Last week’s homage to the Chi-Town Hustler reminded me how cool those Dodge Chargers of the late 1960s and early 1970s looked, so I thought I’d take a look back at the famous Chargers in Funny Car history from that era.
Credit for the planned burnout as part of a way to improve traction and, thus, performance, has been claimed by a number of folks over the years, but the credit almost always ends back in the champ of the Chi-Town Hustler Funny Car team of John Farkonas, Austin Coil, and Pat Minick. If they didn’t invent the idea, they certainly perfected it and are widely considered the fathers of the burnout, which is as good a reason as any to make them one of My Favorite Fuelers.
As the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series heads this weekend to Old Bridge Township Raceway Park for the Toyota NHRA Summernationals, it’s a good time to take a look at some great vintage fuelers that prowled the East Coast in the 1970s in places like Old Bridge, Maple Grove Raceway, Cecil County Dragway, and more.
From the late 1970s through the middle 1980s, few cars were prettier on a more consistent basis than the War Eagle machines of Dale Pulde and Mike Hamby. Their gorgeous, orange-hued Trans Ams with intricate airbrushing set a new standard for detail, and, as cliché as it sounds, they often ran as good as they looked.
Continuing our look back at some of the most popular Funny Car bodies of the 1970s, this week, it’s all about the Barracuda, Plymouth’s venerable muscle car that, like the Mustang with which it competed, came to the dragstrip in two significantly different versions.
I’m going to take a bit of a departure from the previous format for the next few weeks’ worth of My Favorite Fuelers columns to focus on, well, my favorite fuelers – and those of many – the 1970s Funny Cars. This week: Mustang IIs!
The partnership of owner and tuner Joe Pisano and driver Sush Matsubara seemed a curious one based on their disparate backgrounds — a fiery Italian and a laid-back Asian American — but together they were a magical team, and their cars were memorable not only for their attractive, Best Appearing-winning paint schemes but for their performances as well.
In 1986, Gary Ormsby’s Castrol GTX streamliner had imaginations soaring. It looked very much like an Indy car, and it looked fast. Too bad it wasn’t as fast as it looked. Still, maximum points from me for effort.
In the early 1970s, Mustangs were a dime a dozen in the Funny Car ranks, and I certainly had plenty of favorites among them, but one that clearly evoked the feeling of a rip-snorting bad boy was Lew Arrington’s Brutus.