The vintage drag racing scene ramped up in the Eighties with an eye on a nostalgic return of front-engine Top Fuel dragsters and nitro-fueled racing that didn't require corporate resources or a small army to go Top Fuel drag racing. What began as an effort to roll some historical race cars out of retirement gathered speed and saw the creation of new front-engine Top Fuel dragsters built to modern safety specifications yet no less dangerous or powerful. The movement to pick up where things left off in the late '60s has evolved in the 25 years since the first NHRA Hot Rod Reunion in 1995 in Bakersfield, California and today's front-engine Top Fuel dragsters are an evolution of the Sixties slingshot formula.
Rules mandate an American engine no larger than 470 cubic inches in displacement with a single fuel pump and maximum 6-71 GMC roots type supercharger. No electronics, traction control, pneumatics, or any other driver assist devices are allowed - throttle control must be manually operated by the driver's foot. The sintered iron multi-plate clutch is the transmission. A two-speed planetary transmission is allowed but only with a points-type magneto ignition. Tires are limited to either M&H or Hoosiers in approved sizes and specs. Modern safety specifications go far to protect the driver but there the inherent danger of running 12 gallons of explosive monopropellant through a front-mounted V8 is omnipresent.