Forgotten Funny Cars:
70s funny cars, by virtue of having been raced infrequently and/or
for a short period of time, having only been raced locally, etc.,
didn't get much "press" and seemed to vanish into obscurity.
However, to the folks who ran them, these floppers were anything
but "obscure." The following F/Cs represent some of
the "forgotten" funny cars from the 70s with what information
was found. If you've got more information, driver background,
car history, etc., for these floppers, please forward it and we'll
add it to the site... firstname.lastname@example.org
From up Detroit, Michigan way in
the mid-70s comes the appropriately named "Michigander"
of "Farmer" John McNew. Bill Pratt's Draglist shows
this as the only nitro funny car McNew campaigned. Anybody got
anything else on McNew or the "Michigander"? (Photo
courtesy of Mike Hojnacki)
the "Bluegrass Shaker" Monza may have been billed as
'Kentucky's only funny car' in the mid-70s, the Redd's Auto Parts
line held that
in the early 70s. Although the decade started with an Eldon Huffman-driven Challenger (made famous at the US Nationals for its suspension
breaking, body bending starting line attics) this ex-Al Bergler
"Motown Shaker" Vega carried the flag for the regionally campaigned entry towards the
mid-70s. Year on this picture would
have been 1973, when Jackie Price wheeled the car to a 5th place
finish in Div 3 standings. By 75 Price was wheeling the "Bluegrass
Shaker" Vega and the Redd's line appeared to be no more.
Any clues as to whatever became of the Redd's Auto Parts team
or any of their other funny car exploits? (Photo courtesy of Charles
thanks to Dave Huber: The
Vega FC was not driven by Jackie Price. Price and his team bought Eldon's old
Challenger and raced it as the Bluegrass Shaker. The Vega was not NHRA legal;
the wheelbase was too long. Eldon passed away around 1980 and Redd's Auto
Parts went out of business around 1990.
Out of the great Northwest, circa 1970, came the "Crusader"
Cuda. Not much known here other than the car stuck to the NW,
some speculation the car might have been an ex-Kenny Goodell car.
Note the killer Whipple & McCulloch Duster in the background.
Anybody got any more insights/info on this car or team? (Photo
courtesy of Ralph Reiter)
thanks to "Flyin Phil" Elliott: The "Crusader" was indeed
ex-Kenney (note that his first name has that extra "E")
Goodell, an Exhibition Engineering piece (sister to Big John's
Barracuda -- same chassis, body, 392, Torqueflite, etc.) whipped
up by Pat Foster. Springer & Price from Eugene, Oregon ran
it for about two seasons, 1970 and most of 1971.
another "forgotten" Vega from the Northeast. Not much
known here... car's called "Maximum Force," shot was
taken at the Eastern Summer Championships at New York National
on 8/28/77, car's wearing a AA/Fuel Coupe identifier. Any clues?
(Photo courtesy of Ted Pappacena)
thanks to Casey Littmann: "Isn't
that the same paint scheme as the Moore-Paulding-West-Hagan "Voodoo"
Vega, the Aurora plastics "sponsored" car. The nose
looks updated to 74 specs, but with Aurora located on Long Island... well,
maybe it's the same car. Perhaps Tom West would know."
thanks to Tom West: "This
is the first picture that I have seen of that car, but I was asking
Billy Mitchell about it not that long ago. He couldn't remember
what had happened with the car after he and [Richie] Sullivan
had split. Unless they copied everything that we had done, that
was the old Voodoo car, but it looks rather funny with the big
white section like that. It appears that Schacker (Bernie Schacker?)
is at least one of the people involved from looking at the front
spoiler. I can't read the other name, but I would assume that
he would have driven..."
"forgotten" New England entry, this time from 1977ish
was the Iceman Vega. Car has no competition # on it so making
a driver ID in this shot is near impossible. Trade papers of the
era had Phil Castronovo of Custom Body fame doing a stint in the
seat while brother Fred was running the Custom Body entry. Reports
further stated the McGinnis and Lane Iceman Vega would be replaced
by a Phil Castronovo driven Vette in 78. Anybody know anything
about the car, team or if the Vette was ever built? (Photo courtesy
of Mark Hovsepian's "Flood Damaged Negatives Collection")
thanks to David Hapgood: "ICEMAN
Vega! I drove that car! An old friend of mine purchased the car in 1983. It was residing
in a storage unit in eastern Massachusetts - with original ICEMAN
paint on it, w/o motor. Right after he purchased it and towed
it home we had nothing better to do so we took turns towing it
to the top of a hill and coasting it down the road beside his
house: my only 'ride' in a fuel funny car. What the hell, we were
just 20 years old at the time.
the Vega shell lived numerous lives before becoming "the
ICEMAN"- multiple paint jobs were buried underneath, including
what appeared to be a Kosty "Boston Shaker" Ivanof green. My friend ran this funny car as a bracket car until 1987
when he sold it Last I knew it was still running super pro at
As for the
other "ICEMAN", Bruce McGinnis taught high school tech.
He did not build the Vega but I was told he and his students built
an Arrow. I never saw it run, never saw pictures of it, but a
couple of New England Dragway regulars (AA/FC drivers) talked
about it from time to time."
thanks to Todd Berube: "Just
a quick note about the ICEMAN funny car; there was a Arrow after
this car that was never run. I believe it was an H&H chassis,
same paint scheme as Vega. The rolling chassis sat in Rick &
Charlie Bell's garage for a year or two during the middle 1980's.
It was owned at that time by Allied Tractor Trailer Training School
thanks to Bruce "Iceman" McGinnis: Car was an ex-Kosty Ivanof "Boston
Shaker" extensively modified (new nose, etc). Vega was McGinnis'
first flopper after coming up through the sportsman ranks and
a stint in the military; car ran up and down the east coast
in the late 70s running a best of 6.36/211. Drivers included Phil
Castronovo and Dodger Glenn. Following Glenn's death at the wheel
of the Frantic Ford, McGinnis sold everything, but did get the
itch to return, bought Arrow funny car but never raced it.
New England in the early 70s came the Bill Hardie driven Hardie
& Miller Vega. Featuring probably the shortest wheelbase of
any nitro flopper of the era, 392 powered entry was descended
from a more conventional previous Hardie & White Chevy powered
Camaro F/C and a T/F entry in 1970. Anybody got any more info
on this team or whatever became of this car? (Photo courtesy of
Steve Heuser comes this picture of the "Foxy Lady" Monza.
According to Steve... "I took the attached photo at Union
Grove at their Memorial Day 1977 event. The car is "Tom Frazier's
Foxy Lady" and this is the only time I saw it. There was
a Tom Frazier who ran a UDRA alcohol funny car in 1976, not sure
if this is the same guy. Can't read the name painted on the roof
over the window, and the driver number on the car doesn't match
any in the "Drag Racing List" site. Do you know any
more about this car?"
thanks to Steve Ernster: The
Foxy Lady was originally Bill Schifsky's Cox Pinto Funny Car.
Tom Frazier was working at Schifsky's Speed Shop part time evenings
and Bill sold the car to Tom in 1975 when he started building
his next car, The Bear Town Shaker. Byron Nelson was also working at Schifsky's at that time and drove for Tom for as long as he owned the car.
In addition to driving, Byron wrenched and performed a bunch of
fabrication chores on the car including an extensive rework of
the chassis lowering the ride height as far as possible. He used
to drive the 30 Below Zero Vega F/C out of ND before getting involved
with Tom and the Foxy Lady. The winter after buying the car Tom
drove down to Texas to pick up the new Monza body he had purchased;
several modifications were needed to get the body to fit the chassis
and meet the rule book for minimum width dimensions. The body
was cut into several pieces by the time it fit properly.
Tom needed someone
to fiberglass the body together again and paint it. With all the
cash plowed into the engine and frame he needed it done cheap.
Tom offered me the job for the sum of $50 (Tom bought all the
materials) and I took the project on.
Tom was very happy with it and after
Schifsky saw the car in paint for the first time he quit riding
Tom about the Earl Schieb job he was getting on his car.
Tom ran the
car as a BB/FC alcohol flopper up until the last season. He then
planned to go AA/FC. I don't know if he ended up running nitro
or not that last year.
Tom sold the
car less Hemi/Lenco to a bracket racer. He put a rat in it and
covered the blower hole with a snorkel style hood scoop. I saw
it a couple of times after...
thanks to ex-shoe Byron Nelson: Fraze
bought Bill Schifsky's Cox Pinto in about 74... We ran match
races nearly every weekend at bunch of mostly obscure tracks around
the mid west. We actually made money; an extreme rarity in those
days. It never broke or failed to make a full run... The car
was pretty heavy with the pinto body and far from streamlined... At
the end of the season we ran into the guy that made the Monza
body. He said a finished body would only weigh about 140 # compared
to about 350 for the pinto. Tom ordered one on the spot... It
turned out it was so flimsy that it wouldn't support itself on
the trailer... Tom through some fancy sales talk convinced Steve
Ernster to under take some "minor" rework and customizing
While Steve was reworking the body, Fraze, Eddie and
I redid the entire chassis. We cut every thing off until we had
only the top and bottom rails left. At the time most of the fuel
guys had the motors back about 52-55 inches. The alcohol guys
were moving toward 60. After some discussion we decided to go
to 65" This was unheard of at the time and we took a bunch
grief for this... we knew that front end weight was needed
anyway. Might as well move the motor and save overall weight... We
all put it together just in time for the season opener at Northstar
on a Sat nite... The next day we went up to Fargo for a match
with Duane Engness (Hot Sauce). We ran a couple rounds and the
3rd round I remember well. The torsion bar slug broke loose and
dropped the car down on the ground right in the lights. It took
a hard right and crossed right in front of Duane and I sailed
about 300 yards out into a corn field. I just couldn't stop. When
it was heading off the track all I could think about was getting
the throttle closed so the dirt wouldn't eat the blower (it didn't).
Anyway the neat aluminum oil pan was 2 inches shorter and minus
the entire bottom and the front spoiler was gone and worst of
all the headers were history. There must have been a couple hundred
pounds of dirt inside the car. The field had recently been plowed
and planted so it was real soft. The car was buried up to the
top of the front fenders in the dirt. While I was trying to get
out the farmer came up and began reading me the riot act about
ripping up his corn field... By the time we got the car out of
the field we probably wrecked 2 acres of field... we ran the
car for 3 full years. We ran small tracks everywhere but ran only
one NHRA event (at home) We lost only 1 round due to breakage... We
had a great time together, saw the country, ate good food, cussed
at each other and became good friends... won a lot of money. (Spent
most of it too). Some of the guys we raced with were experimenting with 50-70 % nitro and going match racing with some of the fuel
guys. I tried hard to talk Fraze out of this but we did it. We
jumped in big as all of us had some pretty good experience with
the 30 Below car... As it turned out we just used up tires and
clutch and fuel at a faster rate (read expensive)...
break anything until the last race up at Brainerd when the lash
caps shattered. It blasted the blower very hard and toasted the
windshield. On the way home we finally decided that the expenses
were going to catch up with us so Fraze said he was done... we
had all agreed way back when we first got together that when the
expenses became too much we would hang it up. This car was so
easy to drive that I rarely had both hands on the wheel under
power. (didn't have time shifting and hanging on). We built the
entire car ourselves, Fraze and Eddie built the trailer, Eddie
took care of the truck and trailer at his gas station and I took
care building the motor and maintaining it. We had only limited
sponsors gaskets, sparkplugs, oil, use of the shop. I also have
to give a special thanks to Bill Schifsky for letting us use his
shop to build the car and for letting us use the shop stuff to
maintain it. It simply would not have been possible with out this... The
Foxy Lady ran with the some of the best of the day and forced
them to run hard to beat us.
the mid-70s ex-Texas Tech football player and Lubbock resident
Roger Freeman campaigned the "Freeman's Club" Mustang
II in the Midwest. Any clues on Freeman's other drag racing efforts,
the significance of the "Freeman's Club" or his whereabouts
today? (Photo courtesy of David Ray from "Big Mike"
thanks to James Ruf:
"I lived in Lubbock from 1970 to 1975... and here is what
I remember... Roger did play football for Texas Tech, he graduated
before 1970. Freeman's Club was a popular Lubbock drinking spot
and dance club. Roger's cars always seemed to set out front on
an open trailer. He also had a rail but I do not remember what
at PA's York US 30 in 78 is the "Quicksilver" Vette.
Name Mac King appears just below the window opening. Comp # of
290 indicates the car/driver was from the southeast. Anybody know
the background on this car/driver combination? (Charles Hoopes
thanks to Scott Amiss:
"From what I recall, this driver was from the Virginia Beach
area. Driver ran series of cars with the same name, including
an early 70s Challenger. Challenger was a BB/FC. All of these
cars were show quality but never seemed to "be there"
in the performance department."
thanks to "Raider": "Okay,
now for what it's worth. Mac King and his son Lance run Royal
Silver, a plating company, here in Norfolk. They do live in Va. Beach.
At one time Mac was co-owner/operator of the Creeds Drag Strip
out in Pongo (no kidding) a rural area just south of Va. Beach.
Last thing I heard ('bout two or three years ago) their receptionist
Melissa was running an alky car here on the "right coast".
Mac's been involved with Alky cars as long as I've known Lance,
call it mid-80's.
Claunch's "All American" Charger is pictured in 73 at
St Louis... car was destroyed later in the season at Tulsa's National
Challenge race. In 72, "All American" billboard read
"Blackwell Dodge." Anybody know Claunch's background
and/or the background on this car? Did he return to funny car
racing following the accident at Tulsa? (Photo courtesy of Don
thanks to Bret Kepner: Butch
Claunch was still running his FE AA/FD at the 73 Gateway Nats,
so the photo of the ex-Clark Blackwell Charger is actually from 74. Butch's son is looking for any and all memorabilia of his
late dad, by the way.
an early 70s, slightly out of focus, Amalie handout comes Bob
Taylor's "Time Machine" Vega. Car was driven by Harlan
Thompson before Thompson moved on to the "Tom & Jerry"
entries. Anybody know anything about this car, where it was from
or Bob Taylor? By the way, note the wing... a not too terribly
successful experiment tried by such other teams as Mickey Thompson,
Eddie Pauling on the "Whine Maker" Mustang, etc. (Handout
courtesy of Robert Flitsch)
thanks to Paul Katata:
"The following is from what I remember almost 30(!) years
ago. Bob Taylor was from Costa Mesa, Ca. I think he worked in
the service dept. of one of the Datsun dealers in the area. Before
the Vega shown here, Bob purchased and ran Marv Eldridge's "L.A.
Challenger" after Marv had his accident in Hawaii. That car
was called "Time Machine II". I forget what the first
"Time Machine" was, though something tells me it was
a Dodge Dart similar to Brad Anderson's or Keith Bush's "Bushwhacker".
Anyhow, Bob had Mike Kase (whose shop at the time was in Bill
Simpson's Gasoline Alley in Torrance) reposition the engine, mount
a Lenco 2-speed, change the roll cage to more of a dragster style,
and mount the rear end solid. He put Denny Savage behind the wheel,
and they went racing.
After selling the Challenger, Bob had Mike
build the Vega. Late Hemi (by Doug Fisher?), Mr. Ed body, paint
by "Paul", lettering by Mike DuBiel. Denny Savage still
drove. Then when Bob decided to tour back east, he put Harlan
Thompson in the seat. I think it was at this time the wing was
added. Mike Kase was building quite a few wings at the time (Jack
McKay's "New Dimension" R/E dragster, among others)
so it was a natural. After coming home from touring, the car ended
up in Northern Ca., with I think the Del Rio Brothers being involved
at this time. After that, who knows?..."
UPDATE, 11/00, thanks
Car ended up in NorCal continuing to be campaigned by Schimer-Dell-Stiers
(Paint by Tony Del Rio) from San Lorenzo, Ca., as a nitro flopper.
Photographed at Sacramento in the mid-80s, car burned to the ground
soon after this shot was taken!
thanks to Bret Kepner: Bob
Taylor's "Time Machine" Vega was banned by AHRA Tech
director Vance Brady because the body could not be lifted after
the wing was attached... something Danny Ongais found out while
testing the original concept on MT's "blue Mach I" at
Bristol just after the 69 AHRA Springs. Taylor moved to St. Louis
in 1983, bought the Steve Picou/Tom Koulan "Gateway Shaker"
Mustang II BB/FC, renamed it "Time Machine", (of course),
and ran it on nitro at local match races until 1985, when it burned
down at Harrisburg, IL.
thanks to ex-Time Machine driver Denny Savage: "On the "Time Machine"
of Bob Taylor`, it was a brand new car built by Mike Kase, from
scratch. I drove it a few times in So Cal, and then he decided
to go on the road with it. I wasn't quite ready to tour then, and that's when Harlan stepped in."
the mid-70s came one of the several "High Plains Drifter"
entries campaigned during the decade. In the early 70s Brian Lengle
(future Sno-Town Shaker) ran the High Plains Drifter Charger,
in the late 70s Chris Eckert ran the High Plains Drifter Camaro
and in the early 80s Brain Ranney ran a High Plains Drifter Vega.
All were Midwest/high country cars... but this Mustang II seems
to have missed the same recognition longevity. Competition # of
512 on the car doesn't match any of the previous or later entries!
Any clues? (Photo by Jim White)
thanks to Bret Kepner:
The "High Plains Drifter" Mustang II AA/FC was owned
and driven by Jim MacMurray of Paoli, KS. He ran the car from 76-78 infrequently at AHRA events, a few NHRA Div. V WCS meets,
and several match races at Wichita and Kansas City.
Snavely's "Quick Trip" Vega, ran out of Div 5 in the
late 70s. Car was rumored to be ex-Ira Hollensbe flopper. Suavely went T/F racing in the early 80s. Anybody got any info on
(Photo by Don Eckert)
thanks to Bret Kepner: Fred
Snavely's Vega WAS an ex-Hollensbe ride, but he teamed with Don
Denner to run TF for most of the 80s. He later came back with
an injected big block Chevy RE Super Comp dragster, but the entire
rig was stolen a few months ago from his shop at his new home
in St. Louis!
much known here other than the name on the side of the car. Photographed
at Irwindale in the mid-70s. (Photo by Dave Kommel at Auto
thanks to Tim Pearl: "The shot you have
of the Desperado Maverick funny car belonged to a guy named Giant
Jim Moore from S. Calif... not the same Jim Moore from Alaska.
Car was very short lived... Jim ran front and rear engine Top
Fuel cars prior to this car, if my memory serves right his front
motor T/F car was Jim Dunn's last front motor car... he ran the
Desperado funny car around 73 or 74... then that was about it.
I talked to Jim Moore at the Hot Rod Reunion last year... he's
putting together a new front motor Top Fuel car for the nostalgia
Cecilia, previously of Telstar and Pabst Blue Ribbon flopper fame,
drove this Charger bodied car in the late 70s. Car didn't get
much "ink" and didn't seem to travel far from the Great
Lakes region. (Photo by Don Eckert)
thanks to John Lorbiecki:
"Saw the picture of the GAMBLER F/C driven by Cecilia and
thought you may want a bit of background about it. I was crewing
for Proite and Halladay with the Telstar at that time. Charlie,
in his usual way, had a "deal" going with a local owner
of a gas station by the name of Mark Schultz. Well, Charlie owed
him some money (that is different!!) and Mark wanted it. So, Mark
got the car, truck, and trailer (I think). Mark decided to race
it. He had absolutely no experience with a fuel car. Vic did all
the tuning, etc. The car hardly ever got out of its own way.
fact, Mark was a Monday night softball player. He was working
on the car, changing oil, when he realized he needed to go play.
So, he put the drain plug in an left, to add oil later. You can
guess what happened. Vic and Mark went to warm it up at the 'Grove
(Union, that is) and Vic waited for oil pressure. Didn't get anything
and couldn't figure out why. Asked Mark if there was oil in it.
He said yeah. Vic didn't believe him. Pulled the plug, didn't
have any, and that basically ended the deal... Oh yeah, then
there was the time that they backfired the blower in the pits,
trying to start it. But that's a different story..."
Okie" Mustang of Jim Roberts pictured at Green Valley TX
in the mid/late 70s. Car seemed to race infrequently in the TX/OK
area. Mid-70s Vega, also known as the Okie, followed the Mustang
in the early 80s. (Photo by Jim White)
Brewton's "Voodoo Chile" 484 KB 79 Corvette from Winfield,
Louisiana pictured at St Louis Intl Raceway. According to Bill
Pratt's Drag Racing List, best times for the nitro flopper were
7.15 at 197.80. (Photo by Don Eckert)
thanks to Bret Kepner: Greg
Brewton's Corvette actually followed his "VooDoo Spirit"
TF car. The Vette was originally christened "VooDoo Chile
II", but was quickly renamed "Maybelline".
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