Two pilots, two machines, and one straight line

There is no simpler mechanical combat than drag racing

In this sphere, vintage drag racing is the absolute peak of quarter mile brutality. Fitted with lumbering V8’s, squeezed into oblivion by superchargers, and a volatile mix of gasoline and testosterone fueling them, these vintage dragsters tested the mettle of the men who controlled them.

Control is a bit optimistic of a word

These pilots sat directly aft of those engines, directly in the line of fire if things went awry, and squeezed into a fragile cage of bent steel and fiberglass. All that lay ahead of them was the curvature of the earth and a eight cylinders ready to take them there.

No big name sponsors covered the walls

no television coverage beamed their battles into living rooms

No mansions awaited their return back home, only the glory of being faster than everybody else was enough. Relive this period with photos from coverage of the NHRA’s California Hot Rod Reunion.