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Thread: Coppins Pontiac, come on Bruce!!

  1. #1

    Coppins Pontiac, come on Bruce!!

    Found these pictures floating around the Computor, what a great look'n car!! Bruces baby, so how about some history Bruce?

    Pretty sure both these pics are from Baypark?

    Dale Mathers
    TGA, NZ
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  2. #2
    Hi Dale,
    I will give you guys a run down on how we got her fixed up and looking good for the Amon at Hampton Downs. The pics are currently on a different HDD.

    Stay tuned.
    Bruce.

  3. #3
    Semi-Pro Racer kiwi285's Avatar
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    Hi Bruce,

    I am looking forward to some more info on the car. I met you at the Amon Festival having supplied a coloured photo of the car at Pukekohe many moon ago.

    Cheers Mike

  4. #4
    Hello Mike,
    Indeed it was great to finally meet you at Hampton Downs, sorry we could stay longer.
    It was your photo that helped me decide which of the many liveries I would restore the car to.

    To background the cars, I guess we have to start at the very beginning.
    Terry Godsall was the money part of the Titus Godsall T/A team. He and his family had a number of business in Canada ranging from heavy truck sales, transport equipment manufacturing, automobile dealerships etc. He had John DeLorean's ear amongst others at GM.

    The first move was the '68 Firebird that Craig Fisher ran in '68 under the guise of Gagnon Spring inc.
    Later in the season Jerry Titus converted a Camaro owned by John Ward, a well built and quick privateer car, into the second T/G Team car. This car, took Jerry Titus and Jon Ward to 4th place at Daytona in '69 right behind 2 factory Porsche 908L racers.

    For the full '69 season Titus/Godsall built team cars, and customer cars. These were made from engineering mules, those used for testing of various componants and were never destined for sale to the public.

    The cars were stripped, seam welded, then acid dipped, before the chrome moly cages were Tig welded in.

    That will do for now. Much more to follow.

    Bruce.


  5. #5
    Hey Bruce, will you be starting a new thread on the rebuild?

    For those who are interested, here is the second of the '68 Godsall Firebirds Bruce mentioned as it is today. http://historictransam.com/Drivers/BillBryan.htm

    Do you know what became of the Fisher car Bruce?

  6. #6
    Second thoughts, How about we fly with this thread, It haas the right name already.

    The last sighting of the Fisher '68 Firebird was June '70, and it had been converted to a Camaro, and was being offered for sale by Bob Gagnon. We are still looking but there was a sea of used race Camaros around back then. Craig Fisher hasn't been able to shed any light on it's fate.

    Bruce.
    Last edited by Bruce302; 05-23-2011 at 08:13 AM.

  7. #7
    Semi-Pro Racer pallmall's Avatar
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    Some photos from Hampton Downs.






  8. #8
    Isn't that a picture of beauty!! attracted lots of interest at Hampton did'nt it!! Job well done Bruce, we just need to here it "ROAR"

    Dale Mathers

  9. #9
    Hi Bruce, not sure if you got this shot.
    This was taken at Pauanui in '76-'77 of the Ponty shorty after my late brother Alan Stacey had brought the car off John Scott , Alan dropped in a SBC and registered for the road, only had headlights on the right hand side , lol , and he told me he had just graded the roads all over Coromandel as the thing was so low in the front!
    Not sure if it ever had a wof? , cops couldn't catch it anyway . Yeehaa.
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  10. #10
    Wow, thats one of the coolest photos I've seen Craig! I'm always fascinated by the afterlife of old race cars, and the journey they take after they're either uncompetitive, or retired. Its amazing to see what was once a state of the art factory race car reverted to a tough old road car. Very cool. Thanks for posting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Javman View Post
    Hi Bruce, not sure if you got this shot.
    This was taken at Pauanui in '76-'77 of the Ponty shorty after my late brother Alan Stacey had brought the car off John Scott , Alan dropped in a SBC and registered for the road, only had headlights on the right hand side , lol , and he told me he had just graded the roads all over Coromandel as the thing was so low in the front!
    Not sure if it ever had a wof? , cops couldn't catch it anyway . Yeehaa.

  11. #11
    And furthermore, that car is only 7-8 years old in that photo! And just look at the state of it. It obviously fell into the right hands with Alan, and later Bruce, it could have just as easily not survived had it ended up with someone else.

    Quote Originally Posted by Javman View Post
    Hi Bruce, not sure if you got this shot.
    This was taken at Pauanui in '76-'77 of the Ponty shorty after my late brother Alan Stacey had brought the car off John Scott , Alan dropped in a SBC and registered for the road, only had headlights on the right hand side , lol , and he told me he had just graded the roads all over Coromandel as the thing was so low in the front!
    Not sure if it ever had a wof? , cops couldn't catch it anyway . Yeehaa.

  12. #12
    Hi Craig,

    Thanks for the pic, that is awesome. Alan showed me that one, and an engine shot that he had, though it was lo grade, but engine shots are always welcome.
    As Steve says, a relatively young car at this time. I am real glad that none of us did anything to change the car in any way.
    Bob Cox bought the car from Alan and planned to put a Hilborn Injected 427 and TH400. It already had the Aussie 9" diff, but that was it. (we found the original rear axle thanks to Dave Loose)
    Bob didn't get any further, and I turned down the first chance to buy it . (I bought the Hilborn injection for my big-block T bucket)
    The second offer a couple of months later I relented and dragged it home on a trailer and pick up.

    When I got it the plan was just to make a street car out of it too, (and it did get a big block and TH400) then I found signs that it had some future potential in being restored.

    Thanks again for the pic Craig, much appreciated.

    Bruce.

  13. #13
    Oh and I still have the license plate in the garage. You can just see it under the front grill RHS.

    Bruce.

  14. #14
    All good Bruce , awesome, haven't seen any engine bay shots, sorry.

  15. #15
    Great pics Pallmall, Thank you.

    To carry on the story of the resurrection, I will skip the Trans Am year of competition as that is a book in itself.
    At the end of the season though,the Titus/Godsall (T/G) team were looking ahead to the coming '70 season and building the new updated cars.
    Due to a strike at GM, the introduction and release of the new body style for '70 was delayed to the point where they are now referred to as the 70 1/2 model.
    One of the key people on the team, was Doug Innes. He was initially employed to look after Terry Godsall's classic cars, but he was asked to join the race team and became crew chief. Another key member, was fabricator Sherman Falconer, brother of Ryan Falconer best known as the man behind Ryan Falconer race Engines.
    Doug Innes was asked to go with the team transporter and pick up the first two '70 Firebirds and take them to T/G's shop in Tarzana CA.
    He wasn't allowed to stop anywhere and show anybody, and he was scheduled to arrive in the evening. It was all top secret as the cars had not been seen or even pictured in public.
    Anyway on his arrival at the T/G shop, Jerry Titus had invited the news and magazine media, and this arrival was to be one of the unveilings of the new Firebirds.

    But back on track. At the end of the 69 season ,T/G had two cars left, and two transporter which were Greyhound buses converted to be mobile Post Offices.
    They were gutted and would take two cars loaded through the back.
    The two cars that were last to sell were given the '69 Pontiac Trans Am sheetmetal and 303 ci Pontiac engines, though it is doubtful that they were ever homologated in that form. Craig Fisher ran one under Todco Racing for part of the '70 season but had numerous DNF's. He went back to the Todco '69 Camaro.
    I have homologation papers for the '69 cars with 302 Chevrolet engines and '68 Firebird grill surrounds.
    The 303 engine was not a well developed unit and suffered numerous failures. It was unlikely the cars would sell in that configuration.



    Paul Fahey went and had a look at the Firebirds, but decided to stay with Ford and bought the car that would ultimately become the PDL Mustang.

    Jim Palmer's father, George, also looked at buying one of the cars for Jim, though with the intention of ditching the 303 and dropping in a small block Chev.
    It was some time before Ron Grable was invited back to NZ for a couple of weeks all expenses paid racing here. Being a professional racer, and it being the off season in the States he jumped at the chance. He also loved the place from his earlier visits here.

    Ron was asked to go and buy this particular car and all the money was paid up front from NZ. Ron dealt with Jerry Titus's son Rick as Jerry had died from injuries after crashing his '70 Firebird race car at Road America, Elkhart Lake in Wisconson.

    This is the car in the T/G shop. The frame engine mounts are Pontiac items, so it had a 303 that was removed before this pic was taken.



    The car was shipped to NZ and arrived in Auckland 2 weeks before Christmas 1971. Ross Phillips picked up the car and took it to Tauranga where it was prepared for the New Years eve meeting at Bay Park.
    Dennis Marwood supplied the engine, which incidentally was the Everett Hatch built 302 from the Rorison (ex Joe Chamberlain Camaro, unchanged apart from the 4 Weber set up.

    This is Ron Grable at Bay Park Dec 31st 1971. He was recovering from two broken legs after crashing his F5000 ride earlier in the year.



    more to follow
    Last edited by Bruce302; 05-29-2011 at 12:37 AM.

  16. #16
    Bruce, this is going to be fantastic!

  17. #17
    Semi-Pro Racer pallmall's Avatar
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  18. #18
    Here is a little associated story.

    During the days of special performance cars, and the chicanery of certain race teams, it was thought by some, that even the humble Ford Mustang Boss 302 was a car available only to selected race teams.
    Terry Godsall was one of those skeptics. So much so that he went to his local Ford dealer and ordered not just one brand new Boss 302, but THREE of them. Thinking to himself that he had called their bluff he went back to backing his Pontiac Trans Am team.
    Until he got the call from the Ford dealer.
    "Your THREE new Boss 302's are here, how would you like to pay for them ?"

    Well he talked his way out of one of them, but ended up taking delivery of two.
    At least one was given to the team guys to use as a company car/workshop hack until they managed to unload them onto a couple of unsuspecting, silver haired grannies (incidentally both the grannies complained of the lack of power)

    Here is Doug, the crew chief with one of their company cars.
    Funny, he doesn't look very happy !





    Bruce.

  19. #19

  20. #20
    Here is Doug, the crew chief with one of their company cars.
    Funny, he doesn't look very happy !


    I'd look unhappy if i had to jump from a Boss 302 into a Pontiac!! LOL, could be worst, could be a Javelin, LOL!! anyone know what Pontiac stands for!! arr better not go their!! LOL.

    Bruce, great story with lots of great info!!! are you still intouch with Ron Grable? when was he last in NZ? now he would be a a guy to get down for Hulme in 2013 don't you think? ask him please?

    Dale Mathers

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