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Author Topic: The Inside Story of Campaigning an Independent ’67 Camaro in the Trans Am  (Read 1700 times)
satman
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« on: March 20, 2014, 12:04:01 PM »

Here is a link to a podcast interview that I recently did with Robert Kibbe of The Muscle Car Place .....

AL


http://www.themusclecarplace.com/tmcp-206-al-richards-the-inside-story-of-campaigning-his-independent-67-camaro-in-the-trans-am-series
« Last Edit: March 20, 2014, 10:41:23 PM by Jon Mello » Logged
Jon Mello
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« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2014, 10:46:51 PM »

Al,

Many thanks for posting that link to the podcast. It was great to hear the story of how you got involved in Trans-Am racing. A big part of why I got this forum started was not just to learn about the cars but to hear stories about the people involved. Your first-hand account from that era is a great addition here. Thanks for your contribution and involvement.
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Jon Mello
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satman
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« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2014, 09:44:12 AM »

Jon,
 Thank you very much for your kind comments............It was too bad the interview was cut short because I really wanted to acknowledge what a great job Robert Barg and the other members of our team did on being  able to do so much on a very meager budget.......... On a quick aside you certainly need to be congratulated on doing such a magnificent job with this site and providing a forum to help preserve a very important part of our racing history.
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OG69Z
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« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2014, 10:43:17 AM »

Al, many thanks for sharing your recollections with us. I especially value your hands-on experiences. In this day of commercially "prepped" cars, it is indeed a rare opportunity for all of us to hear from the guy with grease on his hands!
 I personally have many  technical questions to ask about your car. Any memories about weak links in the engine, transmission, or even setting up the rear end would be appreciated. Maybe some suspension tricks too.
Thanks
Robert
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cook_dw
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« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2014, 11:30:57 AM »

Just listened to the interview.  Great podcast!!  You mentioned a youtube video in the interview.?.  Do you have a link to that?
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Darrell Cook
satman
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« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2014, 02:03:11 PM »

Darrell........... The video is a work in progress will keep you posred but here is a link to a small photo album from Sebring.
http://satman.typepad.com/photos/the_transam_series/index.html
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satman
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« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2014, 02:41:11 PM »

Hi Robert.............Where do I start ?? OK engine 302 I presume good rods nitride crank with celvite bearings,forged piston of course the stock ones are fine 427 oil pump baffle oil pan with windage tray......... We used the factory racing cam but they have a lot better now.......... The big weak spots are the cylinder heads they are prone to cracking.

  The front suspension is too easy today ........ http://www.detroitspeed.com/index.html and whatever your budget will allow but shocks springs and solid bushings are a must for optimum handling and buy the biggest sway bar you can find.

The Muncie tranny is pretty bullet proof the only weak spots for us were the transmission ears prone to cracking.

   For the rear again Detroit Speed ............Things to look for are rear springs, possibly a rear sway bar, beefy shackles with solid bushings and Koni shocks........ The weak spot for us was Axel shafts from GM I think they had an issue with the heat treating I hope this helps.

Good luck with your project,

AL   
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OG69Z
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« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2014, 09:00:47 PM »

Al, many thanks for your reply.
Not sure if your Camaro was run with the Corvette disc upgrade, but I thought you might have some thoughts on this.
 I spent today setting up a twelve bolt posi rearend with Corvette discs. The axles were apparently run with no regard for minimum end play to prevent brake pad knock back. Factory JL8 specs call for endplay somewhere around 0.003", these were close to 0.050".

I have shimmed the clutch packs to the max, and used the thickest  C clips I can get on the axle, and the best I can get is 0.007"-0.009". What do you think? Maybe I'm fussing over a few thousandths that really won't even be noticed.
I also upgraded to the 800# "Penske" preload springs. They may be compressing the clutch packs a bit more than the factory 200# springs would. The spring difference may in itself negate the factory recommended spec.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2014, 12:24:15 AM »

Jon,
 Thank you very much for your kind comments............It was too bad the interview was cut short because I really wanted to acknowledge what a great job Robert Barg and the other members of our team did on being  able to do so much on a very meager budget.......... On a quick aside you certainly need to be congratulated on doing such a magnificent job with this site and providing a forum to help preserve a very important part of our racing history.

Thank you, Al. I appreciate your kind words as well. The subject of dry sump engines came up in another thread. Did you guys convert the engine to a dry sump when it started being allowed in Trans-Am in '71 or did you soldier on without it?

I thought I'd include this photo below so the forum members could see you and some of the other guys from your race team...


1971 Lime Rock Trans-Am, L-R Al Richards, Dennis Marks, Robert Barg, & Roy Bean                                    Photo: Robert Barg Collection
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Jon Mello
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satman
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« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2014, 09:06:02 AM »

    Nice work on your rear axle Jon ............... We started out with the factory sintered metalic rear brakes in 69 then Dick was able to find us a set of rotors and calipers from a wrecked Corvette which were a direct bolt on to our 12 bolt rear end. The set up worked well but we were having issues with air in the brake system due to excessive piston clearance in the used calipers. We installed stainless sleeves and that cured our problems.
  We always ran a wet sump with an oil cooler and dual Fram oil filters. As per GM instructions we ran 1 quart over full...... I am firm believer in the old saying if it aint broke don't fix it. I think we ended up buying a set of nice shiny Minolite wheels instead.

Cheers
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2014, 10:12:29 PM »

Good info. Thanks, Al.  How about engine pieces? Do you recall which cam you used? Did you guys port and polish your own heads or buy them from somebody like Crane Cams? Do you recall what brand of headers you used?
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Jon Mello
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satman
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« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2014, 11:02:15 AM »

Hi Jon,
     We did our own head work, nothing fancy just a good  3 angle valve job and mild port and polish. The early heads were prone to cracking but GM came up with the angle port heads in 1970 and that seemed to cure the cracking problems. I had a good relationship with Mark Schwein Rusty Jowetts crew chief and he was a great source of information for us. As you probably know they were pretty tight with Penske so he had the inside track on all the latest set up information.
 The hot set up for heads in the day came from Valley Head Service in LA, I used them on some customer engines and they worked very well but unfortunately my budget would not allow me to use them myself.
 We started out with the factory cam and later we switched over to an aftermarket cam from Engle .........Surprisingly we didn't notice a dramatic improvement in power over the factory cam which was a bit of a surprise . For me the biggest increase in power cam when installed the cross ram manifold in 1970.
  When we were out west for the Riverside race I can remember Mark having one of his engines dyno tested at Traco and  surprisingly they put out nearly as much power as the engines that they were building for team Penske .
  I am pretty sure our headers were Hooker but I think the hot set up would Stahl Headers but again a little to pricey for me.
 
I will attach a couple of pictures of my 69 restoration project .......... I have had the car in storage for over 30 years, hopefully we will get around to finishing it off soon........Cheers
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OG69Z
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« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2014, 07:19:44 PM »

Al, I hope it is just an illusion in the photo, but that #7 piston looks a little far down the bore to be a 3 inch stroke. Especially with the Z/28 emblem I see on your car….. Smiley
Fill us in.
Thanks,
Robert
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satman
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« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2014, 08:58:50 PM »

John a very astute observation on your part, but actually we are just fitting those Hi compression pistons in the blocK LOL .....Besides a very wise man once told me there is no substitutes for cubic inches.......... especially if you are running unleaded fuel.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2014, 08:40:58 AM »

Al, that was Robert (OG69Z) that you meant to reply to in the last response. Anyway, it looks like you will have a fun toy to play around with when you get that Camaro project done.
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Jon Mello
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