Detroit Dragway and the 1959 Nationals
The NHRA only had the one National event in 1959. It was called the U.S Nationals. This would be it’s fifth Annual National Championship Drag Races. Detroit Dragway was a new race track, it had just opened in 59. The owner Gilbert Kohn somehow got the NHRA to hold their event at the new track in Detroit.
The event was held Sept. 3, 4 ,5, 6, 7. There were approximately 80,000 who attended the 1959 Nationals. There was a video, and the official program was called Ingenuity in Action. In addition to the Nationals the NHRA also had a car show called the National Champion Custom Car Show. This had cars from all around the country. The show was held for two nights, many of the best hot rods in the nation were shown at the Detroit Artillery Armory, on Eight Mile Rd. in Detroit.
The NHRA officials for this event were.
President: Wally Parks Exec. Manager: Jack Clark Event Director: Ed Eaton
Technical Director: Ed Davis Competition Director: Jim Nelson Official Timer: O.V. Riley, Chrondek Co. Show Director: Dick Day, Car Craft
Directors: Wally Parks, Akton Miller, Lee O. Ryan, Louis Foster, Robert Gottlieb
With cooperation with the Detroit Dragway Corp.
President—Mayme Khon Vice Pres.—Gilbert Kohn Secretary Treasurer: Gerald Khon
Timing Towers & Admin trailers courtesy of McDonald Mobile Homes, Detroit.
There was a total of 783 entries for this 5 day event. The top prize for this event “Mr. Eliminator” the new National Champion took home a brand new Chevrolet El Camino. The crew chief got an award, and a signet ring.
As a collector of Detroit Dragway memobillia I’m lucky to have an original program, and add. We also have a 78LP record of the event.
This event help put Detroit Dragway on the map. After this many of the top dragracers from around the country came to Detroit Dragway, making it so special for all of us locals. There are many pages on the net with information about the 59 Nationals, but watch the video below for a good understanding of what happened.
P.S. The google ads on the video are not ours.