Is the Jack Chrisman Mercury Comet the first funny car? It’s debatable, and there are many arguments about which cars were the true innovator of the class. It’s truly a piece of drag racing history.
Jack Chrisman was a drag racing pioneer and 1961 champion. He was influential in the formation of the Funny Car class, as he introduced the first blown injected nitro-burning Funny Car. The NHRA ranked Chrisman 23rd on their Top 50 drivers in 2001.
The Hot Rod Hoarder breaks down the history of the Jack Chrisman car. This is the first factory-appearing car to run on nitromethane with an absolute beast of an engine combination (blown and injected SOHC engine on nitro) very similar to the front engine dragsters of the era.
The the car is still alive and well in Eastern Tennessee and is completely restored to its early 1965 configuration, but as you’ll see in the video, this car changed a lot over the course of two years.
In fact, funny car racing (which wasn’t even a real class until later in the 1960’s) was an ever-evolving group of cars. Most were exhibition cars at heart, but the convergence of tire-smoking exhibition cars and wheel standing altered wheelbase cars created what we now know as funny cars.
The real revolutionary change in funny car racing was the creation of the one-piece fiberglass flip top body, an idea that materialized in 1966 with Mercury’s factory-backed creations. That flip top body defined funny cars and that specific trait stands to this day, no matter how many changes have occurred in the AA/FC class over the years.
Jack Chrisman’s 1965 Comet Restored With Ford Cammer On Nitro
The restored Sachs and Sons Comet stands as one of the most historic cars in all of drag racing and we go into full detail to tell you about its history, and its restoration by Jim Barillaro in the 1980’s. Jim’s two sons are now carrying on the legacy of their father and the legacy of one of the most famous and influential drag cars in the history of the sport.