As an avid drag racing fan--vintage and contemporary--I couldn't wait to get a copy of Bob McClurgs new book entitled Diggers, Funnies, Gassers & Altereds.
From the moment I saw the cover (I know, don't judge a book by its blah, blah, blah), I couldn't help but dig right in.
McClurg's love and enthusiasm for drag racing comes across within the first couple sentences of the book's introduction. His infectious excitement of the sport is obvious while he gives us a comprehensive explanation on how the sport initially began.
McClurg takes his time throughout the book, covering the basics on how the most popular classes of drag racing evolved, and, in some cases, how they actually dissolved.
Beginning with "The Roadsters," McClurg touches on the days of "Dry Lakes Racing" and how these early "hot rods" became a legitimate class within the NHRA.
The gassers are represented here with beautiful photography and in-depth dialogue on how this class ruled the country's dragstrips in fan popularity throughout the early to mid '60s.
There is also enough here to whet the appetites of any fuel-altered and front-engine dragster fan, as well. Bob does a great job of taking us through the days when technology wasn't quite so, well...advanced.
No drag racing book would be complete without the inclusion of arguably the most popular class to blaze down the quarter-mile, the Funny Cars. Bob really goes into great detail on how these altered-bodied A/FX cars went on to become the fire-breathing monsters we are familiar with today.
Some of the legends of early Funny Car racing are mentioned here, as well--from "Dyno" Don Nicholson, Jack Chrisman, Gene Snow, Tom "Mongoose" McEwen to Don "The Snake" Prudhomme. Also included in the Funny Car chapter are awesome photos of Bill Lawton in the Tasca Ford Mustang, Hayden Proffitt, Butch Leal, "Dandy" Dick Landy, Big John Mazmanian, and countless others. This chapter alone is worth the price of admission.
McClurg pays close attention to detail by including ETs and MPH in many of the photo captions throughout the book. He even touches on some of the rivalries that made drag racing one of the most compelling motor sports throughout the '70s and on into the early '80s. The verbal bashings between Shirley Muldowney and "Big Daddy" Don Garlits are a story in itself.
Another interesting aspect of the book is how it introduces us to the early days of Super Stock and how that class ultimately transformed into Pro Stock Eliminator. During this period Detroit automakers couldn't help but get involved in engine development programs with many of the top drivers of the class.
With over 200 pages of awesome black and white and incredible color photography, this book does a great job of taking us back to drag racing in its heyday.
If you're looking for a drag racing history lesson or a solid vintage-style nitro fix, pick up Diggers, Funnies, Gassers & Altereds. This book rocks!