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History Bad Banana IV: Drag Racing the Family Wagon

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by J.Ukrop, Jun 9, 2017.

  1. J.Ukrop
    Joined: Nov 10, 2008
    Posts: 833

    Staff Member

    J.Ukrop submitted a new blog post:

    Bad Banana IV: Drag Racing the Family Wagon

    Continue reading the Original Blog Post
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2017
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 7,025


    That's a 65 Impala wagon, and I don't think you'll get too many knickers ruffled about it. The pinnacle years for drag racing surely included such machines. There was a 64-5 Chevelle/Malibu 2dr wagon that ran here at our beloved "dirty D", Detroit Dragway, nearly to the end of the track's existence. With an injected SBC for power that S. O. B. was always a treat to watch it make a pass. Wheels high, noise from hell, and frankly a refreshing sight in a sea of 1st gen Camaros and 5.0 Mustangs. Wagons can be uber kool in any form. If that badass Chevelle shows up for the Dirty-D reunion this weekend I get some pictures and toss in here. In fact some locals may even know those guys.
    dana barlow and J.Ukrop like this.
  3. enloe
    Joined: May 10, 2006
    Posts: 6,130

    from east , tn.

    Another great story as always
    J.Ukrop likes this.
  4. bowie
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 1,522


    That car exemplifies what I miss about the pre bracket days of the drags. Not every car prescribed to a set formula to achieve the goal. A lot of obscure cars and build "what ya got" line of thinking. That's a cool ride! Thanks for sharing it.
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  5. slowmotion
    Joined: Nov 21, 2011
    Posts: 2,472


    '65 is Hamb material.
    Nothin' like a big honkin' wagon that'll get with the program.
    Good read, thanks.
  6. jroberts
    Joined: Oct 14, 2008
    Posts: 1,465


    I remember a Pontiac wagon around here that ran a 421 with a four speed. I was just a kid, but really thought that was cool. A real sleeper on the street as you can imagine.
  7. spiffy1937
    Joined: Apr 9, 2006
    Posts: 698

    from U.S.A.

    I was at Niagara most every weekend in the 60's 'til I was drafted 10/66 and remember Ted's wagons well. I didn't know that the wheelbase was different on the 2 sides---I wonder why. LOL
    flamingokid likes this.
  8. shmoozo
    Joined: Aug 14, 2007
    Posts: 662

    from Media, PA

    Different wheel bases on each side?

    That rings a bell.

    I have a vague memory of reading an article somewhere that discussed the idea of having the front wheels of a drag car slightly staggered with one a wee bit in front of the other. This results in the wheelbases varying a bit from side to side. Curiously enough I gather this was deliberate. The idea was that when you had the slightly forward tire correctly staged in the staging beam the slightly rearward tire will still be back a little from it. That means that if you leave a tiny bit early, your rearward front tire rolls into the staging beam just before the forward tire rolls entirely out of it. That means the staging beam does not detect that you've already begun rolling when the green light actually lights.

    In other words, it's a bit of a cheat.

    Disclaimer: This is the vaguest of vague recollections. I may be misremembering something and screwing it up entirely, and anyway I don't really know spit about actual drag racing. So take all this for what it's worth, which probably isn't much.

  9. 31hotrodguy
    Joined: Oct 29, 2013
    Posts: 109


    Thank you for the article. It was good inspiration for my 57 9 passenger that I have hopes of one day setting up in jr stock trim.

    Sent from my SM-G550T using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  10. flamingokid
    Joined: Jan 5, 2005
    Posts: 2,078


    I am currently in line to get an old Chevy wagon that belongs to an old family friend.The owner moved in to an Assisted Living facility and doesn't drive it anymore,but I don't have the heart to go get it until he's gone.I've been working on plans for it for years,so I think it'll be customized in record time,no indecision in where it's headed either.And yes,it's yellow.Great story and a great pick me up at the end of a shitty week ;)
  11. spiffy1937
    Joined: Apr 9, 2006
    Posts: 698

    from U.S.A.

    Exactly, that's why I put the LOL after "I wonder why."
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 7,025


    Stagger gives an advantage at the starting line, more roll out, leave earlier. Of course if you have a car that picks the tires out vs roll out the advantage is moot. One old guy I talked to about it said it puts a front tire in the finish line early. 6 of 1, 1/2 dozen of the other.
    czuch likes this.
  13. Wagons and 4 doors were popular in the stock classes dues to the weight/displacement breakdowns. Savvy racers used this to their advantage.
    loudbang likes this.
  14. catdad49
    Joined: Sep 25, 2005
    Posts: 1,225


    Great stuff Joey! Any idea what 1 thru 3 were? This sucker must have been loaded to need a chute. Also noticed that it looks like he's racing an early altered wheelbase car! Run what ya brung!
  15. pwschuh
    Joined: Oct 27, 2008
    Posts: 2,035


    Joey, glad you're a fellow member of the fast wagon fan club.
  16. AHotRod
    Joined: Jul 27, 2001
    Posts: 9,660


    Great article Joey, well done, as I love Wagons and I drive a Chevy II Wagon daily and my wife drives a Hemi Wagon.
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 7,025


    64-5 Chevelle wagon? As promised, a 2dr.
    IMG_20170610_200413568.jpg IMG_20170610_200350676.jpg
    It's calmed down some from the Detroit Dragway days, ran in the low 10s last nite. Still bitchin tho.
  18. catdad49
    Joined: Sep 25, 2005
    Posts: 1,225


  19. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 4,401


    Doesn't look like too many family wagons I've ever seen. It's a way cool bad ass drag car I wouldn't mind driving.

  20. Corey "Waldo" E.
    Joined: Sep 17, 2012
    Posts: 28

    Corey "Waldo" E.

    Love me some wagons! My first was a 66 Belair and I have no pictures of that car. A friend of mine said he has a video of it with the 4in Anson's on the front and chrome reverse wheels on back.(283 squealing like a tea pot overheating!) 20170120_181700.jpg Wagon number 2 64 2 door 454 auto. this was the day I sold it to my brother, he passed it on eventually. (I guess it's a pro touring car now, YUCK!) 20161024_130753.jpg And the current ride, not winning any drag races with this one but it's fun to cruise.
    Bruce Fischer likes this.
  21. Well, as stated the car in the OP was a full size, not Chevelle-- but my handle here refers to my 64 Malibu wagon. It's a factory v8/4speed wagon that I got from the estate of the original owner. It's outfitted similar to my first car other than not being a 2 door hardtop. Manual everything including the tailgate window.
    When we found out that I was going to be father of twins,
    My wife told me it was time to get a family type car. What's more "family" than a station wagon? Believe it or not my wife didn't agree.. Oh well. The boys love hearing that rowdy ass 327 wind up and watch/feel me grab a gear.
    Have a great picture of a white Malibu wagon (4 door) that was 283 powered dumping the clutch on a 4 speed, lifting a tire at the strip. I'll look for a try to post it. Talked to the owner- it had something like 4.88 or 5.13 gears.

    Good collection there Waldo-

    Bruce Fischer likes this.
  22. I'm not near my computer so here's a horrible screenshot pic from my tablet of the wag I was talking about--
    I don't recall many cars running 13.6 with the front wheels up at launch-- I've only raced casually but seems like it might have a little too much gear? Wheels up, quarter mph less than a hundred. Sorry to wander off course--

    Attached Files:

  23. dana barlow
    Joined: May 30, 2006
    Posts: 2,757

    dana barlow
    from Miami Fla.

    I love wagons,owned 18 of them,my first was 57 Ford,many more over the years. I didn't drag race mine,OK ,ya just one or 2, I did 429 Ford wag was bad ass. There is some newer Dodge wagons you don't want to try, Magnum SRT8 wagons built between 2006 to 2008 that are making over 600HP.
    This is mine; magnumRear.jpg

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