Originally called the “Street Digger” by builder Mike Minette, this machine looks equal parts 1970s Top Fuel Dragster and George Barris custom, and Gas Monkey Garage is putting it back on the street and making it better than ever while keeping to the original theme.
Gas Monkey Garage’s Richard Rawlings recalled hearing and reading about a dragster being driven on the street, and even making its legendary road trip from Texas to the Street Rod Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma, back in the day. He was able to purchase the wild ride in 2010, but sold it to build funds for his new television show that would launch Gas Monkey Garage into stardom.
Thankfully, Rawlings sold it to a longtime friend and recently bought it back to put it back on the streets of Dallas and to rebuild it better than ever.
The big-block-powered Street Digger was built by hand by Minette who was in his early 20s at the time. Minette created the fiberglass body and built the rest of the car using steel and spare parts from several professional drag racers who were building cars in the area at the time. Recently, the engine was rebuilt and dyno-tested to 497 horsepower and nearly 600 lb-ft of torque, so this street-going rail should move out. What’s very interesting is that the supercharger is strictly there for looks, and the engine is actually naturally aspirated and the carburetor is hidden inside the blower case.
In one of several videos on the Gas Monkey Garage YouTube channel about the car, Minette explains that he had seen a street rod at a car show that was made to look like a dragster, and he decided to build something that was more dragster than street rod. As fast as it looks, Minette mentioned that he never actually ran the car on track.
Other interesting facts about the car include it having an early Corvette independent rear suspension, a shortened TorqueFlite transmission, and its front half can be unbolted, as Minette initially considered building a shorter front end for it.
Rawlings and his crew were able to get the Street Digger back up running and driving, and plan to display it at the next GoodGuys car show. Then the car will be completely disassembled for a restoration with some modern touches underneath its vintage skin. To see how it turns out, follow the Gas Monkey Garage on Youtube.