A quarter mile, 1,320 feet, 402 meters. That is the distance that most drag cars have to travel. Just two drivers testing themselves and their machines to find out who is the fastest at that particular moment — bragging rights and a purse on the line.
Even a sport as pure as drag racing has its own pecking order. There are Top Fuel enthusiasts and Funny Car enthusiasts, each barely accepting the other as a legitimate sport. The drag cars used in the Top Fuel category are capable of sprinting from 0-100 mph in just 0.8 seconds, can finish a race in just 3.7 seconds, and are able to reach speeds up to 335 miles per hour. Then there are the supercharged nitromethane-fueled 500-cubic-inch engines of the funny car group. The cars in this group use fiberglass bodies that loosely resemble the manufacturer vehicles they are based on. Under the hood, funny cars can have a powerplant capable of up to 8,897 brake horsepower and 7,000 pound-feet of torque. These cars can achieve 6 G’s while accelerating through the quarter-mile run.
No matter which division you are a fan of, these cars take a lot of skill to build and to drive. Builders can spend years and millions of dollars developing the right engine and gearbox, then making sure they meet all National Hod Rod Association (NHRA) guidelines for competition. Drivers can be killed in an instant. All of that for a car that may only be used once before it has to be refreshed.
Then there are those beginners who can not afford to develop their own engines until they have a sponsor, and so must buy a car intact or piecemeal. That is where this list comes in handy. These are ten drag cars that you can buy to race personally or just to keep at home. Please keep in mind that these vehicles are not street legal and you can be arrested for running them on public roads in every state in the U.S.
1. The Reaper
The Reaper’s body is designed to resemble a 1955 Ford Thunderbird. It has the required 125-inch wheelbase, a fireproof body, and can accommodate a six-foot, 220-pound driver. The chassis has been NHRA certified, but the certification needs to be redone. The buyer also gets a Dana 60 with 4:30 gears, dual chutes, wheelie bar, weld bead lock rims, and hand brake. The buyer needs to supply an engine, though. Not a bad base for a funny car and the $15,000 price tag is fairly acceptable for what you get.
2. Ant Hill Mob
The Ant Hill Mob is loosely based on the body of a 2002 Ford Mustang. This is your basic roller looking for a drivetrain. For $14,000 you get a carbon-fiber body coated in fireproof paint. Included with the body is a carbon fiber vent tube, chute bags, two fuel chutes, and spare windows. The chassis is a 1999 Gordy that was re-certified as recently as 2015.
If you want a whole kit, you can spend $20,000. For that you get a 20-inch-wide cage, fire system, fuel and oil tanks, computer box, tin work, nine and a half inch rear end with 4:29 gears, carbon fiber brakes on the front and rear brakes, throttle pedal/cable, steering wheel, tach/gauges, ISP roll cage padding, and a fresh air system among other amenities.
3. The Maniac
The owner of the Maniac is clueless as to who built the car, leading you to believe they are not the original owner. What you get for $29,500 is a Hi Helix blower, 526 Keith Black Hemi Nitro Duel Plug Heads, and a Keith Black block. The car also includes a Hays 3 Disk clutch, a Lakewood Bellhousing, and a Mark Williams full Floater rear.
4. 2013 Monte Carlo
Looking to buy a proven winner? This 2013 Monte Carlo has won a championship as recently as 2014. So far in 2016, it ran 5.62 at 259 MPH at Gainesville and 5.63 at 255 MPH at Indy. The car is NHRA legal and the selling price of $135,000 gets you everything you need to run today!
The car’s build list is extensive, but some of the highlights are a 521 cubic inch engine with Brad Anderson Billet Block and Brad Anderson 8X heads, a Bryant crankshaft, a 60 mm cam with one inch lifters, and a PSI blower. All parts have a limited number of runs on them, so the new owner should get a few runs in without buying replacements.
5. Spitzer 32 Bantam
Loosely based on a 1932 Ford, the Spitzer 32 has appeared on the Speed Channel’s On the Edge website (before it was cancelled). The car offers a 125-inch wheelbase carbon fiber body, wing, and canards, a 9-inch rear end, a Mark Williams floater kit, and is ready for a three-speed Lenco drive and BBC. This complete roller is being sold for $18,000, but there is no option to buy a motor or gearbox.
6. 2015 American Top Fuel
This 2015 American Swingarm Dragster is powered by a 565 cubic inch engine built out with a Callies Magnum crank, Eagle rods, JE Gas Ported pistons Isky EZ-Max Bushed lifters, and a Comp Cam among dozens of other high-quality components. Everything from the wheels and tires to the rear end and the chrome is high-quality, making this a race-ready monster looking for a new home. The $49,000 asking price gets you a complete track-ready car.
7. 2005 Race Tech
This 2005 Race Tech dragster has just 22 runs on it since it was last rebuilt. For $24,000, buyers get a car that features an Adkins back half with mono-shock suspension, rear wing, and a digital delay box. The 498 cubic inch Chrysler engine was built by Koffels with Bill Miller rods, Venola pistons, a Crane roller cam, B-1 heads, and a Milodan dual line oil system, among other top-notch parts.
8. The Xaco Taco
The Xaco Taco is being sold as a roller for $35,000 or complete for $62,000. Buyers have the option of getting the engine only for $25,000 as well. The build sheet is only available by emailing the owner, but the car is still competing on a regular basis, so you know everything has to have been recently updated. What the owner will say publicly is that it the car has run 4.45 with a 170-pound driver and 7.02 with a 270-driver. Those times can be trimmed by the right tuner.
9. 2006 Bowen Red
This 2006 Bowen Red is equipped with a 465 cubic inch Oldsmobile engine built out with Alan Johnson parts. It features a new Century block, Alan Johnson heads and intake manifold, a Lunati blower crank, and Bill Miller pistons and rods. The chassis is a 2006 Bowen fitted with a Strange nine and half inch live axle, carbon brakes all around, and 3:90 gear ratio. The car ran a 6.0 at 232 MPH at Indy in 2016 and is being sold complete for $55,000.
10. 2001 Jerry Fitz
This 2001 250-inch Jerry Fitz dragster has an advanced ET certification. It is powered by a 525 Kieth Black Hemi built out with Alan Johnson billet heads. The build list is impressive to say the least: Stage 5 rockers, Manley titanium valves, Crower crank, Crane cam and lifters, and an Enderly 1200 fuel pump top the list. The $49,500 sticker price gets you a complete turnkey car that has ran a consistent 6.24 at 218 MPH.