The Return of the Frantic Ford Funny Car

The recreated 1969 1/2 version of the Frantic Ford Mach 1 Mustang AA/FC races
as part of the “Classical Nitro AA/FC” group.

by Bobby Frey and Society Staff – Reprint with permission only

Just about every facet of life goes through a metamorphosis and this is no exception. In the late ’60s, one of the most recognizable fuel dragsters to be immortalized in print was campaigned by the team of Weekly, Rivero, Fox & Holding. Virtually every photo of this car showed Norm Weekly powering into a giant wheelstand with the front tires slightly tilted and smoke billowing off of the rear slicks. The car was a photographer’s dream and a fellow racers’ nightmare.

Norm Weekly, Ron Rivero, Jim Fox, and Dennis Holding were also known as “The Frantic Four” in drag racing circles. They blazed a trail far and wide and were rewarded with numerous victories throughout much of the 1960s. Ron Rivero would gain some seat time as well and prove himself quite capable at the controls. When 1968 rolled around, the Funny Car movement had begun to really take hold and Jim Fox figured that a switch was imminent.

In 1969, Funny Car racing offered new opportunities. Capitalizing on the reputation of the Frantic Four, the first in a long line of Ford-bodied funny cars was aptly named the Frantic Ford. Following the switch to the Funny Car class, the Frantic Ford quickly established itself as a certifiable contender all up and down the east coast.

The Frantic Ford’s list of drivers included Ron Rivero (up to 1970), Sarge Arciero (’71-72), “Rapid Roy” Harris (’72-73), and Dodger Glenn (’74-78). The cars performed very well throughout the years racking up numerous victories up and down the eastern seaboard and in the Midwest. The most successful years were ’75-77 when owner Jim Fox brought partner Freddy Frey into the mix. With a fresh influx of cash from Frey and the talented Dodger Glenn behind the wheel, the team was almost unbeatable at the many match races run during that period.

Sometime late in ’77, both Fox and Frey decided to retire from active competition and sold the entire operation to Dodger Glenn to run as his own. Dodger enjoyed running the show and always proved to be a fan favorite. In July 1978 during a second-round match at Maple Grove Dragway, Dodger suffered an engine explosion and subsequent crash which claimed his life at 33 years of age. The news affected the entire drag racing community but Dodger’s memory still lives on in the hearts of the fans and all that knew him. It was decided at this time by all parties involved to close the door on Funny Car racing for the foreseeable future.

After a three-plus decade hiatus from the sport of drag racing, the legendary east coast terror from the ’60’s-70 has once again emerged to enter the asphalt wars. The new nitro-breathing Frantic Ford Mustang Mach I is back to entertain its legions of fans from throughout the years.

The new creation is owned/piloted by Rocky Pirrone who hails from Philadelphia, Pa. Additional marketing and financial assistance from Al Liebmann has been crucial in putting this new deal together as well along with help of Bill Ellershaw, Tom Fox Sr., and Bobby Toth. The Frantic Ford Mustang has a special place in Rocky’s heart it was the first funny car Rocky ever worked on as a nine-year-old kid, helping Jimmy Fox with between-round maintenance… Rocky’s father Joe Pirrone built the transmissions for this car and having the chance to bring it back to life is something Rocky is looking forward to…!

Frantic Entertainment Group and Al Liebmann with Pirrone Ellershaw Racing are campaigning for the 1969 1/2 version of the Frantic Ford Mach 1 Mustang AA/FC as part of the newly created “Classical Nitro AA/FC” group. The Frantic Ford features a state of art new nostalgia funny car chassis along with a period-looking fiberglass body with all the latest safety equipment making it legal to run at all NHRA & IHRA tracks.

Check out Team Frantic at & and on Facebook for updated info and future race dates. See you at the races!  

Frantic Ford Specs:


  • 1969 ½ Ford Mustang: by Steve Grunewald and Dale Smith
  • Tin Work by: Steve Grunewald
  • Paint by: PPG
  • Painted by: Cameron
  • Lettering: Dave Weyth
  • Surface Care: Meguiar’s


  • Built by: Steve Grunewald
  • Wheelbase: 120 inches
  • Finishing Fabrication: Pirrone & Ellershaw Racing
  • Front Axle: Pat Foster
  • Brakes: Four-wheel disc by Strange
  • Steering: P&S
  • Safety Equipt: Dual chutes by DJ Safety
  • Rear End: TJ – Ford Nine Inch
  • Axles: Strange
  • Tires: M&H Racemaster
  • Oil: Sunoco
  • Plugs: NGK


  • Chrysler Hemi 413 CI
  • Valves: Manley
  • Camshaft: Crane Cams
  •  Pistons: Venolia
  • Rings: Clevite
  • Rods: Venolia
  • Heads: Tom Fox
  • Gaskets: Mr. Gaskets
  • Blower: 6-71 with modifications by Tom Fox
  • Injection: Enderle Bug Catcher
  • Magneto: Mallory
  • Headers: Smiley
  • Clutch: Crower
  • Transmission: Two-speed Lenco by Boss Hydro

Eric White Digital Library

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