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  1. #1
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    Golddigger Vintage Junior Dragster

    I fancied going racing so started collecting parts for a small rear engined dragster. However this popped up for sale on the Santa Pod website so I went to have a look. I knew it was a old car, the guy I bought it off had had it for at least 20 years, probably closer to 30. He bought it, took it to pieces then put it in dry storage and didn't get it out until I bought it. On looking at the quality of the build and the parts that came with it I immidiately bought it and brought it home a couple of days later.

    Here are the photos from the for sale advert.







    I searched for hours online to find out the history of the car, made more difficult as there was another Gold Digger dragster from the 80s, in the UK and the chassis looked similar but not the same. Eventually the effort paid off as I found this photo of the car, unfinished, in the pits at York in 1977/8.



    It was on a thread on the superb UKDRN forum, on page 134 of a 190+ page monster, with somebody asking if anybody knew who's car it was. A few pages later and the answer was revealed - it was built by Mike Sayers of Pickering, North Yorks. Mike had previously raced a series of dragsters named 'Impact' which was derived from them being powered by Hillman Imp engines. With an assortment of superchargers and running on methanol the cars were running deep into the 10 second zone at 130+mph. Further on it was mentioned that a guy called Chris Whitehead from Whitby had bought it, painted it, named it Gold Digger and ran it a couple of times in the late 70s/early 80s. A quick chat with UK drag racing historian Jerry Cookson and he sent me these 2 photos of the car racing at York in 1978 or 1979. I also found this race program from York raceway with the car listed from May 1980.







    That's as much history as i've been able to find so far. I have no definite date of when it was built or when it stopped racing. At a guess i'd say built in 1977, first raced maybe 1978 and finished racing in 1981.

    Here's a photo of me collecting it with the Dogging+ bus and a big trailer.



    And now some photos of the car as it is now. Everything was custom made by Mike Sayers, and the chassis is incredibly light (I can pick it up with 1 hand just not hold it still enough for the camera).













    And now for the parts that came with it. First the engine. It's a 90thou over Mk2 Lotus Cortina block with steel main caps


  2. #2
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    In that there is a short stroke Allen steel crank shaft to give around 1300cc, span by mechine Hepolite pistons on Vegantune Steel con rods. Valve movement is provided by a Cosworth A6 camshaft.











    The head is a heavily worked 1500 Pre Crossflow, with massively oversized valves, Lotus double valve springs and steel rocker gear.







    Air is pushed into the engine through a home made inlet/exhaust manifold and ignited by a Scintilla Vertex magneto.





    Topping the engine off is a Godfrey Marshall Type 15 Cabin blower. Originally designed to pressurise aircraft cabin at high altitude, it's now used as a side mounted supercharger. Not only that, there's a home made fuel injector/throttle sat on top of it firing methanol down the bores.











    It's a very special engine combination, from back in the day where aftermarket bolt on parts just weren't really a thing. This all drives through a home made (i'm getting bored of writing that already) aluminium clutch can, spinning a home made steel flywheel, attached to a aircooled VW transaxle. I'm not sure what's inside that yet as I haven't taken it apart.

  3. #3
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    And first bit of progress. Sent some bits away for cleaning and they've done an amazing job. All were ultrasonically cleaned then wet blasted. Dropped the block off to be done when I picked this lot up then once that's back I can get everything measured up and start building the engine. The blasting was done by this company http://www.aquablastingyorkshire.co.uk/ from Manvers, Rotherham and the price was so good i'll be sending them anything that needs doing as my time is better spent doing other things than fannying around with wire brushes.

    Head before





    Head after





    Axle/Gearbox carriers and hubs before





    Axle/Gearbox carriers and hubs after



    Sump Before



    Sump After



    Pedals before





    Pedals After



    Wheels Before



    Wheels After



    I don't think i'm going to use the wheels. They're a bit too pitted for my liking. Gonna paint them up and stick the old tyres back on them and make a coffee table.

  4. #4
    Might as well be part of the furniture.
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    What a find. Good to see you are going to get it back on the strip. Some very special parts there; its a miracle they have survived.

  5. #5
    Might as well be part of the furniture.
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    Jun 2013
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    welwyn
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    Brilliant find and very unusual to have all the bits still with it. Good look on the build.

  6. #6
    Newbie (well to here at least)
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    Yeah, finding a really nice early chassis that hasn't been chopped about is nice but to have all the parts with it is great. I still haven't picked them all up, the previous owner keeps in touch and has found loads of other bits, down to the original parachute etc. I've also been in contact with Mike Sayers who built the car and he's surprised at the condition it's in, and is interested to come and see it once I've got all the bits in one place to help with getting it back together.

  7. #7
    Site Team
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    Automotive archeology, bloody fantastic! Enjoying this.

  8. #8
    Might as well be part of the furniture.
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    Jan 2014
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    Outside the M25
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    969
    Dragstalgia here we come
    Going to enjoy this thread.

  9. #9
    Might as well be part of the furniture.
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Sheffield
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    252
    That is brilliant! Whats the plan? Restore it to how it was back in the day or update it a little? Cant wait to see the build on this! Truly amazing find!

  10. #10
    Newbie (well to here at least)
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    I'm going to restore it to pretty much how it was. The chassis won't tag so it'll be RWYB only to start with. If the running gear proves itself I'm thinking of building a exact replica of the chassis at some point that will tag then I can race it but that'll be in the future.

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