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70s Funny Cars - Round 17
70s Funny Cars - Round 18
70s Funny Cars - Round 19
70s Funny Cars - Round 20
70s Funny Cars - Round 21
70s Funny Cars - Round 22
70s Funny Cars - Round 23
70s Funny Cars - Round 24
70s Funny Cars - Round 25
70s Funny Cars - Round 26
70s Funny Cars - Round 27
70s Funny Cars - Round 28
70s Funny Cars - Round 29
70s Funny Cars - Round 30
70s Funny Cars - Round 31
70s Funny Cars - Round 32
70s Funny Cars - Round 33
70s Funny Cars - Round 34
70s Funny Cars - Round 35
70s Funny Cars - Round 36
70s Funny Cars - Round 37
70s Funny Cars - Round 38
70s Funny Cars - Round 39
70s Funny Cars - Round 40
70s Funny Cars - Round 41
70s Funny Cars - Round 42
70s Funny Cars - Round 43
70s Funny Cars - Round 44
70s Funny Cars - Round 45
70s Funny Cars - Round 46
70s Funny Cars - Round 47
70s Funny Cars - Round 48
70s Funny Cars - Round 49
70s Funny Cars - Round 50
70s Funny Cars - Round 51
70s Funny Cars - Round 52
70s Funny Cars - Round 53
70s Funny Cars - Round 54
70s Funny Cars - Round 55
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Round 39: MEGA round, featuring the complete history of Scandinavian Funny Cars, including Leif Dabach, Janne Carlsson, Borje Holmgren, Bjorn Andersson, Tage Hammerman, Hans “Hazze” Fromm, Roland Larsson, Ake Ryman, Morgan “Mogge” Aronsson, John Andersson, Peter Andersson, Stig Hansson, Lee Anders Hasselstrom, Rune Fjeld, Tom Andersen, Knut Soderqvist, and Harlan Thompson.


The Volvo P1800 Funny Car of Leif Dabach, Janne Carlsson and Borje Holmgren began life in 1973 as a stock steel bodied altered running a Chevy 327 on carbs. By 1974 it was a fully fledged flopper with fiberglass body, home built chassis and 454 nitro burning Chevy. It appeared in England at Silverstone racetrack in June 1974 along with fellow Swede Bjorn Andersson and England’s Dennis Priddle in his STP Avenger. Lack of traction kept the cars in the eights but Priddle found enough grip to claim the first of many English Swedish Funny Car encounters. (Photo by Alan Currans; text by Andy Barrack)


When Bjorn Andersson and Tage Hammerman appeared with their “Second Invention” Funny Car in 1973, they were already veterans of Swedish drag racing. As early as 1967, without a drag race yet staged in Sweden, Bjorn and Tage began building the country’s first double A fuel dragster. Two years later “Sub Sonic” was debuted at Anderstorp, the initial venue for Swedish drag racing. Bjorn Andersson was the driver. Then in 1972 the duo started work on what would be Sweden’s first nitro Funny Car.

Based on a ’73 Opel Manta, the appropriately named “Second Invention” had a 108 inch home built chassis, with a 392 hemi with 3/8 stroker crank = 398 cu in, Engle roller camshaft, Summer Brothers camshaft drive, Donovan valve gear, Enderle injection, Howard connecting rods, M/T pistons with Dykes top ring and 7,25:1 kompr. Bowers 6-71 blower 22 % overdrive and Crowerglide 3 disc clutch, with Lenco 2 speed. The body was lengthened about 12 inches and the roof was lowered about 2 inches in front.


The car’s first appearance outside of Sweden was at Silverstone, England in 1973. The team’s final round victory against the Fuel Altered of Fred Whittle would have made Bjorn Andersson the first AA/FC Champion in Europe if it wasn’t for the fact that Bjorn had to race in the Top Competition Altered eliminator (England’s equivalent of AA/FA), as no Funny Car class then existed in Europe. As well as repainting and renaming “Second Invention,” Bjorn Andersson and Tage Hammerman also dropped the Hemi in favor of a 454 Chevy when “Manta Ray” reappeared in 1975. Bjorn Andersson co-owned one of Sweden’s leading speed shops, Leufvens Racing Services AB of Stockholm, and the switch in powerplants was because “we had more experience with Chevrolets as we had been building Chevy engines for race cars and race boats for several years,” recalls Tage.


“Manta Ray” was one of seven AA/FC’s that appeared at Wroughton, Wiltshire in England in June 1975 – the largest gathering of Funny Cars then seen in Europe. ET’s at the event were in the low 7’s as the Wroughton airbase offered little traction. Bjorn and Tage later sold “Manta Ray” to Janne Carlsson and Morgan Aronsson, to finance their next AA/FC project. (Photo courtesy of Alan Currans; info from Andy Barrack)


Jan Carlsson, Borje Holmgren, and Leif Dabach changed the name from “The Saint” to “Backfire” when they gained sponsorship from Peders, a leading importer of American cars. In its new paint scheme the Volvo was one of seven Funny Cars racing at Wroughton, Wiltshire in June 1975 for the Tor Line Funny Car Championship – the first international drag racing series staged between England and the Scandinavian countries. “Backfire” remained Chevy powered and stayed a 7 second runner at best but was destroyed later in '75 in a crash at Mantorp Park, Sweden. Dabach was severely injured when the car barrel-rolled but fortunately recovered. This was the end of the road for the team who then split up. (Photo & info courtesy of Alan Currans and www.theaccelerationarchieve.co.uk; additional info courtesy of Andy Barrack)


Swedish racer Hans “Hazze” Fromm built his first AA/FC in 1975. The “Ragnarok” Capri was preceded by an A/FC Capri that had been raced in 1972 through 1974 by Fromm. The name “Ragnarok” comes from the place in Norse mythology where Viking warriors go in the afterlife. Fromm ran an advertising business in Stockholm and built his own cars. British magazine Custom Car described his large 520 cubic inch Chrysler Hemi as “Garlits Prepared” and when Hazze found the engine too powerful for some of the European tracks he placed a cigarette packet under the throttle to slow things down! The car was a low seven-second contender. (Photo courtesy of Alan Currans, text by Andy Barrack and Pelle Lindelov)


The first Toyota funny car was the Canon Celica raced by Roland Larsson and Ake Ryman. The Larsson and Ryman team had debuted an A/FC in 1972 but had progressed to the Celica AA/FC by the following year. The car was all home-built, from the 114 inch chassis through to the bodywork - with Toyota providing financial backing for the body to be made. A 427 cast iron Chevrolet provided the power using about 50% nitro. The car with Ake Ryman driving ran sevens at best while racing at tracks like Mantorp Park, Snetterton, Santa Pod and other Europe racetracks. (Photo by Alan Currans; info from Draglist files)


After the end of “Backfire,” Jan Carlsson teamed up with Morgan “Mogge” Aronsson and purchased Bjorn Andersson’s original Opel Manta. Carlsson who had entered his 1960 T-bird at Sweden’s first ever drag race in 1968, took on the driving chores. The Opel was renamed “Fever” but stayed with the big block Chevrolet for power. After having achieved a personal best of 7.5 Carlsson then suffered serious burn injuries when “Fever” fireballed just before the lights at Mantorp Park in August 1976. With burns to his arms, legs and back, and his eyesight giving doctors grave concern, Janne spent nearly a year in hospital but eventually recovered. Although he never drove again, he was back in 1980 with Morgan Aronsson and “Stigge Hansson” fielding a new Camaro bodied flopper. (Photo by Alan Currans; text by Andy Barrack)


Although sharing the same name, the same aspirations to go drag racing AND living in the same village, Bjorn Andersson and John Andersson were not related and did not know each other existed until Tage Hammerman and Bjorn Andersson discovered John Andersson and his brother Ollie, along with Bosse Carlsson, were building their own front-engined AA/FD dragster just a mile from the “Sub Sonic” workshop. This amazing coincidence meant that the first two fuelers in Swedish history - “Sub Sonic” and “Valkyrian” - emanated from the same tiny spot on the map, yet in complete isolation from each other. But such close proximity created a natural affinity and from 1968 to 1975 the two teams went from slingshots to funny cars and became the most prominent figures in Swedish drag racing.

Then in 1976 the teams merged as Bjorn Andersson retired from driving to concentrate as crew-chief (“The car had become very fast by then..” says Tage) and John Andersson took his seat. The Funny Car that resulted from this merger was a new style Opel Manta with an imported Jungle Jim chassis. An aluminum Rodeck (Block #17 to be precise) replaced the Chevy 454 and with this combo John Andersson became the first Swede into the sixes in 1976 (6.92/209 mph at Santa Pod Raceway). Later the team picked up sponsorship from “Bilsport,” Sweden’s leading motorsports magazine. In 1979 the car became the “Blue Swede” BB/FC of Tommy Svensson while Bjorn and John went on to field a Chevrolet Monza AA/FC. (Photo by Alan Currans; Text by Tage Hammerman and Andy Barrack)


Leif Dabach returned to driving funny cars after crashing the “Backfire” Volvo. In 1977 he appeared in the seat of Ryman & Larsson’s “Canon” Vega. Ryman and Larsson again built the car themselves. The car began with Chevy power but a Hemi was later used along with the eight port Crower injector. The silver Vega ran low sevens. (Photo courtesy of Lars Pettersson; text by Danny White)


Peter Andersson (no relation to Bjorn or “Johnne” Andersson) purchased Liam Churchill’s “Euro Sting” Capri around 1978. With fellow Swede Stig Hansson destined for driving duties, the car saw little action before Peter Andersson sold the “Sam Glas” Capri onto Janne Carlsson and Morgan Aronsson. They in turn sold the chassis onto a Danish BB/FC team, electing to build a new Funny Car instead. Liam Churchill at least had the distinction of being the first European FC driver to put a iron 392 flopper into the sixes a couple of years earlier, the Irishman benefiting from the tuning skills of Geof Hauser, one time crew chief for Clive Skilton and today successful owner of Hauser Racing Cars. (Photo courtesy of Pelle Lindelov; info courtesy of Janne Carlsson; text by Andy Barrack)


Lee Anders Hasselstrom began AA/FC racing in 1977 with the “Denim Machine” Monza. Lee Anders Hasselstrom was one of Europe’s most financed funny cars in the 1970s. His funny cars were frequently updated with new paint designs and Hasselstrom regularly purchased new and used parts from the USA. Hasselstrom employed the best crew Sweden could provide and carried the Monza around in an American built fifth wheel trailer. In 1978 he gained lucrative sponsorship from Flygvapnet - the Swedish Air Force. In the same year, using a Milodon engine, he became the quickest and fastest funny in Europe with times of 6.55 219 on different passes. In 1979 Hasselstrom recorded a 6.48 clocking at Santa Pod. That year at the World Finals he received a 6.19, 210 M.P.H. time slip. (Alan Currans photo courtesy of www.theaccelerationarchive.co.uk; info from Andy Barrack)


Hazze Fromm replaced the “Ragnarok” Capri with a new Mustang II. Featuring sponsorship by American auto parts suppliers, Kleintberg & Way, the Mustang II was powered by aluminum Keith Black Hemi replacing the cast iron Hemi of the previous Capri. The car broke in the high-sixes with a known best of 6.78. Fromm sold his funny car operation in 1983, the engine going into Pelle Lindelov’s Top Fueler and the chassis becoming Mats Westman’s BB/FC. Lindelov recalls working with Fromm did have its problems, “When you asked Hazze for an 8 millimeter spanner, he’d reply “Why can’t you ask for a real tool, like ¼ inch or ½ inch?” When we asked why he didn’t use metric sizes like the rest of us Swedes, Hazze always said, “Who won the war? The millimeter guys or the inch guys?” End of discussion!” (Photo courtesy of Alan Currans; info provided by Pelle Lindelov, Andy Barrack, and Draglist files; text by Andy Barrack and Danny White)


Ryman & Larsson built the last “Canon” funny car in 1979. They built the car as usual. The Canon Challenger was the team most competitive entry ever. Leif Dabach was the car’s pilot running 6.60’s best times with the car. The team used the ½” stroke Keith Black Hemi for power unlike the Chevy and the Donavan used in the past. This allowed the team to step up with the best of Europe’s funny car racers. Ryman, Larsson and Dabach raced into the early eighties with the car until the team retired. (Photo courtesy of Alan Currans; text by Danny White)


Bjorn Andersson imported the Iverson & Kimble Monza from United States (see Round 29) and retouched the basic paint to cover the previous team’s lettering. With John Andersson driving the car made its first appearance at Mantorp Park in July 1978 and reached the final only to lose to rising Swedish star “Lee” Anders Hasselstrom. The Andersson’s Monza used a 482 cu in Keith Black engine and got down as low as 6.38 by the end of the decade. Bjorn Andersson later became crew chief for Hasselstrom. Today Bjorn works for Pennzoil and is no longer involved with drag racing. (Photo from Peter Jones; Text by Andy Barrack)


Having sold the “Sam Glas” Capri, Janne Carlsson and partner Morgan Aronsson decided to build themselves a brand new Funny Car chassis based upon Bjorn Andersson’s imported Monza (“Rigid chassis with no suspension was the new thinking, and if that was good enough for the Americans, it was good enough for us. So we copied Bjorn’s state-of-the-art Monza,” remembers Janne.) The Donovan engine was purchased from “Lee” Anders Hasselstrom, stroked out to 480 cu in with cast iron heads, Venolia pistons and an Engle cam. A Lenco 2 speed put the power to a 4:10 rear end.

The Camaro body came from Bo Bertilsson who had used it on his “Berzerk” BB/FC. With Janne still receiving medical treatment for his burn injuries Stig Hansson was given driving duties. When the Camaro FC eventually disbanded in the early 80s, Janne Carlsson became crew chief for the Swedish P&G Racing Top Fueler and remained in the team until driver Pelle Lindelov’s retirement in 2001. (Peter Jones photo; info from Andy Barrack and Janne Carlsson)


These days Rune Fjeld is known as one of Europe's top crew chiefs and has been described by none other than Carl Olson and Gordie Bonin as "the Austin Coil of Europe”. The Norwegian first made a name for himself owning and driving BB/FC's before switching to nitro. With the ex Shirl Greer Mustang II he made his debut at Mantorp, Sweden in May 1979 with immediate success.

A new paint job and Panasonic and Landlubber backing came in the following year. Fjeld set tongues wagging with a 239 mph run at the Santa Pod World Finals in September 1980. Fjeld continued racing with a variety of newer and quicker FC's through out the 80s before hanging up his helmet and concentrating on owning and tuning Top Fuelers. Rune Fjeld has put such drivers as Liv Berstadt, Rico Anthes, Barry Sheavills, Andy Carter and Gordie Bonin into the record books and given them European Championship titles. Fjeld is also responsible for England's first 4 and first 300 mph runs and remains one of Europe's most revered engine tuners. (Photo courtesy of Peter Jones, text by Andy Barrack)


Norwegian funny car racer Tom Andersen has a name that sounds the same as American funny car racer Tom Anderson. But note the difference in the spelling of the last name. Before switching to funny cars Tom Andersen had driven the “Van Iderstine” AA/FD that was exported to Norway around 1975 and renamed “Black Magic” when it was raced in European Pro Comp. In 1979 Andersen then purchased this Mustang II funny car from fellow Norseman Steinar Stolen. The car was another US import originating from Carmel, NY, where it was built and driven by Drake Viscome under the name “Vindicator.” Steinar Stolen campaigned the Mustang II in Pro Comp – although he also ran it in Funny Car at Santa Pod’s 1977 World Finals – before selling it, to make way for his next acquisition - the “California Charger” of Keeling and Clayton (which Steinar Stolen also ran as a BB/FC).

Andersen purchased the Mustang II from Stolen but preferred to run nitro and with sponsorship from Sko Uno he renamed the car Paeppen (a Norwegian play on words meaning ‘pep’ as in ‘pep talk’) and raced the flopper from 1979 and into the early 80s. Unfortunately Andersen was often left outside the pack of other Scandinavians as a DNQ and retired from racing after his brief foray in Funny Car. (Alan Currans photo courtesy of www.theacceleartionarchive.co.uk; info from Bjorn Vidar Pedersen and Andy Barrack)


Harlan Thompson left the United States drag racing scene in 1980 to race in Europe. Thompson had raced his funny cars, the “Fireball Vega,” the “Fireball Monza,” the “Tom ’n’ Jerry” Mustang, and “Saturday Night Fever” Starfire. The “Tre Kronor” job came by chance. Knut Soderqvist and Thompson frequented the same NY speed shop. Soderqvist offered the driving job on his newly acquired top fueler to Thompson. Thompson declined the job, but he told Soderqvist if he bought a funny car he would be interested. Knut Soderqvist bought Ed McCulloch’s former Arrow from Roy Wickard for $6,500.

Soderqvist and Thompson took the car to Maple Grove and ran a 6.43. The team also ran at Lebanon Valley. The call went out to Roy Phelps, then owner of England's Santa Pod Raceway, that Soderqvist had a six-second funny car to book. Soderqvist moved back home to Sweden with Thompson and the “Tre Kronor” Arrow. The Soderqvist and Thompson team made its European debut at Santa Pod in July 1980 and won the World Finals against Gene Snow a couple of months later. The pair became the dominant funny car team in Europe for the next 15 years until the duo split. (Photo courtesy of Alan Currans; info and text from Danny White and Andy Barrack)


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