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Barbara Roufs and Jungle Pam Are Not the Same – Look Closer

It’s not uncommon for celebrities to sometimes get confused for each other. For example, Katy Perry and Zoe Deschanel could pass as twins, Elijah Wood and Daniel Radcliffe are basically interchangeable and we’re still not thoroughly convinced that Rupert Grint and Ed Sheeran aren’t the same pdrson. But before we successfully alienate all of our viewers by ticking off multiple fan bases, we should go ahead and admit that we know that these are all very different people that merely look strikingly similar.

In this video, we’ll be taking a closer look at the lives and careers of two relatively obscure stars by today’s standards that once enjoyed a modicum of fame during their heydeys. At first glance, Barbara Roufs and Jungle Pam appear to be the same person, but upon closer inspection, you’ll discover that the duo of racing trophy girls were actually two distinct individuals. Granted, if you were to have inadvertently confused the two women as we first did, you would have good reason to do so. After all, these two lovely ladies bore a striking resemblance to each other. It’s not very often that doppelgangers as dauntingly similar as these two both come from essentially the same scene. But in this case, both Roufs and Jungle Pam had pretty much the same job titles.

If you consider yourself a fan of drag racing or merely have an appreciation for curvy trophy models, keep watching to learn how Barbara Roufs and Jungle Pam are NOT the Same. Hopefully after watching this video, any confusion that you might have had about these two will have been thoroughly cleared up.

Barbara Rouf’s Short-Lived Career

Barbara Roufs was a fan-favorite trophy girl in the drag racing scene of Southern California in the 1970s. She was born in the US in 1944. As a child, she attended a local private school in her hometown in California.

Barbara’s mother was Thelma Ruby Riley, while her father’s name was Eldon Riley. We do know, however, that Barbara’s parents met in 1942 before exchanging wedding vows in 1947. They remained together until Barabara’s mother died on the 24th of June, 2005. Her mother was 86 at the time of her passing.

Barbara grew up with three siblings, one sister named Vivian Deaton and two brothers, James and Bruce Riley. According to some sources, Rouf also had an adopted brother named Ben Gube.

Barbara got her start as a trophy girl a little bit later than most other models. In the early 70s, at the age of 29, Roufs was already a mother of two. She may have been a bit older than most of the other trophy girls of her era, but her voluptuous good works, perfect figure, playful personality, and ‘come hither’ eyes made her a favorite among both racing fans and drivers alike.

One of her most significant claims to fame was being named queen of the 6th annual US Professional Dragster Championship which was held at Orange County International Raceway.

One of the most iconic photographs of Roufs was taken by photographer Tom West. He was best known for his racing photos that captured the unique essence of the Southern Californian drag racing scene of the era.

While his photos are what Tom West was best known for, that wasn’t exactly his day job. West was employed by General Mills where he worked in the company’s marketing department. He began taking shots of Rouf’s not long after landing a gig with Revell/Monogram – a business that created plastic models of things like trucks and cars.

The company wanted pictures of some of the hottest trophy models at the time, and we’ve got to hand it to them, they worked mighty efficiently while promoting their products. While capturing snapshots of the trophy models, West also took numerous pictures of the vehicles taking part in the races – especially at the starting and finish lines.

Roufs became a favorite of the manufacturing companies and other businesses that desired to promote the muscle car, hot rod, and drag racing scene. As such, it wasn’t unusual to see Barbara rocking branded T-shirts while sporting her vibrant smile as she promoted products for various sponsors in the pages of magazines like Super Stock and Drag News.

Even though she was already a mother of two by the time she was 29, it’s unclear whether she was ever married. She also never revealed the identity of her children’s father.

Unfortunately, at the age of 47 in 1991, just a couple of years after quitting her job as a trophy girl, Barbara took her own life. While she may be gone, she will always be remembered for being one of the most beautiful women of the drag racing world.

Real quick – if you’ve been enjoying this video so far, give it a like and subscribe to the Facts Verse channel. Stay tuned to learn all about another drag racing queen, Jungle Pam.

Jungle Pam Made A Splash in the Drag Racing World

In the 1970s, Jungle Pam was considered to be drag racing’s most famous sweetheart. She was able to capture the imaginations of Funny Car fans like nobody else could. She worked assisting driver Jungle Jim Lieberman and was famous for her skimpy, tight-fitting outfits. She could rock a mini-skirt or short-shorts better than most and was almost always seen in a pair of go-go boots. Of course, one of her most standout features was her smile.

At a time when Drivers were given free rein to market themselves as they pleased, the Jungle Pam phenomenon proved to be one of Lieberman’s smartest career moves. Not only did he raise the profile of his racing team, but he also helped take Funny Car racing mainstream as well.

Obviously, it took a very special partner with a penchant for showmanship to pull all of that off. When Pam Hardy strutted out on the track for the first time as Jungle Pam, racing fans were given a new reason to stay put in their seats watch the show between races.

During the mid-1960s, drag racing fans fell head over heels in love with the Funny Car. Combining high-octane, top-fuel horsepower with a lightweight, production model body, Funny cars gave drivers everything that they needed to satiate their need for speed.

Virtually overnight, Funny Cars seemed to encapsulate everything that drivers and fans alike went out to the track for – seeing as how they were both flashy and ridiculously fast.

During this era, Jim Liberman, or Jungle Jim as he was better known, was one of the most famed and beloved Funny Car drivers around. Not only was he a wildcard on the track, but he was also a bit of a hell-raiser off the track as well.

Jungle Jim might have stole the show when he was behind the wheel of his Funny Car, but Jungle Pam was clearly who everyone was looking at between races.

At the age of 18 and just a couple of weeks out, shy of graduating from high school, Pam Hardy met Jungle Jim by sheer happenstance. Little did she know, that chance encounter would alter her plans for the next several years.

Pam was intending on attending college after graduation – she had even been accepted into West Chester State, but fate had other plans for her. Lieberman first spotted Hardy while driving his Corvette down a street in Hardy’s hometown of West Chester, Pennsylvania. After introducing himself, he proceeded to introduce her to the fascinating world of drag racing. It didn’t take long for Hardy to abandon her plans of attending college, pack her bags, and set off on the adventure of her lifetime, touring around the nation on the drag racing circuit.

When she joined Lieberman’s team, Hardy had no experience in the drag racing world, let alone as part of a pit crew. Despite this fact, Liberman had high hopes for her and enlisted her help out on the track.

Officially, her first role for Liberman was as his backup girl. She would help him position his prized 1973 Chevy Vega on the rack before each race.

Liberman wanted everyone’s eyes to be on him when he took the driver’s seat behind the wheel of his Funny Car. So, what better way could there be to bring more attention his way than to bring in a beautiful, buxom young girl?

Hardy successfully caught the attention of the audience just as Liberman had hoped for. The mere mention of her name was enough to inspire excitement in her adoring male fans.

Before long, she was every bit of a draw out on the track as Liberman, and in the process, she earned herself the nickname of Jungle Pam.

In time, she was given more responsibility. After learning on the job, she began helping the crew with things like repacking the car’s parachute, topping off the block with water, and adding oil.

Jungle Pam maintained her status as drag racing queen for about four years. While she had a devoted fan base, increased regulation in the sport of drag racing eventually led to the banning of the sort of showmanship that Liberman and Pam Hardy were known for. That ultimately left Hardy without a job, and constant life out on the road was beginning to put a strain on Pam and Jim’s relationship.

Not long after Jungle Pam was out of the picture, Liberman seemed to lose interest in the sport of drag racing. He continued to race, but his career slowed significantly.  In 1977, Jim’s prized Corvette crashed into a bus killing him instantly at the age of 31.

After that tragic incident, Pam Hardy stepped away from drag racing entirely and found herself a more traditional 9 to 5 job.

Since then, she’s lived a quiet and relatively normal life. She eventually returned back to making appearances at National Hot Rod Association events, where she frequently signs autographs. Today, Hardy hosts a Facebook page as well as a website devoted to the memory of drag racing as it once was back in those glory days of the mid-1970s.

With that, we’ll go ahead and wrap this video up, but we’d love to hear from you. Were you a fan of drag racing in the 60s and 70s? If so, were you familiar with trophy girls Barbara Roufs and Jungle Pam? Let us know in the comments.

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As always, thanks for watching! We’ll see you soon with more content covering some of the most culturally significant people, films, and television shows of yesteryear!

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