Drag Racing Funny Cars
of the 1960s - By Lou Hart
Reviewed by Darr Hawthorne
ach period of drag racing has its special time
or frozen moment that each of us fondly remember
as our personal Golden Years. For me that was
the mid to late 1960s when some Funny Cars still
had working doors.
Drag Racing Funny Cars of the 1960's, by photographer
Lou Hart, has captured that time of innocence
when now legendary cars like the Hemi Cuda were
transported to the strip by a pick-up truck
and a single axle trailer. In this new paperback
photo book you'll find rare shots of truly unique
cars, informally, the way they sat in the pits,
the way a spectator with his hanging pit pass
would view them.
With a foreword from Funny Car veteran Randy
Walls, the book chronicles a group of Chrysler
Motor Division engineers known as the Ramchargers
who, arguably, may have spawned the first funny
car with their "High and Mighty" '49 Plymouth
The book then moves into the super stockers
and altered wheelbase cars as nitro was introduced
and steel bodied cars headed to the junkyard
replaced by fiberglass replicas touring the
match race circuits on the backs of ramp trucks.
One will find the innocence of a
world before Funny Cars became the non-descript,
carbon fiber aero blobs we see on today's quarter
Hart has compiled these candid shots of the
period and included candid Memorable Moments
from drag racers like Paula Murphy, Nelson Carter,
Don Schumacher, Ray Alley, Linda Vaughn, Rich
Siroonian, Jess Tyree and Austin Coil who performed
many times a week as the pioneers of Funny Car.
This is a time when cars had names and drivers
had nicknames like The Farmer, Mr. Norm, Mr.
Pontiac, Jungle Jim and Big John, a time when
promoters frequently put on a show with 64 Funny
Cars attending. Matchless images of the Precisioned
Speed Shop Corvair, Tommy Grove and the Melrose
Missile and Steve Bovan's blown Nova.
The only drawback I found to this photo-packed book is it's printed in
black and white, but the period it depicts is a great starting point for
remembering and honoring these early flopper heroes.
The book is published by Iconographix (800) 289-3504.
Music, Book, and Movie Reviews-or
Whatever Catches Our Attention
review Darrell Gwynn's book