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May 2013 Vintage Vault

Posted in Features on May 1, 2013
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Photographers: Thomas Voehringer

Boiling the Hides
We are not sure why, maybe because we are just in a horsepower state of mind right now, but heck why not continue this look into fast drag Jeeps from a bygone era. Last time we showed you buildup snippets and testing of a Brian Chuchua-prepped CJ-6 drag Jeep. Now we are gonna show you our secret weapon, the Secret Weapon drag Jeep! Here it is shown at the 1966 American Hot Rod Association Nationals at Lion’s Associated Drag Strip in Long Beach in a photo by Pat Brollier. The Jeep was apparently fast, but had unpredictable handling and aerodynamics that frequently led to wheelstands.

Burnout The Secret Weapon
Jeep Funny Car was again prepared by Brian Chuchua for Ed Lenarth and Roger Wolford. Despite their aerodynamics, or lack thereof, this category of Funny Cars (topless bodies like Jeeps and Broncos) were big-time winners and eventually banned at the end of 1967. This car later gave way to the bright yellow Chuchua “Holy Toledo” Funny Car. In this photo by Pat Brollier at the 1966 AHRA Nationals we see the crew assisting in the burnout. The Jeep was powered by a 392ci Chrysler Hemi with a Torqueflite transmission. This combo apparently led to a best run of 8.03 seconds at over 180 mph. Wow!

After the Ban
After the Jeep and other topless drag cars were banned from official races, you could still see them run at open events until about the end of the decade. Here is another image of the Secret Weapon Jeep Funny Car from the 1969 NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California. Trained Jeep nuts will notice in this color photo the Secret Weapon is now running a flattie style body instead of its earlier CJ-5/M38-A1 style body. The engine was roughly where the driver and passenger would be in a normal Jeep, and the driver of the drag car would practically lay down under that little rollcage over the rear axle like a slingshot dragster.

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