Winding up the photos from the 1966 Autorama are these of the wild Re-Entry.
UPDATE: I found the Re-Entry Top Fuel Dragster on Draglist. The car was campaigned by Robert Lindwall and ran a 392 CI Chrysler Hemi for power. The Illinois based car wasn’t very quick as Draglist indicates a best of only 9.52. The rear-engined streamliner did break the 200mph barrier with a 201.34.
The rest of the details are sketchy, but apparently Re-Entry was destroyed in a crash at Indianapolis. I can’t find any additional informarion about Lindwall after that.
Although many people experimented with rear-engined dragsters in the 1960s, few of them enjoyed any success. It wasn’t until Don Garlits perfected the rear-engine design in 1971, that dragsters with the motor behind the driver started to win major races. In 1966, all the successful dragsters were front-engine “slingshot” rails.
At the same time, many people thought streamlining might hold the key to quicker dragster elapsed times. Reality proved otherwise as the streamlined body usually added too much weight. Any wind-cheating advantage from a slick body shell was negated by the extra weight.
The Re-Entry managed to incorporate both of these technologies into a single short-wheelbase dragster. The supercharged engine was housed behind the driver in a tightly fitting cowl that also enclosed the driver and the rear tires.
It looks really cool, but I doubt I would want to make a pass in this contraption. Looking at the photos, it appears that the only way a normal-size human being would fit behind the enclosed windscreen is to lie prone on one’s back, with your legs tucked inside the front frame rails. That would place the drivers feet somewhere in the vicinity of the front axle. If the car hit something; a real possibility considering the short wheelbase; the drivers leg’s would be highly vulnerable.
In addition, I would think it would be difficult to gauge how high the front wheels were when strapped into that driver’s capsule. Once the front end lifted, there would be very little to see besides sky and you wouldn’t know if the wheels were 8 inches or 8 feet off the ground.
Maybe I’m completely wrong about this. Maybe Re-Entry was safe and easy to drive, despite my misgivings. I never heard or saw anything about Re-Entry after the 1966 Detroit Autorama. Anyone know what happened to this car?
7 thoughts on “Re-Entry Rear Engine Streamlined Dragster”
In 1964 a rear engine dragster was the very first Top Eliminator,
at the drag strip (now known as M O R O S O)
At that time in 1964 it was kown as Palm Beach International Raceway.
In January 1965 that same RearEngine Dragaster won a spot on the
DRAG NEWS list.[Vol 10, #38, January 30th 1965]
Please tell me why that doesn’t rate as the
“First Successful Rear Engine Dragster.”
The sign Garlits put on that dragster in his museum says
it was a successful rear engine dragster from 1962 -1965
ITS GREAT TO SEE THIS PAGE , THIS IS MY DAD. HE RETIRED FROM RACING AFTER THE INDY CRASH AND RESUMED LIFE AS A SERVICE MANAGER FOR A CHICAGO CAR DEALER . HE ACTUALLY DIED IN A CAR CRASH ON HIS WAY HOME IN 1971. I WAS ALWAYS TOLD STORIES OF HIS LIFE AND PEOPLE HE RACE WITH LIKE KALITTA AND THE OTHERS.IM STILL AN AVID NHRA FAN,ANYONE LOOKING FOR A DRIVER?
Scott, I’d love to hear more about the Re-entry. What was the last year your dad raced the car? Who fabricated the chassis etc. Thanks
Sorry for the delay in response , my dad designed ,built and drove the car .
He was a mechanic and was interested in anything motorized and had some hydroplane experience which I was told carried over into the dragster . He had a few friends that helped him as his crew and the owner of bills 66 in Gauges Lake Illinois was a partner . we resided in Gurnee il. a few miles away. I’ve read in some articles where people thought the pic of the car at Rockford was after the wreck, it had a primed front clip, but actually it was after he lengthened the car realizing it was too short for the speed and power . The Autorama pics show the car as first built . Its funny ive seen the articles in the last year or so in Hot Rod about him and good pics but one of the best I cherish is on the inside cover of hot rod year book #6. Im surprised they don’t realize that .
btw , the 9.52 @ 201.34 …… take a look at everyone else at that date . They did get in the 7’s but the speed wasn’t 200+ . if he could have hooked that car drag racing would have seen a much faster learning curve . Of course I may be bias . lol !