Street Dragsters, 1966 - A Way-Out Look at the Future!

Well, not really. It would have been nice, though. This article from a 1966 issue of Popular Customs featured two designs for streetable dragsters, with room for two people, and enough cooling to possibly survive a life spent partially in traffic. The designs have shortcomings, of course. Since they're based on dragsters, they'd be good at going in straight lines only. The little bicycle wheels in front  would make them super prone to understeer (when you turn the wheels, but the car keeps going straight), due to their tiny contact patch. So, you'd need to take the corners reeeeally slow. We won't even discuss crumple zones or crash safety.

Anyway, that's not what these designs are about. They're plausible design ideas for street dragsters, and they look really cool. I love the old slingshot style of dragsters from The Sixties (where the driver sits behind the engine). They had the mass of the car all the way in back, so it looks like a dart. This was the style of Sixties hot rods. I miss them. Of course, having your engine in front of the driver without a firewall separating the two was horribly dangerous if the engine exploded, which they sure did, but that's not my problem. I'm just here to look. Even the front-engined design in this article has all the visual mass of the car piled at the back, where my eyes want it to be. Bad for handling, good for the eyeballs.

There is, in my opinion, a laziness with the current tastes in custom cars. Generally, if you want to have your own car show in the Two-Thousands, you can get one by taking old sedans, putting on hideous chrome wheels as tall as you are with a little rubber band of tire stretched around it, and then painting the car a bright color. There. You're now a visionary car designer. Customs by guys like George Barris (who had nothing to do with the designs in this article, just to be clear) were usually drastic modifications of the cars they were based on, if they weren't completely built from scratch. Custom cars these days are fairly conservative, if you ask me. The sixties were bonkers.

Here's the full article.


Steve Miller said...

I'll see your George Barris and raise you an Ed Roth.

PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

I fold, I will not bet Barris against Roth, for I love them both!


Anonymous said...

I 'll see your Ed Roth & raise you a Dean Jeffries.. (R.I.P.)


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