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Author Topic: Sig Hansen A/Sedan '68 Camaro  (Read 2442 times)
Jon Mello
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« on: May 11, 2014, 11:10:04 PM »

Sig Hansen built a '68 Camaro for West Coast A/Sedan road racing back around 1970 and, luckily, the car still exists. This thread has been started so that Sig can fill us in on the history of the car as he knows it from back in the day. I've attached the only picture I have of Sig's car but we'll see if he might have some others that he can share.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2014, 01:35:19 PM »

So needless to say, I am pretty happy to see my old Camaro in very good hands and almost ready to race again. I am amazed and honored that the new owner would put my name back on the car too.

At Jon's suggestion, I have attempted a brief history of the car, and how it went from the street to the track. I purchased the car new as a 327ci 4 speed 3:55 positraction, manual steering, no A/C. I then built up a 350ci 4 bolt main engine with Bob Joehnck ported cylinder heads (he also modified the intake and exhaust valves). Headers, Isky cam and Holley 780 cfm. In the interest of weight savings, I removed the back seat, heater and blower, interior carpeting, and all the sound insulation (who needs that stuff anyway?).

Suspension mods included some pieces from Bill Thomas and Dick Guldstrand, and a Dick Guldstrand roll bar for safety.

At that point the car was a pretty quick autocross car although I had to run in the open modified class. I ran Goodyear polyglas tires and race tires would have helped considerably I am sure. Still, I did get Top Time of the Day at the Cambria Time Trials, especially good since it was hosted by the San Luis Obispo Foreign Car Club.

I did take it to a day of drag racing in Santa Maria, and ran a best of 13.2 at 108 with mufflers (Cherry Bombs). Someone mentioned they thought the T/A Camaros might run low 13's, but based on my experience, I bet they were faster than that.

In 1971 a close friend and I crewed for my brother in the 2.5 Challenge series and we attended every race. That was a great time, we finished every race, and his Alfa accumulated enough points to be third behind the Datsun and Alfa Romeo factory teams. Needless to say it was fantastic to be there and watch the Trans Am greats thundering around the great race tracks all over the country. First race was at at Lime Rock in the rain.

When we returned, I kept my VW van that we had lived out of for the race tour as my daily driver, and started work on turning my car into an SCCA A Sedan.

Installed a SCCA legal Dick Guldstrand roll cage and did a bit of a hack job on the fabrication (now that I am a pretty decent MIG and TIG welder, the memory of that makes me cringe a bit) I was hugely relieved to see that the current owner of the car cut it all out and reused it but with proper welding and gusseting details.

I reused the basic 350 engine block and heads, but with new rods, pistons, and 302 forged and shot peened crankshaft. Also installed the optional Z28 camshaft, and a Edelbrock manifold similar to the SY-1, with a 830 cfm SCCA spec Holley carb. That manifold did not work too well at lower rpm, but with the Z28 optional cam had pretty good midrange and top end.

Next up was a conversion to heavy duty 4 wheel disc brakes (J50/J56 ?) from GM heavy duty parts catalog. For some reason the front hubs and inner mating surface of the rotors had a huge amount of runout, so there was some machining required.

I fabricated a Panhard rod and installed rear leaf springs that I ordered based on a recommendation from Dick Guldstrand. Also used offset solid bushings in the front suspension pivots, and other features to improve roll center and bump steer.

I had a set of Magnesium wheels purchased from Washburn as they had more spares than needed, but only used those in the first race after which I took them off to have them Zyglo'd and then mainly raced on the Corvette steel wheels. I mention this since the Australian T/A series uses spec wheels that look a lot like the Mg wheels so it really is "correct" in appearance now.

First race was Riverside Regional in 1972? Q3, finished 2nd, then Laguna Seca 1973 Q1 finished 1st, then Riverside 1973 Q2 finished 1st, then a final race for me at Willow Springs 1974 Q1 finished 1st.

Still have the checkered flags, and a trim ring from the original rallye wheels, but that's it.

Considering all the famous cars that have gone missing over the years, I am amazed (and quite happy) that my modest car survived.

Photos to follow in next post below.



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VHX032
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« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2014, 01:52:42 PM »

So, here are some newsclips and photos relevant to the history of my "Kelsey" Camaro. The local dealer that helped me out was originally "Kelsey and Sons" and then when Frank Kelsey, Sr retired it became Kelsey Chevrolet. Got some parts free, others at cost and they painted the car (Corvette Sunflower Yellow).

First photos are as an "autocross" car. The Cambria newsclip is not very clear, but got Top Time of Day. Track photos are all at Riverside International Raceway Regional/National combined weekend in 1973.

















And below how it looks as of a few days ago in Australia, getting prepared for racing in the Australian "Trans Am" series



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« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2014, 05:34:30 PM »

The new owner in Australia is Grant Wilson who has a pretty solid background in the Australian "Tans Am" series, having successfully campaigned another Camaro with several race wins.

As he has given me the OK to post more photos and mention his name, I'll be adding them as he sends them, I already have a lot of the resto in process that I'll post when I get time to upload them to Photobucket.

In the meantime, here are a couple more (photo trailered up and on the way to Laguna Seca) and the checkered flags from Riverside, Laguna Seca, and Willow Springs that are up on my garage wall right now.




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« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2014, 09:41:19 PM »

Great stuff Mr. Hansen. Thank you for sharing your memories, and look forward to more of them!
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2014, 11:54:33 PM »

Sig, those are some great pics and memorabilia. I believe this car was Grotto Blue when new, correct? Did you buy it through Kelsey or did they just provide the sponsorship?

It looks like Grant has done a really nice job of bringing the car back to life. Looks like the color is a little different though. Your original seems to have looked more like the Bud Moore Mustang color and the new color seems more pure yellow. That's not meant to be a nitpick but just an observation. When you repainted it from blue to yellow, was it Kelsey Chevrolet that wanted the color change or your decision?

I was also curious, is Grant putting the standard grille back in or the RS grille like it got later on?
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« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2014, 12:59:01 AM »

Great looking car Sig.  I'm sure you would have done well in the T/A races.

Do you remember what kind of lap time you turned at Laguna?

Robet Barg
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« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2014, 12:01:42 PM »

Glad you like the photos. I think I'll have time in a week or two to scan more race photos in and upload most of the photos Grant sent me. Yes, he has done a wonderful job with the car.

He would like to bring the car and another Camaro to Laguna Seca Historics sometime in the future, so that would be great.

Original color was Grotto Blue, then Corvette Sunflower Yellow, then some kind of red. Grant media blasted down mostly to bare metal and in several photos to come later you can see the color layers.

If Grant used a sample of the paint to match, it is possible the Sunflower Yellow had faded to the lighter shade. I don't completely trust digital photo processing in maintaining exact color properties, and the shade could be different in person. I am going with the "faded" idea since that makes the car even more "correct" ; )

As far as lap times at Laguna Seca (obviously on the old track) I don't remember with certainty what my best was.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2014, 12:15:46 PM »

Sig, what did you ever do with the mag wheels that didn't end up going back on the car? Below is some initial feedback from the car's second owner Jay Parson's to me when I pointed out this thread to him...

"That first picture of Sig with the trees is at Santa Maria Dragstrip when the car was originally blue. I met Sig thru "GoodBruce" when Sig lived in an old shack of a motel room next door to Bruce's grandmother's house in Pismo Beach, while we all went to Cal Poly. It was bare bones, those days. That car had a lot more really good pieces than Sig recalls.

That trailer happens to be the same trailer that has been hauling your Z cars, Robert's COPO, De Backers Zcar, John Capps AA/FA, Jim Rizzoli's Race Camaro's, and all Jay's cars, dually trucks, crew cabs, over a hundred Mazda RX-7's, concrete water tanks...................since the early 1970's. When Sig built that trailer, he used 1962 Corvair spindles and 13" wheels. That is a true testimonial to his creative engineering talents, that it is still the same Corvair stuff, unchanged today, other than my addition of Datsun 240Z 4 lug wheels (14"). That trailer has a far more interesting history than the race car it came with.

I maybe have some stuff related to the car. Whoever the new owner is, he has done a nice job of restoration, as it looks just like my first trip to Riverside, other than the 8" ralleys."
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« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2014, 02:19:10 PM »

Jon, wheels got sold along the way (joining the list of good vintage parts I wish I still had).

Great to hear comments from Jay. Nice to know the trailer still survives ! I was concerned they had "killed" it when Jay hauled a 20,000 lb + concrete septic tank for his brother (I think he said they had to pump the tires up to about 100psi just to get it to roll). Amazing those Corvair spindles held up to that although I wonder if it now has a bit of negative camber : ).

BTW regarding old layout at Laguna Seca racetrack, Turns 2,3,4 were all really fast. Today's track layout makes a lot more sense. My brother still rides it on his sportbike fairly often. Too bad MotoGP won't be coming back to Laguna, but World Superbike will be in July and SCCA National Runoffs this year.  We attend all the races at COTA now too.

Drove around last year looking for pieces of the old Riverside Track, but only found a remnant of an access road. There are some good websites with overlays and development encroachment over the years.

Sorry for off-topic but that happens.
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« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2014, 02:44:33 PM »

More Riverside photos two about to pass and an AP Corvette I can't catch





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« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2014, 07:00:57 PM »

Don't those tires look *oversize*??  Smiley
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Gary W.  /  69Z28-RS, 72 B 720 cowl console rosewood all tint
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90 ZR1 red/red #246, 90 ZR1 white/gray #2466
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« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2014, 08:03:50 PM »

Regarding "oversize tires" Probably would have worked better with shorter front tires. I was given 4 rear tires that had a weekend of racing on them, and used them front and rear. As you can see from the photo above some folks ran even larger rear tires.

Only relevant rule limits (that I recall anyway) were 8.0"w x 15" dia wheels and a max track width. I much prefer the look of the tires and wheels on the car now of course. Have to say the "red" version had me beat on tire size........yikes.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2014, 08:41:56 AM »

Great photo additions. Thanks for posting those, Sig.

Do you recall who was driving the Corvette or the #4 Camaro? Of the tracks that you raced on, was Riverside your favorite? Did you have a favorite part of the course?

Below is your old trailer, still being put to good use.
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« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2014, 08:43:34 AM »

Sig's original bolt-in rollbar, which appears to be an Autopower item, got installed in the (real) L78 Nova owned by Bruce Steude (who lived next door with Grandma).

Bruce's Nova was featured in both Popular Hot Rodding and Car Craft magazines in June 1972. Body and paint work were done by Sam Foose. Both Sig's Camaro and
Bruce's Nova were daily drivers to Cal Poly in the early '70s and yes, the injection was real on Bruce's car.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2014, 09:42:16 PM »

Great photo additions. Thanks for posting those, Sig.

Do you recall who was driving the Corvette or the #4 Camaro? Of the tracks that you raced on, was Riverside your favorite? Did you have a favorite part of the course?

Below is your old trailer, still being put to good use.

Jon- thank so much for all the "flashes from the past" maybe if there is enough participation, we could start a section on SCCA Club Regional/National cars and move this from the Trans Am section.

Regarding favorite tracks, I would have to say Laguna Seca, and I still enjoy spectating at that track at every opportunity. Anyone who has not made it up for the "Historics" race weekend really should make a point to do that.

My first race weekend there made a pretty good story I think . First off I'll say that I have no pretense or ego about my driving abilities,  and have always felt our best stories in motorsports are when we can make fun of ourselves, so take this account that follows in that humorous context.

I did pretty well in qualifying, being on the pole position with a bunch of BP Corvettes and all of the A Sedans behind me on the grid. After Friday qualifying, we then had a Saturday "qualifying race". In that race, I had a pretty good start and then....heading up after the rise prior to the corkscrew my Camaro skewed sideways about 10 degress or more. At that point I had to correct and ease up on the braking, must have looked pretty bad since I remember seeing the corner workers at the top of the corkscrew running for cover. I was able to "sort of" straighten it out prior to entering the corkscrew but was then sideways in the other direction headed downhill. Somehow straightened it out, got back in control, and was thinking "wow not only did I bring it back but nobody hit me either" that relief was shortlived however as then in the fairly easy left hander after the corkscrew I dropped my right rear tire off and slid off the track in a huge cloud of dirt.....thank goodness everyone behind me made it through although I imagine they were all wondering just what the heck I was doing.....so at that point most sensible folks would have pulled into the pit lane which was conveniently just down the hill from where I slid off the track. But no, that was not to be, somehow I reasoned if the car was still running, I should still keep racing......Unfortunately a fuel pickup issue and a trunk mounted battery that had broken loose resulted in a dnf after one more lap.

Next day was race day, and it seemed that your finishing position in the qualifying race had no relevance to your grid position, which was simply your best lap time up to that point. So as a result., I was still on the pole for A sedan and I think about 3rd overall (combined BP A/S). I was concerned about how I would do on the first lap after the previous day's experience, however I think it was my brother who pointed out that as a result of what happened the day before a) nobody would risk passing me, and b) they would just "wait for me to crash again" (thanks). At any rate I managed to keep it on the track and finished first with a fun battle with a Mustang in second (although he spun off on the last lap which was a bummer).
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« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2014, 10:12:22 PM »

What was more fun, Sig?    Going thru that weekend?  Or reminiscing and telling us all about it now? Smiley
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60 Corvette white/red, 72 Corvette coupe (2), 
90 ZR1 red/red #246, 90 ZR1 white/gray #2466
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« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2014, 10:53:34 PM »

Great story, Sig. Thanks for sharing it. I'm heading up to the Sonoma Historics tomorrow morning and I'll be at the Monterey Historics in August. Maybe I'll see you up at Laguna Seca.
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« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2014, 10:54:53 PM »

What was more fun, Sig?    Going thru that weekend?  Or reminiscing and telling us all about it now? Smiley

Gary-Tough call...well not really, being on the track was a lot of fun for sure but man it was a lot of work involved getting there wasn't it?

BTW notice you have some nice Corvettes. My frequent driver in the spring and summer is my 1964 StingRay which is a basic 327 but very original (in fact I have saved the original parts where I have replaced them).
Also drove it up to the Historics this last year for the Corvette 60th. All those older Corvettes are super easy to work on (just like the Camaros) and parts are reasonably priced too as I am sure you are aware.
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« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2014, 09:21:29 AM »

Great stories!! The Central Valley was/is a great place to be for car people.
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« Reply #20 on: May 18, 2014, 10:41:34 PM »

What was more fun, Sig?    Going thru that weekend?  Or reminiscing and telling us all about it now? Smiley

Gary-Tough call...well not really, being on the track was a lot of fun for sure but man it was a lot of work involved getting there wasn't it?

BTW notice you have some nice Corvettes. My frequent driver in the spring and summer is my 1964 StingRay which is a basic 327 but very original (in fact I have saved the original parts where I have replaced them).
Also drove it up to the Historics this last year for the Corvette 60th. All those older Corvettes are super easy to work on (just like the Camaros) and parts are reasonably priced too as I am sure you are aware.

TOO many corvettes..  and too many cars..  I need to sell some, but it's SO MUCH more fun buying than selling.. Smiley   My '60 model is referred to as the 'X model' in this area, due to it's construction in the early 60's from several wrecked cars.  It has parts from every year Corvette from '56 thru '62.. Smiley    including the floor, firewall and rear clip from a '57 FI race car - approprieatly modified for the '60 tail lights..   My nicest ones are the '69 convertible (44K miles) and the two 90 ZR1's.. low mileage.   I've rebuilt the '72 red coupe totally mechanically, but it is begging me for a nice paint job..  The other '72 is an old custom, with huge flares a wing some kind of large central traction device, staring headlights, and louvers in the fenders (not to mention A/C style restraints).  I had intended to make a slalom/autocross car out of it, but..  it 'sits'..  Does anyone of you need one?  Smiley

PS.  Noted that you attended Cal Tech.  I had an old USAF car bud who went there (Physics I think?).. Boyd Cochran.. who bought a new lime green 70 Challenger T/A, then swapped his 340 sixpak for a built up Hemi from a '66 Satellite... Gotta be the only T/A so modified, and I believe he moved back to the SoCal area after the USAF..  Any chance you know him?
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Gary W.  /  69Z28-RS, 72 B 720 cowl console rosewood all tint
69 Corvette convertible, silver/black 350 hp,
60 Corvette white/red, 72 Corvette coupe (2), 
90 ZR1 red/red #246, 90 ZR1 white/gray #2466
72 El Camino, '55 Nomad, '57 Nomad, '57 B/A Sedan
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« Reply #21 on: May 20, 2014, 10:36:05 AM »

A recent photo, hood installed and window clips back on.

Adding bumpers next to meet certain Australian T/A series rules (I guess).




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Jon Mello
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« Reply #22 on: May 21, 2014, 08:27:19 AM »

Sig, the new owner is doing a nice job. It hasn't looked that good in a long time. Thanks for posting the photo. I look forward to seeing more.
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« Reply #23 on: May 22, 2014, 05:47:24 PM »

Now it needs one of these for the windshield...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bill-Thomas-NEW-FIND-Decal-Sticker-/160995477471?pt=Motors_Car_Truck_Parts_Accessories&hash=item257c1407df&vxp=mtr#ht_515wt_893
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« Reply #24 on: May 22, 2014, 10:31:52 PM »

Got it (they went fast, so maybe he'll make more).

Thanks, that will be a fun surprise for him.
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« Reply #25 on: May 22, 2014, 11:22:46 PM »

Cool, glad you got that for him.
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