“King” Harold Bull was first introduced to Drag Racing at the 1964 International Drag Festivals and returned home full of ideas to build a scaled down version of the American Dragsters he had seen using British components.
Easter 1965 saw Harold’s ideas take shape as he begun construction of a slingshot dragster called “Stripduster” using an 803cc Austin A30 engine, Morris 8 gearbox and rear axle, Austin 7 front axle and an 84 inch mild steel frame with beautifully shaped aluminium rear bodywork. 5 months saw it finished and he took it along to Gravely practice day in August then entered the 2nd International Drag Festival and wound up runner up in the “up to 2500cc” Dragster Eliminator at Woodvale running mid 16’s at 80m.p.h.
1966 saw the opening of Santa Pod Raceway and Harold arrived early at the first meet on Easter Monday to lay down the first run by a dragster on the virgin strip despite the fact it was raining hard. At the “Big Go” in May Harold was experimenting with Nitro Fuel for the first time resulting in wheelstands in all gears on the dry strip but he took the “up to 1000cc” Dragster Eliminator win. He was now using a larger 950cc A35 motor and in June fitted home-made injection. An extra 20 inches added to the frame and a dropped tube front axle helped stability and Harold got down to a 12.99 ET in July. 1966 ended with a successful crack at the Class C standing quarter record at Elvington where “Stripduster” smashed it in 12.855 seconds.
Harold added a supercharger to “Stripduster” in 1967 and at the Drag Racing Championships he ran an incredible 10.89/121m.p.h. He also teamed up with Derek Metcalf to form B & M Equipment producing anything from small brackets to complete dragsters. Many machines appeared over the next few years with B & M frames and not just small engined machines as Clive Skilton used one for his 2nd Revolution AA/Fuel Dragster.
1968 saw a new slimmer and lighter frame on “Stripduster” and the gearbox had been cast aside as Harold had gone the direct drive route, he’d also fitted a 2 inch flange to the outer rim of one of the front spoked wheels to help trip the beams, the first seen in the UK and soon copied by other racers. It took a while to get the direct drive working properly but by the end of the year Harold was flying with a 10.14/133m.p.h.
Santa Pod’s Season Opener for 1969 saw Harold take on Tony Densham in the 7 litre “Commuter” AA/Fuel Dragster. “Stripduster” was given a 2 sec handicap start and blasted out the hole heading towards the centre line and from then on in was “hearts in the mouth” action as “Commuter” dropped the clutch to give chase and Tony also veered towards the centre line and the crowd held their breath as the cars became one. Harold tripped the finish beams first with a 10.68/127m.p.h. as Tony followed him with a 9.26/152m.p.h. without a doubt a heart stopping race with the thoroughly British crowd cheering the little man on to a magnificent win. Harold took “Stripduster” over to Sweden in 1969 as part of a team of British cars and bikes and the Swedes were just as blown away with Harold’s Mini engined machine as they were the bigger dragsters and he came away with an order for a frame.
Into the 70s and Harold continued his winning ways and at the 1971 Season Opener ran a fantastic 9.75 secs and upped the speed to 136m.p.h.
In 1974 Harold had a drive in the “Houndog” slingshot AA/Fueller. A first half pass of 9.35 was followed by a full bore run of 8.15/189m.p.h. but nearing the traps a blinding oil spray caused him to lose vision. The car hit the barrier and was written off but thankfully Harold emerged unscathed.
Harold retired from racing after this, his shelves at home lined with over 40 trophies as well as several world records and strip records in England, Germany and Sweden.
Also please take a look at this link to see Harold Bull’s amazing ¼ scale model engines, we guarantee you’ll be impressed!