One of the great games that fans of vintage drag racing play is “what if.” If history could be rewritten and events were to happen in a different way, how would things be different? One of the most common scenarios presented is, “What if Jungle Jim Liberman was still alive.” Would he have been John Force before there was John Force? Would have have actually made the switch from a life of match racing to running on the organized NHRA and IHRA circuts? Would he have slowed down his fast and loose ways?
Sadly, we’ll never know, as a fatal car accident ended it all in the late 1970s. His aura is still strong in the sport today and his name is referenced with regularity whenever talk of long smokey burnouts or crazy antics come up.
Then there’s Jungle Pam Hardy, who is also a central part of the video below. She was Jim’s girl throughout the highest peaks of his career. Literally scooped off the street of a small Pennsylvania by Liberman, she became an icon of the 1970s drag racing scene and is the archetype of the “backup chick.”
This video is pretty amazing. It catalogs Jim’s racing career, his relationship with Pam, his wacky personality, and has some vintage footage cut in that we have never seen before. If you are a true lover of old time drag racing, this one may actually make you misty.
Jungle Jim and Jungle Pam personified what drag racing was for several years in the 1970s. This video is an awesome tribute.