Today, the kings of the sport are limited on almost every level with the intent to tame this very powerful beast. One of the first limitations was on displacement, now topped out at 500 ci. Winning these days typically requires a run in the mid fives. Below This car did not have a rear wing but included a small kicked-up section at the rear for downforce. The bore and stroke is 4. Woody tried mounting engines on tubing attached to the Chrysler Hemi blocks, which ran forward attaching to the chassis.
Still, it continued to solidify Tommy Ivo as the showman he still is today. While sounding prosaic, at the time it caused a major challenge, and an added attraction—air under the front tires had never been seen in drag racing. Jim Gordon had the market covered on wings, with one on the nose, some side-mounted canards, and one on the back. The car began to rock side to side and got up on the fifth wheel, which caused the car to tip onto one slick and go out of control. John McGlynn drives this beautiful blue Swamp Rat 1 looking digger built in 2006.
That time he got about a foot in the air. By Bakersfield a month later, Prudhomme had ditched a lot of the bodywork as he would from time to time when the need for performance outweighed the need for appearance. Tom West was at Lions Drag Strip to capture these rare images of the Pat Foster-driven Woody Gilmore car just before it crashed. It was originally built as a dragster, without the station wagon body that you recognize it with today, but it was just too heavy to be competitive in Top Fuel. Some items actually came off the original car while others are generous gifts from Roger's extensive network of friends and racers.
Sorokin enjoys having to really work to get the car down the track. The oversized valves, springs, retainers and rocker covers are made of titanium. But by 1974 the front-engine dragster had disappeared, giving racers and builders a whole new combination of challenges and puzzles to solve. Speaking of Swamp Rat 14, here it is being lined up for one of its early runs in Pomona. The engines operate under such stressful conditions they must be torn down and rebuilt between every run. Hastings liked the idea because they knew that if it worked, it would get them a lot more publicity.
Williams began construction of the car in December 1969 and completed it in April 1970. Continued improvements in traction, a result of the introduction of slicks, created other phenomena to further complicate mysteries and challenges. A 48 volt aircraft starter spins them over. Weight shift was of prime concern because traction was needed to fight the effects of inertia, while at mid-track the need shifted to speed, not launching traction. Bernie Schacker's self-built dragster was probably the first to run a rear wing. These wings created a low-pressure area ahead of the slicks and also helped direct air over the slicks, aiding aerodynamics.
Note the rare 4 slot magnesium wheels. Some—like Tom McEwen, Don Prudhomme, and Roland Leong—campaigned both flavors of Fuelers to hedge their bets. Then after 1967 the speed and e. Others wanted the engine level with the ground. I was told the car rolled 12 times.
A few years ago, I wrote a whole column about the car, which you can read. These days, most teams run 426-based engined. The Champion Speed Shop dragster uses a cockpit canopy to protect Sorokin from the oil and debris thrown by the engine in front of him. Geoff's new trailer can be seen in the background shot of him and his crew at work. Yeah, it sounds stupid to us writing this 30 years later. Attached between the frame rails was a piece of 15-inch wide by 4-foot long panel of honeycombed aluminum, parallel to the ground, directly under the engine. Before the end of 1971, Garlits had discovered the rear wing, giving designers another development to incorporate into their dragster designs.
It had an adjustable spring to open when the suction beneath the car became too much, admitting air into the blower from the normal atmosphere without drawing it from beneath the car. Changing the center of gravity would certainly help, and having the driver in front of the engine certainly was one way to accomplish that. The magnificent Al Bergler custom built body is a masterpiece of design and execution. We design our cars to be user friendly, making each part that requires service easy to access for repairs or service. This creates the odd situation where many big-inch street engines would be illegal for use in Top Fuel.