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Author Topic: Firebird and the Trans-Am series  (Read 40840 times)
KurtS
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« on: March 08, 2011, 10:47:51 AM »

Pontiac had developed the 303 for the TA series. What happened that they canned it and Pontiac was allow to run with the Chevy 302 instead?
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2011, 04:28:28 PM »

Kurt,

I'm going to see if Bruce (Bruce302) will answer this for you. He's extremely well versed on the subject. His race car started life as a '68 Camaro but was converted by Jerry Titus and T/G Racing into a Firebird. It has a lot of very unique and special pieces on it. There were several "Firebirds" in Trans-Am that started life as Camaros. I'll let him know about your post.
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« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2011, 07:23:09 PM »

I'm not an expert but from what I read the SCCA required 1000 factory built cars available to the public to be legal to race. The 67 Z was only 602 built but the SCCA allowed them to include the SS 350 Camaro to make up the 1000 min.

The SCCA allowed the 302 Chevy in the Firebird because the Chevy engine was used in some Pontiacs in Canada.

In 1970 the rules changed and the SCCA allowed them to de-stroke the factory engine so the 1970 Z/28 and Javlin and Mopar did not have to have a 305 limit on the factory built models.

The SCCA had a bunch of Homologation rules and changed them as needed.
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Bruce302
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« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2011, 07:33:30 PM »

Kurt, re the Camaro 302 powered Firebirds, I will relate what I have gathered from period reports and publications.

The SCCA was very keen to get as many of the auto manufacturers participating in the T/A series. Their own rules stated no destroking of existing production engines was allowed, in order to meet the 5 litre engine size limit.

As Pontiac had nothing close to the 5 litre size limit in a V8, the enterprising Canadian businessman, Terry Godsall proffered a Canadian Firebird.
Canada  has it's own auto industry, and the Pontiac cars were, in the case of some models, re-trimmed and rebadged Chevrolets. In other words, a Canadian Pontiac could be Chevrolet powered from the factory, and it would be very different from it's counterpart.

The SCCA were perhaps a bit quick to accept that a Canadian Firebird could be had with a Z/28 302, but accept it they did. In 1968 Craig Fisher started campaigning a '68 Firebird with the 302, a Muncie transmission, but followed up by a Pontiac rear axle.

 This became the first of a two car team financially backed by Terry Godsall, The second car, driven by Jerry Titus, was an actual Camaro, cosmetically altered to look like a 68 Firebird. This car was initially built by John Ward.

Around this time Pontiac Division knew they had to build a 5 litre engine, and work began on a 303 cubic inch race engine, a version of which was slated to be available as a production option.  According to SCCA regulations, there had to be 1000 production units made and sold, for any item to be homologated.

The Pontiac engineers with help from Al Bartz built several versions of the 303, but it is a long slow road to the chequered flag for any race engine.
The small block Chevrolet had by this time, had the benefit of over 15 years of development work, and it had been tinkered with by literally hundreds of engine builders and racers. The Pontiac team of Titus/Godsall were forced to keep using the 302, both from a lack of development point, and the fact that it still had not reached 1000 production units.
But, the 303 did see some track time in the T/A series, though briefly, and without any significant success.

It was 1972 before the 303 powered Pontiac took a chequered flag, Milt Minter gave the Firebird it's win at Mid Ohio.

Here is a pic of my Titus/Godsall built '69 Firebird,  it had a 303 in it at one point, and it did start life as a '68 Camaro.   

Bruce.

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KurtS
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« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2011, 08:48:22 PM »

I'm aware of the Beaumonts and other Pontiac models with Chevy engines, but where I got confused is all Canadian  Firebirds had Pontiac engines in them.
So it sounds like a fib was told and the SCCA was happy enough to have Pontiac on board that they went with it.

I didn't realize that Pontiac kept working on the 303 into the 70's. I thought they stopped in 69.

Thanks!
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Bruce302
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« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2011, 10:54:23 PM »

I guess there was a little subterfuge in the Canadian 302 Firebird story, but it seemed to suit all concerned to some degree.

The 303 was indeed doing pretty well into the 70's, and there was a 366 ci version in the NASCAR Grand American (Grand Am) series that ran without a restrictor plate.
It was pretty competitive against the 427 ci restrictor plate engines that they ran against. (features of the 303/366 were utilised on the production SD 455 Firebird engines, but i am getting a little of course here)

Buck Baker,  H.B.Bailey, Tiny Lund and even Herb Adams piloted the Nascar versions.

Bruce.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2011, 11:13:47 PM »

As Bruce said, in '68 they used the Chevy engine in the Firebird because of the Canadian loophole, but in '69 things took an even stranger turn. Even though Pontiac had worked up a 303 to fit within the rules, Titus used the '68 grille, hood and side gills on the '69 body to have a sort of hybrid that would allow him to keep using the Chevy in case the 303 did not work and/or was uncompetitive. It didn't work out initially and so he stuck with the Chevy engine and the mutated body style. For 1970, SCCA told them that they had enough of the phony baloney and they needed to run a Pontiac mill in the Pontiac body so that's what they did. They did not have a successful season and in fact Jerry Titus lost his life in a crash at Road America in the middle of the year. His team was working so many long hours trying to make the car competitive that it is believed a part in the steering was not tightened properly and Titus crashed straight into a bridge abutment (which led spectators to the inside of the track). I remember seeing the long skid marks on the track from his crash until 1974, after which we moved out to California.

Pontiac engines have large main bearing diameters which made bearing speeds higher than other engines they had to compete against. I think this was a big problem for them but when SCCA allowed dry sump oiling for the 1971 season, that help Pontiac a lot. Roger Penske was the one who lobbied hard for the dry sump because the AMC engines he was running were also having oiling issues. Roger wisely claimed it was a safety issue, which it technically was if an engine blew and dumped oil in front of a pack of cars come up from behind.

Jerry Titus at the 1969 Riverside Trans-Am

Car Craft magazine photo
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Jon Mello
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Bruce302
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« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2011, 11:06:10 PM »

Here is a photo of Craig Fisher in his Titus/Godsall built '69 Firebird, that he ran for the first part (4 races) of the 1970 season.
These cars were built to equal any of the factory race cars from Ford, Chevrolet or Mopar.
They body shells were all seam welded, then acid dipped, and then the chrome moly roll cage was installed.

All body to sub frame bushes were sold aluminum, the suspension bushes were aluminum with nylon inserts. The front upright was a lengthened custom forged piece that is what we now know as a dropped spindle. This made for zero camber change and thus bump steer and gave the Firebirds a theoretically front line handling capability.
Brakes were GM race brake option code J-56, with the dual pin flanged brake pads, and thicker heat insulators.
The rear end had a frame mounted watts linkage, again supposedly an advantage over the more conventional rear axle mounted system.

Photo courtesy Roger Bolliger,and Henry Ford Museum.

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Bruce302
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« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2011, 03:47:39 AM »

Here is a pic that shows one of the Titus tricks that made engine work a lot easier. The entire front end sheet metal complete with radiator and oil coolers lift off as a unit.
Once the radiator hoses, and the oil lines are disconnected, two quick disconnect pins are released, and the whole front end can be lifted off.
Not the best system for precise panel gaps, but this was not the show circuit, this was semi endurance racing were serious parts swapping was likely to be part of race day.

This pic shows the car with 303 Pontiac engine, reasonably early in the season. The car still uses the American Racing 200 wheels, and the grill is the '69 Trans Am Firebird item that was synonymous with the 303 use.

Pic by Kanji Satoh

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Jon Mello
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« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2011, 11:10:27 AM »

Bruce,

Very interesting photo with the removeable "doghouse" front. Are you aware of what other teams were doing this back then?

-Jon
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Jon Mello
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Bruce302
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« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2011, 03:54:06 AM »

Jon, I haven't seen any other team pics with that removable front, but I have seen a photo of a '69 Penske car that had a tube locator where the front radiator support to subframe bushes would normally be. With a lock pin through that locator, and maybe even the 4 bolts each side at the back of the fenders, it wouldn't be hard to do.
Perhaps it was something that was used back at the garage more so than at the track.

All the teams, and privateers, watched each other very closely. Looking for the latest trick or speed secret. i could say whether Pontiac were first to use this in the T/A series but I very much doubt taht they were the only ones.

Bruce.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2011, 04:38:48 PM »

Thanks, Bruce. Now that you mention that about the '69 Penske Camaro, I do recall seeing that while at the vintage races. A check of the January '70 issue of Car Life magazine also discusses a quickly removeable front clip on the car.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2011, 09:06:07 AM »

Photos of the '68 Craig Fisher Firebird taken around June or July 1968, before the flashier repaint to Godsall yellow/green.

Photo by Gilles Corbeil

Photo by Gilles Corbeil
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2011, 10:04:18 AM »

Great photos!  Too bad not color.
Mike
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2011, 12:37:24 PM »

Well, the Firebird was white at that time so it's kinda like the photos are in color.  Cheesy

Here's a picture taken at Continental Divide Raceway in Colorado in August '68 in the
more familiar paint scheme of this car. Craig Fisher jacking up the car.


Photo: Craig Fisher Collection
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2011, 04:44:24 PM »

Hey Bruce, I'm not sure whose Firebird this might be. Can you fill me in?

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Jon Mello
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« Reply #16 on: June 13, 2011, 03:24:48 AM »

Jon, this appears to be one of the Titus cars, either the car Milt Minter drove, or their 'mule' back up car. It would be very early in the season as they would be hoping to still run the 303 Pontiac engine, but it wasn't yet homologated as 1000 units had not been 'sold'.

There were cars using the '69 Firebird front in testing but I have not seen any race pics of the cars using this front until Craig Fisher ran the Todco entry in the '70 T/A season.
 The wheels don't look like the Minilite but more like the American Racing that was common prior to '69.

There is more information coming out all the time on these cars, so the book is still open.

Bruce.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #17 on: June 14, 2011, 12:07:51 PM »

Bruce, the first race of the '69 season Milt Minter had a T/G Firebird with the '68 style grille and also it had a different paint scheme than the usual white with blue stripes. As you say, I don't think a Firebird raced with the '69 grille until the Craig Fisher car in the 1970 season. This car above, since it had a number on the side, threw me for a little loop since it seems like it may be "race ready" but I don't recall seeing any photos of it on the track.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #18 on: June 18, 2011, 11:24:57 PM »

Another photo, possibly by Kanji Satoh, of an early T/G Firebird (prior to the 1969 Wolverine Trans-Am at Michigan Int'l Speedway)

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Jon Mello
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« Reply #19 on: June 23, 2011, 02:58:40 PM »

Greetings,

Print ad. of 1969/1970 season spec. T/G Racing-built Firebirds from March 14, 1970 issue of AW & CP.  Cover image included to facilitate possible web search for purchase.  Thanks...

Mike K.





M.K.
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Bruce302
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« Reply #20 on: June 23, 2011, 08:37:02 PM »

Jon,
That profile shot of the Firebird looks very much like the one used in an article next to a stock Trans Am, and Jerry between the two. Definitely a first iteration of the race car. Though it looks a bit high in the front it could be minus engine.

Mike, Thank you very much for posting the pics of the T/G car and bus (ex mobile Post office) for sale.  I must try and find a copy of that CP & A.

TRegards,
Bruce. 
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Swede70
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« Reply #21 on: June 24, 2011, 10:43:18 AM »

Greetings Bruce,

Found additional print ad. in April 11, 1970 issue of AW & CP within the space of their normal classifieds without a photograph.  Text reads:

2 TRANS-AM FIREBIRDS with 302 Chevrolet engines built by Jerry Titus for the 1969 season complete with spare engines and fueling apparatus.  Contact Mike Wallace Hol-Arc Ltd. of Dallas, Tex 75209 (214) 357-4694         N.

Hope same might tie somes threads together.  Wishing you well...


Mike K.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #22 on: June 24, 2011, 03:15:46 PM »

Mike, thanks for posting the text from that ad. I can't speak for Bruce but I know I hadn't seen it before. My collection of CP&As from 1970-1972 is not as complete as for the earlier years.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #23 on: June 24, 2011, 03:21:16 PM »

Here is a picture sent to me from Vic Laskorski. Based on the aluminum front spoiler, it appears to be from an early test session for the '70 season. As such, it would seem to be the car that Craig Fisher drove that year. I'm not sure if this is at the end of the pits at Laguna Seca or somewhere else.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #24 on: June 24, 2011, 09:03:03 PM »

Definately not Laguna
Camicia
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Bruce302
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« Reply #25 on: June 25, 2011, 05:52:41 AM »

Jon, Isn't that one of the pics from the japanese article by Kanji Satoh ? It was written around some tire testing session.

There is a very similarly prepared car in the T/G shop with the white fender scoops and taped on headlight covers. My impression is that it was very early in the season, hence the '69 Pontiac front.

Bruce
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #26 on: June 25, 2011, 09:39:11 AM »

The photo was sent without any background information on it so I took my best guess, failing miserably. Funny thing is, when I first started typing I wrote that it appeared to be from a very early test session but I went back and looked at the picture and the aluminum spoiler caught my eye. It is fairly similar to what Craig Fisher's car had at Laguna Seca in 1970. Hence, I went back and changed what I wrote and did a "crash and burn" from there. Thanks guys for keeping me in line.  Cheesy
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« Reply #27 on: June 25, 2011, 03:48:03 PM »

Here is a shot from the "Finelines" article that focused on racing Firebirds. This looks to be very early in the build sequence, the initial cars together, and possibly they were still aiming to run the 303, insufficient 303 engines sold to the public meant it was not homologated, and they again ran the Chevrolet 302 and the '68 Firebird front though with '69 fenders with the full length swage line above the front wheel opening.

Bruce.

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Jon Mello
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« Reply #28 on: June 25, 2011, 03:57:16 PM »

Great photo and information, Bruce, Thanks for posting! So what track do you figure they were testing at in the photo I posted?
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #29 on: June 25, 2011, 05:03:41 PM »

It looks a lot like Stardust raceway in Vegas, but it's been quite some time since I was last there.

This was also around the time Paul Lamar was doing some work on the first gen Firebirds. There is a pic of him with the cars and a very high wing on it.
 
Bruce.
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Swede70
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« Reply #30 on: July 12, 2011, 01:14:47 PM »

Greetings Bruce,

Same Car Craft 'Finelines' article with some other photos (issue is May 1989), plus better resolution scan of For Sale advertisement.  Hope this comes out!  Will send For Sale item across as a JPEG, sorry to be slack here.

Mike K.


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Bruce302
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« Reply #31 on: July 13, 2011, 04:58:28 AM »

Thanks for posting those pics Mike. They contain so many neat details in the construction and interior shots.
As you know we crave this sort of information.

Much appreciated, and you certainly aren't slack.

Regards,
Bruce.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #32 on: September 04, 2011, 12:12:40 PM »

Here is an article from Motor Trend highlighting the 1969 T/G Firebirds...





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Jon Mello
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« Reply #33 on: September 10, 2011, 11:48:53 PM »

Here's another article on the Jerry Titus Firebirds. This one is from my May '69 issue of Motorcade magazine.


























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Jon Mello
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Bruce302
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« Reply #34 on: September 11, 2011, 04:33:05 AM »

That is a neat article Jon, i have seen some of the pics used in another very similar article somewhere.
I notice a few points worth mentioning. T/G were sent engineering mules as the basis for the race cars. these were cars that were used for testing some aspect and never destined to be road registered. If not used for race cars they would have been scrapped.

In one of the pics above of the special taller front spindle you will notice that the top of the Corvette brake caliper mount has to be 'clearanced' to make room for the extra length (height) of the spindle. The parts are pretty much identical to the ones used on the race Camaros, but they were assigned part numbers on the race Firebirds.

So many neat details in the pics,

Thanks for posting those Jon.
Bruce.

Further up in the pic of the 303 cubic inch Pontiac, you can also see the locating stub for the radiator support on the front of the frame rails just in front of the roll cage extensions. This was part of the quick removal of the entire front end sheetmetal to make servicing and engine changes quicker.

I see they had their tall (but not as tall at Penske) fueling tower built before the start of the season.
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mark x22
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« Reply #35 on: September 11, 2011, 08:01:48 AM »

Do you have any more pictures or information on the rear disc brakes on the Pontiac rear end ?
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Swede70
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« Reply #36 on: September 11, 2011, 12:42:08 PM »

Thank you Jon for this 'new'(!) article,

Motorcade had some terrific SCCA Trans Am features, and the online auction prices for select issues I believe reflects the acclaim for which this content is held.  I've never seen it, and indeed very much appreciate your labors here again.  Thanks...

Mike K.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #37 on: September 11, 2011, 06:41:31 PM »

It's always a bit fun to post something people have not seen before. I'm glad you guys enjoyed that.

As for pictures or info on the Pontiac rear axle, Bruce302 owns one of these '69 Titus Firebirds with most of the original pieces intact. Bruce told me that a website with good knowledge of the BOP axles can be found at http://www.jdrace.com/

Some of it may be conflicting, but this page has specs on the axle that matches his. Bruce states..."I have a 10 bolt rear cover, 12 bolt ring gear bolts, 31 spline axles, and it seems the Olds unit was the primary user of these parts. That is why [Firebird racer] Frank Eggers used the type O axle. Because the type of car these came in was not as regularly used as a serious performance car, the rear end has been neglected. Few have known that there were rear ends with 10 bolt covers [that] had 12 bolt internals. Here is another exchange on the rear ends.  http://forum.jdrace.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=212 "


                    Ring Gear Diameter                    8.875
                    Ring Gear Bolts                         12  (Inspection Cover bolts 10)
                    Ring Gear Bolt Size                    7/16 Left Hand Thread
                    Axle Spline                                31  bolt in
                    Pinion Spline                              29
                    Pinion Diameter                         1.625
                    Axle Shaft Diameter                   1.40
                    
                    Supported Cars:   
                    Car                                        Year
                    Bonneville                                65-70
                    Grand Prix                               65-68
                    Catalina                                   65-70
                    Executive                                 65-70
                    
                    Rebuild Kit Includes:   
                    Part                                        Part Number
                    Carrier Bearing                          LM603049
                    Carrier Bearing (Race)               LM603012
                    Inner Pinion Bearing                   M88048
                    Inner Pinion Bearing (Race)        M88010
                    Outer Pinion Bearing                  M802048
                    Outer Pinion Bearing (Race)        M802011
                    Pinion Seal                                2043
                    
                    Mega Axle Bearing Seal Kit:
                    Axle Bearing (C-Clip)                  5707
                    Axle Seal (c-clip)                        8660S



I can add that Bruce's rear caliper brackets were not the same as those used by the Camaro teams (Corvette right-rear brackets). His brackets are different and, if I remember correctly, are a completely machined piece rather than a casting with some small machined areas. I hope this is helpful.
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« Reply #38 on: September 11, 2011, 07:00:01 PM »

Thanks Jon .
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« Reply #39 on: September 12, 2011, 05:59:33 AM »

Here is a pic of one of the T/G racing rear caliper mounts. It looks to have been milled as opposed to cast. You can see the bearing and collar, the caliper mount bolts to the flange on the end of the axle tube, pressing the bearing into it's seat and retaining the axle, No C clip like the Chev rear axles.



Bruce.
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« Reply #40 on: September 12, 2011, 06:02:03 AM »

One more from a different angle



Bruce.
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« Reply #41 on: September 12, 2011, 03:08:38 PM »

Thank you Bruce for showing us some truly rare pieces.....got any more Cool
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« Reply #42 on: September 12, 2011, 05:22:23 PM »

Great photos, Bruce. Thanks for posting those. Here is the GM bracket for comparison's sake.







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« Reply #43 on: September 13, 2011, 02:45:59 AM »

Here is one of the hybrid rear axle. The centre section is from the Pontiac big cars, like the 455 powered station wagons etc. As Jon pointed out above, they have a 12 bolt ring gear. The axle tubes are from the F body so they are the right width, and have the appropriate mounting points.

The outer wheel bearings have an inner race so don't run directly on the axle shaft. 



This has the extra 'box' added to the rear cover to increase oil capacity. The two tubes are copper and pass fresh air through the middle of the oil.

The second pic is the axle without the extra box added. It also shows the various linkages and bars.


I will try and find a pic of my axle as it is now. These are from period articles.

Bruce.
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« Reply #44 on: September 13, 2011, 02:59:45 AM »

Here is my T/G Firebird rear axle, it is partly restored, i was mocking up the Watts linkage when this was taken.



Bruce.
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Swede70
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« Reply #45 on: September 13, 2011, 10:26:50 AM »

Hello,

Outside of what we've seen, do any other images exist that might capture the appearance of the Watts link center pivot structure built and situated between the rear subframe rails aft of the axle assembly?  It seems vaguely Kar Kraft inspired for having a discernable sheet metal structure versus welded tubes ala the RKE JRT Javelins, although I don't know if what I'm viewing bears structural members within.  A visit to the German Boss 302 Trans Am website allows one to view a photograph of an unrestored '68 KK constructed Mustang, so at the least it seems that they employed a stable design across '68-'70.  Sorry to be cheeky - just a model car enthusiast pondering how and what to fabricate.  Kind regards and thanks everyone for sharing their knowledge and insight.  

Mike K.
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« Reply #46 on: September 13, 2011, 01:32:38 PM »

Mike,  The centre pivot mount is made from square tube that runs between the rear frame rails, and it is covered with aluminum sheet.
I may have a photo somewhere of the frame work without the covers on.

One of the key fabricators of the T/G Firebirds was Jerry Schwartz, he was with Shelby prior to that so it is very possible that shared Mustang build features could cross over from KK and be used later and be very similar.

Bruce.
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« Reply #47 on: September 13, 2011, 04:23:13 PM »

Do you have a picture looking at the end of the axle tube ?
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« Reply #48 on: September 13, 2011, 04:57:52 PM »

Are you asking about whether or not the axle tube tapers down where it meets the 4-bolt flange at the outer end?
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« Reply #49 on: September 13, 2011, 06:52:14 PM »

In post 43Bruce said they used F body tubes . Are they drum brake or Jl8 tubes ?
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« Reply #50 on: September 14, 2011, 12:41:50 AM »

Best way to answer that is show you the pic, looking down on the right hand axle tube and flange.



Bruce.
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« Reply #51 on: September 14, 2011, 01:05:22 AM »

Outside of what we've seen, do any other images exist that might capture the appearance of the Watts link center pivot structure built and situated between the rear subframe rails aft of the axle assembly?

Mike ,  Here is a shot of the underside. It shows the frame work for the Watts centre pivot. The fuel cell is right up against the rearmost part of the frame (closest to the camera) The front (away from camera) and underside are panelled with aluminum.



Bruce.
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« Reply #52 on: September 14, 2011, 09:31:08 AM »

Thank you very much Bruce - this is perfect,

Much better then I hoped, I really appreciate the images and explanations.  Surely I can proceed with fabricating the structure of the same.  It seems when Titus defected from Ford he took some other disaffected personnel away with him, and given the debacle of the '68 Shelby Racing Co. season, little wonder.  Kind regards...

Mike K.
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« Reply #53 on: September 14, 2011, 10:11:54 PM »

Bruce's rear axle tube is not a Camaro piece. Looks to be Pontiac but I'm not sure if it's Firebird or borrowed from something else.

Below are the JL8 bracket and drum brake backing shield. On the JL8 bracket, the distance between the upper pair of holes is 3-3/8" or approximately 86mm.
The bottom pair of holes on the JL8 bracket is the same distance across (3 3/8").
On the Camaro drum brake backing plate, the distance between the upper pair of holes is 3-3/32" or approximately 78.5mm. The lower pair of holes are
closer together and measure 2-21/32" or approximately 67.5mm.



I'm going to take a guess and say Bruce's flange hole pattern is neither one of those and that might be why they had to fabricate their own caliper bracket.
Bruce, if you ever get a chance to measure that bolt pattern, let us know what you find out.
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« Reply #54 on: September 15, 2011, 01:11:36 AM »

All 68-9 Firebird rear axles I have seen have the same large impression in the top of the axle tube just above the spring perch area as shown in the picture above. This appears to be to give the rear end more movement before it hit the rubber stops mounted on the frame rail. The 67 Firebird rears do not have this impression. The center section also has the round mounts for the bushings to mount the upper control arms used with a coil spring application. These are left empty on the Firebird applications. I do not see these in the pictures so either they were cut off or the center cast section is from another application. If the carrier has a 12 bolt ring gear then that is what I would suspect.

The standard Firebird used the smaller 4 bolt pattern to mount the backing plate, same as the Camaro. My guess is that is why they fabricated their own mounts. Since the standard Firebird used the retainer style axle bearings the axle tube does not have the same "dip" as seen in the standard Camaro rear ends. The "service package" JL-8 rear had the larger diameter axle bearings and thus did not have the "dip" near the end of the tube Grin. Both production and service package Camaro JL-8 rears utilized the larger bolt patten because they were adapting the Corvette brakes. Measurements from Bruce will tell us more.

The
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« Reply #55 on: September 15, 2011, 03:34:30 AM »

OK, I had a quick measure, The distance between the upper and lower bolts of the caliper mount, bearing retainer is 2.5" and without checking i assume they are the same all around.

The 'ears' on the upper side of the centre section where the bushes for the 4 link mount, have been milled off. I hav a pic of that some where.
There was zero co-operation between Chevrolet and Pontiac during the time these cars were built. Being part of GM meant absolutely nothing when it came to market share and sales. My good friend Rob Irvine was in Chevrolet parts (dealership) and did get some good pieces for the Pontiac racers (T/G) but when asked who was ordering he named a local Camaro racer so he wouldn't be considered a traitor.

The axles would have used only Pontiac parts, or parts made specifically for the T/G team.
Bruce.
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« Reply #56 on: September 15, 2011, 10:05:38 PM »

Thanks, Bruce. I measured the distance between the upper set of holes and the lower set of holes and for the JL8 bracket the distance was 2-5/8" or approximately 66.5mm. For the drum brake backing plate, the distance was 2-13/32" or approximately 61.5mm. Looks like yours is unique.
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« Reply #57 on: September 17, 2011, 03:10:41 PM »

The best part for me Jon is that this unique rear axle was separated from the car for 25 years. It was found and re united with the car.

Bruce.
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« Reply #58 on: September 17, 2011, 05:19:01 PM »

A nice stroke of luck, Bruce! Not only fortunate for you, but for us Trans-Am enthusiasts as well. We get to learn more about the T/G cars than we otherwise might have been able to do.
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« Reply #59 on: September 18, 2011, 04:34:56 AM »

It certainly was a crazy set of circumstances that saw me re unite the car and axle. the guys that had it only knew it was a Pontiac, and it looked like a 10 bolt. No body wants them, ever.

As soon as I saw that rear cover I knew it was THE piece I had to have.   

Bruce.
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« Reply #60 on: September 18, 2011, 09:13:48 PM »

Bruce, I think they call that "having a really good day".  Grin
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« Reply #61 on: September 20, 2011, 01:17:14 AM »

Indeed it was a very 'good' day and even better, it wasn't expensive.

Now if I could find a Ram Air V (303) engine in the same wood pile.

Bruce.
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« Reply #62 on: September 20, 2011, 01:43:59 PM »

Good luck!   Wink
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« Reply #63 on: October 02, 2011, 12:57:20 AM »

Craig Fisher's Firebird at Riverside, October 1968.


Petersen Publishing photo


Petersen Publishing photo


Petersen Publishing photo


Petersen Publishing photo


Petersen Publishing photo
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« Reply #64 on: October 21, 2011, 08:43:12 AM »

A single image forwarded to me consisting what I presume to be a '70 season Craig Fischer '69 Firebird press kit.  If more of the same are afforded to me, I'll try to post them.  Thanks...

Mike K.

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« Reply #65 on: October 21, 2011, 09:02:06 PM »

Thank you Mike, it is a very nice photo, the car looks very good in that stance. From what I can gather Craig was the only person to run the factory '69 Trans Am body work combined with the Pontiac engine in the T/A series.

Indeed Craig ran that car in the early part of 1970, at least once the entrant was Godsall Racing, later it was entered by Craig himself, and also Todco were listed at entrants. Sadly it did not have a good finishing record, I think that it was Pontiac  303 powered and the engines just weren't up to the task.

Craig did the second half of the season in a Todco Camaro, but it was not this car converted. This car may have gone back to T/G (Titus/Godsall) 
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« Reply #66 on: October 29, 2011, 12:24:49 AM »

I knew I had another Firebird article. Finally found it tonight. December 1969 Stock Car Racing magazine.















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« Reply #67 on: February 16, 2012, 12:51:48 PM »

hello
i am rolf from switzerland, i searching pictures from 2 generation firebirds. ( jerry titus 8 ) (david hobbs 79 ) ( john cordts 73 ) (John cordts, larry dent 92 bfg tirebird)
can every body help me?HuhHuhHuh??
thanks and greets from (bleep)ing cold switzerland

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« Reply #68 on: February 16, 2012, 01:14:23 PM »

Rolf, welcome to this forum. I have been to Switzerland and enjoyed it very much. This is a 1st-generation forum and I don't have much in the way of 2nd-generation Camaros other than what has already been posted in the race reports. Not to get off on the wrong foot, some websites are OK with four-letter words or swearing but this is not one of them. That's why I had to sensor your post.
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« Reply #69 on: February 16, 2012, 01:46:45 PM »

hi john
im sorry for my worts, thank you for the answer. this forum is number 1 for trans am racing :-)
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« Reply #70 on: February 16, 2012, 05:27:17 PM »

Thanks for your understanding and for the compliment.
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« Reply #71 on: February 16, 2012, 06:42:28 PM »

If I remember correctly, Buck Baker was given the inventory of 303 Pontiac engines to run in NASCAR's Grand american series , where you ran ovals and could keep the revs up with tight gearing. I think he won the championship once or twice. With the big intake passsages, lt had the same problem as the Mustang 302 tunnelport in 1968, torque at lower RPM. A real bear at higher RPM , but did not pull well off the corners.
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« Reply #72 on: February 17, 2012, 02:21:42 PM »

I think the large main and rod bearing journal diameters were the bigger problems (besides the extra weight) with the Pontiacs. Bearing speeds were too high and they had oiling problems galore. The engines did not survive but that was helped somewhat when the SCCA allowed dry sump oiling for the 1971 Trans-Am season after heavy lobbying from Roger Penske because his AMC engines weren't surviving either. Roger played up the safety aspect of the dry sumps because a blown engine would dump a lot of oil on the track and could potentially cause a catastrophic wreck.
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« Reply #73 on: February 19, 2012, 02:21:52 AM »

From my 1970 Laguna Seca Trans-Am program.


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« Reply #74 on: February 28, 2012, 11:54:33 PM »

Many thanks to Ken Ulrich (fabricator for Todco Racing and Roy Woods Racing back in the glory days of Trans-Am)
for sharing these photos with us from his personal photo album.

Milt Minter's Firebird next to one of the Roy Woods Javelins.

Ken Ulrich photo

A good shot of Milt's engine compartment.

Ken Ulrich photo

That front end is seriously low.

Ken Ulrich photo

In the pits at Donnybrooke. It appears to be during practice, not the actual race.

Ken Ulrich photo
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« Reply #75 on: March 07, 2012, 11:29:10 AM »

Many thanks to Mike K. (Swede70) for sharing this T-G Firebird article from Motorcade magazine with us!



















1969 interior below


1969 firewall below






1969 upper cowl below


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« Reply #76 on: March 07, 2012, 11:19:14 PM »

What a great article, and addition to the site.  More detail about the cars and the series rules than most of the other period pieces.

I must say, even if I were fortunate enough to own a '70 T-G Firebird, I don't think I could run that shifter handle.

Thanks Mike K. and Jon.

-Chad
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« Reply #77 on: March 08, 2012, 02:12:07 AM »

I agree that shifter handle would have to go.

The following picture that shows the master cylinder also shows the stock wiper bottle bracket in a location that would be inaccessible on a production car. Curious why it is there.

Also noticed the heim end on the clutch rod coming out of the firewall Cool.
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« Reply #78 on: March 08, 2012, 02:49:56 PM »

I wasn't aware the rules for 69 stated "upper front A arm suspension points can be moved, and for 70 both upper and lower can be moved" according to the above article.  Is this correct?

I'll admit I didn't read the rule book or pay much attention to those things.  As far as I know we raced our 67 with stock mounting points thru 72.

Is this stuff mentioned in the "Unfair Advantage" by Donohue?

Robert Barg
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« Reply #79 on: March 08, 2012, 04:05:54 PM »

That shifter handle is not like that ordinarily in the T/G cars. I suspect the tranny is out and the shifter handle is just laying there.

As for the a-arm location mounting points being unrestricted starting in 1970, I was not aware of that. However, looking at rule C12 in the SCCA Sedans section of the 1970 rule book, the magazine article would seem to be providing factual information.

Thanks for picking up on that Robert.
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« Reply #80 on: March 08, 2012, 05:00:16 PM »

The shifter handle comment was said in jest.  I guess I should have put a smiley face after the sentence. 

It surely couldn't have been at that angle... though an era-correct 427 Cobra shifter handle is arguably just as goofy.

-Chad


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« Reply #81 on: March 08, 2012, 07:16:52 PM »

Ok, am I correct in assuming that front suspension mounting points were stock from 66-68?  What was to be gained by changing them? 

Robert Barg
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« Reply #82 on: March 08, 2012, 11:07:05 PM »

Quote Octard;
"I must say, even if I were fortunate enough to own a '70 T-G Firebird, I don't think I could run that shifter handle."

That pic with the strange shifter is marked, and certainly looks like a '69 interior. If I read correctly, this was the 69 car set up with the 70 changes before the new bodies turned up.

Bruce
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« Reply #83 on: March 08, 2012, 11:54:05 PM »

That pic with the strange shifter is marked, and certainly looks like a '69 interior. If I read correctly, this was the 69 car set up with the 70 changes before the new bodies turned up.

This is hard to say, but you're probably right, Bruce. 
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« Reply #84 on: March 12, 2012, 12:29:27 AM »

Robert, I believe the relocated suspension points helped improve the camber change as the car cornered. I would say that front
suspension mounts were supposed to be stock in '66-'68 but no doubt there were some teams that got away with changes.

Here's a Pontiac engine building article for the T/G Firebirds of the 1970 season. Many thanks to Mike K (Swede70) for sharing this with us.


























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« Reply #85 on: April 05, 2012, 10:35:14 PM »

Two American Airlines stewardesses were selected as hostesses for Riverside Raceway in 1969.
Dee Kuhn (left) and Sally (Sam) Olsasky pose here with the T/G Firebird of Jerry Titus.

Bob Sanders Collection, courtesy of Robert Lodewyk
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« Reply #86 on: April 25, 2012, 01:47:01 PM »

Chad posted this in the New Zealand/Australian Camaros and Firebirds thread, but it makes good sense to post it here as well since it concerns Bruce's T/G-built Firebird...


Folks interested in this subject and forum may appreciate a thread that Bruce Thompson (BRUCE302), has been updating recently on The Roaring Season.  This car has some of the coolest one-off parts for early F-bodies. 

The thread can be seen here.

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« Reply #87 on: July 30, 2012, 02:02:58 AM »

Lamar Engineering ad featuring fiberglass bumpers and spoilers.

Bruce, can you confirm that these are the guys that Titus got his fiberglass bumpers from?
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« Reply #88 on: July 30, 2012, 04:39:10 AM »

Hi Jon, I will have to check on the above advert. Is that Paul Lamar's company ? i know he did some 'consulting work on the later Firebirds, and also the earlier race cars , but whether he actually made the parts I'm not sure.

Bruce.
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« Reply #89 on: July 30, 2012, 04:18:41 PM »

Ok, am I correct in assuming that front suspension mounting points were stock from 66-68?  What was to be gained by changing them? 

Robert Barg
Relocating the A-frame mounts would aid camber, caster, bump steer, center of gravity and wheelbase adjustments.
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« Reply #90 on: July 30, 2012, 06:22:31 PM »

Hi Jon, I will have to check on the above advert. Is that Paul Lamar's company ? i know he did some 'consulting work on the later Firebirds, and also the earlier race cars , but whether he actually made the parts I'm not sure.

Bruce.

Bruce, I don't know if it was Paul Lamar's company but it sounds reasonable. Maybe Doug would know.
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« Reply #91 on: July 31, 2012, 12:55:12 AM »

It was indeed Paul Lamar's company, he made the front bumper/grill surrounds for the T/G cars.

Bruce
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« Reply #92 on: July 31, 2012, 07:17:21 AM »

Thanks for the confirmation, Bruce.

Here are a couple of photos of Craig Fisher's Firebird taken at Le Circuit Mt Tremblant, site of the '68 St Jovite Trans-Am race.
Many thanks to Mike Scott for sharing these with us.


Mike Scott photo


Mike Scott photo
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« Reply #93 on: July 31, 2012, 03:17:07 PM »

Great shots, thanks Jon and Mike Scott. This must have been very early in it's existence being in white with darker stripes and hood. I see it has a T/G racing arrowhead decal under the drivers door mirror.
Bruce.
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« Reply #94 on: August 04, 2012, 01:08:42 AM »

Bruce, the car was all white at Meadowdale on July 7, 1968, then on July 21 it showed up at St. Jovite in the color scheme seen above. Just two weeks later for the Bryar Trans-Am it was painted Godsall yellow with black accents.
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« Reply #95 on: August 13, 2012, 11:26:42 AM »

This is a Great forum!  Does anyone know or have information about the Motor Trend  article "The Great Conspiracy" and picture of Jerry Titus and the TG racing Trans Am and the Silver Trans Am in that picture?  I and trying to get as much information about the Silver car as I can. I found that car in Simpsonville Ky 2 years ago. Here is what I know.
1969 Trans Am ....#2 vin 223379U109398 Silver Prototype

The origin for this car starts when John DeLoren picked this Lordstown built high option Palladium Silver(his favorite color according to Gene Winfield the designer of the first silver prototype Firebird Trans Am with a 4speed)Firebird 400 automatic to create the TRANS AM. Pulled from the pool it went to GM Engineering. The team of engineers headed up by Herb Adams & Bill Collins went to work by first removing the 400 engine and installing the new RA IV 345 HP 400 and the PQ coded transmission, Then they installed the rear pedestel spoiler, prototype fiberglass “Trans Am” hood, frt. fender ectractors, 1 inch sway bar, removed the dash and install the "stacked gauges and tachometer" then put it out for press testing and development. Under pressure and being behind of the GTO Judge that was tobe introduced for the 1969 Pontiac line-up along with the Trans Am, John DeLoren called his friend at Hot Rod magazine Steve Kelly and asked if he would do a "test drive" article on the NEW Trans Am. According to Steve Kelly, John D himself delivered the car to him in California.  While Steve Kelly had the car he took it to Riverside Race Track for press exposure and testing twice. After two weeks with the car Steve returned the car to Royal Pontiac. From here I am not sure of the events or time lines other than the articles that appear of the Riverside test are in December of 1968 and the Steve Kelly test had tobe done December 1968 and by January 1969 tobe in the March 1969 Hot Rod article. The Silver TA also appeared in April 1969 Car Life magazine. Testing was done at Riverside Raceway in the winter with the writer referring to the RA IV engine and the 1 inch frt. sway bar. The most significant connection comes from the June 1969 Motor Trend article written by Eric Dahlquist. Eric and Jerry Titus where friends and the articles focus was on the racecar and the new 303 engine that Al Bartz was working on. The article made No mention of the Silver TA at all but on page one, the first picture shows Jerry Titus(Trans Am racing series superstar) standing between the Silver Prototype and his Trans Am racecar. According to Rick Titus(Jerry's Son) Jerry bought 6 cars from Royal Pontiac in early 1969,5 cars that TG Racing turned into race cars that would be sold and raced. The Silver TA was in the group and wrecked in the left frt.wheel area and it is unknown how or when that happened. According to Rick Titus, Jerry himself repaired the car and evidence of that is his signature "welded washers" to the subframe that bolts the steering box to the frame was something he did to the race cars to keep the 3 bolts from pulling through. This is present and welded subframe damage as well as the steering box that has the "p" (prototype) stamped not cast into the box as well as the blueprinted internatels. Doug Innes an TG Racing employee from 1969 - 1972 says that Jerry would weld washers to the subframe and change steering boxes on the race cars. Sometime after Jerry purchased the car Paul Lamar of Paul Lamar Engineering took the car to areo test it. Paul says that he took the car to El Miarge drylake in Mojave California and to Star Dust Raceway in Las Vegas as well as the TG racecars to test areo lift & downforce of the spoilers. Sometime after that the car was used as the dailey driver by Jerry Titus. According to Rick Titus he drove the TA to his Senior Prom. Something he recalls in the summer of 1969 is Annie Titus(Jerry's wife) traded the TA to Hollywod Datsun(the first Datsun dealer in the United States) for $2500 for a new Datsun. Rick said that made him so mad when he would drive by and see it sitting on the Used car lot and was upset that Annie did that. Thats when it went from a "Prototype ..Test Car..Trans Am Superstar's dailey driver" to another used musclecar sitting on a car lot.
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« Reply #96 on: August 13, 2012, 11:29:55 AM »

Car today
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« Reply #97 on: August 13, 2012, 09:06:53 PM »

Big Moe, thanks for posting the info and pictures on your very neat and significant Firebird Trans-Am. I don't know as much about these cars as I would like to. Did they make any others in different colors other than white? What was the #1 car like? Are you saying it was a silver 4-speed car? We have already posted "The Great Conspiracy" article on page 3 of this thread. Bruce302 has studied the Firebirds a lot and might be able to tell you something more about your car. Maybe he will chime in.
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« Reply #98 on: August 14, 2012, 05:51:41 AM »

The only colors I know of are the (2) silver cars(one 4 speed and one auto) and the 697 in white.  The first prototype was built by Gene Winfield and is very different in appearence.  The hood is more like a Olds. 442 with sharp edges and hood pins, the fender extractors are sharp and angle down, the rear spoiler is  arced and the it did not have the Ram Air pans etc. It appeared in only one article that I have found and had the Ram Air IV 4 speed . These differences in design you can see in the pictures.  My car, Ram Air IV automatic, was the second one and resigned  more like the production style with smoother edges of the hood and extractors.
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« Reply #99 on: August 14, 2012, 06:08:51 AM »

This appeared in April 1969  Drag Strip magazine
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« Reply #100 on: August 14, 2012, 06:10:05 AM »

.More
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« Reply #101 on: August 14, 2012, 06:10:52 AM »

.#2
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« Reply #102 on: August 14, 2012, 06:11:43 AM »

Rarely known
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« Reply #103 on: August 14, 2012, 01:58:37 PM »

Hello Big Moe,
We have spoken in the past and I learnt so much about the silver T/A that Jerry had. The car still looks amazing.
 Interestingly my car does not have the washers welded on the front sub frame for the steering box, but I believe it did have a very fast ratio box originally. When Ron Grable ran the car at Bay Park Raceway, the steering was definitely not suited to NZ's smaller race tracks. I would think that the steering box was just way too quick. It was swapped out for a production item.

I think I have just found one of the original T/G front hubs. It has been hiding for 40 years after they were swapped out for some reason, possibly one failed, or ran a bearing.

Bruce.

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« Reply #104 on: August 14, 2012, 10:48:17 PM »

Thanks for posting that article. So, is that prototype #1? Is that car still around?
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« Reply #105 on: August 15, 2012, 05:39:51 AM »

I heard a story last year from a guy that said he remembered it from back in the day somewhere in South Carolina but, I don't know, the same guy told me about a six cylinder 69 Trans Am he found in a junk yard in Ohio that had been wrecked badly. 
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« Reply #106 on: August 15, 2012, 07:10:25 AM »

I remember the first time I looked at a '69 Firebird Trans-Am and the serial number through me for a loop. Pontiac uses 223379 to start their serial number even though the Trans-Am is a V8 car. For a Chevy it would be 123379 for a 6-cylinder 1969 Camaro coupe and 124379 for the same year V8 Camaro coupe. Those two 3s in the middle of the Pontiac number can throw off a Chevy guy and maybe that was the case with him.
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« Reply #107 on: August 15, 2012, 11:22:23 AM »

This guy said he raised the hood and it had a six cylinder in it.  I have heard that a number of different combinations were tried before they settled on the Ram Air III and IV like the 350HO ,400 & 400HO and a six cylinder would be possible I guess since the "Fitchbird" 1967 Firebird was created by Pontiac Special Projects Group with help from John Fitch that was a OHC triple webered six cylinder.
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« Reply #108 on: August 16, 2012, 12:14:03 AM »

I knew they tried the 4-bbl OHC 6 cylinder in the earlier Firebirds like the specials that Fitch did and the PFST but I personally have not previously heard of them trying a 6 in a '69 bodied Trans-Am. Interesting info. Thanks.
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« Reply #109 on: August 20, 2012, 10:56:19 PM »

Hey Bruce 302, send me an email to   oldtransamdriver@yahoo.ca  - have some info for you.

cheers,

Robert Barg
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« Reply #110 on: August 21, 2012, 12:39:54 AM »

Done, thanks Robert.

Bruce.
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« Reply #111 on: September 03, 2012, 12:34:02 AM »

Bruce, have you ever had any contact with the "Little John" Archer mentioned below?

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« Reply #112 on: September 15, 2012, 04:31:20 PM »

1969 article in Competition Press & Autoweek. Terry Godsall expressed his frustration to the SCCA about rule bending and infractions.
(Jon Mello Collection)



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« Reply #113 on: September 15, 2012, 04:35:02 PM »

1971 ARRC coverage shows Frank Eggers ex-T/G Firebird chasing John McComb in an ex-Posey Challenger, courtesy of Mike K (Swede70).

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« Reply #114 on: October 29, 2012, 10:47:14 PM »

September 6, 1969 ad in Competition Press & Autoweek seems to indicate the '68 Gagnon Spring Firebird (ex-Penske Camaro)
that Jerry Titus wrecked on July 30th during a Wednesday practice session was rebuilt and repainted and put up for sale. Nobody
from the team seems to have any recollection of repairing this car and selling it.


The Firebird at St. Jovite prior to it being wrecked. The car was replaced with a '69 T-G backup car.

Dick Brown Collection
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« Reply #115 on: November 01, 2012, 09:58:30 AM »

Jerry Titus' Firebird at the '69 Riverside Trans-Am

Photo by Bob Tronolone
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« Reply #116 on: April 05, 2013, 09:43:18 AM »

Greetings,

A link guiding you to a thread current on another board, this being The Roaring Season.  Contributions from 'our own' Bruce 302, with lovely color images of the T/G Firebirds as seen in 1971 (I could be wrong here, although I believe a lighter body color with either green or yellow numerals would identify them as late '70 season images), in addition to an image of one of the T/G Firebirds that was converted into a Camaro bearing evidence of an unfortunate off.  See:

http://www.theroaringseason.com/showthread.php?689-First-Generation-Pontiac-Firebirds-With-Chevy-Motors

Mike K.
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« Reply #117 on: June 09, 2013, 12:08:21 AM »

National Speed Sport News' Chris Economaki had this short report on the Firebird in the Oct 9, 1968 issue. (Jon Mello Collection)

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« Reply #118 on: July 10, 2013, 01:32:23 PM »

Based on a post I made in the 1968 TransAm season discussion, Jon mentioned I should put some info about my old ‘68 Firebird in this category.  This car never made it to the TransAm races so it doesn‘t have an important race history, but maybe it will trigger some race car memories from those of you who were involved way back then.  So for what it’s worth, here you go. 

Unfortunately I only found a few old pictures that aren‘t really helpful, but then again, I always sucked at photography which is why I don‘t take many pictures.  A couple shots are from the early 70’s, and a couple from the later 70’s when I was getting ready to install yet another drivetrain in it.  Hopefully the pictures show up in this post.

This car started out life as a silver ‘68 Formula 400, which the original owner/builder of the car (whomever that was?) attempted to build into a TransAm race car.  Since this car was from Marin County, it was probably just a well-to-do private entrepreneur that wanted to go racing?  I doubt if the car was ever street driven when new based on the condition of the OEM spare parts that came with it at the time of my purchase (early 70’s) and the fact that the speedo cluster only had 35 miles showing on it, but who knows.

As I was told when I acquired the car, it was never finished supposedly due to some rule change in the 68/69 time frame that caused the owner to give up on it.  I didn’t really believe that story because it was set up with a Corvette Independent Rear Suspension, which I always thought would never be eligible for any sort of TA racing.  When I read the recent posts in the 1968 TA discussion about potential use of an IRS, it prompted me to mention this oddball car. 

Early on, I tracked down the speed shop that installed the rear diff (also in Marin) and the shop owner told me his client provided very specific details as to what was installed and how to do it.  They cut out the trunk floor for the fuel cell, rerouted brake and fuel lines,  installed the IRS per his design, and also completed the manual 4 wheel disc brake combo.  So the rolling chassis was “done”…

I believe the steel rear flares were added after the IRS, because the rears were completed but the front fenders only got cut and never finished.  The cut front fenders were the original Firebird fenders, but the car came with a 68 RS Camaro front end as well so maybe the owner didn’t like the Firebird look and decided to change it midstream?  Either way, that seemed to be when the project died off.  The interior was partially gutted and the roll cage was started but never finished, and as the pics show the firewall wasn‘t chopped up yet.

It previously had a 302 engine with a real M22 which ended up getting installed in my ‘67 Z.  Those were the days when I would swap engines between cars just about every weekend and never cared about what was original or correct, only what was more fun. I installed a spare 427 Corvette engine in this car and drag raced it at Sears point for a while.  It was known as the “Vettaker” (Ok, stop laughing now).  By the 90’s I ended up installing a SBC and setting the car up for street use.  It still had the Camaro RS front end when I sold it, which was always good for starting conversations.

Anyways, if you happen to be that rich guy from Marin and have been looking for your old Firebird, it’s probably still cruising around Sonoma County getting strange looks…

Thanks for the letting me share!  Charlie
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« Reply #119 on: July 11, 2013, 12:23:07 AM »

Charlie, thanks for taking the time to write that up and post the pictures. It certainly is a curious car.
I can't think of a a racing group that did allow an independent rear suspension on any Ponycar back
in the day although it was up for consideration by GM since they already had the components thanks
to the Corvette. With the heater box still in the car, it just seems like it never got seriously prepared
to do any road racing, but then you mention the fuel cell, the four wheel discs, and other details that
really make you scratch your head in wonder. A strange car for sure and the flares are not exactly a
thing of beauty but maybe somebody out there knows more of the story behind this car. If so, chime
in and let us know!
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« Reply #120 on: July 11, 2013, 10:11:31 AM »

Great story Charlie! Thank you for sharing.

Most interesting is the front wheels/hubs. It appears to have had six lugs. Very heavy duty....  or maybe just an illusion of the photo?

Bob
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« Reply #121 on: July 11, 2013, 10:28:10 AM »

Hey Jon,

Just wanted to add or clarify a few points.  The whole heater assembly, wiper assemblies, etc. were completely removed when I first got the car.  The entire metal dash frame assembly was completely cut out and the firewall was marked up in preparation for some cutting but not actually cut yet.  The stock wire harnesses were all removed and a custom fabbed harness was started with a control panel down by the shifter.  Aircraft toggle switches and indicator lights were used for that assembly.  Seemed like the car got to a certain point and then the modification process just stopped.

The two pics with the heater box and other parts installed were several years after I got the car when I was in the mode of assembling the car for some sort of use.  I borrowed all the dash and firewall components from one of my wrecked 68 Camaros.

The rear flares were solid steel and a very strange design for back then.  It was a challenge to get a tire and wheel combination large enough to fit the shape properly.

A very odd car with an unclear history.  Like you said, maybe it will ring a bell with someone who is willing to share their stories about it......... 


Bob,  If I recall the front hubs had five lugs but they were Corvette rotors and not the OEM Firebird parts.  You just can't make them out very clearly due to the feeble pics I took.




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« Reply #122 on: July 12, 2013, 12:19:30 AM »

Very good clarifications, Charlie. Thanks for including them. It's very hard to figure out what the end goal was for that car.
It doesn't seem to be a drag car and yet doesn't really fit a particular class of road racing either. The flares are unnecessarily
large for Trans-Am and A-sedan as there was an 8" max width rule for wheels up until 1973.
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« Reply #123 on: March 01, 2014, 08:46:49 PM »

Great reading.I have owned 2 of the 25 built SCCA short deck engines.I have built them as stroker RA V tunnel port engines and have ran them in both a real 69 T/A and a 69 T/A clone.I owned the X ram2-4 RA V intake and correct tall tach drive dist for them also.I am now building a std deck true NASCAR 366 engine also with the RA V tunnel port heads.Because pontiac only made 25 of the short deck engines they were not allowed to run the series.They then had to go to the std deck 303 and ended up running RAIV heads.I also at one time owned a RA IV short deck 2-4 X ram intake.
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« Reply #124 on: March 01, 2014, 10:20:56 PM »

Neat pieces of Pontiac history. Do you have any photos of those items that you can share here?
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« Reply #125 on: March 03, 2014, 09:36:20 PM »

I will dig them out.Just shipped my last complete RA V tunnel port engine out today to TX.It was a std deck engineering 455 engine.Tom
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« Reply #126 on: March 03, 2014, 10:02:14 PM »

pics 303 SCCA engine,tunnel port intake,303 stroker on dyno Xram 2.4 intake
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« Reply #127 on: March 03, 2014, 10:13:36 PM »

try again
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« Reply #128 on: March 03, 2014, 10:16:06 PM »

one more
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« Reply #129 on: March 04, 2014, 09:31:55 AM »

Thanks for sharing. Those Pontiac tunnel port heads never fail to impress me and that cross ram is awesome as well. Is that manifold a tunnel port piece as well? Do you have any pics with the lid off?
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« Reply #130 on: March 04, 2014, 05:53:31 PM »

I think I do,will dig it out.Tom
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« Reply #131 on: March 04, 2014, 06:16:32 PM »

pics 303 SCCA engine,tunnel port intake,303 stroker on dyno Xram 2.4 intake
Wow, what a rare piece! Can you give some information on the power output and characteristics?
Always curious to hear a "real" information on some of these engines that have lots of rumors and hearsay surrounding them. The way those heads look, they would flow to 9,000 rpm or more!, What was the high RPM limit of the block and/or valve train in road racing configuration?
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« Reply #132 on: March 04, 2014, 07:43:36 PM »

Both engines I built were 100 percent pump gas street engines.I built them to be able to turn 9K.I have found from years of testing all kinds of CI RA V engines from 366 CI to 455 CI in street trim and with a factory dual plane intake they give up around 6200 to 6500.The 366 engine made 448 HP at 5800.I ran it for years in my 69 Firebird.I ran the X ram on the dyno but with 660 center squirters and it did not like it.Never ran it again.The guy that owns it now has run the X ram engine in his 69 TA with a set of 450 holleys and has not reported how it drives.The 366 NASCAR RA Vengine im building now will have a single plane intake and when we run it on the dyno we will see it it likes it better.Only rub is I dont think it will like the 7in rod in the std deck block.Tom
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« Reply #133 on: March 05, 2014, 09:37:19 AM »

Wow, a 7" rod is a foreign thought to someone (like myself) who has only played around with small block Chevys.
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« Reply #134 on: March 05, 2014, 11:38:19 AM »

Pontiac just went cheap with the 366,they used a std 455 piston and just ordered a rod that would connect the piston to the crank!My short deck engines used a 6in BME alu rod.Tom
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« Reply #135 on: March 05, 2014, 11:45:19 AM »

inside X ram
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« Reply #136 on: March 05, 2014, 01:20:05 PM »

Big applause! I LOVE to see the obscure parts posted! THANK YOU!  I have two questions; the offset on the carbs looks like they go the wrong way, (meaning it seems to me that they're sitting at the ends of the plenums..?   2.  The roof of the opening; was the distribution fixes and the cut away roof cast that way, or was it a 'dyno' mod?  Ken
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« Reply #137 on: March 06, 2014, 10:23:46 AM »

You have to realize the intake port arrangement is more like a BBC than a SBC,meaning no paired ports.To balance the flo they must have had  proof that it was better to have the carbs positioned where they are.I like a tunnel ram myself over a X ram.Pontiac had a factory tunnel ram avail over the counter for their 421 SD program way back in 1962.Tom
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« Reply #138 on: March 06, 2014, 11:01:36 AM »

I remembered seeing this attached info elsewhere on THIS forum. There is so much information here on misc. TA cars and related engine technology it's incredible.
Note the picture on the upper-left, you can see where they are testing different carb configurations.
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« Reply #139 on: March 06, 2014, 11:14:04 AM »

I didn't know much about Pontiac's '303' engine, so I had to do some digging.  I was curious about the bore/stroke relationship.. and for us 'over square' engine lovers (who love revs), all I can say is WOW... Smiley   Does anyone have an audio clip of this engine at 8-9 grand?? Smiley
Has any factory engine ever had a higher bore/stroke ratio than 4.125/2.84= 1.45 Huh?
"303 specs...


The 303's bore was identical to the 400 at 4.125 inches, but it featured a shorter stroke at 2.84 inches. The 303's short deck took off about 40 lbs. from the 400 V-8 version.  The racing 303 was equipped with four-bolt mains, a forged steel crankshaft, aluminum intake and a high-rpm crankshaft that allowed the engine to rev up to a whopping 8,000 revolutions per minute. Pontiac beefed up the main-bearing webbing to handle the high revs and reinforced the ribbing. The engine was a Ram Air forced induction model with Ram Air V heads and R/A-V cast-iron exhaust manifolds. The compression ratio was set at 10.75-to-1, and with an 800 cfm four-barrel Holley carburetor, it generated up to 525 horsepower. The intended production version, which would satisfy the SCCA homologation rules, would generate 355 horsepower.
"
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« Reply #140 on: March 06, 2014, 11:42:27 AM »

Dag Gawn, that's impressive!! I'm with you Gary, I want to hear one of those Indians 8K wail! Like you, I am going to read up on the 303 thanks to this post. Thanks guys and CRG.
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« Reply #141 on: March 19, 2014, 08:34:02 AM »

I feel like I should be wearing a helmet and cape while posting these. Here are a couple of photos from Mike Scott, aka group/7. They are of a spectator's car in the parking lot at the 1970 Mosport Can-Am. I thought those trunk lid rear wings only came around as a result of the Fast & Furious films but here is the grand daddy of them all. Firebird GT47 rulesGrin
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« Reply #142 on: March 19, 2014, 11:53:07 AM »

I worked for a Canadian GM dealership back in the sixties and trust me there never was a factory built Firebird with a Chev engine but I guess the overworked tech staff decided to let it slide. In my opinion the Firebirds were not that well prepared and needed all the help they could get.

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« Reply #143 on: March 20, 2014, 08:42:20 AM »

Al, there was a Firebird made within Pontiac somewhere that did have a Chevy engine installed in it and it was taken up to Terry Godsall's dealership in Canada as a ploy to convince the SCCA people that some Firebirds were equipped with Chevy engines north of the border. I do not think the Chevy engine was installed on the assembly line but I do think some paperwork was created to make the car appear legit. I don't think any of it was truly necessary as SCCA was willing to look the other way just to get Pontiac's involvement.
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« Reply #144 on: March 21, 2014, 08:41:11 AM »

Here's another picture of a '67 Firebird at the Mosport circuit, courtesy of Mike Scott (group/7). This shot was taken at the
1000K enduro in August 1984. No other known details about it. I don't recall another car trying to take aerodynamics to
that extreme on that style of body back in that era.

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« Reply #145 on: March 21, 2014, 07:52:54 PM »

I am glad that trend never caught on, at least over here. Japan has cars like that running around.
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« Reply #146 on: March 22, 2014, 12:07:03 AM »

I agree. That's not a look that does anything for me.
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« Reply #147 on: March 28, 2014, 11:13:52 AM »

Here is an early configuration of Titus's 69 car, it has a duct taped 68 front bumper on a 69 styled body

https://revslib.stanford.edu/catalog/nc991hs6427

Better pic of the front end

https://revslib.stanford.edu/catalog/hx133kv3882
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« Reply #148 on: April 23, 2014, 04:10:41 PM »

Greetings,

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...

http://www.rotaryeng.net/Japanese-TransAm.pdf

Mike K.
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« Reply #149 on: April 23, 2014, 08:24:31 PM »

I don't know if this has been posted but there is some interesting Firebird TA stuff here

http://musclecarfilms.com/1969_Firebird_Engineering_Cars_2.html
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« Reply #150 on: April 24, 2014, 07:56:46 PM »

Joe, thanks for posting that. There is some good info that was new to me.
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« Reply #151 on: May 02, 2014, 08:40:36 AM »

Here's an interesting color shot of Jerry Titus' Firebird. Note the subframe color is aqua like the color of the spokes of the Minilites, etc. Thanks to Mike K for pointing it out to me.
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« Reply #152 on: September 03, 2014, 03:51:19 PM »

After the Daytona 1969 race, who raced the Ward/Titus Camaro/Firebird?
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« Reply #153 on: September 03, 2014, 11:33:56 PM »

Steve, the car was entered by Fred Van Beuren, Raul Perez Gama and Ruben Novoa at Sebring where it crashed heavily during the first lap of practice. Raul Perez Gama was the driver at the time and also the owner of the car apparently.
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« Reply #154 on: September 04, 2014, 03:51:10 PM »

Thanks Jon. By chance, would you know of its career beyond 1969? It always fascinates me how many of these cars survive.

And while on the subject, I've often read that Jon Ward was considered to be quite a talented driver and car builder. Did he race much after teaming up with Titus at Daytona?
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« Reply #155 on: September 05, 2014, 12:33:45 PM »

Steve, I have a picture of Ruben Novoa driving it in 1970 and Daniel Muniz driving it in 1971, both down in Mexico. It has 69 Camaro front sheet metal on it and no grille. I can understand the change after being heavily damaged at Sebring. After 1971, I heard it was raced by others down in Mexico until it was left for dead. Rick Titus bought it out of Mexico in the late 80's and the ownership from there has been well documented.

I don't know much about Jon Ward's driving career otrher than in the Camaro/Firebird. I think he was more well known as a car builder. He did do a lot of circle track racing at Saugus, CA but that's all I know.
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« Reply #156 on: September 09, 2014, 08:54:03 PM »

Thanks Jon, wow the Firebird with the '69 Camaro front sheet metal would certainly look different! Interesting how many race cars ended up in Mexico.

I assume there are probably a few more events not included here, but you are right, doesn't look like Jon Ward did a lot of actual driving himself: http://www.racingsportscars.com/driver/results/Jon-Ward-USA.html
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« Reply #157 on: September 09, 2014, 08:55:00 PM »

Does anyone know of any period magazine articles written about either the Craig Fisher or Jerry Titus 1968 Firebirds?
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« Reply #158 on: September 10, 2014, 10:52:58 AM »

Steve, I don't think there is one on the '68 Titus "Firebird" other than the photo shown in the May '69 issue of Motorcade magazine (shown below)




There was an article about Craig Fisher and the Firebird in the '68 St Jovite Trans-Am program but it is in French, if I remember correctly.
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« Reply #159 on: September 10, 2014, 05:17:44 PM »

Thanks Jon. Wow, interesting stuff! The Fisher Firebird featured in a French speaking magazine?

Obviously there was a lot more magazine space given to the new '69 Firebirds.

I am wondering if anyone has a copy of the FIA homologation forms for the Firebirds in 1968, and their being granted to fit Chevy motors?
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #160 on: September 10, 2014, 10:12:06 PM »

Steve, there were some Firebird homologation forms posted previously on this forum at http://www.camaros.org/forum/index.php?topic=8075.0
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #161 on: September 11, 2014, 01:56:11 PM »

Steve, you may not be aware. but most people in Quebec speak French - see Quebec history on Wiki.  Sometimes you would get both French and English side by side in publications.
I remember that when racing at St. Jovite, it was helpful to know a few words of French.

Robert
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Steve Holmes
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« Reply #162 on: September 18, 2014, 04:04:25 PM »

Thanks Robert, yes of course, that was silly of me, not sure how I managed to overlook that.
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« Reply #163 on: September 18, 2014, 04:04:54 PM »

Steve, there were some Firebird homologation forms posted previously on this forum at http://www.camaros.org/forum/index.php?topic=8075.0

Thanks Jon, brilliant!
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