Monday, December 28, 2009

Funny Business

Drag racing experienced monumental change during the mid sixties. In the space of two short years, vehicles resembling those available at the local dealership, transformed into purpose built monsters, designed to run down the quarter mile as quickly as possible.
In 1964 Jack Chrisman picked up a new Mercury Comet from the Sachs & Sons dealership in Downey, California and drove it to Bill Stroppe's shop in Long Beach to begin tweaking it for competition. Debuting at the US Nationals, his car was an instant hit with its ferocious tyre smoking runs and by the end of the season Jack was running in the 9.60's at 165 mph. Chrisman's Comet, in essence, wasn't really all that far removed from the plethora of garden variety Mercurys roaming suburbia. However things were about to change.

1966 was a funny year.
Gone were last year's production based machines - the brass at FoMoCo had a better idea ! Why not cover a dragster chassis with a fibreglass body that had the appearance of the latest passenger car offerings. Lincoln-Mercury didn't have a roadster in their lineup for 1966, but that didn't bother the fans who flocked to see Jack and his nitro burning 180mph GT-1. The modern funny car was born. Things really haven't changed much in the last four decades. The concept is still the same, however the cars don't remotely resemble anything available to Joe Public. They just have more advertising.

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