Early Rear-Engine Dragsters
A Sampling of Cars and Drivers before 1971

Pioneers

Who were the first drag racers to employ rear engines in their race cars? Don Garlits is credited with revolutionizing top fuel dragsters when he won the Winternationals and Bakersfield in 1971 with a rear-engined dragster. After that, everyone wanted to run with an engine behind the driver. It just made a lot of sense from a safety and weight-distribution standpoint. But Garlits was hardly the first to run with an engine in the back. This website overviews some of the cars and drivers in drag racing who ran with an engine behind the driver. The years of operation of the cars is based principally on newspaper reports and information found on the Internet. Those sources don't always accurately reflect the cars' actual years of operation, however it does give a good approximation. This website has three sections: 1950s, 1960-65, and 1966-70. Within each section, cars appear in chronological order based on research findings.