Surprisingly, Warren Johnson, one of the winningest Pro Stock drivers in NHRA national event history (96 career wins), started out racing a 427 big-block Vega in AHRA competition. The Professor’s early AHRA days would (of course) provide Johnson with a ton of engine building data, which he would ultimately put to good use, and the rest is drag-racing history. Surprisingly, Warren Johnson, one of the winningest Pro Stock drivers in NHRA national eve Editor's note: For the younger turks in the congregation, it's hard to fathom a time when everyone didn’t have a high-quality digital camera in his pocket that doubled as a telephone, calculator, and video sexting device. But back in the psychedelic '60s and swingin' '70s, real photographers roamed the dragstrips of the great U.S. of A., taking pictures and capturing for posterity a timeless era in Chevrolet racing history—one that would never be repeated. Check out these fabulous photos from one of the legendary lensmen of that era. Come back next month for Part 3. –Jim Campisano Wadsworth, Ohio’s Ken and Rona Veney moved to Southern California in the early 1970s and became involved in the emerging Southern California Gas Funny Car Circuit, which their original Kern Cox–chassis Veney’s Vega would dominate. Veney’s Vega 1 (there would be a total of four cars,) soon gave way to Veney’s Vega II and nitro-methane became the fuel of choice. That’s when the little injected Chevrolet A/FC began knocking down the big numbers, running in the low sevens (7.45 seconds) at over 190 mph, setting track records everywhere. By the time NHRA instituted its BB/Funny Car class (1973), Veney’s Vega was running a Dale Armstrong-Ken Veney blown alcohol big-block Chevrolet and knocking out 6.90s, and either winning and/or finishing in the runner-up spot in countless BB/FC feature races, NHRA, and AHRA Super Comp Eliminator run-offs. In 1974, a Hemi-powered Veney’s Vega III would win the AHRA championships. Wadsworth, Ohio’s Ken and Rona Veney moved to Southern California in the early 1970s and b Bet you thought we forgot about you Super Stock guys, didn’t you? No tribute to Chevrolet’s finest would be complete without Ray Allen and George Supinski’s 1970 454 Chevelle LS6 convertible prepared by Piscataway, New Jersey’s Ralph Trupi and Tommy Kling. This blue and white beauty was reputedly one of only 17 1970 Chevelle SS 454 LS6 convertibles known to have been built. This awesome car won NHRA’s Division 1 “NED” Super Stock Championship, Indy, the NHRA Super Nationals, and ultimately 1971 NHRA Super Stock World Championships. For a car that originally was sold by sponsor Brigg’s Chevrolet at a cost of $1,500, the Chevelle (now fully restored) sold at the 2009 Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, for a whopping $1,150,000. Holy guacamole! Bet you thought we forgot about you Super Stock guys, didn’t you? No tribute to Chevrolet’ The Roger Caster– and Grady Bryant–owned and driven “Sump’n Else #2” 1966 Chevrolet Nova featured a T-Bar chassis and an injected big-block Chevrolet on nitro-methane. Although the orange Nova looked like a typical steel-bodied mid-’60s Funny Car conversion, it was unique in the fact that its body was cantilevered so that the mass would actually shift backward under hard acceleration, transferring more weight over the back wheels; 8.40s at 156.00 were typical for its day. This car was restored back in the late 1990s and is now housed in a private collection. Photo by Dan Wadley. The Roger Caster– and Grady Bryant–owned and driven “Sump’n Else #2” 1966 Chevrolet Nova f Arguably the most famous Chevrolet-engine dragster in existence is the Peters & Frank twin small-block-equipped “Freight Train” AA/Gas Dragster. Actually, there was a series of these cars, at least four that we know of, that were driven to numerous championship wins by Tom McEwen, Bob Muravez aka “Floyd Lippencotte Jr.,” Roy “Goob” Tuller, Billy “The Kid” Scott, Sam Davis, and Walt Rhoades, winning the 1968 Hot Rod Magazine Drags with a 7.30-207.00 and the very last NHRA-Winston Top Gas World Championship at 6.10-209.00. Arguably the most famous Chevrolet-engine dragster in existence is the Peters & Frank twin A perfect example of what I like to refer as a “crossover car” was Charlie Wilson’s “Vicious Vette,” driven by Clyde Morgan and later on by Dale Pulde. This genuine 1958 Corvette started out as a Modified Sports Car, but graduated to Funny Car status once Wilson (who was a mechanic at a SoCal Chevrolet dealership) installed a supercharged big-block Chevy on nitro. Running 9.30s at 155 mph was typical for this 3,500lb car. In this photo taken at Irwindale Raceway, Morgan is racing none other than Jungle Jim Liberman, who is driving his original, all-steel, 1966 altered-wheelbase Chevy Nova. A perfect example of what I like to refer as a “crossover car” was Charlie Wilson’s “Vicio Jeg Coughlin Sr. has been known to race practically every type of racecar known to man, (stockers, gassers, altereds, Funny Cars, alcohol dragsters, Top Fuel, etc.), and his sons Jeg Jr. and Troy have followed in his illustrious footsteps. In 1972, Coughlin Sr. fielded this Chevrolet Vega Pro Stocker. Jeg Coughlin Sr. has been known to race practically every type of racecar known to man, (s The competiton never knew what NHRA Division 7 Stock and Super Stock competitor Val Hedworth was going to show up with, but it would always be a Chevrolet, and it would always be fast. Over the years, Val has successfully raced ’55 Chevys, Novas, Chevelles, and Camaros out of his Monrovia, California, shop, Hedworth Super Stock Engineering. In this particular photo taken at Bakersfield’s Famoso Raceway, Hedworth is seen wheeling his Racing Head Service–sponsored, small-block Chevrolet-engine, 1965 Chevelle four-door wagon (great for weight transfer) in SS/NA. Check out the daylight under the left front wheel. The competiton never knew what NHRA Division 7 Stock and Super Stock competitor Val Hedwor The place was Wilmington, California’s Lions Associated Drag Strip, and Dick Harrell with his Z11-engined 1965 Nova called “Retribution II” are shown going up against Tom “The Mongoose” McEwen, who is driving the L.A. Plymouth Dealer’s “Hemi Cuda-1.” Harrell (who had earlier set an AHRA A/FX record with this car at 10.24-127.80) reached for the sky yet ultimately won. Photo by G.K. Callaway. The place was Wilmington, California’s Lions Associated Drag Strip, and Dick Harrell with Another street car gone wild was Don “Rack” Rackeman’s Corvette Auto Parts car. This wild machine featured a straight-tube front axle and a nitro-burning, blown 427 Chevrolet running in the low 9-second range at around 165. It was a pretty wild creation. Another street car gone wild was Don “Rack” Rackeman’s Corvette Auto Parts car. This wild Not everybody shared the opinion that the early Chrysler Hemi was the undisputed “king” of Top Fuel. In the late 1960s, the Southern California team of Wilton & Doss fielded this pure Chevrolet-powered front-engine car, which gave a good accounting of itself (shown in this photo racing Adams & Mulligan at Lions), setting a total of nine e.t. records for fuel Chevys (7.50-7.15 seconds), and was the first Chevrolet to run over 220 mph (220.04) at Lions on January 11, 1969. Not everybody shared the opinion that the early Chrysler Hemi was the undisputed “king” of This classic side-by-side race photo was taken at the 1969 edition of the Hot Rod Magazine Drags at Riverside International Raceway. “Wild Willie” Borsch in the Winged Express is seen facing off against Walker & Geary’s “Super Rat,” so named for obvious reasons. In those days, the Chryslers and the Chevrolets were pretty evenly matched, so it was anyone’s race. This classic side-by-side race photo was taken at the 1969 edition of the Hot Rod Magazine Hayden “Old Folks” Proffitt began his drag career behind the wheel of a 1938 Chevrolet and then jumped into a Chevrolet-powered dragster. However, the car that put Hayden on the map was his 1962 Bill Thomas 409 SS bubbletop, which he won Indy with. After that, Hayden jumped to Plymouth, Mercury, and then back again to Chevrolet. In 1966, he fielded this injected big-block Corvair. Mid season, Hayden whacked the roof off the car and turned it into a roadster just in time to win the Drag Strip Magazine East vs. West Funny Car meet at Lions. Hayden “Old Folks” Proffitt began his drag career behind the wheel of a 1938 Chevrolet and Now this is Pro Stock racing at its finest. The final round at the 1972 NHRA Springnationls, Jenkins in “Grumpy’s Toy” versus the late Don Carlton in the “Mopar Missile,” with Jenkins coming out on top. Now this is Pro Stock racing at its finest. The final round at the 1972 NHRA Springnationl Former modified Camaro driver, Scott “The Kid From New York City” Shafiroff was another Pro Stock Chevrolet contender with his SRD Vega, which he raced for two years. Scott was always tough on the lights and made plenty of horsepower. In fact, he’s still making plenty of horsepower and is considered one of the best engine builders in the country with Scott Shafiroff Racing Engines. Former modified Camaro driver, Scott “The Kid From New York City” Shafiroff was another Pr This is the car that put the late Bill “Mr. Bardahl” Hielscher on the map. This new Corvette (note the window sticker still on it) set myriad AHRA records from Stock to Modified Sports. Moreover, the Vette set a two-way average at Bonneville of 170.697 to set the B/Sports record. This car is now on display at the Bill Hielscher Automotive Museum at Kennedale Raceway, Kennedale, Texas. This is the car that put the late Bill “Mr. Bardahl” Hielscher on the map. This new Corvet The Exhibition Engineering–chassis, Bill Carter–painted “King Camaro” AA/FC driven by Dean La Pole and wrenched by Dan Geare was reputedly equipped with a 16-spark-plug Chevrolet big-block. Obviously, the Camaro sounded quite a bit different than other blown fuel-burning Chevrolets, and when it ran at night, the car belched out some incredible header flames. Unfortunately, twin spark plugs also meant twin ignition systems, and that meant twice the headaches. The Exhibition Engineering–chassis, Bill Carter–painted “King Camaro” AA/FC driven by Dean Likeable Malcolm Durham was the last of the “Pure Chevrolet” Funny Car holdouts on the East Coast. Malcolm’s Race Car Engineering–chassis, mini Camaro “Strip Blazer VII” ran low 6s but couldn’t stay together. Rather than switch, Durham went Pro Stock racing with a small-block-powered Chevrolet Vega, aka “Strip Blazer IX.” Likeable Malcolm Durham was the last of the “Pure Chevrolet” Funny Car holdouts on the Eas There was much speculation in the early ’70s about which BB/FC would be the first to break into the 6-second zone. Torrance, California, gas station owner Wilfred Boutillier put an end to that when he piloted his Wilfred’s Chevron Pure Chevrolet Vega BB/FC to a 6.98, setting an Irwindale Raceway track record and making headlines in all the drag-racing weeklies. There was much speculation in the early ’70s about which BB/FC would be the first to break By Bob McClurg Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!