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Roadrace cars... vintage, nostalgia, historic

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by zman, Dec 18, 2009.

  1. modernbeat
    Joined: Jul 2, 2001
    Posts: 1,241

    modernbeat
    Member
    from Dallas, TX

    Long story? I've been trying to get my best friend into motorsports for 20 years and got him to work the "service" pit crew for my girlfriend at a rally she was competing in. One of the other competitors debuted their new rally car, a '70 Beetle. Once my pal realized that a Vintage class existed, he was all for it. I told him I'd help him build whatever car he wanted if he would compete in it. I figured he'd choose an old air-cooled VW as we had a lot of experience with them, but he called a few weeks later to tell me he had bought the Subaru STi of the '60s, a 1964 SAAB! I was aghast. We didn't know anything about two-stroke engines. There's no deep community to draw knowledge from, stock parts are hard to come by and performance parts are unheard of.

    Any time we build a car, the first thing we do is theme it. The theme for this car was: It's 1970 and a privateer has bought an ex-factory rally car and is still competing in it. That allows us to use some later '60 parts, but except for some required safety equipment, we vowed to keep modern parts off the car.

    We went to retrieve our new rally car and it was a sorry sight. It had no wheels, rust had removed half the floor, most of the inner rockers, the bottom few inches of the firewall, and half the suspension pickup points. The engine was a mess and all the wiring was broken and rat eaten.

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    We disassembled the hulk and patched up the floor and firewall. We inserted lengths of 3x3 tubing in the rockers to give the roll cage a good foundation. Cleaned out the gas tank, used heavy plate to repair the suspension pickup points, reinforced all the suspension arms and shock mounts, rebuilt bushings, brakes, plumbing, and all the other things you do to restore a car. Then we built our first FIA legal cage. That's a complicated cage in large, modern cars, but it was almost impossible in the tiny SAAB. We bought another car for spare mechanical parts. Had the worst sections of the bumpers chromed. We had a 1/4" aluminum plate bent up for the front skidplate that protects the custom expansion chamber exhaust that runs the entire length of the front bumper.

    We tracked down one of the few good SAAB race engine builders in the US and sent him parts from three different engines and a performance crank we sourced from a collector in Sweden. He delivered to us a "Stage 3" engine. We bolted it to a later 4-speed and steering column with the unusual column shifter. We worked out a so-so tune for the first event and the motor ended up tearing all the teeth off third and fourth gears. We sent our engine builder a half dozen different transmissions so he could have the right ring gear, the right case, the right input shaft and the right gear set to build our current uber-trans.

    One of the tricky parts of the car was the tires. Rally is really hard on tires. We were willing to break from our vintage-only vow and use new style tires, but we couldn't find anything that would fit under the skinny fenders. I finally found some that would work, but they were only available in Denmark. I eventually found some Mickey Thompson tires that were originally designed to be used on the front of Baja racing sand rails in 1969. We used them on all four corners and we've been very happy with them. Since then some museum SAABs have been outfitted with the same tires.

    The engine was hard to keep in tune and we had two snafus with it. Once while testing jetting combos one of the jets was ingested and tore up the block and piston. The other time a carb broke apart due to vibrations and a large chunk went through the engine tearing up another piston. Both of those incidents required a new set of custom pistons and an engine rebuild. Eventually we figured out that the radical porting (same as a radical cam) caused the engine to come on power right before the triple carb setup choked it off. We are currently adapting a Porsche Weber carb to it that should provide plenty of breathing.

    Here's the first version of the race engine. The Darth Vader air cleaner has been swapped out for a custom built vintage style version that flows more.

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    Here's the original dash and (excuse the tired guy) the Monte Carlo competition dash. The Swedish flag key fob was taken from the factory championship 1975 SAAB rally car.

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    An action shot.

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    The old triple Solex carb set that is being replaced.

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    A video of the sound it makes.
    http://s683.photobucket.com/albums/...oxton_Paris/?action=view&current=MOV03127.mp4

    Most of the details are true to it's supposed age. I tracked down a first generation Terra Trip rally computer and shipped it back to England for repair. The TerraTrip guys said it was so old they had never seen one and the only reference they had about it was from an ad in a 1971 sports car magazine. The interior lights are Vietnam era Huey helicopter lights rewired for 12v. The gauges are either factory SAAB racing gauges or period aircraft EGT gauges. The driving lights are Cibie Biode and Cibie Oscars. The first steering wheel was a Schroder sprint car wheel, but it's been replaced by a vintage Momo Prototipo. The roof rack is an item out of the 1966 dealer accessory brochure. That little yellow badge on the front is an NOS 1969 Texas Region SCCA badge.
     
  2. Wow! Modernbeat posted!? You need to post a full thread about this car on ryans sister site www.dogfightmag.com
     
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    It's been a short, but event full racing season. We last appeared at the Sonoma event the first weekend of June. We qualified and started fifth in Group 8 (Racing Cars from 1929 to 1941. This, despite a spin out of Turn 9 that took me all the way to the entrance of Turn 10 ( see YouTube; Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival, Group 8..
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZTifd5SGLk).




    As the race on Sunday progressed, I had worked myself up just one place. However, about three-quarters of the way through the event, I could see the number 41 car, a replica of a 8C-35 Alfa Romeo Gran Prix car, moving up behind us rapidly. I say "us", in that there was a Bugatti immediately behind me. The Alfa, way out in front of the second place car, was coming up to lap us. As the Bugatti and I entered the "Esses" (a single groove set of turns), I was astonished by what I saw in my mirrors. The driver of the Alfa plunged into our mix. He apparently missed the Bugatti; and hit my right front wheel with his front left. He then spun first to the left; then to the right, going off the course backswords. The collision, as I learned later, did about $2500 worth of damage to my front suspension (old Ford stuff is no longer inexpensive). It initially caused me to lose two places, as I slowed to try to assess any damage. Finally, I lost several more slots, as I continued to slow to a 7th place finish.



    For sequence photos of the near disaster, check out this link: http://www.tamsoldracecarsite.net/sv0000Homepage.html



    Later, I overheard the driver of the Alfa telling a friend of ours that I wasn't watching my mirrors; and that I hit him. Which was all very humorous in that, in his discussion, he said he never looks in HIS mirrors. And, what is really laughable is a slower car running into one that is faster. But, that's what amateurs in racing are all about, I guess.



    Next, we are heading for the Monterey Reunion Week. We'll be at Laguna Seca Raceway on August 8th or 9th for the Pre-Reunion; then the next week for the Reunion.
     
  4. jimmitchell70
    Joined: Aug 6, 2009
    Posts: 230

    jimmitchell70
    Member
    from CT

    Old Dawg - I was fortunate to see Giddings Alfa (and a number more) race at the park-like setting of Lime Rock this weekend during their Vintage festival.
    It was terrific!
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2012
  5. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 10,841

    gnichols
    Member
    from Tampa, FL

  6. I would have liked to go to both Lime Rock and Watkins Glen this year, Tom Malloy had offered to transport some of us West Coast guys; but, I burned up a U-Joint the first weekend at Monterey (fixed it), and broke the steering the next week (couldn't fix).

    I don't know if the midwest guys (a Ford two man car and a Studebaker) will be at "The Glen".

    We might be able to make the two shows next year. We'll see.

    I like to get in behind Giddings' cars. The sound and smells are terrific.

    "Dawg"
     
  7. jimmitchell70
    Joined: Aug 6, 2009
    Posts: 230

    jimmitchell70
    Member
    from CT

    Unfortunately I won't make it to the Glen.
    Maybe we can have a meet-up out there next year?
     
  8. GreggAz
    Joined: Apr 3, 2001
    Posts: 931

    GreggAz
    Member

    A couple weeks ago some friends and I visited an acquaintance who lives just down the street from me. He has hand built three cars in his home garage. Two of them are stylized replicas of vintage racers. One is an Alfa Romeo and the other is an Auto Union hill climb car.

    The Alfa uses the drivetrain and many parts from a later Alfa. Sorry for the poor picture quality, the Arizona sun makes Iphone photos difficult.

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    The Auto Union car is intended to be closest to the hill climb car, and runs a Chevy Trailblazer vortec 4200 six cylinder.

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    Oh ya and here is my new European road race car ;)

    [​IMG]
     
  9. VectorGES
    Joined: Jan 22, 2008
    Posts: 83

    VectorGES
    Member
    from Conway, SC

    The Auto Union is great. I would love to see some pix with teh engine cover over. Does he have any build photos?
     
  10. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 10,841

    gnichols
    Member
    from Tampa, FL

    I really like that Alfa! Where was the Alfa (I assume) DOHC I-6 sourced from? Did he make the headlights turn sideways, too? Gary
     
  11. GreggAz
    Joined: Apr 3, 2001
    Posts: 931

    GreggAz
    Member

    He has tons of build photos on everything. I do not think he out much effort into the cosmetics of the 6 in the auto union, they are not great looking motors.

    I do not remember if the headlights are linked. I will try to catch up with him again once it cools off here, and he brings the cars out again.


    Posted from the TJJ App for iPhone & iPad
     
  12. Ned Ludd
    Joined: May 15, 2009
    Posts: 4,112

    Ned Ludd
    Member

    2600, I presume?
    [​IMG]

    I like the technological seriousness of the Alfa; the fact that it actually has an axle on parallel leaf springs rather than some dodgy attempt to hide IFS.

    I wonder if those are 3LS Alfa drum brakes up front?
     
  13. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 10,841

    gnichols
    Member
    from Tampa, FL

    I was thinking of something like this treatment for the head lights, which turn to keep the glass safe in the day, or perhaps to reduce drag? I've never seen lights like these in person, but I assume they are keyed in mounts and perhaps the bases have springs for tension... so you might be able to lift them up, turn them 90 deg, and set them back down in either position. Gary
     

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  14. GreggAz
    Joined: Apr 3, 2001
    Posts: 931

    GreggAz
    Member

    I believe the engine came from a 2600 spider.

    I have no Idea on the head lights.
     
  15. (QUOTE) "A couple weeks ago some friends and I visited an acquaintance who lives just down the street from me. He has hand built three cars in his home garage. Two of them are stylized replicas of vintage racers. One is an Alfa Romeo and the other is an Auto Union hill climb car.

    The Alfa uses the drivetrain and many parts from a later Alfa. Sorry for the poor picture quality, the Arizona sun makes Iphone photos difficult."


    Though these cars certainly cannot be confused for the "real thing"; they do show a quality of good craftsmanship. Yes! It would be nice, if possible, to see some pics of the "work-in-progress" of the respective builds.

    Thanks for sharing
     
  16. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 10,841

    gnichols
    Member
    from Tampa, FL

    That Alfa I-6 MUST be amazingly smooth. Wow. Gary
     
  17. Woody94
    Joined: Sep 10, 2010
    Posts: 102

    Woody94
    Member
    from Holly, MI

    I saw this one at the Waterford Hills vintage weekend this year. Called the Bob Davis special. Had flathead V8 power. Pretty neat car, not sure if it was covered here.
     

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  18. noboD
    Joined: Jan 29, 2004
    Posts: 7,376

    noboD
    Member

    Gary, my '24 Dodge Brothers has the headlights mounted like this from the factory, for adjustment. No 90 degrees key, full 360 adjustment. A simple pinch clamp holds them. I've even seen an old pic of someone that had lifted out a headlight and was holding it as a trouble light to work on the engine. Can't remember where I saw it though, maybe in a repair manual.
     
  19. Ned Ludd
    Joined: May 15, 2009
    Posts: 4,112

    Ned Ludd
    Member

    More of that sort of thing here.
     
  20. GaryC.
    Joined: Mar 24, 2007
    Posts: 1,538

    GaryC.
    Member

    Two of my all-time favorites...
    Lancia Stratos and Marcos Mantis.
    Both are just on the edge of HAMB friendly.
     

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  21. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 10,841

    gnichols
    Member
    from Tampa, FL

    Very interesting, thanx for the info. Gary
     
  22. stratostreak
    Joined: Mar 1, 2007
    Posts: 19

    stratostreak
    Member
    from SW Ohio

    I too was at Waterford and can attest to how great it was to see and hear that thumpining flathead giving its all on a roadcourse.
     
  23. trentesept
    Joined: Mar 15, 2008
    Posts: 120

    trentesept
    Member
    from Australia

    Gentlemen, can anybody help with information??

    1950's

    Sports cars

    Keift De Soto

    Keift Corvette

    The De Soto engined car was run by a guy named Irwin Goldschmidt, not for a very long time ,and then he sold it and it dissappeared from all knowledge.

    Apparently , not long afterwards, a car called the Keift Corvette turned up and competed.

    As Cyril Keift built very few sports cars, and even fewer made it to the USA , did the De Soto car become the Corvette car after it was sold??

    Does anyone have any information on either car??

    Photos, programme entries ,owners, or just recollections.

    Anything would be a great help in the research of these unique cars.

    Many thanks , Greg
     
  24. [​IMG]
    We had a great, and exciting race weekend at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. This event, after 12 years running with the group of Pre War cars, the top three to six of whom, where considerably faster than our little race car; they put us in the group, in which, we were a top running car. We started out Thursday, posting the fastest lap of our group. Friday, I backed off a little bit, and went to third fastest.

    Oddly, both days I turned in lap times five seconds slower than my best prior time at Laguna Seca (that being about 2 minutes, five seconds). With my latest chassis changes, I had hoped to hit 2 minutes, or better. The car handled well; but, I wasn't getting enough from the engine. The power seemed there; but, I felt that it couldn't get enough engine speed. I wasn't going to "tear into" anything on the engine, because I thought I had enough to stay with, or best the other three fast cars in the group. The other fast cars, in order were: a 1939 BMW Special, a 1930 Frazer-Nash and a 1938/9 BMW 328 Roadster.

    On Saturday morning, because of my Thursday top lap time, I started on the Pole. At the start, I ran out of RPM (that "bug") and all three fast cars went by me. I followed them around for about a lap. I noted where I could pass each of them. I also saw the BMW Special, driven by a fellow from Oregon, start to widen the gap in front of us. I "turned up the wick", closing the gap on the BMW Roadster, driven by a man from Germany. At Turn 6 (before the climb up to the "Corkscrew"), I didn't lift or brake. My little car drifted a bit into the turn; but, I had so much momentum coming out of the turn, that I flew by the German as we went up the hill. At the "Corkscrew", still with a lot of momentum, I closed fast on the Frazer-Nash, driven by a "Brit" and the BMW Special. In the prior lap, I had noted that those two drivers had "Lifted" (got off the throttle) entering the fast left, downhill turn. As I fast approached them, I heard the crackle of exhaust notes as they backed off the gas, hugging the inside line of the turn. With my cars ability to slide (or "oversteer"), I kept my "foot in it", put my heel on the brake briefly to allow the rearend to break loose; and pitched the car into the turn. I swept by both the Frazer-Nash and the BMW, on the outside of the turn. I then "crossed it up" (that is, pitched into the opposite direction) to go through the next turn. Later, the young Englishman, driving the Frazer-Nash, told me that: "At first I thought you were going to sail right off the track. Then I realized that I'd just seen a demonstration of an American dirt track move...Good show!!" He was a delightful fellow; and I've got a new friend.

    Saturday afternoon, at the start of our group's main event, I was still on the pole. As we started, I was side by side with the BMW Special. Once again, I could not sustain a high enough RPM. The Blue BMW went into the first turn in first place (see the first video clip). He led the first lap, or so. I then went past him (at some of the same places that I've previously made passes). After having him follow me around, I decided to put some distance between us. At the higher RPM, the engine began to crackle a bit. It was like a rev limiter. I was content to stay comfortably in the lead, not revving the engine high. I stayed ahead by going through the turns faster. I went past the starter's stand, receiving the white flag, indicating that I was going into the last lap. As I pitched the car into the second turn, the engine quit, absolutely. That was it!

    In the aftermath, I found the connector, at the distributor of the ignition, on the lead from the coil to the distributor, had "fried". Had I thought about, it, with "twenty-twenty hindsight", I could have taken the connector off the distributor; and slathered it with dielectric grease. But, the engine was running. I didn't want to chance "screwing it up". I guess I found what was limiting my engine speed. Oh well,,,,At least I didn't run out of fuel! The real payoff, for the whole week, was when they towed my car, with me in it, up to the "corkscrew" and let me coast down to the paddock area; without the noise of the engine, I could hear all the cheers, yells and applause of the folks. At the awards ceremony, wonder-of-wonders! I was awarded the Rolex Cup for performance in our Group. http://db.tt/YJGX3bKe
    http://db.tt/PQXjajuM
    http://db.tt/wGL2E3MU
    http://db.tt/sO7SIwEq
    http://db.tt/nGYbe39S
    http://db.tt/guDD6ZdH (have patience with this last one...I think Dian might have put her cell phone in her purse)​
     
  25. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,555

    zman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Garner, NC

  26. Last edited: Aug 28, 2013
  27. saltflats
    Joined: Aug 14, 2007
    Posts: 10,375

    saltflats
    Member
    from Missouri

    Super cool. Gives me inspiration for my 61 MGA.
     
  28. Here's a clip shot and posted elsewhere on the HAMB, by Harry Pallenberg, producer of "Where they Raced". It's of some of the action at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion.

    https://vimeo.com/73356784
     
  29. Terry Buffum
    Joined: Mar 20, 2008
    Posts: 283

    Terry Buffum
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Oregon

    John,

    I think your slower than expected lap times were due to the oily surface. We noticed in group 5B that times were about 3 seconds slower (three cars) than at the Pre-Historics a week before.

    I think the guys in my shared pits looked at those perfectly clean white coveralls you were wearing and thought they'd make good blotters for all the oil the two flatheads were leaving where ever they were parked.
     

  30. We sure did have fun, though! Big Dave and I shared congrats at the awards ceremony. I hope to see all the you guys next year.

    JK
     

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