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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
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Remember when... 

1978 Plymouth Arrow magazine ad

...funny cars actually resembled their street driven cousins? (1978 Plymouth Arrow ad)


...Real funny cars, and not show cars, actually appeared at car shows? Picture of Roland Leong's Hawaiian Charger at a Michigan Car Show, circa 72 or 73ish. Note ex-funny car pilot Paula Murphy's rocket dragster in the background. (Photo courtesy of Mike Hojnacki)


...model companies made loosely disguised reproductions of actual funny cars? This Jo-Han model of the "Crazy Horse" Pinto from the early 70s obviously copies the Mickey Thompson Pinto right down to the placement/type lettering of sponsor names and decals on the car. Side panel of box even stated "authentic reproduction of titanium chassis." (Box courtesy of Chaz Schubert)


...magazines tore funny cars apart, showed you what they were made of and what they cost? In the late 60s, SS&DI broke down one of the Jungle Jim Novas, in the early 70s Car Craft dismantled the Whipple & McCulloch Duster (total investment was approx $49,000 including tow car, trailer, spare motor, insurance, etc). In 1978 Car Craft magazine dissected the War Eagle Firebird of Dale Pulde ("55 Easy Pieces, June 78) but didn't discuss the costs involved. In the new millennium, just like in the late 70s, if you have to ask, you can't afford it. (Photo from cover of Car Craft magazine, March 72)


...there was a time local car dealers like Bob Banning Dodge, Beach City Chevrolet, Mr. Norm, Doran Chevrolet, Tasca Ford, etc., could actually afford to sponsor a nationally recognized funny car in order to get the dealership's name in front of potential customers? Even small speed shops like Goodies, Steve Kanuika, Honest Charlie, Wise, K&G Speed Associates, etc., could get in on the act! (Ad from 73 Aquasco Yearbook)


...magazines had the "inside scuttlebutt" and "hot rumors" on F/C goings on... and off track? SS&DI had "Agent 1320" which later became "1320 Notes", Hot Rod had "Rodding at Random", Car Craft had "Straight Scoop", etc. Among the "teasers" that never saw light were Jake Johnston fielding a Burger King sponsored Pinto wagon (73), Tom McEwen retiring unless the seriously considered multi-sanctioning body nitro ban took effect in 75 (74), underage Billy Meyer signing multi-contract with Lone Star Beer (75), Don Prudhomme possibly signing a deal with Ford and campaigning a Mustang II flopper (76), Jerry Boldenow switching the Moby Dick Vette F/C to a Monza body to overcome the Corvette jinx (77), Johnny Loper going with a two car team by adding a T/F effort (78), etc, etc, etc. Above rumors shall remain unattributed...   


...in the mid-70s there was a movement to change the long held term "funny cars" to "fuel coupes"? Hot Rod magazine was one of the proponents...  and some teams joined in the move, showing up with the driver's # and "AA/Fuel Coupe" etched on the car instead of the old "AA/FC" identifier. (Photo/info from July 76 Hot Rod magazine, used with permission.)


...funny cars spit out rear ends like watermelon seeds? Some of the heaviest hitters in the business fell pray to the problem in the 71 timeframe...  list included the Ramchargers, Hawaiian, MT Pinto, Whipple & McCulloch, Fred Goeske, Bergler & Prock, Tom Hoover, etc. Reports indicated the problem was related to improved tire compounds coupled with weak rear end mounts that put an inordinate priority on saving weight! Pictured is John & Cogo Eads' Boss's Hoss Mustang after suffering the same fate at Corpus Christi. (Photo courtesy of Rick Lewis)


...if you couldn't afford a "real" funny car Cox could set you up with one? The 1/12 scale replica of Bill Schifsky's MN based, Cox sponsored Pinto nitro flopper was on store shelves in 1972...  car was powered by a049 displacement engine, ran down a guide line where the engine shutoff and the chute automatically deployed. Cost was $19... 1/12 scale yellow "no name" version of the "not to successful in real life" Vega Panel Wagon F/C was introduced by Cox in 73. (Photo courtesy of Harold Elliott)


...in the days before the "beer wars" when Coca-Cola was heavily involved in drag racing? From the 70s Coke Cavalcade of Stars F/C circuit that brought funny cars shows to some of the nation's smaller venues, to those great ads Coke ran featuring such stars as SWC, Kelly Chadwick, Mickey Thompson, etc., to those funky red and white checkered pants that Coke teams wore, to the scoreboards at many tracks emblazoned with the Coke emblem, Coke was a major drag racing force in the early 70s! (Photo at left from Coke ad; right photo from John Bergener)


... 100 funny cars could actually show up to an event? Or further more, how about when 100 funny cars even existed! Remember when the grand daddy of all flopper events was the Manufacturers Meet held each fall at OCIR. From 68-74 race utilized four 8 car teams made up of different manufacturers (Chevy, Ford, Dodge, Plymouth) that ran 3 full rounds, team vs. team with the 2 low et cars coming back for the final. 1973 version of the race was under AHRA sanction and arguably the beginning of the end. Gone were the marching bands, fireworks, pre-race line-up and driver introductions (some of which later returned under Steve Evans), etc. More importantly, after qualifying in 8 car teams by manufacturer type and running the first round team vs. team, gone was the remaining two rounds of team vs. team competition. After Round 1, subsequent pairings where determined solely on winning et from the previous round. In 74 race returned to it's pre-73 format (team vs. team for 3 rounds) but by 75 event didn't use the manufacturers body style qualifying format but qualified the 32 positions based strictly on elapsed times with a standard 32 car elimination format. (Ad from 78 OCIR Manufacturers Classic)


...new or rebuilt funny cars would sometimes show up still in primer...  or in no primer at all...  and shoe polish made great "lettering"? Pictured is the Kirby Bros newly constructed Chevy powered SoCal Camaro from 1970. (Photo courtesy of Drag Racing Memories)


...funny car racing didn't seem as expensive as it does today? As a point of comparison, $5000 dollars in 1975 is equivalent to about $15,500 in year 2000 dollars. By the way, car was sold to So Cal alky flopper racer Dale Van Gundy. (Ad from Feb 76 issue of Drag News)


...fire burnouts were all the rage in the early 70s? Pictured is the Texas based Brand-X Mustang... however the Chevy guys including Dick Harrell, Bruce Larson, David Ray wheeling the Steakley Camaro and Jungle Jim were generally acknowledged as the "kings" of the fire burnouts! (Photo from Brand-X handout courtesy of Jim White)


...open trailers were state of the art transportation for floppers. 


...more than one funny car World Championship title was contested? AHRA Grand American series champs in the 70s were: 70, 71-Gene Snow, 72-Leroy Goldstein, 73-Don Schumacher, 74-Don Prudhomme, 75-Tom McEwen, 76, 77-Tom Hoover, 78-Gene Snow, 79-Tom McEwen. In the late 60s, AHRA was the first sanctioning body to give recognition to funny cars, went on to use the controversial practice of "seeding" flopper fields in the early 70s by booking in 8 cars for their 16 car nitro programs, leaving only 8 slots open for qualifying. (AHRA decal from the Attic Collection)


...funny cars had names, showed up to the races on open ramp trucks, and used tow cars often supplied by spectators after the crowd was pulsed by the track announcer for "volunteers"? (Photo by Franko of Malcolm Durham's "Strip Blazer," Warner Robins, GA., circa 71/72)


...flopper teams had cool decals as well as handouts? Very few teams did, but one of those few was Doheny & Fullerton who had this Youngblood rendering of the Trojan Horse. According to Kenny Youngblood, he did a lot of art work for the team, from paintings to press kits. When it came time to be paid...  "Kevin [Doheny] tells me to bring the bill down to his "office" in L.A...  which turns out to be this 25 story skyscraper! Sure enough, way up on top it said "DOHENY BLDG." Kevin was the Grandson of the oil rich Doheny family (the "Rothschild's" of L.A.) that they named "Doheny Beach" and "Doheny Blvd" after. So I stroll up to the 17th floor, and presented the bill to a room full of stuffy old bastards that grumbled about Kevin "squandering the family fortune on a funny car". (Decal courtesy of David Hapgood, story courtesy of Kenny Youngblood.)


..."Season Preview" issues of drag racing periodicals gave salivating insights into the coming season's crop of new nitro floppers well before they hit the asphalt? Pictured is Jim Terry's SoCal based Skylark (even though the illustration says Monza, it was run as a Buick) from the March 13, 1976 issue of Drag News. (Illustration by Kenny Youngblood, used with permission of Youngblood Motorsports Gallery; see our Links Page)


...magazines ran drag races. Super Stock & Drag Illustrated, Cars magazine, Popular Hot Rodding, Hot Rod and even National Dragster hosted events in the 60s and 70s? Pictured is Bruce Larson's USA-1 on the program cover from the 1970 SS&DI Nationals at York US 30. Flopper show at the event was won by Larry Reyes and the Hawaiian on Saturday, Candies and Hughes won Sunday and the overall event title. (Cover courtesy of the Bob Plumer Collection.)


...in the mid-70s Umbro Machine & Tool from NY tried to introduce mini Vega funny cars? The UMT sales brochure claimed "The nitro burning funny cars...  were always the deepest dream of the drag racer. Due to the vast amounts of work, design, and the money involved, the majority of drag racers could do nothing else but dream. With all this in mind, the Engineers and craftsmen at UMT combined their skills and brought about the birth of this exciting mini FUNNY CAR. WHEELIES - BURNOUTS - and FIRE belching headers along with a sling shot takeoff from the starting line is getting a tremendous response from crowds of racing fans all over the country and is becoming the wildest new trend in drag racing history." Based on a Vega body, the sales brochure claimed a weight of 500 lbs on a 75 1/2" chassis. Body color was optional, as was choice of engines. Car could be bought complete or as blueprints. Car even came with a parachute! (From Umbro Sales Brochure, courtesy of the Greenberg Collection)


...funny cars ran against fuel altereds, fuel dragsters, jet cars, etc? Tracks hosted Ford vs. Chevy flopper shows, Women's Lib shows featuring Della Woods, Paula Murphy, etc., against the men, "Mr. King of the Hill" F/C shows, 32 car blown nitro extravaganzas, mid-week F/C shows, etc, etc, etc, all during the good-ole-days of funny car racing in the early to mid 70s. (Match race ad from June 25, 1971 issue of Drag Times, courtesy of the Attic Collection.)


...magazines ran great color "Photos For Framing" that use to find their way out of the magazines and onto the walls of bedrooms, shops, school lockers, etc? (Photo from Super Stock and Funny Car Magazine/Jan 71-Courtesy of the Greenberg Collection, photographer unknown.)


...Revell made great models AND seemed to sponsor all the "heavy hitters"? Revell's 1975 flopper lineup included Jungle Jim, Phil Castronovo, Chuck Tanko, Joe Mundet, Willie Borsch, the Chi-Town Hustler, Don Schumacher, Gene Snow, Mickey Thompson, Pisano & Matsubara, Ed McCulloch, Tom McEwen and the Snake. According to a knowledgeable source, the Revell "deal" that Jungle (and others) had was: 1 new body, with paint & lettering per year...  not quite the high $$$$ deal it seemed! However, in 76 Revell did pay its sponsored floppers contingency money based on their performance in open competition. (Model box side panel courtesy of the Greenberg Collection)


...drag racing magazines flourished on newsstands in the early 70s, but by the mid to late 70s most had disappeared? One of the most popular was Drag Racing USA which was primarily devoted to the West Coast drag racing scene. Pictured is the cover of the August 74 issue. DRUSA ceased publication in June 1975. At right, Super Stock and Funny Car magazine was published bi-monthly on the East Coast and concentrated on the East Coast nitro and F/C scene. Pictured is the cover of the November 71 issue featuring Gene Conway's Corvette...  sister publication in off-months was Rodder and Super Stock. (From the Attic Collection)


...local tracks ran nitro shows? Ad from August 4, 1972 issue of Drag Times. (From the Attic Collection)


...one of the best sources for weekly information about F/C goings on was the west coast publication Drag News? Covering ALL sanctioning bodies and both coasts, DN started publication in the mid-50's and ran through approximately 1978. Pictured is the February 1, 1975 cover featuring the Pisano and Matsubara Vega which won OCIR's 8th Annual Season Opener over Jake Johnston in the Keeling and Clayton Mustang at 6.67/200. (Courtesy of the Greenberg Collection)


...for east coast drag racing results, Virginia based Drag Times was the source? Covering some of the smaller venues (Elk Creek Dragway, Summer Duck Dragway, etc) and east coast circuits, "Jack Approved" (JA) stickers from DT adorned many nitro cars of the era. Pictured is the June 23, 1972 cover featuring one of Don Schumacher's Cudas and the Swenson & Lani Mustang from New Jersey. (From the Attic Collection)


...funny cars did not have spare bodies? Before carbon fiber and Kevlar bodies came, you could repair your funny car body over and over. They had to tape, epoxy, or primer the damaged areas to keep racing. The body usually had to last all year and beyond. Dale Pulde's "War Eagle" Firebird shows the scars of a minor accident. (Info by Danny White; photo by Mike Ditty)


... You could follow your favorite funny car racer in local divisional standings! That practice ended after the 1980 season in the NHRA. (National Dragster scan courtesy of Phil Burgess)


Flash Gordon Mineo plays in the mud...

... in the match races days, Pro racers had to take what was given? Sometimes that meant parking the car in muddy pits. Here's "Flash" Gordon Mineo in the pits at Lebanon Valley prior to the race. These are some of the good ol' days the Pros just might want to forget! (Text by Danny White; photo by Kevin at Ultragraphic Decals)


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