One of a Kind Rides: Jeff Courtie’s Nitro Woody
By Danny White
|Jeff Courtie's blown nitro Woody at San Fernando. Photo by George Tuers|
This is the first article about some of drag racing's unique rides. The first subject of our series is Jeff Courtie's AA/Fuel Altered Woody. It was one of only a few Woodys to race, and it had to be the only one on nitro. After the Woody, Jeff became a famous West Coast AA/Funny Car racer in the 1970s. Jeff Courtie's cars were all self-built and show quality. I would like to thank Jeff for assisting with this story.
DRL: How did you get the idea to build the Woody?
JC: That was my everyday driver in High School. After High School, I put a 324 cubic inch Oldsmobile V-8 in it first, then raised it up and radiused the rear fender wells. Next, I installed a 1962 394 Cubic Inch Oldsmobile with a 6-71 blower on that motor. I met a neighbor who stopped bye one day. It was Tom Larkin, who had a Top Gas Dragster at the time, then later a 392-powered Top Fuel dragster. I got the bug and installed a 392 Chrysler with the blower off the Oldsmobile motor, and started to drag race the car.
DRL: Who built the car and what kind of chassis did it have?
JC: I built everything on the car. The chassis was mostly stock Oldsmobile with a tube axle up front with transverse leaf springs, and a 1957 Pontiac rear end 4:10 ratio with "Henry's Axles" pretty standard for the day in 1967
DRL: What kind of drivetrain did it have?
JC: A 392 Chrysler with a 6-71 Blower, Hilborn Injection, and B&M Hydro Stick, mated to that 1957 Pontiac Rear End with "Henry's Axles."
DRL: How much nitro did you run in it?
JC: At first, not too much, just 25-30%, but as time went by, I upped it, and in the end up to 50-60%.
DRL: What were the best times for the car?
JC: In 1968 or ‘69, it ran a best of 10.06 at 150.50 MPH at San Fernando.
DRL: Where do you race the car?
JC: Almost always at San Fernando Raceway, and once at Irwindale.
DRL: What class did you race in?
JC: Because it ran Nitro for fuel, it was placed in the AA/FA class.
DRL: How did it handle?
JC: At first OK, but with higher Nitro percentages, it got real evil. I ended up lowering it down in front to help with the handling.
DRL: Do you have anything to say about the car that I didn’t ask about?
JC: This car gave me my first exposure to nitro fuel racing and that helped to point me towards fuel Funny Cars. Because of the heavy weight of the car, it was prone to a lot of driveline failures. I must have broken six or eight B&M Hydros in that car, and numerous axles and drive shafts. Because of the constant breakage, I decided to build my first Funny Car in 1970.
DRL: Do you know what happened to the car?
JC: Thom Taylor, the Hot Rod artist, has it and is restoring it to its street version as seen in Rod & Custom in 1969.
DRL: Thanks, Jeff!
Story by Danny White & Jeff Courtie
Photo by George Tuers