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1980’s – Drag Racing 8 : Garlits & Muldowney
Drag Racing #8 : Garlits & Muldowney
1-DVD (114 minutes)
In NHRA drag racing, there are winners, there are losers, and there are
legends. This DVD contains two vintage documentaries on two of the greatest
drag racers in history, “Big Daddy” Don Garlits and Shirley Muldowney. Their
feuds were highly publicized, and not only brought drag racing fans to the
grandstands, but also brought NHRA coverage into American living rooms.
Shirley Muldowney – The First Lady Of Motorsports (64 min)
From her roots as a street racer in the 1950’s to her 3 NHRA World Championships (and one AHRA Championship),
Shirley Muldowney remains the greatest female drag racer of all time. This documentary is an excellent Diamond P
production from 1987, at a time when Shirley was making her comeback after her horrendous 1984 crash that put her
out of drag racing for several years. Sadly, the crash occurred just after the highly acclaimed 1983 Hollywood movie
“Heart Like A Wheel”, a dramatized version of Shirley’s life starring Bonnie Bedelia. Shirley’s popularity was at an
all-time high going into 1984, but her crash would effectively put an end to her chase for a 4th NHRA title.
This fantastic ‘Diamond P’ documentary, taken off an 25-year old VHS tape, is in excellent shape (a couple minor
videotape flaws occur twice), but otherwise in excellent condition. Shirley discusses her proudest moments, her feud
with Don Garlits, and her positive outlook for the future as of 1987. A strong woman, whose confidence and driving
talent inspired all female drag racers. Hosted by the late great Steve Evans.
Don Garlits – The Legend Lives On (49 min)
Another excellent ‘Diamond P’ production, taken from an old VHS tape. This documentary focuses on Big Daddy’s
career, and focuses on his comeback in the 1980’s with Swamp Rat XXX. Using a great deal of 1980’s video clips from
various ‘Diamond P’ drag racing broadcasts, we also see the induction of Swamp Rat XXX into the Smithsonian
Institute, and Garlits’ much publicized blow over accident at the 1986 Summernationals in Englishtown NJ.
Narrated by Steve Evans, this 1988 documentary was completed at the height of Big Daddy’s 1980’s comeback. In
fact, it was a fitting end (although not known at the time) to Big Daddy’s racing success, as he retired in 1988 to
become a broadcaster from 1988-1991 (Garlits would return to racing briefly in 1992, 1998, and 2003). Many of the
clips in this documentary involve Darrell Gwynn, who was being promoted as the successor to Garlits in the late 80’s.
This is a great documentary on Garlits, and a great snapshot showing where he was in 1987.