& Info courtesy of "Berserko Bob" Doerrer (except
By Bob Plumer @ Drag Racing Memories
How did Bob's
Berserko Lounge and its close ties to Jungle
Jim come about... After returning home from Viet-Nam (USMC 1st Battalion, 1st Marines) in 1968 I
started working weekends at Englishtown, worked my up from laying
numbers on windshields to announcing. I don't remember when I
was given the name Berserko, about 1969 I'd guess. I called the
house I lived in the Lounge, so it became "Bob's Berserko
Lounge". I made up some T-shirts and stickers, started distributing
them and racers from stock to Top Fuel would put them on their
cars. The touring funny cars in those days would run the weekend
events then come to E-Town to camp out until the legendary Wednesday
night shows that E-Town was famous for. That's when I met Jungle. He was working on his car in the pits one afternoon, I stopped by
and started talking to him. He asked me where was a good place
to eat, I suggested the legendary Cantore's (a very popular after
the races Bar & Grill).
We (Jungle, his wife at the time Bobbi,
and crewman, Peter White and me) hopped in my car and went to
eat. We returned to the track and spent the afternoon working
on the racecar. JJ ran that Wednesday night and after the race
asked me if I'd be interested in going on the road with him for
a couple of races. I packed my stuff and took off with the Jungle
Jim Show. I ended up spending a couple of winters on the west
coast with JJ and our friendship flourished. When Jungle moved
to West Chester, I introduced him to Bob Gerdes and "Mr.
J" from Circus Custom Paint. They started painting and lettering
Jungles cars which bought JJ to NJ a lot. From then until September
of 1977 when JJ died, we were the best of friends and probably
talked at least 3 times a week.
boiling the tires at Aquasco, Maryland in the 1972 Camaro. Both
Briggs Chevrolet and Revell came aboard as sponsors that year.
Bob Gerdes at Circus Custom Paints added the flames to make Revell
stand out a little better, and the little man in the loop of the
J in Jungle was done by "Mr. J" who also did all the
lettering. This was one of Jungle's favorite cars... the car debuted
at E-Town in March of 72 with just flames on the hood. Refer
to the photo with the tow car below for reference.
to former Circus Paints employee Franklin Amiano this is why the
72 Camaro pictured above was one of Jungle's favorites... the
Al Graeber chassis! (Ad from May 72 Drag Times)
team in 72. Story has it JJ spied Pam on the streets of their
hometown of West Chester, Pa., one day while chasing down parts
for the funny car. Arguably, Pam cemented Jungle's Elvis like
funny car faithful... JJ enlisted Pam to get his flopper safely
back from it's burnouts and to give the car a visual "once
over" prior to launching. A celebrity in her own right, Pam
graced the cover of the Feb 73 issue of Hot Rod magazine posing
with Jungle's new Vega flopper. (Photo at left courtesy of Charles
Gilchrist; visit his drag racing photo website at CharlesGilchrist.com. Photo at right from "Jungle Jim
& Pam" poster courtesy of Steve Reyes. To purchase a
copy of the Jungle poster contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org)
is the first Revell designed paint scheme... featured Jungle
& Pam... when Jungle got the Revell deal they worked with
Bob Gerdes at Circus Custom Paint to come up with this design.
Camaro was run concurrent with the Vega in late 72, early 73... won
York US 30's F/C Nationals in early 73 where this photo was taken... as
far as where this car is now, who knows? Franklin Amiano reports
"He flipped this car at Englishtown and walked away, not
a scratch. That car is out there somewhere with a Vega body on
it." (Photo courtesy of Bob Plumer at Drag Racing Memories)
a couple of early ones, 1971 I believe... That's me on the right
in white and "Jungle Bobbi" Jungle's first wife on the
left picking the winner of a "Jungle Jim" replica go-kart
on the starting line of Englishtown. The other photo is Fall of
1971, Jungle made an appearance at Brigg's Chevrolet. That's me
with the mike, Jungle facing right and Ovar Kovoleski, one of
Brigg's Motorsports drivers, giving away prizes.
is a deal I put together for Jungle with Briggs Chevrolet. I talked
Danny Zack, the owner, into giving Jungle (and this was a big
deal back then) $2,000 and a identically painted Camaro tow car
for his name on the back quarter panel. Circus did the paint on
both cars (note no Revell on the front quarter that came mid-season).
I had many opportunities to drive it on the street and it was
a blast! After the season Briggs took the car back and it sat
in their showroom for a while, I believe that Zack still has it
in his personal collection.
name appeared on several non-funny car projects including a Top
Fuel car campaigned for a period by NorCal's Ron Attebury and this
Pro Stock Vega Wagon in 72ish. It was built and driven by Dutch
"The Clutch" Irrgang who was a former crewmember for
Bill Jenkins and also worked at SRD. Dutch built the chassis at,
I believe, S&W, then finished up at Jungle's shop under the house... small block Vega was campaigned in match races and at
the Divisional level. (Picture from Jun 72 Hot Rod, used with
think again 1972. Waiting in the lanes at Maple Grove. From left:
Jungle Pam, Jungle, unknown girl, Peter White (known as WhitePeter)
Berserko Bob (with hat) and the infamous "Leaky Karen".
I spent most of this Summer on the road with JJ.
This was 73 or 74 I think. This shot was used
on Jungle's give-away photos that Quaker State printed for him.
According to Bob Gerdes from Circus this car was referred to as
"Bits & Pieces" because that's how Jungle built it... from bits and pieces he had lying around!
1970 JJ's red Camaro was added to Fleer's AHRA Official Drag Champs
series of baseball card sized trading cards. Back side of card
stated "Jim Liberman earned the nickname "Jungle Jim"
when he was handling the wild, early Funny Cars since driving
them was like taming a wild animal... Always a showman, Jim
puts down some of the best smoke filled burnouts around and performances
to match." Amen to that!!! (Card courtesy of the Attic Collection,
photo by Jon Asher)
Jungle's brand spanking new 1972 Camaro fresh from Circus Custom
Paints in Frank Marrietta's (spelling?) the owner/operator of Conn.
Dragway (now defunct) winter car show he held to promote his up-coming
season. From here the car went to Florida to race at Miami-Hollywood,
then to Englishtown where it debuted with it's matching tow car...
popularity, even as early as 1969, was such that he was chosen
to grace the cover of the first Funny Car Pictorial published
by Car Craft, Hot Rod and Rod & Custom magazines. Pictured
is one of the two Novas that comprised the first of JJ's many
multi-car teams that was to take him into the 70s. Clare Sander's
driven, Steve Kanuika sponsored version of the pictured car captured
the very first NHRA F/C crown at the 69 Winternationals. (Photo
from 69 Funny Car Pictorial cover, used with permission)
in plastic... model box from 1976
fans have their JJ stories too... according to Jim White (no,
not that Jim White... or that one either!) "The Jungle Jim
B&W Handout is from 1969... that's what I got paid plus some
food for helping JJ out at the OCIR Manufactures meet. He showed
up all bye himself and at the time I was working for Gary "Mr.
C" Cochran. I wanted to go to this meet... we heard Tommy
Grove was running something called hydrazine (rocket fuel) this
I had to see! So anyway JJ had no one there yet when he rolled
in, so me and my friend watched his car while he made some phone
calls and waited for his help to show up... we helped him unload
the car, he bought some chow and as we walked away he said thanks
reached into the glove box of the truck and said here and gave
me the handout."
in 1976 (I think) with his car in front of Jerry Lewis' house
(Yes, that Jerry Lewis). Jungle was tied in with 7-11 and their
MD program and this photo was used as a publicity shot for the
Labor Day telethon.
was the Orange car that Jungle built mid-77. This shot was taken
during one of Jungle's last appearances at Raceway Park before
he was killed in September of 77. Car was later campaigned during
the 78 season by Jungle's brother with east coast F/C veteran
Carl Ruth at the helm. (Photo courtesy of Dave Milcarek)
Jungle, August of 1971, Englishtown, New Jersey, with his new
car before leaving for the West Coast with the legendary Peter
"WhitePeter" White signaling "JJ" to hit it...
Jungle Jim's house on Route 202 between West Chester and Wilmington
is being used as an antique store... when asked about the previous
occupant, current owner replied he thought some guy name "King
Jim" owned the house, but knew little else. (JW Last Photo)
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