Wheelstanding Front Engine Dragster
Me driving my dads Pontiac 455 powered 1969 Front Engine Dragster at a
Test-N-Tune at State Capitol Raceway on 10-5-08. Car ran 8.31 @ 159mph on
this pass and has run a best of 8.16 @ 163mph.
The Stone Age Man @ San Fernando Drag Strip in US Turbine 1
The US Turbine 1, driven by George Hutcheson, had a small power plant
(turbine weight of 85 pounds) was originally built for testing bearings.
The turbine would start spinning, in an instant, at 72000 rpm's in 7 tenths
of a second. It provided a continuous burst of intense thrust. From a
standstill, when George hit the throttle, he could not throttle back. It
was either turned ON at 100%, or it was OFF. And if George wanted to
provide an exciting show for the spectators, it was ON, spinning the tires,
on a wild ride, like you where on a ┬╝ mile of black ice, at speed.
Its diet of oxygen, propel nitrate, and nitrogen that would combine in
the space age rocket chamber and propel it down the track. It worked, just
as it was designed. The turbine driven engine consisted basically of a
carefully designed circular chamber (snail housing) where a rocket type
burner was ignited and the thrust of the burned gases would cause the US
Turbine 1 engine to spin at high revs. This movement was converted into a
more useable power source by means of a reduction gear. The turbine reached
speeds of 72,000 rpm. The reduction gear brought this movement to a more
useable rpm speed with astonishing high torque output. This micro-turbo engine was really powerful!
Only one problem, no human being had the guts or skill to take this
wild ride further than just a few hundred feet.
Fling Traylor, the wealthy owner, was despondent and out of hope in
seeing his creation ever make a full 1/4 mile pass. All his money and pride
couldn't make it happen. He ordered Frank Huszar of Race Car Specialties
(the US Turbine 1 Chassis and components builder) to crate it up and send
it into exile forever, to be on public display at the Smithsonian for all
to see and wonder why....
Frank Huszar lobbied hard for his shop foreman George Hutcheson, who he
believed could reign in and run this wild turbine ride. Fling said, he was
against it but would think about it.
Fling had watched the George drive (The Stone Age Man dragster) and
win over the years. He liked his flare and showmanship style. Fling was
told by many others, that whatever George drove, he could make it work.
Fling desperately wanted his creation to run. Though, he didn't want to be
disappointed all over again.
A week later Fling called George. He told him, "George, I've watched
you at the track and if anyone can do it, it would be you.
After hitting the switch, there is going to be a big explosion and
thirty feet of flame shooting out the back as full power is transferred
from the turbine engine to the rear wheels. Hold on and don't let off,
because it will shut down the engine, and you wont be able to restart once
it shuts off." Fling explained.
As George lets go of the US Turbine 1, it explodes out the back with a
twenty feet long flame and white smoke encircling the big Goodyear slicks
as the front end jumps upwards. The US Turbine 1 often drifts sideways and
George keeps his cool while correcting for the drift as he keeps his foot
in it. The G-forces are different than his Stone Age Man dragster, as all
the forces are on his head and neck as his body is being pushed back. It
shakes violently as the engine screams with a high pitch sound as the Stone
Age Man is off on another great run. To see full story, go to website
Front Engine Dragster built in five months
In December 2009 I got the idea that it would be fun to have a FED so I
asked a few questions and read a few threads on the HAMB. After wieghing
all the advice and suggestions I bought a set of Mark Williams blue prints
and got started. With the help of a good friend or two I had a can the was
ready to race at Eagle Field in May 2010.