsters were not able to accomplish. Looks like six carbs on some kind of a custom intake manifold, but the make of the engine has me stumped. Half Moon Bay was a great track, but like Lions Drag Strip in SoCal, it was tough to tame. I don't know how the water circulated since there is no water pump.
That was not the case with this early dragster, it has a very pleasing body. There was no law that mandated that every Chrysler Hemi dragster had to be supercharged or even run on nitromethane fuel. How far back should the engine be placed? Maybe the driver had very long legs and needed the room, or maybe that's just where they stuck the engine. I don't know what happend with this digger. You could drive it there and back many early Gassers were driven to and from the track. Tom has had many dragsters in his day, and anytime he was not 100% satisfied with the way they ran, he had no qualms about selling the car to someone else. He built these cars while being in a wheelchair.
In the 1960's, you hooked up your little trailer to the family sedan usually not as nice as this '62 Chevy 409 Bubble Top , stuffed the hand carried tool box in the trunk, and went drag racing, sometimes just you and your wife and the kids or a buddy if you weren't hitched. It was Leonard's last run down the quarter mile, the car crashed and Leonard was killed. A very clean looking, hemi powered DeSoto engine dragster. The drag racing venue opened in 1966, and it is now the home of European drag racing and has grown substantially over its 40-year existence. But this photo is not really about the race car, it's about the times in the early 1960's. The tin bender who built this body had some talent with the hammer. The interesting chassis was built by Kent Fuller, it is said.
The car was run by the Spaghetti Benders and had Cadillac power. Whether it's Ford, Chevy, Plymouth, or even Studebaker, there's a drag racing model for all builders. The Wiseco pistons used an 18cc dome that yielded a 13. Dragsters in the 1950's and in the 1960's were truly unique, as in, each one was somewhat different from all the others. On this day, Tom was using Tony Nancy's supercharged Buick engine, which is why it was mounted on the left side where it turned in the standard rotation.
Smooth ride, better handling, minimal weight and greater axle control are just the beginning. And if you lost your 'chute and continued on past this point in the track and went under that bridge, you found out that the pavement turned into boulders and rocks, and your continued survival rate was not good. The evolution of a dragster. I must have a lot of photos of Tom's twin Buick digger in this section, but I don't care. What made it so great was the driver, Lefty real name was Allen Mudersbach.
The Pontiac Tri-Power engine is most likely stock, other than the neat headers built out of flex tubing and tied together with metal plumbers tape. This is at the end of the shut-off area where the diggers pull off to re-pack their 'chutes and push back toward the pits. Back then it was blood, sweat, tears and innovation. At some point in the evolution, Eddie decided to add some stiffness to the front of the chassis with the addition of tubes attached to the front of the frame and then bolted to the front of the engine. Vance Hunt, a name synonymous with Texas drag racing. First, the roll bar is much better than most for the period, it's higher than the driver's head and has some sort of back brace.
The engine on the left drives the rear tires, and the engine on the right which is facing backwards in the car drives the front tires. Just because the Brits drive on the wrong side of the street doesn't mean that they don't know how to mount the steering wheel in the center of the car. He also maintained his own specialty garage in Maywood, California for many years. We used our poly bushed competition 4-link with our 2x4 rails. Width in rear is determined by tire size.
The 4-Link Rear Suspension creates a lowered stance for superior handling via a lowered center of gravity. I knew the Bandel Bros Bobby and Richie , they were from New York City and they were some crazy guys. Trent Knight and Tony Huntimer who are the best at strapping me in, Lance Hampton who does my t-shirts and all my graphics he also comes out to the salt to help. It's probably safe to say that all or at least most of the dragsters built in the 1950's were home-built cars. Jim was one of the pioneers when it came to running nitromethane.
When I first went to the drag races, this is what the dragsters looked like. These photos were taken around 1956, at Minter Field, which later became Famosa Drag Strip, near Bakersfield. Chet never met a dual engine dragster he didn't love, especially one with in-line engines and Small Blocks for power. As this is a high gear only dragster, there is no transmission, only a housing containing a short shaft that slides into the clutch on one end, and a small chain sprocket actually, dual sprockets on this car on the other end. In it's day, this was a very sophisticated dragster note the use of full size shock absorbers on the front end.