'71-'73' Bodied Nitro Funny Cars are the coolest!

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Spike Morelli

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1971 Mustang Mach 1 ram air 351c H-code, fmx, ps,pb, medium yellow-gold, hubcaps and beauty rings.
If I remember correctly, NHRA rulebook used to say that a "Funny Car "had to use a body that was within 3 years of being current. Mustang Bodies were a favorite choice, because, ( let alone they were cool looking ), you could, in '71 run a new '71 body all the way through '76. Being that the bodies were essentially the same shape, that's a 6 year window of not having to update to a different body.
You struck a chord here, as I think I've got some in a file in my computer here, let's see....
 

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Spike Morelli

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1971 Mustang Mach 1 ram air 351c H-code, fmx, ps,pb, medium yellow-gold, hubcaps and beauty rings.
Some more 71-73 Mustang Funnys....
 

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Spike Morelli

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1971 Mustang Mach 1 ram air 351c H-code, fmx, ps,pb, medium yellow-gold, hubcaps and beauty rings.
I had one more file here....Those were the days. Todays "aero body" funny cars just don't excite. Take the paint off a new funny body and you can't tell what make or model it is. Back when the class had to actually have a body that looked like a real car, there was something to look at. Take a good close look at these images, all of the lettering, even most of the sponsors, and all of the chrome grillework, tail lights, and such, was hand painted on, no vinyl, no stickers, mostly just talented art. Even the car itself, was all done by hand, there was no "RacePac" , or "data requesition" onboard to tell you what to do, you had to have a crew chief who had experience, who could hear and feel what the engine was doing. Back then, many of these were campained by private owners, as opposed to major corporations. It's gotten so damned expensive to compete today, that they may as well just have two CEOs of major companies just stand on the starting line, and see who can throw his wallet the furthest.......
 

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Joined
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1972 "Q" code Mach 1
Here's a few more. The best for me is the Harry Schmidt owned, John Buttera, built Blue Max. Was lucky enough to see it run at my local track because it didn't last long. It was burned to the ground during a match race as I recall. The car was a work of art!
 

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Spike Morelli

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1971 Mustang Mach 1 ram air 351c H-code, fmx, ps,pb, medium yellow-gold, hubcaps and beauty rings.
I was a big fan of The Blue Max, Keeling and Clayton, and Shirley Muldowney, but they're all cool.
 

donkost

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Long time Pontiac guy, jumped ship, now driving a '71 Grabber Green Mach 1 with "J" code 429 Cobra Jet, close-ratio 4 speed, 3.50 Traction-Lok rear.
A great era in racing overall. I made models of a number of those Funny Cars in the 70's. Modified Stock Cars were also big in my area, as the clay surface Reading Fairgrounds Speedway was nearby. These were the body of a car such as Falcon, Pinto, Gremlin, old Coupe or Coach from the firewall back, along with a aluminum hood covering the front of the chassis. Exposed wheels front and rear, and typically Chevy or Ford big block power. You could tell each driver / owner from the type of body used along with the hand-painted graphics.
 

Greg

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I have a 71 Mach 1 grabber blue and white, a 73 Mach 1 Copper and White with power sunroof and a 73 Convertible all loaded
A little history on funny cars. In the 60's there was Ron Pelligrini who was the King of drag racing in Indiana and a was a fiberglass fabricator. In 1965 he dropped a 64 427 thunderbolt in a mustang which maybe was the first big block in a mustang. That car is still missing and would be a valuable vintage racer if found. Next, he fabricated a fiberglass car that resembled a 65 Mustang. This is when funny cars were born. He says he invented funny cars. He also modified Shelby's and other cars for racing. One lost Shelby was recently found with all his traditional mods still intact which will be kept that way. 5 years ago, I was looking for a vintage GMC Motorhome and I went to look at a 1977 one owner one in central coast California. I came to realize it was Ron Pelligrini who I was visiting. I bought his motorhome he used and to keep his wife comfortable at the races. He was a genuine nice guy.
 
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Joined
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1972 "Q" code Mach 1
Here's some more. Many people are not aware that John Force's first Funny Car was the Art Chrisman built "sidewinder" rear engine machine
with a Mustang body. He got his fuel license in this car. It's the 1st pic in this bunch.photo42.jpg
 

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Joined
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1972 "Q" code Mach 1
I was a big fan of The Blue Max, Keeling and Clayton, and Shirley Muldowney, but they're all cool.
I was lucky enough to get to see a lot of the "hitters" run at my local track Edgewater Sports Park. The Blue Max, Pabst Blue Ribbon Charger, McEwen, Prudhomme, Hawaiian, Chi-Town Hustler, Whipple and McCullough, Shirley Muldowney, Kelly Chadwick, Mickey Thompson, and best of all, Jungle Jim! Being located in southwestern Ohio put me within 2 hours of many drag strips and National event venues like Columbus National Trail, Indy. Back when you could actually get close to the track and get a good whiff of nitro as well as have your eyes water profusely. At Columbus, at the fence catty- corner behind the starting line, we'd get the nitro experience plus a covering of fine rubber particles from the burnouts on our sun glasses. Back when you could cruise the open pits and walk right up and check out the work on the cars. Watched the Hawaiian burn up at Edgewater with Bruce Maas driving. Jungle and Pat Minnick (Chi-Town Hustler) would do 1,000 ft burnouts. Then Jungle would back up at a ludicrous speed to the starting line.
At one event at Edgewater we went up to check out the beautiful (short lived) Blue Max. Richard Tharp was sitting on a frame rail putting water back in the heads. Looked up at us, smiled, and asked, "ain't this cool?".
 

Duncan Mach72

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1972 Mach1
351C 4V, 4 speed
Alum flywheel
McLeod clutch
Torque biasing diff, 3.5:1
31 spline Strange SS axles
Dual 2.5" exhaust
Thanks for sharing people! Being in the UK & not getting into drag racing until 1982 I didn't realise how many 71-73 bodies were orginally campaigned in the USA. It's a natural for a f/c as all you need to do is stretch it a little bit between windshield & front wheel well, the rest of the proportions are perfect. I enjoy watching the current Funny Car Chaos series on Youtube, looks more interesting than NHRA. There are plenty of 71-73s in it too, including a recreation of the Brutus car.
 

Sheriff41

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@Duncan Mach72 I may have to head over to the Texas Motorplex in March and check out the racing! Looks like good times.
 
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