Dueling at Detroit Dragway, 1960

Dueling at Detroit Dragway, 1960

Now that we’ve started the new year, I’m already thinking about summer. Maybe it’s because I’m back home in Michigan where the weather has been in the teens, 20s and 30s all week? Your guess is as good as mine. As I sat inside, watching the thermometer drop, I opened up my computer and took a trip back to another time in a place not so far from here. The place was Detroit Dragway, and the year was 1960.

Founded one year prior, the strip was located just downriver from Detroit in Brownstown Township. It was home of the NHRA Nationals in ’59 and ’60, and it was a hotbed of racing action throughout our hobby’s Golden Age. I’ve seen plenty of photos, but it was a nice change of pace to see the machines on the move.

As I watched the races, I realized that I recognized more cars than I thought I would. There they go! The “Buntline Special.” The “Tennessee Bo Weevil.” Kearney’s T A/Altered, all the way from Louisiana. Dave Marquez’s “Speedball” Deuce roadster. The “DCB” coupe. The Ramchargers’ “High and Mighty.” Cars that are in the NHRA Museum and cars that have been lost to time.

Even though the 8mm is blurry from enlargement and there is no sound, this clip provides invaluable insight into the birth drag racing as we know it. And, as winter wears on, there’s never been a better time to take a 13-minute break and head to the track.

Joey Ukrop

Video from DetroitDragway.com

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