I'm an old Drag Racing Fan myself... We used to frequent Dover Drag Strip
in Wingdale, N.Y., from 1961-1964. Here's a snapshot I took back in ‘63. I
don't really remember very much about the machine, except that it didn't run
very well that day. That's a short wheelbase Dragmaster chassis, and that
would have made this machine about a year and a half out of date for the
time I took the picture. Also it was a blown small block Chevy, probably 327
The big "Honchos" at the Dover Drag Strip in those days were
the Lagana Brothers. As you must know, Bobby is active now in the Top Fuel
category with Bobby Jr. But in THOSE days, Billy ran red 409 and 427
Chevys with a sponsorship from a local Chevy dealership in Eastchester, N.Y.
He was FAST... 11.90 ETs at about 120 MPH.
But his brother Bobby was the real
show, if you ask me... Bobby ran a very ratty looking post war Plymouth
coupe in the C/G class. He ran in the low 12s and 113+ MPH. It had a small
block Chevy with those straight up fuel injector stacks and a Borg-Warner
four speed transmission. In those days, the gas coupes used heavy-duty truck
rear axles, and very large 300-lb. truck batteries, mounted in the trunk for
ballast purposes. But Bobby had his mounted up high and outside the trunk
body... as a device, I guess, to raise the center of gravity and create
better weight transfer. I've often wondered how that could have been legal
according to the rules of drag racing in those days. Eventually, Bobby
managed to give the coupe a red paint job and he fashioned a fiberglass
front end that didn't look too neat...but it worked...!
(If anybody's got any digitized photos from those days at Dover, I'd
love it if you'd e-mail some to me!)
My brother built an AA/FD with a blown Hemi...he took it to California
and teamed up there with Paul Gommi. The machine was unsuccessful in drag
racing, but my brother taught himself valuable welding skills by building it
and that became the basis of a successful career for him.
My father did beautiful restorations of V-8 Fords from the thirties...he
did five of them as a hobby...but had no use for drag racing...
This one was his 1932 Roadster...
He also did another '32 Roadster, a '35 Phaeton, and a '36 Phaeton. Then
he did a '36 Cord by Auburn, but couldn't complete it due to a lack of
Our neighbors ran an SS/A Dodge 426 C.I. Ram-Inducted, sponsored by the
Gramatan Dodge dealership in Mount Vernon, N.Y. They did well with it at
Dover Drag Strip, too.
We also would go to other tracks in the Northeast: Englishtown, NJ,
Westhampton, L.I., East Haddam, Conn., and others...
I went to the Don Garlits Museum last month...good show! I'm going to the
Gatornationals in March. Gonna' be FUN...!