Dwane Ong was a local guy living a a few minutes from Detroit Dragway. Dwane ran both in Funny Cars & Top Fuel dragsters. The Funny Car was called “Trader Ray” the owner of the car was Ray Gallagher. The Dragster was called “The Pawnbroker” this dragster was once a RAMCHARGERS dragster…
Here is a article from Dwane’s FB page. Visit his Page HERE
Dwane Ong had been a long time drag racer with limited notoriety by the time 1970 rolled around, but little did he know this year he would be thrust into the national spotlight that would place him squarely in the middle of drag racing most creative and contentious two year period. It was when the sport was forced to change its tradition, developed from day one, and Ong was at the front of the movement.
The concept for the class Ong was competing in, top fuel dragster, had reached the breaking point with the motor situated in front of the driver and everyone now was looking for the obvious solution – put that dangerous and destructive powerplant safely behind the driver and end the loss of life and machine that was becoming an epidemic. You see, Dwane Ong had already done this.
However, it was not a new concept but to date noone had made it work to manage the speeds the top fuel class was running here in early 1970 so all of the big hitters in the class stayed with the traditional front engine design. Even though when one of these cars blew up, the result was anywhere from a driver being seriously hurt or killed, to trying to stop it with a face full of oil, they were still the weapon of choice if you wanted to win. All the while Dwane Ong was working on this.
Ong had quietly began the conversion to a rear engine machine back in the late sixties knowing that it truly was the future of the sport’s fastest class and also aware it was a much safer way to negotiate a car at 225 miles per hour. It wasn’t intended to be so quiet but Ong was “geographically challenged” since he lived and worked in New York. The birthplace and hot bed of drag racing was way over there in Southern California and if anything was going on in the world of drag racing other than from the left coast; well it didn’t count according to those SoCalers.
However, what Dwane was undertaking with his version of what’s next in drag racing not only would matter, it would lay the foundation that would grab the attention of those pioneers out west, and especially pique the interest of drag racing’s reigning king, Don Garlits himself. Ong’s car would not only have the motor back behind the driver, the Blown 426” Chrysler would be pushed back as far as it possibly could be, actually sitting on top of the rear axle. It would be stretched out to a full 210”’s with the driver’s cockpit planted safely in about the middle of the fully enclosed body.
This experimental car would be the longest, most powerful and the sleekest appearing R.E.D. to ever hit the strip regardless of what coast it was near! Dwane would name it the “Pawnbroker”, and paint it red, white and blue. What Ong had no way of knowing at the time, is that it would also become the guideline for all who would eventually convert to this style of top fuel dragster with the driver up front and out of danger with the long, aerodynamic configuration necessary to handle the increased speeds the sport was desperately seeking.
And he managed to accomplish this where at times he would have to shovel snow before he could open the door to his shop!
Here is a link to Dwane’sFacebook Page.
With our pages of the racers that raced at Detroit Dragway, we are only posting a few photos and just very brief information. We want to acknowledge the racers that made this track what it was. One of the top drag strips in the nation.
Thanks to Dwane Ong for what he did for Detroit Dragway, and drag racing.
We are dedicated to Keeping The Memory Of Detroit Dragway Alive 24/7 365 Days A Year
To see more photos from Detroit Dragway visit our Facebook Page CLICK HERE
Here are a few photos of some of Dwane’s Hot Rods