September 15, 2021

Vintage-Nitro

Still car-crazy after all these years

Bill Lawton's Super Boss Funny Car

Bill Lawton's Super Boss at Detroit Dragway in 1969

Bill Lawton and the Super Boss Mustang

Bill Lawton and the Super Boss Mustang.

Bill Lawton showed up at Detroit Dragway in 1969 with the stunning
Super Boss Mustang funny car. Despite its show car appearance, the car was a legitimate threat with its Logghe Chassis and supercharged SOHC Cammer powerplant.

Here comes the Super Boss

The Super Boss name was a departure from Lawton’s earlier cars, which carried the name Mystery. Somewhat confusingly, the Mystery cars counted down instead of adding up. Mystery 9 was superseded by Mystery 8, which was followed by Mystery 7. Lawton wasn’t being wacky. The number after the name was actually a goal. Mystery 9 started out as a ten-second car that Lawton hoped could break into the nine-second bracket. Mystery 8 suggested Lawton intended to dip into the eights. Obviously, the target for Mystery 7 was to run quicker than 8.00 seconds on the quarter-mile.

Had he continued this unusual practice, the ’68-’69 Mustang would have been Mystery 6, but Lawton dispensed with the numbers and just called the car Super Boss.

Lawton first enjoyed success with Tasca Ford backed Fairlanes and Thunderbolts. In 1965 he scored big time when he won the 1965 NHRA Winternationals A/FX title. Together with ace mechanic John Healy, Lawton made the Tasca Ford name feared all over the East Coast.

The Super Boss was a huge step up

This car is a huge step up in appearance from Lawton’s earlier rides. I saw the long nose Mystery 9 at Detroit Dragway in ’66. It wasn’t horrible looking, but it was definitely a race car; with all the scars and last-minute alterations that were typical of the original A/FX match racers.

Like most of the Tasca Ford entries, it was red and white but unlike the Super Boss, there was nothing special about the paint.

In contrast, the candy red finish of the Super Boss looks deep enough to swim in. No one would be surprised if this flopper won a trophy at a major car show. It was still a nitro-burning funny car, however, and Lawton uncorked a best of 7.32 at 200.44, according to Draglist.

Those were fair numbers for the era, but the Super Boss wasn’t nearly as dominant as some of Lawton’s previous rides. The Mustang failed to turn on the win light often but it was usually only a tick behind.

Lawton was invariably a Ford man, he even enjoyed a short stint driving Connie Kalitta’s Bounty Hunter Mustang in 1970. By that time, Cammer parts were becoming difficult to find and the Boss 429 wasn’t competitive on Nitro. Eventually, Lawton switched to a Chrysler Hemi-powered, flip-top Pinto for 1972.

Once a Ford guy…

But his allegiance to Ford was too strong, and 1972 found Lawton at the wheel of a Tom Smith built Pinto Pro Stocker for 1972.

Interestingly if you examine the photo above, you notice the grill of Connie Kalitta’s Bounty Hunter Mustang in the distance. That is the same car Lawton would pilot in 1970.

 

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