Don "Big Daddy" Garlits Gunning for Electric Drag Racing Record

Big Daddy Don Garlits Swamp Rat no. 37

Don Garlits is a big deal in drag racing. He’s even more of a big deal to kids who grew up in South Florida in the 80s and 90s who watched the man go after record after record on his way to being one of the first people to cross an NHRA finish line at more than 300 MPH. The man even has a museum, and people go to it. Now, the 82 year-old Garlits is out to prove that Bob Lutz is merely the second coolest octogenarian in the auto industry by riding his all-electric Swamp Rat #37 racer into the record books one more time.

Garlits has been running prototypes of the car for a while now, but only recently slapped a wind-cheating body onto the battery-powered beastie. The final dragster body is very close to the original concept art …

Don Garlits Electric Dragster Concept

… which, itself, manages to effectively slip through the wind while maintaining true to the spirit of the 36 Swamp Rat race cars that came before it. You know, the ones that made Garlits a hero to two generations? Those Swamp Rat race cars.

You can find out more about Garlits’ upcoming run into the record books in his official press release, below. Enjoy!


SR-37 Quest Dragster Puts “Big Daddy” Back in the Saddle

Ocala, FL- SR-37, the Quest for 200 MPH on Batteries Dragster, is at the home of the “Swamp Rats”, The Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, FL. “Big Daddy” himself, Don Garlits, is overseeing the final preparations of SR-37 prior to commencement of spring testing.

Early SR-37 mock-up launch testing revealed the acceleration potential of the car to be nearly as quick to 60 feet as a Top Fuel dragster (60′ in .9 seconds!). This acceleration can equate to a force upon the body in excess of 5 G’s. With that sort of power at hand, the Quest was on to equip SR-37 with the latest in cockpit comfort and safety for the beloved Garlits

Garlits and SR-37 spent the last week with renowned motorsports fabricator, Jeff Garvin of Garvin Motorports, being custom-fitted for the latest in race seat technology, the Garvin Signature Seat Insert™. Garvin prepared a fully conformed resin and bead-foam mold to the sitting Garlits, final fitted with provisions for a HANS device, and trimmed Big Daddy’s new throne in Carbon X fiber. Garlits nestled into the completed seat on Friday, February 14, 2014, and exclaimed “Bring it on!”

Of the Quest for 200 MPH on Batteries in SR-37, Garlits remarked, “I am anxious to get on the track and go 200 MPH in 2014. My, how time flies when you get old!” “Big Daddy” has been flying fast for over 60 years and 2014 should be no exception.

The SR-37 Quest Dragster is scheduled soon for completion of the 2014 Lithium Polymer battery packages. The team hopes to commence spring testing soon thereafter with a build-up to full sub-200 mph 1/4 mile runs. The summer event schedule for record runs is being developed and will hopefully be announced during spring training.

Please stay tuned to our and for an announcement soon on our launch that will allow drag racing and EV enthusiasts around the world to be a part of this exciting BEV technology project.


About the “Quest for 200 MPH on Batteries” Dragster:

The Quest Dragster is designed and constructed to be the first battery-electric dragster to exceed 200 mph on a ¼ mile drag strip. The goal is to accomplish this speed mark in 2014 with our driver, the legendary “Big Daddy” Don Garlits. 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of Garlits’ historic first official 200 mph pass in 1964. The dragster will be powered by a 1500 kilowatt array of lithium polymer (LiPo) batteries producing an equivalent horsepower rating of over 2000 HP. The Quest dragster has already been launch-tested by “Big Daddy” Don Garlits with early versions of the LiPo battery-power packs and electric motor/controller systems.

The Quest for 200 MPH on batteries dragster was built by Brad Hadman, created by Mike Gerry, art direction by Kenny Youngblood, car and logo graphics by Eric Reyes, print graphics by Tommy Naccarato, LiPo batteries by HighTech Systems LLC, and motors by Lawless Industries.


Source | Photos: Garvin Motorsports, via Autoblog.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.