January 26, 2022

Vintage-Nitro

Still car-crazy after all these years

The Stampede Funny Car of Dick Loehr

Dick Loehr's Stampede funny car at Detroit Dragway.

Dick Loehr and his Michigan based Stampede Ford SOHC Mustang Funny Car

Dick Loehr and his Michigan based Stampede Ford SOHC Mustang Funny Car

A few weeks ago I brought you a story about Dick Loehr’s Pro Stock Maverick. This time around I want to look at the car he campaigned before the Maverick, his fuel-burning Ford SOHC-powered Mustang. Like most of Loeher’s entries, he christened it Stampede and it was most likely his most competitive funny car.

From Ford to Chrysler and back to Ford SOHC

Loehr ran Cammers in his early funny cars, then switched to an iron block 392 Chrysler Hemi for the ’68 season. But the lure of Ford power was strong, and he and mechanic John Skiba entered the ’69 season with the all-new SOHC-powered Mustang you see here.

Draglist reports the ’69 Mustang was equipped with an innovative system that allowed Loehr to hydraulically shift the engine and transmission backward and forward right from the driver’s seat. Not enough traction? Rack the engine back to place more weight on the rear axle. Too much bite causing the wheeks to lift? Crank the powerplant forward to add weight to the front end.

Although I don’t recall other funny cars experimenting with this system, Loehr was quite successful with his last flopper.

I was at Detroit to see Loehr win the AHRA Grandnationals. That may be when this photo was captured, although I saw him numerous times so I cannot say for sure.

The Stampede Ford SOHC on Tour

The Stampede was a true touring match racer. Loehr could be found at tracks on both the West and East coasts, as well as his native Michigan and surrounding states. He ran many UDRA circuit races and was also active on the NHRA Championship trail.

The last of the Stampede Funny Cars

At the close of the ’69 season, Loehr followed fellow Ford factory drivers Don Nicholson and Eddie Schartman on the Pro Stock circuit. Ford and Mercury had decided to step away from backing nitro cars, choosing to invest their money into the “Factory Hot Rods.” Loehr secured one of the plumb Ford Drag Team assignments and abandoned the nitro ranks for good. You can read about his Pro Stock escapades here.

Loehr’s last funny car was sold to Texan Bob Veselka and became the Going Texas Mustang, still with Cammer power. I have no idea what happened to the car after 1970.