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1  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: April 13, 2012, 08:02:47 PM
That's good info Jon.

The VIN is a real Catch 22 as I don't think we will learn what it is until we find the car, I've exhausted all possible ways I can think of to find it out; including trying to access the records from the Department of Imports (records don't exist for 67), and looking for the cars official racing log book. That was a challenge as again I faced a Catch 22, The Confederation of Australian Motorsport (CAMS) only issue replacement log books to the owners of the car, new Privacy Laws are making searches for lost race cars bloody difficult. Unless I could prove I currently owned the car they were not going to provide me with the info, even when I explained that the car had been missing for nearly 40 years.

But there are ways, I hounded this poor CAMS guy until he gave up and did a check for me. Unfortunately he confirmed there was no record of the Terry Allan Camaro Log Book in their files, it was 1967-72 and record keeping was a bit hit and miss. I hoped with the VIN info I could check to see it the car had ever been road registered after its racing life which would confirm it had been restored back to a road car.

The Tags are such an important clue but how to find out what they were is a frustrating secret to unearth.
2  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: April 13, 2012, 09:30:10 AM
Hey Jon

I'm partial to originality as well, I saw a nice set of L89 heads on Ebay the other day, but boy they were not cheap for bare heads without valves and springs. Interestingly I've found a guy who has 2 yes 2 427 ZL1 engines just lying around over here in Australia, but I don't think I could touch what he would want for one of those.

I only know about the Nickey Chevrolet link from Terry's mechanic Wayne Mahnken who told me that Terry brought the car from them in Chicago. There's just no existing documents that I know of that can confirm it, just the advice from Wayne. If we can one day track down the tag numbers we might be able to trace it back to the dealership? It seems make sense that he could have got onto Bill Thomas Race Cars to competition prepare the Camaro via their partnership link with Nickey. Its just hard to prove as there is not many left to ask other than Wayne, being there from the start as Terry's first mechanic on the Camaro his information should be accurate.

I did send a PM to the administrator of the Nickey Cars website asking if he could help trace the car Terry purchased in 67, can't recall his name at the moment but he never did bother responding. Probably thought I was from that european country Austria.....
3  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: April 11, 2012, 07:16:40 AM
He's an interesting question that I was asked yesterday in conversation about the history of Terry's Camaro.  As it was purchased directly from Nickey Chevrolet as a 327 small block car and then sent to Bill Thomas Race cars and converted to a big block with Z28 options, does this make it a "Nickey Car".

I don't know the answer and would be interested in peoples thoughts, I hadn't considered it before until I was asked the question.

I understand Bill Thomas was in partnership with Nickey Chevrolet in 67 and completed some of the big block "Nickey Car" conversions at his workshop. Are race specials like this classed as "Nickey Cars"

I certainly don't want to suggest Uncle Terry's Camaro was something that it is not, it certainly didn't have Nickey identification on it from what I have found.

An interesting question indeed.
4  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: April 11, 2012, 06:59:50 AM
Good question Jon and I'm not sure of the answer just yet so I will ask the more seasoned and experienced on the Roaring Season forum. Although I suspect you are right in that for 67 there may have been a capacity limit that restricted the car to the 396. Thinking about it Australian Touring Cars are a production based series which means cars must be homologated by the national racing body CAMS, production based rules usually specified the the engines must be based on a production block sold to to the public. Now I now the 396 was a Chevrolet production engine in 67 and I'm sure it was available in Australia through GM Holden. Am I correct that the 427 was a special option through just a limited number of dealerships (Yenko, Dana, Nickey etc), if so that might have ruled it out in 67 as a production engine option in the Australian market, hence Terry would not have been able to run it in the ATCC. Only a theory, and interestingly a fellow competitor of Terry's, Brian Thompson, did complete in a 68 Camaro with a L88 in 69-71. This car was an ex drag car, I think from memory Steve Holmes posted some photos of the car at the start of this thread.

I know the rules had started to change by the time Thompson started running his 68 L88, Terry was running the 10" minilite wheels, rear disc brakes and fully floating locker diff. The bg boy, Jane, Moffat and Beechey were also running big capacity rocket ships as well. Jane with the 69 ZL1 Camaro and Moffat with the famous Coke Mustang. Off track a little I was talking to a guy just last night who told me all about Bob Jane's 2 ZL1 Camaro's (he had two, 1 manual and 1 auto) and how he came about buying them, interesting story. 

Anyway I will ask so questions and get back with an answer and not a best guess. Oh it would also be interesting to hear from Ron Ogilvie on this, his memory on Terry's time at Bill Thomas Race Cars is amazing, maybe he can recall what Terry's thoughts were on the 396.

To answer your suggestion about us running a 427 instead of a 396 in the tribute car, honestly Jon I would be guided by people like yourself who are far more experienced in big block engines than I admit to being at the moment. My engine building experience is currently limited to ford and GM Holden small blocks V8's so its all new ground. I really like the idea of a stinking hot TRACO spec 302, they sound like one hell of a nice engine and ideal for our Australian race tracks but to be a true tribute car I think it just has to be a big block. I would be interested in your member thoughts on the pros and cons of 396 against 427. What I would do no matter what is run alloy heads and manifold to keep the weight down. Terry's car had a dry sump system towards the end of its racing so we would also go with that to balance the weight at the rear and to ensure it will be bullet proof.

So my thoughts at this stage are 4 bolt block, alloy heads, roller cam and as much compression ratio as possible but still be a reliable race motor - bet that's never been thought of before......). No point in reinventing the wheel so if you have been there before I would love to hear your advice about what to run. Don't hesitate to have a say......
 
 
5  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: March 31, 2012, 03:38:56 AM
Here is something that members of CRG might like to watch.

This is a youtube video of 8mm film from the 1967 Symmons Plains Touring Car race, it shows Terry and the Camaro running through the back straight sweeper. Symmons Plains which is in my home State of Tasmania would have suited the big blocks hp, but it is also very hard on brakes so after 5 laps it would have been exciting to stop.

The footage also shows Ian "Pete" Geoghegan in his No.1 Mustang. The blue 2 door coupe is a Holden Monaro for those wondering, a popular Aussie muscle car of the day, most running 327 chev power. The Monaro was later made famous by winning the Australian Touring Car championship in the hands of Norm Beechey.

Enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZhOb3BmOAU

6  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: March 31, 2012, 03:10:07 AM
Not sure about the Pro-Am thing Jon to be honest, I found this following paragraph from a story by a friend of Terry who was describing his early racing career. I presumed Pro-Am was a US racing series that had professionals and amateurs drivers racing together!?!  Maybe he had Pro-Am confused with Trans-Am, when did Trans-Am start by the way and would Lotus Cortina's been in the mix in 65-66? Come to think of it maybe thats why nothing ever came up when I tried to researched Terry and Pro-Am racing on the Web........

After Terry bought Brian Muir's S4 (and repainted it Scuderia Veloce orange/red instead of the mid green Brian had it), he then bought a Lotus Cortina from Allan Moffat, and I had the pleasure of a hot lap at Calder in it. The plan was to join Moff in USA in the Pro-Am series. Unfortunately, Moffat cabled soon after to say not to come as there was not enough money to make it viable".
7  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: March 30, 2012, 06:05:43 PM
Good question Jon, I would loved to have asked him more about his racing while he was still with us but regretfully we lost contact for a long time while he travelled the world.

My best guess is that he just enjoyed the buzz the car must have brought trying to tame it, it certainly was popular with the Aussie racing crowds from what I can tell, plenty of people have got in touch to say they can still clearly remember it roaring around the tracks and it was an awesome sight and sound. It was arguably one of the first big banger race cars in Australia and could be said to have started the push for big cubes and power by the other teams, there were small block Mustangs, Sprints and Monaro's competing against it. Big block cars were popular in drag racing but the small blocks dominated circuit racing at the time.

One other reason might have been that Terry just thought it was his best chance to compete against the big players of the day, Allan Moffat, Ian Geoghegan, Norm Beechey and Bob Jane were absolute guns and hard to beat on driving talent alone. With the 396 he certainly had the bhp to keep up if not stay ahead in the early stages of the sprit races. There were days that he beat some of these legends of Australian motorsport in the Camaro. It wasn't until Beechey, Jane and Moffat started to run high HP machinery that the Camaro just got left behind.

I do also find it strange that I can't find reference to the 302 Trans Am engine being at least tried in the car. One reason could be that Aussie Touring Car rules did not permit stripped out light weight race cars like in Trans Am so maybe the thought was the cars weight would not suit the high revving 302. I have read reference to Terry saying he was getting 545bhp from the 396, I imagine it would be had to let that go in what was a heavy car. Aussie Touring cars of the time were basically a production car with very limited modifications allowed, heavy and hard to drive, certainly not as pure bred as the light weight Sunoco Trans Am Camaro's that raced with the 302 in the US. Just a theory..!?!

What is interesting as I mentioned is that Terry's race mechanic Wayne Mahnken had never heard about the 302 Trans Am engine, he was there in 67 and setup the 396's quad webber setup so for him to not know about the 302 suggests it was maybe sold off as soon as the Camaro landed in Australia. One thought is that he actually brought it over for another competitor but thats just speculation.

Steve Holmes did reference Terry saying he was considering going to the US in early 71 to purchase a small block for the Camaro, he had just started to have mechanical issues with the 396 in New Zealand (piston failure I recall). This also suggests that the Trans Am 302 had long gone somewhere else. He ran the car with the 396 at the Symmons Plains Australian Touring Car Championship event for the last time in early 71, again having engine dramas, the car was sold off later that year. I did find an article that said he sold a light weight 350 chev to another Camaro competitor after he had sold his car so maybe he did start to go down that track but never got to try it.

Interestingly he left Australia after selling the Camaro and went racing in the US, where and what in we just don't know? My parents call recall he had a huge accident over there somewhere and almost lost his arm, his mother Lucy travelled to the US to help with his rehabilitation. What he racing he did I haven't been able find out, my thoughts are Pro Am as he did try for that with Allan Moffat in 66 before returning to Australia with the Camaro for 67. Just a best guess.
8  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: March 30, 2012, 04:08:22 AM
Thanks Jon I appreciate that, we might be able to fabricate a replica if we don't find any information on the original, one advantage of working for a technical college is that there are plenty of skilled tradesman to use for these kinds of projects.

Its been quiet interesting researching Uncles Terry's adventures in the Camaro, I managed to source some of the race reports from the 67-71 years that he ran the car. What's certainly apparent from these articles is that it was a wild and temperamental race car. He struggled with chassis handling and brakes in the early 67-68 races, the car being awesome on the straights blowing by most other cars it was up against but cornering and stopping the big block usually ended in tears. In most races he forced his way to the front but lost it under braking or cornering after 3-4 laps. The cars suspension was eventually modified quiet extensively by an Australian chassis tuning specialist and photos after that clearly show the car behaving much better.

Although he slowly tuned the chassis into Australian touring car racing, bad luck seemed always to be his best competitor, on numerous occasions mechanical failure stopped short his races. Just some examples being a ruptured fuel tank while in second, the fumes being so bad that Terry blacked out when returning to the pits. Another failure was an exploding clutch and flywheel with some pieces coming through the firewall and hitting him in the leg. I've discovered a great sequence of photo's of the car spinning on three wheels on the back straight of Sandown Raceway when a left rear axle flange sheared off while Terry was warming up for a qualifying run.

He did win on occasions and was also successful in an invitation event overseas in New Zealand, he actually raced there a number of times, being quiet popular with the big Camaro.

Towards the end of his racing career with the car in 70-71 the big block started to have regular failures, spare parts lists in his advertisements when the car was for sale indicated damaged cranks, pistons and rods. By the end of 71 the car was a heavily modified race car, it was running 10" minilite magnesium race wheels, full floater locker diff, aluminium fuel cell, rear disc brakes, and full roll cage. Interestingly he persisted with the 396, I can't find any reference to him running the Bill Thomas Trans Am 302 that he brought over from the US bolted where the passenger seat was removed.This mystery engine that Ron Ogilvie told us was sent with the car just disappeared. Terry's first race mechanic told me he didn't know anything about it.

I've managed to talk with Graeme Blanchard who brought the car off Terry in 71 and he told me that the 396 block showed signs of major damage with welding repairs all over it. He ran with the big block for a while, (scared the hell out of him at times) but eventually gave up on it and replaced it with a 350 small block. Graeme was the last to race the car, he ran it until 72 when it was sold to a guy called Lakis Manticas, who was a successful mini racer. Manticas stripped the car of its race components and sold it as a roller to drag racer Barry Wearing. Barry who is a lovely bloke can't recall where the car went to after he sold the roller in 74, its being missing in action since then.

So lots of history but no car, yet...! we will keep looking.
9  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: March 28, 2012, 10:20:13 PM
Cheers Bob

I will take a look at what you have suggested, actually the idea of running a similar look injection setup wouldn't be such a bad option.

If you are interested in some of what we have found about Terry Camaro here is the a link to the thread on The Roaring Season

http://www.theroaringseason.com/showthread.php?256-Does-anyone-know-what-happened-to-the-Barry-Wearing-67-Z28-SS-Camaro-sold-in-74-75

 
10  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: March 28, 2012, 07:52:53 PM
Hi Jon and everyone at CRG, its been a while so I thought I would update you on the search for the Terry Allan Camaro.

No good news at this stage but we have been chasing some leads and won't stop trying. We have however uncovered some amazing new photo's and even video footage of Terry running the big block which has been exciting Smiley

In other news we are looking at building a tribute car to get it out on some of the historic race meetings being run around Australia, they have become very popular recently. The idea is also that if we are successful at finding terry's car one day the running gear in the tribute car can be used to restore the original, it was stripped of its race gear in 74 so it would require running gear anyway.

Members of CRG can help with this, I'm trying to source info on if the unique quad weber manifold as shown in the attached photo is available somewhere. Ron Ogilvie identified it as possibly a Briar MacKay item, Bill Thomas Race Cars were testing a similar unit when Terry was at the workshop getting his Camaro race prepared. So it is logical he saw it running and had a similar setup fitted back in Australia. His original Race mechanic Wayne Mahnken has told me that he had the manifold fabricated to fit the big block 396 in Aus, lookes as if it uses a fabricated steel base plate with the MacKay alloy cross overs.

If anyone can help me with info on where I can find one I would like to here from you, it would be a must for any tribute car we build.

11  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: August 22, 2011, 11:14:53 PM
Hi Jon,

Thanks for the update, aren't these great photo's for the day (67) its amazing what people have got stored away in photo albums that never see the light of day.

I will contact Wayne Mahnken, Terry's first race mechanic, and ask him about the brake modifications. There was a special remote brake booster available aftermarket in Australia so it could be one of these that was used.  A lot of people use them when converting older drum brake setups to disc.
 
I'll let you know what I find out.

12  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: August 19, 2011, 07:09:25 PM
Cheers for the welcome Jon.

Here are some photos of the Camaro in its first years of racing in Australia and Tasmania, Its pretty much in the same spec as completed by Bill Thomas Races Cars in 67. The very first photo of it when it landed in Australia on the docks in Sydney indicate it was all red as suggested by Ron Ogilvie, Uncle Terry must have had the white stripes painted on prior to his first races, he also added the alloy front brake ducts which look very well made compared to other example of the era I've seen.

I'm not sure if the exhaust system, looks like twin RH & LH side pipes in most race photo's, was added later or installed by Bill Thomas, I must ask Ron next time I get in touch with him. The engine bay shot shows the quad weber 48mm carburettor setup Terry's race mechanic Wayne Mahnken developed, pretty impressive looking setup. Wayne mentioned in one conversation that he had the intake manifold specially made in Australia by a fabricator/engineer. I notice it had the Holley carb fitted back on in later years when it was advertised for sale in 71, by then Wayne had moved on and Terry had another full time race mechanic looking after the race prep.

I would be interested to know from anyone if the remote brake booster as seen in the engine bay shot was a standard modification for big block Camaro's or just a necessity because of the quad weber setup, it does look a tight fit. Are the brake fluid reservoirs a standard items as well, I can't recall seeing similar setups on other Camaro's but I don't pretend to be an expert (just yet anyway), I would be interested in people's comments. If we can't find the original car, we have plans to build a replica and showcase it at historic Aussie race events as a family tribute, so all we can find out the better.

Cheers from Tasmania

13  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds on: August 19, 2011, 04:47:37 AM

Hello to everyone at CRG, what a great discussion forum you have developed. I'm the nephew of Terry Allan whose Camaro has been discussed in this thread, as mentioned by Steve I have actively been trying to track down his lost race car, as well as, find out its build history. It's all been a challenge as it has been "missing in action" since 1974. I have managed to find out quiet a bit of new information about it but as yet not that critical piece that will help me find if it survives. I must thank Jon for replying to my first email, he has been an enormous help and I greatly appreciate it.

Jon kindly passed on the contact details for Ron Ogilvie so I could ask some further questions from his last post. Ron was also kind enough to respond. This is some of what he helped to clarify regarding uncle Terry's Camaro. I thought it worthwhile to share.

Quote
"What I can remember is that your uncle’s car was a standard Camaro that we added several Z28 components that we manufactured at Bill Thomas racecars. I don't believe the car was originally a Z28.It was a standard 327 Camaro, we removed the small block engine and added a Hi-Performance 396 with a 4 barrel Holley Carb, which was standard at the time for the Nickey Camaro, we also added exhaust headers and beefed up the front and rear suspension; added a large capacity fuel tank; upgraded the clutch assemble and rear axles gears".

"I do remember helping Terry pack the inside of that Camaro with everything from sway bars and shocks to sparkplugs. Also we removed the passenger seat and bolted a complete engine in the space where the seat went. Your uncle was torn between using the lighter 302 engine in the standard Trans Am configuration that was successful at the time in the USA and Canada or using the brute horsepower of the 396".
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