The world of Funny Car drag racing may be a niche one. But there is one figure that helped break it into the mainstream unlike any other. This figure is Pam Hardy, better known as “Jungle Pam”. Jungle Pam was the sidekick of racer Jim Liberman, or “Jungle Jim”. With Pam’s good looks and Jim’s racing skills, the duo brought their sport more recognition than it had ever received. Sadly, Jim passed away at the age of 31. Leaving Jungle Pam to live the rest of her life without her beloved partner. Join Facts Verse as we explore what happened to Jungle Pam Hardy, drag racing’s bombshell.
When it comes to Funny Car drag racing, few figures have been more influential than Pam Hardy. Or better known by her nickname “Jungle Pam”. Although the woman was never a racer herself; her passion for the sport shone through in her role as the sidekick of racer Jim Liberman, or “Jungle Jim”. In addition to working together, the two shared a whirlwind romance before Jim’s death at the age of 31. During their time as a duo, they helped bring more attention to the sport of Funny Car drag racing than ever before.
Funny Car drag racing is named as such due to the unique designs of the automobiles. While there is certainly a great deal of speed and racing involved. There is also a performance aspect that keeps fans interested. Before the introduction of Jungle Pam, much of the performance aspect came from the showiness of the drivers themselves. However, Jungle Pam introduced a new aspect that could keep the fans engaged, and that was sex appeal. While the flamboyant Jim had found success in the field of Funny Car drag racing before making Pam his sidekick. Bringing her on brought both his team and his sport to another level.
Jim and Pam met one fateful evening while Jim was out speeding around the streets of Pennsylvania. Jim saw the 18-year-old Pam walking to the mall. And immediately slammed on the breaks to ask if she wanted to accompany him to a party. Although Jim had been planning on going to the party alone. He couldn’t resist inviting Pam along due to her immeasurable beauty. While most woman would balk at this kind of gesture, Jim had a quality about him that won Pam over. She decided to give hanging out with the drag racer a try, and became incredibly interested in his life story.
Pam had never heard of Funny Car drag racing before meeting Jim. And was won over by Jim’s tales of the sport. The two had a good time at the party. And Pam asked Jim if she could accompany him to one of his drag racing events. Jim agreed, and Pam had her mind blown upon seeing the spectacle for herself. She knew it was something that she wanted to be a part of. And that’s how her and Jim came up with the idea of putting her on Jim’s Funny Car team.
Pam gave up her college career in order to work with Jim. Which caused a great deal of tension between her and her mother. It took the two a great deal of time before they were able to work out their disagreements over Pam’s chosen lifestyle. Eventually, Pam was able to convince her mother that Funny Car drag racing was her true destiny. Although her mother didn’t completely understand, she accepted it.
Initially, Pam’s job on Jim’s team was to place his car on the starting line before the beginning of each race. As Pam grew to known more and more about cars, her role on the team increased. She was soon checking underneath the car for leaks before the start of each race. From Packing the parachutes, and making sure the engine had enough oil. All the while, Pam was wearing her trademark revealing top with no bra.
Pam was exceptionally well-endowed; which is perhaps why Jim had slammed on the breaks when he saw her walking the Pennsylvania streets. While out in the sun on the racing track, Pam wore revealing clothes to keep cool. As far as being braless, she simply didn’t think brassieres were comfortable. Whether the effect was intentional or not. This outfit started drawing plenty of admirers that were coming to watch Pam instead of the cars. Pam got the name of Jungle Pam, and she was soon making Jungle Jim and his Funny Car team more popular than they had ever been before.
In addition to bringing Jim’s career to new heights, Pam also popularized the sport of Funny Car drag racing in a way that had never previously been accomplished. However, the duo of Jungle Jim and Jungle Pam was soon going to come to an end as a result of a tragic car accident.
Despite becoming popular primarily because of her sex appeal; Pam Hardy wasn’t someone that came into the field of Funny Car drag racing simply to float by on her looks. Pam and Jim shared a true passion for the sport, and Pam soaked up as much information as she could during the years that they spent together. By the time of Jim’s passing, Pam could’ve become a racer on her own without anyone batting an eye. However, she always preferred to keep her place out of the driver’s seat for various reasons.
It took a while for Pam to realize just how drastic an impact her and her revealing tops had made on the world of Funny Car drag racing. The revelation occurred to her when her and Jim were catching a flight at the airport. Apparently, Pam was stopped by a fan and asked to sign a magazine. When Pam looked at the magazine and saw that she was on the cover, she nearly passed out. Pam had no idea that she had become an unwitting sex symbol that was now taking the sport of Funny Car drag racing to new heights of popularity.
Although Pam was now gracing the cover of magazines, her and Jim still weren’t living their best life. While they had made the sport of Funny Car drag racing more popular than ever before, it still wasn’t all that profitable. Sponsorship deals had given the duo more money than they attained previously in their career. But it was still just barely enough to pay for their rent. Sadly, the couple never quite lived the life of fame and luxury that their status arguably warranted.
Pam’s sex appeal led many Funny Car drag racing purists to question whether she was beneficial for the sport or not. She was certainly drawing more attention to the sport. But many wondered whether the kind of attention she was bringing was the kind of attention that the sport wanted. Still, most fans appreciated the rise in popularity that Funny Cars saw when Jungle Pam came on the scene. Those that gave her the time of day could see that she was more than just a pretty face. And most would agree that she deserved the notoriety she received for popularizing the sport.
Things took a dark turn for Jungle Jim and Jungle Pam when a 1977 car accident cut Jim’s life short. Jim was only 31 years old at the time of his passing, and the event came as a complete shock to Pam. It was Pam’s mother that was tasked with giving Pam the news. As those around her felt that it was the kind of news that needed to be passed on by a loved one. Pam had given up so much to live her life with Jim. and was unsure of how to proceed without him.
Jim and Pam had gone through plenty of dark periods as a couple. Jim was often unfaithful to Pam, which understandably caused Pam a great deal of stress. Still, Pam had hope that the two were going to be able to make it work. Jim had plans to give up racing and start working on cars at his own engine repair shop. But these plans never came to fruition. After Jim’s passing, Pam never worked with another driver out of respect for her late partner.
Although Pam never returned to the world of Funny Car drag racing in any official capacity. She still cherishes her identity as Jungle Pam to this day. Jungle Pam has never been afraid to make public appearances at conventions, and still has a huge passion for the world of drag racing. However, Pam feels that Funny Car drag racing isn’t nearly as interesting as it used to be. Perhaps, the industry needs a new Jungle Jim and Jungle Pam to help shake things up!
Pam certainly had a hard time moving on from her romantic relationship with Jim after his tragic accident. In addition to being professionally inseparable, the two had also long since become romantically inseparable. Despite any setback that Jim’s wandering eye had posed to their relationship, Pam had always wanted to spend the rest of her life with Jim. Pam went on to remarry twice, with both husbands coming from within the world of Funny Car drag racing. Pam’s first husband was Fred Frey, a Funny Car owner. Her second husband was Bill Hodgson, a Funny Car mechanic.
Without Jungle Pam, the world of Funny Car drag racing would likely not have achieved the mainstream attention that it did. Comment down below to share if you remember Jungle Jim and Jungle Pam, or if you have any interest in Funny Car racing outside of Jungle Pam’s revealing top. As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!