Remembering ‘Ohio’ George Montgomery, Gasser Drag Racing Legend

The A/Gasoline Supercharged gassers grew to become wildly common in the course of the Sixties, creating legendary rivalries amongst drivers who’re nonetheless revered in the present day: Stone, Woods and Cook dinner; “Huge John” Mazmanian; Okay.S. Pittman; and Jr. Thompson, simply to call a number of. Nevertheless it was George Montgomery, the “King of the Gassers,” who was probably the most profitable.

Hailing from Dayton, Ohio, Montgomery received the distinguished U.S. Nationals 4 instances (1959, 1960, 1963, and 1969) and set quite a few velocity and e.t. information in a number of automobiles throughout his illustrious driving profession. He was a pioneer, innovator, and mechanical genius who usually fabricated his personal components, beginning way back to the Fifties.

Montgomery’s racing profession started within the Forties, nevertheless it wasn’t till the early ’50s that he bought critical about drag racing. Montgomery’s first actual race automotive was a 1934 Ford three-window coupe, which he raced from the early ’50s till 1959, when he switched to a 1933 Willys that might turn into Montgomery’s most well-known race automotive. Dubbed the World’s Wildest Willys, he campaigned that automotive from 1959 to 1967 with a wide range of engines, setting 9 NHRA nationwide information whereas taking dwelling three U.S. Nationals victories. His first Nationals win got here in 1959 in Detroit, the place he drove the enduring baby-blue Willys powered by a 390ci Cadillac engine to the Little Eliminator title. He adopted that up with one other Little Eliminator victory on the 1960 Nationals.

Montgomery raced to his third Nationals victory in 5 years on the 1963 Nationals in Indianapolis, this time taking dwelling the Center Eliminator crown. His profitable file did not go unnoticed, and in 1964 Montgomery was invited by Wally Parks to be one of many 10 drivers who participated within the U.S. Drag Pageant in England. The contingent consisted of Don Garlits, Tommy Ivo, Tony Nancy, Bob Keith, Ronnie Sox, Dave Strickler, Ken Pittman, Doug Church, Dante Duce, and Montgomery.

In 1966, Montgomery joined the Ford Racing workforce and helped develop and take a look at the brand new 427ci SOHC Hemi engine. In 1967, Ford satisfied him to change to a Mustang physique that may very well be discovered of their dealerships—because the saying goes, “Win on Sunday, promote on Monday.” Montgomery agreed, and parked the 1933 Willys in favor of the extra aerodynamic 1967 Mustang physique, which had a 6-71-blown 427ci SOHC Ford engine between the framerails. The ‘Stang set 5 NHRA nationwide information and received Tremendous Eliminator on the 1969 Spring Nationals in Dallas.

Two years later, Montgomery debuted the Mr. Gasket Gasser on the 1969 U.S. Nationals. This was a one-off 1969 Mustang Mach 1 handcrafted fiberglass physique from the Ford Drag Racing program and was powered by a twin-turbocharged Boss 429 engine. The automotive set quite a few velocity and e.t. information and received Tremendous Eliminator on the 1969 U.S. Nationals, in addition to victories on the 1973 and 1974 Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida.

On the 1976 Summer season Nationals in Englishtown, New Jersey, Montgomery debuted what can be his final race automotive, a 1974 Ford Pinto MXP powered by a 2000cc turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The Pinto set two NHRA nationwide information and racked up 14 NHRA class wins. Montgomery closed out his exceptional drag racing profession following the 1985 U.S. Nationals and retired from the game.

Ohio George was a dominant drive within the gasser courses for practically three many years. His on-track dominance and innovation earned him a number of accolades. Montgomery was inducted into the Worldwide Drag Racing Corridor of Fame in 1992, obtained the NHRA Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998, and was voted quantity 28 on NHRA’s High 50 Racers in 2000.

Montgomery opened George’s Velocity store in Dayton, Ohio, in 1950, and it stays the oldest regularly working velocity store in america.

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