Featured image courtesy Zach Caswell Photography
It’s no secret that drag racing has changed over the years – the rules, the regulations, the engines, and of course the cars. However, as nostalgia for the way the industry used to be increases, so does the passion to see those classic rides in action on the track. Enter Rocky Pirrone.
Rocky had humble beginnings, sweeping floors and rebuilding transmissions at the age of 13 with his father, Joe Pirrone Jr., and through hard work and perseverance, opened his own shop when he was only 18. Now, Rocky runs the Pirrone & Ellershaw race team which campaigns seven supercharged race cars in various classes.
The latest car in the Pirrone & Ellershaw stable is the re-born Frantic Ford Mustang, a tribute to Jimmy Fox, Ron Rivero and the late Dodger Glenn, members of the original 1969 Frantic Ford Funny Car team. P&E Racing campaigned the nostalgic Frantic Ford in 2013 as part of the newly created “Classical Nitro AA/FC” group with hopes of stimulating the Nostalgia Drag Racing movement. The Frantic Ford has a special place in Rocky’s heart because it was the first Funny Car that he worked on as a nine year old kid, helping Jimmy Fox with between-round maintenance.
“Big Al” Liebmann, marketing partner for the Frantic Ford, told The Burnout that the team “wants to bring back the showmanship of the 1970’s, from the girls in hot pants to the long smoking burnouts to the dry hops.” And from what we saw this past summer, they’ve been busy entertaining crowds at racing events and even helping to raise money for the annual Artie’s Party charity fundraiser.
Here are the stats for the nitro pony car.
413 cubic inches
Builder: Tom Fox/Pirrone & Ellershaw Racing
Camshaft: Crane Cams
Heads: Tom Fox
Blower: 6-71 w/ modifications by Tom Fox
Injection: Enderle Bug Catcher
Transmission: Two speed by Boss Hydro
Wheelbase: 120 inches
Built by: Steve Grunewald
Finishing Fabrication: Pirrone & Ellershaw Racing
Front Axle: Pat Foster
Brakes: Four wheel disc by Strange
Chutes: Dual chutes by Simpson
Rear End: TJ Ford Nine Inch
Tires: M&H Racemaster
1969.5 Ford Mustang
Fiberglass: Steve Grunewald and Dale Smith
Tin Work: Steve Grunewald
Paint: Supplied by PPG
Painted by: Cameron
Lettering: Dave Weyth
Photos courtesy Pirrone & Ellershaw Racing.