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Could have the front engine dragster survived?, PT.1:

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by c-10 simplex, Dec 23, 2012.

  1. rustednutz
    Joined: Nov 20, 2010
    Posts: 1,574

    from tulsa, ok

    I don't know, maybe I'm stuck in time, but, I'd rather watch a 5 second FED T/F car than a 3 second RED. To me, the FED cars had the look. I still wish I hadn't gotten rid of my 170 inch wb JR Fueler.
  2. Hmmm... 125" WB, room for the engine between driver and rear axle... Sounds like NHRA should switch the body type to a large SUV. :D

    That would get the soccer moms into the stands!
  3. c-10 simplex
    Joined: Aug 24, 2009
    Posts: 1,331

    c-10 simplex

    Please list detailed reasons why he thought front engined was a good idea.
  4. 85-percent
    Joined: Apr 5, 2005
    Posts: 323


    hotrodprimer posted 12/12: "When Don Garlits had his catastrophic accident and lost part of his foot he didn't roll over and quit he put on his thinking cap and designed something that was completely out of the box."

    Actually, after 60 unsuccessful secret test run passes at a local Florida strip, they did give up. Garlits and Swingle started to build a new FED (SR-14) and when Don's wife Pat saw it she scolded him and told him if anybody could make that car work it was him. They slowed the steering ratio down and the rest is history.

    SR-14 was sold to Goodyear as a display car and was never raced. It's in the museum.

    -90% Jimmy
  5. V4F
    Joined: Aug 8, 2008
    Posts: 4,020

    from middle ca.

    SAFETY , SAFETY , SAFETY ........ have you ever seen a flywheel blow up or had a clutch blow up !
  6. It already has. Scott Kalitta comes to mind.
  7. Garlits likes to claim he "invented" the rear engine dragster. All he did was build a longer version of what had been around since the 50's.

    Lyle Fisher and Red Greth built this car in '55, and by '57 it was the fastest 1/4 mile car on the planet at 168 mph.

  8. And in '59 this was the quickest car car in drag racing. Obviously Jocko and the Speed Sport guys knew something it took Big Daddy a while to learn. Both cars are about 4 feet shorter than his first RED, and they went straight.

  9. V4F
    Joined: Aug 8, 2008
    Posts: 4,020

    from middle ca.

    nice pix dean ..........

  10. This is not a valid reason. If you can show us and prove that there has been a flywheel/clutch blow up in a fuel car in the last 30 years, I challenge you to do so.
    "Modern" clutch cans and clutches are very safe. I know, I own some of them.

  11. In all fairness- remember that front engine nostalgia fuelers has many resrictions that the 'big' rear engine cars do not have to follow.

    Nostalgia cars are only allowed 1 med size fuel pump, 6-71 blower, much smaller mag, 3.90 rear, 12" tire. less displacement, no down nozzels, and on and on.

    If front motors were allowed the same rules as the 'big' cars, they would be running much quicker than mid 5's.

  12. Yes, back then ... and to this day
  13. I have interviews with Top Fuel drivers who drove during the 'transition' or the early 1970s. Gary Ormsby and Dick LaHeiy ( sp ) were among 2 of them who stated they did not like driving a back motor and had to get used to it.
    They explained how safe they felt with the motor in front of them and the tires next to them. They also stated how much nicer it was to drive a front motor because when you are behind the wheelbase it is easier to know where you are. You can get a car out of shape and drive right out of it.
    When the driver is moved towards the middle of the wheelbase, that sensation is much lessen and it is easier to loose control.
  14. Back to the spirit of the original post -

    Besides the blaringly obvious differences ...
    Body, wheel base, engine placement, weight transfer mechanics

    What's the difference between TF and FC ?

    Take the FC, loose the body, stretch the WB and is not a FED?
  15. Mooseman
    Joined: Apr 4, 2007
    Posts: 308


    Hold on a second, when has Garlits ever claimed that he invented the rear engine dragster. He himself has admitted that there were rear engine cars before his and he even said he looked at some of them.

    Garlits rear engine car claim was always that a lot of the rear engine cars before his were not conventional cars with just the driver in front, the others had funny drive systems and odd ball designs well except maybe the Pawnbroker car.

    Take the Pat Foster Woody Gilmore car, that had some sort of weird v-drive setup in it like a boat unless I am mistaken.

    Garlits just took a front engine car and kept the engine and diff and drivetrain the same he just put the driver compartment in front of the engine. Then they of course had to slow the steering down.

    Also here is a clutch explosion from the last 30 years for the person that asked.
  16. X2!!
    The new cars aren't anymore rear engined than the early slingshots,
    the cage got moved.
    Our T-Bar FED was, if I remember correctly, 209". You couldn't make a modern front driver car hook at 209", It's all about CG and moment arm.
  17. On a Slingshot, front engine dragster, The driver sits behind the wheelbase with his legs over ( generally ) over the rear end housing.

    On a FC or Altered, the driver sits between the wheelbase, forward of the rear end. Because of that, he has to sit much higher as well.
  18. Littleman
    Joined: Aug 25, 2004
    Posts: 2,614

    Alliance Member
    from OHIO, USA

    My nod to them guys that went outside the box early on..............mine is teched to run today...I love the stuff that some built say from 55-64 ish ........Littleman


    Uploaded with
  19. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 4,616

    Marty Strode

    Littleman, how about this one from '61, "Worlds Fastest Chevy", 8.91 @ 180 !

    Attached Files:

  20. Lytles Garage
    Joined: May 6, 2011
    Posts: 618

    Lytles Garage

    I think everyone is missing his question,Funny cars are front engine and run within 3 or 4 tenths of rear engine top fuel cars,with the right kind of aero package, could the funny car without a body' run the same ET without the tremendous amount of downforce the body gives them?? that would tell you if a FED could have suvived?? THANKS Chris
  21. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    from BC

    Not missing it, just that the original question is moot. There is absolutely no reason for any attempts at innovation, or any sort of efforts at any major performance increases in T/F, and there hasn't been for more than a decade. NHRA has made it clear for more than a decade that they are intent on capping the performance of T/F cars at more or less the level reached in the late nineties. And if they dont go faster, WHY THE HELL would any racer spend a shitload of money, and more importantly , TIME doing such a thing.
    Lets just say, for the sake of argument, that you DID come up with a FE combination that would run away and hide from the existing formula. How long do you think it would take NHRA to outlaw it? How long would it take word to leak if it made even a couple passes in testing that were even in the ballpark of what the current front running cars are running? And once that happened, how much pressure do you think NHRA would be under to do so from the other racers, when faced with a totally new deal that obsoletes what they have? And WHY would NHRA resist that pressure, considering the efforts made over the last 15 years to cap performance numbers?
    T/F and Funny car are spec classes, same as NASCAR, and have been for some time. It may not say so in the rule book, but come up with an innovation that results in a quantum leap in performance, and see what will happen.
  22. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    from BC

    had to look it up, I dont really follow NHRA TF anymore, the MPH record in 1999 was 330.23 MPH, the current record is 327.90. I think that pretty much covers it.
  23. George if im Not mistaken That's 330.23 mph in 1320 ft and 327.90 in 1000 ft right? That pseudo cap takes some of the fun out of the top fuel races doesn't it?
  24. Lytles Garage
    Joined: May 6, 2011
    Posts: 618

    Lytles Garage

    YOU are still missing the POINT, leave NHRA rulles out of it and their FUCKED UP ideas, and simplely answer the original Question, based on the mechanical abillity of the car, and DON'Toffer an opinion on anything else !!! I wish Jimmy Prock or Mike Neff were on here, I would like to hear their opinion!!! Chris
  25. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    from BC

    DOH! Yea I forgot about that. I havent been at a national event in over ten years, and never will be again. Nonetheless, and Lytles rant:rolleyes: notwithstanding, the basic message of the post still stands. Not gonna happen.
  26. slammed
    Joined: Jun 10, 2004
    Posts: 8,161


    "YOU are still missing the POINT, leave NHRA rulles out of it and their FUCKED UP ideas, and simplely answer the original Question, based on the mechanical abillity of the car, and DON'Toffer an opinion on anything else !!! I wish Jimmy Prock or Mike Neff were on here, I would like to hear their opinion!!! Chris" Well put. Indeed.
  27. George Klass
    Joined: Dec 31, 2007
    Posts: 850

    George Klass

  28. gibraltar72
    Joined: Jan 21, 2011
    Posts: 260

    from Osseo Mi.

    The only way they could have survived was if sanctioning bodies made REDS illegal. Once anyone went faster in their RED logic said we have to compete or turn each race into a benefit for the guy running the RED. That is the nature of racing at all levels. Big Daddy was successful so he was copied but lets face it if Big Daddy showed up at a meet with a trailer hitch on his car next meet there would have been a half dozen other cars with a trailer hitch. Nostalgia is very cool it just ain't fast!
  29. Gene Boul
    Joined: Feb 9, 2006
    Posts: 807

    Gene Boul

    Well off the point a little bit, but I had a 180" FED in 1975 a 4# car. It held the AHRA record (8:20 @ 158 or so) it was moderately sucessful @ NHRA meets. Maybe it was a 10th slow. Regardless I had an opportunity to sell it to Dean Thompson (Harvey La.) and he put a really good Paul Vanderley SBC in it and ran 7:90's couple months later. I believe this was the 1st 4 # car in the 7's (gasoline). I took the complete driveline out of my 180" FED and put it into a newly constructed 203" RED. The car was built in Houston by Buddy warren. It was built for me with the exact same "engine out" dimension. So here we have same motor, same trans (Lenco) same tires and rear gear. The car was built with a rear wing (I B scared). The very first run @ Porter Dragstrip it went 8:20 @ 160. Interesting in that it had a horrible "bump" when it left and still ran 160. A year later after solving the "bump" and building a new SBC and removing the wing it went 8:00 @ 166 at Porter. If I had to guess I think, all things being equal, the RED was a tenth quicker than the FED. (FED was easier to drive)
    This is the same car we put a blower on and qualified @ Gainsville # 2 behind a Timmie Richards Hemi...
  30. CNC-Dude
    Joined: Nov 23, 2007
    Posts: 842


    I think if Big Daddy hadn't set the course for the RED trend, it eventually would have ended up there anyway. At about the time he went with the RED design, engine technology was really starting to take off in TF and engine explosions were starting to be more and more common and spectacular. So after a couple of guys would have gotten roasted pretty bad, I think that would have also made someone look at a new idea. So for that, I think most people would rather be sitting in front of a burning inferno instead of behind it.

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