This is the 1/24 diecast Candies & Hughes nostalgia NHRA funny car. Great early collectable for the IHRA / NHRA / AHRA fan.
Long before there was a “Team Force,” or any other multi-car professional team in drag racing for that matter, there was the team of Paul Candies and Leonard Hughes, and what those two accomplished in the sport truly is the stuff of legends. All you have to do is look back at the final round photos of the 1970 Gatornationals and you’ll see what I’m talking about. There, two Plymouth Barracudas lined up to determine the first Funny Car champion at that great race, and when it was all over, Leonard Hughes took the win over teammate Larry Reyes. Leonard, in the brand new 1970 “Flopper”, got the win while Larry, driving the team’s 1969 car, finished the race with low elapsed time and top speed. What a weekend and what a team!!
The great partnership of Candies & Hughes began in 1964 when Leonard, who had been racing Chevrolet stockers, wanted to go faster and the car of choice for that at the time was a 1964, 426 cubic inch wedge Plymouth, and the man to help him achieve that goal was his long time friend, Paul Candies. A year later the pair switched to the legendary Chrysler hemi and they went heads-up racing with a 3200 pound car that ran on gasoline and carburetors. Two years after that, with the dawn of the F/X cars, Paul and Leonard did what most of the top teams were doing, they altered the wheelbase, added injectors, tossed in a little nitro and went Funny Car racing. Just one year after that came the first supercharged car from the team complete with a Logghe chassis, a fiberglass body and a potent Keith Black engine. With that combination Leonard took both low elapsed time and top speed honors in the class at Indianapolis in 1968, and then in ‘69, with an updated version of their car, he set top speed at both the Winternationals and the U.S. Nationals.
Winning the Gatornationals in 1970 was the start of a great year for the Candies & Hughes team and they followed that with a win at the prestigious Super Stock Nationals in York, Pennsylvania and then they added another NHRA national event win at Englishtown in 1971. And while that was the last major win for Leonard as a driver, the team continued to flourish in both the Funny Car ranks and in Top Fuel with a wide variety of drivers, including Leroy Goldstein, Dave Settles, Richard Tharp and Mark Oswald. They were the first team to win Winston championships in both Top Fuel and Funny Car and the only team to win both NHRA and IHRA Winston championships in the same year. And while Paul never drove the car at all, and Leonard only did so for a limited time, when the history of this sport is written one of the great teams of all time, if not the greatest, will be the legendary pair from Houma, Louisiana of Paul Candies and Leonard Hughes.