(Editor’s Note: This story originally ran way back in 2009. We’re re-running it now because it is great stuff and deserves to be shown to a far bigger audience!)
This is honestly something that would never happen today. We hear people say that a lot, and most of the time it’s a figure of speech, but if you proposed this idea in a pitch meeting today, you’d be fired on the spot.
This photo, which you’ve undoubtedly done a double or triple take at, and convinced yourself that it was the result of a camera trick, is real. That is actually a Nitro Funny Car and a Top Fuel Dragster hooked together and pulling against each other at full throttle. Seriously.
It just so happens that the guy driving that Fuel dragster is Don Roberts, a forum member and more importantly, a local New England pal of BS.com. We recently spent the better part of a day with Don and the result of that will be some kick-ass blog items like this one.
So what the hell are we looking at? We’ll let Don tell you. “It was April of 1972 and I was a professional drag racer, working for the King and Marshall team out of Rhode Island,” Roberts explained. “I drove the dragster and Jimmy King was the driver of the Funny Car. That was how I made my living, running match races and major events. It was a dream come true.”
“Anyway, one day I got an unexpected call in the middle of the week from King and he told me to get to the race shop down in Warwick, Rhode Island, as soon as possible. He wouldn’t tell me why, but I dropped everything and headed down there,” Roberts said with a laugh. “When I got to the shop and he explained what we were going to do, I really didn’t know what to say so we loaded up both cars and headed over to Seekonk Speedway, in Seekonk, Mass (a little 1/3-mile asphalt oval which is still in operation). Once we got there, I was fully informed on what exactly we’d be doing.”
“Loctite had come up with this new product called Super Bonder and its claim to fame was the fact that it would glue anything together and hold it with some ungodly amount of stick. The pieces being glued did not need to be the same material. The guys from the company were giving us some info on the stuff and trying to keep up calm about this whole thing. Our deal with the cars was going to be used for advertisement and promotional purposes for the product. I’m not sure how they decided on the King and Marshall team to be involved, but the ad agency found us so there we were. ”
“The plan was to glue two pieces of bar stock together, one piece was steel and the other was aluminum. They were attached to cables, and then attached to our cars and we’d go hammer down and try to pull them apart. What better way to prove the strength of the stuff than to hook it between the most powerful type of race cars on Earth right?”
Once we got the cars warmed up and in position on the infield of the track, we hooked the cars up. All we used was a braided steel cable. On end was looped around the rearend of the Funny Car and the other end was looped around the spine bars at the rear of the slingshot dragster I was sitting in. We put 10 psi in the tires, splashed a little water on the ground and fired the cars up. We slowly took the slack out of the cable and waited for the high sign and we both hit the throttle for a few seconds. The tires smoked, the cars seesawed a little and then we shut it down. The stuff held, and we thought that was it, until the guy that Loctite hired to take the pictures told us we needed to do it again. So we did, same result, the stuff worked!”
“What I did was to hold the wheel with one hand and keep the other on the brake handle, because if that stuff let go, I’d be in a Fuel Dragster headed for a banked circle track and a wall. Luckily, I didn’t have to do anything put keep the throttle down until they said stop.”
“I’m not sure if I even got paid for that.”
Yep, Don rules. Look forward to more goodness like this in the very near future. This is a guy with some stories!