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3091  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Interview with Robert Barg, Trans-Am racer on: March 13, 2011, 12:36:50 AM
Below is an in-depth interview with Robert Barg. Robert was the second owner of the 24th ’67 Z-28 built. It was a red Z-28 with the rally sport (hidden headlight) option and was originally purchased by Maurice “Mo” Carter through his City Chevrolet dealership in Hamilton, Ontario. Mo did some rally and road race activities with the car before selling it to Robert in late ’67 or early ‘68.

                                                                                  Robert Barg
                                                                      The Racing Life of a Privateer
                                                                    (as told by Robert Barg to Jon Mello)



Mo Carter’s red #8 at Mosport, Aug 1967                                                                                                                  Photo: Phil Dauphinee

    I got started racing in ‘61 with a Crosley powered homemade race car (that I bought) that had a cut-down Devin body on it – looked like a baby Ferrari.  It was what they called a Canada Class car (similar to the SCCA H modified cars) and I ran a few races with it.  I could never get the Crosley motor to run right (we didn’t know much) so I sold it.  I didn’t start again till ‘65 because I got involved in a car business with two other guys and there was no time for racing till then.  At first, I shared Rick Stevens’ 998 Mini Cooper for a few races and then built one with another friend.  I was, at one time, the D sedan lap record holder in Rick’s almost stock mini at Mid-Ohio – set in Oct. ‘66.  I had never been there before and actually passed many-time SCCA National champion Chuck Dietrich on the outside of turn one at Mid-Ohio on the marbles.  He was dumbfounded that I would try and pass him there (didn’t know any better).  I had qualified near the back but had a great race with him and Bernd Leckow (NSU).  I eventually finished a close third in D sedan.

    I had a partner with the Mini who did the maintenance and he wanted out so it was sold.  I felt I was ready for something more powerful.  I had been driving a Corvette-powered ‘54 Healey around the street for three years so I felt confident I could handle something larger like a Camaro.  When Mo put the ‘67 up for sale as a roller I jumped on it.  I have no idea where the money came from – I must have gotten a loan somewhere.


Mo Carter at Mosport, 9-23-67                                                                                                                      Photo by Dale von Trebra

    The ‘67 was actually Mo Carter’s first road racing Camaro.  Mo drove it in the ‘67 Shell 4000 [FIA-sanctioned Trans-Canadian rally] in early May, then had a local stock car builder make a crude road race car out of it.  He did several regional races in ‘67 and also took it down to Watkins Glen. I bought it that winter as a roller for $1800.  It had no motor or tranny and drum brakes on the back with stock street Koni shocks.  When I bought the car from Mo it was still painted red, which I thought was the original colour from GM but I can’t be sure.  I raced it that same colour in ‘68 – it did not need paint.

    I ran it in three regional races in ‘68 after I had a friend build a 302 motor for it and installed a fuel cell.  If memory serves, I don't believe most cars had fuel cells in ’67 but they became mandated somewhere around April or May of ‘68. I can remember smuggling a 22-gallon cell bladder, foam, and container over the border from Buffalo NY in early ‘68. Brian Robertson, my engine man stuffed the bladder and foam underneath the dash of the 401 Buick-powered ‘58 Pontiac wagon I drove that year as a tow car. It was a cell made by Donn Allen, I believe. We were nervous as could be trying to smuggle it across the border to avoid duty. It was an added race expense that Canadian racers had to put up with, as there was little in the way of racing parts produced in Canada.

    Rick Stevens and I decided to test the T/A waters at Watkins Glen in August ‘68.  The number we used for the race was 71 – I had been using the # 171 in my club races in Ontario.  We did not get a handle on the car prep for the Glen at all. We were way slow in qualifying and the race.  The car had some front suspension problems that got progressively worse and we barely finished.  In fact I was going so slow at the end that during a yellow I waved Jerry Titus by and he got into trouble with the officials. I had to tell them after the race that I waved him by because the car was ailing.  They were ready to take the race win away from him. He was very worried at the time.


Robert Barg at Mosport, 1968                                                                                                                   Photo: Robert Barg Collection

     At the end of ‘68, my friend Brian wanted his motor back so I bought the engine and then sold the car to Al Richards as a roller. Richards repainted it that nice Camaro “Marina blue” after he bought it from me.  The next spring I conned him into going to Sebring and I would supply the motor.  That’s how Richards and I got together to go racing till the end of ‘72.  I think he knew I wasn’t the quickest driver around (not the slowest either) but the odds were I would bring it home in one piece after each T/A race, and that was important because we had no money.  We were probably the lowest budget privateer gang you ever saw. We raced on used tires and I had to borrow a tow vehicle from someone for each race, and sometimes had to borrow a trailer.  We depended upon whatever prize money we won – usually $300-$600.  I wasn’t allowed to work on the car but became very good at scrounging for used race parts. Al was a HD diesel mechanic and had some drag racing background, but he and his friends who helped with the car knew very little about road race setup. We learned as we went along.  I didn’t know anything either – just sort of drove whatever they provided on the grid.  At every race, Mark Schwien, Rusty Jowett’s mechanic, would take pity on us and tell us the “hot tip”.  He was an ex-Nascar mechanic and had some smarts.
3092  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Original T/A racing photographs, late 60's & early 70's on: March 12, 2011, 11:33:16 PM
Robert, no that Vick Campbell car has not been located yet. I hope it turns up someday. I love the car.

As for the Kent Trans-Am #16 car driven by Craig Fisher, to me the rear spoiler looks to be standard height
although the Penske team had a taller "cheater" rear spoiler at two races (at least) in August '67. I'll post
a comparison when I get an opportunity.

Below is a publicity photo shoot of Dick Guldstrand and his Dana sponsored Camaro. Thanks to Tim Lopata.


Copyrighted photo courtesy of Tim Lopata
3093  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Original T/A racing photographs, late 60's & early 70's on: March 12, 2011, 12:26:01 AM
Vick Campbell's Camaro at Sebring, getting ready for tech inspection. The '67 season
was the last for a mandatory passenger seat, which you can see this car has. Bumpers
were not required until the 1969 season so almost everybody left them off to reduce weight.


Photo by Craig Fisher
3094  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Allowed/Required Modifications for 1967 TransAm Cars on: March 12, 2011, 12:11:43 AM
Thanks for the link, Rick. Some things of interest there. Obviously, a lot has been learned in the
course of 40 years since the heyday of Trans-Am, plus some things back then were just not allowed.
3095  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Racing shock absorbers on: March 11, 2011, 06:37:15 PM
Mike,

Robert sent me these photos to post. The first is of the car right after it was built and was featured in a Sports Car Graphic article where Paul van Valkenburgh drove it on the street and to the grocery store.



These other two shots are of the LH side of the rear suspension. Not sure why the angle iron is welded to the frame next to where the horizontal shocks mount. The bolt-on bracket on the axle would maybe be for a panhard rod. It doesn't look like anything has been bolted to it in a long time, if ever.





There will be more posted on this car but it might be better to put it all into a different thread.
3096  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Allowed/Required Modifications for 1967 TransAm Cars on: March 10, 2011, 10:06:49 PM
Thanks, Rick. Great to have you join in. I hope we can someday figure out whose car your block belongs to.

As for the rules for Trans-Am, the http://www.sovren.org/ website used to have them posted for 1967 and 1969 but I looked today and they're no longer there. I believe I have all the GCRs (General Competition Rules) for SCCA Trans-Am from 1967 to 1972 but it will take me a while to get them all posted. Maybe if somebody out there has certain years scanned, they can post them more quickly than I can.
3097  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Original T/A racing photographs, late 60's & early 70's on: March 10, 2011, 02:26:32 PM
Pace lap of the 1969 Mid-Ohio Trans-Am.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/cedarkayak/4419066167/sizes/o/in/photostream/]

Some photos from the 1967 Kent, WA Trans-Am, Pacific Raceways

http://www.flickr.com/photos/leicabokeh/sets/72157600168574114/with/483253081/
3098  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Original T/A racing photographs, late 60's & early 70's on: March 09, 2011, 11:20:42 PM
Sam Posey's '68 Penske Camaro. Sam was Mark's teammate for the middle part of the '68 season.
This is the same car that Donohue drove at Daytona earlier that year. Currently owned by Don Lee.

3099  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Original T/A racing photographs, late 60's & early 70's on: March 09, 2011, 11:04:59 PM
Daytona 300 Trans-Am, February 3, 1967. Mark Donohue's first race in a Camaro.


Photo by Craig Fisher
3100  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Racing shock absorbers on: March 09, 2011, 06:00:06 PM
Mike,

Here's a couple of pictures of the double horizontal shocks on a car that Dick Guldstrand built for Gerry Gregory for the '69 Trans-Am season. These are obviously in an unrestored state, as-found condition. They are the Hi-Tork shocks, so maybe Gary Wheeler had some direct involvement with Dick Guldstrand on this.

Have any of you out there seen another Trans-Am Camaro with a shock set-up like this? I haven't. It would be nice to know if there were any others.



3101  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Harrison Oil Coolers Used on Early Trans-Am Camaros on: March 09, 2011, 02:11:13 PM
Chad,

I have seen several of these 3157804 Harrisons that went in one end and out the other but I had assumed they had been modified by an owner. Like you, I had read the comment in "How to Hot Rod..." about how these were not adequate without making them a cross-flow design but my race car ran in Trans-Am with the 3157804 with the inlet and outlet on the same end and they never had a problem. I have seen a picture of the Bud Moore Cougars with these same Harrisons mounted in them. It would be interesting if we could figure out if Harrison did make a factory modification to them.
3102  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Firebird and the Trans-Am series on: March 08, 2011, 11:13:47 PM
As Bruce said, in '68 they used the Chevy engine in the Firebird because of the Canadian loophole, but in '69 things took an even stranger turn. Even though Pontiac had worked up a 303 to fit within the rules, Titus used the '68 grille, hood and side gills on the '69 body to have a sort of hybrid that would allow him to keep using the Chevy in case the 303 did not work and/or was uncompetitive. It didn't work out initially and so he stuck with the Chevy engine and the mutated body style. For 1970, SCCA told them that they had enough of the phony baloney and they needed to run a Pontiac mill in the Pontiac body so that's what they did. They did not have a successful season and in fact Jerry Titus lost his life in a crash at Road America in the middle of the year. His team was working so many long hours trying to make the car competitive that it is believed a part in the steering was not tightened properly and Titus crashed straight into a bridge abutment (which led spectators to the inside of the track). I remember seeing the long skid marks on the track from his crash until 1974, after which we moved out to California.

Pontiac engines have large main bearing diameters which made bearing speeds higher than other engines they had to compete against. I think this was a big problem for them but when SCCA allowed dry sump oiling for the 1971 season, that help Pontiac a lot. Roger Penske was the one who lobbied hard for the dry sump because the AMC engines he was running were also having oiling issues. Roger wisely claimed it was a safety issue, which it technically was if an engine blew and dumped oil in front of a pack of cars come up from behind.

Jerry Titus at the 1969 Riverside Trans-Am

Car Craft magazine photo
3103  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Firebird and the Trans-Am series on: March 08, 2011, 04:28:28 PM
Kurt,

I'm going to see if Bruce (Bruce302) will answer this for you. He's extremely well versed on the subject. His race car started life as a '68 Camaro but was converted by Jerry Titus and T/G Racing into a Firebird. It has a lot of very unique and special pieces on it. There were several "Firebirds" in Trans-Am that started life as Camaros. I'll let him know about your post.
3104  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Recommended Reading on: March 07, 2011, 04:42:03 PM
Another good one... but get the other two first.

3105  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Recommended Reading on: March 07, 2011, 04:36:46 PM
This one is another "must-have" as far as I'm concerned. Available at
www.pvanvalkenburgh.com now that he has had it republished. Great
stuff on Camaro in here & also for all Chevy racing activities from the
1957 racing ban up to 1972.

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