When thinking about funny cars, most people would perhaps immediately think about vehicles that look strange. And, as we will see, there are certainly a lot of those around. But how about the other type of funny cars, which are involved in racing? They do look slightly strange, which is probably where the name comes from, but they are also a huge trend.
What Is Funny Cars Racing?
Funny cars are perhaps best discussed when it comes to drag racing. It is an organized type of race, that follows four different classes: Pro Modified, Top Fuel, Pro Stock Bike and Pro Stock. All funny cars have a carbon fiber or fiberglass tilt up body and their chassis are custom made. As a result, when you look at them very closely and use your imagination slightly, they will look somewhat like the showroom models of vehicles. However, the engines of these vehicles are placed in front of the driver, meaning they are forward mounted. This is what sets them apart from regular drag racing vehicles, as these have backward mounted engines, meaning they are behind the driver.
The body of a funny car is a reflection of a real vehicle. Usually, these are vehicles that were brand new when the funny car itself was built as well. The sport was particularly popular during the 70s, when we saw a lot of Plymouth Barracudas and Chevrolet Vegas represented in the races. The bodies of those time were always one of the “big three”, being Ford, General Motors and Chrysler. The game still exists today and is incorporated in the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) Funny Car. The vehicles that are still used in these races are the Dodge Charger, the Chevrolet Camaro, the Toyota Camry and the Ford Mustang. However, the sport is seeing a global revival, and many other makes and models are used around the world. Funny car racers will tell you that the “fake” body shell is very important for the aerodynamics, as well as looking really good.
Funny Cars That Make You Laugh
So what about some funny cars that aren’t necessarily made for racing, but that just make you laugh? These are vehicles that most of us will remember if we have ever seen them. Some of these are funny because they are meant to be funny. Others are funny because the manufacturer actually made a serious attempt at creating a really cool vehicle, but failed somewhere along the line.
One car that is supposed to be funny is Herbie. The world famous Volkswagen Beetle racing car with the number 53 stole everybody’s heart in the various movies it was portrayed in between 1969 and 2005. The 2005 version was the new Volkswagen Beetle model and people seemed to not have the same bond with this particular car as they did with the first versions. Herbie didn’t look any funnier than a regular Volkswagen Beetle, which continues to be a popular car to this day. Rather, it’s funniness came from its personality. This is the polar opposite of Christine, which is a Plymouth Fury with a sociopath personality and supernatural forces.
A vehicle that definitely fits in the second category of cars that are funny because they are basically epic fails, is the Smart car. This vehicle looks absolutely ridiculous both inside and out. It was classed as “smart” because it is very small (it fits only two people), which means it is perfect for city driving as it only requires half a parking space. Inside, the monitors are placed on little sticks, making them look like the antennae on a snail or slug. Although some people liked the Smart, possibly because they wanted to make a statement of not caring about public perception, the manufacturers did quickly understand that they had to take the vehicle in a new direction if they wanted to make any sales. As a result, they released the Smart-for-Four and the Smart Sport, with both vehicles looking even more ridiculous than the original one.
At the end of the day, whether a car looks good or not is down to public perception. There will be people out there who feel the Smart is the best thing since sliced bread, for instance. At the same time, there are many people out there who hope that this particular funny car will soon be incorporated in funny car drag racing to see how it actually handles the road. So long as the handling is better than that of the Baby Benz, which didn’t just look funny but would also fall over when taking a corner, it should make for an interesting race.