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The Rise and Fall of Factory Experimental

“Hello, this is Farmer Dismuke, NHRA technical director. I’m calling to let you know that for the upcoming 1962 drag-racing season, the NHRA has a new competition category called Factory Experimental. Let’s call it FX for short. The FX category will be for stock automobiles that use each manufacturer’s optional equipment, not necessarily assembly-line-installed or showroom-available. FX entries must use the same manufacturer’s engine and body, but in any combination you like. So tell your engineers to put on their thinking caps. This is your chance to show us hot-rodders what you Detroit boys can do.”

Many Chevy IIs mutated into supercharged match racers like Steve Bovan’s 9.29/154-mph Blair’s Speed Shop Nova.

That’s the gist of a series of 1961 phone calls made between the NHRA’s Farmer Dismuke (his real name) and product-planning executives at GM, Ford, and Chrysler. Unlike NHRA Stock and Super Stock class rules that called for mass production and general availability of street-legal 409 Impalas, 421 Catalinas, 427 Galaxies, and Max Wedge Mopars, FX was for no-compromise vehicles designed specifically to accelerate from a standing start as quickly as possible. Low mass, high power, and—most important—exceptional traction were the key ingredients for success… read more >

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