Jungle Pam: Drag Racing's Sweetheart Of The Funny Car Track

By | January 20, 2019

test article image
Left: Photo shoot for Hot Rod Magazine with Jungle Pam Hardy. (Photo by Mike Brenner/The Enthusiast Network/Getty Images). Right: Jungle Pam on the job. Source: Pinterest

In the '70s, Jungle Pam, drag racing's sweetheart of the asphalt, captured the imagination of Funny Car fans like no one else. Working to assist driver "Jungle Jim" Lieberman, Jungle Pam was known for her tight outfits, skimpy shorts or mini-skirts, go-go boots -- and of course a high-octane smile. In an era when drivers had a free hand to market themselves, the Jungle Pam phenomenon was a stroke of genius on the part of Lieberman, raising the profile of his team and Funny Car racing in general. And of course, it took a special partner with a gift for showmanship to pull it off. When young Pam Hardy took to the track as Jungle Pam, drag racing fans had a reason to stay in their seats to watch the action between the races.

In the early to mid-'60s, drag racing fanatics fell in love with the Funny Car. Funny Car drag racing combined top fuel horsepower with a lightweight production-model body for a drag car that fulfilled every driver’s need for speed. Funny Cars seemed to embody everything drag race car drivers and fans went to the track for, as they were both fast and flashy. Jim Liberman (1945 – 1977), or "Jungle Jim," was one of the best-known Funny Car drivers, and he was a wild child both on the track and off.

Jungle Pam Was An Eye-catching On-track Presence With Jungle Jim Liberman In The Mid-'70s

test article image
Jungle Jim Liberman and Jungle Pam Hardy. Source: (vintag.com)

Just 18 years old at the time (1972) and a couple of weeks shy of high school graduation, Pam Hardy had a chance meeting with Jungle Jim that would alter her plans for the next few years. She was planning to go to college, having been accepted to West Chester State, but fate intervened when Lieberman was driving his Corvette on a West Chester street and spied Hardy. He introduced himself, and introduced her to the world of drag racing; before long she ditched her plans to attend college, packed her bags and set off on an adventure touring the country’s drag racing circuit instead.