1960s Dragster: The Card Shark

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This front engine rail dragster from the 1960s is listed on craigslist in Seattle. It’s “The Card Shark” dragster from Doug’s Racing Stables. It’s all there except for the transmission and it’s all period correct. Sometimes called slingshots, some of these cars reached speeds over 200 mph. They were often built using junk yard parts and modified production car engines. They could be really dangerous from both accidents and from engines or transmission “grenading” or exploding and sending out lots of shrapnel. Don Garlits’ famous accident when his transmission blew up on the start line really woke folks up to the dangers of these dragsters. This is a really cool find but I have no idea what one would do with this except for perhaps as display in a museum or in a collection. The seller is open to offers and hoping for at least $9,500. 


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  1. redwagon

    what would i do? likely s*&% my pants, that’s what.

  2. grant

    Yikes. Seattle isn’t far away. This is one time I’m glad I can’t afford it, cause I think I’d bring it home. There’s gotta be an old airstrip somewhere around here…

  3. 3PedalRacer

    Seems like a fair price to me. He’s not hurting for $$$ based on his toys and toolboxes.

  4. JW

    I remember watching these rails race and yes they were awfully dangerous, been to Don Garlits museum in Florida and what a collection he has. My balls are not big enough to drive something like this but it would make a excellent conversation piece.

  5. jim s

    looks like seller has lots of cool toys including another front engined rail. this car is interesting but i am not brave either. great find.

  6. randy

    Not a slingshot, but a rail. If only I lived near the salt flats.

  7. Aaron B.

    They still race these things in nostalgia drag races all over North America. I think they are neat…..

    An era when men were REALLY men!

  8. Howard A Member

    IDK, things have gotten so much safer for dragsters. This probably wouldn’t pass any modern tech inspection anyway. Maybe for a “cacklefest”, ( where vintage dragsters like this, fire up the engines and SLOWLY cruise past the stands) but they’ve moved on for a reason. Interesting side note, on May 8, 1970, at Lions Drag strip, Garlits hit the throttle on his fuel dragster ( then a paltry 2,000 hp) and I thought the clutch exploded, but sources say it was the trans, and nearly severed his right foot and broke his left in 5 places, breaking the car in half. As “Big Daddy” put it in an interview, while healing, he began work on another front engine dragster, when his late wife Pat, came in the shop, and said to Don, “what are you doing”? Don replied, “I’m building a new ( front engine) dragster”. Pat said, “Like hell you are”, and hence, the rear engine dragster was born, now the standard of the industry. Don said, if it wasn’t for his wife, the rear engine dragster may never have been. He went on to say, when he first took his new rear engine dragster to the track, they wouldn’t let anyone race against him, and he had to do do several solo passes, and wowed the crowd and the officials. He said, “I showed them what an Okie from the swamps of Florida could do.

    Like 1
  9. Jasper

    My cousin in Detroit had one similar to this stashed in his garage 15 or 20 years ago. Even back then it would pass tech inspections. He did drive it thru the neighborhood to the do it yourself car wash once though.

  10. Nxpress62

    With the small block and alcohol, and a basic powerglide it would’nt be silly fast, and would make a great bracket racer.
    The cage actually looks updated (can’t see a lot with the bodywork on it, but it has a second hoop above the helmet that early cars usually didn’t have), it might pass NHRA tech with few mods. Would definately pass tech at at least 2 1/8th mile tracks within 2 hours of me..

    Like 1
  11. Matt51F1

    Are you certain it is a “genuine” 60’s rail? It has a 5-point roll cage. I thought they were still using 3-point until the 70’s.

    Happy to be corrected if I am wrong.

    Like 2
  12. pete moss

    I hear from the painter that that is a reproduction car built 1 year ago. Says the seller is a scammer


    Like 1

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