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For pics of Don's Museum and of his 1970 crash that caused him to switch to rear engined cars Click here to view


Don "Big Daddy" Garlits


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Big Daddy


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Big Daddy


Big Daddy


Don and the Greek


Don and the Greek


Don and Don Schumaker


Don and Bruce Larson


Don getting interviewed


Don visiting a fan


Don with John Force


Don visiting


Don with Butch Patric


Don getting help with a motor


Do presenting Kenny's iinduction t the International Hall of drag racing fame


Don with Herb Fishel


Don doing some work


Don with Jack Beckman NHRA Funny Car driver


Don getting a Hot Rod Achievement award


Don getting a ride from Don Prudomme


Don with Don Prudomme


Don with Jon Lundberg a longtime NHRA announcer


Don with Tommy Ivo


Don and Shirley Muldowney


Don with Connie Kalitta


Don with Don Nickelson


Don with Tom McEwen


Don with Mickey Thompson


Don and Lisa Criger


Don and Lisa Criger


Don and Lisa Criger


Don and Lisa Criger


Don and Lisa Criger


Don with Lisa Criger


Don and his family


Don and his girls


Don and Pat


Don shaving after a big win


Don and Pat with their "other" kids


Pat in memory


Don with Pat and Tommy Ivo looking on


Pat with the girls in the crowd


Don with Shirley muldowney and Marvin Milelr


Don visiting with a crowd


Don with Mr & Mrs Ray Motes


Don with two cuties


Don and Lisa Criger with Terry and Mandy Lorge


Don Don autographing with Darrell Gwynn and others


Don with Shirley Muldowney and a few others


Don tooling around among the crowd


Don waving a green flag


Don with John Force and Carl Olsen


Don with his cars and a crowd


Don with Pat having a Coors


Don and his car are always popular


Don yakking


Don working


Don greeting a large crowd


Don leaning on his car


Don with his car


Don looking ready


Don with one of his cars


Don with his electric car


Don leanig on his rear engined car


Don wandering


Don in his shop


Don with an early car


Don posing


Don with a long dragster


Don andthe electric car


Don with an older car


Don on the road


Don tuning his car


Don with Swamp Rat 1


Don working


Don making an adjustment


Don working


Don working


Don still working


Don with a thumbs up


Don


Don


Don leaning on the car


Don giving someone an earfull


Don getting a push in the pits


Don with Swamp Rat XII


Don with the red car


Don working on his car


Don with a crowd and his car


Don working


Don always working on his rides


Don with an adjustment


Don working


Don pushing the car


Don hanging


Don moving the car


Don talking with Don Prudomme checking out Big's seat


Don with Al Parker and a nice roadster


Don's ride in line


Don working on the red car


Don and brother Ed


Don getting in the Swamp rat


Don with an oldie


Don busy


Don's car getting attention


Don and his car in line


Don has the motor unbuttoned


Don with the car


Don in the trailer


Don posing with an early Swamp Rat


Don's car on display


Don and the car


Don's car 1960


Don working on his car


This T Bucket was Don's first drag car


Don and his first dragster


Don's first dragster


Don racing his first dragster


Don won as an unknown at Lake City Airport in Jacksonville, Fl. He ran 108.17


Don's brother Ed raced this Buick powered dragster


Don's car with Ed Garlits


Don with his car with Eddie Hill in the background


Don posing with his car


Don working on car while fans look on


Don working


Don and Pat with an early car


Don and his unblown Swamp Rat


Don in 1964


Don with his car at home


Don's car ready to go


Don adjusting his car


Don working


Another early Swamp Rat


Don with Art Malone


Don won Top Eliminator in Colorado 1963 beating Eddie Hill


Don in his car


Don at Riverside in 1960


Don with a lot of work ahead


Don in the cockpit


Don with his daughter and her friend


Don waving to the crowd


Don in the car


Don in the seat


Don firing up


Don ready to run


Don with the victory sign


Don in his car


Don in the seat


Don in the seat


Don standing in the seat


Don suited up


Don in the car


Don fired up for a cacklefest


Don getting a push


Don in the seat


Don suited up


Don with his girls going back to the pits


Don in the car


Don fired up


Don going back to the pits


Don showing off his old ride


Don standing in the car in 1987


Don getting in the car


Don in a Swamp Rat


Don on the roller starter


Don with the Greek helping him


Don ready


Don in the seat


Don in motion


Swamp Rat III


Don in an oldie


Don waving to the crowd


Don in Swamp Rat V


Don in the seat


Don getting the cash


Don waving to the crowd


Don in the seat


Don with a crown


Don in the seat


Don in the seat


Don ready for a burnout


Don in his car


Don relaxing


Don in the car ready to go


Don in the car


Don pulling up to the line


Don in the seat


Don wins 1967 NHRA Nationals


Don wins 1964 NHRA Nationals


Don with trophy queen after another win


Don wins 1973 Nationals


Don and family with a big trophy


Don's car


Don's Wynn's Jammer


Don's Swamp Rat VII


Don's Swamp Rat IV


Don's Swamp Rat XII


Don and Connie Kalitta had "team" cars at one time


Don's car


Don at Great Meadows


Don with Art Malone and the car they partnered on


Don on the track


Don at the 1959 March meet at Bakersfield


Don lifts the wheels


Don Lining up


Don's red car that went back to black pretty soon


Don's mid wing car


Don won the 1955 NHRA Nationals


Don with his full bodied car


Don firing up the car


Don on the deck of USS Lexington


Don showing off his car


Don in his car


Don's car ready


Don doing a wild wheelie


Don on the start


Don on a run


Don see's the green light


Don on the gas


Don launches


Don lights up the fire


Don wheels up high!


Don ready to blast off


Don smokin' it


Don on the gas


Don burning out


Don on a 185 MPH pass


Don doing a burnout


Don on a smoky pass


Don smokin' it


Don burning it


Don on a run


Don smokes it


Don on the gas


Don getting it


Don smokin'


Don with wheels upp


Don at Lions


Don smokes it


Don on a hot one


Don at Bakersfield


Don rips one


Don at Bakersfield on his first trip to the March Meet


Don vs Master & Ricter


Don vs Marvin Schwarz


Don at Bakersfield March Meet


Don left, and the Greek 1960


Don at Half Moon Bay


Don vs a late Jack Christman


Don vs John Wiebe


Don plays flagman for Vance Hunt and a wheels up Chris Karemesines


Don out on lefty Mudersback to win


Don in England racing Peter Crane


Don vs Shirley Muldowney


Don at 1975 March Meet


Don out first


Don on a flyover crash


Don vs Vance Hunt


Don vs Art Malone


Don vs Warren Cobern


Don's streamliner


Don in the car


Don's car


Don's electric ride


Don's electric


Don with his car


Don smokin' it


Don's funny car


Emery Cook drove this one


Oops


The Dart 2


Don's funny car


A race!

I watched Big Daddy from the time he made his first trip to California thru the many years until he retired. He was always the show and only the very top drivers from around the country could give him a run for his money. Many California boys raced him hard but his records speak for themselves. He was special and his engenuity was well known thruout the industry. He is 10 years older than me and still dreaming up stuff to compete with. His electric powered dragster is one of those projects he is working on. His museum is very special, especially to those of us who were around from the early 60's.

The name “Big Daddy” Don Garlits is synonymous with Drag Racing. In fact Garlits has been dubbed the “King of the Dragsters,” and could be considered the patriarch of Top Fuel Drag Racing. Dons High school sweetheart was his wife Pat until she passed away, however, his first love is the automobile and his passion is winning. His swamp rat series of 34 hand fabricated black race cars carried him to 144 national event wins.

Adding to his marvelous racing accomplishments is a Florida tourist complex called Garlits Auto Museums in Ocala, FL. The Drag Racing Museum and Classic Car Collection, 17 World Championship Titles, and numerous racing milestones are all reality because Don first saw them as worthwhile dreams. Garlits’ distinct ability to conceptualize his dreams has allowed him to be master over the end result.

“Big Daddy’s” living legacy and race car design innovations are so significant that his record breaking Swamp Rat XXX is enshrined in the Smithsonian Museum of American History. Don Garlits began racing in 1950 and scored his first major victory in 1955. His first NHRA National event win came in Top Fuel at the 1963 Winter Nationals in Pomona, CA

Don has won the prestigious NHRA U.S. nationals a record 8 times. His four decades of Drag Racing have filled the pages of seven books, Although this list is not exhaustive, the facts below provide a good overview of “Big Daddy” Don Garlits’ colorful racing career.

Garlits was the first drag racer to officially surpass the 170, 180, 200, 240, 250, and 270 miles per hour marks in the quarter mile

In May 2014 at age 82, Garlits set a 184 mph speed record in an EV dragster, a battery-powered electric vehicle that does not burn fuel. Don Garlits drew the plans and constructed the World’s First Rear-engined Top Fuel Dragster (That was sucessful I might add, there were plenty before him with limited results, often catostrophic).

In 2004 he was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.

In 1997, he was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.

He was inducted in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1989 as the sole representative of drag racing.

Created 7/3/17

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