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Thread: Modified 70s and 80s Saloons - Picture Thread

  1. #1

    Modified 70s and 80s Saloons - Picture Thread

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    Call them what you will. In the UK was the long running Super Saloons category. In the US, John Bishop formed the International Motor Sport Association (IMSA) in 1971, and the success this class enjoyed prompted the Sports Car Club of America to rehash its own Trans-Am rules into something very similar. In Australia, the category known as Sports Racing Closed was reformatted and renamed Sports Sedans, then in 1973, given championship status by the motorsport governing body, CAMS. In New Zealand, when the 'anything-goes' Allcomer category was killed off in 1967, aggrieved South Island competitors formed the Open Saloon Car Association (OSCA) to provide themselves a place in which to keep racing their old Allcomer cars. In the North Island, what started out as FIA International Group 5 in 1967 metamorphosed several times throughout the 1970s until, by 1975, was effectively running to IMSA rules. When this was killed off in 1977, Sports Sedans grew from the ashes a few years later.

    But regardless of their individual names, and exact wording of their rules, all these categories throughout the world were of the same ilk. Created in an era when it wasn't just the cars that wore flares. Sedan racing rules during this period encouraged creative thinking, and resulted in machinery that was as wild as they were unique, as loud to look at as they were to listen to. They sported huge wheels and tyres, housed in massive flares, glittering open exhausts dumping out either side of the cabin, and whacky aerodynamic appendages. They were beautifully tacky, and a perfect representation of their time.

    Each car was unique, each one not only an extension of its designer/builder/owners personality, but their own interpretation of what was the ultimate racing sedan. And fortunately, the importance they played is now finally being recognised, and these machines are being sought out, restored, and raced once again.

    So lets start a Photo Thread on 70s and 80s modified racing saloons from around the world which we can all contribute to, including everything from professionally built DeKon Monza's, to wild and whacky backyard specials. I'll kick things off with one of my favourite racing photos, from Bay Park, New Zealand, in December 1975. This photo, taken by Phil Robinson, is significant, because it incorporates the ultimate racing sedans of the period from the US, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, all in the one race.

    On pole position is Leo Leonard in the NZ built PDL Mustang, while alongside him is Canadian born Australian Allan Moffat, in his newly acquired American IMSA DeKon Monza, chassis 1005. On row 2 is a second DeKon Monza, this time chassis 1001, the first DeKon Monza built, driven here by Kiwi Red Dawson, who'd just purchased it from American Mo Carter. Next to Dawson is a second New Zealand built Mustang, this one being that of Jim Richards, who by this stage was living and racing in Australia.

    Row 3, and its the first of the European bred machines, this being the Kiwi built RS3100 Capri of Don Halliday, with its Cosworth GAA quad-cam V6 engine. This car was constructed around 1974 ETCC Group 2 Capri mechanicals, but fitted into a locally acquired and modified Capri bodyshell. Lining up next to the Capri is Jack Nazers Chevy V8 powered Vauxhall Victor, which was designed and built by Jim Stone, who'd recently returned to New Zealand after living in the UK, where he'd worked for McLaren Race Cars.

    Out of shot, but right behind the Halliday Capri, is Grant Walker, driving the ex-Paul Fahey quad-cam Capri, which was a 1973 Ford 'works' entry in the ETCC. Originally fitted with a push-rod V6, Fahey later acquired a '74 model quad-cam motor. And, finally, is Australian racer John McCormack in the radical Ansett Chrysler Charger, fitted with a Repco V8, mounted within the cabin, next to the driver. This car revolutionised the Australian Sports Sedan scene when it debuted in 1974, and set the president for Sports Sedan design for years to come.

    So, who won on this occasion? Leo Leonard in the PDL Mustang won all three races at this event, but Allan Moffat, in the Monza, was the fastest.

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    The pace shown by the two American IMSA Monza's at Bay Park shook up the PDL team, as although they'd won all three races there with their Mustang, Moffat, in particular, was faster, and only held back to second due to Leonards ability to hug the pole line, making overtaking damn near impossible. But the PDL team could see their elderly Mustang with its original floorpan was instantly outdated by the US space-frame machines, and this proved to be the case a couple of weeks later when they faced Moffat again at the Wigram Air Base circuit, and where they were soundly beaten.

    At first they considered buying a DeKon Monza of their own, but given they already possessed a large stock-pile of Ford racing equipment, including a pair of rare alloy 351 blocks, decided instead to build a Ford space-frame car that could beat the Monza's. Their PDL Mustang II was all self-designed and built, although the fibreglass bodywork molds were supplied by Charlie Kemp in the US, who'd built a similar Mustang II for IMSA.

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    The John McCormack Australian Charger, as described in the first post.

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    The success of Allan Moffats Monza in late 75/early 76 and the eventual speed shown by the Dawson Monza promted Art McKee to head State-side late 1976 in search of a DeKon Monza when he moved into the series. He couldn't find a DeKon machine for sale, so ended up buying this Grant King built car instead. But unfortunately he had a terrible time with it.

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    Photos by Warwick Clayton

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    A new coat of paint and correct Monza rear sheet metal didn't improve the situation.

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    Photos by Warwick Clayton

  6. #6
    Semi-Pro Racer
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Launceston Tasmania
    A couple of pics that should slot in here ok....
    Photo Credits...Perry Drury Launceston Tas

  7. #7
    Great photos Ellis! Whats the story on the #37 Mustang?

  8. #8
    This is a car that I find a little bit mysterious. This photo was taken by Mike Feisst, at Bay Park in New Zealand. I have an old ad for the car at around the same time, in which it is described as: "Mk2 Escort Super Sedan 0-6000cc. 3.4 Cosworth 4 valve, 440bhp engine. 5 speed ZF.HD gearbox. Atlas rear end, fully floating axles. 11" vented discs with 4 potters all round. 15" wheels. Zakspeed guards. Will split up. $14,000". The contact for the ad was Dave Honore.

    The ShellSport signage on the door suggests it to be around 1977, but I could be wrong, but it wouldn't have raced in the 2 litre ShellSport series (from 1978) with the Cosworth motor obviously. So where did it come from and where did it go? Certainly has some exotic parts in it. I did wonder if maybe the running gear was taken from the Halliday Capri when Danny Lupp fitted with car with a Jag V12, but I spoke to John Osborne about this car from when he raced it, and he said it was still fitted with the Atlas rear the Hallidays had imported when he owned it and it burnt to the ground.

    Maybe Bob Homewood knows something? Bob?

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  9. #9
    Ok, I checked with Rob Halliday ( we have been friends since the late 60's ) today to make sure what I thought was correct ,This is a photo of their Shellsport 2 litre Escort that they ran in Shellsport for a little while .I remember this car as they used 4 x Delorto motor cycle carburetors ,which was a good way of getting around the 36mm choke rule that Shellsport had ,these carbs were of benefit as they had no internal restriction other than the butterfliys
    I am not able to help with what happened to it or where it went to. I can remember the car in this guise ,I can't remember one with the GAA in it ,but will check further with Rob when we catch up in person

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    Thanks Bob, thats very interesting. Here is the ad which I scanned from an old race mag. I'd scanned it some time back so would need to go back through my mags to check when the ad was posted. Could the Hallidays have bought the car off David Honore as a roller and run it in ShellSport?

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    Not sure but if you can sit tight for a couple of days Rob is comming into work and I will produce the evidence we have here so as to speak and see what he says
    Actually it would make a good topic on here ,some of the cars that happened and never raced or the ones that nearly happened ,maybe you could word it correctly and kick it off

  12. #12
    Good thinking Bob, and maybe we need to start a Racing Cars Missing In Action thread?

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    Grant Brennans V8 Escort

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  14. #14
    This is the old Spinner Black/Rod Coppins Camaro, here owned (I think) by Bruce Jenner. This shot was taken at the PDL team workshop where Rick Deihl was carrying out a number of rollcage and front suspension modifications.

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  15. #15
    Nick Whiting was always the person to beat in Special/Super Saloons. He had a garage only a few minutes from Brands Hatch in a small village called West Kingsdown.
    Charlie Whiting (the F1 Race Director) was Nick Whiting's brother.
    Nick was always very quick, his cars were always immaculate and reliable.
    The Escort pictured was powered by a 1970cc FVC engine.The year is 1975. Name:  Nick Whiting.jpg
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  16. #16
    Fantastic Andy! 1970cc is large for an FVC too. Must have produced a phenominal soundtrack. Do you know if the car still exists?

  17. #17
    Journeyman Racer
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Where is the Brennan V8 Escort now? Also that shot of the Spinner Black Camaro - what a neat shot! Under construction and looking like it could have been in LA or something like that.....

  18. #18
    Greg, the Brennan Escort has been owned by Robert Jack for several years now. Its painted white now. It appeared at the Amon Festival in January.

  19. #19
    Journeyman Racer
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Oh yes I recall seeing it and it is still impressive

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Holmes View Post
    Fantastic Andy! 1970cc is large for an FVC too. Must have produced a phenominal soundtrack. Do you know if the car still exists?
    I don't know, I looked into it a bit further. I saw John Kirk racing the MK2 Escort GA so I presumed Nick had sold that. If you go on the web, there's quite a bit about Nick.

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