Stardust drag racing car chassis stolen from Santa Pod

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Stardust at the starting line at the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) Winternationals Drag Race in Pomona, California, USA on 28 February 1973

An "iconic" drag racing car's chassis, which was about to be sent abroad for a £150,000 restoration, has been stolen.

Stardust, a Funny Car which won the "biggest drag race" in USA in 1970, was taken from Santa Pod Raceway in Bedfordshire between 17 July and 7 November, the business said.

It was bought by Santa Pod in 1973 and is "one of the best cars" the raceway has ever had, a spokesman said.

The theft was discovered when it was due to be transported to Sweden.

Image source, Matt Woods Photography
Image caption,
The chassis of Stardust, which is a specific type of drag racing car known as a Funny Car, was last on show at Santa Pod at Dragstalgia in July

Keith Bartlett, the owner of Santa Pod, said: "The thieves knew what they were stealing and passed over several valuable pieces of machinery to get to the chassis.

"The thought that someone involved in our sport would stoop so low is a blow to everyone at Santa Pod.

"I am prepared to move heaven and earth to get this chassis back, so I can continue with the restoration project."

After the planned restoration, Stardust was due to "take pride of place" in a planned museum development, Mr Bartlett added.

Image source, Santa Pod Raceway
Image caption,
Stardust racing at Santa Pod in 1974, where it continued to race for several years

'Real blow'

A £5,000 reward has been offered for information "that leads to the safe recovery of one of the most iconic cars ever to appear on the Santa Pod quarter mile", Mr Bartlett said.

Neale Saunders, operations manager at Santa Pod, said: "Stardust is one of the best cars we have ever had. When it came over, it caused a real stir.

"In 1970, with Don Schumacher driving, it won the world's biggest drag race of its time in Indianapolis.

"This theft is a real blow to the drag racing family."

The business confirmed that only the chassis was stolen and the cars wheels, front suspension and body remain.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Santa Pod acquired Stardust from drag racer Don Schumacher in 1973, who raced the car in the 70s

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