Funny Car racing is a diverse avocation. While the best-known drivers run NHRA's nitro-burning Funny Car category, there are a variety of offshoots where racers can campaign cars without spending millions. IHRA "floppers" use methanol for fuel (as does NHRA's Federal-Mogul Sportsman class), while there are some smaller independent circuits. One additional outlet is the Goodguys series, where Funny Cars run in either exhibition form or as part of the Pro Supercharged division. When Jerry and Gary Mallicoat decided to return to the track, this is where they ended up.
The twin Mallicoat brothers had made quite a name for themselves on the West Coast as a Funny Car team in the late '60s and early '70s. They had built a '68 Barracuda Funny Car, but rather than go the conventional route for their class (the NHRA gasoline-powered AA/GS division) with a Roots-type blower, they had built a Hemi that sported twin turbochargers. With this combination, they set an NHRA national record in 1971 and had made the cover of Hot Rod magazine. After retiring from racing in 1981, Gary took a job in the booming Silicon Valley, while Jerry worked with Carroll Shelby in the '80s and eventually ended up as the senior development engineer at Auburn Hills on DaimlerChrysler's LeMans-winning GTSR engine program for the Viper.
In 1997 a friend and chassis builder, Tom Chambliss, notified the twins that he had found their old 'Cuda. The Goodguys' methanol-burning Pro Supercharged (PS) class would be a perfect fit. They were able to get the car and work began on making it ready for modern competition.
The rules state that PS machines must run doors, so plans were made to alter the vintage body. However, after realizing that the old fiberglass/tin structure was too heavy to be competitive, it was decided to use the original body to create a mold for a more modern '68 Barracuda skin, which was created by Kicker-Kraft Fiberglass, complete with additional spoilers and changes. Dave Uyehara did the tinwork inside.
Meanwhile, Gary was using his computer knowledge to give Tom fresh ideas on possible chassis changes. Using CAD-CAM and computer-analysis models, a state-of-the-art 110-inch wheelbase was built to current SFI standards. Basically half--Funny Car and half-Pro Stock, the chassis is very modern, though a '60s'-style tubular front axle and torsion bar outfit was designed into the 190-pound frame structure.
For motivation, the turbocharger was out of the question; cars such as those belonging to the Mallicoats and "Ohio George" Montgomery had made them illegal in most drag racing bodies. So, taking another page from modern technology, nitromethane-capable Brad Anderson engine hardware was employed, topped off by a 6-71 standard-rotor blower by Mert Littlefield. The late-model Hemi sports a Sonny Bryant crank, a Crane cam and accessories, and double-wall "zoomie" headers by Mike Leach's Positive Performance Exhaust Systems. This is backed by a Crower clutch and a four-speed Lenco scienced-out by Mike Sullivan of Wayne County Speed Shop fame. Strange Engineering provided the rearend, while a set of original Halibrand mags shod with Goodyear rubber connect the power to the pavement. One additional thing was a Motec ADL data-logging system, which was the result of Jerry's work on the Viper. It ably documents engine, driveline, and suspension info on each run, allowing the proper calls to make while tuning the car for performance.
Once the fiberglass/carbon body was back from Mac Perez Body Shop with a clean sheen of Viper 2000 Red, the Mallicoats turned to Jack Burr, the gentleman who had put the wild lettering on their car back in the '60s. From the three-dimensional appearance of the grille to the period-perfect lettering, the car now looked just like a vintage machine, with a few serious technological changes for the modern era.
With the twins back in competition again, there can be little doubt that the competition will be seeing red-Mallicoat red.