Detroit Dragway Photos - Legends of the 60s - JoeStevensPhotos


Detroit Dragway Photos - Legends of the 60s

Setto Postoian was an expert car builder, shown here (left) with his Mark 3 Dragster at Detroit Dragway, & one of the fastest in his day. This is a very rare photo captured by Joe Stevens. Setto had raced throughout the 1950's in his Mark I-3 dragster against such, now a days, well known drivers in his field as Don Garlits. Setto, who was friends with Don Garlits, was also his fiercest competitor in those days & may have became just as famous a race car driver as Garlits if it had not been for the serious crash that put him in a wheelchair, ending his racing career. Setto set many a record but is best remembered for his wins against the legendary Don Garlits.
Story from Mopar Magazine:
Serop “Setto” Postoian. Pioneer HEMI Drag Racer
Setto Postoian came out of Michigan in the 1950s to run nationally with his nitro-burning Chrysler HEMI-powered dragsters. One of the fastest racers in the quarter mile, he was an early rival of Don Garlits. Postoian was the first to call Don Garlits the “Swamp Rat.” He did not intend to be complimentary. Garlits turned the tables by giving that name to his dragster. It was a “fake rivalry” said Postoian’s widow Christine in a recent interview. She said the two were actually good friends and shared a mission to beat the big names from California.
Postoian defeated Garlits in the finals of the World Series of Drag Racing in 1957 at the Quad Cities Dragway in Cordova, Ill. Postoian was better-known until then, but Garlits had just surprised everyone by beating Californian Emory Cook, who was the quarter mile record holder. Postoian met Garlits in many events over the next few years, winning more than his share of the races. Big Daddy said, “Setto was a wily old fox and a tough competitor. He had fast cars, but he could win even when he didn't have the fastest car.”
Postoian built three Chrysler-powered dragsters from 1956 to 1960; Mark 1, Mark 2 and Mark 3. They were named after his son, and ran out of Postoian’s gas station at 6 Mile and Oakland in Detroit. Crew included his brother and early partner, Ashod “Harry” Postoian, Jerry Bazin, George Barbat, and a young “gofer” named Conrad “Connie” Kalitta, who would soon go on to everlasting fame as the “Bounty Hunter.” Barbat worked at Chrysler, learned about ram tuning, and once fabricated an innovative aluminum cross ram manifold for Postoian’s dragster. The manifold is on an old Postoian 392 HEMI in the Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Fla.
Postoian’s career ended in a big crash at Detroit Dragway in July, 1960, caused by the Mark 3 dragster’s new wire front wheels. Postoian never raced again, but his accomplishments were among the earliest proof of Chrysler HEMI superiority.

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