c1971 Slingshot Dragster 'The Taipan'
|Engine||In-line 6-cylinder, 186-cid|
|Brakes||Discs (rear only)|
The history of drag racing and the development of the so-called “Slingshot” dragster dates back to the early post-war period, with racers quickly learning that the fastest cars down the quarter-mile were the most basic, consisting of two chassis rails, an engine and four tyres. Although drag racing officially began at the Santa Ana airstrip in Orange County, races were held all across the United States on abandoned runways and even public roads and the formation of the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) transformed drags into the professional sport we know today. Racing legend Mickey Thompson hit on the idea of positioning the driver behind the rear axle to aid with traction and by the 1960s the Slingshot had largely evolved into the form we recognize today, with developments like slick tyres, superchargers, slipper clutches and nitromethane bringing elapsed times down. Drag racing in Australia mirrored these developments and the local sanctioning body, the Australian National Drag Racing Association (ANDRA) was set up in 1973, covering all levels from Juniors through to Top Fuel. It wasn’t until 1971 that Don Garlits revolutionized the world of drag racing with his rear-engined “Swamp Rat 14” proving that relocating the engine behind the driver was ultimately the future of the sport, spelling the end of the road for the front-engined Slingshot. Nostalgia Drag racing is thriving today, with regular events scheduled around Australia and a renewed interest in classic dragsters of all kinds.