I had the great pleasure of interviewing Don for this article. He has such a tremendous amount of knowledge and history to share. Don was one of the founding members of the Piston Pushers and was the first person to hold office as the president of the Piston Pushers. He told me he didn't have any experience as even what to do as a president but sought help from others and did the best he could do. As president of the Piston Pushers he was looking to change the outlook of others towards the club as just a bunch of Hot Rod trouble makers.
The club was able to do this with the start up of Kohler Dragway in which Don was a key player in for many years. Now they could race their cars in a safe controlled area. Don also told me that in the mid 60's a group of business men working for Howard Hughes the American business magnate had invested in the dragway for a few years.
Founding Member of the Piston Pushers
Son: Dan (who is also a member of the Piston Pushers)
Trade: Retired from Douglas Engine Repair LTD
During this time they had flown Don and other members of the Piston Pushers in Howard Hughes private jet to the States to try and convince NASCAR to come to Kohler Dragway in Canada, which they did. Don and Larry Rook traveled to the States at one point to buy Kohler Dragways first staging christmas tree which Don still to this day has.
Article by: Brian Bond
Don loves speed, he has built and driven some of his own dragsters over the years and he has always repaired and built motors for others. Don turned his love of building and repairing engines into a very successful business which is now run by his son Dan. Don can still be found working in the shop or helping Dan.
I asked Don out of all the vehicles he's owned, which was his favorite.
He said it had to be a 53 Chevy that he built from two wrecks. He installed a 6 cylinder which he rebuilt; and it sat about 3 inches off the ground. Man would it go; and corner unbelievable.
I asked Don if he could have any vehicle what would it be.
He didn't have to think about it all. it had to be a 225 inch front blower rail dragster.
Don is currently working on 2 projects a 1974 Buick Riviera and a 1953 Willys.
I asked Don what it meant to him to be a Piston Pusher and his response was that he is very proud of the accomplishments this club has made from its meager beginnings and honored to be a member.
Don Douglas receiving award at 2015 Drag Racing memories Show at the Air Museum in Hamilton.The award was for his pioneering work on drag racing in Ont especially Kohler Dragway.
Congratulations Don & Larry - Look for their interview in Issue #4 of Lug Nuts Magazine this month
We are very excited to have Don Douglas and Larry Rook in issue #4 of Lug Nuts. These men were very influential in drag racing in Ontario. They played a huge role in developing the Cayuga dragstrip. Between the two of them in this photo is the first christmas tree brought into Canada. They can tell you the stories about it here too.