Dragmaster was a shop in Carlsbad, California run by Jim Nelson and Dode Martin. Formed in 1959, Jim and Dode met through car clubs. Jim was a member of the Carlsbad Oilers car club, and Dode was a member of the Shafters of Fallbrook. Jim had a motor, and Dode had a chassis. That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship and the famous Dragmaster shop. "We started messing around in Fallbrook," Dode told a reporter from Carlsbad Magazine in 2014. There were no roads in and out of Fallbrook, so it was hard to get parts, so they decided to move to the 101 in Oceanside for a short time before they settled down at 2725 State St. in Carldbad in the late 1950s. "We were out to build race cars," Dode told the journalist.
The Ol' Man, Ratchet Jaw and the Fossil
In the shop, Jim was the engineer and Dode was the driver. Jim's brother Tom was the mechanic. Everyone had nicknames. Dode was known as "The Ol' Man." Jim as "Ratchet Jaw," and Tom as "The Fossil." Jim was also known as "Seven-Eights" because of how he would start a job and wouldn't finish it.
The shop toured the country dragging cars and building dragsters for other people. According to Jim's son Dirk, designs were chalked out on the floor. They would finish a car at midnight and test on Beach Street, which was a dirt road back then.
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