In February, the racing world lost a beloved member when the driving force behind “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, his Wife Pat passed away. Garlits does not often give interviews, so it is rather special that he sat down with the cameras at the 2014 Gatornationals to talk about his love for Pat and her last days. Don’s devotion to his partner of 61 years is clearly evident in this heartfelt piece.
Last Summer, I was fortunate to visit the Garlits Museum in Ocala, Florida, after speaking with Don by email for a few weeks. What I found was a place that is far more than just a collection of drag racing cars. A self confessed pack rat, the Swamp Rat collected stuff from pretty much every race he visited, which has allowed him to set up displays chock full of relevant items around every car in the collection. There is an engine room that features not only a multitude of legendary Hemi engines, but there is an entire wall displaying early Ford Flathead performance intakes and carbs.