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Reyes On Tour:

Rear Engine Funny Cars

story by Aaron Green, photos by Steve Reyes

Ever seen a Rear Engine Funny Car? Not many people have. Just a few years back modern day NHRA Funny Car star John Force talked about possibly building a Rear Engine Funny Car for safety reasons, but never did. Actually, the idea of a Rear Engine Funny Car has been around a long time. Tom McEwen had the first one way back in 1965, the Plymouth Dealers Association Barracuda, which you can see now days at Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida.

In 1972 “Big” Jim Dunn enjoyed the most success of any racer that ever campaigned a Rear Engine Funny Car on the quarter mile. He is still the only racer to ever win an NHRA national event with that style of AA/Funny Car. Besides Dunn, there were many others that tried the concept. Some of the cars were seldom seen machines, while others enjoyed some success. Racers including Eddie Pauling, Lou Arrington, Larry Fullerton, Jack Chrisman, Larry Derr, Robert Contorelli, Dave Motta, Doug Thorley, Dave Bowman, Wayne Mahaffey, Ron Mehus, Rob Williams and others raced Rear Engine Funny Cars at one time or another. Many of them are pictured here. Some of the efforts ran decent numbers on the track, while others crashed in spectacular fashion, or sometimes proved to be fatal. Believe it or not, the very first Funny Car that the now ultra successful John Force drove was a Rear Engine Funny Car with a “sidewinder” drivetrain. Force was less than successful with that particular car, but it did launch his nitro Funny Car career.

Now lets join Hall of Fame photographer Steve Reyes for a visual trip down “memory lane” and check out the history of Rear Engine Funny Cars. CN

Looking for a classic drag racing photo of your favorite car or star? Chances are Steve Reyes has it. Or if you would like a professional photo shoot with your car, you can contact Steve Reyes via e-mail at