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1  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Ideas to share concerning 1:18 '67-'69 GMP Penske Donohue Camaros. on: August 20, 2014, 12:51:23 PM
Thanks Jon,

Some items on the model will be used to form patterns on other material prior to finishing and fitting the same, with the dash cluster chief among these.  I'm hoping to cut or trim some reasonably thin hobby aluminum sheet for the cluster overlay, while for carefully drawing out the checkered pattern and further consultation with regards to photos, mask out and paint over the resultant panel with some appropriately frosted aluminum shade.  It's nice to finally focus on smaller matters versus endlessly mulling how I'll not be able to achieve some satisfying final result without the right rolling stock, the right flare contour reproduction or an appropriately fitted cage. 

...and now for some vintage Trans-Am History Detectives (ala the PBS series mind you)

Although perhaps to be followed up upon with a neat story/photo feature, a fun local discovery was made in relation to the G.G. days ago.  There exist various local sites that have historical interest to the vintage SCCA Trans-Am crowd here across SE Michigan, whereas the most well known might be the original buildings that constitute the Kar Kraft facilities in nearby Brighton, MI.  Of course, if one is sensitive to where the factory Trans-Am Mustangs were first fabricated, this is an important site and worthy of a pilgrimage if you will.  Anyhow, some curiosity existed within myself to seek out the residential property depicted in the period Motor Trend article where the Gray Ghost is being serviced/overhauled between race dates.  Just some suburban split-level in the middle of who knows where, children's bikes scattered about on the lawn up front, etc., while in total the very epitome of a low-buck effort/factory engineers on holiday.  Perhaps not the gates of Ferrari in Modena this, but given what I'm doing, significant enough.  Ownership of the topic on the part of this enthusiast? Check! 

Anyhow, closely reviewing odd copies Competition Press and AUTOWEEK (sorry to shout!) from late '71 I came across a classified advertisement relating that sponsorship would preclude fielding of the west coast races by Team Trans-Action, and that immediately after the MIS contest the Gray Ghost would be available for sale.  A Waterford, MI. address was afforded, while a small photo and telephone number rounded out the ad.  Hmm - was this the old Herb Adams residence, and might this be the property seen in the aforementioned Motor Trend feature story?  A quick visit to the library and research on the property revealed that address particulars had evolved and shifted (town and postal code in particular), whereas apparently the house itself was constructed in 1968 - so far, so good...

Wishing to respect the privacy of others and definitely not intending to telegraph as some confirmed Certified Web Creep, I nevertheless generated some typically scattered and all-but-incoherent MapQuest directions to the property under analysis - this approximately an hour away from where I'm based.  Fun it was to discover an address approximately half a mile away from Waterford Hills Road Racing proper - one could almost (almost) scurry a racing vehicle with open exhaust to the track sans trailer if the dare or wager was sufficient to prompt an attempt, whereas for allowing for the foliage growth, revisions to the property, etc., here indeed was the place.  Within the MT feature photograph the outline and pattern of the chimney seems to constitute the most obvious marker, while this matched exactly... 

Determined not to make a human spectacle of myself, scare children, etc. I did not linger long, although I do believe it would be worth it to compile a small packet of material to afford the current owner insight into some otherwise obscure history while also politely asking permission to reproduce the image, this to be done on some otherwise quiet Waterford Hills race weekend with my model set upon a platform in the foreground.  No strictly high hopes maintained if you will, but hopefully they'd recognize the request as being good natured and construe cooperation as harmless enough.  We'll see then...

Mike K.-
2  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Ideas to share concerning 1:18 '67-'69 GMP Penske Donohue Camaros. on: August 18, 2014, 10:59:22 AM
Thanks for your continued interest,

Indeed - an odd cage configuration.  Perhaps Donohue's mulling about how it would seem a torsionally flexible chassis can perform wonders in the rain (and as mentioned within the space of The Unfair Advantage) is rooted in a faint remembrance of this effort?  

Seen below is the dashboard in place, as well as the seat mount fabricated from sheet plastic and brass wire.  The fiberglass sheet used to plug up corrosion in evidence on the passenger's side floorpan has been roughly created, while the obviously funky angle the pedal assemblies needs to be seen to.  Now the track appears a bit wide front and rear (to be shrunk a bit then), whereas adding a bit of negative camber to the rear suspension will come with the fitting of a better differential assembly complete with the camber adjusting flanges employed for each side.  The fuel inlet is too small, and is slated to be enlarged, etc.  Kind thanks...

Mike K.  

3  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Ideas to share concerning 1:18 '67-'69 GMP Penske Donohue Camaros. on: August 10, 2014, 02:03:44 PM

A more substantive update of the 1:18 Sun Star-based 1964 Pontiac Tempest/1971 SCCA Trans-Am season Gray Ghost this time Ďround.  Glacial pace, yes Ė but hey Ė this isnít just a few parts added plus livery.  

Here a complete roll cage has been fabricated, though fairly simple of shape as can be noted.  An odd design to the extent that no tubes extend rearward past the main hoop.  For careful inspection one might also discern that a rear package shelf has been added complete with shoulder harness pick up points (two), the interior trim panels have been substantially trimmed and narrowed (i.e. necessary to afford clearance for the extent of the roll cage, whereas the dashboard still requires fitting), while GMP Trans-Am Camaro disc brakes have been added complete with dust cap (1:25 oil breathers) and axle end detail (GM-specific and scratch built).  Looking a bit meek in the style of early spot/single piston caliper/solid discs, Iíve doubled them up (these having been reproduced in resin) and hope soon to add ventilation detail for use of a tiny rectangular section file.  Proper caliper mounts and calipers to come.  Track has been increased front and rear for adjustment facilitated for the redesign of how everything is mounted.  A 1:18 Lane B.O.P. (Buick/Oldsmobile/Pontiac) differential housing is poised to be clayed up in anticipation of fitting the same to the chassis.  At this point precious little has been done underneath but for a fuel cell housing, hence much to do there.

The bend upward of the cross bar situated just back of the front windshield is reproduced in a manner slightly less pronounced than what is seen on the 1:1 ĎGhost, although this reflects the fact that Iím working with plastic castings versus scale-thinness stampings and such must be accommodated.  Given that the roof must be slightly smashed down even absent the roll cage to properly fit into place along the firewall, know that the dimensions tighten up further when modest pressure is applied forward.  The bars penetrating the floorboards forward will eventually be mated to the frame members consistent with tying the structure together entire.  Know too that the shifter housing/platform is indeed offset a bit  if not bent a bit (versus prim and mounted strictly straight) on the 1:1 racer, the pedal configuration isnít final, whereas the seat rails/mount hasnít yet been fabricated (this being a mock up).  Much floor work Ė especially looking behind the main roll hoop, remains to be done.

All-but-invisible is a new scratch built dual oil filter remote mount situated on the firewall (fifteen parts in total), an odd wet sump oil pan reflecting the choice by Team Trans-Action to recycle select T-G Firebird team parts (here a design used to accommodate 180 degree headers tested in Ď70), as well as revisions done to the fuel cell and fuel delivery system categorically unseen in the trunk.  The seat headrest is now sited with brass rod, while all I had to go on with regards to the configuration of the same is the old Motor Trend image roughly suggesting such.  Lastly, the beginnings of a large Harrison oil cooler to replace the somewhat mousey original GMP Trans-Am Camaro rendition of the same may be viewed resting apart from the model in some photos.  Top and bottom detail needs to be added, whereas the flange/mounting detail is an easy matter to create and yet isnít present within photos.

Fabrication takes time, whereas rendering additions consistent with affording the entire work an organic appearance is a challenge.  Many modifications work best when they canít be strictly detected, whereas configuring a first prototype involves pain.  Kind thanks...

Mike K.

4  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Websites that might be of interest to us on: July 22, 2014, 12:15:03 PM

I was searching for a copy of Steve Smith's 30-odd page title The Trans Am and Corvette chassis: Design, theory, construction from 1975 and stumbled upon a complete scan of the same.  See:

Mike K.

5  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Websites that might be of interest to us on: June 26, 2014, 03:52:31 PM

Another period photographer offering his wares online - this time one Ken Coles.  Some very clear shots from Mid-Ohio '70 through '72, with more contemporary event images if you absolutely must.  Many independent entries seen here.  Worth your time to inspect then.  See:!i=735379425&k=8TWDcKR

Mike K.
6  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Ideas to share concerning 1:18 '67-'69 GMP Penske Donohue Camaros. on: June 14, 2014, 11:52:10 AM

Again, quite a bit of work - albeit largely invisible.  '71 Gray Ghost hood has been laboriously worked over to render its origins invisible - ha! The '64 GTO hood features twin faux hood scoops that had first to be ground down, and then attacked with a sanding block set on edge to comprehensively reduce the remaining 'hills' that formed the raised portion of each, blending the same to the surrounding panel work, etc. A vile task and not for the faint of heart.  Other additions are new resin grilles (cleaner these, better shape, zero warpage, etc.), a new coolant overflow bottle, and rough decal mock up work that, if nothing else, raises my spirits slightly.   

Back to the '70 Titus Firebird - an interior starts to take form.  Much floor detail (contours, stiffening braces stamped-in, etc.) remains to be added.  I must start somewhere though, and hence all the awful cast-in carpeting 'detail' has mercifully been deep-sixed.  No more pedals or pads, whereas a 'consoledectomy' was performed to erase the presence of an undesired detail. Material from a spare chassis was substituted into the hole where the hideous console formerly resided, whereas block sanding again saved matters for it generally looks the business.  A bit too thick of section and too tall though, with the panel work dimensions distorted looking back; i.e. T/G replaced the trans. tunnel body with sheet aluminum rather in the fashion of some gruesome stateside mid-eighties Pro-Stock racer.  A CDI ignition unit is seen forward on the trans tunnel, whereas the rudiments of a roll cage are starting to take form.  Thanks and kind regards...

Mike K
7  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Ideas to share concerning 1:18 '67-'69 GMP Penske Donohue Camaros. on: May 16, 2014, 02:18:02 PM

Nothing profound, but some work to report.  Doubts concerning my ability to create a character line across the top of the shaker hood insert led me to cut up another hood to substitute in material already bearing said character line - a success this.  Seams were visible on the hood run at Laguna Seca, so what is seen here is actually quite good all things considered.  

Continuing on then, the heater core 'bubble' on firewall was removed, a flat plate substituted atop the same space, and an expansion tank fitted w/cap and mount was fabricated and fitted, whereas a pair of GMP Trans-Am Camaro upper control arms have been added reflecting a previous casting effort to capture said detail for reuse.  The upper mounts for the front suspension have been cut off and resited inwards to afford a bit of negative camber - this a near-invisible mod.  

A Lane '68 Firebird alternator has been added, as has the power steering pump found on the same tool.  T/G employed an odd system that provided hydraulic boost for both steering and brakes; i.e. a curiosity this. Lane '68 engine pulleys were cast and cut to reuse the detail on the face of each here atop the stock ERTL pulleys which are crude to say the least.  A '70 GMP GTO Judge will afford this project a radiator, whereas a cast resin GMP Trans-Am Camaro Harrison oil cooler too will be fitted.  The radiators are not seen across the photo images provided, although I do look forward to creating the 'quick change' radiator mount as seen in a single period photo.    

The rear track has been expanded, although no serious work has yet been done on the rear axle assembly which calls for much additional work.  A fuel cell housing, also GMP Trans-Am Camaro-sourced, has been fitted as well as what I took to be tie down points for inspection of the Phillip Larsen image telegraphing such detail.  Some round stock was used for the base of each set against the fuel cell housing proper, whereas the burgundy parts are simply beads that were set in place with glue and with the use of a metal dental pick.  

A new air dam casting was obtained from a friend and more carefully shaped, a set of finned '72 Yat Ming/Road Legends valve covers were cast, cleaned up for oil cap detail erasure (i.e. the sanding down of the caps, and then for dragging a razor saw atop the same detail to match the upraised fin pattern), with the results effectively doubled up to lengthen each to match the cylinder head dimensions. Funny to relate that the effort made on the valve covers will be pulled and simple pressed steel models substituted for I seriously suspect that such is what was run at the first event.  A second mid-season T/G Firebird Trans Am will in time wear these.  Continuing, vents were created on the top of each valve cover looking up and forward, whereas also seen is a washer bottle (square this) that I presume might have been employed as a puke tank or some such.  

Hurst-Airheart hub bearing detail (i.e. shape of the cap) is seen on the rear wheels, whereas the front bearing caps are simply oil breathers reemployed to suggest the shape of the former.  It seems like so little, but a bunch of work in total.  Anything mentioned as cast has generated a mold, hence bits to be added to a product line to come.  Thanks and kind regards to the community...

Mike K.

8  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Sam Posey ..... Racing Legened or unsung Hero ?? on: May 09, 2014, 12:28:40 PM

Of fairly recent vintage, Sam Posey was tapped to scribble brief remembrances of his Trans-Am days for Hagerty Insurance late in 2013.  For those who don't know, Hagerty sends along a brief magazine for those holding policies with them, whereas see the link to access the story online penned by Sam for said publication.  

The sense of desperation felt by the Autodynamics team in the immediate wake of their tech inspection failure at the 1970 Laguna Seca contest seems still better captured here versus elsewhere, whereas if you might obtain a print copy, some 1970 Riverside/Mission Bell 200 photo images may be further perused mixed in with the text and a scattering of contemporary vintage event photos.  Try then:

Mike K.
9  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Sam Posey ..... Racing Legened or unsung Hero ?? on: May 05, 2014, 01:12:59 PM

Indeed quite a fan of his here.  A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, he always seemed to telegraph something extra in his descriptions of his experiences of motor sports, trains, etc.  Very often described as loquacious then.  Brief Penske history in '68 (a sobering and clarifying experience for Sam surely), Shelby Racing Co. in '69 (final race victory for the team scored), and finally with Ray Caldwell and Autodynamics in '70, his racing autobiography The Mudge Pond Express published in 1976 is an excellent companion piece to Donohue's The Unfair Advantage if those reading haven't had opportunity to peruse the former.  SAE and Bentley (as this message was written) have republished a great many period auto racing titles of note - but sadly not this one. 

Often missed, Sam's contributions to Auto Racing: Magazine of the World's Greatest Sport in the form of the multiple-installment 'The Trans Am Trail' provided detailed and amusing insight into the further travails of the Autodynamics and Chrysler Corp. SCCA Trans-Am effort across the tulmultous '70 season.  If one has only read The Mudge Pond Express with regards to developing an understanding and appreciation of this effort, much delight can be had for reading the CRG thread that contains the Auto Racing series entire.  A gentleman surely and a fine diplomat for the American road racing scene including Group 7/Can-Am, Formula 5000, Trans-Am, etc.  May he be well...

Mike K.
10  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Where to find Trans Am race posters (even reproductions)? on: May 04, 2014, 01:29:43 PM

When searching on eBay, try isolating your search to particular tracks; i.e. 'Riverside', 'Watkins Glen', 'Mid-Ohio' versus simply typing in 'SCCA Trans-Am posters' or some such.  Not every vendor can positively identify the series and include this in their descriptions, whereas broadening matters out here can help to find what you require.  Be methodical, and of course be alert to the painfully common misspelling of 'Donahue' as contrasted to Donohue.  Kind regards...

Mike K.
11  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Ideas to share concerning 1:18 '67-'69 GMP Penske Donohue Camaros. on: May 04, 2014, 12:55:22 PM
Not much to see...

Front flares much reduced in size (notice how tiny they are in the bottommost reference photo), rear flares rebuilt reflecting a need to add more bulk plus allow for the shape of the same to blend into the tumblehome area aft of the rear wheel arch.  Regarding the rear flares, final shaping is needed before the same are cast to backstop my efforts prior to applying the same to the shell, with specific reference to adding material to the top of the flare(s) to ensure the taper into the body is wholly done with filler. I'd also like to thin the flares a bit internally, perhaps reducing the overall thickness by two-thirds if at all possible.

Continuing then, the front valance panel has been filed to open up the vents just below the grille, whereas the turn signal indicator fill panels have been replaced for repeating the technique of what was done with the headlamps; i.e. a spare shell was used as a mold with resin poured into the resultant pockets to actively redefine what a 'fill panel' might be.  Tedious this, but apparently the only way to go.

Beneath the hood (and in uncomfortable proximity to those terrible dog leg hinges) may be seen a set of Lane '68 Firebird valve covers (the finned cast aluminum models employed by T/G came later in the season), a scratch built Edelbrock ED4 intake, a GMP Trans-Am Camaro Holley carburetor, and a recycled '67 GMP Trans-Am Camaro air cleaner that was otherwise homeless for my efforts to scratch build a '67-model single 4BBL cowl induction air cleaner and associated ductwork.  A cast resin GMP Trans-Am Camaro distributor can just be made out.  Thanks and kind regards...

Mike K.

12  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Ideas to share concerning 1:18 '67-'69 GMP Penske Donohue Camaros. on: April 30, 2014, 01:05:33 PM

Gathering data on the '70 Autodynamics Challenger chassis to inform that effort, whereas a bit more performed here to share now.  All drip rail trim has been flattened and removed, the trailing edge trim has been removed from hood, the C-pillars visually thinned, while door handles from the '72 Road Legends Pontiac Trans Am have been added.  '73 ERTL Trans Am grille surrounds have been added (a bit thinner and better shaped versus the poorly-rendered '70 tool), while these were then combined with the '70 pattern grilles proper. All of this will 'brighten up' with paint as only standard argent grilles were run by T-G reflecting the humble origins of the 350 CID automatic street cars from which they built up their Trans-Am entries.

Continuing, longer exhaust dumps have fabricated, whereas fill panels for the front turn signals fabricated and set in place.  The headlamp pocket fill panels required more work, with a spare shell being employed as a mold of sorts complete with the use of clay 'donuts' around the headlamp pockets to ensure I'd have enough material to reshape to suit my needs across the top of each. A more pronounced front air dam has been fitted that too has been mildly reshaped, whereas the awful license plate location pegs and associated holes and bumps otherwise visible on the front of the model have mercifully been erased. 

Lastly, front flare detail borrowed from my Gray Ghost effort has been reemployed here to begin upon the modest flares that crumpled for contact not so much with other competitors, but rather for a likely misjudgment of how much wheel travel/space was required.  Inspecting period photos suggests T-G Racing had trouble up front right on both sides right across the race weekend.  As for my own, the flares start large, and for adjustments shrink to something approaching what it is I desire for contour and bulk.  Kind regards to the board...

Mike K.
13  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Websites that might be of interest to us on: April 25, 2014, 12:15:08 PM
Given I'm searching for photo archives of interest, this would be the Pete Lyons website that contains about fifty images of interest.  See:

Kind regards to the board...

Mike K.
14  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Ideas to share concerning 1:18 '67-'69 GMP Penske Donohue Camaros. on: April 24, 2014, 05:52:01 PM worries at all,

From what I could discern from the David Friedman collection/Laguna Seca event images it appears that like Chaparral, T-G Racing appeared at Laguna Seca 1970 tech. with all the factory spoilers fitted to their entry.  Upon tech. refusal to recognize the same as homologated, off came everything.  It seems T-G must have replaced the front fenders for the air extractor vents vanished entirely, although they did stop short of replacing the hood stamping for only a plug fabricated on site seems to occupy the space of the shaker. I'm pleased I'll not have to deal with disguising seams, etc. for such would be that much harder to reproduce in scale.

Given it was an open area, T-G tried to fabricate an aluminum front spoiler that seemed large, ungainly, and somewhat suspect for strength even as it bore a pair of strengthening ribs describing an 'X' in the center.  It appears that this rough spoiler may have been employed in qualifying.  Soon this hasty addition came off, whereas the team settled for retaining the center element of the stock front spoiler when race time arrived.

As for myself, I expect to have to reproduce holes on the deck lid and quarter panels where the rear spoiler would have been affixed, and perhaps add a character line to the center of the shaker hood plug if photo images might be found to confirm the existence of such detail. Kind thanks and know I appreciate all visitors and comments whereever such banter might go...

Mike K.
15  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Firebird and the Trans-Am series on: April 23, 2014, 04:10:41 PM

Now for something completely different!  See link to pdf file of a Japanese motor racing magazine examination of the '69 T-G Racing Firebird Trans Am/SCCA Trans-Am effort.  I'd never seen the photo image depicting a Superbird/Charger Daytona high wing (plus discreet vents/bubbles on the top of each fender consistent with reproducing the concept entire) on the 1969 prototype before, hence something surely to mull.  Wait! - when was the Charger Daytona developed, and who was Paul Lamar befriending and chumming around with in period?  Fun regardless, and an alternative conception of Stardust memories...

Mike K.
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