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Thread: SCCA regional events in Texas etc. 1960s-70s through the lens of Jerry Melton

  1. #141
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    Some information on the AMC Javelin, John Martin and Ron Kaplan etc.
    "AMC contracted Kaplan Engineering in 1968 to run two AMC Javelins in the SCCA's Trans-Am Series. Ron Kaplan and Jim Jeffords constructed three cars; two for racing and one for shows and demonstrations. The following year Jeffords left the team and Kaplan was contracted to run the program. Pulling from his development the previous year Kaplan produced three more cars, two for AMC, and one for his own uses with his own finances.
    The original drivers chosen for 1968 were George Follmer as #1 and Peter Revson as #2. Unfortunately Revson was soon let go following a disagreement with management. Lothar Motschenbach was picked up by the team for the next two races in Canada.
    Racing was an immediate success for AMC during the first year. The team was called a 'Cinderella' team after quickly establishing a record as the only factory entry to finish every Trans Am race entered placing third in the over-2-liter class of the 1968 series. The AMC team continued to improve and for 1968 they suffered only one DNF from an engine problem. Many of the engine problems that year were quickly corrected by Kaplan and his professional staff. Kaplan was proactive about correcting problems and fixing the engine oiling problems. Halfway through the season Kaplan began development of a dual-carb cross manifold and a new engine casting.
    First Watt's link rear suspension was developed before the front anti-dive modifications were next. Kaplan was in quite a rush to meet AMC's timing schedule so the basic design of the inner fender components were actually copied from a Mustang. Two more degrees of anti-dive was added to the Mustang's 4 degrees. Kaplan finished the drawings and sent them to the factory before the manufacturing of the parts was then contracted to Central Stamping. Unfortunately there wasn't capacity to fit the components to the unibody on the '69 assembly line, so Ron had to incorporate them into the cars once they arrived in his shop as bodies in white.
    The team began the 1968 season with two engines from TRACO, but the single carb layout and the basic two-bolt-main block carried serious limitations for generating power. Kaplan went to Vic Edlebrock for assistance in developing a cross-ram manifold. Edlebrock personally assisted Kaplan in addition to loaning him a pattern maker. Champion Sparkplugs also assisted Kaplan and allowed him to use their dyno room to tweak any design issues.
    Dan Byer, a retired engineer from AMC helped Kaplan develop a new block casting towards the end of 1968. More mass for 4-bolt mains were added to the original AMC 390 drawings and improvement for the oiling system. Central Foundries in Windsor (ON) was contracted for a very small production run of only 50 blocks. Kaplan was responsible for cleaning up the blocks from the sand casting, hone the various passage before sending them to AMC's 'Parts Central' in Kenosha. All of the blocks were painted bright orange so Kaplan could identify them easily on the transfer line. 12 of these special castings were drawn on during his development program while two were eventually sold to customers.
    During this period Kaplan's race program contact was replaced by AMC with two new men: John Voelbel and Chris Schoenlip. Unfortunately these two men didn't have a background in the automotive industry and were inexperienced with racing. These men were responsible for not submitting homologation papers and failing to enter the parts to the official AMC parts system. Unfortunately this mistake cost them when Kaplan sent the first car, an older 1968 car with a new engine, to run at the first race of the '69 season at Jackson, MI. Because they were late, and hadn't qualified, the team had to do some consensus building with other racers to permit them to enter. The SCCA eventually agreed to let them run, but they started last, within 10 laps, but within ten laps they were chasing Donohue down and the time differential was rapidly narrowed. SCCA requested to see the AMC engine but the car had been sent home already. The SCCA wanted to tear down the engine before the race started at Lime Rock, but Kaplan argued that the same should be down to the Mustangs and Camaros also. The SCCA chose to allow the AMC's to run though this would only be temporary until the parts could be homologated. AMC eventually assigned a part number after the SCCA program and two blocks were sold later to customers.
    The 1969 season began with John Martin as #3 and Ron Grable as #4. Martin was released midseason and replaced by Jerry Grant. Kaplan approached AMC management at this time and proposed that the whole concept behind the 1969 contract be modified. Kaplan requested that AMC rather than competing in actual races instead that they go to the tracks on the subsequent Mondays and run a developmental program using Sunday's winning times as the benchmark. AMC did not agree and Kaplan was left to run the year with the current engines on hand, even though the old engines weren't competitive and the new engines weren't recognized. Results were poor since the older style engines weren't competitive. Budget cuts were also in effect.
    Kaplan dropped all of AMC's material at their zone office in El Segundo, California and took a month of person time to collect his thoughts. Unfortunately once he returned it was too late and a deal had been brokered with Roger Penske. Kaplan was out of a job.
    All of the team cars and equipment were picked up from the El Segundo offices by Penske and shipped to his Pennsylvania shop. Penske used the #3 Jerry Grant car for developmental purposes through the latter half of 1969. After receiving the 1969 cars, Penske learned the Kaplan had done much suspension work but still believed more improvements could be made. Several months of development were made before Penske felt that the team had a car that was ready to perform. Penske built brand new cars for his own team at this time and sold all of the earlier Kaplan cars and equipment. Mark Donahue was now in charge of selling off the inventory."
    (Conceptcarz article)

    Ron Kaplan talking with John Martin. 1969.
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    Plus a 1969 AMC promotional movie of the 1968 Trans Am season.


    Some more 1968 competition AMC Javelin information at this site;
    http://www.fantasyjunction.com/cars/...%20Trans-Am-V8


    ( Ken H)
    Last edited by khyndart in CA; 02-06-2019 at 10:33 PM.

  2. #142
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    John Martin's main competition at M.I.S. in April 1969 was the popular driver Dick Lang who had a Chevrolet dealership in Ohio and drove a 1968 Camaro Z-28 with his favorite number 85.
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    Here you can see how the infield of the speedway was still being prepared after a harsh winter and the Trans Am race was just a few weeks away.

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    Dick Lang allowed his friend , Mark Donohue, do a few laps in his Camaro to get accustomed to the track that went from speedway to the infield at very awkward angles, before the upcoming opening race of the 1969 Trans Am series.

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    Dick Lang at speed on the infield area of the circuit.
    (Jerry Melton photos.)


    A nice family tribute to Dick Lang who passed away in 2010.





    (Ken H )
    Last edited by khyndart in CA; 02-11-2019 at 07:07 PM.

  3. #143
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    Some more Chevrolet products at Michigan, April 1969.

    Bill Schmitt in his Chevrolet Corvair # 46
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    Mark Childs in his C-2 Corvette # 67
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    Ron Weaver in his AP Class winning C-3 Corvette #10
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    A slower Corvette gave Ron plenty of room as he came up to pass.
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    Ron Weaver coming toward the finish line.
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    (Jerry Melton photos..)

    (Ken H)

  4. #144
    World Champion Roger Dowding's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by khyndart in CA View Post
    Some more Chevrolet products at Michigan, April 1969.

    Bill Schmitt in his Chevrolet Corvair # 46
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    Mark Childs in his C-2 Corvette # 67
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    Ron Weaver in his AP Class winning C-3 Corvette #10
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    A slower Corvette gave Ron plenty of room as he came up to pass.
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    Ron Weaver coming toward the finish line.
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    (Jerry Melton photos..)

    (Ken H)
    Ken, The C2 and C3 seem to have a high Ride Height for racers - big tyres - high profile too !!
    Great shots .. Thanks.

  5. #145
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    One of the English sports cars entered at Michigan was this Turner # 47.
    I always considered them a neat little unit.
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    (Jerry Melton photo..)





    (Ken H..)

  6. #146
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    A little bit more of British cars. (Lotus )

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    Robert La Zebnik in his Lotus Cortina # 76

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    A Lotus Europa.

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    A Lotus Seven. (With aerodynamic headlights )
    (Jerry Melton photos..)
    Last edited by khyndart in CA; 02-15-2019 at 08:39 AM.

  7. #147
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    Some European vehicles racing at Michigan.

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    An Alfa Romeo GTA

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    A Porsche 356

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    A Porsche 911

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    A beautiful and now very valuable Porsche 904 (Carrera GTS ) # 90 driven by Carl Armstrong.

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    Jerry Melton photos..
    Last edited by khyndart in CA; 02-16-2019 at 09:35 AM.

  8. #148
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    A bit about the Porsche 904.
    A great sound of this 904 at Spa. (Note the contents of the garage at the end of this Youtube clip.)


    A Porsche 904 has been a pretty good investment over the years !
    Yearly Averages
    Year Average Sale High Sale Low Sale # of Sales
    2018 $2,295,160 $2,295,160 $2,295,160 1
    2017 $1,925,000 $2,310,000 $1,540,000 2
    2015 $1,642,530 $1,650,000 $1,635,060 2
    2014 $1,741,117 $1,741,117 $1,741,117 1
    2013 $1,815,075 $1,936,693 $1,595,000 3
    2011 $1,127,500 $1,210,000 $1,045,000 2
    2003 $253,000 $253,000 $253,000 1


    (Ken H)
    Last edited by khyndart in CA; 02-16-2019 at 05:42 PM.

  9. #149
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    Some of the US cars at MIS in April 1969.

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    Mustangs heading onto the speedway banking where they were much more comfortable than in the infield section.

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    Gerald Geishart's Cobra did not make it through the first lap.
    Jerry Melton photos.
    Last edited by khyndart in CA; 02-16-2019 at 09:37 PM.

  10. #150
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    From this race meet it was found that the bigger cars were bottoming out as they exited the banked speedway to the infield course.
    As the next Trans Am meet was in just a few weeks on May 11th 1969, much work had to done to the track to bring it up to specs.
    By altering the track the drainage was affected and a lot of unexpected rain led to miserable conditions and poor track quality.
    One area that could not be improved in time was in the infield area where the cars were launched and came back down hard.
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    The launching in the infield section.
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    And the landing as shown by Mark Donohue in his 1969 Penske Camaro # 6
    (Ron Lathrop photos..)

    This would be one of the reasons for the Trans-Am event to be looked back on as a "Trans-Am Travesty at Michigan." (Sports Car Graphic" July 1969.
    I could have put in more of Jerry Melton's photos of this event but I found that it is all covered by this excellent thread by Jon Mello
    in this Camaros.org forum from 2011. (Do read all the enclosed magazine articles also.)
    The race was known as the " 1969 Wolverine Trans-Am Race"

    http://www.camaros.org/forum/index.p...6&topic=8328.0



    (Ken H)
    Last edited by khyndart in CA; 02-19-2019 at 10:58 PM.

  11. #151
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    In September 1969 Jerry Melton returned to the Michigan Speedway for an SCCA Nationals event hoping things would have improved since the April mess and this one was held just 1 week before big 1969 Can Am Series event was to take place.
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    "Mabel, we are going to pick up Stan and Doris and head to the track to watch some racin'"

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    On the way to the track and Harry Heuer's Lola T 70 is being refueled.

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    In 1969 92 octane fuel was about 27 cents @ gallon and the T 70 held about 50 US Gallons so the fill up would have cost about
    $ 13.50.US. (Read that and weep compared to today's AV gas prices !)

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    Harry Heuer about to head out onto the track in his Lola T 70 # 22.

    (Jerry Melton photos..)

  12. #152
    Semi-Pro Racer Paul B's Avatar
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    Ken,
    Great shots that Jerry managed to take, that was a huge bottom out in the Penske Camaro. Love the Lola T70 shots, great looking machine! Find me one to restore!
    Cheers from downunder
    P

  13. #153
    the T70 getting fueled reminds of the pump behind the pits at brands hatch

  14. #154
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    Here is some history of the Frank Kloski's 1966 Lola T70 # 22.

    " SL71/27 Chevrolet 1966-03-15 Gr.7 Charles Bridges => Robin Darlington (9/1966) => David Bridges (4/1967) => Frank Kloski, USA (1968) => John Bunch, USA => {inherited from husband} Marcia Bunch, USA => John Starkey, USA (2008) => Lilo Beuziron, USA (2008) => Keith Newcombe (2010~2015) In 1970 damaged in accident during SCCA National race in Road Atlanta, repaired, painted yellow & black. But after having given up on his Can-Am adventure, Frank Kloski rented the car to Don Devine for he next season.

    Paul,
    This site is especially for you mate, regarding a John Mecom 1965 Lola T 70
    (Mecom had several of these T 70s..smart man.)
    https://williamianson.com/wp-content...T70-Spyder.pdf
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    (Ken H)
    Last edited by khyndart in CA; 02-26-2019 at 01:14 AM.

  15. #155
    Semi-Pro Racer Paul B's Avatar
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    Thanks Ken, great site, fantastic history on the short wheelbase car.
    Cheers for that!

  16. #156
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    Dean Causey was there with his McLaren M6A/1 # 51 which was the car that Bruce McLaren drove to win the 1967 Can-Am Series.
    'Chassis Engine Year Group First owner Next owners (year) Comment
    M6A/1 Chevrolet 1967 Gr.7 McLaren Cars => Roger Penske (1968) => Jerry Hansen (1968) => Dave Causey (1969) => Lynn Larson => Harry Matthews (~1999) => Griot (2009~2012) This was the car McLaren won the 1967 Can-Am Championship. It was sold to Penske. He ran the car in USRRC. Bruce McLaren's car was quite different than other M6's. It had a 4" shorter wheelbase. This can be seen in the doors as this is where they shortened the body. The tub was also different, with extensive use of lightening holes in the bulkheads and the bracing in the front was different. Magnesium sheeting was also used in some places. The car was extensively rebuilt when owned by Lynn Larson."

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    (Jerry Melton photos..)

  17. #157
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    The A and B Sports Racing classes included this, what I consider one of the best looking Ferraris. A Ferrari 365 P2/3 Drogo version built for the NART in the mid 60s. This car is worth millions today but in 1969 it was just part of the field !
    Major William Cooper's Ferrari #21.
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    Another one racing there was Michael Rahal, who was Bobby's father. He was driving a Porsche 906 # 8.
    He was also a very good driver like his son and grandson, Graham.
    He passed away in 2017.
    https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/...531-story.html

    (Jerry Melton photos..)


    (KH)

  18. #158
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    To make the racing interesting for everyone involved they put all of these classes; A, B, C & Ford together in one race !
    Which led to a field that looked like this.
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    The two Formula A drivers,Dick Jacobs in a Lola T-140 and Curt Reinhold in a F/A McKee, seen here discussing tactics on overtaking.

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    Dick Jacobs in his Lola T-140 # 25
    (Jerry Melton photos..)

    I was thinking this big old beast looked familiar even after almost 50 years and realized I had photographed this car at Laguna Seca last August with Paul Kuhl,driving.
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    (Note the exhaust system compared to 1969.)
    (Ken H photo..)
    Also captured there at Laguna Seca by the lovely photos of Robyn Pass Handy.(Thanks Robyn )
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    (Ken H )
    Last edited by khyndart in CA; 03-02-2019 at 06:21 AM.

  19. #159
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    The ""Team Nappi" Formula A car was a McKee Mk 12/12C # 41 driven by Kurt Reinold.
    With Eagles, McLarens and Lolas now dominating the front of the grid, the McKees were well down the grid in Pro racing, but they were successful in Central Division SCCA Formula A.
    A problem McKee had when building this car was how to fit Reinhold's 6 ft 5 in. frame in !
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    (Jerry Melton photos.. )

    Kurt Reinold raced my 1969 McKEE F5000 Mk12C from 1969 through 1971 to many 1st place finishes, setting many track lap records, and winning a Championship. Here is a quick history on Kurt's racing career.
    Kurt Reinold came up through the ranks in SCCA. He started as a corner worker, but moved quickly to racing cars. Kurt started his racing career in 1965 in an Autodynamics Formula Vee. He finished fourth in the Central Division and won SCCA’s National Rookie Driver of the Year Award. In 1966 and 1967 he raced a B Production Corvette Stingray. He finished fourth in the Central Division in 1966, and took second place in 1967, missing first place by one point. In 1968 he campaigned a ’68 McKEE F5000 Mk8 in the Continental Series and finished seventh in the series. Kurt had another new car for the 1969 season. It was a ’69 McKEE F5000 Mk12. He raced this car in F5000 races from 1969 through 1971. In his Mk12C Kurt won eight SCCA National races, and set eight lap records at eight National events. He won SCCA’s Central Division in 1970, and won the June Sprints at Road America in 1971. In 1971, Kurt was named SCCA’s Central Division Drivers Licensing Chairman. In 1975 Kurt was honored by SCCA’s Blackhawk Valley Region with the “Race Driver of the Decade” award. Concurrently, during the years Kurt was racing his F5000, he also raced Formula Ford and won numerous races between 1968 through 1971.
    Owners/Drivers (information is from car's Log Books):
    1. Tito Nappi (owner)/Kurt Reinold (driver) 1969 – 08/1971
    2. C.J. Solomone (owner/driver) 05/05/72 – 10/15/72
    3. Anthony M. Kestian (owner/driver) 10/29/72 – 02/27/74
    4. Donald G. DeMaagd (owner/driver) 02/28/74 – 10/13/2005
    5. Paul J. Dudiak (owner/driver) 10/14/2005 –
    Car Specs:
    Description of Car: McKEE Formula 5000 Mk12C
    Year:1969
    Chassis Manufacturer: McKEE Engineering – 300 type stainless steel tube
    Engine Manufacturer: Chevy V8
    Engine Displacement: 302 ci
    Carburetors: 4 - IDA 48 Webers
    Transmission Manufacturer: Hewland
    Transmission Model: LG600
    Tire sizes: Front - 11.0 x 15 / Rear - 13.0 x 15"

    (http://www.teamdudiakracing.com/aboutme.htm ..information )


    (Ken H )

  20. #160
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    In the Sept. 1969 A Production Class group were two C-3 Corvettes driven by Jerry Thompson in car # 6 and Tony DeLorenzo in car # 1.These two would go on to have very successful racing careers. Over the next few seasons, if Thompson didn’t win, DeLorenzo did. The pair scored 22 straight victories, and their red-and-white Corvettes became legendary.
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    (Jerry Melton photos..)

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    Jerry Thompson..

    A nice article about Jerry and Tony.
    https://www.corvette-mag.com/issues/...k#.XH4vsohKjIV

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    (Ken H )

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