• The Walt Etten Collection - Part 3

    I'm really pumped about this chapter of the Walt Etten Collection. This is not only an era I can relate to, but an era I also find completely fascinating.

    By the mid-1970s, US sedan racing was going through some major changes. The Sports Car Club of America had created the Trans-Am sedan series in 1966, for production vehicles with a strict number of allowable modifications. The Trans-Am quickly snowballed, and by 1970, had representatives from each of the US automotive manufacturers, with factory backed teams for Ford, Chevrolet, Pontiac, American Motors, Plymouth, and Dodge. And then the series completely imploded. Other than American Motors, each manufacturer who'd poured vast sums of money to compete in the Trans-Am, all pulled out. The Trans-Am quickly went back to where it all began; a series for amateur racers.

    The Trans-Am was the brainchild of SCCA executive director John Bishop. But by 1968, Bishop had become disillusioned with the direction the series, its rules, and the bickering within the SCCA had all taken, and he left, eventually forming the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) in the early 1970s. Just as he did when he created the Trans-Am in 1966, he adopted international FIA rules for IMSA, in this case, FIA Group 2 and Group 4. Additionally, within a couple of years, he created a special class to allow American based tube-frame cars to compete against the thoroughbred European machines that had dominated the category from the outset. This new class he called All-American GT. And in it, cars such as Chevy Monza's and Corvettes with wild bodykits could compete head to head with the Porsche's and BMW's.

    And as IMSA grew, so the Trans-Am slipped into decline, and by 1973, the SCCA had adopted the same set of rules as IMSA, only, with less prize money. But for the amateur racer, there was now a great selection of events in which to compete, whether in a Porsche 911 Carrera, or an old Trans-Am Camaro.

    This collection of images are from the 1977 Watkins Glen 6 Hour, which combined World Championship for Makes Groups 2, 4, and 5, along with Trans-Am. The array of machinery is vast, from the latest Porsche 935's, through early '60s Corvette's, and everything else in between. In a few short years, sedan racing had changed almost beyond recognition, but importantly, there was still a place for the amateur enthusiast to compete, and maybe even collect a few bucks prize money running against the pros.

    Enjoy these images. This is a really interesting collection.

    The rest of this collection can be viewed here > >

    This article was originally published in forum thread: Photos: The Walt Etten Collection - Part 3 started by Steve Holmes View original post