Pioneer Dick Landy dies

1960's Pioneering dragster Dick Landy dies CHATSWORTH, Calif. -- "Cigar Choppin' 'Dandy Dick' Landy passed away at 9:35 p.m. Jan. 11," reads a Jan. 15 statement posted on the Dick Landy Industries Web site. "DLI is open and will continue to do...

1960's Pioneering dragster Dick Landy dies

CHATSWORTH, Calif. -- "Cigar Choppin' 'Dandy Dick' Landy passed away at 9:35 p.m. Jan. 11," reads a Jan. 15 statement posted on the Dick Landy Industries Web site. "DLI is open and will continue to do business as usual. All pending Internet orders for Die-Cast models or Hero Cards have been refunded."

Although the posting stated that "No details are being given out at this time," NHRA.com said that Landy, 69, died of kidney failure. The post requests donations in lieu of lowers be made in Landy's memory to the Wally Parks NHRA Museum and/or the Drag Racing Association of Women.

Landy and his Automotive Research company have been credited with fathering the modern Funny Car by altering the wheelbase of a modified Dodge Coronet in 1965, among other innovations.

Landy, known for wearing white uniforms and unlighted cigars, was AHRA 1973-74 World Champion. He won a variety of NHRA and AHRA A/FX, B/MP Pro Stock, Super Stock, Modified, and Funny Car final eliminations - including the 1969-70 NHRA Winternationals - and independent match races.

Landy first raced a 1932 flathead V8 Ford on the San Fernando Raceway drag strip while a high school freshman in 1956. The San Fernando Valley Junior College mechanical engineering major built marine engines while racing Fords for local dealer Andy Andrews. Landy picked up Andrews' habit of wearing white and cigars.

Landy was running Ford Galaxie although he had opened Automotive Research on 1961. He became a Mopar man the next year when Chrysler introduced a Plymouth with a new three-speed automatic transmission.

Competition to develop hemi head engines between the factory Chrysler and Ford teams prompted Landy and Plymouth to extend his 1965 A/FX Dodge Coronet's front axle a foot forward of the showroom wheelbase.

The first funny car became known for its high wheel stands and winning so many finals that the NHRA banned the Chrysler factory team from the 1965 Winternationals.

Landy and Chrysler turned to the independent circuit in 1966, where they experimented on now- common nitro-methane fuel and fuel injection while winning match races.

Chrysler shifted its factory support to Dodge and Plymouth racing Drag Clinics, headed by Landy and the Sox & Martin teams, in 1967.

The NHRA created the Super Stock Class for Detroit-based muscle cars that year, however, allowing Landy to compete between clinic dates.

Landy also entered a B/MP Dodge Charger that he won the 1969 Winternationals Street elimination with. He also won the NHRA's inaugural Pro Stock Summernationals final with a Dodge Challenger the next year and was runner-up in 1972.

Landy stayed with Chrysler despite dwindling factory support and the car maker's boycott of the NHRA in the early 1970s. He competed in match races into 1975.

Landy last campaigned a small block Charger Pro-Stock for drivers Brad Yuil and Ken Dondero 1979-81. He then turned to DLI, of Northridge, which he formed in 1970 to research, develop and customize engines for clients. Daimer-Chrysler and Mopar were among his clients.

Landy, as of January, was also an editor of "West Coast Mopar Muscle" magazine and wrote a technical diagnostic clinic column.

"Car Racers Newsletter" reports that Richrad "dandy Dick" landy's services were held here Jan. 18 in Missions Hills, CA

Wife Geanie, sons Robert and Richard and daughter Danette are among Landy's survivors.

Donations to DRAW can be sent to:
4 hance Dr.
Charleston, IL 61920

The NHRA Museum is at 1101 W. McKinley Abe., Bldg. 3A, Pomona, CA 01768.

-credit: walter elliott

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Drag , General , NHRA
Article type Obituary