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

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.