WTF Friday: 160mph Compressed Air Dragster


While looking into a photo of another crazy dragster from the 60’s I stumbled across this ‘compressed air’ dragster built by Honeywell (at the time named Garret and then shortly after AlliedSignal) that was powered by three 35 pound turbine engines that put out 750 pounds of torque a piece and topped out at 70,000 RPM.

The front suspension is from a Willy’s
The rear is from a Ford and the drums are Buick units

According to the ever growing list of historians on the H.A.M.B this dragster was initially designed to run entirely on compressed air but after that proved to be a little inefficient — it turns out you need a lot of compressed air to send a car down the strip at a good clip– things were tweaked so it ran on a mixture of air, alcohol and water.

All said and done the car went down the strip in staggering 8.75 seconds at 160 miles per hour and was stopped by nothing more than rear mounted drum brakes.

People interested to the point of investing in the project could do so via the mailer below:



No word on why exactly it was abondoned or what happened to it but it looks like all kinds of crazy which by now is par for the course in the 60s and 70s.

How’s that saying go? When men were men?

This appears to be a later rendition of the car lighting em up

Site Updates

Heading out to the Scraped Crusaders meeting spot for the Cruise to Eurokracy in about five minutes so anyone heading to the show this year see you there!

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  1. The final picture is Dale Granthhane’s dragster from 1964. It uses two aircraft jet engine starter motors. Although I can’t find a reference I think it uses Isopropyl nitrate (called Avpin) for fuel as that is what is used to start jet engines but it does use water alcohol injection to cool the nozzle. It did 8.24 in the quarter.

  2. It was called the ‘Speed Sport’
    There were four versions made.
    Best Time I know about was 8.7 seconds in the quarter mile through the wheels.
    Power to the wheels (for SS-IV) was three air turbine starters through a chain drive gearbox through an old Ford rear end.
    News articles can be found in the ‘Arizona Republic’ July 1962, September 1962 ‘Car Life’ magazine (good article), October 1962 ‘Hot Rod’ Magazine (good article), with a brief mention in December 1962 ‘Car Craft’ magazine, June 1963 ‘Drag News’, July 1963 ‘Car Life’ Magazine, and the September 1963 ‘Haynes digest’.

  3. I saw a car powered by three turbines like that run at Hobbs New Mexico drag races in the ’60s. I thought it had spherical air tanks but my memory is probably not that good after all these years. It was amazingly quite so I figured it didn’t have much future in drag racing. Some outfit sold turbine power units that coupled into the final drive on street rods along about that time too. They advertised in several top car mags like Hot Rod.

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