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3091  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Original T/A racing photographs, late 60's & early 70's on: March 01, 2011, 11:03:37 PM
Craig Fisher's Z-28 at '67 Sebring tech inspection. This car is a true Z-28 which was repainted
with gold accents by Gorries Chevrolet in Toronto, Canada. Gorries called these cars Black Panthers.
Craig earned the first points for Chevrolet in the Trans-Am by virtue of his second place finish
at the Daytona 300 Trans-Am, Feb 3rd, 1967. Craig also earned the first points for Pontiac in
Trans-Am when he switched to a Firebird in the middle of the '68 racing season. Great driver,
very underrated.


photo by Craig Fisher
3092  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Intent of the 1st-Gen Trans-Am Camaro Forum on: March 01, 2011, 10:25:00 PM
The intent and purpose of this forum is to educate the 1st-gen Camaro enthusiast about the road racing history of their favorite car and the people involved with racing them back when these cars were new or only a few years old. Many special parts were made specifically for the early Camaro to make it not only competitive with its rival ponycars, but a winner. Here, we have a lot of respect for our competition because they helped make our car better than it may have otherwise been. This forum is meant for discussion of 1st-generation '67-'69 Camaros not only from a historical perspective, but also is open to discussion of their involvement in Historic Trans-Am racing, as seen on the www.historictransam.com website. We also hope to feature interviews and profiles of the people who originally owned, drove and/or engineered these special pieces of racing history. The intent is to grow this forum and topic of discussion to the extent to which it so richly deserves to be done.
3093  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: 302 Chevy engine building articles [late '60 - early '70s] on: March 01, 2011, 10:00:00 PM
From the August 1970 issue of Motorcade magazine.











3094  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Original T/A racing photographs, late 60's & early 70's on: March 01, 2011, 08:07:22 PM
Bobby Johns driving the #54 Camaro at the Paul Revere 250 night race, 7/4/67. Note Hurst sponsorship. This is the
same car as seen in the previous picture. Car sponsor was Norman Johnson, owner of Miami Speedway Park.

Photo: Daytona Speedway archives
3095  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Original T/A racing photographs, late 60's & early 70's on: March 01, 2011, 06:22:36 PM
Charlie Kolb #22 Camaro, 1967 Sebring 4-Hour Trans-Am tech inspection (downtown Sebring).
I believe the car owner was Porsche racer Fred Baker, from Miami, Fla.

Photo by Craig Fisher
3096  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Original T/A racing photographs, late 60's & early 70's on: March 01, 2011, 06:18:33 PM

Johnny Moore's Camaro leads the Mustang of Sam Posey during the '68 Daytona 24-Hour race. Moore's Camaro was the first Z-28 sold to the public.

Photo by Bill Warner
3097  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Original T/A racing photographs, late 60's & early 70's on: March 01, 2011, 06:12:36 PM
Please post only vintage photos from the original era '66-'72. Modern day photos of Historic Trans-Am photos
can be posted in a separate thread or viewed on the Historic Trans-Am website ( www.historictransam.com ).



Mark Donohue's Penske prepared Camaro, Sebring 4-Hour Trans-Am, March 1967

Photo by Craig Fisher
3098  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: 1966-1972 Trans-Am race memorabilia [dash plaques, patches, passes, etc] on: March 01, 2011, 03:07:36 PM
Poster for the 1968 Riverside Trans-Am race

3099  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / 302 Chevy engine building articles [late '60 - early '70s] on: February 28, 2011, 10:58:19 PM

Here's a build-up by Traco Engineering from the Spring 1973 issue of Super Chevy.











3100  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: 1966-1972 Trans-Am race memorabilia [dash plaques, patches, passes, etc] on: February 28, 2011, 10:52:39 PM
Mid-Ohio dash plaques. Fort Wayne Region of the SCCA.

3101  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / 1966-1972 Trans-Am race memorabilia [dash plaques, patches, passes, etc] on: February 28, 2011, 10:50:48 PM
One year only event. Modesto Trans-Am.



3102  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / SCCA Region map on: February 28, 2011, 05:43:44 PM
SCCA Region map. Color version dated 1966. Scroll down for more






Not sure of source but this may be 1970's version. A few numbers have changed.
3103  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Interview with Gary Morgan, Trans-Am racer on: February 28, 2011, 05:17:29 PM
TIRE STORIES, ETC:

    It was very difficult to walk away from racing. It was 10 or 12 years before I was able to go to a race again. I still miss it to this day, but early on I made two rules for myself, (1) Never drive an open wheel car and (2) Once I quit I will never race again. The thoughts behind this were, in my opinion open wheel cars were just too dangerous. There had been way too many of my hero circle track drivers that got wiped out because of tangles with wheels of other cars. I also had seen too many guys quit and then go back for one more race, only to have the same thing to happen to them. I also felt a great responsibility to not only my wife and kids, but also to my father who had sacrificed countless time and money for my racing.
________________________________________________________________________

    I remember we had something like twelve or fourteen American Racing genuine magnesium wheels mounted with various size tires. These were mainly for the rear, as well as rain tires. I think we always ran 8" on the rear and 7" on the front, but I just finished looking thru the piles of info and could not find the specific sizes. I recall trying Firestones and ending up with Goodyears primarily because you could always count on the Goodyear people being at the track and not the Firestone guys. The guy that handled the Goodyears was named Bill Baldwin. He always took real good care of us. I remember one time we took the car over to his truck for tires and as usual we waited until the last minute to do it. He must have had six or seven cars ahead of us. It looked like we would probably miss a lot of practice time as I think he only had two tire machines. Well you see, all during high school I had worked in a gas station and there were no such things as tire machines in a small town gas station. We changed them all by hand. When the first day of snow came, I would work all day mounting snow tires with tire irons and a big hard rubber hammer, with my boss on my tail every minute. So I asked Bill if he had any tire irons and a big rubber hammer and sure enough he did. I borrowed the tools and Bill got out the new tires and you can believe it or not but I changed four tires faster than Bills' guys using the machines, and made it to practice with minutes to spare. Bill used to kid me about this and would offer me a job every time I saw him, but I had better things to do!
________________________________________________________________________

    After the first two races we had to do a rebuild so we switched to the 140 cam and it seemed to work just fine, even after we went to the cross-ram manifold in ‘68. We never were aware of any suspension bind, but maybe we were just not smart enough to notice it. Also, I forgot to mention that we staggered the rear shocks and yes, the suspension stayed that way until we gave it back to Heinrich at the end of ‘69. I do remember that it was later recommended not to use the factory traction arms, but we were not unhappy with the handling so we left them both on.
________________________________________________________________________

    I recall we had received new calipers and I remember the originals hanging around for quite some time and then my father gave them away. All someone had to do was come in the garage and see something they would like to have and my father would give it to them. Would you believe one time he gave a complete set of our solid body and suspension bushings to a competitor who later sabotaged our car during the night before a race at Pocono? I think on our car we drilled the rear backing plates and made small air scoops that attached to the backing plate. If there were automatic adjusters on it I am sure we removed them. We never had any brake problems other than replacing pads and shoes frequently. I believe it cost about $100.00 per race for brakes.
________________________________________________________________________

    After I went to bed last night I realized that I never did completely answer your question about the numbers. Let me pick up where I left off. I was telling about the progression starting with #53. We first used #53 on the Austin-Healey and #54 on the Crosley special once they started letting us request numbers. I believe that was about 1958. There were still events that would assign numbers of their choice. I don't know the reasons, but they did. We then attempted to carry the #53 over to the Daimler SP250 and the #54 to the Morgan-Abarth and when we got the Vette we tried to use #55 as we still had the other two cars. When we got the Camaro we attempted to use the #55 as a carry over from the Vette, but initially we had such bad luck we changed to #56 and things went better. We have pictures of the cars with several other assigned numbers, but it looks like on the Camaro all I could find was 55, 56, 57, and 59.
________________________________________________________________________

    Yes, we used the stock Z28 carb. I don't know if the three-barrel would have been legal as I don't believe it was homologated in the FIA papers or as an option for SCCA. We installed a 22 gal. fuel cell right off the bat, however I do remember talking to the GM engineers and they did tell me to install two stock GM tanks just as you described. We did not have trunk pins that I can remember and we also used the key for the ignition. We also had the headliner in as I think the rules may not have allowed removal of it and, yes the cars were much closer to stock initially. The two most noticeable mods I remember were the Bud Moore Cougars with the fender lips completely trimmed away and the Penske car with the transmission hump in the floor cut for access to the transmission (the sheetmetal was removable).
________________________________________________________________________

    Watkins Glen was by far my favorite track. I also liked Lime Rock as far as the shorter tracks went. I would have liked to have gone to VIR with the car as I took the Vette there once and did quite well with it.
________________________________________________________________________

    Yes, we did run electric fuel pump or pumps. I don't remember but we may have had one in the rear and one in the front. As far as the fuel pressure, if I told you a number it would only be a guess. The oil cooler we ran looked similar to the one you have in your picture [the factory Harrison style-JM] but I think we used an army surplus one that came from a tank. We had it mounted directly behind the lower grill opening on the right hand side and had it shielded by a fancy screen. We had installed a remote oil filter set up by using an adapter where the original filter was.
________________________________________________________________________

On LeMans-style starts…… The very first race I was in at Harewood Acres in Canada was a Lemans start. I mean to tell you, it was not bad enough to be in a race with D type Jags and all other kinds of modified cars with a little Crosley special but to have to run across the track and jump in, start the car, fasten the seat belt and drive away all while shaking like a leaf in a wind storm, it was an experience! The next startling moment was after a few laps running all by myself at the rear. I looked in my mirror and saw a car quite a long way behind me on his way to lap me. HOLY SMOKES, I was so startled I actually jumped as this car all of a sudden passed me just a few feet away with an ear splitting exhaust off his side by side dual pipes blasting right at my face. That was 50 years ago and I can still feel it. By the way, it was a D Jag driven by a guy from Buffalo, N.Y.
________________________________________________________________________

On Towing…… I guess the strangest thing that happened was one time when we stopped for gas and I was towing one car, my father was towing the other and we had pulled into a gas station with our entourage (two station wagons with trailers and two other cars without). My father always was the lead car and we had CB radios in all the cars. He also directed all communication. Somehow we all filled up and pulled away about the same time (it definitely was confusing) and about two blocks down the road we got a message over the CB radio, "Has anyone seen Bertha?" (my mother). He then said "I noticed no-one was telling me how to drive so I looked over and Bertha wasn't there." In all of the confusion, she had gone to the ladies room and he had left her there. We were on our way home from Canada and he later said that was the quietest ride home he ever had.
________________________________________________________________________

On Hotels/Motels…… We always stayed in hotels/motels and we had favorites for each race track. We would usually leave for the races after work on Friday and drive for six or seven hours, stay over night and finish the drive on Saturday morning. Saturday was inspection and practice and sometimes a preliminary race. We would leave the track at five or six PM and go to a nearby favorite motel, clean up and go out to a nice diner and get to bed about ten or so.  We did not do much partying. Up early on Sunday and off to the races. We would leave for home as soon as we could as we now had to make the drive all the way home Sunday night. We had jobs to go to on Monday morning. Sometimes we would end up with two to three hours sleep. One time I must have fallen asleep driving as I went passed the first thruway exit for Rochester and had to get off on the second and drive about twenty miles out of my way. I remember many Mondays going into the men’s room at work and trying to sleep on the can with my head on the toilet paper roll. I'd do it all again if I could.
________________________________________________________________________


Gary and an old friend, 2005.                                                                                                                  Photo: Gary Morgan Collection
3104  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Interview with Gary Morgan, Trans-Am racer on: February 28, 2011, 05:14:02 PM
    Yes, no more Trans-Am races. We found out that it was foolish to race the car when the overheating problem had not really been solved. We had melted two pistons and had to tear the engine down and take it back to Jess Haelen for a rebuild. This is when we put the 140 cam in. We got it back fairly soon and took it to Watkins Glen for the Glen 500. I believe this may have been when we changed the springs as well, fronts from 864lb/in. down to 615lb/in. and rear down from 356 to 300lb/in. rate. Once we got to the Glen, the car handled very well. All of the handling problems were gone, but the car was still overheating badly. My old Cobra friend, Hal Keck, came by to visit and we told him of the problem. He asked if we wanted his mechanic, Red, to take a look at the carb as Red had a lot of Holley carburetor experience. Red came over and in no time at all had the carb apart and found that the info we had received from GM on the jet sizes was wrong! Instead of .072 primary and .077 secondary, they should have told us #72 and #77 jet sizes. We had a set of small drills and my father and Red drilled out the jets to as close as they could guess they should be and out on the track I went. What a difference, no overheating and it handled!


Watkins Glen 500 article, August 1967                                                                                              Courtesy of Gary Morgan Collection

    On race day we felt real good about the car. The race was 500k or 310.5mi. for AP, BP, and A, B Sedans. We started 9th behind several Cobras, big block Vettes etc and moved up to 6th OA and 1st in A-Sedan by lap 32. We were then 5th OA and still 1st in A-Sedan on lap 37 and held that position until lap 62 when the water pump let go. It must have been damaged by all the overheating at Lime Rock and Mid-Ohio, and we never thought to change it. We went to one more event in 1967. It was at Watkins Glen and there were three races over the weekend. We won all three and set a new lap record for A-Sedan on the Watkins Glen course. We previously had the B production record with the Vette.

    Over the winter we converted the car from a 1967 to a 1968 by changing everything that was obvious (Heinrich paid for this) and added the cross ram intake. We did not change the brakes (didn’t add 4-wheel discs – JM) as I felt we really did not have a brake problem. It would have been at our expense, and money was still a problem.


Updated to look like a '68 for the '68 racing season.                                                                                 Photo: Gary Morgan Collection

    One day, in very early spring, my wife Sue called me at Kodak and said she had received a phone call from a guy named Chic Blood who worked for Young and Rubican advertising in N.Y. City. She said they wanted to talk to me about doing a TV commercial. I thought she was kidding me because I couldn't believe my luck was changing. She said this guy would call me back at 8:00 PM that evening to discuss the deal. Meanwhile, I contacted a friend that was in local advertising and asked what he thought I should charge for my services. He gave me a number that he thought would be appropriate. Mr. Blood called right at 8:00PM and told me the commercial was for Gulf gasoline and would be filmed at the Bridgehampton race course. I was to spend three days doing the commercial and would have to bring a crew and a track safety person.  Now the difficult part, he asked “how much?”. I didn't want to go too cheap, but I also didn't want to lose the opportunity, so I thought, well I can always come down. I took a deep breath and tripled what my friend had told me. I said $2500.00 plus expenses. His answer was he was authorized to approve $2000.00 and if I really had to have $2500.00 he would have to call his boss and get approval to do it. He called back within the hour and said I would be receiving a contract within a week and would have a week to sign and return it.

    The advertising agency got my name from Brock Yates who was, and I think is still, a member of the same SCCA region that I am. I had loaned Brock a trailer when he had the Ray Nichols Dodge Dart and needed to take it somewhere down south. Later, when he had the CAR & DRIVER Mustang, I gave him a new Goodyear race tire after they had ruined one in practice. I guess giving the ad agency my name was his way of paying me back. It was very gracious of him to do this for me as the expenses for the Camaro were far more than anything we raced before and these dollars would sure help.
We got all of the arrangements worked out with Gulf and, as this was early in the year and we had freshly rebuilt the engine over the winter, we left for Bridgehampton, Long Island to make the commercial. We had to be there on Monday and were supposed to finish on Wednesday. We had drained all of the Sunoco concentrate out of the tank and there was a Gulf station just down the road from the track that we were supposed to use for our fuel. This worked out great as we had 10 gallon cans that we would fill up and we made sure we always got enough to add a can or two to the Chevy wagon tow car. (Later when I got my last check, there was a $70.00 dollar deduction for gas for the tow car. I guess we didn't fool anyone. I sure felt like an ass).

    During the making of the commercial I had to guarantee that the car went at least 140MPH so they could state that in the ad. The film people were very good to work with and we had to start at 6AM every day. They would have a big catered lunch each day and treat us to dinner in the evening. On the second day, they had a sound man there who had to lie on the floor of the car so he would not be seen in the film. This guy thought he was a real hot shot and made some comment to me that I thought was a put down. I think he said something like "you don't even look like a race driver". Well, I mean to say I gave this guy a ride that was far more than necessary for what we were trying to accomplish. When we were done with the segment he got out of the car with his hands shaking and a very pale complexion, mumbling something about his wife and kids. The next day we got a late start with the filming because we had to wait for a new sound man. Seems the smart ass had quit for some reason! Well, this was the third day and we were supposed to finish up but the gremlins were at it again. The Camaro started overheating and my father diagnosed it as a cracked cylinder wall. By the contract we had to finish the commercial, so Dad went to an auto parts store and found some block sealer that was intended for diesel truck engines. He put in enough to seal a small fleet of trucks, loosened the radiator cap and by noon we were ready to restart. We had to carry over the finish until Thursday, but we made the car last, loaded up, and headed back for the long drive home to Rochester.

    It is now early in the 1968 season. We tear the engine down and find old Dad was right. We had a cracked cylinder wall in the engine that had just been rebuilt before the trip to Bridgehampton. A call was placed to Barney Krass (our contact at GM for a new short block) and we got a response that there would be a wait, as short blocks were not available at this time. We waited several weeks and called again. Same answer. Finally we recalled that when we visited the Tech Center in 1966, Barney had said he used a lot of Kodak 16mm movie film. Since all four of us that were working on the car were Kodak employees, we put out the feelers for some test film and shipped off about ten rolls to Barney. Son of a gun, within about a week we had a new short block! Later that year, after we had found some more test film and sent it off, I started getting phone calls whenever there were new items available from GM. I had a friend that had raced solid axle Vettes when I was racing the Stingray. His name was Steve Elfenbien and he had switched to racing Camaros. At a race in 1969 at Lime Rock we were talking about the cars and I asked him if he had any trouble getting parts. He said he did for a while but once he started sending something called "Red Herring" to the same address I sent film to, things got better! We had a good laugh about this and wondered what kind of a deal some of the other racers must have made to get their parts, but we decided not to pursue it any further for fear of losing what we had.
By the time we got the new block and had it prepared, it was getting late in the season. Money was low and so were our spirits. We made it to two regional races at the Glen, set another lap record, won three races at the two events and hung it up for the year.


Engine shot shows the 2x4 crossram and super rare cowl plenum duct.              Photo: Gary Morgan Collection

    1969, off we go again. At the Glen 100, we won 1st OA on both the Saturday and Sunday races. We came in 2nd at the Glen National, 1st at Lime Rock National after a three car wreck going into the first turn that flattened our right door and quarter panel, (I caught and passed everybody), 2nd at Pocono National with a real bad handling problem that showed up on race day. I later found out one of my competitors had adjusted my toe-in the night before the race. I also found out he was running a 350 CI engine with the block ID changed to look like 302 ID. This was the car that I came in 2nd to at the Glen and Pocono. One of his crew members later told me the preceding information. The last race of the year was a regional at the Glen and we were 1st in both the Saturday and Sunday races.


On the track at Watkins Glen.                                                                                                                  Photo: Gary Morgan Collection

    After the last race I did some thinking. I was thirty-three years old and had raced for fourteen years. I had a wife that had dedicated her total ten years of marriage to racing, always helping and sacrificing without complaining. I had two young sons, one five and one three. My father was fifty-nine years old and was still working around the clock on the cars if necessary. On top of that, people at Kodak were asking when I was going to stop racing.

    One afternoon in the late fall of 1969 while at work, I picked up the phone and called Jon Heinrich. I thanked him for all the help he had given us and told him I had decided to stop racing. Jon said he was disappointed but he understood. He also offered me two new cars for the next year. He said he had been thinking it would be nice to race both a Camaro and a Corvette out of his dealership. I said thanks but I had made up my mind. Jon, always being a gentleman, said he would sell the Camaro and split the money with me as he was aware we had a significant investment in it. He asked what I thought it would be worth as a race car and I told him I would guess it would be worth six to seven thousand dollars at that time. He agreed and said I would be hearing from him. In a short time I heard through the grapevine that a local racer named Kent Fellows had bought the car. I called Heinrich’s and found out Jon was out of town and one of his salesmen had sold the car for thirty-five hundred dollars without checking with Jon. What a deal! That meant I would be getting seventeen-fifty instead of the three thousand I had been hoping for. All during the time we were racing after I got married, my wife Sue had paid the bills. She robbed one account to pay another and shuffled things so we could keep going and never complained. She now came to me in tears and asked that since we were not racing anymore, could I take over paying the bills as she just could not do it anymore. The check for seventeen-fifty came and we sat down to figure our bills. When we were done we found we had one hundred dollars to our name. Well, at least we weren't broke!
3105  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Interview with Gary Morgan, Trans-Am racer on: February 28, 2011, 05:11:06 PM
Off to MID-OHIO.  Penske with George Follmer driving, Jerry Titus with Mustang, Bud Moore with two Cougars and a bunch of other slugs like us. The Bud Moore Cougars were probably the most radically modified cars from the viewpoint of visible changes; fenders cut for tire clearance and stripped of most everything that didn't rotate. The difference between the factory cars and private cars was significant.
    Practice and qualifying for us was not much different than Lime Rock had been, engine still overheating but now we had also picked up a very significant push in the front end. We had left the rear spring leaves that GM had told us to take out at home so we changed the front sway bar and hoped that would help the handling to some degree. I went to the Penske pits to see if they had any suggestions for the overheating problem. The only person there was Follmer and he would not even talk to me. After practice when we were leaving the track, Roger Penske walked up to our tow car and suggested we use softer springs in the front because he said it looked like the front was out of sync with the rear. He also suggested an aluminum radiator might help with the heating problem.
    Race day, the hell with it! Let's run it and see what happens. I don't remember how long we lasted but we ran it and at one time I think we must have been in the first ten or so cars and all of a sudden, she blew up. I coasted over to the side, stopped and walked back to the pits. A spectator gave me a cold beer to drink on my long walk back. So much for Trans-Am.


Mid-Ohio Trans-Am, June 1967                                                                                                                    photo: Petersen Publishing
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