Today, the cars that were campaigned in that fabulous era are in a state of resurgence. While there are certainly some that will never see the racetrack again, restored as exact artifacts of the era, others have received the necessary safety upgrades and are being readied to hit the strip again in 2002. We thought it would be nice to give the readers a chance to find out who is doing what with which cars.

Jim Paulson, Kenosha, WI
'65 Jake's Speed Equipment Plymouth
Vehicle: Original restored.
Original owner: Paul Candies and Leonard Hughes, Houma, Louisiana
Best e.t.: 9.89/134 mph

The shortened Jake's Speed Equipment Plymouth, the first Funny Car entry of noted race team Candies and Hughes, has been a regular at nostalgia events in the Midwest for several seasons. Owner/driver Jim Paulson plans to run several events focusing on Great Lakes Dragway, the Monster Mopar Weekend in St. Louis, the Goodguys Nationals in Indy, and several other regional Mopar and nostalgia drag shows. This car is considered the forerunner of many restored cars today, debuting with Chet Gibbs' Jayhawker during an appearance at the Chrysler Classic in Columbus in 1995. Jett Townsend will continue on the tuning chores.

Craig Handley and Bob Pickle, St. Louis, MO
'65 El Toro Plymouth
Vehicle: Original restored
Original owner: Ed Haulsey, St. Louis, Missouri

Jett Townsend is also involved in the El Toro car, which will be running out of former A/FX racers Craig Handley and Bob Pickle's stable. The car is injected on alcohol with Bob behind the loud pedal, and the car will probably be at many of the events that the Paulson/Townsend juggernaut attend in 2002. The car is currently in the paint shop. The A990 Belvedere was converted to AWB trim in 1966 using blueprints obtained from Dick Maxwell at Chrysler by owner Ed Hausley. Handley and Pickle owned the car twice, obtaining it again in sad shape in 1997 at the urging of Townsend and Chet Gibbs. The four-year restoration includes new suspension pieces from Just Suspension, upgraded safety equipment, and should be ready to rumble early in the season.

There are other cars out there. Dan Fuller recently sold a replicated altered-wheelbase car that will probably end up on the race track. Several private collectors are still working on restorations, although there is no word as to whether these vehicles will actually be upgraded to safely race once they are done. Over the course of the last dozen years or so, several other cars have shown up at various events. We, of course, would be interested to hear about others and will print information on them in Mopar Drag News.

Larson's Blast
The lead image in this story was staged at Drag Fest 2001 at Bruce Larson's farm near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, last November. Larson, a long-time Funny Car racer and the '89 NHRA FC champion, opens this personal museum once a year for this get-together, which features privately owned home movies, slide shows, and photo collections from various nostalgia enthusiasts. The $12 admission charge for the day includes lunch as well. We will note the '02 date in the Events Section once it is released. Bruce does have a slew of Chevy-bodied Funny Cars on display (most of them have Hemi power, though).

Brian Kohlmann, Racine, WI
'65 S/FX Belle Dodge
Vehicle: Replication
Original prototype: Mr. Norm's Supercharger

Of course, no story would be complete without an update on the Belle Dodge replica, a supercharged nitro-burning beast that wows fans everyplace it goes. The blueprint for this machine was the ex-Roger Lindamood "Color Me Gone" Dodge, which Mr. Norm Kraus and Gary Dyer converted to supercharged nitro status in mid-1965; the original version of this machine remains unaccounted for by researchers. Now having run several seasons, owner/driver Brian Kohlmann continues to find time to campaign his replicated tribute despite increased costs and a hectic work schedule. For 2002, the nastiest S/FX machine the world has ever known (7.90s at 170-plus) will be racing at approximately a dozen events, with locations still being decided. Kohlmann is now hinting at considering an increase in the volume of nitro the car runs; currently, that number is around 45 percent. Another possibility is barnstorming to some of the country's most "authentic" vintage racetracks in the byways and hollows of mid-America, or perhaps an east coast tour of well-known tracks that existed in the car's heydays. Regardless, this will bring the house down.