The Santa Pod Dragsters

Santa Pod raceway is nowhere near as exotic as it sounds. In fact it is in rural Bedfordshire in central England. There are thatched cottages in the nearby village of Poddington and a pretty church. However Santa Pod Raceway is the home of European drag racing, situated on what was once RAF Poddington, home of USAAF's 92nd Bomber Group. It was opened in 1966 and when Corgi Toys were making these dragsters was really getting into its stride. It turns up on TV from time to time on programmes like Top Gear and Wheeler Dealers.

Corgi Toys put together this little capsule range of drag racers in 1970/71 and I've gathered them together here.

162 Quartermaster

The Quartermaster was a top fuel dragster built and raced by John Woolfe, the car was raced only briefly and was destroyed in an accident, fortunately no-one was hurt. Corgi added it to their range in 1971 and it remained in the catalogue for one year. More detail below on No.170 the 208 Dragster....

161 The Commuter

The Commuter is a British Top Fuel dragster originally owned and raced by Peter Billinton and Tony Densham. It was built by FGR during the Winter of 1966. FGR was owned by the Phelps family, that also owned the Santa Pod Raceway. Corgi released their model of the car in 1971 and it remained in the range until 1973

163 Ford Capri ‘Gloworm’ Dragster

This is fun, while the range is falling apart along comes a model which embodies Corgi values, innovation, new features, fine modelling, miniature engineering and topicality. Custom Car magazine was read at this time by loads of schoolboys (myself included) and this model is absolutely typical of the 'funny' cars featured in it. The trick was to build an outrageously powerful drag racer and then drop the body of a mundane road car on top of it, usually in a one-piece welded-up look alike which had to be jacked up to allow access to the car. The Wild Honey dragster on this site was one of these based on the Austin 7 - the old Ford Pop body was a common choice, as was the Ford model T, Morris Minors - anything which was the antithesis of a dragster. There was even a funny Morris Marina. You can see in this model that the chassis is welded together from RSJs there's a huge V8 lump mid mounted and the driver sits right at the back with his legs either side of the machinery. Lucky him. The Gloworm Dragster was released in July 1971 and remained in the Corgi Toys range until 1973, there are no listed variation, prices are going up too.

166 Ford Mustang Organ Grinder Dragster

The Corgi model of the '66 Mustang is a towering achievement. A truly evocative piece of modelling, they took an icon of sixties motoring - up there with the Mini - and represented it in 1:43 scale with beauty and elegance. It was one of the half-dozen or so Corgis that inspired me to begin my collection and the high prices they command whenever they appear on sale speak for themselves. So what the hell is this? The Mazak stamp on the base is a bit of a giveaway, It's not even funny.  The Organ Grinder Dragster 306 was added to the Corgi range in October 1971 and remained in production until 1974, there are no listed variations.

164 Ison Bros' Wild Honey

Wild Honey was a drag racer which used a Jaguar engine and the body shell from an Austin 7. It was introduced into the Corgi range in December 1971 and remained in production until 1973, there are no listed variations and values tend to be modest.

170 John Woolfe Racing 208 Dragster

This is actually last years 'Quartermaster' dragster, repainted and re-liveried in Radio Luxembourg 208 colours. The Quartermaster dragster was raced successfully by John Woolfe Racing in the UK in 1970 and 1971. John Woolfe had been a British racing driver, who specialised in sports car racing. He died as a result of crashing on the first lap of the 1969 24 Hours of Le Mans race, an event which caused the traditional "Le Mans start" to be abolished the following year, John Woolfe Racing continued to operate after his death. Quartermaster's power plant was the 354 inch Chrysler taken from Pete Millar's Crescent Coupe. The engine had been built by Sid Waterman in California. The car managed a best of 8.4 seconds at 193 mph before being destroyed in an accident in the shut-off area at Santa Pod. Following the demise of the Quartermaster rail at the end of 1970, the team produced an all new car for 1971. It was painted blue and yellow and sponsored by John Woolfe Racing and Mattel toys, it was known as the Hot Wheels car, which is why Corgi stuck with the old one I guess. (thanks to the accelerationarchive.co.uk) The Radio Luxembourg version of the car was made from 1972 to 1977 and was always blue over yellow with Radio Luxembourg sponsorship stickers.

169 Starfighter Jet Car Dragster

Don't ask; I've no idea what this is. Well I have looked it up on the internet and some bloke called Sundqvist got a jet fighter engine and put it on wheels to make a drag racer, seriously mental. It appears to have some sort of brewer's droop though. You will see this same model painted red white and blue as Captain America's Jetmobile, released as 263 in 1979. The 169 release is always plated silver with a metallic blue lower body and a red nosecone. It was released in 1973 and remained in production until 1977.

 
Corgi Toys 162; Santa Pod Quartermaster Dragster; Dark Green & Pale Green Corgi Toys 161; Commuter Dragster Corgi Toys 163; Ford Capri - The Santa Pod ‘Gloworm’ Dragster Corgi Toys 166; Ford Mustang Organ Grinder Dragster Corgi Toys 165; Adams 4-Engined Drag-Star
Corgi Toys 162; Santa Pod Quartermaster Dragster; Dark Green & Pale Green Corgi Toys 161; Commuter Dragster Corgi Toys 163; Ford Capri - The Santa Pod ‘Gloworm’ Dragster Corgi Toys 166; Ford Mustang Organ Grinder Dragster Corgi Toys 165; Adams 4-Engined Drag-Star
Corgi Toys 164; Ison Bros. Wild Honey Dragster Corgi Toys 170; John Woolfe Racing 208 Dragster; Radio Luxembourg Corgi 169; Starfighter Jet Car - Dragster    
Corgi Toys 164; Ison Bros. Wild Honey Dragster Corgi Toys 170; John Woolfe Racing 208 Dragster; Radio Luxembourg Corgi Toys 169; Starfighter Jet Car - Dragster    

 


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Last Edit: 09/09/2022   Page Added 26/06/2022