Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Dick Landy, inventor of the Funny Car Dead at 69

Dick Landy, Mr. MOPAR, the man synonymous with Dodge's wildly-successful factory drag racing program in the 1960s and '70s, has died from kidney failure. He was 69 years old. Landy made a name for himself and his factory sponsor by combining the legendary Hemi with an altered wheelbase to create the first "funny car". At the recent SEMA SHOW in Las Vegas, there was a fantastic rebuild of one of Landy's race cars at the entrance to the show, and we video'd an entire segment on the car and the man for 'CAR NUT TV'. We hope to get that up on this BLOG soon. I interviewed Landy about 20 years ago at his chassis dyno-equipped shop in the San Fernando Valley. He was smart, funny, experienced and enjoyed sharing his past exploits with a "kid" like me. I learned a lot from Landy and will cherish the short amount of time we spent together. He really was one of the Dodge "Good Guys", though Chrysler/Dodge/MOPAR might not always have been so happy with him!

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