Check out the Bannister Dragster, the granddaddy of true, low buck rat rails that was recently resurrected by restoration guru Paul Aldrich. Largely hand built from scratch, it terrorized New England area drag strips back in the fifties. Come along as Bangshift revisits a cool chapter in drag racing history.
Originally owned by Ralph and Fran Bannister of Massachusetts, the dragster was pieced together from boneyard finds, scrap metal and sheet aluminum pirated from a WWII glider. Built in 1955 at total cost of $475 it was only the second supercharged dragster the New England area had ever seen and did the quarter mile in the 10′s at over 130 mph.
Sporting a hand built frame made from 3 1/4 metal tubing, this rail is running a bored out, 296 cu in 1948 Flathead fitted with a GMC blower and quartet of Stromberg carbs. The power meets the pavement via a 3-speed tranny, and a ’40 Ford axle with 4:11 gears. It also makes use of a laundry list of bone yard castoffs including a radiator from a Henry J, a ’22 Buick oil pressure gauge, a steering wheel from a Ford truck and a fuel tank re-purposed from a home kerosene heater.
Starting out with just the frame in 1999, it took Aldrich 5 years to recreate the dragster and even though Ralph Bannister passed in 2003, he did live to see his beloved rail reconstituted in all it’s low brow glory.