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 35: Featuring more Southern California funny cars, including  Don Johnson, the Burkholder Bros, John Collins, Leroy Chadderton, Ron Sutherland's "Desert Rat," Gervase O’Neill's "King Rat," Gary Hazen’s "Panic" Vega, the "Nutcracker" Javelin, and Sherm Gunn.

Don Johnson was very successful in the 1960s as a AA/Fuel Dragster team owner. His cars won many races with drivers such as Tom McEwen and Bob Muravez. Johnson added a funny car in 1970 and drove the car himself. The Cuda was seldom raced and was sold with the dragster in 1971. Don built a new Chevrolet Vega in 1972. The cast iron Hemi powered machine mainly ran match races for the next couple of years. Johnson was not as successful in funny cars as he had been in dragsters. Don ran a 6.80 with the Vega after he crashed a new Monza. This car also was seldom raced. Johnson quit by 1977. (Photo provided by Gary Hojnacki, info from Dennis Doubleday and Draglist files)

The "Brotherhood" funny car team was a partnership between two racing families. The Burkholder Bros. -- Harry and Pete -- had previously raced AA/Fuel Altereds, while the Spiegel Bros. -- John, Dick, and Steve -- had AA/GS experience. The two teams formed one team to run the "Brotherhood" Cuda. A 392 Chrysler Hemi powered the bright yellow Plymouth. The Northern California based team were regulars at Fremont and Sacramento. Harry Burkholder drove the car to known best times of 6.93 at 223 in 1975. The "Brotherhood" split up and retired from racing. The car’s body is now used on Jeff Gaynor’s nostalgia funny car. (Photo by Dave Esqueda; info Draglist files and Jeff Gaynor)

John Collins’ 1971 Mustang was the first funny car he owned. Collins had previously been a hired driver in both Top Fuel and AA/Funny Cars. John was hired first to drive for John Bateman in 1970 in the "Atlas Oil Tool Spl." Maverick. In 1971, Collins was replaced when Bateman built a new Mustang. By the middle of the year, Collins was driving the car again. Bateman sold the car to John when he decided to retire. Collins raced the car on the West Coast for the next couple of years, recording a best of 6.90 at 211. In 1974, Collins took over the second car of Tom McEwen. He went on to gain fame at the wheel of that car and his own later "Audio Express" backed cars. (Photo provided by Drag Racing Memories; info from Draglist files)

Leroy Chadderton was most famous for driving the "Magnificent 7" AA/Fuel Altereds from 1966 to 1971. Chadderton toured the United States with California Fuel Altered Tour for a couple of years. In 1971, Leroy debuted a new low riding AA/Fuel Altered. Chadderton set the AA/Fuel Altered world on fire with the first legitimate six-second pass by an AA/Fuel Altered. The new car finally ran a 6.77 at Lions in 1971. Chadderton was offered the seat in Roland Leong’s "Hawaiian" in 1972. The "Hawaiian" ride lasted for the next couple of years. In 1974, Leroy teamed with fellow ex-fuel altered Glen Okasaki to build a new Chevrolet Vega. Okasaki worked for Keith Black during the day. The team laid down one of the best runs of the season with a 6.31 at 221.22 at Pomona. The team was short-lived tough. Chadderton & Okasaki sold the car in 1975 to Roy Phelps, the owner of Santa Pod Dragway in England. Phelps hired Chadderton drive a couple of times along with Dale Emery. Chadderton retired from driving in 1975. The Vega became the "Gladiator," driven by Allen Herridge. The car raced under several different names until the mid 1980s. (Photo courtesy of Alan Currans; info from Draglist files)

The "Desert Rat" series of funny cars was one of Arizona’s best. Ron and Val Sutherland from Scottsdale owned the "Desert Rat." Ron Sutherland’s job as a hockey referee paid for the cars. The first "Desert Rat" was a scary homebuilt Camaro powered by a cast-iron Chevy. Larry Christopherson’s polished Nova replaced the Camaro in 1970. The new "Desert Rat" was a solid mid-sevens performer with a 7.66 known best. Sutherland shared the seat with Chris Lane in the Nova. By 1972, the pictured Nova was outdated and Sutherland built a new Vega. The new "Desert Rat" ran a best of 7.02 according to Ben Brown’s great Car Craft article series. Sutherland stepped out of the driver’s seat in 1972 and Bob Booker took over the driving. The Sutherlands gave up racing in 1975 only to return in 1984. Ron Sutherland returned to driving, replacing Chris Lane at the wheel. The last "Desert Rat" raced in 1995. (L&M photo courtesy of Drag Race Memories; info from Dennis Doubleday, Bill Duke, and Draglist files)

Gervase O’Neill was originally from Canada before moving to California. Gervase moved with his brother Johnny. In California, the O’Neills began to race Chevrolets. Gervase drove an A/FX Chevelle that became his first funny car. Gervase’s brother Johnny, who opened up Johnny's Tune Up in Gardena, California, became his tuner. The O’Neill Brothers next built the "King Rat" Corvette that raced until 1970. A new Camaro was built in 1972, complete with Chevrolet cast iron Rat Power. The "King Rat" Camaro was a regular at Southern California match races until 1977. The popular team ran best of 6.72 with pure Chevy power. Only a couple of racers went faster with a Chevy. Gervase O’Neill might not have been a big winner or as well known as other Chevy racers, but he goes down in history as one of the quickest fuel Chevy racers ever. (Photo courtesy of Drag Race Memories, info from Michael O’Neill and Draglist files)

Gary Hazen’s "Panic" Chevrolet Vega funny car is not remembered as much as his AA/Fuel Altered or his Top Fuel dragster. Hazen joined the funny cars at a time when many other AA/Fuel Altered drivers were switching as well. The weekly local AA/Fuel Altered shows were drying up in Southern California as the cost of drag racing skyrocketed in the early ‘70s. Hazen and Vehehil’s "Panic" AA/Fuel Altered was one of quickest Fuel Altereds in Southern California. The known best time by the "Panic" AA/Fuel Altered was a 7.10, although he did receive a disputed 6.71, 210-mph time slip in 1971. The "Panic" team switched to AA/FC in 1972, but they did not enjoy the same level of success they had with the altered. The "Panic" Vega was raced for only two years, 1972 and 1973. Draglist files show that Hazen ran a 6.73, 214.74 best with the red Vega. Gary left the AA/FC wars for a Top Fuel dragster ride to finish out his driving career. The Donovan powered "Panic" dragster ran times of 6.13 at 231. Hazen has since passed away, but he is not forgotten. (Photo from Drag Racing Memories; info from Draglist files)

The "Nutcracker" Javelin was one of the rare AMC Javelin funny cars, joining Bob Pickett’s "Mr. Pickett," Gary Crane’s "Travelin’ Javelin," the " Genuine Suspension AMX-1," Doug Thorley’s "Javelin 1," and a few others. The "Nutcracker" was raced by former fuel altered ace Gary Read. A Chrysler 392 powered the "Nutcracker." The car is better remembered for its hellacious burnouts then for its elapsed times. Read later traded the funny car seat to drive the "Genuine Suspensions" and "Dago Red" Top Fuelers. Gary currently drives the Haight and Sullivan AA/Fuel Altered. (Photo courtesy of Drag Race Memories; info from Bob Duke, Dennis Doubleday, and Draglist files)

Chassis builder Sherm Gunn made his nitro funny car debut in 1979. Sherm had previously raced blown gassers, blown gas altereds, blown alcohol altereds, and blown alcohol funny cars. In the Lawce & Gunn blown gas AA/Altered, he became the first to run a seven-second time in the class. Gunn had average success racing the AA/A and BB/FC in the Pro Comp class. In 1979, Sherm stepped up to AA/Funny Car with this super sanitary Challenger. Gunn built the car in his M&S Chassis Shop in Azusa, California. The car had the standard setup for the time with a Keith Black Hemi for power. Gunn did not have success right away -- he raced until 1983 with mediocre results, including a best time of 6.35. Success came with the next car Gunn raced, as he won the 1984 World Finals at Pomona. Gunn never won another national event round of racing after that weekend. He retired from racing in 1988. (Photo courtesy of Mike Ditty, info from Draglist files)

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