1980s

Smoke 'n Thunder

1980-98

Scott Hammack. 275 mph known top speed. Click here to see video footage of Hammack's jet dragster at OCIR in 1983.


Repco/Advance Australia

1980-87

Ken Warby, of Newcastle, Australia, raced a 1980 Ford Mustang jet funny car powered by a Westinghouse J-34 engine. Warby was internationally known for holding the world jet boat speed record of 317 mph. He considered jet dragsters safer than jet boats. "You don't have to be crazy but it helps," Warby said. "We consider it safe compared to what I do in power boats."  Click here to see video footage of Warby driving the Mustang jet funny car at the 1987 Jet Car Nationals at Englishtown.


Scorpion

ca. 1981

Bob and Roy Phelps, Allan Herridge, Mike Coburn, and Andrew Hurdle designed and built a jet dragster powered by a Rolls Royce Avon engine. Andrew Hurdle drove it.  Click here to see video footage of it at Santa Pod in 1981.


Pocket Rocket

1981-83

Larry Nagel, of Mansfield, Ohio, raced a rocket funny car, using a 1977 Chevy Vega. 199 mph known top speed.  Click here to see video footage of Larry Nagel talking and demonstrating his rocket car at Thompson Drag Raceway in the 1980s.



Advance Australia

1981-83  

Built by Romeo Palamides for Ken Warby, of Australia. Westinghouse J-34 jet engine. Paul Miller was driving it in 1983. 250 mph top speed.


Hellbender

1981-86

Roy Phelps, of Wellingborough, England, owned a jet dragster powered by a Westinghouse J-34 engine. He had a succession of different drivers including Allan Herridge, Steve Horn, and Mark Woodley. Woodley was killed while racing against another jet dragster at Santa Pod in September 1986.  Click here to see video footage of Woodley's fatal crash.


Oxygen

1981-82

Slammin' Sammy Miller, of Wayne, New Jersey, owned and drove a rocket dragster. 331 mph known top speed. He also removed the wheels and mounted skis in their place on this car to better the world ice speed record in 1981. He was clocked on frozen Lake George at 247.92 mph. Click here to see video footage of Miller driving the Oxygen rocket car.


Smith Bros. Cough Drop Special

1981-84

Roger Gustin, of Etna, Ohio, ran a popular jet funny car, employing a J-34-48 engine in a 1981 Chevy Monza body. 260 mph known top speed. Click here to see video footage.


Green Monster

1981-82

Jet-powered Datsun 280 ZX built by Walt Arfons ran with a General Electric J-85 engine. Driven by Craig Arfons. In the accompanying photo, Arfons is racing against Roger Gustin at the wheel of the Smith Brothers Cough Drops jet-powered Chevy Monza. 260 mph known top speed.


U.S. Enterprise

1981-95

Guy Zielinski, of Rochester, New York, bought this Romeo Palamides-built jet dragster. In 1985, he sold it to Ancel Horton, of Fort Worth, Texas. Click here to see video footage of it at the 1987 Jet Car Nationals at Englishtown.  Click here to see Zielinski racing his jet dragster at the 1995 Pro Jet Car Nationals at Atco.


Rod Phelps

1981-84

Rocket-powered funny car owned and driven by Rod Phelps, of Petaluma, California. Click here to see video footage of Rod Phelps's rocket funny car at OCIR in 1983.


Natural High

1981-present

Larry Flickinger, of Woodbine, Maryland, has owned and driven this rocket car since 1981. 401 mph top speed. Click here to see video footage of "Natural High."


TV Tommy Ivo

1981

Tommy Ivo built a jet funny car using a Westinghouse J-34 engine in a 1981 Dodge Omni. He never ran the car because he thought the safety of jet funny cars was suspect.


Kamikaze

1981-83

Owned, built, and driven by Joe Petro. General Electric J-85 turbo jet engine. 269 mph top speed. Click here to see video footage of it at the 1987 Jet Car Nationals at Englishtown.  Click here to see video of Petro's Kamikaze at the 1995 Jet Car Nationals at Atco.


Intruder

ca. 1981-83

Art Gallant, of Foxboro, Massachusetts, campaigned a jet dragster powered by a General Electric J-85 engine. It was built by Craig Arfons. 294 mph top speed.


Ground Zero/Style Auto Thunderbolt

1982-83

One of two jet funny cars owned by George Hedebeck, of Thousand Oaks, California. Driven by Tom Brown, of Los Angeles, in 1982, and by Rod Phelps in 1983.


Hurricane

1982-83

Terry Arfons built and owned a Ford Mustang powered by a Pratt & Whitney jet engine. Mike Evegens drove it. 257 mph known top speed.


Showdown

1982-ca. 2016

Joe "Pepe" Urban, of Sarasota, Florida, campaigned a jet dragster powered by a General Electric J-85 engine. 330 mph top speed. In about 2009, Urban built a jet Freightliner semi-truck, which he also named "Showdown."  Click here to see video footage.


Nitro Nick

1982-83

Nick Harmon, of West Line, Oregon, campaigned a 1982 Dodge Omni powered by a Westinghouse J-34 engine.


Spitfire

1982-96

Art Gallant, of Foxboro, Massachusetts. Using a General Electric J-85 engine, he employed a 1981 Dodge Omni body initially, a 1982 Dodge Charger body in 1985-86, but had switched to a 1984 Chevy Cavalier body by 1987. The last body before the car retired was a '94 Chevy Lumina. Pat Davidson was driving in the later years. 275 mph top speed.


Shockwave/Sonic Thunder

1982-2000

1982 Mustang jet funny car powered by a Westinghouse J-34-48 jet engine, was owned and driven by Les Shockley, of Santa Ana, California. In 1984, 220 mph known top speed. Shockley sold the car to Lou Sattelmaier, of Brunswick, Ohio. Lou changed the name to "Sonic Thunder" which he raced until at least 2000, if not later.   Click here to see video footage taken at 1986 Springnationals.  Click here to see video footage of Sonic Thunder at the Pro Jet Car Nationals at Atco in 1995.  Click here to see a promotional video produced by Les Shockley.


Wildfire IV

1982-88

Owned and driven by Doug Brown, of Riverside, California. Westinghouse J-34 jet engine. 277 mph top speed.  Click here to see Doug Brown driving the jet dragster in New Zealand; begins at the 15:49 minute mark of the video.


Thunder & Lightning

1982-84

Harold Stevens, of Colorado, campaigned a 1980 Datsun 280Z jet funny car built by Craig Arfons. It was powered by a Westinghouse J-85 engine. Click here to see TV program footage of Stevens' Datsun funny car at the Jet Car Nationals at Englishtown; go to the 2:10 minute mark of the video.


Stroh's Fire-brewed Firebird

1982-87

Dick Rosberg, of Grass Lake, Michigan, campaigned this Firebird jet funny car under the sponsorship of Stroh's Brewery. 271 mph top speed. Rosberg was in partnership with Bill McDaniel who drove a Dodge Omni (or Dodge Charger) jet funny car sponsored by Schlitz Malt Liquor.


Schlitz Malt Liquor

ca. 1982-87?

Bill McDaniel, of Brooklyn, Michigan, got sponsorship for his Dodge Charger jet funny car from the Schlitz Brewery. Click here to see TV program footage of Bill McDaniel competing in his Schlitz-sponsored jet funny car at Englishtown, including an interview with McDaniel; begins at the 1:20 minute mark of the video.


Screamin' Eagle

1982-ca. 1994

Fred Sibley built Gary Cerveny, of Los Angeles, a jet truck using a 1981 International Harvester semi cab powered by a Westinghouse J-34 engine. Probably in about 1985-86, the truck was sold to Larry Parks, of Sherman Oaks, California, who drove it for at least a decade as a part of Parks's "Jet Pack" stable of jet trucks. The other truck was "White Cloud" that debuted at least by 1994. 211 mph known top speed.  Click here to see video footage of Cerveny driving the jet truck at OCIR in 1983. 


Stroh's

1983-87

Dick Rosberg drove a 1983 Pontiac Trans Am jet funny car powered by a General Electric J-85 engine. It was owned by Novak, Rosberg, and Bill McDaniel. In 1984, they replaced the body with an '84 Trans Am body. 266 mph known top speed.




Spirit of Australia

1983-86

Ken Warby, from Australia, brought one of his jet funny cars from Australia to race stateside in 1983-84. It was reportedly powered by a J-85 engine. In 1986, his "Spirit of Australia" jet funny car sported a 1986 Mustang body and was powered by a Westinghouse J-34 engine.


Enforcer

ca. 1983-88

Fred Sibley, of Elkhart, Indiana, raced a jet dragster powered by an Allison thrust engine. 210 mph known top speed.


Stroh Light

1983-86

Bill McDaniel drove the 1983 Dodge Shelby jet funny car powered by a General Electric J-85 engine owned by Novak, McDaniel, and Rosberg. 241 mph known top speed.


Z-Ultimate

1983

George Hedebeck and Jerry Segal built a 1983 Datsun 280ZX funny car with a Westinghouse J-34 engine. It was sponsored by Style Auto. Rod Phelps was the driver.


Armageddon

1984

Ron VanMeter, of Midland, Texas, got into jet dragster racing after racing top alcohol dragsters. "I always wanted to fly a jet and I was never able to do it, so I drove one," VanMeter said. He was sponsored by Power Up, an oil fortifier based in Calgary, Canada.


X-15

1984-92

Chuck Van Dyke, of Bridgeview, Illinois, owned and drove a jet dragster powered by a Rolls Royce engine built by Romeo Palamides. 237 mph known top speed.


Chicago Fire III

1984-99

Bill Mattio, of Chicago Heights, Illinois, built this new Chicago Fire jet dragster in 1984, powered by a Pratt & Whitney J-12 jet engine. 309 mph top speed.


Shake 'n' Bake

1984-93

Ron Hoover built and drove a jet dragster powered by a Westinghouse J-34 engine. 282 mph known top speed.


Lava Machine

1984-86

Roger Gustin campaigned this popular jet funny car employing a Rolls Royce jet engine in an '84 Camaro body. It was sponsored by Proctor and Gamble. 256 mph top speed. "There's nothing drag racing fans enjoy more than smoke, fire, and thunder," said Gustin. "They'll see my car pump out a ball of fire the size of a two-story building. And it reaches 260 mph to top it off. If that doesn't excite you, you need a mortician."


Eastern Raider

ca. 1984-ca. 2017

After years of racing funny cars under the "Eastern Raider" name, Al and Ellen Hanna, of Enfield, Connecticut, ventured into the jet funny car business. Hanna's first jet funny car sported a Ford EXP body. In 1985, Hanna brought out a General Electric J-85-engined '85 Thunderbird funny car. In 1992, the body was a 1992 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. Rich Hanna began driving it in about 1996, followed by Ken Hall in about 1998. The car has undergone various upgrades in more than thirty years of exhibition racing. See video footage of the Eastern Raider in 1989 at Atco Raceway.  See video footage and interview with Hanna at Atco in 1992, at the race where Roger Gustin had his serious crash.  Click here to see video footage of Al Hanna racing at the 1995 Pro Jet Car Nationals at Atco.


Balls Unlimited

ca. 1984-2003

Bob "Crazy" Correll, of Simi Valley, California, had Craig Arfons build him a jet-engined bike. It was powered by a General Electric T-58 engine. 181 mph known top speed.


King Kong/Earthquake

ca. 1984-90

Phil Rini, of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, used a 1983 Kenworth semi tractor to build a jet truck powered by a General Electric J-79 engine. Rini was a police chief in New Brighton, Pennsylvania. In his effort to get the jet truck built, Rini said, "Nothing will stop me but money." He took it to a drag strip to test it in 1982. "The first time we ran it, it blew up," Rini said. With the help of friends, he spent seven months putting it back together again. "When we finished, nobody wanted to start it up. We set it on idle, lit it and ran, . . . All that was needed was some fine tuning." 200 mph known top speed. 


Rapid Fire

1984-89

Jerry Sample, of Rittman, Ohio, owned and drove a jet dragster powered by a Pratt & Whitney J-46-38 engine. In 1989, Jerry turned over the driving duties to his wife, Tina. 245 mph known top speed.


Rocky Mountain Express

1985-88

Joe Gonzales, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, campaigned a jet dragster powered by a Westinghouse J-34 engine. It had been built by George Hedebeck and Jerry Segal, circa 1982.


Thunder & Lightning

ca. 1985-86

Harold Stevens, of Colorado, used the same name that he had used on his Datsun 280Z jet funny car on his 1983 Corvette jet funny car. It was powered by a Westinghouse J-34 engine. 190 mph known top speed.


Shock Wave

1985-2019+

Les Shockley, of Galena, Kansas, has campaigned a 1985 Peterbilt semi powered by three Westinghouse J-34-48 engines for over three decades. Drivers over the years have included Les and  Kent Shockley, and Ken Good. During the 1990s it was known as "104+ Octane Boost Shockwave." It crashed in 2008 and the truck was destroyed. Neal Darnell bought the jet truck in about 2013, keeping some of the original, and changing other parts. 344 mph known top speed in quarter-mile. Click here to see the maiden voyage of "Shockwave" at U. S. 30 Dragstrip in 1985.  Click here to see video footage of "Shockwave" at Toronto Motorsports Park, including an interview with owners Neal and Chris Darnell.


The Jazz

1985-97

Bob Beaulieu, of Windsor Locks, Connecticut, started out with a 1982 Dodge Omni funny car powered by a General Electric J-85 engine. From 1987-94, he was using a Dodge Daytona body. In 1995, Paul Stander bought the jet funny car. 268 mph known top speed.  Click here to see video footage of Beaulieu's '95 Oldsmobile Cutlass jet funny car at the 1995 Pro Jet Car Nationals at Atco; begins at the 3:46 minute mark.  See more video footage of "The Jazz" at the Pro Jet Nationals at Atco in 1995.


Thunda from Down Under

1985-ca. 87

In 1985, Ken Warby, the Australian world record holder for jet speed boats, built a second jet funny car as a companion to his Repco-sponsored Mustang jet funny car. It used a 1983 Datsun 280ZX body with a Westinghouse J-34 engine. He engaged Paul "Fireball" Miller, of Elkhart, Indiana, to sometimes do the driving when the car was stateside. Sue Ransom also drove it. 261 mph known top speed. Click here to see video footage of Miller driving the Repco Datsun at the 1987 Jet Car Nationals at Englishtown.


Stroh's Brewhauler

1985-86

Bill McDaniel drove a Ford LTL 9000 jet truck powered by a Westinghouse engine. It was owned by the trio of Novak, Dick Rosberg and McDaniel and sponsored by Stroh's Brewery. 175 mph known top speed.


Sonic Syndrome

1985-89

Lynn Redeman, of Portland, Oregon, campaigned an '83 Ford Mustang powered by a Westinghouse J-34 engine. It was built by Rick Kikes. He ran an '89 Ford Probe body in 1989. 267 mph top speed.


Mirage

1985-86

Art Gallant, of Foxboro, Massachusetts, campaigned two jet funny cars in the mid-80s. "Mirage" was a 1984 Corvette (or Ford Tempo) powered by a General Electric J-85 engine. Russ Cassella, also from Foxboro, drove this car, as did Al McFayden. 275 mph top speed.


Jet Pack

1985-89

Larry Parks (seated in the jet funny car photo above) had Fred Sibley build a second jet car for him, an '83 Datsun 283ZX powered by a Westinghouse J-34 engine. Ron Van Meter, of Midland, Texas, (checking the engine in bottom photo above) was the co-driver and crew chief. 278 mph known top speed.


Lava Machine

1986-88

Roger Gustin debuted a second Lava Hand Soap-sponsored jet '86 Camaro funny car in 1986. He ran both cars concurrently. Steve Evegens generally drove it. Click here to see video footage taken at 1986 Springnationals.


Hot Stuff

1986

Rick Kikes built and drove an '85 Oldsmobile Firenza jet funny car powered by a Westinghouse J-34 engine. He crashed in May 1986 in New Jersey. He hoped to rebuild, but apparently didn't. 253 mph known top speed.


Fireworks USA

1986

Al Eierdam drove a 1984 Corvette jet funny car powered by a Westinghouse J-34 engine for Fred Spezio, of Birdsboro, Pennsylvania. 253 mph known top speed.


Simple Pleasure

1986-95

Jerry Segal, of Riverside, California, first built and drove a General Electric J-34 engined jet dragster in the 1986. He sold it that year to John Fattori, also of Riverside, who had a top speed of 294 mph while he owned it. In 1995, Joe Douthit, of Riverside, bought the car. His son, David Douthit, from Lakeside, California, only 20 years old, began driving it in 1995 (in photo above). 276 mph known top speed.


Quarterflash

1986-87

Gary Swenson, of Tacoma, Washington, owned and drove this jet funny car that was built by Rick Kikes.


Blue Streak

1986-94

Gino Vecchio, of Novato, California, raced a jet dragster powered by a Westinghouse J-34 engine. He was killed on July 3, 1994 at Southern Oregon Dragway while driving the dragster.


Flashback

1986-88

Fill Smith, of Indianapolis, owned and drove a General Electric J-85-engined Camaro jet funny car. He may have mounted a Corvette body on the chassis in 1988. 245 mph known top speed.  Click here to see a match race between Fill Smith's jet funny car and the Chi-Town Hustler in 1988 at U.S. 131 Dragway.


Bo-Town Express

1986-88

Steve Cotugno, of Boston, owned and drove a jet dragster powered by two Westinghouse J-34-38 engines. 219 mph known top speed.


Shockwave

ca. 1987

After selling his first Mustang jet funny car to Lou Sattelmaier in 1984, Shockley built another jet funny car that he raced at the 1997 Jet Car Nationals at Englishtown.  Click here to see video footage of Shockley driving his jet funny car at the 1987 Jet Car Nationals at Englishtown. 


Danger Zone

1987-96

Roland Merman, of Concord, California, toured the country with a jet dragster built by the Jet Shop. It was powered by a General Electric J-60 engine. In May 1989, Roland's dragster "Danger Zone" was destroyed in a fire inside their trailer transporter when they were returning from a race in Spokane. On August 17, 1989, he bought the jet dragster "Texas Lightning" (in above photo) so he could continue touring with his wife's jet dragster "Firefox." Two days after purchasing the dragster, the husband-wife pair raced each other at the Jet Car Nationals at Firebird International Raceway in Phoenix. Merman apparently renamed the dragster "Danger Zone" shortly afterwards. Steve Elstins drove "Danger Zone" in 1996. 277 mph known top speed. Click here to see "Danger Zone" set fire to a car at Salinas in 1994.


Fighting Irish

1987-90

Dick Rosberg, of Rockingham, North Carolina, campaigned an '87 Trans Am powered by a General Electric J-85 engine. Bill McDaniel did the bulk of the driving. 271 mph known top speed.


Warhawk

1988-89

Richard Smith, of Lenexa, Kansas, owned and drove a 1987 Dodge Daytona powered by a Pratt & Whitney JT-12 engine. 247 mph known top speed.


Heated Desire

1989-90

Jerry Sample, of Rittman, Ohio, owned a drove a jet dragster powered by a General Electric J-85 engine. 281 mph known top speed.


Star Jet

1989-96

George "Bushmaster" Schreiber, of Lakewood, California, campaigned a jet dragster powered by a General Electric J-85 engine. 301 mph known top speed. Click here to see TV coverage of Schreiber and his jet dragster at the 1995 Pro Jet Car Nationals at Atco. Click here to see video footage of the Star Jet at St. Thomas Dragway in 1991.


Flash Fire

1989-92

In his Jet Set stable, Lynn Redeman, of Portland, ran an '89 Dodge Daytona funny car powered by a Westinghouse J-34 engine. Bruce McCombs drove it. 243 mph known top speed.


Magna Force

1989-94

As a companion to his "Flash Fire" jet funny car, Lynn Redeman, of Portland, ran a similar '89 Dodge Daytona funny car powered by a Westinghouse J-34 engine. 251 mph known top speed.


Kendall Warrior

1989-94

Bob Van Sciver, owner of Atco Raceway, campaigned a '89 Ford T-Bird funny car powered by a General Electric J-85 engine. In 1992, Dick Walshburger set a world jet funny car speed record of 282 mph driving the Kendall Warrior. Walshburger was the man who taught Van Sciver how to drive a jet car.  Click here to see video footage of the Kendall Warrior at the 1989 IHRA Gateway Nationals.  Click here to see the Kendall Warrior running three different times between 1989-92.


Black & Decker Univolt

1989-91

Roger Gustin got Craig Arfons to design this jet-engined 1989 Chevrolet Beretta funny car. Powered by a Pratt & Whitney JT-12 jet engine, he was sponsored by Black & Decker. He reportedly had two jet funny cars sponsored by Black & Decker. He drove one and Mike Evegens drove the other car. 275 mph top speed.


Vorian

1989-97

Jill and Larry Nagel spent $500,000 and three years designing and building a jet-engined transforming robot dragster. When expanded or transformed to its full height, it stood two stories tall, had a flame thrower in its right hand and a rocket launcher in its left hand. Newspapers reported it as being capable of 300 mph, but its exhibitions at truck pulls and drag strips were more in the way of exhibiting its transforming abilities. Click here to see video footage of its transforming exhibition in 1997.


Fire Force

1989-94

Bruce Abbott, of Parker, Colorado, campaigned a Pontiac Trans Am jet funny car powered by a Pratt & Whitney J-60 engine. 253 mph known top speed.  Click here to see video footage of "Fire Force" at the 1989 IHRA Gateway Nationals.  Click here to see Abbott racing at Maple Grove in 1989.


Firefox

ca. 1989-92?

Sue Merman, of Concord, California, toured the country with her husband, Roland, each driving a jet dragster. Her dragster, built by the Jet Shop, was powered by a General Electric J-85 engine. 263 mph known top speed.


Thunderbolt

ca. 1989-94

Jerry Segal owned and began driving a General Electric J-85 engined jet dragster in about 1989. Click here to see video footage of Segal and his Thunderbolt jet dragster.


Texas Thunder/Texas Thunderbolt

1989-93, 1997

Charlie Hand, of Garland, Texas, was a partner with Tommy O'Brien, who built "Texas Thunder" as a companion to the "Lone Star Lightning" jet dragster. It was powered by a Pratt JT-12 engine. Those who drove the dragster included Danny Wright and Marvin Celsur. This is likely the same jet dragster that Tammy Gatlin drove in 1997 for Dawn Hand, Charlie Hand's widow, who took over the business after Charlie died. It was called "Texas Thunderbolt" then. 294 mph top speed.


Aussie Invader

ca. 1980s

Rosco McGlashan, of Perth, Australia, honed his land-speed racing skills on drag strips in Australia with a jet dragster. He currently holds the land speed record for Australia of 500 mph. Click here to see the Aussie Invader jet dragster racing against a funny car.


White Cloud

ca. 1980s-ca. 1994

Shon Wolfe (on right in above photo) with Larry Parks (on left) stand in front of the "White Cloud" Peterbilt jet truck. Parks, who drove the jet truck "Screaming Eagle," paired up for exhibition races together. This truck was a part of Larry Parks's team of exhibition jet trucks that he called "Jet Pack." William Vargo bought the jet truck from Larry Parks. Click here to see video footage of the starter turning over in 2014 in Vargo's effort to restore it and get it running again.