January 27, 2023


Still car-crazy after all these years

Wayne Gapp's Super Cat

Wayne Gapp's Super Cat

Wayne Gapp and the Super Cat Ultra-Stock Cougar

When nearly all his contemporaries were embracing nitro and superchargers, Wayne Gapp bucked the system with a new, gasoline Cougar funny car he called The Super Cat.

Super Cat of Wayne Gapp on display at 1968 Autorama in Detroit
Wayne Gapp got it done in 1968 with this gasoline Cougar Funny Car.

The last time we looked at Wayne Gapp, he was still running the Chargin’ Cyclone for the Hi-Risers. For 1968, however, Gapp went out on his own, campaigning the new Super Cat Mercury Cougar.

Gapp’s Cougar was another race car on display at the 1968 Detroit Autorama. Although flip-top funny cars were becoming the de-facto standard, Gapp’s new ride adopted the familiar tilt-forward front clip on a stock appearing factory shell.

When nearly all his contemporaries were embracing nitro and superchargers, Gapp bucked the system by building a new, gasoline powered funny car. The Cougar relied on the tried and true injected SOHC Ford 427, mounted in a tube frame. You cannot see them in this photo, but the injector tubes punched through the hood and were nearly as high as the car’s roof. I cannot say whether the body was shell was steel or fiberglass. I suspect it was a mixture of both.

Although the fuel cars grabbed most of the headlines in ’68, the Super Cat was very successful. NASCAR was still sanctioning drag races in 1968, and Gapp walked off with the NASCAR Winternationals gas funny car crown. He won class or eliminator titles at several other events as well. In addition, Gapp and the Super Cat engaged in match racing with other gas funny cars.

You can read more about the and find additional Super Cat photos on Gapp Online, Jeff Gapp’s web tribute to his father.

According to the website “FordMercuryCougarXR7.com”, the Cougar was eventually sold to John Skitmas, who continued to campaign the car under the Super Cat name. Note: As of January 2022, the link is for that website is dead.

Gapp acquired Pete Gate’s old Comet flopper, equipped it with a fiberglass “68 Mustang shell and replaced the Cammer with an injected Boss 429 Ford running gasoline. Daryl Huffman now owns the body shell and has done a wonderful restoration of the Pete Gates “Gate Job” Comet using the original chassis. I have no word about the whereabouts of the Super Cat in 2012.

Tom Bonner