Those first steps of the funny car pioneers...from the early A/FX "let's slide the body back, they'll never notice it" years,
pretty much up to when the names changed from the "Blue Max"and such, to "Big Beer Company Here"!

I tell ya, the stuff flying in over the wires is amazing! Everything shows up from professional photographer stuff to kids with Instamatics...and you know, the quality of the photo really doesn't matter. It's the subject, and the time...we'll never get back to this magic time again, so we just may as well enjoy what we can see. It's all good.

We continue adding photos and info as they come in, and as we find it. Again, we're striving to identify as much about these photos as we can, such as the tracks, the drivers, the dates, the photographers, and any clever anecdotes about the particular racers. If you've got pictures and/or information, hey, don't be shy. Send it on over!

One thing we don't have, though, is photos for sale.
Most the photos on this site are unpublished, and are the copyrighted property of the individual photographers.

Check the Links page for photographers, and their contact information...

If there's something you don't see here, and you've got pictures of it, either scan 'em and send 'em in, or e-mail me and we'll work out something.

These pages are rather large, with lots of pictures, and it might load a little slow. Sorry.

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Vicious Vette

A young Dale Pulde's first blown car ride. Charlie Wilson's Vicious Vette, was a regular at the Southern California tracks. Ran a best of 8.29 with a high MPH of 167.

Tom West Photo © 1999

King & Marshall

Kinda breaking my cut-off date's 1980, at New England Dragway.

Here's the story, and photos, courtesy of David Hapgood.

"And here's the story: in 1980, King stumbled upon his old Duster which was gathering dust in someone's garage. He realized it would be an economical way to run a 125" wheelbase car again. For seven years he had been running a 118" frame with Satellite and Monza shells. Besides, he reasoned, he was already familiar with his old car, and claimed, "It goes straighter than anything I've ever driven." King bought the Duster and then bought a brand new Dodge Challenger shell, which he intended to mount on the Duster frame over the winter.In the meantime he'd finish out the year by taking the Duster out for a spin at New England Dragway's 32 car Funny Car Extravaganza.

The Duster looked way, way out of place amongst the 1980 crop of funny cars. On top of its age, it looked like it was painted and lettered in a hurry. Truthfully, it simply looked like it was not well prepared. But looks can be deceiving, and Jimmy was an old master and you wanted to believe he knew what he was doing.

About two hours before eliminations, several alcohol funny cars lined up in the staging lanes to make some warmup passes. King and Marshall were at the end of this line. King laid down a tremendous burnout, long and hard.You could tell he was eager to reaquaint himself with his old mount. After a series of dry hops, he staged the car and launched, clicking it about a hundred feet out. So that was that. But then, to my amazement, he brought it to a stop, and started to back up.I figured he was going to shut it off back at the starting line, but no; he proceeded to stage the car for a second time. He'd been fired for a long, long time. He got the green, launched went a hundred feet, clicked it off, and that was that.

Round one of eliminations had King up against Al Segrini. It was truly bizarre seeing the old Duster up against Segrini's slick Fabregé sponsored Arrow. I'd all but forgotten about King's bravery earlier in the day, keeping his car fired for so long. Who knows if he'd already damaged the engine on the earlier pass(es) but everyone on the track could see what transpired next:

K & M Fire

"At half track, he pushed three rods through the side of the block. I've seen plenty of fires, but nothing like this. From the moment it lit there way too much flame to ever put out. My only thought was that the car was history and King had to get out.I snapped this picture as King rolled by at a good rate of speed. It was fairly hot as he went by.I watched the car silently roll through the lights, then fully consumed in flames.You could tell it wasn't just the oil anymore-now the fiberglass was lit too.The whole thing was starting to get that dreadful feeling where there is not a thing anyone can do."

K & M smoke

"There are clouds of black smoke rising quickly from the shutdown area. It looks like a fire in an oil refinery. Then an explosion–big.I look down the track and see a puddle of fire down there.

That night a "lucky" spectator went home with the grill area of the Duster. It was all that was left of the body.
King was in the hospital.

A couple of years afterward, King told me about his month in the burn center, and his experience in the burning car: 'When I finally got it stopped, all I could see was fire. I couldn't see the window (note: No escape hatch in the roof). I got the seatbelts off, and dove in the direction of the window. But something pushed me back into the seat. I dove again, and the same thing. Now I'm literally burning to death. I realize that the roof is melting down on to of me and I tell myself "Try again!' because I knew this was it. If I didn't make it out on the third try, I wasn't going to make it.'

Obviously, the third try was successful. But King was burned severely on the hands, back and arms. And he hasn't driven again."

Again, thanks to David Hapgood for both the photos, and the story. © 1999

Showtime satellite

Tom Hoover's Showtime Satellite at Minnesota Dragways.

Dick Wittnebel photo

Bubble Up and ChiTown

Gordie Bonin's Bubble Up Vega, and Pat Foster in the ChiTown Patrol at the World Finals, held at the Ontario Motor Speedway..

Blue Fox Vette

Norm Cowdry's Blue Fox Corvette Funny,
"Cowdry was much better known for his famous little green Austin Healey that ran rampant across SoCal tracks in the early mid-60s. Norm's first Blue Fox, a Camaro, was also running very well before it crashed. This one was sort of sneaking up on it when the front axle broke and it was destroyed. That ended Norm's career, until recently."
Tom West Commentary and Photo © 1999


The early years, before digger style roll cages, before full face helmets with their own air supplies, before side windows were required, the funny car driver made do with some primitive cockpit conditions, but for the most part, all was good.

John Ewald Photo © 1999

Yellow Stardust

Don Shumacher's Stardust Cuda, the boss's personal ride. This was at the 1973 Gatornationals, taken from the spectator side

Photo courtesy of Marvin T. Smith

Soapy Sales

Larry Huff's Soapy Sales 1975 Dart. Tuned by Rich Guasco, of Pure Hell fame, Larry wrung a 6.45 outta this ride.

Hoover Vette

Moving up a little past the un-official cutoff, Tom Hoover's 1978 Corvette, another in a line of "Showtime" funnies.Tom managed to run a best of 6.13 at 226 MPH in this car

Dick Wittnebel photo


And a shot of the LimeFire Barracuda on the tow strap, coming back to the pits at Capitol Raceway's King of Kings Meet.

Bob Plumer photo

Holy Smokes Cuda

Jim Murphy's Holy Smokes Cuda, a former Whipple and McCulloch ride.

Tom West Photo © 1999

King and Marshall tug'o'war

Yeah, that's a dragster on the left. This was a promotional shot for a super-glue product, with both King and Marshall cars taking part. They put a lot of water down under the tires, as they really didn't want the cars hooking up THAT well. Even so, the glue held.

Hoover Satellite

Tom Hoover's Showtime Satellite, surrounded by pit monkeys. Tom ran the Satellite in the early 70's, probably around 1973-4.

This car was the beginning of the Showtime name for Hoover, as he had been running under the White Bear Dodge name previous to this.

Dick Wittnebel photo

Good Lookin' Girl

Well, there's a funny car in the picture!

Trophy queen, Barbara Roufs, in a PR shot for a PDA meet, with Pete's Lil' Demon.

Dr. Leroy Hales drove the Lil' Demon, now he's involved with RFC.

Tom West Photo © 1999


Tom Ferraro in the Genuine Suspension AMX-1. This is one of those wacky racers, as this used to be the Genuine Suspension AA/FA Fiat.

Tom West photo © 1999

Brutus Mustang

Lew Arrington and the "Brutus" Mustang, successor to the "Brutus" Firebird, and the way-famous "Brutus" GTO, which was driven both by Lew and Jim Liberman...

Alan Earman photo © 1999

Tim Beebe's Fighting Irish Camaro

George Houraney photo

Della and Bernie Woods' "Funny Honey" Charger at the 1969 Winternationals...geez, doesn't seem like 30 years ago...Della Woods, driver

Dave Dewars photo

Sein and Lankford's Brand X Mustang at OCIR, against Pat Foster in Barry Setzer's Vega.

This is the same funny car that noted photog/journalist Jon Asher drove and wrote a two part article in Super Stock and Drag Illustrated titled "I Drove a Funny Car, ON FIRE!!!"

Tom West Photo © 1999

TV Tommy Ivo and his 1976 Dodge Charger (or Cordoba), not one of the better looking body styles that was made into a funny car...

Don Schumacher in his '69 Barracuda at the '69 Winternationals...

Dave Dewars photo

travelin Javelin

Gary Crane's Travelin' Javelin at OCIR. With Dale Armstrong (yes, THAT Dale Armstrong) behind the wheel.

looks like an L & M photo

Jim Maybeck's Patriot Chevelle...if the car looks familiar, that's because it's Bruce Larson's old USA-1.

Jim Maybeck again, at Detroit Dragway, in his Corvair funny, the successor to the Patriot Chevelle. At one time, Jim was the quickest Chev funny in the world, with a 7.32 at the Springnationals in Bristol, in 1969

Then came the Camaro...Jim Maybeck continued the "Screaming Eagle" linage with this car, running mainly on the East coast.

Smilin' Jim hisself. Dig the firesuit!

Last of the line of Screaming Eagle fuel funnies, this 1973 Vega...

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Know something I don't about any of these pictures?

Shoot me an e-mail!

Jim Sorenson

(206) 632-4969

The Funny Car Pages are copyright Jim Sorenson © 1999-2001 all rights reserved.
All copyrighted material herein is used with the permission of the copyright holder, and may not be used in any way or in any form without express written permission.