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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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Round 31: Rear engine funny cars featuring Jim Dunn in the Dunn & Reath Cuda, Dave Bowman's California Stud Vega Panel, Robert Contorelli's Mustang, John Force's chain driven, sidewinder Mustang, Dick Stokes' Duster, Wayne Mahaffey's Alabamian Vega Panel, Ed Shaver's Castrol Hustler Vauxhall, Dennis Geisler in Bert Berniker's Hindsight Demon, Norm Oakey in the American Auto Parts Monaro and Camaro, and Tony Froome's Sundance Vauxhall.


Without question, the most successful rear-engine funny in drag racing history was "Big Jim" Dunnís Cuda. This was the only one to win a national event, the 1972 NHRA Supernationals. The car featured a trick Woody Gilmore chassis with Dunn & Reathís 392 Chrysler Hemi for power. This car was the one featured in the movie Funny Car Summer in 1972. Dunn has mentioned that this car was very difficult to drive and seldom made a full pass. Jimís best time was an amazing 6.44 -- nearly a half a second quicker than the next rear-engine funny car! The car was replaced by a new Satellite in 1974. It now resides in Western Canada. (Photo from Drag Race Memories; info from Draglist files)


Dave Bowman had raced top fuelers and fuel altereds before racing funny cars. The first "California Stud" Mustang was the former Gas Rhonda mount. Bowman raced the car a couple of times in 1971. In 1972, he built this new "California Stud" Vega Panel funny car. The car had several negatives as soon as it debuted. These included the rear-engine design, space frame chassis, panel body, and cast iron Hemi. Despite all of these shortcomings, the "California Stud" was the only rear engine funny besides Dunn to make a final at a major race. Bowman managed to earn the runner up spot at a PDA race at Orange County, mostly due to good luck. The "Stud" ran 7.20 at 190 before being taken from the asphalt to the sand. (Photo from Drag Race Memories, info from Draglist files)


Robert Contorelli decided to go funny car racing after a short dragster career. Contorelliís rear-engine Mustang was built with the best of everything at the time. It had a Woody Gilmore chassis, complete with state of the art Donovan Aluminum Hemi. Ed Wills of Mr. Ed fame did the customized Mustang body for Contorelli. The car was a hit with magazines, scoring many photo shoots, but that did not translate into wide success on the drag strip. Contorelliís best pass was a 6.89 in 1972. The Mustang and Contorelli found their way into Californiaís booming sand racing scene. (J.W. Last file photo, info from Draglist files)


John Forceís first funny car was a major flop. Not only was "The Night Stalker" a rear engined car, but the engine was mounted sideways. John and Louie Force purchased the Mustang from Jack Chrisman. Chrisman had built the car but never raced it. The carís weak point was the chain drive. Irwindale starter Larry Sutton was so tired of being hit with chain links, he had John banned from the track. The car had a SOHC 427 Ford to begin with, but a Chrysler Hemi took its place. The car later became the "Cop Patrol," but still was unsuccessful. (Photo courtesy of Auto Imagery (www.autoimagery.com); info from Draglist files)


Dick Stokes raced this rear engine funny car with the UDRA circuit and in match races. The Hemi powered Duster was a departure from his previous Pontiac mounts. The two previous "Blue Bandit" Pontiacs won many traces from 1968 to 1970. This new í72 Duster replaced the aging "Blue Bandit" Ď69 GTO. Romeo Palamides was hired to build the chassis and mount the body. This was Palamidesí first rear engine chassis, but he had built front flip funny cars for Don Schumacher and Arnie Beswick. Stokes ran the car over the next couple of years, hitting times in the seven-second range. The car is still around today and running as the "Lethal Injection." (Photo from Geri Golonka; info from Draglist files)


Some rear-engine cars were short lived because of accidents. A prime example of that was the "Alabamian" Vega Panel. The car crashed in only its second race. Billy Holt had the car built by famed chassis builder Don Hardy. Holtís 426 Chrysler Hemi did not lack for power. The car was debuted not long after this photo shoot at Six Flags. "Alabamian" driver Wayne Mahaffey thankfully was not injured in the carís total destruction. Holt and Mahaffey built a conventional Vega to replace the Panel Wagon. (Photo by from Holt Family files, info from Draglist files)


Ed Shaver was a United States service man stationed in Great Britain. He became a famous drag racer on his leave time. Shaver raced Stockers and Super Stockers, winning class many times. He worked his way up to driving the very weird Bond Bug AA/FA for Mark Stratton. The pair decided to build a funny car next. Keeping a flair for the unique, they built the "Castrol Hustler" Vauxhall. The car was built with a 392 Chrysler Hemi. Shaver wrote an article for Drag Racing USA, describing the troubles of a rear engine funny car. These included poor handling and the lack of depth perception. Peter Barnett and Tony Froome later drove the tricky Vauxhall. (Photo and info by Alan Currans, additional info from Draglist files)


The "Hindsight" funny car crash at Pomona is one of the most remembered crashes of he seventies. It was caught on film by famed journalist Woody Hatten and was replayed many times on television. The crash of the "Hindsight" also ended the era of the rear-engine funny car in NHRA national events. Bert Berniker had the "Hindsight" Duster funny car built in late 1973. Jim Adolph was the original driver of the "Hindsight" in shakedown runs. Fuel Altered driver Dennis Geisler took over the driverís seat in 1974. Times were in the seven-second range, far behind the front runners of the day. The end of the road for Bernikerís "Hindsight" was at the 1975 Winternationals at Pomona. In qualifying the car went into a wheel stand and flipped over. The ensuing crash let the "Hindsight" live in infamy. (Photo by Steve Reyes from 70ís FC files; info from Draglist files)


Norm Oakey was Australiaís only rear-engine funny car racer. Oakey dared to be different in the seventies. This "American Auto Parts" Holden Monaro was the second rear-engine funny car built by Oakley. The first one, the scary, homebuilt Goggomobile, was raced in several configurations. Oakey ran it with two blowers. Norm raced it with a regular and rear engine chassis. Oakey was the first Australian funny car in the eights with the Goggomobile. The Monaro replaced the homely little car. Norm raced the Monaro for the next couple of years.


Oakey replaced the Valiant in 1976 with this Camaro, last rear engine funny car to be newly constructed. The Camaro proved to be as much a handful as the other rear engine funny cars. Norm parked the Camaro to race dragsters by the late Ď70s. Oakey currently runs a Top Alcohol Dragster with his son Dean. (Color photo from Steve Thomas/Visual Velocity; B&W photo from David Cook; info from Draglist files)


Tony Froomeís Sundance was the last running rear-engine AA/FC funny car. Froome bought the former Castrol Vauxhall car in 1976 and renamed the car the "Sundance."


Froome rebuilt the car and the body and raced it through the 1979 season. Tony used a 392 Chrysler Hemi in a Top Fueler and in this car. The aging car was unsuccessful and Froome finally parked it. Tony returned to racing with an injected alcohol Monza funny car. His son, Trace, is now the driver of the Sunburst funny car. (Photo from Alan Currans; info from Draglist files)


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