Nobby Hills has been involved in Drag Racing since the sport started in Europe in the 1960s. He was inspired to build his first car after having witnessed match races between Sydney Allard and Dante Duce in 1963. The first in a line of Houndog cars was introduced at the 1964 Drag Fest meetings. Nobby is primarily interested in the engineering side of the sport and mainly used hired drivers, including Les Hill, Mike Hutcherson, Owen Hayward and Alan Bates.
Nobby built six front-engined dragsters, starting with a Jaguar engined car in 1964. Subsequent cars got quicker and faster with Houndog 6 running regular mid 7 second runs in the early 1970’s with a Chrysler Hemi engine sitting between the rails.
In 1973 the opportunity arose for Nobby to buy Paula Murphy’s STP-sponsored Plymouth Duster Funny Car. This car was brought to the UK by Santa Pod Raceway along with Stardust that was owned and driven by Don Schumacher. Owen Hayward drove the Duster, which was renamed Houndog 7, achieving a best time of 6.61 seconds. Alan Herridge assumed the driving chores of Stardust and European fans enjoyed many years of close and exciting racing between the two imported cars.
For a few years Nobby ran both the Funny Car and a top fuel dragster, both painted in matching paint schemes. The rear engined top fuel dragster, Houndog 8, was built by Nobby and was a replica of the car driven in the UK by US shoe Tony Nancy. It was a regular mid 6 second runner and achieved a best time of 6.30 seconds at the Easter 1976 meeting. The Duster was written off in a crash in 1977. Thankfully driver Owen Hayward wasn’t too badly hurt and continued to drive Nobbys cars for a few more years.
A new Vega bodied Funny Car was already being built and appeared on the track in 1978. The dragster was retired at the end of 1977 as it had reached the end of its competitive life. After the Vega, a couple of years later a Challenger bodied funny car carried the Houndog name and finally a Corvette bodied car was run by Nobby through to the end of the 1980’s.
With Alan Bates in the drivers seat, the Corvette was the first Funny Car in Europe to record a five second run receiving a 5.99@ 251.8mph timing ticket on 25 May 1986. Unfortunately the time was not backed up to make the time official and it took another 2 years or so for Europe to see another five second run from a Funny Car.
In addition to the Challenger and Corvette funny cars, Nobby built a Model T Ford body and the car sometimes appeared as a Fuel Altered, using the Funny Car chassis. After a hiatus from active involvement of almost two decades, Nobby Hills Racing have constructed a nitro-burning Camaro Funny Car.