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Old 09-03-2008, 10:31 AM
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Don Garlit's Museum Of Drag Racing

As I wrote in my introduction, it was photos of Don Garlits in a 1958 issue of "Life" magazine that got me hooked on high performance and racing cars. It's one of my goals to visit Don Garlit's Museum Of Drag Racing before I'm too old to make the trip. In the meantime, I discovered this photo album on WebShots that contains over 70 of the cars on display. Hopefully some of you will enjoy them as much as I did.

Go here:

For those of you not familiar w/ this format, just click on the 1st or any photo in the album to enlarge it. Then just click on the appropriate window at the upper right to advance or back up.

In addition, if you go to his web site, you can see photos of all the Swamp Rats along w/ info on each.

Go here:


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Old 09-03-2008, 11:22 AM
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i got to go to the musem 5 years ago it was very nice . even don's mother was there to greet visiters , i ask where don was and she said he was in the garage working on a new car. she was quite nice.
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Old 09-03-2008, 06:15 PM
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Race Car Museums

I know this will be difficult to say, but it will be a 500 miles trip for me, would it be worth the drive or ride? Garlits museum is on my wish list along w/ Peterson in Los Angeles, if I can be certain Mickey Thompson's Challenger I is there. I'd really like to see some NASCAR racers from the mid 50's to mid 60's too, especially Pontiacs & Chevys, but I haven't been able to find any museums that hav them.
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Old 09-03-2008, 09:35 PM
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i just went to the muesum at darlington not a huge place but def some interesting cars and exhibits
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Old 09-03-2008, 10:14 PM
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We visited the Garlits museums several years ago. Don was there , got a photo of me with him.

His mom was there... we had a nice chat about Don and his brother Ed.

Dont worry how old you are... it is the mileage on your body that adds up.
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Old 09-03-2008, 10:38 PM
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Garlits is a real good stop, it has a drag car and street rod museum. Missed the street rod side, kind of know what that is about.

The drag car side has things like an engine room some of his monsters sitting on stands,at least one exploded with a broken block.
Mopar gassers and funny cars. Large amount of early rails, 40 Ford gassers all this type of early hardware, the car that took his foot is on display as it came to rest. A 1/4 scale metal Swamp Rat complete with a spare engine displayed dissembled pistons, rings to the internals of the blower. When you pull into the parking you will spot a 50 foot , could be taller Top fuel car pointed straight up to the sky .......... thinking missile, rocket. Do I think it is worth it yes is my vote

if you go to the Turkey Run you drive right past it
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Old 09-03-2008, 11:45 PM
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I have fallen into a few what I call "treasures" in my life. I don't do anything to find them, they just happen. Maybe because I am a good guy.

Anyway, it was 1988 at the "Street Rod Drags" an event put on by the NSRA (or at least it coincided with the NSRA Western Nationals nearby) at the Fremont Drag Strip (RIP). Don Garlets was still racing at the time and he brought out his restored Swamp Rat 1 carborated car. Anyway, I had a pair of very nice NOS looking Dragmasters. I had them for sale in the back of my truck in the parking lot. My buddy who I was with suggested that I donate them to Don for his new Museum.

I just walked up to Don at his pit and asked him if he wanted them. He said he would take a look at them. But first I had to help him push the Swamp Rat up to the staging lanes! So here I am with Don Garlets the greatest drag racer of all time pushing his first famous car. I remember looking down into the seat and seeing the NHRA inspection tags on the seat belts dated 1957! NO KIDDING!

Anyway, we push the thing up there and then set off across the parking lot to my truck. He took a look at them and asked how much I wanted for them (remember there was NOTHING like this made by anyone in twenty years at that time) I told him I would be honored if he used them in his museum and they were free. He took me up on it and we rolled them back to his trailer. It was there where he told one of his guys he had to find a place for them, they weren't very happy to hear it! Well he digs thru tee shirt boxes tossing me and my buddy one. He signed it for me, and it is one of my most treasured car related items. My only request was that they didn't go on a Chevy powered car. He assured me, they were BIG slicks and would be on a Hemi top fueler.

I was a hundred miles or so from the museum in 2000 or so on a business trip. It would have cost me about $300 to take an extra day and get out there, what a moron, I didn't do it!

One day, I plan on getting out to Disney World with the family and I WILL be hitting up the museum this time!


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