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

Round 25: Featuring Ray Gambardella's Electric Warrior, Johnny Rodriques’ Light My Fire, Al Hofmann’s China Syndrome, Vance Hunt and Bob Taylor’s Mustang, Jim Barillaro’s Cammer Jammer, Don Hampton’s American Bandstand, Tom Sturm and Dale Armstrong’s Swapper, Richard Rogers’ Miss Debra, Fuzz Miller and Lanny Miglizzi's Pandemonium, and Art Ward’s Avenger.

Ray Gambardella

The Electric Warrior was a car that debuted before the end of the decade. Tom Gambardella owned and drove the car. Pat Foster and Jim Hume of H&H Race Craft built the chassis. It had an injector to pan Ed Pink Hemi for power. The owner painted the car and it was lettered and airbrushed by Glen's Designs. Gambardella said the car's longer than normal headers made it louder than the average funny car. That and long burnouts without oil downs made it a popular match racer from 1979 to 1984. Gambardella said that many small problems kept the car from reaching its full potential. Best times were a 6.92, 215 clocking. The body is still being run today on the old Scarlet Fever TA/FC chassis. (Photo & information courtesy Tom Gambardella)

Johnny Rodriques

The Light My Fire Corvette was one of the best-known match racers out of the New England area in the early seventies. Johnny Rodriques of Rhode Island was the owner and driver of the Corvette. Rodriques, according to a magazine article, stepped out of the Rhode Islander stocker into this low seven second, 190 mile per hour beast. The magazine article said it was not a completely smooth transition. The great Northeast chassis builder Rollie Lindblad built the car in 1970. A pure 427 Chevrolet Rat powered the car backed by an automatic transmission. The Light My Fire was finally lost to the Corvette Curse after many close calls and minor accidents. The Vette burned up in a fire in 1972 and Rodriques retired from driving. Note the Halibrand wheels painted gold to stop the corrosion of the magnesium. (Handout from the JW Last files)

Al Hofmann

Al Hofmann began his nitro funny experience in this clean Vega. The car was purchased from the great team of Radici & Wise, who had retired after 1978. This is most likely Paul Radici at the wheel (note permanent number 305). Al Hofmann made the giant leap from a stick shift Modified Camaro to the China Syndrome in 1979. The team of Hofmann and Dodd match raced this car for two years before it was destroyed in 1980. The team ran a decent 6.35, 222 best pass at Englishtown, New Jersey. Hofmann’s partner Dodd was also gone after the Vega. Al would go on to destroy several more funny cars in crashes and fires in ‘80s. All those incidents earned Al the nickname "Atomic Al.” Hoffman found respectability and fame in the ‘90s as the nemesis of John Force and anyone else who crossed his path. He earned several NHRA titles, doing a complete turn around in his career. (Photo from the JW Last files)

Hunt & Taylor

In the early days of funny cars, former super stock racers dominated the class. As funny cars progressed quickly in the late ‘60s, many dragster guys joined the funny car ranks. One such racer was Arlington, Texas-based racer Vance Hunt. Vance had been a dominant force in the Texas Top Fuel scene since the late ‘50s. According to Hunt, he had a longtime crewmember on his dragster named Bob Taylor who decided to have a funny car built. Bob had Don Hardy build a 1969 Mustang that debuted in 1970. Vance said that it was first funny car Hardy built that was not Chevy powered. The duo decided to use Hunt's direct drive 392 Chrysler out of Hunt's dragster that had gone 6.76 at 229. Vance said the car would not handle right. Hunt also said that from the starting line, you could read the name on both sides of the car on each pass! Hunt said that he believed the car never won a round of competition. Bernie Williams, the original driver, recorded a best of 7.42 at 201. Hunt's dragster driver Watus Simpson (shown) drove the car to its best times in low seven-second range. The car was sold to a bracket racer and Hunt retired from drag racing in 1971. Bob Taylor built and raced the more successful Hemi Hoss Mustangs through 1977 (see Lost & Found FCs). (Information from Vance Hunt, photo from the JW Last files)

Jim Barillaro

Jim Barillaro is more famous for his wheelstanders (seen in background) and for restoring the legendary Chrisman's Comet. In the early days of funny car racing, Jim raced the Cammer Jammer Torino. The large car was powered by a Ford SOHC backed by an automatic transmission. Barillaro's car was usually a seven-second performer. The Torino body was seldom used in drag racing due to its large size. Dale Creasy and Phil Bonner are others who built Torino funny cars. The Cammer Jammer was near retirement by the time of this shot. By 1971, the stock size funny cars built with space frames were outdated. Jim Barillaro currently owns two Jack Chrisman cars that he shows many times a year. (Photo courtesy of Ted Pappacena) 

Don Hampton

Supercharger manufacturer and dragster racer Don Hampton's funny car was unique to say the least. The American Bandstand Corvette had two small block Chevys for power. The car was built around his old A/C roadster chassis. The engines were side by side at an angle in the chassis and ran on alcohol. The American Bandstand was too heavy to run good elapsed times but was very noisy. The noise factor added to its popularity. The best times for the car were a 7.83/190 clocking. The only other twin-engine funny in seventies was Dean Dillingham's Nova. The American Bandstand was destroyed in an accident in Australia when another car T-boned it. Hampton went back to dragsters full time after coming back to California. (Photo courtesy of Drag Racing Memories)

Tom Sturm

Tom Sturm was a die-hard Chevy racer in the sixties with the Just 4 Chevy Lovers funny cars. He shocked some fans when he debuted this Dodge Challenger which he named the Swapper after his switch. The car could be seen at most Southern California funny races during the 1970 season. Famed crew chief Dale Armstrong was the hired driver for Sturm. Dale won a few races with the car such as Grand Prix held at Irwindale. The seven-second car was sold at the end of 1970. Tom Sturm built a new Chevy Camaro and came out of retirement to drive again. Dale Armstrong as most know went on to become one of the top drivers and tuners in drag racing history. (Photo courtesy of Drag Racing Memories)

Richard Rogers

Richard Rogers was a very tough racer from the Great Northwest. He raced Top Fuelers, Top Gassers, and other classes. Rogers began to race his own funny car in the seventies. He had to race the likes of Jerry Ruth, Twig Zeigler, Ed McCulloch, Gordie Bonin, and other tough ‘70s funny cars from Division 6. The Miss Debra Monza was the final funny car in a line that included the Rogers & Shingle Cuda and Miss Debra Duster. Following the tradition of unlimited hydroplane boat racers of the area, Rogers gave his Monza a feminine name. The car was said to be named after his daughter. Rogers raced the Monza until 1982 with best ETs in the sixes. The car had a Donovan at first and swapped to a Keith Black Hemi later. Rogers finished his career in Top Fuelers after parking this car. (Photo courtesy of Herman Marchetti)

Fuzz Miller

Some starts in drag racing are best forgotten. The Miller Bros. & Miglizzi Pandemonium Trans Am was one of them. The car debuted in 1978 using Bob Sullivan's old car name. Fuzz Miller was from Texas and partner Lanny Miglizzi, a respected clutch builder, was from California. Miglizzi kept the car in California and Miller flew into drive. The team spent several months at Orange County, learning the funny car ropes. Fuzz learned to drive the car and had several adventures. Miller had a bad fire at Ontario in 1978 and put it over the guardrail at Pomona in 1979. The car was rebuilt to race again. Miller would make the top ten in 1981, without Miglizzi, before retiring from racing. (Photo courtesy of Mike Ditty)

Art Ward

Art Ward was one of Division 5's first funny car heroes. Ward first made a name for himself at the wheel of the Assassination cars of Roger Guzman, but later split from Guzman to go out on his own. Ward first ran the Henchman Cougar with another partner. He then built the first of the Avenger funny cars (pictured) in 1970. The car quickly became one the top cars in Division 5. It had a late model Hemi in a Don Hardy chassis. The real magnesium Halibrand wheels required constant buffing to prevent corrosion. A new Avenger Mustang replaced this Cuda. Ward would go back to drive for Roger Guzman twice before retiring in the early ‘80s. (Photo courtesy of Pete Garramone)

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