Hooniverse Asks: What's History's Greatest Factory-Sponsored Drag Racer?

We all know the old car company maxim about winning on Sunday and selling on Monday, but seriously, who ever goes car shopping on the first day of the work week? Another seeming fly in the adage ointment is that winning on the drag strip doesn’t today seem to fit the mold for engendering sales at all. Maybe that’s why it seems that manufacturers have an on-again, off-again interest in funding darg racing antics.
Over the years that bi-polar relationship with the strip has resulted in a number of cars with factory backing, a few of them pretty notable. What we’re looking for today is your opinion on which one you think is most notable. What do you think is history’s greatest factory-sponsored drag racer?
Image: Mecum Auctions

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  1. GTXcellent Avatar

    Sooooooooooooooo many possibilities, but I’m going to have to pick Petty’s “Outlawed” simply because of how it came to be.
    Bill France (with an awfully strong push from FoMoCo) says no more Hemi cars in his outfit. Plymouth and Petty Engineering say screw you and go drag racing instead. Sadly, on the track, the car is most remembered for tragically killing a young spectator.

    1. salguod Avatar

      I was going to say Hemi Under Glass, but it turns out it wasn’t “Factory” sponsored, unless you consider Hurst the factory.

      1. tonyola Avatar

        Another Hurst special if we’re allowing them – Hurst Hairy Olds with a claimed 2000 hp, twin Toronado drivetrains, and AWD. Based on a 1966 4-4-2.

        1. dukeisduke Avatar

          Jack “Doc” Watson, the guy behind the Hurst Hairy Olds, and Hurst/Olds cars in general, passed away on August 2nd, at the age of 75:
          He was also one of the founders of the Woodward Dream Cruise, and the Back To The Bricks cruise in Flint.

    1. XRSevin Avatar


      1. Fuhrman16 Avatar

        I love how absurd that thing looks!

        1. XRSevin Avatar

          Yeah, there’s a lot of Big Daddy Ed Roth-type weirdness here. It looks like it should have a monster and a shifter poking through the roof.

  2. PotbellyJoe★★★★★ Avatar

    1964 Fairlane Thunderbolt… Bonus points were added the disclaimer from Ford.
    This vehicle has been built specially as a lightweight competitive car and includes certain fiberglass and aluminium components. Because of the specialized purpose for which this car has been built and in order to achieve maximum weight reduction, normal quality standards of the Ford Motor Company in terms of exterior panel fit and surface appearance are not met on this vehicle.
    This information is included on this vehicle to assure that all customers who purchase this car are aware of the deviation from the regular high appearance quality standards of the Ford Motor Company.

    1. Kiefmo Avatar

      I was in the middle of typing up the Thunderbolt when your comment showed up. Confound this job, slowing me down!

      1. PotbellyJoe★★★★★ Avatar

        Well, sorry to steal your Thunder(bolt)…

  3. Tomsk Avatar

    My first nomination would be the Sox & Martin Hemi Barracuda because, well, Sox & Martin.
    I guess my second nomination would be Bob Glidden’s EXP, if only because it lets one legitimately use “Ford EXP” and “badass” in the same sentence.

  4. DodgeBoy Avatar

    They only made about a dozen of them, but the ’65 A/FX (A/Factory Experimental) altered wheel base Dodge/Plymouth Hemi cars would be high in my list. Though the NHRA banned them almost immediately, they were and are pretty cool with the rear wheels moved up 15″ and the fronts pushed out 10″

  5. hubba Avatar

    This is the Mopar Missile. And, via Allpar.com, the van of computers that Chrysler used for testing it.