“Spirit of ’76”: First Hydrogen Peroxide Funny Car Restoration

This stretched Ford Mustang II funny car has “win win win” written all over it, where do we even start with this one? First of all, what we got here is the world’s first hydrogen peroxide rocket powered drag car, and it is all wrapped up in a stars and stripes covered motif that was ever so popular back in the ’70’s era that it originally raced in. We couldn’t tell you who popularized the bicentennial look first, but Evel Knievel sure sticks out in our minds as one of the early pioneers. Regardless of whoever can claim to have coined the look, we had never seen a steam engine powered funny car before this one and had no idea that the concept lived outside of Jay Leno-esque antique cars. This particular example recently showed up on Bangshift.com and can be found in the attached link at the bottom of the following page. The jest of the story is that it’s current owner, Steve Atwell in Michigan, recently set about restoring the race car once known as the “Spirit of ’76” to make it capable of blowing off some steam at the tracks in all of it’s original glory once again. We always appreciate a good curve ball thrown at us every once in a while to mix it up, and this one certainly fits that bill perfectly. Behold…

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2 Comments on “Spirit of ’76”: First Hydrogen Peroxide Funny Car Restoration

  1. This isn’t a “steam powered” funny car like a locomotive is powered by a steam piston engine or a ship is powered by a steam turbine. This is a “Rocket Powered” funny car.

    The hydrogen peroxide is passed over a catalyst producing steam at high pressure. The high pressure steam is directed through a nozzle to produce thrust.

    I saw one of these cars in action back in the ’80s at Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ. I’ve seen top-fuel dragsters, and jet-engine dragsters, but the rocket funny car came the closest to going from the start to the the finish instantaneously that I’ve ever seen. If I recall the rocket funny-car’s ET was is the 3.5sec zone when a top-fuel dragster could barely get down the the high 5’s.

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