60s Funny Cars

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Round 11: The AMCs

Text by Danny White and Dennis Doubleday

Preston Honea ran the Bill Kraft Marlin from 1965 into mid 1966. In ‘65, Honea ran the car on alky for sure and maybe a little nitro, too. Preston ran 9's at 138.90 in ’65 and went 9.83 at 135.33 in 1966. The car had a 327 Rambler small block that was replaced by a Plymouth Hemi rather quickly. Lefty Mudersbach also drove the high sitting car. NASA astronaut Gordon Cooper was rumored to have been offered a ride in the first AMC funny car. Honea left Southern California for St Louis to race the "Executioner" Dart. (Photo by L&M Photos courtesy of Bob Plumer/Drag Race Memories; info from Dennis Doubleday, Bill Duke, and Draglist Files)

Hayden Proffitt debuted the SST Rebel late in 1967 at Lions. He ran 8.11 at 181.85 before the end of the year. Proffitt took over driving this car for Banzai Bill Hayes, who had suffered some kind of injury. The car had a 438" 343 Rambler tuned by famed Amos Saterlee on a 122" RCS (chrome moly tube) chassis. Hayden ran the car early in 1968 as well, before coming out with the second version, the red, white, and blue car. The new car used the same powerplant but later switched to a Hemi. (Photo by L&M Photos courtesy of Bob Plumer; info from Dennis Doubleday, Bill Duke, and Draglist Files)

Doug Thorley's rear engine car started life with a 449" 1968 AMC 401" wedge backed by a B&M torque converter tuned by Gary Slusser. The car sat on a 122" Woody Gilmore chassis. Thorley went as quick as 8.23 at 186.60, although a 9/68 Super Stock magazine says the car turned 7s. In 1969, before Norm Weekly flew and totaled the thing at Irwindale, he had turned 8.00 at 205. The car was not rebuilt after the crash although Thorley, Slusser, Weekly, and Jim Dunn tried very hard to make this car run better than it did. (Photo by Mike Ditty; info from Dennis Doubleday, Bill Duke, and Draglist Files)

Ron Rosenberry drove the King Rebel of Ted McOsker. The King Rebel used a blown fuel Chrysler Hemi and had a known best of 9.58 at 148.02 in 1968. At the start of the ‘68 season, Rosenberry drove the heavy Von Fritch Mopar that weighed 3000 pounds plus. The little AMC weighed much less and ran better! (Photo by Mike Ditty; info from Dennis Doubleday, Bill Duke, and Draglist Files)

Clyde Morgan debuted this car in 1968. It had a 439 cubic inch AMC in it and later had a 427 Chevy. The car was on a 120" Fletcher chassis, and he ran a darn good 7.79 at 181.44 at Lions with it late in '68. In '69, Morgan went 7.46 at 200. Clyde was still racing it in 1970, and went 7.49 at 196.93 with a 427 Chevy in the car. After the Rockingham AHRA race in April, Morgan switched to a Camaro body and ran the car as the #2 Dick Harrell Camaro. (Photo by Mike Ditty; info from Dennis Doubleday, Bill Duke, and Draglist Files)

Bob Pickett debuted the new Mr. Pickett Javelin late in 1969. The chassis was built by Exhibition Engineering and featured a modern narrow chassis with a dragster roll cage. The Mr. Pickett ran 7.45 at 190.27 at Lions in 1969 and ran a 7.35 at 197.36 again at Lions in 1970. Bob Pickett suffered serious back injuries when the car flew into the air at OCIR's Big 4 race on May 2, 1970. Pickett built a new Mr. Pickett Cuda for the 1971 season. (Photo by L&M Photos courtesy of Bob Plumer/Drag Race Memories; info from Dennis Doubleday, Bill Duke, and Draglist Files)

Dick Bourgeois had the second AMC in the Doug Thorley team. Bourgeois and super tuner Earl Wade had been running Doug Thorley's second Corvair and updated the car to this Javelin. The Javelin 2 ran the Coke circuit in 1969 and even won a special American Motors race at Irwindale. Bourgeois ran the Earl Wade built 427 and went 7.38 at 204 in 1969. In 1970, Bourgeois and Wade built a new Javelin to replace this one without Doug Thorley. (Photo by Mike Ditty; info from Dennis Doubleday, Bill Duke and Draglist files)

Rusty Dellings had drove a couple of wild match bash funny cars before stepping behind the wheel of this beauty. The Marv Eldridge owned car was the team car to Eldridge's own machine. The car used power from a 1957 Chrysler Hemi. Dellings ran a 7.48, 194 best in the car in 1969 and continued to race the AMX into 1970. Eldridge ran an 8.22 at 183.24 in the car himself at Detroit in 1970. (Photo by L&M Photos courtesy of Bob Plumer/Drag Race Memories; info from Dennis Doubleday, Bill Duke, and Draglist Files)

The Travelin’ Javelin was built with a Fiberglass Trends body on a Ronnie Scrima Chassis. Gary Crane chose the late model 426 Chrysler Hemi for power. Crane and Dale Armstrong both drove the machine; Dale had the best times in the little car with a 7.93, 186.33 in 1968 and a 7.69, 187.88 in 1969. Gary Crane went 8.28 at 192.92 in a Lion's debut in 1968. Crane put the car up for sale and it stayed that way for a couple of years until it was sold to a racer in Canada. (Photo by Mike Ditty; info from Dennis Doubleday, Bill Duke, Vern Scholz and Draglist Files)

The Genuine Suspension AMX-1 was an AA/Fuel Altered converted into this wild AA/FC. The car's main owners were Bob Walker and Jim Thomas from Costa Mesa, California. The short wheelbase car featured a 354 Chrysler Hemi. The AMX-1 ran a best of 7.35 at 200.88 with Tom Ferraro at the wheel, while Ken DuBose went a known best of 8.76 at 181.81 in the car. Car Craft Magazine reported that the car went 210 MPH in 1969! The wicked little car was sold to Speedway Automotive in Lincoln, Nebraska, where the likes of Bob Ellic or Louie Lundrum drove. (Photo by L&M Photos courtesy of Bob Plumer/Drag Race Memories; info from Dennis Doubleday, Bill Duke and Draglist Files)

 

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