It has been a while since we dropped some quality, old-school drag racing film action on you so here goes. This is a 1973 film called, “The Wonder of Drag Racing” and it was made by (you guessed it) the company that produces Wonder Bread to help promote the sport that they were getting involved in on a marketing level. Everyone talks about how the Mattel /Hot Wheels deal was the first big corporate sponsorship in drag racing but the reality is that this was the first traditional big cash deal in the sport. It was also an abject failure from a performance point of view, but that’s immaterial at this point. The video features lots of voice over by Kelly Brown, the man who was first tapped to drive the unique Vega panel wagon funny car. He was also the first man to discover that its’s design was a huge problem that the team would probably never overcome. Don Schumacher later verified that thought and when he was running the deal the “Wonder wagons” became traditionally bodied funny cars.
Since Wonder Bread was jumping into the sport and needed to educate their marketing people and sales people about this new venue, they made a film. Presumably this was something that they distributed and allowed salespeople to give out to big accounts and stuff like that. Much more than a straight up sales pitch, it is a fantastic peek into the early rear engine dragster era that also spends plenty of time showing off killer footage of funny cars and even sportsman action. Wait until you see the wild Jeep bodied machine, the dude jamming gears in the 1955 Chevy and some of the muscle cars being hammered down the various tracks shown in the film.
This is a fun watch with great scenes from the track and the pits, some killer 1970s music, and of course all of the big stars (and some of the far smaller ones) that dotted drag racing at that time. The Wonder Wagon Vega may have been a performance flop but we’re all still loving the thing forty years later so that probably classifies it as a winner in the marketing perspective, right?