The Corvairs

By Danny White

Buck Campbell ran a series of cars called the Mongoose in the sixties. This was the funny car in the Mongoose series. Based out of Atlanta, Campbell raced the injected nitro car in match races around the Georgia area. (Photo by Buck Campbell, courtesy of David Dilbeck; info from Draglist files)

Hayden Proffitt was one of the great racers of the 1960s. Proffitt won many races in Super Stock with a Chevrolet 409 and then jumped to a Ford when the factory gave him a Comet A/FX. Proffitt built this Corvair funny car in 1966. It began with a top, but Hayden cut it off after the car wanted to lift at speeds. Proffitt got the car to run 8.49 without the roof. He sold the car to Randy Walls when the Grant/AMC deal came along and Proffitt was in the process of building a new Camaro. (Photo by L&M Photos; info from Draglist files)

Malcolm Durham was the first African-American funny car driver with his infamous series of Strip Blazer machines. Durham started the 1966 season with the Chevelle he ran in 1965, but soon came out with this Corvair. Malcolm ran the Corvair on the Eastern Seaboard match race circuit from 1966 to 1968. Fletcher and Brown did the chassis and Durham himself built the engine. According to December 1968 Super Stock & Drag Illustrated, Durham had two Corvairs. He sold one to Gene Altizer, who ran the car as the “Weasel” A/FC in 1969. (Photo by Bob Plumer, Drag Race Memories; additional text by Dennis Doubleday and info from Draglist files)

Pete Seaton was one of the first funny car racers in the United States with his wild Chevelle. In 1966, he upgraded to this injected fuel, 115 inch Jay Howell built Corvair. Del Heinert drove the car for the rest of 1966 into 1967. When Heinert left in 1967, Jay Howell drove the car, eventually adding a blower to it. Chip and Howdy Bartlett purchased the car later in 1967 and ran it through 1968. An Irwindale ad late in 1966 says the car ran 8.80 at 160, although promoters tended to round off numbers for the ads. (Photo from Draglist files; additional text by Dennis Doubleday; info from Draglist files)

Dick Bourgeois and Earl Wade inherited Doug Thorley’s second Doug’s Headers Corvair when Thorley got backing from American Motors to build his ill-fated rear engine Javelin. Bourgeois ran sevens in the little car by 1969 when they replaced the Corvair with Thorley’s Javelin. (Photo by L&M Photos; info from Draglist files)

Randy Walls sold the original Super Nova and bought Hayden Proffitt’s former Corvair. Walls inserted his blown big block Chevrolet backed by an automatic transmission. Randy got the car to run a known best of 8.41 before totaling it in a crash. (Photo by L&M Photos; info from Draglist files)

Gene Altizer bought Malcolm Durham’s famed Strip Blazer Corvair and became one of the East Coast’s best injected nitro funny cars. Altizer got the Weasel to run a great 8.04 known best before replacing the car with a Nova. (Photo by Bob Plumer/Drag Race Memories; info from Draglist files)

Ken Poffenberger had the famed Logghe Bros. build this primo Corvair in 1968. The Poff’s Super Puffer featured an L-88 427 Chevy for power backed by an automatic transmission. Poffenberger ran 7.49 at 190 to become one of the quickest Corvairs ever. Poff sold the car to Ray Aniana and it became the Showdown. (Photo courtesy of Big Bob Snyder; info from Draglist files)

Barry Kelly was one of the first African-American funny car pilots in the sixties. Kelly built this wild Corvair to race on the West Coast. Barry later moved to the East Coast and continued racing floppers into the 70s, but ended his funny car career in a two-car accident at New York International. (Photo by L&M Photos; info from Draglist files)

Bob Skukert raced this little Corvair as an AA/Altered in Competition Eliminator. The car resembles the Fiberglass Trends Corvair that Rusty Delling raced in Southern California. Skukert was based out of Iowa but little else is known about the Corvair at this point. (Photo by Al Booton; info from Draglist files)