Howard G 1959 Goliath 1100 2dr Sedan

Drag racing against the 409 "Old Reliable" Chevy.

Back in the early 1960's, when economy cars were just starting to come to America, at the age of 16, my mother bought me a 1958 or '59 Goliath. This was a four cylinder, front engined, front wheel drive, German car, made by Borgward until the beginning of the 1960's.

The unique thing about this car was that it had a horizontally opposed flat 4 engine which, as I recall, had a twin carburetor set up and a 4-speed column shift. The engine in the car was very much like a Porsche engine because it felt very powerful, unlike the similar very slow VW engine of its time). I don't know if this engine was original or if someone had modified it, but it was fast.

As a 16 year old, you know I had to try it our against my buddy's cars, and none of them could beat me from traffic light to traffic light.

Around that time,we had a local race track in Pennsylvania, which I seem to recall was Selinsgrove Race track. Again, as I recall, this was an oval dirt track, but at one point someone got the idea of making it into a short drag strip, but because of how short the straightaway was, they came up with the idea of having a 1/8th mile drag strip instead of a 1/4 mile one

Possibly because there were no other drag strips in the area, or because of how unique this idea was, they actually drew a pretty decent crowd, at least the one night I went there with my friends.

Again because of the type of track, and how short it was, there were no real high powered dragsters there (in fact the few that were there were actually 6 cylinder cars}. However that night they did have one real performance car show up, possible as a promotion by the track owners.

That car was a "409" high performance Chevy called the "Old Reliable", that was actually very famous at that time, owned by a man named Dave Strickler, which was from nearby York, Pa., and which set numerous NHRA speed records during the early 1960's.

Prior to the actual races, the cars would drive around the oval and have impromptu short races with whatever car was next to them as they drove around the track to the starting line.

Somehow at one point I found my car next to the "Old Reliable". The next thing I knew, all I could hear was the monster engine in the "Old Reliable" reving loudly, so I did the same with mine and when the starter waved his flag, we both took off.

Because of my car being a front engine, front wheel drive car, it had phenomenal traction, and when I took off next to the "Old Reliable", partially I think because of the surface of the track, my car took off like a shot while the roaring "Old Reliable" was slightly spinning its rear wheels. The next thing I knew I had crossed the finish line just ahead of the "Old Reliable".

Although I realize that this was not an actual planned race, the "Old Reliable" was doing it's best to beat me, but couldn't pass me in time.

I seriously doubt that whoever was driving the "Old Reliable" that night cared much about that short run, but needless to say I was glad that my buddies had been there to see my little car beat one of the fastest cars in America in an 1/8th of a mile.

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