It was almost 50 years ago when Don Prudhomme raced the famous Shelby Super Snake Top Fuel dragster. The beauty was sent by Don to get a full restoration three years ago. Today, it is back and ready for action. Plans? Don says he will “at least do a burnout” this fall at the NHRA Hot Rod Reunion taking place on Oct. 21-23 in Bakersfield, Calif.
Now Don, being retired, is a legend when it comes to drag racing. In fact, he is one of NHRA’s top five drag racers of all time. He achieved a series of interesting milestones during his 47 years of professional racing, which include112 NHRA Wallys that he earned by driving cars of different eras of the history of the competition.
Don raced in cars that went from the dangerous Funny Car (which were virtually time bombs) to the now computer-run cars that do all the work for you. However, he decided, of all cars, to restore the Shelby Super Snake. He drove it in 1967, before the Shelby sponsorship as the Baney-Prudhomme dragster. He then took it to the tracks in 1968 and 1969.
The Super Snake is a special car. It used a Ford experimental engine (banned by NASCAR) instead of the usual Chrysler Hemi blocks used by drag racers at the time. Prudhomme remembers it as a great engine. It was Shelby, the man that inspired him when he was young and before success, who inspired him to restore this particular car.
Prudhomme won many races in this car all across the country. His team was the top winner in the nation at the time. Then the car was no longer used by Don and it moved on from driver to driver, pretty much like all cars do.
Brent Hajek finally found it resting in a garage and made the restoration. The final work was stunning and Don fell in love with the machine once more.