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Rapid Ronnie Runyan Corvair Flip-Top Funny Car

Rapid Ronnie Runyan Corvair Funny Car at Detroit Dragway

Originally a fixture on the West Coast, Ronnie Runyan moved to Missouri to run match races and AHRA events with his Chevy powered Corvair funny car.

Rapid Ronnie Ronyan brought his Blue Hell Corvair Funny Car to Detroit Dragway in 1969. Corvairs were quite popular as funny car body shells in the ’60s, due to their small and slippery shape.

Ronyan first gained fame on the West Coast with his California-based Corvette, also known as Blue Hell. The Corvette was a wild, erratic ride, but quite popular with fans. By 1969, Ronyan had moved to Missouri to campaign his new Corvair flopper on the AHRA circuit.

Dick Fletcher built the chassis for the Corvair. Fletcher isn’t as well-known as the big name builders from the era, but he was responsible for several well-known funny car and dragster frames in the ’60s.

I believe this is the initial design for the Blue Hell. To the best of my knowledge, Runyan only ran one Corvair during his career.  I have seen photos of the Corvair that appear to have a longer wheelbase and a lengthened nose. I assume that Runyan had the car lengthened at some point, although I could be mistaken.

Power comes from a blown Chevy rat motor. It you believe the lettering inside the Chevy emblem, the displacement is a stock 427 cubic inches.

According to a Runyan quote on the 70s Funny Cars website, an announcer started referring to Runyan as “Rabid Ronnie” while he was running his ill-handling Corvette. In turn, fans started calling him Rapid Ronnie and the name stuck.

Runyan would go on to campaign a Blue Hell Vega in the ’70s, which was also powered with a Chevy rat motor.

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. mike
    Posted March 17, 2014 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    I remember driving down the street (gregory) in raytown mo when I was a kid and seeing the blue hell corvair. I always thought it was dick harrells car, but now I see it was ronyans. I worked at kcir with an orange vest. my job was to get guys to park closer together. I almost got run over. ha

  2. Jason
    Posted January 23, 2016 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Ronnie, to my knowledge, still has the corvair and owns a trailer shop in Raytown Mo.

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