Nitro-Fed Pinto

Mickey Thompson's 1971 Funny car

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Article as written in March 1971 issue of Hot Rod Magazine

Mickey Thompson has a well-earned reputation for building unique cars and frequently setting records as a by-product. From his early Bonneville streamliners through his radical Indy cars to his legendary Mustang Mach I funny cars, Mickey has been the man most respected by his competitors.

Mickey's latest effort is this Pinto funny car. At first glance, it seems similar to the current crop of funnys. It has a blown, injected, nitro-fed engine in a tubular chassis that's covered by a fiberglass body, but looks can be deceiving.

The engine in this funny is a sohc Ford built in Mickey's own shop. Considering that the competition is almost all MoPar-powered, this is unique. The Cammer power is sent to a two-speed trans-axle which is rigidly mounted to the rear of the frame. This new unit is the product of M/T Engineering -- again, Mickey's own project. The trans-axle is a combination of a quick-change unit with a planetary gearset designed into it. The center case is aluminum while the axle tubes are titanium. This setup permits the engine to be located closer to the rear axle.

The Woody Gilmore chassis is fabricated of titanium, rather than the usual chrome moly tubing. This material is somewhat more difficult to work with than steel, but the savings in weight is worth it to Mickey. The Pinto tips the scales at 1760 pounds -- ready to run.

Weight is one thing and safety is another. If you'll notice, driver Dale Pulde is protected by a digger-type roll cage and two Freon-filled fire extinguishers.

Only time will tell if the new Pinto funny is capable of beating the competition, but if Mickey's past record is any indication, we know it will be a car to watch.

Note: Although the article says it is powered by a sohc engine, it is actually powered by a Boss 429.

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