Thom Taylor Staff Editor
November 12, 2014

Phil Bonner

One of the Blue Oval’s best has died. Phil Bonner was one of a handful of Ford factory-backed Funny Car pioneers, capitalizing on his early drag racing successes to snag a series of lightweight Galaxies in the early-1960s, then through the early fast-paced evolution of Funny Cars.

Campaigning Ford FE lightweight Galaxies and Starliners resulted in Bonner getting one of the factory Thunderbolt Fairlanes in 1964. But hearing of a 427 Falcon being built for Ford racing team head Dick Brannan, and eyeing Jack Chrisman’s blown, fuel burning Comet, led to Bonner building an altered wheelbase Falcon called “Daddy Warbucks” running a stack injected 427 he match raced across the country. In 1965 he added the factory- built extended A/FX Mustang running a 427 SOHC, also named Daddy Warbucks, similar to the Dearborn Steel Tubing-built Bill Lawson Tasca Ford and Gas Rhonda A/FX Mustangs. In 1968 he ran the Mustang Funny Car and also one of the new Cobra Jet Mustangs in the Super Stock classes. Bonner built a flip top Torino Funny Car for 1969, but with a loss of factory sponsorship he never ran it and ultimately retired from racing. He was inducted into the Georgia Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2007.