The driver of a top fuel car
is a lot like the quarterback on a football team, that is, he
usually gets most of the credit for his teams success but he
is the first one to admit that he couldn't do it alone. Such
was the case with James Warren, the driver for one of the most
famous teams in all of drag racing, the Warren, Coburn and Miller
Top Fuel team, a team that was also known as the Ridge
Route Terrors. That name referred to the road that ran
over the mountains between the San Joaquin valley and the Los
Angeles basin and it was reported that when the team was seen
towing down to race at the southern California tracks it struck
terror in the hearts of all the other dragster teams.
James Warren began driving in
the late 1950s but it wasnt on a drag strip, it was
on the local dirt tracks around his California home, but it wouldn't
be long before he was hitting the drag strips of California and
visiting the winners circle at those tracks on a regular basis.
With his partner, Roger Coburn, James drove a series of cars
that ranged from a twin-engine car with one Chrysler and one
Chevrolet engine, to a lightweight blown dragster that ran with
the best of the California breed. When businessman Marvin Miller
joined the duo he brought his companys sponsorship with
him, and since Marvin ran a company that provided irrigation
systems for the farmers in the Bakersfield area, the trio became
know as the Rain For Rent team. Whatever you called
them, the team of James Warren, Roger Coburn and Marvin Miller
were winners wherever they raced.
That brings us to the subject
car. Prior to 1968 Marvin Miller, who owned "Rain For Rent"
had been a minor, somewhat silent partner with James and Roger.
In '68 Marvin took a more active roll and ultimately stepped
up and financed a full upgrade for the teams 1967 Woody car,
Hanna body and better parts than the team had ever had. This
was the first time Miller's name was actually on the car and
his influence was evident as it was the nicest car they ever
had ... period. It also ran as good at it looked. In 1970 the
car got another shorty body and the full body was put in storage.
The car with the full body was sold in 1971 to help finance their
first rear engine car.
This is a great staged shot of
arguably the winningest fuel dragster team of the 1960's. From
left to right Roger Coburn, the late Marvin Miller and super-shoe
-- James Warren. This was taken in front of the then state-of-the-art
tower of Orange County International Raceway in 1968 before the
car got its full body update for 1969.