February 28, 2021

Vintage-Nitro

Still car-crazy after all these years

The Canadian Super Shaker Chevelle

The Canadian Super Shaker Chevelle

Super Shaker Chevelle; Canadian Funny Car

The Super Shaker Chevelle is representative of early funny car technology. The front wheels are shifted forward, but the wheel wells are in the stock position.

Super Shaker Chevelle funny car at Detroit DragwayDetroit Dragway, May 1966: T.W. McLean’s Chevelle A/FX machine gave Chevy fans something to cheer about at the 1966 Detroit Dragway Invitational. I can’t tell you much about this car, except what is painted on the sides.

I assume the Chevelle is Canadian, based on the Maple Leaf on the front fender. In good traffic, you could reach Detroit Dragway from the Ambassador bridge in about a half-hour, maybe slightly more pulling a trailer. There were always several Canadian cars at the track. If this Chevelle is indeed from Canada, it must have been one of the first funny cars campaigned from north of the border.

UPDATE: I found this Chevelle on Draglist.com, with the owner shown as Terry McLean of Windsor, Ontario.

In 1966, everyone was making up funny car standards as they went, and there was all manner of inventive ideas to get a full-bodied car to run the quarter-mile quicker than the next guy.

Altering the wheelbase the easy way

The McLean car features an altered wheelbase in the front, but the Canadians didn’t bother to mess around with the wheel openings. Like most funny cars of the era, it is set up with the front high in the air, to increase weight transfer. They realized that they could relocate the car’s straight axle forward under the front fenders without affecting the driver’s ability to steer. So that’s what they did. The front axle is located several inches forward of a stock 1965 Chevelle. The wheel wells remain in the factory location, with the front tires tucked underneath the front fender overhang.

It looks a little strange, but they didn’t call ’em funny cars for nothing!

The rear wheels are in the factory location, but I think the engine is set back in the chassis. This was another widely used technique to increase weight transfer in early A/FX racers. The injector stacks are nearly touching the cowl panel in front of the windshield. If the engine was in the stock Chevelle location, the stacks would be much further forward.

Injected Chevy 427 powerplant

The 427 engine is interesting. The 396 “mystery engine” appeared in 1965, and Chevy didn’t upgrade the engine to 427 CI displacement until early ’66. So this Chevelle was running state of the art displacement.

“Super Shaker” must be one of the most popular funny car names of all time. I have photos of several other funny cars bearing that same name. AFAIK, this car has nothing to do with the famous Terry Hedrick driven Super Shaker machines from the early seventies.

The Chevelle was white with cornflower blue stripes and trim. The maple leaf and the big 427 sign on the door appeared in red. Note the “wheelie wheel” under the rear fender.

Although funny cars rapidly evolved into flip-top, fiberglass floppers, the Super Shaker enjoyed a long life. I have another photo of this car taken in 1969. The owner’s name is changed and it is running an injected 396. The rest of the car looks identical, although it was then classified as a C/Altered.