FEEDBACK ITEM - 3rd TOYOTA FUNNY CAR
Can you please tell me what exactly Ford, GM, and now
Toyota have contributed to the Funny Car's successes?
Before you begin to rattle off a bunch of tripe, let
me go ahead and tell you: Nothing!
They have contributed absolutely nothing. Not one
frikken bolt on these cars was ever developed within their engineering
departments. On the other hand, they all run Chrysler power. And please do not
go down the road of ......"well these are specifically designed engines built by
Allan Johnson, Keith Black and so on". That won't hold water. The reason is,
when you go to any manufacturer's web site like Allan Johnson's, or any of the
other's who make heads and blocks, they all refer to them as Chrysler Hemis. So
in what capacity does the word "effort" (quoting you) does this apply? Other
than writing a check that is.
I find it odd that the Ford, GM, and Toyota cars can
get away with using "Chrysler" power, but the same engine was outlawed in Pro
Stock years ago....don't you? Why do the Ford's not use Ford engines, GM use GM
engines, and Toyota use Toyota engines? I'll bet you don't know the
I await your reply with eager
anticipation. - Scott Oliver, Nashville, Tenn.
Some years back a highly respected journalist
offered the opinion that “John Force never ‘sold” a single Oldsmobile, a single
Pontiac or a single Ford.’ I disagreed with that
statement then, and continue to disagree with it now.
There’s no statistical “proof” either way about a
racer’s ability to “sell” a car, BUT, if the auto manufacturers didn’t believe
there was value in promoting their cars through Funny Car racing they wouldn’t
be involved. Of course, the closer one of
those race cars appears to the “real thing,” the better it is for the
Funny Cars are all about image, and very little
about beneath-their-skins technology, so let’s stick with that outside
On the contrary, there’s been significant factory
involvement in the development of successful Mustang, Charger and Monte Carlo
shells, and, one assumes, Toyota also played some role in the development of the
body that bears their name. We know for sure that some
early development shells of today’s cars were rejected as “not good enough” by
the factories, so if they played no role in their coming to the track, why would
they have even cared?
In an era where name-badging an engine is
tantamount to having a “real” engine in competition, we’re wondering where
you’re coming from. Everyone knows that engines
developed by, say, Cosworth Engineering have, from time to time, been called
everything from Fords to Chevrolets. Even though the cognoscenti know these engines have
absolutely no relation to showroom powerplants, to the general public there’s a
real Ford out there racing a real Chevrolet, and if that satisfies them and
keeps them interested, so what?
Decades ago the infamous Manufacturers Meet at the
late, lamented Orange County International Raceway used to divide their Funny
Car teams into distinctly Chevy, Ford, Dodge and Plymouth
groupings. That worked fine as long as
“real” engines were being used in those cars. However, when the aftermarket began producing
blocks and heads that were so obviously better than the OEM-blessed parts, team
makeup became a beauty contest only, i.e., if it looked a Chevy, it was on the
Chevy team regardless of what was under the body.
While today’s aftermarket engine parts
manufacturers often refer to their products as Hemis – for that’s what they are
– we can’t recall a single instance in years in which these engines have been
referred to as “Chryslers.” They are decidedly NOT
Chrysler Hemis, but only derivatives of the original OEM design.
If you’re truly the purest you profess to be, don’t
watch Pro Stock or, heaven forbid, Funny Car, where aftermarket engines are the
rule, not the exception. If you want to see
Ford-powered Fords and Chevy-powered Chevrolets, stick to Stock eliminator and
the like, where the “real thing” is still under the hood.
For the rest of us, those hooked on the excitement
of the two aforementioned categories, we’ll continue to pull for our favorite
kind of car out there, regardless of what’s under the hood, or under the body.
– Jon Asher