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Drag Racing Stories
Nov 18, 2007


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70s Funny Cars: Round 46

Text by Danny White



Ronnie Hunter was a Tennessee based racer who ran with KS Pittman and the S&S Racing Team. KS and S&S were more famous for their series of gassers raced by Pittman, Dave Hales, and others. The team got into funny cars like other famed gasser teams through Ronnie Hunter. The Firebird was raced up and down the East Coast in open events and in match races. Hunter did not achieve the same success in the funny car as his other S&S teammates did. He ran a known best of 7.40 at 200. The car was said to be stolen, ending Hunter’s funny car career. (Photo courtesy of Big Bob Snyder; info from Draglist files)



This had to be the last Corvair nitro funny car in the United States. The Corvair was a very popular funny car for a short period in the late-sixties. Racers like Doug Thorley, Ronnie Runyan, the Pisano Bros., Tom Sturm, and others ran the unique little body. The Corvairs were soon replaced by the newer Camaros and Novas. Jim McIntyre got this Corvair from Tom Sturm in California. It was one of three different Just 4 Chevy Lovers machines that Sturm built. McIntyre continued to run the Chevrolet engine. The Mad Mac was raced in Northeastern match races for a year or two. (Photo courtesy of Big Bob Snyder; info from Draglist files)  



Ohio’s Bob Gunya ran the Warrior Camaro in Midwest match races. The Camaro was originally built as the Plains Journal Dealer with a unique Corvette nose. Gunya ran in the sevens and was considered a middle of the road performer. The Warrior ran in match races into the 1970 season. (Photo courtesy of Big Bob Snyder; info from Draglist files)



Huston Platt and his brother Hubert were two of the early funny stars. Huston was famous for his series of Dixie Twister Chevrolets, while brother Hubert chose to race Fords. Huston Platt went through the early evolution of funny cars from A/FX to match basher to flip-top space frame funny cars like the beauty in this shot. The gold 1970 Chevrolet Camaro was built to replace the 1968 Camaro that was involved in the tragic Yellow River accident, which resulted in fan fatalities. Platt raced the 1970 Chevy Camaro from 1970 to 1971 in Southeastern match race action, running best times in the sevens. Huston sold the car to Dee Simmons, who raced it as the Mr. Soul machine. (Photo courtesy of Big Bob Snyder; info from Draglist files)



Before he was the Chicago Kid, Cliff Brown raced the Speed Sport backed Bushwhacker Barracuda. The Chicago based funny car was related to the Arizona based Barracuda raced by Lyle Fisher and Red Greth. This was the first funny car for Cliff Brown after driving Top Fuel Dragsters. The Speed Sport Bushwhacker is most famous for the stint that Fred Goeske did in the car. Goeske used the Barracuda to complete match race dates after a fire that destroyed his own funny car. (Photo courtesy of Big Bob Snyder; info from Draglist files)



Ever wonder what ever happened to the Hayden Proffitt driven AMC Rambler? It ended up in the hands of Pat Johnson and was driven by Hank Clark. Clark had driven dragsters in the sixties and the Chapman Automotive Camaro in 1970. It was in the Chapman Automotive car that Clark won the Bakersfield March Meet. Johnson and Clark teamed in 1971 to race the Logghe built AMC in which Proffitt briefly held the NHRA record in 1968. The team match raced the big AMC along the East Coast and in Puerto Rico. (Photo courtesy of Big Bob Snyder; info from Draglist files)



Roy Harris became one of the biggest names in funny car racing by the end of the seventies. At the beginning of decade Harris was racing the Rapid Roy Plymouth Valiant.  Only a few funny car racers chose the Valiant body style and in fact, this may be the only fiberglass flip top Valiant.  Harris had raced match bashers locally before building the flopper. Roy got the little Mopar to run best times in the sevens. Harris went on to run such popular machines as the Bat Car and Brutus machines, and he drove for Jungle Jim Liberman as well. Roy finished the decade in a series of Budweiser backed Bud Man machines that predated Kenny Bernstein’s involvement with the brand. (Photo courtesy of Big Bog Snyder; info from Draglist files)



Norm Paddack is best known for racing his series of Paddack’s Mini Brute supercharged gassers and for being one of the Midwest’s best chassis builders. Norm and his wife Vicki ran the chassis shop where they built complete cars plus their own Opel GT body. Paddack built this beautiful Vega to run with the burgeoning UDRA funny car circuit, after supercharged gassers started losing favor with the racing fans. Paddack and his brother Dwight usually raced the car on gas or alcohol with the UDRA circuit. But at one race at Indianapolis, they ran the car in the AA/FC class (note the shoe polish). It is not known if Paddack was running the car on nitro or alcohol. Norm did not race the Vega for long, as he replaced the car with a new Pro Stock Mustang II. It was in the Pro Stocker that Paddack finished his career. (Photo by L&M Photos, courtesy of Bob Plumer and Drag Race Memories; info from Draglist files)



Montana is not the first place you think of for funny car racing, but the sparsely populated state had its share of flopper teams with a few notable efforts racing in the seventies. The first was the Beatty & Dabler team with this cast-iron Chrysler Hemi powered Dodge Challenger. Bob Beatty drove the car into the high sixes in Northwest match race action. The team raced from 1971 to 1973 before selling the car. (Photo courtesy of Herman Marchetti; info from Draglist files)



Chuck Tiller’s Charger may have run on alcohol, but that did not stop him from racing against nitro funny cars. Phil Elliott noted that Chuck would race anyone, anytime, anyplace. A late model Chrysler Hemi powered the boxy Charger/Cordoba, a unique body that was used by a few teams in the mid-seventies. Tommy Ivo, Kenny Safford, and Vic Cecilia also ran the big cars for a time. Tiller raced the sanitary funny car in NHRA Division 6 and match race action. (Photo courtesy of Big Bob Snyder; info from Draglist files)

 

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