Legacy Motors Presents List & Reviews George Dill
New News New Releases Car List & Reviews Legacy Motors Auctions Forums Features Register FAQs Clubs
  Full Car List & Reviews  ·  New Releases  ·  Upcoming Releases  ·  1:43 Maker List  ·  Mr. Magneto Site Map
 
Read Review
Photography
Customers Rating Read
 
 

1320, Inc 1:24 Dragster "Jungle Jim" Liberman

Reviewed by:   Tom Pine
     
  1320, Inc 1:24  Dragster
 
 
 

“Floppers,” or “funny cars” are a subset of the top-fuel dragsters. With basically the same running gear on a shorter chassis, they burn essentially the same fuel—nitro-methane. Though they can’t match the less-than-4-second elapsed times of their rail-type cousins, they come pretty close. What they do provide, however, is spectacle. With long-duration wheel-stands and belching flames as their trademark, these snarling, roaring machines provide plenty of bang for the spectators’ buck. Though the bodies are molded to look like the production cars they mimic, about the only things the two have in common are a body, drive train, and wheels. Oh, and a driver, of course.

Born in Pennsylvania, Russell James "Jungle Jim" Liberman, one of drag racing’s most popular drivers, didn’t begin his racing career until after he moved to Northern California. Since formal education held little attraction for the already streetwise racer, in his junior year he dropped out of high school. He dabbled in Stock Car racing at Fremont Raceway in 1964, but moved up several notches to Funny Cars in 1965, by driving the nitro-burning Hercules Nova. Then, driving Lew Arrington's supercharged “Brutus” GTO Funny Car, Liberman made the national scene. Driving a supercharged Chevy II, he ventured out on his own in 1966. What made Jim a household name, however, was a landmark national tour he made in 1967. Factory backing helped Liberman’s Mercury rivals, Don Nicholson, Ed Schartman, and Jack Chrisman, break into the rarefied air of the seven-second zone. Despite this, Liberman's eight-second Chevy attracted a considerably larger following of fans. Beaten by his foes on two separate occasions, Liberman still won the hearts of the spectators by doing wheel-stands for nearly the full length of the track—he was just more fun to watch. A true showman, who understood the art of performance above mere numbers, Jim always made time for his fans, despite a frantic travel schedule, eagerly undertaking any project that would boost drag racing's image. Super Stock & Drag Illustrated came up with a story idea that required the total disassembly of a Funny Car—down to the last nut and bolt for a true exploded-view picture. After being turned down by virtually every leading driver, Liberman agreed to do what they asked. The resulting publicity only added to his legend. "Jungle Jim" is best remembered for his tagline, "Drag racing is far out!"

Liberman had only one NHRA national event victory to his credit (in 1975) because he spent most of his time in match racing. But, Clare Sanders drove Jim's number-two car to a Funny Car victory at the 1969 Winternationals. Others who would drive under his colors included Roy Harris, Russell Long, Pete Williams, Jake Crimmins, and Ron Attebury. Reaching his first NHRA finals at the 1974 Summernationals in Englishtown, Liberman was beaten by Al Segrini (with a 6.83 elapsed time), but stole the hearts of fans with a wheel-stand for almost the full length of the track, managing a 7.14 elapsed time, at 204.54 mph, in the process. In 1976, at a match race at Englishtown,he thrilled the fans with a 6.21, 229.59 mph run. During another Wednesday night match race at Englishtown—just prior to the U.S. Nationals—Jim’s blower exploded, due to a stuck throttle, but he wrestled his spinning, smoldering Monza to a stop just five feet short of the guardrail at the end of the track. Also in 1976, a major performance plateau was reached when he became the third entrant into the Cragar Five-second Club with 5.96 and 5.99 elapsed times at Green Valley Race City in Smithfield, Texas. On the day of the 1976 OCIR Manufacturers Funny Car Championships, during one of his final appearances, Jim arrived at the track with just minutes to go in qualifying—after spending six hours driving mini road-race cars at the local Malibu Grand Prix Entertainment Center. Performing one of his patented 100-mph backups to the starting line, Liberman qualified third for the event with a 6.24, 222.22 mph run! Throughout the ‘70s, Liberman was probably the most prolific match race driver out there, averaging approximately 100 races per year. He appeared at tracks from Cecil County Dragway in Maryland, to Orange County International Raceway in California.

Well before John Force, Liberman became drag racing's original, larger-than-life, flamboyant showman. He endeared himself to fans with his glib personality, and boundless energy—in a manner that eluded other drivers with better winning records. Much more than just a touring professional, Liberman wowed fans with his wild wheel-stands, 100-mph backups from burnouts, a stubborn refusal to lift the pedal on even the most out-of-shape runs, and his sexy companion, "Jungle Pam" Hardy. "Jungle Jim" provided all the entertainment of a traveling circus. "Jungle Pam" carries on Liberman’s legend today. "I was just 18 when I met him,” Pam recalls, “I was still attending high school in West Chester, Pa., and had never been further away from home than the next town over. I was walking down the street one day, and here comes this yellow Corvette speeding down the street. This guy walks out, comes up to me, and says, 'Hi, I'm Jim.' I had never been to a drag race before, but the next thing I knew, we were heading for his match race in Xenia, Ohio. He showed me how to back him up after the burnouts, and from then on, my life was just a whirlwind tour all over the country. All that showmanship was his true personality. He just didn't turn that on at the track and then become normal like everyone else at home. He had that sort of flair, even when we were just at the house or went out some place. You could always feel his presence wherever he was.” Back in the day “Jungle Pam” titillated race fans with her skimpy outfits and provocative on-track actions.

Liberman's good fortune on the track failed to carry over off the track. A head-on collision with a bus on Sept. 9, 1977 ended his life at the age of 32. Like many fast-living icons of youth of his era—such as James Dean, Jim Morrison, and Janis Joplin—“Jungle Jim” Liberman’s life was as short as it was fast-paced. His passing left a void in match racing that wasn't replaced until John Force's explosive personality came on the scene in the late 1980s.

This “Jungle Jim” image is one of 1320 Inc.’s “The Floppers” series. It’s labeled 10th in the series, 1 of 5,000. When you open the box, with its brightly-colored graphics, and lift the model out of its Styrofoam cradle, you get the same quality as with other 1320 images. Because it’s a “flopper,” the Nova-shaped body lifts off the frame, revealing the exquisite detail beneath. What you see looks very much like that of a top-fuel dragster (see my Warren-Coburn-Miller review on this site), only on a shorter wheelbase—the same fine detail in the cockpit, on the engine and the undercarriage. This image has the same hollow rubber slicks and a fully plumbed-and-wired engine with rubber hoses. The detail everywhere is so intricate, you can easily make out the various features extant on the 1:1 car. You can even make out the lines that run to the front two exhaust pipes to make the flames that are so popular at “funny car” events. The dark-blue painted body is replete with all the “Jungle Jim” graphics on the 1:1 car. Needless to say, the paint and graphics are flawlessly applied. You also get a separate prop device for displaying the image with the body raised. 1320 has got a lock on these “floppers” and “fuelers,” matching quality, detailing, and accuracy with a reasonable price ($74.95). Their images should be very popular with mavens of the quarter-mile match race events. Gentlemen, start your collections!

(03/04/2005)
 
 
  1320, Inc 1:24  Dragster

1320, Inc 1:24  Dragster

1320, Inc 1:24  Dragster

1320, Inc 1:24  Dragster

1320, Inc 1:24  Dragster

1320, Inc 1:24  Dragster

1320, Inc 1:24  Dragster

 
 
See this review in a printer-friendly format
 
 

Rate or Review this model
 
 
See this review in a printer-friendly format
 
 

Rate or Review this model
 
1320, Inc | 1:24
1320, Inc 1:24  Dragster "Jungle Jim" Liberman

1320, Inc 1:24 Dragster "Jungle Jim" Liberman

 
This model is currently not available

View our selection of similar Diecast and Resin Scale Model Cars available for purchase

www.legacydiecast.com
See the huge selection of models at Legacy Motors Earn Legacy Points
   


     
     

New News  ·  List & Reviews  ·  Legacy Motors  ·  Auctions  ·  Forums  ·  Polls  ·  Features  ·  Register  ·  FAQs  ·  Clubs

Copyright © 2014 Legacy Diecast Models and Diecast Zone