Home  Drag Lists  Forum  Blog  Links  Stories  Pictures  RacingJunk  Goyda Collectibles  Movies  Store  Help  More  RSS

 

Back
Home
Up
Next

Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Jim of the Jungle

By "Berserko" Bob Doerrer
Photo by Dave Milcarek

Jungle Jim at NHRA Ontario 1972. Note the JJ logo in the grille. Photo by Dave Milcarek
Jungle Jim at NHRA Ontario 1972. Note the JJ logo in the grille. Photo by Dave Milcarek

It was almost 30 years ago, the fall of 1972. The NHRA Super Nationals, now called the World Finals, was the final event of the season. It was also the kick-off of the winter funny car match racing season on the left coast.

This event always brought out all the heavy-hitters but imagine everyone's surprise as a blue ramp truck with Jungle Jim's new Vega pulled in the gate.

Now Jungle didn't run too many NHRA events at that time, but he wanted to run his new car at the same track with everyone else and see how he measured up. The crew consisted of "Lil'" Johnny Leshko (side of car), Pete "White Peter" White (rear of car), and some guy named "Berserko" Bob (driving the ramp truck.)

This is that car, my personal favorite of all the Jungle Jim cars. Built by Romeo Palamides of jet car fame in Chicago, painted by Bob Gerdes of Circus Custom Paint, then lettered by the infamous "Mr. J," it was a pretty trick piece at the time.

Previously, Jungle had bought cars from various builders and even built a few himself at his shop in West Chester, Pennsylvania. This was Jungle's first store-bought piece in a long time and he decided to take it out to Ontario, California, for the 1972 NHRA SuperNationals.

I don't remember the exact numbers, but I do know that one pass that weekend was Jungle's personal best at the time.

This car currently resides in Don Garlits' museum but not as you see it here. Jungle sold the car to Nick Boninfante, who put a 1974 nose on it and ran it as the "U.S. Male." It changed hands a few times and was found in a field in Pennsylvania. Garlits bought it and restored it to its original condition. By the way, "Mr. J" went to Florida to re-letter the car after Garlits and his crew finished the car.

I've been in constant contact with Johnny, but am still looking for Pete. Last I heard, he was living in Glen Alden, Pennsylvania, and was working at the Philly Airport. Anybody out there who can help find him?

Berserko Bob Doerrer
berserkobob@earthlink.net
http://funnycarreunion.com

 

Free Homepage Translation



Home  Drag Lists  Forum  Blog  Links  Stories  Pictures  Racing Junk  Goyda Collectibles  Movies  Store  Help  More  RSS

Drag Photos  Drag Blog  Facebook  Twitter  60s Funny Cars  70s Funny Cars  80s Funny Cars  Gasser Madness  Project 1320  Drag Times

Google

 
Web draglist.com

Copyright 1996-2014 by Bilden Enterprises. All rights reserved.