Don Garlits’ Clutch Explosion

March 31, 11

A truly amazing photograph of a childhood hero, Don Garlits.  Mr. Garlits was seriously injured as the result of an exploded clutch.

Most would have probably left their pursuit after such a devastating setback.  Yet, this led to a re-design of motor placement on modern dragsters.  Don returned to drag racing with renewed persistence, and continues to this day to remind people about the history of drag racing. 

Nothing could prepare me for the next photograph.  Here he’s racing a fighter plane on the deck of an aircraft carrier.  On the front of the car is a Fly Navy sticker like I’d traded for at school. Everyone had these stamped everywhere in 1975.  I had several stuck to my closet wall. 

Up until the age of 10 or so, this was probably one of the most amazing photographs I’d ever seen, along with a few others featuring ghosts or bigfoot.

How could such a thing be possible? 

Exposure to this kind of image as a kid just drags you towards the very idea of the impossible, the uncanny, the reality bending.  The impact of such an image fades over time, and that’s not necessarily a very good thing.  It’s dangerous to fail to be struck by the impossibility of things.

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