Chuck and Jr. back at Chuck's garage in 2002. Chuck passed away in May 2009. He owned CF Engineering, builder of Chassis and Bodies of 1933-1941 Willys.
He is sorely missed: July 16, 1939 - May 27, 2009
By Chuck Finders, Jr
Legendary Drag Racer / Builder Chuck
Finders passed away on Sunday, May 17, 2009. Chuck’s career spanned a
total of 6 Decades; he started drag racing in 1958 and did his last full
run in the 90’s. Chuck was not only known for his driving skills but was
also recognized as one of the industry’s legendary builders. In 2002 Chuck
completed a replica of a car remembered by most Gasser enthusiasts, the
SWC & Chuck Finders “Dark Horse.” This car was not an exact replica; the
painter didn’t verify the color and only after the car was finished being
painted did Chuck find out it was the wrong Blue.
In the 33 Willys “Dark Horse,” Chuck had one of many “30 seconds of fame
moments” as it was quicker than the SWC “A” car! The car was later removed
from the SWC team; this was Chuck’s car with a Tim Woods engine that was
painted to match the team’s colors. It was basically added to the SWC team
to help meet booking commitments. The “Dark Horse” was later converted to
another car, the “Traveler.” Partnered with Bill Altizer & Neal Kibler,
this car did set and hold both speed and low ET in B/GS (146.57 MPH in
9.76 ET) in November 1964. Many of Chuck’s cars were partnerships of this
successfully campaigned in the professional ranks as well. In the 1970s,
he moved into the fuel Funny Car class. Partnerships and cars built abound
in this class, too. During this period Chuck was in contention
for the top spot in Division 3 but full sponsorship and success were
always a dream and never within his grasp. In the late seventies, Chuck
lost a leg to a Drag Racing accident. Don Garlits was at the track that
day; he ran down to the accident then ran back to the tower and asked
everyone to pray for Chuck or he wouldn’t make it. Chuck survived and
eventually went back to the cars he loved, the Willys.
Chuck ended up winning his class and competing at the level he had always
wanted. He was a champion to those he raced with and at the same time
racers always said he was a racer’s racer. He just wanted to race “Balls
Out” and he did. Chuck was fortunate and always did it his way. Chuck
leaves 21 entries in Draglist.com and has touched the lives of Racers and
Hot Rodders around the world. If you see a 33 Willys, say Hi to Chuck,
because he probably had a part in it.
A final Memorial organized by Chuck’s family was held in his Honor at the
NHRA Museum in Pomona on Sunday, June 7, 2009.
Photo below with Jr. Thompson, Chuck Finders, Jr. & Tom Thompson