The Doug Caruthers Modified

The Doug Caruthers Modified

Yes, this is the famous Chrisman Brother’s dragster you all know and love. In the late 30s, this car was created by Harry Lewis as one of the first purpose-built “Modified” racers. It changed hands quite a number of times before ownership by Road Runner’s member Doug Caruthers. What I love best about the period Caruthers owned it (roughly 1946 – 1948) was his choice to paint it deep black (it was reportedly bright red before that), drop in a Mercury Flathead 8 good for 130+ mph, and most importantly, equip it with lights for legal road use. In fact, that’s how Art Chrisman saw the Modified for the first time, parked on a Compton street.

If Doug hadn’t “modified the Modified” for driving to work and the lake bed, it may have just faded into obscurity as another worn out and torn up race car. Instead, under Art Chrisman, she went onto to run 140 on nitro, 180 with a blown Hemi, striped by Von Dutch, and become a drag racing pioneer and NHRA icon. Doug went on to become an icon himself (along with his two sons) in 1/4 midget racing in Southern California.


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