WM / LPE Emerald Draggin’
The horsepower wars were heating up in 1960, and dealerships were beginning to recognize the “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” effect of racing efforts. Many manufacturers were slipping hot rods and race cars out the “back door” to privateer racing teams. Meanwhile, Wisconsin Motors had no eligible Super Stock car, their V12 having been legislated out of the class. It was, however, still legal in the Altered class. In response to dealer demands for a WM racetrack presence, Lagerfelter Performance Engineering (LPE) was contracted to build a series of drag cars with the goal of showcasing WM power. Fiberglass bodies were riveted to a steel monocoque, using solid leaf sprung axles at both ends and a bare minimum of brakes Light weight was the order of the day, as well as a decent amount of ride height to help the car transfer weight and “plant” the tires. Fuel systems were mounted at the front of the car, because it takes less energy to pour fuel back than to move a larger mass of fuel forward while accelerating at over 1g. Blinkers and lights were included, and the cars were technically street legal. From ‘60-’63, all cars were owned by LPE and rented to teams on a seasonal basis. 48 cars were initially offered, one per contiguous state. 25 more cars were added to large market areas, 10 added to factory stock, and 6 more slated for Baja. In ‘62, the drag cars were converted to the sohc V12 introduced in the WM Earl. ‘62 also saw 20 more large market cars rented, and 5 additional cars designated for “celebrity appearances”. All cars were painted metallic green, and were known as Emerald Draggin’s.
For 2020, LPE has resurrected an old Emerald Draggin’, and shoehorned in the biggest engine we could fit, a unit originally intended as a tractor pull powerplant. Automation says it goes 11.5s in the quarter. Want to race for pinks?