It may not have the thunderous, ground-pounding appeal or assault on the bodys’ senses that an internal combustion engine does, but thanks to a proliferation of high-profile projects in the sport of drag racing in recent years, there’s little denying that electric power can make some serious noise — pun intended — and that it can do so quite impressively given the right combination. And as we’ve seen, that means the lighter, the better — where the effective weight-to-power ratio can be mind-boggling.
With electric power on tap, Top Fuel Motorcycle legend Larry McBride has dipped into the sixes aboard a one-off bike, and “Big Daddy” Don Garlits has tickled the 200 mile per hour barrier with his unique Swamp Rat 37 dragster, but elsewhere, we’ve seen electric power in stupid-fast racing golf carts and other unique machines annihilating much more powerful, gasoline-burning vehicles.
New York native Jeff Disinger has certainly been no stranger to electric power, having set numerous records aboard electric motorcycles. He played an early role in Garlits’ efforts, campaigns his own street-legal, land speed record bike and electric drag bikes that he’s powered to eighth-mile records, but he proclaimed this project as singlehandedly the “coolest thing he’s ever worked with.”
According to Disinger, this very car was one of three scale Funny Cars built in 1979 or 1980 that toured the country putting on exhibitions, but were either never sanctioned by the NHRA to compete, or had their sanction revoked. Although information is conflicting, Disinger believes they were run on motorcycle engines or snowmobile power at the time. They were eventually parked and sold, with this particular car falling into Disinger’s hands decades later.
The car, which Disinger has done a considerable amount of work to to convert to electric power, features a Grazziano rear end from a golf cart, a conversion to full disc brakes, has a 6:1 gear ratio, with power from what Disinger calls a very mild D&D electric motor — a 1,000 amp controller with a 148 volt Turnigy nano-tech lipo battery pack.
Disinger also had to rebuild the back half of the chromoly chassis and make a number of changes and modern updates to get the car prepared to run under the current safety regulations. He estimates the car weighs in the neighborhood of 400 pounds, including the 60-80 pound body that’s been heavily reinforced.
“I’ve got an NHRA track just about a mile from my shop and we took the car out there for the first time and the first pass just stood it straight up. I didn’t put the wheelie bar on because it was just at half-power, but we’ve got it on there now.”
Disinger has tested the launch of the car at a nearby parking lot with the wheelie bar on it, and as he tell us, it will consistently carry the front end in the air until he lets off the accelerator — proving just how much instants power is there.
He estimates that at it’s current power setting, the engine is producing the equivalent of around 100 horsepower and 200-215 ft./lbs. of torque.
The hopped-up golf cart motor, Disinger believes, has the potential to push the small-scale flopper to low sixes or perhaps even 5.90’s in the eighth-mile, and could easily top 100 miles per hour in the eighth. To that end, turned up to the full 240 volt potential, he sees it as a definitive nine-second quarter-mile car, but only time will tell as he gets more laps on the car. That time, however, may not come under his watch, as Disinger has had feelers out on eBay for the car, in order to help fund his land speed record efforts.