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 34: Featuring Southern California Funnies, including the "Mako Shark" Corvette, Mark Susman, Eddie Pauling, the Plueger & Gyger Mustang, the "Hellfire" Corvette, Mike Halloran, Bob Hankins, John Hoven’s "Mach I," Mert Littlefield, and the Beebe Bros.

The "Mako Shark" Corvette was built in the sixties but raced into the seventies. Ron Scrima built the chassis in his Exhibition Engineering shop in 1968. The "Mako Shark" Corvette was owned originally Jim Wetton and Don Cullinan, but Gary Afdahl replaced Cullinan in the partnership. Roger Wolford, who had driven the "Secret Weapon" Jeep AA/FC, was hired to drive the Corvette. Reports in the drag papers have listed all three partners as drivers. The "Mako Shark" was a special edition Corvette available through the local dealership. Jack Head Chevrolet was the original sponsor. The known best times for the car were 7.68 at 191.08 in 1969. The team raced the "Mako Shark" into the 1970 season. (Photo courtesy of Drag Racing Memories; info from Dennis Doubleday, Draglist files, and Don Montgomery’s Dragster and Funny Car Memories)

Mark Susman was only a teenager when he began racing a funny car in 1969. It did not take long for Susman to learn how to drive the nitro burning Chevrolet Nova. Susman raced the 426 Chrysler Hemi powered machine at Lions, Orange County, and Irwindale. Mark ran times in the low-sevens in 1969. In 1970, the car was repainted in "Jungle Jim " colors as Liberman's third team car. It was said that the reason Susman’s car was added to the Liberman team was for Liberman to learn how to run the 426 Chrysler Hemi. Jungle made the switch to the Hemi in the middle of the year, replacing his Chevy rat motor. Mark Susman raced his Chevrolet Nova under the "Jungle Jim" banner in 1970 and retired at the end of the year. (Photo provided by Drag Racing Memories, info from Draglist files)

Eddie Pauling was a great funny car driver from the state of Arizona. His driving career lasted from 1967 to 1977 with a break in 1974 and 1975. He is most famous for the "Lil' Hoss" funny cars he drove for Johnny Loper. Pauling also had his own series of "Whinemaker" funny cars. Eddie was not afraid to try new ideas. The first two funny cars he drove were 392 Chrysler powered rear engine machines. The first, called the "Ol' Whine Maker," was a '66 Dodge Dart, and the second was a '68 Mercury Cougar called the "Whinemaker." They were somewhat successful, but Pauling decided to go mainstream with a conventional '69 Mustang. It was soon to be outdated due to rapid changes in funny car racing.

Eddie then built a lighter, narrow-framed Mustang (shown in the photo). The car was successful in Arizona match racing, running a known best of 6.81 at 205. Pauling experimented with airfoils on the back half of the car unsuccessfully. Eddie also drove a rear engine dragster with a side-mounted motor called the "Arizona Sidewinder." It too was relatively unsuccessful. Pauling retired after the 1973 season and sold the Mustang to John Powers of Powers Steel fame. Eddie returned to drive for Loper in 1976, recording a 5.97 in the "Lil' Hoss." He retired again in the middle of 1977 season. (Photo from Drag Racing Memories; info from Draglist files)

"Plain bad" is a simple way to describe the Plueger & Gyger 1973 Mustang. The Donovan-powered machine was one of toughest cars to beat on the West Coast during the mid-seventies. Co-owner and professional chassis builder Steve Plueger built the car. It did not seem to matter who was the driver at the time -- the car performed and put up victory after victory. John Collins, Dave Condit, Gerry Glenn, Fred Mooneyham, and Dale Pulde all drove the killer black Mustang. Condit had the finest hour in the car when he recorded an amazing 6.19 at Ontario in 1974. This was Plueger's most successful FC effort, as his first Corvette crashed with Wendall Shipman at the wheel. Plueger also teamed with "Lil' John" Lombardo on a Vega that went a 6.69 in 1972. Next came the Mustang. Plueger retired in 77.

Plueger and his brother built a new Dodge Omni Charger in 1983. The car ran the best ever times for a Donovan motor with Steve Chrisman driving. Lombardo and Plueger raced together again in 1988. Plueger raced two more funny cars in the nineties. He teamed with Kenny Youngblood on the "American Eagle" and with various friends and Al Segrini on another. He and his friends built a new Firebird in 2004. The car, with Dale Pulde driving, made the best runs ever for the single magneto, single fuel pump setup. Plueger's flair for the unique and lack of big bucks combined to keep any of his successive efforts from matching the success of the bad, black '73 Mustang. (Photo by Dave Milcarek; info from Draglist files)

The "Hellfire" Corvette was one of the sleekest funny cars of its era. The team of Jim Shue and Johnny Wright formed in 1969. Wright had previously driven the "Lorenz and Wright" Chevy II, which used to be Dale Armstrong’s Canuck, and the Wright Bros. Camaro. Jim Shue spared no expense for the performance and look of the car. The team was one of the toughest in 1969 and 1970 in Southern California, hitting the mid to low seven second range at 200 MPH.

The "Hellfire" ran a 7.32 at the 1969 Manufacturers Funny car Championships at Orange County. The car was parked by the 1970 season of funny car racing after running a best of 7.29 at 205.49. Johnny Wright finished his funny car career in one of Mickey Thompson’s funny cars. Wright moved to Arkansas after retiring. The team celebrated its anniversary earlier this year at Las Vegas. Frank Pedregon repainted his funny car as a tribute to the "Hell Fire" team. (Photo by Drag Race Memories; info from Dennis Doubleday, Dale Pulde, and Draglist files)

Some drag racers claim to be rocket scientists; Mike Halloran was one for real. Halloran was a tough, middle of the pack racer, but he could step up to play the spoiler of the race at any time. Mike started the seventies in a Chevy powered Camaro called the "Ivory Hunter." More racer than purist, Halloran switched to a new Hemi powered Vega in 1972. He wrecked the Vega at Orange County that year at the PDA race. A new Woody Gilmore built Charger replaced the Vega and became Halloran’s best known car. The Charger ran at first with an iron Hemi but later got a Milodon aluminum version. Halloran ran the car from 1973 to 1977 until he retired from drag racing. The big Dodge was a winner in match races up and down the West Coast. According to Draglist files, it ran a best of 6.25. (Photo by Dave Milcarek; info from Bill Duke & Draglist files)

Bob Hankins was more famous as a fuel altered racer in the late '60s. Hankins, like many other AA/FA racers, switched to funny cars to earn more money and to race more often. The "Blue Blazer" Pinto was Hankins’ second funny car. The first was a Corvette body placed on the old altered chassis, which Bob retired in order to build the new Pinto. The Pinto featured a space frame chassis with a 392 Chrysler for power, and ran a best of 6.92 at 200 plus according to Draglist files. The "Blue Blazer" Pinto was parked by 1972 and Hankins retired from racing. Hankins returned to racing in the 2000s. Bob’s son Brett drives a new version of their old AA/FA. The Pinto is now sitting in a collector’s garage with the same paint seen in the photo. (Photo & info from the Hankins family, additional info from Bill Duke)

John Hoven’s "Mach I" is remembered as one the best looking funny cars of the seventies. The team had previously raced in the SoCal AA/FA Wars. Hoven was a partner in the Way, Hoven, and Okazaki 23T. Driver Tom Ferraro had driven both fuel altereds and funny cars. The funny cars he drove were the unusual Genuine Suspension "AMX-1" Javelin and the equally unusual rear engine "Javelin 1" of Doug Thorley. The fuel altereds Ferraro drove were the Genuine Suspension Fiat and the Campos Bros. "Low Blow" 23T. It was in the "Low Blow" that Ferraro almost died of serious burns. Tom's turn in the "Mach I" was his return to racing after the fire. Hoven and Ferarro did not enjoy the winning success that they had in fuel altereds, a problem shared by other converts to funny cars from fuel altereds. The cost of racing a successful funny car was higher than for an altered.

During the 1971 season, the evolution of funny cars was making a major change. The 426 stoke stroke Chrysler that powered the "Mach 1" was becoming outdated. The Donovan was in the near future and stroker late model Hemis were the rage. The 6.89, 209 best numbers by Ferraro in Hoven’s Mustang could not win anymore. Tom Ferraro drove the car in 1971 and 1972. Grant Meredith, a former blown gasser racer, replaced Ferraro at the controls when Ferraro left to drive the "Rat Trap" Satellite. Dale Pulde then took a turn at the butterfly. The "Mach 1" raced through 1974. Ron Smith bought the Mustang, relettered it as the "H.M.S. Odyssey," and ran it as a BB/FC. (Photo courtesy of Drag Racing Memories; info from Dennis Doubleday and Draglist files)

Mert Littlefield is one of the most respected blower manufacturers in all of drag racing. A Mert Littlefield blower is instantly recognizable by the small round yellow decal on the side of the blower. As long as Mert Littlefield has built superchargers, he has raced funny cars. Mert began with an ex-Mike Miller Dart he called the  "Rapid Transit." The car was raced until 1971 with a new Charger body. Mert burned the to the ground, ending the "Rapid Transit" series. Littlefield built a new Vega in 1972 with his new partner Sublett. Mert began to have his first success in nitro racing with the new car. That success led to the sponsorship with the U.S. Air Force in 1974. The sponsorship was not the size of Don Prudhomme’s Army, Tom McEwen’s Navy, or Mickey Thompson’s U.S. Marines deals, however.

The Air Force deal did allow the Littlefield & Sublett team to tour for the first time in their career. The new 1974 Vega had all the latest parts. The known best times for the car were a 6.77 at 215 according to Draglist files. The U.S. Air Force sponsorship only lasted until 1975 and Littlefield began driving the Bays & Rupert Cuda. A retirement from racing lasted until 1982 when Mert partnered with Richard Bays on a new Charger. The car's most famous pass was a fiery crash at the 1984 Winternationals at Pomona that was shown on television and in magazines nationwide. Littlefield and Bays rebuilt and finished the year. The team split up but Littlefield returned with an alcohol funny car. Mert has enjoyed his greatest success in TA/FC racing, winning several nationals events. (Photo from 70s Funny Cars files; info from Draglist files)

When Tim Beebe returned to racing after the death of John Mulligan, he chose funny cars. Tim teamed with his brother Dave on the "Dodge Fever" Cuda. The car was owned by the Utah duo of Dallas Ferguson and Dean Hofheins. This was second funny car the duo owned. The Beebe Bros. ran the car out of their shop on the West Coast. The full size Cuda held its own against the new mini-cars. The Tim Beebe built 392 Chrysler Hemi powered the car to 6.99, 210 best times in 1970 at Orange County. The "Dodge Fever" team won many races that year. The Beebes built their own "Fighting Irish" funny car in 1971, but they did not have the same success. In 1974, Tim Beebe went back to a dragster with Jim Murphy. The "Dodge Fever" was sold to Albert Renda, who employed Bob Harris, Johnny White, and others as drivers. (Photo courtesy of Drag Racing Memories; info from Dennis Doubleday and Draglist files)

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