|Classic Car Corner - Dragsters|
|Written by Tom Berg, Windermere Woodinville|
DRAGSTERS: Because I write this article monthly I am fortunate to receive calls from my dedicated readers — usually about cars, sometimes about real estate. Mike, a local here in Woodinville, called me about his passion — DRAGSTERS — and asked me if I would be interested in checking his out. Of course I was, so I visited him at his home and shop east of Woodinville and was really impressed. His “main ride” is a classic dragster, so my question was “what defines a classic dragster?” The answer was simple: The driver sits in back of the engine right on top of the differential, instead of in front of the engine as in today’s dragsters. Mike spent 7 years on and off building this beauty and has raced it up and down the west coast most of the last 4 years. He raced about 10 times this year and won 6 in a row. That’s quite an accomplishment considering the reflexes required and the stress put on all the mechanical components.
This monster will do a quarter of a mile in 6 seconds at over 200 miles an hour. It’s actually doing about 160 at the eighth mile which is only 660 feet! For power, Mike has an aluminum block, blown 496-cubic- inch big block chevy that burns methonal, will turn 8000 revolutions per minute, develops 1600-1800 horsepower and shifts with a button on the steering wheel — no radiator, no tachometer, no starter and a parachute to slow it down.
Mike’s wife’s car (it’s pink) is a dragster with a 548-cubic- inch big block Chevy that burns 114 octane gas. It is a modern dragster with the driver sitting in front of the engine and has a radiator and a carburetor and takes all of 8 seconds to go a quarter of a mile. This is his version of a family car since his wife and kids have all raced it. Mike’s been racing cars and working on them all his life and in fact owns a repair shop in Redmond, so when he’s not working on cars at his business, he’s working on cars at home.
I just saw him two weeks ago and he already has his dragster in pieces prepping it for next year’s campaign.
With all his tools, fuel supply and 2 race cars and a family, Mike needs a way to get to races as far as away Bakersfield, Calif., and he does it in style. He’s got a huge Mercedes deisel RV that pulls an equally huge trailer full of everything he needs for racing. I was really impressed by what it takes to travel to races up and down the Pacific Coast.
Since I have a bunch of old cars and trucks I was really envious of Mike’s shop right next to his house. It’s big, well lighted, heated and holds both race cars, the 40-foot RV, the 34-foot trailer — all the tools one would need and still has room to work on his projects. My car storage areas sure seem inadequate now.
These race cars are obviously Mike’s passion and he has devoted all of his time to pursuing that passion, and it’s fun to meet someone who is as focused on enjoying what he does as much as Mike.
Update: Earlier this year I wrote about my friend Lance the Ford collector. He finally brought himself to selling one of his 66 Fords and bought a 58 Edsel in Saskatchewan. He drove it back over 2000 miles without a major incident. He did discover the fuel gage wasn’t quite right when he ran out of gas, but just to make it back with a 54-year-old car was quite an achievement. I once bought a truck in Portland sight unseen and it took me two days to get home! Congratulations, Lance.