The stories regarding the re-launch of the Houndog team started in November 2001, and in January 2004 the new car was finally launched........

Autosport Show on Friday, January 9th 2004.

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Nobby, left and Stu Bradbury, right

Click on pictures for a larger version

Extract from Eurodragster.com coverage of the Autosport Show on Friday, January 9th 2004.

On arrival we made a beeline for the Custom Car magazine stand where Nobby Hill's new Houndog Fuel Funny Car was unveiled yesterday. The Camaro body is in yellow and blue and of course features the famous Houndog on the bonnet. The car is currently carrying the number FC1, we figure that John Spuffard may have an opinion on that and as you will see shortly we asked Nobby about that.

We started by asking Nobby who would be driving the car as it is carrying the names of both legendary shoe Owen Hayward and Junior Olley. "Two years ago, I told Owen that I was building a new car, and I said "I don't suppose you will want to drive it" ", said Nobby. "Owen said 'I will tell you if I don't want to drive it!'. Owen will drive to start with, and he will teach Junior who will be driving by the end of the season."

Nobby estimated that the FC was three-quarters finished. "There is about two to three months' work left, then we will be running", he said. "I'm building a forty-foot gooseneck trailer so there is plenty to do". Nobby designed and built the chassis and is proud of his work. "I am proud that it is British built!", he said. "If anyone looks at the car and likes it then maybe I can start to build cars for them. I love building things! I also have a team member, Gary, who is an aerospace engineer and can weld anything. He has done a great job - the chassis is within 25 thou square."

We also noticed Stuart Bradbury's name on the car, as Crew Chief. The legendary Santa Pod starter has long been involved with Nobby Hills Racing and jumped at the chance to work with the new car. "Stuart's job will probably expand to involve promotion", said Nobby. "It will start with me telling him what to do but it will end with me having to do what he says!"

Nobby said that there are some radical ideas on the FC which he will be testing before competing. "l have a different fuel and clutch system on this car which will allow you to get off the throttle and it will recycle as if it was back on the start line", he said. "We will be able to turn the car round a lot quicker, so you may see us out within half an hour of running. Initially I want to spend a week with the car doing longer and longer burnouts then longer and longer runs. But it depends whether a sponsor comes in if I do that and for how long."

Nobby explained the appearance of the FC1 on the car. "It always used to be our race number", he said. "Now things have changed so I can't use that number any more. But believe me if I have to fight to get the number back then I will!"

We asked Nobby how he felt about coming back to Funny Car racing after twenty years. "I'm back where l should be", he said. "I'll tell you a story. As you may know I had a serious accident a few years ago. I was in hospital and then I didn't work for a long time. I spent ages at home watching videos of my old cars and one afternoon I made up my mind - I was coming back. That evening I told my wife Anne and my eldest daughter Jody that I was going to have a Funny Car again. Anne said "You see Jody, we should have pulled out the wires and smothered him when we had the chance!"

All of the  pictures above, including the one where that girl got in the way, and the story are
with thanks to Tog and are Eurodragster.com

As many may know the Internet message boards were very busy leading up to the Autosport show with subtle hints about the cars being debuted etc. One interesting  idea of what the new Houndog would look like came from "The Mighty Chris P" who amongst other things makes simulations of cars for drag racing games on PC's.
Click here to see a picture of what he thought might be debuted at the show.

Nice try Chris, who has told me that now he knows what the real car looks like he will let me have a picture of the SIM version in due course.

So, Sunday January 11th sees Chris get up at some godforsaken time and hit the M40 to Birmingham. Arriving about 9.30,  head straight to the Custom Car stand to see the beast in true life. 
Trust me the pictures do not do it justice, it looks fantastic. 
Later in the morning I see both Owen and Nobby and spent some time talking to Nobby and looking around the rest of the show with Owen.

Over and above what has been said above in the Eurodragster interview, there are several other trick / developmental things that are on the car, that for obvious reasons Nobby wants to keep to himself at this stage. All will be revealed in due course. He is very pleased with the response that the car is getting with a constant flow of people looking at the car, taking pictures and asking questions; even when the busty Custom Car model was not sprawled all over the car!
Nobby refuses to rush and get the car out before its ready to do itself justice and has at least 8 - 12 weeks work before it can be deemed to be ready. So, as ever I'll keep you updated of progress via this site.
The pictures below were taken on Sunday 11th January 2004, hope you enjoy them.

The overheard quote of the day had to have been from a chap walking past the stand with his wife / ladyfriend. He looked up saw the Funny Car and Nobby and said to his companion

"I think that's Nobby Hills, he was famous in the 1970's".

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Side detailing

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Rear wing detailing

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Big boys toys....

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In its kennel at the
Custom Car Stand

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Another one in its kennel

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What Nobby hopes the opposition get to see a lot of...
"Ain't nuthin but a Houndog, 
1/4 start that's what I are! "

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New team members role of honour

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More side detailing

Usual procedure, click on pictures for larger version.

The pictures below are all Melvyn Holmes, again from the Autosport show.

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Don't know who she is, but she likes my car...
(her name is Emma by the way!)
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Don't point, its rude...
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You make up the comments; inspiration has left me
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Gary's Picnic, Shakespeare County Raceway May 31st - June 1st 2008

Nobby, along with driver Simon Hayward and crew members Richard Hayward and Joe Titley took the truck, trailer and NHR Nitro Funny Car to Shakey to do some nitro warm-ups.

The one major issue that arose was that the body required some modifications to fit around the new blower bag. There was insufficient time to modify the body prior to the weekend so the car would have to be on display as a chassis and the body along side or propped open. On the scheme of things, a trivial issue.

Simon was going to use his fathers old 'vet paint schemed crash helmet along with 1980's style breathers. Yes, we know they are not allowed for racing today but we are not yet racing and they are sufficient for what we are currently doing. 
Simon is going to go to Frank Hawley's Drag Racing school in the States, and would have been there already if we hadn't been let down with some promised funding that hasn't materialised, and will have all the latest gear then.

The car was a great hit amongst the fans and other racers. And after a few warm ups in the pits, Nobby was asked if he would trundle the car down the strip. The necessary approvals being given, the next stage of the testing program took place albeit in a somewhat more public environment than expected.

As stated above, the body wouldn't fit so Simon, tightly strapped into the bare chassis was directed into stage, without a burnout obviously, and slowly idled, as instructed, down the track.

OK a 4 second run it ain't, but another significant step for the team

Image: Peter Donaldson

Image: Peter Donaldson

Image: Peter Donaldson

Image: Peter Donaldson

Image: Peter Donaldson

 

Halloween Bonfire Burn Up, Shakespeare County Raceway October 25th -26th 2008

With just one opportunity to test the NH Racing Houndog Nitro Funny Car at a race track before the 2008 season closed, Nobby and Crew took the car to Shakespear County Raceway for the Halloween Bonfire Burn Up at the end of October. With Simon still not licensed and other issues still to be addressed, this was going to be a test, and as per the definition above, it was a test for both Simon and the car.

Saturday saw the team prepare the car and warm it up in the pits. All was well and the car and clutch looked and sounded to be in good shape. A scrutineer inspected a few things that required attention associated with the brake lever. Once fixed, the time had unfortunately slipped by and the hoped for trip down the strip was not going to be able to be completed.

On Sunday the car was again warmed up in the pits and all seemed well. Later in the day, the car was towed to the start. As the car was started and manoeuvred to the line, Simon encountered some problems with the clutch starting to drag quite badly and some time (and nitro !) was used up while positioning the car and moving the support truck.

It was quickly decided not to do a burnout as it would not have been possible to select reverse, so a stage and a soft launch and squirt off the line was to be the order of the day. Simon carefully staged the car and on the green just as he was about to hit the loud pedal, the blower burst plate did its job when things go wrong and the panel burst and that was that ! Unfortunately the tank had run dry of nitro. The car was running very rich and the time lost due to the manoeuvring and waiting had used up more fuel than expected. Annoying, but one of those things.

Despite this, from a testing perspective, the weekend was still a success with numerous things learnt and no serious damage was encountered. As it says above: Test: Critical examination or trial of a person's or thing's qualities…….

 

Image: Peter Donaldson

Image: Peter Donaldson

Image: Peter Donaldson

Image: Peter Donaldson

Image: Peter Donaldson

 

Image: Peter Donaldson

Image: Peter Donaldson

Image: Peter Donaldson

Image: Peter Donaldson

Image: Peter Donaldson

 

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Shakespeare County Raceway 17th May 2010

The team spent a few useful hours at Shakespeare County Raceway checking out that everything was OK with the car.

In the words of crew member Chris Eyre: We arrived at Shakespeare Raceway and for once the sun is shining! 
We set about getting the car ready, putting the last few parts on and filling the car with oil and fuel. With Simon ready in his fireproofs and in place Nobby hit the starter button and the car came to life. 
The work done to the car and the recent overhaul of the fuel system had the desired results as the car sounded very strong indeed. With 3 fire ups in the pits completed to check various things it was off to race control to sign everyone on.
 
With the car towed down to the start line we go about getting Simon strapped in the car and getting the starter put on the car and after a final check by the safety steward we are given the nod to fire up. 
As always Nobby lowers the body down and Simon pulls the car forward to the burnout box and Nobby gives the signal to bring her up, unfortunately with the clutch set a bit too slack and the the throttle return spring coming off the revs stayed up and we said goodbye to the blower belt which departed the car from underneath. 

Click here to view a video