I'm Gonna Build A Dragster!

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bob w

Still crazy after all these years!
Jan 2, 2008
Stillwater, MN

Over on the H--B site there is a sub-site devoted to building and racing dragsters that are patterned after the very first "rail jobs" from the mid 1950's. Here is a pic of one owned and build by a California guy by the name of Rocky. I intend to pattern mine after his. (He doesn't mind).

Yesterday I set my T frame, bought from a Frankensteiner, an early Ford front axle assembly I got from a local collector and a 9" rear end I have had hidden under some trees for a few years. It's a pretty humble beginning.

Today I put in a front crossmember, suicide mount and spring mounts on the axle. I'll leave the wishbone as is and get a stock ball mount for it.

The requirements are to use a flathead or inline engine 1962 or earlier, or a later copy of one. I'll probably use a slant six and a 4 speed. The front and rear axles must remain full width and slick cannot be used. It will be a driver's car, not like a lot of current drag cars with all the electronic controls etc. My friend Barry is lending me his JD2 tubing bender and I have picked up the roll cage material off the shorts rack (much cheaper that way) at my favorite steel yard.
The reason for switching from my AD truck project to this is, I can do a lot of fabrication without spending much money. The truck project reached the point where I needed to open up the wallet. And there ain't much in it right now.
I plan on selling a hot rod or two this spring to finance the AD truck & this project.
I'm hoping Tripper shows up at MoKan in a year with the Panel Gasser for a match race.:D
I am so glad to see you start in on this project. We have a local rail replica out at the dragstrip. It is very cool to see. Is the JD2 hyrdaulic, or muscle powered? What die sizes?
and a 9" rear end I have had hidden under some trees for a few years.

What? Do you have parts hidden around the area like dogs hide bones?:D

You are my new hero Bob W. I love those dragsters and I'm sure the one you build will be a fine example. It's already shaping up nicely.
BH, the bender is muscle powered. I'm using 1 1/2" o.d. .134 wall mild steel for the roll cage. It meets NHRA requirements. JD2 says you can bend 1 3/4" .120 wall by hand, so that seems comparable. All I will have is 1" & 1 1/2" dies. I've watched U-Tube videos of the bender in action. I'm excited to give it a try.
Gastrick, When I built my house I planted 1200 trees and shrubs. I've got crap hidden everywhere and the community "neat police" can't see a bit of it. Even my neighbors can't see anything.
Very Cool...

Bob, that is a cool idea and I am looking forward to your build. :cool:
I have always been a fan of the HAMB dragsters, a great "back to basics"
type of racing.
Interesting drums on the front end, modified stockers ??? They look great.
Again, can't wait to see this one develope... '22
rod & kulture

if you dont have it already pick up the winter 2008 rod and kulture mag. it has some vintage dragstrip coverage pics of 60's cars and the h..b dragster in it at the h..b drags. also an added bonus of lots of gassers! good looking on the rail! dp1
Tripper, If it's too scary to drive, I'll become the Crew Chief.:D
22Dodge, I think the front axle assembly is either a '32, '33, or '34 Ford and the drums are stock. I was hoping someone with a better memory than mine could tell me.
dp1, I've already worn my copy of Rod & Kulture out!:p
We're hoping to have a group of 4 cars from the neighborhood, not HA/GR dragsters though, to take to MoKan in August. The HA/GR will go in 2010. At least, that's the plan.:)
I really appreciate the interest in this project. BTW I've been thinking of naming it the "RAT RAIL" in honor of my home on RRR. That might irritate some of the H--B guys. Oh well, they're big boys.:eek:
Kool build man, can't wait to see it when ur done. I love those old rail jobs or "diggers" as I call em. Gonna put some weed burners on it? Keep up the good work and keep us posted with pics.

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