Record turnout lights up Southern Drag Racing auto fest in its 29th year

Ed Lee, of Power Engineering in Mount Pleasant, quipped that he brought “the company car” to the Southern Drag Racing Association car show March 9 in North Charleston. It’s a 1969 Camaro Z-28 (Jim Parker/Staff 3-9-2013).


The Post and Courier

If you’re looking for a speedster for the track, here’s one way to go about it.

“I’ve had this car since it was three months old,” said Pete Dambaugh of his blue 1966 Chevy II.

“This was the family car; we raised three kids,” he said. “It ends up a race car,” said Dambaugh, who takes the souped-up coupe to a drag strip in Orangeburg.

He was among dozens of car enthusiasts to show off their dragsters, funny cars, tuners and yes, conventional classics and decked-out favorites at the Southern Drag Racing Association’s yearly show at the Kmart-Texas Roadhouse parking lot off Rivers Avenue.

The North Charleston event, first held in 1985, set an all-time high with 115 vehicles participating in 2013, said Linda Hood, who coordinates the show for the locally based association. “Last year we had 98 cars and that was a record,” she said.

Proceeds go to Camp Happy Days Kids Kickin’ Cancer. The show raised $7,529.31 this year.

“It’s amazing, it’s awesome,” said Eleanor Smythe, executive director of Camp Happy Days Kids Kickin’ Cancer, who attended the car gathering. “I’m just going to enjoy.”

Among the dozens of cars in the show was Jim Arnold’s blue 1929 Model A Ford Tudor street rod. Arnold, of Goose Creek, said he’s tried to keep nearly all Ford parts, retaining such original features as a 302 cubic-inch engine and C-4 transmission. But he confessed to installing a Corvair suspension, since the more modern cushion “makes it ride nice,” he said.

Nearby, David Hansen showed off a 1927 Bugatti Type 35B Grand Prix. “How do you like my new toy?” he joked. “It’s a kit car, but it’s supposed to be like the original.” The model, based on a famed race car type, has an all Volkswagen chassis and a 1600 cc VW engine. Hansen said he affixed a number 2 on the back frame for his father, who drove No. 2 when he raced midget cars in Missouri.

Also at the show was Jim Brown of North Charleston, who displayed his 1967 Pontiac GTO. He’s installed a new transmission and rebuilt the carburetor. Like in the ’60s, the model boasts a 400 cubic-inch engine packing 375 horsepower.

“This was one of, I think, the hottest muscle cars,” he said. That’s especially true if all the alleged “owners” were counted, Brown said. “Everybody says they owned one.”

For more information, visit the Southern Drag Racing Association website at

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or