"BIG DADDY" DON GARLITS

TS3X65MPH

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"BIG DADDY" DON GARLITS
« on: July 29, 2015, 10:45:53 AM »
King of the Dragsters.
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TS3X65MPH

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Re: "BIG DADDY" DON GARLITS
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2015, 10:49:00 AM »
Early Garlits.
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TS3X65MPH

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Re: "BIG DADDY" DON GARLITS
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2015, 10:51:09 AM »
Swamp Rat I: Built in 1956 as just rails, modified many times, but was at its best in the fall of 1958 having beat the best of the Californians at Houston and then in December setting the new world record at 180.00 MPH. SR I then in February of 1959 traveled to Bakersfield CA for its last competition run in the unblown configuration. A blower was installed at Iskenderian Cams and the car went on to win both of the final CA appearances setting Top Time and Low ET at both events. On June 20th 1959, the blower exploded and Don Garlits was seriously burned, he vowed never to drive again. The Swamp Rat was modified to fix the taller Art Malone and the new version is now referred to as Swamp Rat I-B. The car was retired in the spring of 1961, went on a short show circuit and brought back to the North Tampa shop on Nebraska Avenue. Then in 1966 the shop was hit with a major tornado and the Swamp Rat’s body was destroyed. Meanwhile Don Garlits and family had moved back to Seffner Florida. The remains of the car were moved to Seffner. Then during the spring of 1979, Don Garlits decided to restore the old car for the upcoming 25th Silver Anniversary of the NHRA US Nationals. Tom Lemons, Craig Wheeler, (Don’s old friend and body and paint mentor) and Don Restored the car and Pat Garlits and his two daughters, towed it to the 25th US Nationals. During the opening ceremonies, Don started the old girl and made a 165 MPH pass for the fans. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Since then Don drove the Swamp Rat I in its unblown configuration to 182 MPH at the Bristol Raceway in 1988. Don said after the interview, “I had a hard time holding her back!” Today the Swamp Rat I rests quietly in the first exhibit as you enter the Drag Racing Museum. Don often says to the press, “It’s my favorite car in the whole world; it made me what I am today!” From Don’s Site www.garlits.com

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Fordors

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Re: "BIG DADDY" DON GARLITS
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2015, 01:22:01 PM »
When I crewed on Tom Motry's "Drastic Plastic" fuel altered one year we were booked into Great Lakes Dragaway and Garlits was there with one of the old Swamp Rats for exhibition runs. Don and his long time crewman and very close friend TC Lemon were pitted right across from us and I got to spend some time with TC. The stories were many and very entertaining and when I asked him about Major Cooksey his eyes lit up. Major ran, if I recall correctly, a speed shop at an airport somewhere in Oklahoma. Back in the early '60's Don ran Mopar 8 3/4 rear ends and preferred them because they were lighter and had less rotating friction compared to the usual '57 Olds rear that many drag cars ran. I asked TC about the treatment that Cooksey did to the 8 3/4 center sections to make them live because Garlits had been typically getting only 1-2 runs on a gear set. After a local race Don sent TC to Cooksey's place and he dropped off three third members to have set up. I don't know what the fee was but if they worked Don would pay. Upon running the first one Garlits gladly paid up as the dependability had dramatically improved. Cooksey had his own particular clearances worked out and I think he somehow did some "voodoo" to the gears, possibly an early cyrogenic treatment.
TC is also credited with the t-shirt with this on the back- I told my Momma I went to prison for twenty years because I didn't want her to know I was drag racing!
I know the basement floor is down there because it's holding everything up. I just can't see it anymore.

TS3X65MPH

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Re: "BIG DADDY" DON GARLITS
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2015, 06:26:13 PM »
When I crewed on Tom Motry's "Drastic Plastic" fuel altered one year we were booked into Great Lakes Dragaway and Garlits was there with one of the old Swamp Rats for exhibition runs. Don and his long time crewman and very close friend TC Lemon were pitted right across from us and I got to spend some time with TC. The stories were many and very entertaining and when I asked him about Major Cooksey his eyes lit up. Major ran, if I recall correctly, a speed shop at an airport somewhere in Oklahoma. Back in the early '60's Don ran Mopar 8 3/4 rear ends and preferred them because they were lighter and had less rotating friction compared to the usual '57 Olds rear that many drag cars ran. I asked TC about the treatment that Cooksey did to the 8 3/4 center sections to make them live because Garlits had been typically getting only 1-2 runs on a gear set. After a local race Don sent TC to Cooksey's place and he dropped off three third members to have set up. I don't know what the fee was but if they worked Don would pay. Upon running the first one Garlits gladly paid up as the dependability had dramatically improved. Cooksey had his own particular clearances worked out and I think he somehow did some "voodoo" to the gears, possibly an early cyrogenic treatment.
TC is also credited with the t-shirt with this on the back- I told my Momma I went to prison for twenty years because I didn't want her to know I was drag racing!
Thanks for such a cool story.Like the last part about the T.
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Tom

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Re: "BIG DADDY" DON GARLITS
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2015, 11:40:10 PM »
Nice story, fordors!  Thanks for sharing.

topfuel724

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Re: "BIG DADDY" DON GARLITS
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2015, 05:37:49 AM »
Major Cooksey was in old downtown Irving TX on 356.  The shop was call Irving Speed Shop.  He was heat treating the gears because they were too brittle.  He and his son Wayne raced various Mopar's in the mid 60's out of that shop. He past away a few years ago.

Red

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Re: "BIG DADDY" DON GARLITS
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2015, 07:27:03 AM »
Long live the KING!

Fordors

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Re: "BIG DADDY" DON GARLITS
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2015, 08:59:38 AM »
Major Cooksey was in old downtown Irving TX on 356.  The shop was call Irving Speed Shop.  He was heat treating the gears because they were too brittle.  He and his son Wayne raced various Mopar's in the mid 60's out of that shop. He past away a few years ago.

Thanks for the clarification t/f724.
I know the basement floor is down there because it's holding everything up. I just can't see it anymore.

TS3X65MPH

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Re: "BIG DADDY" DON GARLITS
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2015, 08:22:30 PM »
Major Cooksey was in old downtown Irving TX on 356.  The shop was call Irving Speed Shop.  He was heat treating the gears because they were too brittle.  He and his son Wayne raced various Mopar's in the mid 60's out of that shop. He past away a few years ago.
Thanks.
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TS3X65MPH

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Re: "BIG DADDY" DON GARLITS
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2015, 08:23:38 PM »
Long live the KING!
Nice 4 port Red.
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TS3X65MPH

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Re: "BIG DADDY" DON GARLITS
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2015, 08:27:41 PM »
Swamp Rat I
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TS3X65MPH

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Re: "BIG DADDY" DON GARLITS
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2015, 08:30:50 PM »
Swamp Rat I-B: This car was the modification of SR I to fit the tall and lanky Art Malone who took over the driving chores for Don when he was seriously burned at Chester SC In 1959. On its first competitive outing at Sanford Maine in August 1959, the young rookie set the drag racing world on its ear by setting a new World’s Record of 183.66, breaking Don Garlits’ record of 182.54 set at Houston, June 1959. Then Art won the California Challenge at Riverside in December, beating the famed “Hustler” driven by Art Chrisman. The next season at Bakersfield Art again raised the 1320 Record to 185.56 and the next weekend at Fremont raised the mark again to 187.10. The drag racing world was stunned, how could this backyard dragster, built from a set of 1931 Chevrolet frame rails run faster and quicker than the world’s finest drag racing equipment? They would never know the answer to this perplexing question. Art went on his own early that year and Don returned to the seat of SR I-B. He lowered the 1320 ET Record to 8.23 Seconds at York PA and ran an unofficial 204.54 at the Bainbridge Georgia airport before retiring the car, which was in the tornado of 1966 that hit North Tampa. When Don restored the car in 1979, he put it back to its original configuration. Then in 2003, Don decided to build a replica of the SR I-B for exhibition. The car was completed and first taken to the NHRA Reunion at Bowling Green. SR I-B was a big hit and has made many appearances around the country doing burnouts for the fans. Today it can be seen in the Drag Racing Museum. This was the first dragster in the sport to have port nozzles and the original setup is on the car now.
www.garlits.com


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TS3X65MPH

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Re: "BIG DADDY" DON GARLITS
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2015, 08:38:08 PM »
Art Malone in seat & Garlits  Swamp Rat 1b 1960.
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TS3X65MPH

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Re: "BIG DADDY" DON GARLITS
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2015, 08:44:18 PM »
Swamp Rat I B Garlits switched from Isky to Giovanni Cams.
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TS3X65MPH

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Re: "BIG DADDY" DON GARLITS
« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2015, 08:45:21 PM »
Swamp Rat I b Photo courtesy Don Garlits.
You Aren't Living If Your Windshield Isn't Dirty.