The drag racing history books are still being re-written and adjusted nearly every weekend that an event takes place. In all the records, firsts, and cool achievements, there’s one thing that Nellie Goins will always be known for – she was the first African American woman to get behind the wheel in the B/FC, A/FC and AA/FC classes respectively. “Nitro Nellie” got her start in 1969 when the NHRA was still a young organization. After wheeling a ’68 Barracuda bodied funny car as well as a Dodge Challenger bodied A/FC, Otis and Nellie Goins decided it was time for a new ride, which brings us to this 1971 Mach 1 AA/FC (Blown Nitro) car, that originally cost a hefty $18,000 to build in 1970/71. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to build a ground-up funny car for that price today ?
After reading about the car’s new chance at life again on Moparts, the history of this car really drew us in after peering around the new owner’s website dedicated to the car.
Rick Lucas bought the car from Nellie in 2006 after Otis’ passed away, with a Chevrolet Monza body on it (Original Mach 1 Body was destroyed in the mid 70’s). In spirit of bringing this car right back to original form, Lucas had an identical 1971 Mach 1 body built for it. Kenny Hirata built and tuned the original 481 C.I. Chrysler Hemi back in the day, and the same is true for this revamped nitro-methane gulping monster. With today’s technology that goes into engine parts, this one should be a bit less of a ‘time-bomb’ that the older blown Hemi’s became known as. It uses Iron Chrysler heads, but beyond that it’s running a 6-71 blower, along with Venolia pistons, BRC rods, and a Keith Black crankshaft. A Crower-glide clutch inside a 2 speed Lenco transmission shifts the power out back to an Oldsmobile 57-64 type full floater rear end.
Rest assured, Rick Lucas knows what’s up when it comes to drag racing and high horsepower. Having been involved with the sport since the early 80’s, Rick is a crew member for the “Godfather” Top Alcohol Funny Car (TAFC), and he also races his very own 1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda 440-6. Surely this funny car should be a nice addition to his garage and Rick also wanted to mention, “Hey, at least it’s got a little Mopar in it!”
A fresh Mach 1 body ready for paint