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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
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70s Funny Cars - Round 39
70s Funny Cars - Round 40
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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
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70s Funny Cars - Round 51
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Round 32: Back to Australia featuring Mick and Ron Atholwood's Holden Torana, Geoff Burnett's Chrysler Charger, Graeme Cowin's High Performance World Camaro, Ben and Joe Gatt's Mercury Capri, Bruce Lynch and Ray Zygadlo's Wizard Torana, Neale Randall's Haribatican Torana, Rick Jones in Jim Read's Mustang, Owen Griffiths in Tom Stirling's Mustang, John Taylor's Mercury Capri, and George Weiczorek's Cuda.


The Atholwoods were a father and son funny car team. Mick was the father and Ron was his son. Mick and Ron raced this 454 Chevrolet powered Holden Torana AA/Funny Car. The car was home built by Mick and debuted in November 1975. Mick drove the car at first, but Ron took over the driving in November 1977. Rod Merchant and Roy Smith also drove the car. The Torana’s best times were 7.55 at 185.94. Shown here is Atholwood’s Holden Torana (near lane) racing Bob Dunn in the ex-Gene Snow Snowman" Dodge at the 1975 Nationals at Surfers Paradise Raceway. (Photo by David Cook; text by David Cook & Danny White)


This is Queenslander Geoff Burnett in his Girlock brakes-backed Chrysler Charger racing John Taylor at Surfers Paradise in 1974. The car had a cast iron 350 small block Chevrolet for power at the time. Burnett ran the small block from June 1974 to the end of the 1975 season, running best times of 8.89 at 175.49. A 392 Chrysler Hemi was used next from January to August 1976. The Hemi improved the Charger to an 8.69 at 195.43. Burnett replaced the heavy Charger with a new Mustang II, but quit racing funny cars by the end of 1976 after he crashed the Mustang. In the late ‘80s, Burnett raced a blown doorslammer, which he also crashed. Geoff then built a blown Donovan Pro Comp altered that became the fastest in the world. Burnett raced the car as an AA/A and as a TA/FC Firebird. Geoff began making carbon fiber injector hats and moved the company to Indiana. He now races an alcohol funny car in IHRA competition. (Photo courtesy of David Cook; text by David Cook and Danny White)


Graeme Cowin is Australia’s best known AA/Funny Car driver, with tours to America over the years with fuelers and funny cars. Before racing funny cars, Cowin drove an AA/Fuel Altered, in which he broke the 200-mph barrier. Graeme turned to AA/FC next with the ex-Nick Harmon Mustang. A Cuda replaced the Mustang and Cowin stepped out of the driver’s seat. Graeme took to driving again after his Camaro was destroyed in a wild mid-track backflip following a big wheelstand in 1975. Cowin replaced hired driver Jack McLeod at the wheel of the High Performance World Camaro. This photo was taken at Surfers Paradise 1976. Cowin raced the Camaro from December 1977 to May 1979. His best times in the car were 6.56 at 217.78. (Photo courtesy of David Cook; text by David Cook and Danny White)


Ben and Joe Gatt advanced through sedan racing before moving to funny cars. They began racing in 1965 with an FJ Holden and an Anglia gasser. The pair built a Capri funny car next. Joe tuned the car while Ben did all the driving. The Gatt Brothers Super Flow Heads Capri first raced with a 427 Injected Ford in September 1973. The Ford proved to be unsuccessful and the team converted to a blown 392 Chrysler Hemi to go AA/FC racing. In November 1974, on the car’s first pass with the blower, they blew the body off the car. Ben Gatt drove the car to a best of 8.22 at 191 in September 1975. The car burned to the ground at Adelaide International Raceway in October of the same year. The two quit fuel racing after the fire at Adelaide and went back to racing sedans with a Falcon Ute, a Capri gasser, and their famous blown small block BB/Gas Falcon. The Gatts also raced Top Doorslammer for a couple of years in the nineties. (Photo courtesy of David Cook; text by David Cook and Danny White)


Bruce Lynch teamed up with Ray Zygadlo to field this Torana FC under the name "Wizard" in 1977. Lynch did the driving while Zygadlo did the tuning. The mold for the body was made from a rental car taken out over a weekend and returned in less than original condition. The "Wizard" ran in the seven-second zone. Note the body being blown out at the side by the headers while fuel is leaking out the top. Zygadlo used to dress up in a wizard outfit on the starting line – sometimes to his peril. Once a fire came up the long sleeve while he was working on the car. (Photo courtesy of David Cook, text by David Cook and Danny White)


Ex-aerobatics flyer Neale Randall bought his way into drag racing in the ex-Bruce Phillips’ "Panic" Torana. Randall renamed the car the "Haribatican," a name from his stunt flying days. When people would ask why he gave up, he would tell them he was still going "haribatican," but in a car. The car featured a 454 Chevrolet. Neale is shown here racing at Sydney’s Oran Park Raceway. Randall later built and raced a heavy Monza-bodied FC in 1978, and bought the ex-Graeme Cowin/Bruce Phillips/John Lumb Mustang and raced it in 1979. Neale moved to an ex-Graeme Cowin Arrow FC in 1980. (Photo courtesy of David Cook; text by David Cook and Danny White)


While enjoying success with his Top Fuelers, Sydney’s Jim Read moved into Funny Car with this blown small block-powered Torana in 1972. He only raced this car for a year. Rick Jones ran the best time for the car at 9.42. Read drove the car at only one race, Surfer’s Paradise in March 1973, and crashed. In 1973, a Hemi powered Mustang replaced the Torana. Read hired drivers like Rick Jones and Bob Shepherd to pilot the Mustang. Jim later returned to drive the Chesterfield’s Mach I. He scored a double win with his Top Fueler and AA/Funny Car at the 1976 Nationals. (Photo courtesy of David Cook; text by David Cook and Danny White)


Tom Stirling teamed up with driver Owen "Argus Tuff" Griffiths in the mid-1970s on this Mach I Mustang with backing from Camel Cigarettes. This car replaced the Ford powered "Thunderbolt" Mustang AA/FC and used a more reliable 392 Chrysler for power. Stirling's Camel Filters backed Mustang came to an abrupt end when movie floodlights at Castlereagh blinded Owen Griffiths. Griffiths got out of shape and rolled along the safety barrier. (Photo courtesy of David Cook, text by David Cook and Danny White)


John Taylor was a graduate of the Fuel Altered days in Australia. Taylor had raced a scary homebuilt Fiat named "The Crazyman." Like Graeme Cowin, Bob Dunn, and Jim Walton, he built a Funny Car after the altered. Taylor’s Capri-bodied Funny Car debuted in June 1974. Winston sponsored the Capri at first, but American Auto Parts backed the car in late 1975. John Taylor’s best times in the Capri were 8.36 at 196.07. The American Auto Parts car ran out of brakes at Oran Park in May 1976. It ran off the limited braking area and into a neighboring farm area, wrapping itself up in a cattle fence. (Photo courtesy of David Cook; text by David Cook and Danny White)


Small bore altered racer George Weiczorek briefly teamed with ex-sedan racer Allan Greene to run this Plymouth Cuda. The car was the former High Performance World "Highway Patrol" of Graeme Cowin. Weiczorek drove the car while Green tuned the engine. The team only ran a couple of race meetings without success before quitting. The car is shown here at the drag strip in Perth. Alan Greene later returned to nitro funny cars in the 1990s. The "Greene Machine" Beretta is one of the last nitro funny cars in Australia. (Photo courtesy of David Cook; text by David Cook and Danny White)


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