JUNGLE JIM LIBERMAN'S RACE CARS

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JUNGLE JIM LIBERMAN'S RACE CARS
« on: August 03, 2015, 09:31:27 PM »
JUNGLE JIM LIBERMAN
COVER OF FUNNY CAR PICTORIAL.
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Re: JUNGLE JIM LIBERMAN'S RACE CARS
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2015, 09:45:30 PM »
From Wikipedia,
Russell James “Jim” Liberman (September 12, 1945 – September 9, 1977) was an United States drag racer from Pennsylvania, known as “Jungle Jim”. He was named #17 on the list of the Top 50 NHRA drivers. Liberman was known for driving backwards, as his girlfriend guided him back to the starting line, (160 km/h) after doing his burnout.

Liberman was known as a flamboyant showman who toured the country. He primarily toured the United States at drag racing events. He averaged an estimated 100 events per year during the 1970s. He refused to lift off the gas when a run was completely out of shape.

Liberman was born in Pennsylvania. He dropped out of high school in his junior year. He did not start racing until he moved to Northern California.

He began drag racing in the Stock division at Fremont Raceway in 1964. He made a huge jump up to funny car in 1965, driving a nitromethane injected Hercules Nova. Later that year he started on the national scene as the driver of Lew Arrington’s supercharged Brutus GTO Funny Car. In 1966, Liberman went out on his own in his first supercharged Chevy II. In 1967, he went on a tour that established him as a household name within drag racing circles across the country. Despite making eight second runs in his Chevy when other top dragracers in factory-sponsored cars made runs in the seven second range, he gained a large fan following. Liberman was more interesting. Liberman won the hearts of the spectators after he did wheelstands for the full length of the track in a two race match race against Don Nicholson.

Liberman’s growth in 1967 prompted him to run a two car team in 1968. His choice as the first driver in his second car was Clare Sanders. Others drivers using Liberman’s cars included Ron Attebury, Jake Crimmins, Roy Harris, Russell Long, Pete Williams, and former partner Arrington. Liberman’s team went on to include a Steve Kanuika-owned and sponsored nine-second heads-up ‘69 Camaro and a Dutch Irrgang-driven ‘72 Vega Pro Stocker.

Super Stock & Drag Illustrated had 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. Nearly every leading driver in the category turned down the magazine’s request. Liberman complied, and the resulting publicity only added to his legend. Another one of his strengths was that Liberman was the main Chevy banner carrier.

Liberman toured with a woman named “Jungle Pam” Hardy.Liberman met 18-year-old Hardy while she was in high school. She toured with Jungle Jim wearing skimpy outfits and provocative on-track actions. She helped him back up after he did burnouts.
She described Jungle Jim: “All that showmanship was his true personality. He just didn’t turn that on at the track and then became 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.”

Liberman concentrated primarily on match races while touring the United States, not on racing on the NHRA circuit. He had one national event win in NHRA competition at the 1975 Summernationals at Englishtown NJ. His second car was driven by Clare Sanders to victory at the 1969 Winternationals.

Liberman died in a head-on car accident in his 1972 Corvette street car with a bus on September 9, 1977 in West Goshen Township near West Chester, PA.

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Re: JUNGLE JIM LIBERMAN'S RACE CARS
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2015, 09:49:24 PM »
“Berserko Bob” Remembers…
Info courtesy of “Berserko Bob” Doerrer.
How did Bob’s Berserko Lounge and its close ties to Jungle Jim come about… After returning home from Viet-Nam (USMC 1st Battalion, 1st Marines) in 1968 I started working weekends at Englishtown, worked my up from laying numbers on windshields to announcing. I don’t remember when I was given the name Berserko, about 1969 I’d guess. I called the house I lived in the Lounge, so it became “Bob’s Berserko Lounge”. I made up some T-shirts and stickers, started distributing them and racers from stock to Top Fuel would put them on their cars. The touring funny cars in those days would run the weekend events then come to E-Town to camp out until the legendary Wednesday night shows that E-Town was famous for. That’s when I met Jungle. He was working on his car in the pits one afternoon, I stopped by and started talking to him. He asked me where was a good place to eat, I suggested the legendary Cantore’s (a very popular after the races Bar & Grill).

We (Jungle, his wife at the time Bobbi, and crewman, Peter White and me) hopped in my car and went to eat. We returned to the track and spent the afternoon working on the racecar. JJ ran that Wednesday night and after the race asked me if I’d be interested in going on the road with him for a couple of races. I packed my stuff and took off with the Jungle Jim Show. I ended up spending a couple of winters on the west coast with JJ and our friendship flourished. When Jungle moved to West Chester, I introduced him to Bob Gerdes and “Mr. J” from Circus Custom Paint. They started painting and lettering Jungles cars which bought JJ to NJ a lot. From then until September of 1977 when JJ died, we were the best of friends and probably talked at least 3 times a week.
Photo By Bob Plumer

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Re: JUNGLE JIM LIBERMAN'S RACE CARS
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2015, 09:51:22 PM »
“Berserko Bob” Remembers…
Info courtesy of “Berserko Bob” Doerrer.

JJ boiling the tires at Aquasco, Maryland in the 1972 Camaro. Both Briggs Chevrolet and Revell came aboard as sponsors that year. Bob Gerdes at Circus Custom Paints added the flames to make Revell stand out a little better, and the little man in the loop of the J in Jungle was done by “Mr. J” who also did all the lettering. This was one of Jungle’s favorite cars… the car debuted at E-Town in March of 72 with just flames on the hood. Refer to the photo with the tow car below for reference.
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Re: JUNGLE JIM LIBERMAN'S RACE CARS
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2015, 09:54:57 PM »
“Berserko Bob” Remembers…
Info courtesy of “Berserko Bob” Doerrer.

“Jungle Pam” joined JJ’s team in 72. Story has it JJ spied Pam on the streets of their hometown of West Chester, Pa., one day while chasing down parts for the funny car. Arguably, Pam cemented Jungle’s Elvis like cult status among the funny car faithful… JJ enlisted Pam to get his flopper safely back from it’s burnouts and to give the car a visual “once over” prior to launching. A celebrity in her own right, Pam graced the cover of the Feb 73 issue of Hot Rod magazine posing with Jungle’s new Vega flopper. (Photo below courtesy of Charles Gilchrist; visit his drag racing photo website at CharlesGilchrist.com.

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Re: JUNGLE JIM LIBERMAN'S RACE CARS
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2015, 09:57:51 PM »
“Berserko Bob” Remembers…
Info courtesy of “Berserko Bob” Doerrer.

This is the first Revell designed paint scheme… featured Jungle & Pam… when Jungle got the Revell deal they worked with Bob Gerdes at Circus Custom Paint to come up with this design. Camaro was run concurrent with the Vega in late 72, early 73… won York US 30’s F/C Nationals in early 73 where this photo was taken… as far as where this car is now, who knows? Franklin Amiano reports “He flipped this car at Englishtown and walked away, not a scratch. That car is out there somewhere with a Vega body on it.” Photo courtesy of Bob Plumer at Drag Racing Memories
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TS3X65MPH

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Re: JUNGLE JIM LIBERMAN'S RACE CARS
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2015, 10:00:31 PM »
“Berserko Bob” Remembers…
Info courtesy of “Berserko Bob” Doerrer.

Here’s a couple of early ones, 1971 I believe… That’s me on the right in white and “Jungle Bobbi” Jungle’s first wife on the left picking the winner of a “Jungle Jim” replica go-kart on the starting line of Englishtown. The other photo is Fall of 1971, Jungle made an appearance at Brigg’s Chevrolet. That’s me with the mike, Jungle facing right and Ovar Kovoleski, one of Brigg’s Motorsports drivers, giving away prizes.
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Re: JUNGLE JIM LIBERMAN'S RACE CARS
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2015, 10:03:01 PM »
“Berserko Bob” Remembers…
Info courtesy of “Berserko Bob” Doerrer.

This is a deal I put together for Jungle with Briggs Chevrolet. I talked Danny Zack, the owner, into giving Jungle (and this was a big deal back then) $2,000 and a identically painted Camaro tow car for his name on the back quarter panel. Circus did the paint on both cars (note no Revell on the front quarter that came mid-season). I had many opportunities to drive it on the street and it was a blast! After the season Briggs took the car back and it sat in their showroom for a while, I believe that Zack still has it in his personal collection.
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Re: JUNGLE JIM LIBERMAN'S RACE CARS
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2015, 10:04:29 PM »
“Berserko Bob” Remembers…
Info courtesy of “Berserko Bob” Doerrer.

Jungle’s name appeared on several non-funny car projects including a Top Fuel car campaigned for a period by NorCal’s Ron Attebury and this Pro Stock Vega Wagon in 72ish. It was built and driven by Dutch “The Clutch” Irrgang who was a former crewmember for Bill Jenkins and also worked at SRD. Dutch built the chassis at, I believe, S&W, then finished up at Jungle’s shop under the house… small block Vega was campaigned in match races and at the Divisional level.
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Re: JUNGLE JIM LIBERMAN'S RACE CARS
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2015, 10:07:32 PM »
“Berserko Bob” Remembers…
Info courtesy of “Berserko Bob” Doerrer.

I think again 1972. Waiting in the lanes at Maple Grove. From left: Jungle Pam, Jungle, unknown girl, Peter White (known as WhitePeter) Berserko Bob (with hat) and the infamous “Leaky Karen”. I spent most of this Summer on the road with JJ.
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Re: JUNGLE JIM LIBERMAN'S RACE CARS
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2015, 10:14:14 PM »
“Berserko Bob” Remembers…
Info courtesy of “Berserko Bob” Doerrer.

From Aquasco… This was 73 or 74 I think. This shot was used on Jungle’s give-away photos that Quaker State printed for him. According to Bob Gerdes from Circus this car was referred to as “Bits & Pieces” because that’s how Jungle built it… from bits and pieces he had lying around.
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Tom

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Re: JUNGLE JIM LIBERMAN'S RACE CARS
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2015, 10:39:45 AM »
Very cool story, thanks !

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Re: JUNGLE JIM LIBERMAN'S RACE CARS
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2015, 11:25:10 AM »
Very cool story, thanks !
Any time.Steve 32 crewed on Jungles car.Hope He ads to this thread.
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DavyJ

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Re: JUNGLE JIM LIBERMAN'S RACE CARS
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2015, 09:56:30 PM »
That is the stuff we have been missing..........great stories, thanks
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Re: JUNGLE JIM LIBERMAN'S RACE CARS
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2015, 01:51:43 PM »
Jungle Jim.
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Re: JUNGLE JIM LIBERMAN'S RACE CARS
« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2015, 01:54:20 PM »
Liberman first got his funny car fever by piloting an AMP turned into a nitro gulping drag car.
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