Funny Cars 1965-1979

Page 149
03.07.19

 

 

The late Gordy Bonin in the flo-rite Trans Am at Edmonton in 1979. At the time flo-rite was one of the few non-racing automotive sponsors.

 

 

 

Who'd have guessed that in just a couple of decades later this would be the winningest funny car driver ever and the Force family would be drag racing royalty. They are all the real deal who went from sleeping in a station wagon to a million dollar motor home. Its hard to imagine where drag racing may have gone with John, then the kids.

 

 

The late Pat Foster in the Don Kirby/Beach City Chevrolet topless Vette at Lions

 

The Beach City Vette Saga by Pat Foster

"Here's how I remember the whole Beach City deal that has gotten told so many different ways over the years.

When Scrima and I had Exhibition Engineering in the mid to late sixties, Don Kirby and I became good friends because he painted some of our clients stuff. Don had the Corvette Auto Parts coupe that I think his brother Bud drove some. Don contracted John Garrison to build a stroked 427 BB Chev. engine for that car. The car was horrid, short, high, rectangular tube frame, straight front axle, much like the 'Gassers' of the day. I loved Garrison and agreed to drive it when they got the new engine in it. It was a genuine 'Kill yer' self kit' as Olin would say! I made about five attempts to get her down through there with very scary results. I told Kirby, no more, that's it.

I told him to let me build him a new car and we'd race together. I then built The Roadster at E.E. and it started life with Nickey Chevrolet livery, as they promised Don financial help, which never happened so he approached Beach City Chevrolet and they did provide the help he needed to complete the new car and hire John and I to run it. The new roadster hauled ass from the git-go and ran over 200mph the first weekend. It was VERY light, slippery and beautiful to look at and handled like a dream.

At about this same time Scrima and I parted company and I was working for Woody in Downey. He and I started thinking and planning the ill-fated back motored dragster. My weekend ride was the Beach City Corvette when Woody, Leland and I started testing the dragster. We ran at Irwindale, OCIR, perhaps Irwindale again and thought it was ready to run 'In anger' so went to 'The Beach' and crashed - BAD. During my long recovery Kirby put Ronnie Goodsell in the roadster and did the fire, crash and burn deal onto the 405 freeway. The story get very fuzzy for me from that point on, as I was kind of 'out of it' for months after the 'Beach' incident.

 

 

Besides Foster and Ronnie Goodsell, the Beach City Vette was also piloted by the late great Gary Gabelich seen here at Irwindale.

 

 

The late Gary Burgin out on Tom Hoover at Fremont in 1976.

 

 

The late Frank Hall in Jim Green's Green Elephant at the 1975 Fallnationals at SIR.

 

 

Roger Guzman heating the tires of the Guzman & Kershal 427 powered Super Rat during the 1973 World Finals at Ontario.

 

 

Drag Digest on CD - The Birth of Funny Car


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