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1  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: July 08, 2014, 07:05:01 PM
Thanks Jon, the book is about Kiwi muscle car collectors, and is more of a photo book, even though I'm not a photographer! I just went and bought myself a stupid-proof camera that more or less makes it look like I know what I'm doing. But its been a fun project, and its amazing what we have here in NZ, given our population of only 4.5 million people. I will send you a copy when its released.

Re HMC, yes, its been a big battle. We created the class in 2011, and had our first event in 2012 at the New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing. We've been extremely rigid on the rules, and cars are only accepted if complying 100%. HMC is for cars over over 3,000cc, and we've been working alongside a similar group for smaller capacity cars of under 3,000cc, who are also making their cars period correct. Therefore, even though we haven't had enough of our own cars, together with the U3 sedans, we've been able to form up full grids, and the racing has been excellent with the V8s and small capacity cars quite even in performance.

We are winning the battle, and there has been a lot of interest, and momentum is continuing to grow. So far, about 5 A/Sedan cars have been imported from the US specifically for HMC, and are almost instantly legal to race with us, requiring just a few very minor changes, such as fitting side-glass windows if they have no windows. Also, if their rollcages do not pass Motorsport NZ regulations, then they need to fit a new cage. But otherwise these cars can race in HMC, and this makes for a very affordable way to get involved in the class.

Pictured here is a '69 Camaro recently imported by Roger Williams. Roger owns a cool collection of nice cars, including a McLaren M8FP Can-Am car, Lola T332 F5000, and wide-body Greenwood Corvette. When the Camaro arrived in NZ he had it painted up similar to the car Joe Chamberlain brought out to NZ in 1972, in red/white/blue American Airlines colours (now owned by Steve Sorenson).

There are also other interesting cars being built, such as a 1970 Plymouth Cuda, which will look like one of the AAR Trans-Am cars, but it will be fitted with a big block Hemi. There are also a couple of 1969 Mercury Cyclones being built too. So definitely lots of momentum going on, and its really great to see.

We have had really great support from a couple of the NZ event organisers, including those running the NZ Festival of Motor Racing, which is our biggest historic racing event each year. In 2015, we also have some of our friends coming across from the Queensland based Australian Trans-Am series, so we should have a good field of around 25 cars for that. We'll also take some of our cars to Australia next year to race with the ATA guys. Those guys are great fun, although a bit more serious than us. We just race for fun, with no emphasis on winning.

Also, that event organiser that wouldn't allow our tires at their event because they're not DOT rated, they have said they will allow us to choose our own tires if we have our own grid, and not mix our cars in with other cars, so once we have enough cars, we will be able to race at this event.

Here is Roger Williams' Camaro. This car used to be painted silver with black hood when Roger bought it. The track shot shows another A/Sedan Camaro imported from the US for HMC. This car has been a race car since about 1974, and is now owned by Steve Elliott.



2  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: July 07, 2014, 06:55:23 PM
Hi there Jon, sorry for the slow reply, I've not been around much lately as I've been finishing off writing a muscle car book and it pretty much took over my life.

Re the rollcage in Dave Sturrocks Camaro, yes, I thought you might pick up on this. Unfortunately, the area of safety is not something we have any control over. Our NZ motorsport governing body determines everything to do with safety, right down to rollcage tube width and thickness, welding, location within the car etc. They also control other areas, such as race harnesses etc too. That said, they don't specify the exact layout of a cage, nor do they demand the a-pillar bars be attached to the vehicle bodyshell, as in Dave's car. This is something he chose to do himself. I would have preferred he didn't add the braces, as it makes the cage look like that of a modern car, but its his car, and I have to respect that.

To be honest, Historic Muscle Cars is not as period correct as we would have liked it to be. Classic and historic car racing in NZ has never been controlled by a governing body in any way, and has essentially been allowed to run riot for the last 30 years. Its become so bad, even event organisers are confused. There seems to be the mindset that, if the original bodyshell is retained, then everything else can be modernised and improved. So its very common in NZ to see cars at historic racing events fitted with modern engines, carbon-fibre bodywork, large diameter wheels etc. But because all this equipment is fitted into an old bodyshell, its somehow accepted as a classic/historic race car.

With Historic Muscle Cars, there were a couple of areas we chose to leave alone, and they are the brakes and gearboxes. Most V8 sedans racing in NZ historics are fitted with either Jerico or Tex Racing 4-speed gearboxes, and 4-pot or 6-pot Wilwood brakes. As much as we would have liked to have got cars back fitted with the type of brakes and gearboxes used in period, we knew that this would be a step too far, in that if we requested an owner pull the Jerico from their Mustang and replace it with a Top loader, they'd likely simply race their car somewhere else, and HMC would never have got off the ground.

We instead focused on engines, bodywork, wheels, tires, rear-ends. Brakes and gearboxes must be of the same basic make-up as those used in period, eg, h-pattern 4-speed gearbox etc, but the aftermarket items, as mentioned, are allowed.

But even still, we're continuing to deal with ongoing dramas. For example, at one annual classic and historic racing event, the use of our Hoosier and Goodyear Bluestreak cross-ply tires are not acceptable. The event organisers stipulate that all tires at their event be DOT rated, which these are not. Crazy as it sounds, although our cars race on the only period correct tires of the event, they're not actually accepted, because they're not DOT rated. Furthermore, although our cars are all on 15" diameter wheels, and most other V8 sedans at this event on 16" or 17" wheels, their cars are accepted, because they're fitted with DOT tires! The event organisers even tried to argue that Ford Mustangs were fitted with 17" diameter wheels in 1969/70! It makes you want to hit your head against a brick wall. Essentially, what we're having to do is educate event organisers as to how these cars raced in period.

Its an ongoing battle, but we are making progress. 
3  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: FIA homologation : 1st gen Camaro in Trans-Am and International racing 1968-72 on: June 12, 2014, 04:06:53 AM
Oh ok, thats a shame. Christophe Schwartz said he had fitted a Tex Racing T101 box to his Hemi Cuda because it is similar to a T10. You can flat shift with a T101 because of the gears.
4  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: FIA homologation : 1st gen Camaro in Trans-Am and International racing 1968-72 on: June 12, 2014, 01:47:32 AM
Thanks Eric. Is the jerico not allowed under Appendix K?
5  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: FIA homologation : 1st gen Camaro in Trans-Am and International racing 1968-72 on: June 11, 2014, 04:30:39 PM
Hi Eric, those photos look great! Must have been a fun event. I remember seeing that car when it was advertised. The flares are quite distinctive. Great to know its being enjoyed in Europe now. How did you get on with your dry sump issues? Are those BMWs allowed to use slick tires?

I am probably wrong about this but when that Camaro was advertised for sale, was it fitted with a Jerico or Tex Racing gearbox? Maybe I am thinking of another car.
6  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: June 11, 2014, 03:24:11 PM
Hi Jon, yes I know what you mean about the 10" wide wheels, but somehow the teams managed to get them to fit with only subtle flaring. CAMS, the Australian governing body for motorsport, allowed 10" wide wheels in the Australian Touring Car Championship from 1970, and so cars that were built from late 1969 onwards, incorporated the new 10" wheel rule into their cars when building them. CAMS also stipulated that the car must maintain the standard silhouette when viewed from side-on, so much care had to be taken. All the photos you have seen of the Bob Jane 1969 ZL1 Camaro are of it fitted with 10" wide wheels. The rear wheel opening required extra sheet metal, but the front fenders were far more modest, as the front tires were smaller than the rears.

To be honest, some of the earlier cars built prior to 1970, which had wider flares grafted on to fit the new wider wheels, did look a bit awkward.

Jon you may recall me telling you about a new historic sedan racing group I'm involved with starting here in NZ. The original SCCA Trans-Am rules you posted on this site were a great help to us in putting the rules together and getting the wording right. The group is called Historic Muscle Cars, and is open to cars of over 3,000cc built prior to December 31, 1977. The rules are a mixture of what was used in New Zealand in period, SCCA Trans-Am, and Australian Improved Production, which is what the two Camaros pictured above were built to.

We decided on a maximum 10" wide wheel, based on the Aussie rules of the period, as New Zealand allowed even wider wheels at the time, and we didn't want to go that far. This is a '67 Camaro that is nearing completion for HMC. Its fitted with 9" wheels on the front, and 10" on the rear. Our rules require a maximum 6.00x15 front and 7.00x15 rear tire. Only very subtle flaring was required. This car is also fitted with Crower mechanical fuel-injection, as we allow period inlet set-ups, and several cars raced in Australia at the time with mechanical fuel-injection.

7  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: June 10, 2014, 11:22:46 PM
This is American A/Sedan and Trans-Am driver Joe Chamberlain in his first Camaro. This car he built from a near new written off road car, for which he paid $1,000. Chamberlain was at quite a disadvantage to the Australian and New Zealand drivers, as his car had a smaller motor and narrower wheels, as it raced in A/Sedan guise. The Aussie cars had 10" wide wheels, as allowed under their rules.

Joe sold this car to local businessman Ian Rorison, who had Kiwi driver Dennis Marwood race it quite successfully for the next couple of years. It was fitted with a 355ci small block the following season, plus wider wheels as allowed under the local rules. It later got chopped up pretty bad, and became quite rough, but has since been restored. After his NZ visit, Joe went back home and built another Camaro, which he also raced in NZ two years later.



8  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: June 10, 2014, 11:11:51 PM
This is the second Australian Camaro of Allan. This is another big block car, a 396. This car has proven a bit of a mystery, as several people have tried to track its whereabouts, but all trails run cold. Its a pity, even though it didn't achieve the race winning performances of some other cars of the era, it was still a significant car. It was also the first road race Camaro in Australasia.

9  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: June 10, 2014, 11:08:06 PM
One of our Roaring Season forum members posted up a few neat old pics from Bay Park Raceway in New Zealand which I thought some of you guys might find interesting. They aren't the cleanest of images, but still nice to see.

The pics are all from the Xmas 1970 event, in which Australian Camaro drivers Bryan Thomson and Terry Allan visited, along with American driver Joe Chamberlain.

This is Thomson in his 427ci big block Camaro. This car was thought to have around 600hp at the time, which was a lot in 1970 for a road race car.

10  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: ARRC - American Road Race of Champions on: February 18, 2014, 11:02:26 PM
Wow, staggering array of classes, and with very healthy grids. The A Sedan entry list looks great, but check out the A and B Production Sports Car fields, as well as the A Sports Racing field! Such impressive line-ups! By chance would you have any race results Jon?




















Bob Sanders Collection, courtesy of Robert Lodewyk
11  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: 45th anniversary of the first Z-28 on: January 03, 2014, 12:46:05 AM
Jon, what is the race history of this car? I see Johnny Moore ran selected Trans-Am rounds following Daytona and Sebring in 1967, and then he also entered Daytona and Sebring again in 1968 in a Camaro. Were the 1968 events in this car?
12  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: 45th anniversary of the first Z-28 on: January 02, 2014, 10:15:12 PM
Wow Jon, that is just beautiful, a real credit to you! And what a hugely significant car. I believe it was one of only 3 or 4 Camaros entered in the first Trans-Am race of the 1967 season?
13  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Thank You Jon on: December 19, 2013, 03:28:19 AM
Jon, I just wanted to extend a huge thank you to you for this amazing forum. The information you've been posting on here is a joy to read, an absolute treasure trove. Many thanks for all your hard work.
14  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: July 08, 2013, 02:53:01 AM
I wanted to share this dramatic photo taken by Bill Pottinger, at the Lady Wigram Trophy event, in early 1970. The Wigram race track, near Christchurch in the South Island, is actually an air force base, at which the annual Lady Wigram Trophy event for single seaters was held from 1949 - 1994. The New Zealand Saloon Car Championship would hold one of its championship rounds at this event each year, being a high profile event which attracted a high number of international teams.

Anyway, this is from one of the three sedan races held at the 1970 event, and shows Rod Coppins in his '67 Camaro being harassed by Paul Fahey in his very quick Alan Mann Racing Escort. Fahey actually won all three races, despite this being a very fast track with lots of space to overtake. But he was sensational that day. But I wanted to post this photo here because Coppins is also trying very hard in the Camaro. Look closely, and you can see both of his back wheels are off the ground as he charges across one of the bumps!

15  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: July 08, 2013, 02:44:00 AM
To the best of my knowledge left hand drive cars didn't actually have to be converted to rhd when imported into Australia in period, its just that many owners chose to convert them to make driving them on the roads easier.
Steve, until (relatively) recently, all LHD cars imported to Australia had to be converted to RHD for road use, but only in certain States and Territories. I think at least Western Australia and the Northern Territory allowed LHD cars to be registered. The Eastern states were not as relaxed!
From around 1999 (at least in my home state), the laws were relaxed to allow vehicles 30 years old, or more, to remain LHD and still be eligible for registration. Hence the steady stream of personal imports of 60's and 70's cars into the country since then, as the previously-prohibitive cost of conversions could be avoided.
However, as far as I know, cars specifically imported for race purposes could remain in LHD configuration, unless they were also intended to be road-registered.

Ahh, thanks for that explanation, that makes sense, and explains why the Terry Allan Camaro remained left hand drive, because it was imported in Australia as a race car. Incidentally, the Norm Beechey black '68 Camaro raced as a left hand drive car, but I've been told it later ended up as a road car. I wonder if this would have been converted to rhd?
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