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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Larry Gould -- Fuel Fords Forever!

By Bret Kepner
Photo by Ted Pappacena

Larry Gould drove this SOHC Ford Powered Dodge Charger Funny Car. Photo by Ted Pappacena
Larry Gould drove this SOHC Ford Powered Dodge Charger Funny Car.
Photo by Ted Pappacena

For our June 19 Picture of the Day, Ted Pappacena submitted this photo with the following information: This photo was taken at the U.S. Funny Car Championships at New York National Speedway on August 8, 1973. It is a SOHC Ford powered Charger. I would like to know if there is anyone out there who could give me more information about the car. Who owned and drove it and why the odd power plant? This is the only shot I have of the car. Talk about a "wacky racer!"

Well, with Bret Kepner just an email away, the answer to obscure drag racing questions is not the problem it used to be. Here's Bret's response. bp

...not a huge mystery. It's Larry Gould of Belleville, IL, at the wheel of the Kling & Gould "War Wagon" '71 Charger, equipped with, (as always), a Ford SOHC engine. 

This is the car in which, during another visit to NYNS in '75, Larry recorded the fastest speed ever for a Ford-powered AA/FC at 6.54/236.22. 

Originally, the car was Don Nicholson's #2 Eliminator '68 Cougar, which had been run only a handful of times and parked after Nicholson reverted to his A/MP Mustang in 1969. Gould purchased the car, but vaporized the body after a supercharger explosion at a '72 match race at Lakeland International Dragway in Memphis, TN. He bought the Charger body as a replacement when he was unable to find a Ford body quickly enough to fulfill his match race dates. 

The Charger body was painted with a very detailed mural and the title "Trojan Horse", (a reference by lifelong Ford fanatic Gould to what was under the Dodge 'glass), but very serious threats by phone from then NHRA FC World Champ Larry Fullerton convinced Gould to rename the car after only a few weeks. 

Gould split with Kling and continued running the chassis, (with a later red-on-white Mach I body), until 1977, when Larry debuted a flamed blue SOHC-powered Mustang II, followed by his Ford EXP in 1983, (which eventually was driven in the late 1980s by Al Herring), still using a SOHC engine until '88, when a KB Chrysler Hemi was finally installed.

Gould parked his EXP when match race dates dried up in 1992. In 1998, he teamed with neighbor and longtime A/FD and AA/DA racer Fred Bach to campaign a Dawson-chassised front-engined SOHC AA/FD, which they run to this day. In 2000, they finally eclipsed Pete Robinson's 30-year old 6.50 record for cast-iron Ford engines with a best of 6.23/235. Yes, that original 236.22 mph speed, clocked by the same car at the same track as in the original photo, is still the all-time Ford mark. 

Hope this helps. Case dismissed. 

Bret Kepner
BRETKEPNER@Prodigy.net
St. Louis, Missouri, USA

 

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