As we have been reporting for almost a year now, hydrogen peroxide rocket powered cars are coming ever closer to making a return onto the drag strips of America and one of the guys working hard to make that happen is Ky “The Rocketman” Michaelson. Ky was one of the pioneering guys in the realm of these awesome thrust powered machines and built a bunch of the most successful land based missiles to ever streak down the drag strips, dry lakes, and runways of the world. In this video, one of his cars, “The Conklin Comet” is shown making runs at Minnesota Dragways in the 1970s. The strip is long gone, but thankfully this footage from a period newscast has survived.
In the story we see the car making a couple of runs, get the inside scoop on exactly what we’re looking at, and also hear from the driver of the dragster Ed Ballinger. On an interesting historical side note, a couple of pro stock cars are shown at the beginning of the clip and one of them belonged to a guy named John Hagen who you may not know but who has a legacy that lives on at the highest levels of drag racing today. See, this young kid named Greg Anderson used to travel with Hagen and crew on the car. He was pretty good with a wrench and had designs on being a pro stock racer himself someday….wonder how that worked out? John Hagen died in a racing accident at Brainerd in 1983, but his influence is sure still felt through Greg. His Duster, which is shown briefly in this clip was one cool looking racer.
We’re openly rooting for Ky and the people working to bring peroxide rockets back to the forefront of the drag racing scene here in the USA. They were huge draws back in the day and while their impressive speeds are not as unbelievable as they were in the 1970s due to performance advancements by more traditional iron, they are still really freaking cool and people would continue to get a kick out of their wild mix of relatively silence at the starting line to immediate and furious noise on the way down the track. It sure looks like Ballinger and Ky were the heroes of the day when this film was made all those years ago at Minnesota Dragways!
PRESS PLAY BELOW TO SEE VINTAGE ROCKET DRAGSTER FOOTAGE FROM 1976 FEATURING THE CONKLIN COMET – WE NEED THESE BABIES BACK!