photo: Paul Stenquist
The Glory Days of professional drag racing are long gone. Sure, cars are faster than ever before, but the cars all look like the same bar of soap with different stickers all over ‘em and it’s hard to get excited as a spectator when a race lasts 4 seconds.
And, besides the Elvis of Drag Racing –– John Force –– the personalities are gone. Drag racing used to attract a woolly, motley crew of huge personalities because it took that kind of warrior mentality to hurl oneself down a quarter mile ribbon of blacktop as fast as possible with as little weight and protection as possible.
So, it’s with all that behind us that we share this snapshot Pam Hardy just posted on her FaceySpacey: Jungle Jim Liberman, Jungle Pam, Austin Coil and Merle Mangles after hours and relaxing. Coil, of “Chi-Town Hustler” funnycar fame, Mangles and the Jungles Jim and Pam of the most beloved F/C team to ever tour, in a candid glimpse of the lives of pro drag racers in the early Seventies.
Photographed by Paul Stenquist and here, he comments on the shot:
“These aren’t good photos, but some of you may find them interesting. I shot
them a couple of days before Christmas in 1976 at Austin Coil’s apartment in
Justice, Illinois. Austin was the brains behind the “Chi-Town Hustler” funny
car, a top contender for many years in American drag racing competition. In
later years, he took John Force to numerous world championships. In the
foreground is Jim “Jungle Jim” Liberman (the furry thing without a head) and
his girlfriend, sidekick, showpiece, Pam “Jungle Pam” Hardy. Austin Coil and
his friend, Merle Mangles, are in the background.”
Best. Pic. Ever.