Don Hardy's need for speed turned Floydada into racing powerhouse

Don Hardy with one of his many cars
Don Hardy with one of his many cars

FLOYDADA, TX (KCBD) - It may be a small town in West Texas, but for automobile racing in the 1970s and 80s, Floydada was the center of the universe.

Racers would come from across the country to buy engines and cars from Don Hardy, and now they come back to view his collection of classic cars.

Don Hardy is one of those people that had a definite need for speed, one that took him all the way to the NHRA Hall of Fame as a builder, and even though his main days of building race cars are behind him, he still surrounds himself with the cars he loves.

"Built race cars from 1964 through about 1985," Hardy said. "We were a little concerned at first...about getting to people to come to Floydada to buy cars from us. But we found out in a year or two that they'd come here just as easy as they would any place else."

Thirty years ago, Don Hardy's world was measured in how many seconds his race cars could travel 1,000 feet, and it was something he did with great success.

"I'm a Hall of Fame builder, a car builder. I've won the Chassis Builder of the Year four years in a row from 1977 to 1980. That was kind of the prime time of our car building," Hardy said.

But where he really made his mark was with a new drag racer called a "funny car."

Don said, "That's a car that we built that has a flip top body on it. Just as they started out they called them funny cars and then it went to, we built a car that was pro-start, which was more like a stock car but it was modified very much. That was in our race days..."

Recently the race days have given way to a rather nice car collection, spanning the years from 1953 through 1990, and one Studebaker that Don takes a lot of pride in.

"That's one we think is a real nice car," Don said. "Then the Dodge over here - that was a pace car, and we have some more in the back. I have a car that I bought brand new in 1967. I still have that car and that's a real good car as far as I'm concerned," Hardy said.

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