70s Funny Cars - Round 1
70s Funny Cars - Round 2
70s Funny Cars - Round 3
70s Funny Cars - Round 4
70s Funny Cars - Round 5
70s Funny Cars - Round 6
70s Funny Cars - Round 7
70s Funny Cars - Round 8
70s Funny Cars - Round 9
70s Funny Cars - Round 10
70s Funny Cars - Round 11
70s Funny Cars - Round 12
70s Funny Cars - Round 13
70s Funny Cars - Round 14
70s Funny Cars - Round 15
70s Funny Cars - Round 16
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
Previous Cars 1
Previous Cars 2
Previous Cars 3
Previous Cars 4
Remember When?
Where Are They Now?
Lost & Found FCs
Forgotten FCs
Berserko & JJ
FC Links

70s Funny Cars: Round 42

By Danny White

Johnny West is one of the smartest people in drag racing, no doubt. Not only is he one of the most sought after crew chiefs, but he also did engineering work for the United States government on several high priority projects. Before that, West was a low buck racer from Arizonawith his Plan A series of race cars. Johnny worked his way through the sportsman ranks until he built an A/FA Bantam powered by a big block Chevy. West later bought Joe Boone's Warpath AA/A 23 T, added a blower to his nitro engine, and dropped it between the frame rails. West raced the car for a couple of years with a best of 7.20. Johnny soon made the jump to nitro funny cars like his brother Jim did with his own car. The unique flopper had the rear of a Chevy Monza, but the front of a Plymouth Arrow. The name Plan A referred to West’s unique and cost effective method of running the car. He would do a burnout and a dry hop on alcohol, and then turn on the nitro to stage and complete the run. This judicious use of nitro saved money and parts. West ran in the six second zone with the Rodeck Chevy powered machine. He completed independently until 1985, when joined Roland Leong as the latest driver of the Hawaiian. That arrangement lasted for a while and then West went solo again, diving for himself and using a couple of hired shoes. Johnny became a well regarded tuner, known for consistency. He is currently tuning for the Clay Millican-driven Skull Shine dragster of Evan Knoll. (Photo Courtesy of Auto Imagery; info from Draglist files)

Glen Hyder was one of the true die-hard racers from Southern California. He built a unique turtle back 27 Ford T in the sixties that was different looking from the other altereds of the era. Eventually, like many other AA/FA racers, Hyder built a funny car. The Hyder's Outrage Corvette was the result, but the car was destroyed in a clutch explosion. Glen then had Southern California -based RCS build this Camaro, powered by a 392 Chrysler Hemi with Heads by Fudge. Hyder debuted the machine in 1972 and raced on nitro through the 1973 season. He used drivers like Gary Southern and Rod Phelps, but ran infrequently due to the cost of running the car on nitro. Hyder converted the car to alcohol and ran the new Pro Comp class in 1974. He later retired from racing and moved to the Carolinas. Glen returned to racing to help his son run a blown 23 Ford T altered in match race action before he passed away. (Handout Photo Courtesy of Jim White; info courtesy of the late Glen Hyder and Draglist files)

Being stricken with polio and relying on crutches did not stop Joe Winter from his dream of being a fuel racer. Joe raced a fueler in the sixties, first using hired drivers, but later taking over the driving chores. In 1970, Winter built a new Duster funny car for the Southern California funny car wars. The machine set an unofficial record of the wrong kind at Fremont. The Duster body came off and flew higher than any funny car body ever had! The Mustang body shown in the photo replaced the ruined Duster body in 1971. The car featured a 392 Chrysler Hemi, which pushed it to a 7.15 at Fremontand 199.11 at OCIR. The high mounted bodied funny car was raced until the end of 1972 when Joe retired from racing. (Photo by L&M Photos, Courtesy of Bob Plumer and Drag Race Memories; info from Dennis Doubleday and Draglist files)

Randy Walls was one of the founding fathers of funny cars in the sixties. The first Super Nova was a scary, high-riding match basher that ran low eights. Walls raced a series of funny cars throughout the sixties, and then built a new, narrowed chassis machine in 1970. Randy missed a few dates while building the new car, which reportedly hurt him with booking agents across the country. Walls kept close to home with the new car, but took the Chevy powered machine to a known best of 6.90. Randy retired from racing in 1971 only to return in the early 21st century with a new Chevy powered Super Nova. The new car was painted similar to the car in the photo but featured a modern chassis. (Photo by L&M Photos, Courtesy of Bob Plumer and Drag Race Memories; info from George Crittenden of nitrogeezers.com, Dennis Doubleday, and Draglist files)

Charlie Wilson was one of the first funny car racers in California, fielding the Vicious Vette 1958 Corvette. At the time, Wilsonused hired drivers like young Dale Pulde, Jim Adolph, and Clyde Morgan. Pulde said Wilsonwas a great painter, especially when it came to painting candy colors, and was a great cook, to boot. By the time the seventies rolled around, Wilsonwas doing all the driving and had moved back east. The Vicious Too Camaro was built by Ronnie Scrima and also featured Chevy power. It ran 7.50 in 1971 and 190.67 in 1972. Wilsonpassed away during a run in 1973. It was said he suffered a heart attack. (Photo from Bob Plumer/Drag Racing Memories; info from Dale Pulde, Bill Duke, Dennis Doubleday, and Draglist files)

Smokey Joe Lee was one of the toughest independent funny car racers from Southern California in the seventies. A tester for Leonard Abbott's Lenco Transmission Company all during his racing career, Lee had raced dragsters before running funny cars. Joe’s most remembered car is probably this Hemi powered, Mr. Ed bodied Charger. Theban Diego based machine ran solid six-second runs with a known best of 6.56, 215.31 at Ontario1973. Lee continued to race with moderate success until the late seventies in a Vega. (Photo from Tom West/Replicas West; info from Tom West, Dennis Doubleday, and Draglist files)

Bob Bedell's brightly painted Wild Thing Camaro stood out in a crowd for sure. The Washington-based racer built the car himself in 1968, and ran the 392 Chrysler Hemi powered machine into the early 1970 season. Bob ran a known best of 7.56 at 181 in the Camaro during West Coast match races. Bedell sold the car in early 1970 to Gary Matranga, who raced it as the Day Glo Express. Bedell sometimes drove the Bad Bascomb's Ghost Nova in addition to his own car. He retired from racing in 1970. (Photo from Bob Plumer/Drag Racing Memories; info from Dennis Doubleday and Draglist files)

Don Wiley's Plum Crazy was one of the truly forgotten funny cars of the seventies. The Texas-based racer began his fuel funny car career with this home built Charger. Wiley and partner W.C. Beck crossed the country in match race action. Wiley built the chassis and mounted a mini Charger on the car based on the Chi Town Hustler body. The 426 Chrysler Hemi was backed by a Torqueflite transmission built by Beck. Don ran best times in the mid sevens with this car. Wiley eventually sold this car and replaced it with a new Cuda, but sold that car to Animal Al Marshall. Don later left the nitro ranks to run a BB/FC on the All American Funny Car Circuit. He returned in the 90s to race an A/FD for a short time, and now is set to return again with a new funny car. (Handout photo from Randy Baker and info from Don Wiley/Draglist files)

Ken Mott’s Super Vega was one of the many funny cars of the seventies that used “Super” as part of its moniker. There also were the Super Cuda, Super Charger, Super Camaro, Super Nova, and even another unrelated Super Vega. The cast iron Chevy powered Super Vega was not raced for long, but recorded a best of 5.02 on the eighth mile at Sharon, PA. Note the early use of blower restraint straps on the car. Prior to the Super Vega, Mott got his start in a flip top AA/GS Vega for Hart Automotive in Ohio. Ken eventually drove the Lonestar Longneck Pontiac Astre in Texasbeginning in 1974 and achieved some match race success. (Photo from Gary Hojnacki; info from Draglist files)

Linn and Magnuson had one of the first funny cars in Minnesota. The Mind Sticker Camaro was built in 1969 with the injected Chevrolet shown here, although a National Dragster article cited the team’s desire to add a blower later (it is unknown if they did). Like many Midwest cars of the day, the machine was built by Chapman Automotive. Bill Linn drove the Chevy, shown here in a rare out of state appearance. (Photo by L&M Photos/Courtesy of Bob Plumer/Drag Race Memories; info from Dennis Doubleday and Draglist files)

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