Barb Hamilton is a woman who truly blazed a trail for females in drag racing. As much credit as Shirley Muldowney gets for “running with the boys” and becoming the first female to challenge the sport’s elite racers, there may be no Muldowney story without Barb Hamilton. Hamilton was the first woman granted a competition license by the NHRA for a supercharged vehicle. She made good use of it too. Hamilton was right in the thick of the gasser wars and notched many match race wins.
Her career was also graced with some big moments on the NHRA stage like a runner up at Indy in 1967 and a class win at Bristol in 1968. This car was primarily run in C/GS (C-Gas Supercharged) with a blown small-block Chevy and owned the National Record on more than one occasion.
This is the actual car she competed in, not a restoration or recreation. The engine was assembled in 1970 and is a 364ci Chevy mouse topped with a 6-71 Hampton blower, a Hilborn 4-port injector, and a bitchin’ B&M Clutchflite transmission. If one were making a recipe for the era in the C/GS category, this would be the deal.
Interestingly, gassers were largely responsible for the advancement of automatic transmissions in drag racing. The B&M Hydro transmissions were extremely popular until the Chrysler Torqueflite became a standard choice. The Hydro units were four speed transmissions and had a very short first gear that often resulted in tire spin or very poppy wheelstands. With the taller first gear in the Torqueflite, things were more manageable for the driver and ETs dropped.
Barb Hamilton was inducted into the Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 1992 and should be at the forefront of any discussion regarding women in drag racing.