George Crittenden Presents

 Preserving the History of
The Early Years 40's & 5o's
Pioneers of SPEED
Legends of NITRO
Gasser Legends
Factory Expermental 
Funny Car Legends
Fuel Altered Legends
The "Twins"
The Drag Strips

Legends of the Quarter-Mile

Bobby Langley " The Scorpion"

CLICK Photo to Enlarge

                  Bobby and Ruth Langley and Scorpion One Thru Six

  In 1954 Bobby and his brother went to a drag race at Caddo Mills Texas. Bobby liked what he saw and decided to go racing. His brother was not as impressed and did not do the same.  Bobby had a 38 Lincoln coupe as a family car. He started working on the Lincoln to get it ready to drag race.  Bob said that he didn’t know that drag cars should be light. He used a lot of lead to do the bodywork and the car was very heavy.
  Next Bobby decided to build a dragster, Bob was about 25 years old at this time. He used all his talents as a tool and die maker at Convair Aircraft (now General Dynamics) he set about to build a dragster. He started with a wing tip fuel tank from a now unknown origin. Bobby built a frame out of 40 Olds drive shafts with plates welded to the ends to bolt to the 41 Ford rear end. The roll bar and cross members were made of one and one half-inch pipe and the bracing was made of the same pipe. Here again Bob wasn’t trying to build a light car.
  As a side note, Wayne Calvert of Denton Texas was quizzed by Bobby about chassis material and Wayne suggested drive shaft tubing, the same as he was using on his roadster project.

Needle Nose

  The first car was known as Needle Nose, as the wing tip tank used as the body was turned with the pointed end to the front and came to a point about three feet in front of the front wheels. This configuration had a Cadillac over head valve V eight engine. Bob and Ruth ran the car around Dallas and Ft. Worth area. They also took it to Kansas City Nat’s. In 1956. Needle nose was painted white with blue nose and one scallop on each side.  Bob and George Jackson teamed up for a time and ran needle nose with a flat head Ford for a short time. George told Bobby that if he would clean up the Car some he would put his Chrysler hemi in it.

Scorpion 1

   Bobby set about rebuilding Needle Nose and it became The Scorpion. Of course he didn’t know it was number one in a series of six cars. Bob and George ran the new Scorpion car till George pulled out as a partner. Bobby went to a Chrysler dealer and started to purchase a brand new 392 engine. The counter man asked what he was going to do with it and Bob told him, put it in a dragster. The dealer owner said he didn’t think they should sell him an engine, as Chrysler was not in to racing at that time. Bobby finely talked them into selling him the engine. Bob and Ruth ran “The Scorpion 1” from early 1957 till January of 1958.
   Bob didn’t have a personal car to tow The Scorpion with in this time period. Bob had friends that offered to help with the car. One was Bill Collins who towed the Scorpion around to such places as Wichita Falls, Texas, Phoenix, Arizona, Tampa Florida and Monterey, Mexico. In Mexico Bobby raced down one of the streets off of a traffic circle.  At the end of the street (strip) Bob had to run across railroad track. A farmer was grazing a herd of goats in a field near the road. When Bob roared by, the goats bolted and ran in all directions the farmer was still chasing them when Bobby pushed back to the start. This by the way contributed to bending the chassis. They would hook the trailer on Bills 1951 Old coup and load up five or six people and take off for the races. Bobby has said on many occasions that he would not have known about many races if Bill had not told him about them.

   The Scorpion was sold to Bob Taylor who took the car apart and painted it red with black scallops and stripes. It had a flying horse on the tail where Bobby’s Scorpion had been. This configuration was called Red Hoss Bob Taylor and Charles (Smiley) Sitton narrowed the rear end and put a Super charger on a 354 Chrysler and ran BG/D. In a recent interview with Bob Taylor he said he had removed the aluminum body work and scraped it out. Then he cut the chassis up and threw it away. Photos of the car seem to suggest that the car was bending in front of the engine and at that time it was an old car and had out lived it’s usefulness     

                                                              Scorpion II                  
     In 1958 Bobby built Scorpion II and he and Ruth started traveling more. The Scorpion II had an aluminum channel frame and pipe roll bar. Scorpion II looked much like No. one but was some lighter. He ran the six two’s that he ended the season with on number one, on fuel and Gas at different times.
   Bob and Ruth went on a trip to the U.S. Fuel and Gas Championship in 1959 in Bakersfield California, where they saw a lot of guys were beginning to run GMC 671 super chargers. Garlits was there also and he had no blower. Bobby set low E.T. with the first set of M & H tires in California. The late Earnie Hashim called Marvin Richter of M & H that night and got the Dealership for the tires that evening.
    Bobby got a blower also and put the eight two’s on top of it. Bobby flipped the Scorpion II at Caddo Mills after hitting a battery on the side of the track. Bob hurt his left elbow in the crash and demolished the car.
  Bobby put an engine in a car owned by Francis Reed, a Chassis Research car. He and Francis raced this car while Bobby built Scorpion III. Many other people helped Bobby and Ruth besides Bill Collins and Francis Reed. Some were Olin Davis, Ed Mabry, Don Metzger, Ronnie Helschinstein, Marvin and Homer Brown & Jim Hensley.


Scorpion III

  Bob built Scorpion III and ran around Texas and California. One day at Green Valley Raceway near Ft. Worth Texas Bob had another accident and ran off the course. The frame was bent and the body scratched and dented above the roll bar. Bobby rebuilt the III car and made a previously arranged show. At the racetrack the officials didn’t like Bob’s roll bar. He told them to look at the scratches and had Ruth get his scratched helmet. They had to admit that it had been tested and allowed him to run.

          Scorpion IV
   Bobby built Scorpion IV with the same type aluminum channel frame rails and used a cable system on the under side to hold the down loads. This car had about a 150” wheelbase and would steer it self at times.

Scorpion V
   One day Don Garlits told Bobby that this car was going to get him hurt. He said that if Bobby would pay for the tubing and parts he would build him a new car. This was the start of Scorpion V. Bob and Ruth campaigned Scorpion V around the country. They won the nationals at Green Valley in 1964.

Scorpion VI
   His last car was a “T” bar chassis built and donated by Henry (Moose) Shroeder. It had the most unusual tail section of all the Scorpions with a large stinger coming off the top of the roll bar and curving back about 18”.  Bobby always built his own bodies with hand tools and oxy acetylene welding at his home garage.

  All the Scorpions seem to be lost or hidden away from site. I have heard rumors of parts and cars here and there but have not been able to see them in person.
Written by Don Ross and Bill Collins
 Edited by Bobby and Ruth Langley
October, 26 2003

CLICK Photo to Enlarge

  1. Managing Director
  2. Managing Director
  3. Managing Director
  4. Managing Director