October 28, 2015 – Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing

It has been a few days since I’ve posted anything.  I could not get on line our last night in Wildwood.  Then we were visiting Joe and Linda in Port Charlotte for two days and I didn’t even take my computer inside.  I’ll try to catch up tonight.

We went to the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing on the 28th.  I’ve seen it next to I-75 for years, but never stopped in. He has accumulated an amazing collection of cars and dragsters.

Kevin pulled Sao up to the garage bay first thing in the morning and got to work. We stayed in the RV and puttered while Keven worked.  Then we took off for my last Crispers lunch before heading on up to Ocala to the museum.

Kevin is working on the bedroom AC unit.  It appears that a mouse had chewed on the wire from the thermister (the sensor that tells the thermostat what the temperature is in the room) to the AC unit.  Later, Service Advisor Will told us not to fix it because it would involve pulling ceiling panels, time, and money.  He said the default is to use the thermister in the front of the RV, so the bedroom AC will still work.

b Kevin Fixing Aft AC

When I walked through the shop, it looked to me as though Sao was saying, “Ahhhh” for the doctor.

b Say Aaahhh

Kevin was running a new cable between the backup camera on the back of the RV to the monitor in the dash.  He is running it under the RV.

b Kevin Under Sao

He has to use a tall ladder to reach the camera housing.

b Sao and Ladder

This was a puzzle.  Why does a drag racing museum have a jet out front?

b Navy Jet

I was not expecting a drag racing museum to have old cars, but Don Garlits has a separate huge building full of them.  This 1932 Cadillac convertible coupe was the first car inside the door.

b 1932 Cadillac Convertible Coup

There were so many cars, maybe hundreds.  All of them were very cool.

We found two cars built in Andy’s birth year, 1936. Here is a 1936 Ford Roadster.

b 1936 Ford Roadster

Here is my 1949 Ford Custom four-door sedan.  I don’t like the color.

b 1949 Ford Custom Two Door Sedan

He has a 1964 Ford Mustang!

b 1964 Mustang

Studebaker made the most memorable front end on a car. This one is a 1951 Studebaker Commander Starlight Coupe.

b Studebaker

I learned some auto terminology. This is a 1923 Ford Depot Hack.

b 1923 Ford Depot Hack

The sign says it was the beginning of the station wagon. They were called depot hacks because the were used to transport people from the train depot to the hotel and back.  Later, when depots were referred to as stations, the name was changed to station wagon.

I saw something else that I have not seen since childhood.  Hood ornaments.  They just don’t make them like they used to.

b Hood Ornament 2 b Hood Ornament 3

b Hood Ornament 4 b Hood Ornament 5

b Hood Ornament 6 b Hood Ornament 7

b Hood Ornament 8 b Hood Ornament 9

b Hood Ornament Studebaker b Hood Ornament

It is unbelievable how many dragsters he had.  I think they numbered in the thirties. The museum was also crammed full of other racers dragsters.

b Blue Dragster

b Eliminators

This dragster explains the Navy jet out front. Garlits made some promotional films (or commericals) for the navy and he “raced” that very jet on the deck of an aircraft carrier. There is a picture of it on the wall behind the dragster.


b Navy Dragster

b Racing Jet on Aircraft Carrier

This was his first “real” race car, a 1927 Ford Model T with a 1948 Mercury block, a 1939 Floor Shift transmission, and a 1948 Ford rear.  The sign said that this was a common way to build hot-rods in the 1950s.

b Hot Rod

Here are a couple of unusual configurations.  This one had two engines, one behind the other.

b Two Engines fore and aft

And, this one also had two engines, side by side.

b Two Engines side by side

There is a very large room filled with engines and engine parts.  I guess I don’t know enough about engines to have found it particularly interesing.  They were large though.

b Engine Room

b Engine


One thought on “October 28, 2015 – Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing

  1. Josh Wrenn November 1, 2015 / 10:30 pm

    I love the Studebaker.


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