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76  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: May 05, 2012, 12:26:37 AM
As did Gardners. Fortunately both cars only received minor bodywork damage, and both were back racing again the following weekend at Pukekohe:

77  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: May 05, 2012, 12:24:50 AM
Chamberlains Bay Park visit ended in the fence:

78  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: May 05, 2012, 12:23:12 AM
Here is Rod Coppins in the T/G Racing built Firebird which Ron Grable brought out in late 1971. As you know, current owner Bruce Thompson has done a beautiful job restoring this car, and to this colour scheme, this being the season Coppins won the NZ Saloon Car Championship with it:

79  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: May 05, 2012, 12:20:18 AM
Frank Gardner, getting ready to go into battle:

80  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: May 05, 2012, 12:18:58 AM
Joe Chamberlains Camaro:

81  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: May 05, 2012, 12:17:39 AM
Another start line photo, this time with Geoghegans Falcon at the front. Thats Kiwi Red Dawsons Camaro being Gardner:

82  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: May 05, 2012, 12:11:56 AM
In late 1972, the Bay Park and Pukekohe race promoters dug deep into their pockets, and brought out several international sedan drivers and cars for the big Bay Park Christmas meeting, and the New Zealand International Grand Prix meeting at Pukekohe, the two events being just one week apart. The drivers/cars included Frank Gardner, who brought with him his 1967 Camaro, which he'd been racing in Britain and Europe, run by Adrian Chambers, and backed by SCA Freight. For 1972, Gardners new 2nd Gen Camaro arrived, so the '67 became surplus to requirements. So Gardner shipped it down to NZ, where he was extremely competitive against the top Kiwi and Aussie race teams.

As well as Gardner, Joe Chamberlain returned from the US, with the second of the two '69 Trans-Am Camaros he'd built, the first being posted above, which he'd brought here in 1970, and sold. Chamberlains Camaro was backed by American Airlines for its NZ races, and it looked fantastic in red/white/blue. The previous year Ron Grable had brought out one of the T/G Racing Firebirds for which American Airlines sponsorship was also obtained, this being arranged locally.

There were also two Australians, or, at least, two teams from Australia. One of these was Allan Moffat in his very special Kar-Kraft built '69 Boss Mustang, the other being Pete Geoghegan, in his XY 'Super Falcon', which boasted an impressive 620hp fuel injected 351, and was tricked out with a vast list of hand built magnesium parts. These photos are all from the Bay Park event.

This photo shows Gardner and Moffat on the front row:

83  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: May 04, 2012, 11:55:58 PM
Thanks Jon, thats much appreciated. Its really the only choice we have down here, not ideal, but we don't have enough of the original cars. In that respect, you're very fortunate in the US to have the quantities of cars that you can field a full grid of genuine Trans-Am cars, and its wonderful that there are enough owners prepared to actually race them. I know the races are about enjoying the cars themselves, and not about the actual race results, but its really the spectacle of being able to see these cars being given a good workout that matters.

I put together a website for the Historic Muscle Cars group, there are a couple of pages that still need completion, but you may find the 'History' page of interest, as I've put together a brief timeline of how the popularity of US racing sedans grew here during the late '60s and early '70s: www.historicmusclecars.co.nz
84  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: May 03, 2012, 06:14:24 PM
Here in New Zealand, as with Australia, because of our much smaller population, there weren't anything near the number of big bore sedans built during the late 1960s and early '70s period, and the cars that were racing back then are now cherished pieces, and rarely, if ever, actually raced. So unfortunately it just isn't possible to be able to bring together a field of these historic cars as you guys are able to do there in the US. Therefore, our only option is to create a set of regulations which, as closely as possible, captures the spirit of the cars that created history for us, and allow people to build cars to go historic racing with.

In Australia, the Confederation for Australian Motor Sport has had in place for many years, its Historic Group Na, Nb, and Nc regulations. Na is essentially the internationally recognised FIA Appendix J regulations, while Nb and Nc are Australian creations, that fall somewhere in between the Standard Production and Improved Production rules they used in period.

Here in New Zealand, Dale Mathers, Tony Roberts, and myself have worked about creating a historic racing class using rules created in the early 1980s by Motorsport New Zealand for historic sedan racing, but we've then worked them over to make the cars as similar as possible to what raced here during the late '60s and early '70s. So wheel sizes up to 15" x 10" are allowed, as is mechanical fuel injection or multiple carbs, which were allowed here in period. The class is called Historic Muscle Cars. It really isn't a racing class, as there is no emphasis on winning races, there is no championship, no points etc, its really just been created for enthusiasts who wish to build and enjoy the types of cars that created history here in NZ. Our history is quite a mix, as our big summer events usually saw several international teams and drivers bringing their cars here to race, with sedan teams coming from Australia, the US, and England.

To create that tie between our sedan racing history, and what we're doing with HMC, we've celebrated the drivers and cars of our past. The class officially debuted earlier this year, and we had along as special guests, Jim Richards, Paul Fahey, and Dennis Marwood. We set about creating posters for each to sign and give away to enthusiasts at the event, and this here is that which we created for Dennis Marwood, who raced the '69 Camaro Trans-Am car Joe Chamberlain brought out here in late 1970. This was Joe's first Trans-Am Camaro, his second he also brought with him in late 1972, but then took home with him again, and this is now a well known car within the Historic Trans-Am group.

Ideally we'd love to have enough original cars that we could bring them all together as you're fortunate to be able to do in the US, but for us, this is the next best thing.

85  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: May 03, 2012, 05:46:02 PM
Thnaks Jon, much appreciated. I'd say that perhaps once I might have had a little talent as an artist, but I've not painted anything for several years, other than a couple of rooms in our house, and there certainly wasn't much skill required doing those!

The Beechey Chevy II was indeed a neat car, and one with plenty of character. The above photo is of it in its final (1968) colour scheme. It was a very dark blue with white stripes when it first appeared in 1966, and was then painted black with red and yellow stripes in 1967, which is the colour its been restored to.
86  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: May 02, 2012, 07:46:31 PM
I had completely forgotten I'd done this oil painting several years ago of the Beechey Chevy II being chased by Pete Geoghegan at the 1967 ATCC at Lakeside. David Bowden owns the Beechey Chevy II now, and also owns the painting.

87  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: May 02, 2012, 05:30:54 PM
Nope, no weight break. Beechey had strong General Motors ties, and other than racing a Mustang in 1965, had mostly stuck with GM products, be they Australian or US. He raced the first Mustang in Australia in 1965, but with Pete Geoghegan and Bob Jane soon joining him with similar cars that were a little more competitive, he switched back to a GM product in 1966, and I think he considered the best option at the time to be the Chevy II.

Although the drums halted his charge at Bathurst in 1966, to the best of my knowledge brakes were never an issue with the car. Bathurst has a very long downhill straight with a tight left hand 90 degree bend at the bottom, so brakes are important there, but elsewhere the car was a match for the Mustangs. It had a good deal more power than the Mustangs too, and really, the overall package is a pretty good one, being not a lot different to the Camaro.

Also, its possible he could have been granted permission to fit disc brakes by CAMS at some point too, but I know he had drums all-round in 1966.

I always found the choice of steel wheels to be odd, but he also raced the car regularly with 5-spoke wheels, so its interesting he switched back to the steel wheels for its NZ races. 

88  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: May 02, 2012, 04:18:39 PM
Yes I have to agree Jon, it does seem an unlikely choice for a road race car, and whats more, it raced with 4-wheel drum brakes and in the picture posted above, steel wheels! But Beechey got it to work very well, and it was leading the single race ATCC at Bathurst in 1966 until it ran out of brakes, and was leading the single race ATCC in 1967 at Lakeside until a front tyre blew out.

What I've never understood though, is that Beechey built a '68 Camaro which first appeared in early 1968, and was running well in the '68 ATCC until a mechanical problem stopped him. The Camaro was clearly a better car than the Nova, but he only raced the Camaro on four occasions, as a stop-gap before his Australian Holden HK Monaro was ready for the 1969 season. But rather than take the Camaro to NZ at the end of 1968, he took the Nova.
89  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: May 01, 2012, 05:51:12 PM
Really great additions to this thread. I thank you for posting those, Steve. Your thoughts on why Terry Allan decided to run the big block are appreciated as well and do seem to have some merit. Why he continued to run it for so long after having so many problems is something I guess we'll never fully understand. The advertisements for Bob Jane's cars are something I hadn't seen before. It's fun to check those out. Prices that were probably steep for the day but anyone would jump at them now. Thanks again.

Thanks Jon. Yes I'd think a modest house could have been purchased for what Jane was asking for either of his Camaros. But both cars found new owners fairly quickly.
90  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: May 01, 2012, 05:49:05 PM
An interesting photo here just added to The Roaring Season by one of our members. This is at Bay Park, December 1968. This being an anti-clockwise race track, the dark blue '67 Mustang of Red Dawson is on pole. This is one of the 26 road race Mustangs built by Shelby in 1967. In the middle is visiting Australian Norm Beechey in his Chevy Nova, while nearest the camera is Paul Fahey in his Shelby built '66 Mustang. Second row is Spencer Black in his '67 Camaro which is shown elsewhere in this thread, being later owned and raced by Rod Coppins. Nearest camera on the second row is Scott Wiseman in his Jaguar, which had an interesting rear suspension mounted aerofoil which sat way up above the car. Wiseman had recently returned to NZ having crewed on race teams in the UK. Sadly he was confined to a wheelchair in the early 1970s when hit by a drunk driver while out riding his motorbike.

The three cars on the front row were all in the David Bowden collection in Australia up until just a few years ago when they sold the Dawson car back to a New Zealand enthusiast who is currently restoring it back to as its shown here.

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