By Danny White
“All American Boy” Charlie Allen’s best remembered funny car was this 1968 Dodge Dart. This was his first flip-top funny car, replacing his A/FX Dart. The new machine marked his first flip-top, one-piece unit. It was a test in part for Crower products. The car ran OK, registering high 7s. Allen built the car with a Contemporary Fiberglass body with Kenny Ellis tin. Charlie raced the car under the blue & silver Atlantic Dodge and Crenshaw Dodge banners in 1968.
Allen collected a $2,000 win at Irwindale at the 16 car Experimental Stock Invitationals. In 1969, Saddleback Dodge was the new sponsor and Charlie repainted the car in the more familiar red and silver. Charlie Allen and crew member Jeff Crowther ran a best of 7.29 at 199.96 in 1969. (Photo courtesy of Bob Plumer and Drag Race Memories; stats courtesy of Dennis Doubleday; info from Draglist.com files and James Ibusuki)
Hot on the heels of Jack Chrisman building the “Chrisman’s Comet,” several racers built cars to challenge the big Mercury. Steve Bovan’s “Blair’s Chevy II” was one of the first to hit the track. Bovan had raced a Mopar A/Modified Production car but went with the lightweight Chevy II for the funny car. Bovan gutted the factory-built car to come up with this “Match Bash” monster. Chevrolet’s new big block 396 engine powered the machine.
Steve sold the Chevy to Ed Carter from NorCal in 1967. Carter dubbed it the Chevy II Much and ran mostly at Fremont. The car’s performance didn’t change much. Bovan built the engine to run on 100% alcohol. Steve ran many match races with the car and ran CC/FD in NHRA competition. The Chevy used to lay down a smoke bank on a run. Bovan ran the “Blair’s Speed Shop 396” in ’65 and ’66 with a 9.29, 160 best. (Photo courtesy of Bob Plumer and Drag Racing Memories; stats courtesy of Dennis Doubleday; info courtesy of Draglist.com files, Bill Duke, and James Ibusuki)
The original “King Fish” match bash funny car was one the wildest funny cars of the 1960s. Famed Memphis racer Bill Taylor built the car in 1965 with the original wheelbase, but it got a needed extension by John Albright in 1966 to keep up with the new flip tops. The “King Fish” Barracuda ran a 426 Chrysler Hemi on a heavy load of nitro. California racer Larry Reyes moved to Memphis just to drive the “King Fish.” The brave driver ran a best of 8.59 at 169 with the car. The machine was retired at the end of the 1966 season to be replaced by a new flip-top Barracuda. (Photo courtesy of Bob Plumer and Drag Race Memories; stats courtesy of Dennis Doubleday; info from Draglist.com files and James Ibusuki)
This Corvair would have been Ralph Nader’s worst nightmare if he had seen it. Michigander Pete Seaton was one of the first match bash funny car racers. The “Seaton’s Super Shaker” ’67 Corvair was in fact his fourth funny car. The new Chevy was built by the Logghe Bros. at their Logghe Stamping Company. A 427 Chevrolet Semi-Hemi powered the car and was backed by a Torqueflite transmission. Terry Hedrick was chosen to drive the wild Corvair. Hedrick’s seat of the pants driving style was awe-inspiring to the funny car fans of the sixties.
The Corvair garnered many wins while touring the country in 1967 and 1968. Terry won one day and was runner-up the next at the 1967 AHRA Drag World Super Stock Championships at Wichita, Kansas. Hedrick ran a best of 7.60 at 186.30. Was this Corvair unsafe at any speed? Nah! (Photo courtesy of Bob Plumer; stats courtesy of Dennis Doubleday; info from Draglist.com files, Bill Duke, and James Ibusuki)
Dale Pulde might have only been a teenager when he began racing funny cars, but he was a very capable teenager. Some say Pulde was and is the best driver ever. The Charlie Wilson owned “Vicious Too” 1967 Camaro was Dale’s second funny car ride. The flip-top Camaro replaced the mean “Vicious Vette.” Vicious Too was a mid-pack runner with Pulde driving, usually running in the mid to low eights.
The car was powered by a 427 Chevrolet Rat engine backed by a B&M automatic transmission. Cragar sponsored the Camaro, and the car ran the heavy Cragar S/ST wheels instead of the standard Halibrands of the day. Pulde drove the car in 1968 and 1969 running a best of 7.91 at 184. (Photo courtesy of Bob Plumer and Drag Race Memories; stats provided by Dennis Doubleday; info from Draglist.com files, Bill Duke, and James Ibusuki)
Phil Bonner was one of the first funny car superstars with the match bash “Daddy Warbucks” Falcon. The Holman & Moody prepared 1964 Falcon was built as a gas-powered A/FX, but “Daddy Warbucks” transformed quickly. By the end of 1965, Bonner had added injectors and nitro to the 427 SOHC that Don Martin tuned. The “Daddy Warbucks” car ran tens in 1964; by the time the car retired, it had run 8.94 at 155.70 in early 1966.
Bonner won the NASCAR Winternationals in the Frank Vega sponsored Falcon. The Match Race Madness section of the June 1966 Super Stock magazine has Bonner losing to Malcolm Durham at Capitol Raceway after breaking in the first round. The next month’s issue had Bonner beating Durham three straight at Cecil County. Phil was a very popular match racer with this wheelstanding match bash funny car. (Photo courtesy of Bob Plumer and Drag Race Memories; stats courtesy of Dennis Doubleday; info from Draglist.com files and James Ibusuki)
The “Super Cuda” was one of several funny cars from the Memphis area in the sixties. Pat Collins built the car in 1968 and teamed up with Bill Taylor to race the beautiful candy apple red Plymouth. The Coleman and Taylor team had raced the “Kingfish” funny car. Coleman sold the car and name to T.B Smallwood after the 1968 season. The “Super Cuda” proved to be just as good as the old car. Logghe Stamping Company built the chassis and the car was powered by a 426 Chrysler Hemi on 55% Nitro backed by a Coleman and Taylor built transmission, of course.
Larry Reyes, Larry Arnold, and Sidney Foster all drove the “Super Cuda” to countless wins. Reyes had the best times in the car with a 7.53 at 198.46, while Arnold ran 7.76 at 193, and Foster ran 7.76 at 196.69. In 1968, Reyes won the King of Kings Race at Capitol Raceway, the AHRA Drag World Finals in Wichita, and the Super Stock Invitational in Detroit. (Photo courtesy of Mike Ditty; stats courtesy of Dennis Doubleday; info courtesy of Draglist.com files and James Ibusuki)
Al Vanderwoude did not follow the status quo when it came to drag racing. The beautiful “Flying Dutchman” ’67 Dart was as normal a car as Vanderwoude ever raced. The Vanderwoudes were regular racers in the early California funny car wars, but the Ted Brown built Dart was Al’s first competitive rig. The car served as a rolling catalog for Mickey Thompson parts — everything M/T offered was on the car. The Dart sported one of those Scott Slots, an injector sold only by M/T. Of note is that “Scott” quit making these units in 1964 or so, venturing into the world of weapons development. There was more money in missiles and bombs than in racing.
Vanderwoude beat a few of the heavy hitters in match races and did OK at some bigger open shows. A 1957 392 Chrysler Hemi punched out to 422 cubic inches powered the car. Although not a big winner, Al was popular with race fans. He ran 8.04 at 184.60 in the Dart in 1967. The was often a handful — Vanderwoude had severe handling problems at the Super Stock Nationals at Cecil County, MD, and at the Texas vs. California match race at Amarillo, TX. After barely a year of competition, the Dart was replaced by a new ’68 Charger. (Photo courtesy of Bob Plumer and Drag Racing Memories; stats courtesy of Dennis Doubleday; info from Draglist.com files, Bill Duke, and James Ibusuki)
Tommy Grove’s “Going Thing” 1969 Ford Mach I Mustang was one of the best Ford powered funny cars of all time. Grove was loyal to the 427 SOHC engine and Ford. Logghe Stamping Company built the chassis and Paul Shedlick built and painted the Mach I Mustang body. Larry Shinoda designed the paint scheme. Master tin man Al Bergler did the aluminum work. Grove debuted the car in late 1968 and raced it through 1970.
Tommy ran 7.28 at 203.69 in 1969 to become one of the first 200 MPH funny cars. Grove achieved notoriety for cracking 200 mph, while at the same time rumored to be experimenting with an exotic fuel (hydrazine?) Tommy raced the car until the end of 1970 with a best of 7.25 at 206.42. The “Going Thing” was replaced when it became outdated. (Photo courtesy of Mike Ditty; stats courtesy of Dennis Doubleday; info from Draglist.com files, Bill Duke, and James Ibusuki)
Roger Lindamood raced funny cars from the very beginning. Lindamood won Super Stock at the U.S. Nationals at Indy, but like other racers, went the funny car route. Roger’s Charger relied on the same chassis from ’67 to ’68 but obviously went from injectors to a blower. I know that Lindamood experimented with having the injector hat reversed. It was a failed experiment in air turbulence, I guess. Low 8s and high 7s were the norms.
By 1968, Lindamood was racing the beautiful full size “Color Me Gone” 1968 Charger. Logghe Stamping Company built the Charger and Al Bergler did the tin for the massive body. The paint featured layers of pearl white and a wild rainbow paint scheme on top. A 426 Chrysler Hemi backed by a Torqueflite transmission powered the behemoth. Lindamood ran a 7.73 at 193.12 with the full-size Charger in 1968. (Photo courtesy of Bob Plumer and Drag Race Memories; stats courtesy of Dennis Doubleday; info from Draglist.com files, Bill Duke, and James Ibusuki)