If you are going to make an omelette, you have to break a couple of eggs, right? Such is the nature of being an innovator and leader in motorsports technology. Don Garlits knows all about that life because he’s lived it for (now) 91 years.
It takes some guts and great reporting skills to have the want or need to ask Big Daddy about one of the most infamous failed experiments in his long history of awesome innovation, Swamp Rat 17 but the NHRA’s Phil Burgess packs both. This was the car which was built short and built to fit a streamliner body as designed by Jocko Johnson, an “out there” Californian who believed in aerodynamics, free living, and pushing the boundaries of performance at the drag strip. He didn’t believe in a lot of the normal scientific testing process, though.
In this story, Garlits tells the whole history of the car, why it was no good, how it was no good, and how he regrets none of his experience and what it brought to him in both knowledge and cool additions to the museum. This is a really awesome piece of history.