CRG Discussion Forum
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
November 01, 2014, 04:41:43 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Welcome to the CRG Discussion Forum!
Forum registration problems: Make sure you enter your email correctly and you check your spam box first. *Then* email KurtS2@gmail for help.
105865 Posts in 12354 Topics by 4762 Members
Latest Member: HarryQ
* Home Help Search Login Register
+  CRG Discussion Forum
|-+  Model Specific Discussions
| |-+  Trans-Am Camaros
| | |-+  Interview with Robert Barg, Trans-Am racer
« previous next »
Pages: 1 2 3 4 [All] Print
Author Topic: Interview with Robert Barg, Trans-Am racer  (Read 14612 times)
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3244



View Profile
« on: March 13, 2011, 12:36:50 AM »

Below is an in-depth interview with Robert Barg. Robert was the second owner of the 24th ’67 Z-28 built. It was a red Z-28 with the rally sport (hidden headlight) option and was originally purchased by Maurice “Mo” Carter through his City Chevrolet dealership in Hamilton, Ontario. Mo did some rally and road race activities with the car before selling it to Robert in late ’67 or early ‘68.

                                                                                  Robert Barg
                                                                      The Racing Life of a Privateer
                                                                    (as told by Robert Barg to Jon Mello)



Mo Carter’s red #8 at Mosport, Aug 1967                                                                                                                  Photo: Phil Dauphinee

    I got started racing in ‘61 with a Crosley powered homemade race car (that I bought) that had a cut-down Devin body on it – looked like a baby Ferrari.  It was what they called a Canada Class car (similar to the SCCA H modified cars) and I ran a few races with it.  I could never get the Crosley motor to run right (we didn’t know much) so I sold it.  I didn’t start again till ‘65 because I got involved in a car business with two other guys and there was no time for racing till then.  At first, I shared Rick Stevens’ 998 Mini Cooper for a few races and then built one with another friend.  I was, at one time, the D sedan lap record holder in Rick’s almost stock mini at Mid-Ohio – set in Oct. ‘66.  I had never been there before and actually passed many-time SCCA National champion Chuck Dietrich on the outside of turn one at Mid-Ohio on the marbles.  He was dumbfounded that I would try and pass him there (didn’t know any better).  I had qualified near the back but had a great race with him and Bernd Leckow (NSU).  I eventually finished a close third in D sedan.

    I had a partner with the Mini who did the maintenance and he wanted out so it was sold.  I felt I was ready for something more powerful.  I had been driving a Corvette-powered ‘54 Healey around the street for three years so I felt confident I could handle something larger like a Camaro.  When Mo put the ‘67 up for sale as a roller I jumped on it.  I have no idea where the money came from – I must have gotten a loan somewhere.


Mo Carter at Mosport, 9-23-67                                                                                                                      Photo by Dale von Trebra

    The ‘67 was actually Mo Carter’s first road racing Camaro.  Mo drove it in the ‘67 Shell 4000 [FIA-sanctioned Trans-Canadian rally] in early May, then had a local stock car builder make a crude road race car out of it.  He did several regional races in ‘67 and also took it down to Watkins Glen. I bought it that winter as a roller for $1800.  It had no motor or tranny and drum brakes on the back with stock street Koni shocks.  When I bought the car from Mo it was still painted red, which I thought was the original colour from GM but I can’t be sure.  I raced it that same colour in ‘68 – it did not need paint.

    I ran it in three regional races in ‘68 after I had a friend build a 302 motor for it and installed a fuel cell.  If memory serves, I don't believe most cars had fuel cells in ’67 but they became mandated somewhere around April or May of ‘68. I can remember smuggling a 22-gallon cell bladder, foam, and container over the border from Buffalo NY in early ‘68. Brian Robertson, my engine man stuffed the bladder and foam underneath the dash of the 401 Buick-powered ‘58 Pontiac wagon I drove that year as a tow car. It was a cell made by Donn Allen, I believe. We were nervous as could be trying to smuggle it across the border to avoid duty. It was an added race expense that Canadian racers had to put up with, as there was little in the way of racing parts produced in Canada.

    Rick Stevens and I decided to test the T/A waters at Watkins Glen in August ‘68.  The number we used for the race was 71 – I had been using the # 171 in my club races in Ontario.  We did not get a handle on the car prep for the Glen at all. We were way slow in qualifying and the race.  The car had some front suspension problems that got progressively worse and we barely finished.  In fact I was going so slow at the end that during a yellow I waved Jerry Titus by and he got into trouble with the officials. I had to tell them after the race that I waved him by because the car was ailing.  They were ready to take the race win away from him. He was very worried at the time.


Robert Barg at Mosport, 1968                                                                                                                   Photo: Robert Barg Collection

     At the end of ‘68, my friend Brian wanted his motor back so I bought the engine and then sold the car to Al Richards as a roller. Richards repainted it that nice Camaro “Marina blue” after he bought it from me.  The next spring I conned him into going to Sebring and I would supply the motor.  That’s how Richards and I got together to go racing till the end of ‘72.  I think he knew I wasn’t the quickest driver around (not the slowest either) but the odds were I would bring it home in one piece after each T/A race, and that was important because we had no money.  We were probably the lowest budget privateer gang you ever saw. We raced on used tires and I had to borrow a tow vehicle from someone for each race, and sometimes had to borrow a trailer.  We depended upon whatever prize money we won – usually $300-$600.  I wasn’t allowed to work on the car but became very good at scrounging for used race parts. Al was a HD diesel mechanic and had some drag racing background, but he and his friends who helped with the car knew very little about road race setup. We learned as we went along.  I didn’t know anything either – just sort of drove whatever they provided on the grid.  At every race, Mark Schwien, Rusty Jowett’s mechanic, would take pity on us and tell us the “hot tip”.  He was an ex-Nascar mechanic and had some smarts.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2011, 10:31:53 PM by Jon Mello » Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3244



View Profile
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2011, 01:09:24 AM »


1969 Sebring weigh-in                                                                                                                             Photo: Robert Barg Collection

    For the 1969 Sebring race, Rick Stevens was recruited as my co-driver. During the race, our team had no clue where we were in class until the hourly reports came in.  I ended up driving for eight hours out of the twelve as Rick was not feeling well – too much sunburn from the days before.  I did the last night stint and turned my fastest race lap in the dark with about 1 hour to go. Without a working tach, we just sort of shifted by ear – probably under the redline.

    Early in the race I ran the car off the road in the esses by getting out on the marbles while moving over for a Porsche prototype.  It turns out I bent up the front suspension and the car became hard to steer (no power steering). We had to find front tires every hour. I got some used ones from Firestone, as I remember. We won $1000 and were a happy bunch.  It was after the Sebring race the car was updated to better Konis and rear disc brakes. Al acquired a cross ram in ‘69 but I can’t remember if we actually used it – he says yes.

    One other interesting stat from that race was it was the last ever Le Mans start.  In fact there was a false one, and the drivers had to do it twice.  I started the race and made sure I didn’t get involved in any first lap nonsense.  There were several drivers competing who were also Trans-Am drivers.  That race was probably one of the highlights of my humble racing career.


Robert Barg and Dick Hoffman at Michigan Int'l Speedway in 1969                                                               Photo: Robert Barg Collection

    After Sebring, we met Dick Hoffman through the referral of another racer. To my knowledge, Hoffman and his partner Dave Horchler had sold their car to Levester Lewis in early ’69 and this is why Dick became available. We did an SCCA National or Regional race together at MIS and Dick drove the car solo at one of the Canadian Touring car races also that year at Mosport. He would put some money in the pot. Then Al decided to enter the ‘69 T/A at Mid-Ohio with Dick and I as co-drivers.  I started the race but shortly after a pit stop where Dick took over driving, the rear axle broke and we were a DNF.

    After that Mid-Ohio race, Dick organized a deal with Ford to take Al’s car to Riverside.  The deal was Ford wanted to use the car to mount a camera on the roof. The footage was to be used in a film promoting Ford racing exploits for the ’68 –’69 racing seasons.  Dick did that race on his own, I wasn’t able to go. The results say he finished 20th, 12th in O-2.


The Camaro (second from left) at Riverside with the camera on the roof                                                          Photo: Petersen Publishing


Riverside Trans-Am                                             Photo: Mike Smith

    Dick was of great help in sorting out Al’s ‘67 because of his GM engineering background and knowledge of the Penske ‘67 Camaros. Dick was, in my estimation, a very quick driver.  He had already done (with Dave Horchler) several T/A’s in ‘67-‘68.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2014, 12:30:13 AM by Jon Mello » Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3244



View Profile
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2011, 01:28:06 AM »

In ’69, Al had worked part-time as a mechanic fixing up used cars for High Performance Sales.  They were a big used muscle car/Corvette dealer in Toronto. In ’70, Al repainted the Camaro yellow with those strange black stripes on the rear. Most likely this was because he quit working for High Performance and no longer had any sponsorship from them – whatever it was. Dennis Marks (a Jamaican) and Roy Bean were two buddies of Al’s and helped maintain the race car.  Dennis may have been a part owner of the car at that time, I don’t really know for sure. In ‘70 we reserved our T/A number early in the year and I chose 39, which happened to be one of the numbers still available. We kept that number for ‘71 and ‘72 also. Dick Hoffman built a new ’70-bodied car for himself and was no longer involved with our team.


New paint job for 1971-1972                                                                                                                   Photo: Robert Barg Collection
 
    We didn’t run a Trans-Am race during the ’70 season until St. Jovite in August, where we finished 19th.  At the Glen a couple of weeks later, we only made the grid because four guys blew their motors in the Sunday morning warm-up, but we did finish the race 18th out of 35 starters. Our team made do with an all purpose rear end ratio for every track – 3:73 (not good at Bryar or Lime Rock) and an engine that had to last all season – so we kept the revs down to 6800-7000.

    In ‘71 we did six T/A races but dumb things would happen like the throttle linkage falling apart at Mid Ohio during the race, and a flat tire at St. Jovite in the back part of the track (all part of racing of course).  Six races that year was a big effort for us. Our best race of the season was the first one at Lime Rock, which took place in the rain. We finished 9th despite taking the front escape road 3 times and won $1000. This was a big deal to us at the time as we literally had no budget to go racing and needed the money to see us to the next race.


A happy bunch after Lime Rock, L-R Al Richards, Dennis Marks, Robert Barg, & Roy Bean                              Photo: Robert Barg Collection

    Most of the factories were gone in ‘71 and there were none in ‘72.  It brought out lots of the A-sedan club racers who wanted in on the action because of the prize money.  Unfortunately, most of the track promoters got scared in ‘72 because the factories were gone and all the media bad-mouthed the series. IMSA had also become a force.  Many of the T/A guys switched over and some ran both series although the rules were different in ‘72. In ‘73 SCCA adopted most of the IMSA rules in order to compete with them.  The original ‘72 schedule of 12 races was cut back to 7.  Most of the racers were based in the NE and that also had something to do with car counts.  Not everyone would travel to St. Jovite and certainly not to Edmonton.


Michigan International Speedway, 1971                                                                                                    Photo: Robert Barg Collection

    In ’72, we only did three races with the shortened schedule.  The writing was on the wall about the T/A series and the car was very old and tired by the end.  I knew Al was giving up and had the car for sale, so I got together with Rick Stevens to purchase the ex-Carter/Alfie Perez ‘69 Camaro.  We managed 3 IMSA races in the ’69 car that year – Mid Ohio, the Glen, and Daytona – were lucky enough to finish in 3rd place in the TO division in all 3 races.


Rick Stevens with the IMSA Camaro he and Robert Barg shared                                                                   Photo: Robert Barg Collection

    Al and I ran three early T/A races in ‘72 with the yellow car – Bryar, Mid-Ohio, and Watkins Glen, with some mediocre results. After that the car was retired. Al sold the car to a stock car friend – end of ‘72 or early ‘73? We sort of lost touch as I became involved with Rick and the ‘69 Mo Carter Camaro.  I think Al, after the Glen race, decided it was time to do other things, like start a business. We had had four good years and the car was now old and tired etc. – time to move on. I probably wouldn’t have got involved with the ‘69 except for the fact that Rick was a mechanic and could maintain the car.  That ran out of steam also as he was starting a repair business and couldn’t devote the time to the car.  We also realized it wasn’t competitive any more with IMSA or T/A and it was put up for sale sometime near the end of ‘73.  In the spring of ‘74 I moved out to BC for the first time.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2012, 06:40:49 PM by Jon Mello » Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3244



View Profile
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2011, 01:46:34 AM »

WAR STORIES, ETC.....
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

BEING A RACER IS HARD WORK ---  Because Al, Dennis, and Roy worked at a day job during the week, they never had the time to do a thorough job of prepping the car for the next race and toward the end of the season it started to show as things would break or wear out. They were very good at getting things done in a hurry like changing a complete rear axle assembly.  I can remember going to the local wreckers at Mid-Ohio in maybe ‘71 because one of the front A-arms broke in practice and we didn’t have a spare. So they were very resourceful in that way – never give up.  One time, also at Mid-Ohio, we needed a front brake caliper or something to do with the brakes. They actually went out to the spectator parking lot, found a Z-28, jacked up the guy’s car and took off the part they needed – left a note on the owner’s windshield that the part would be returned after the race – imagine the nerve!  I can remember going back to the car after the race and the guy was actually grateful that he could help us out – unbelievable!
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

RULE BENDING --- I think a factor that is sometimes overlooked is that the factories were bending the rules at every opportunity – acid dipping, moving firewalls, changing engine locations, moving suspension points, etc. John Timanus (SCCA’s Chief Technical Administrator) had a hard time keeping track of what they were doing. They were just as inventive as Smokey Yunick when it came to interpreting and bending rules.  Incidentally, Timanus was a prince of a guy.  If he saw something he didn’t like on our car (there was nothing to give us any performance advantage) he would just say “have it fixed for next race”. The independents really had no chance and that some of them like Mo Carter, Warren Agor, Warren Tope etc who managed top ten finishes was a testament to their resources and driving skill.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

THOUGHTS ON MO CARTER --- I remember Mo racing the Camaro in ‘67. He had been racing a Yenko Stinger in ‘66 (his first year).  He was a former rally driver who went road racing in ‘66. In hindsight, I don’t think he was a better racer than most of us but he was a Chevy dealer with lots of resources at his disposal and I think all the seat time he put in certainly helped.  He became a good driver, but was hard on equipment, according to his crew. That ‘67 Camaro I bought was not well built, but his next Camaros were better cars. With his ‘68 and then ’69, his crew obviously learned the tricks of the trade. Mo was a good guy and I got to know him thru the years. He was always very cordial to me and treated me with respect. I didn’t know until after his death he was a decorated Canadian War hero – fought at Normandy, etc. He never mentioned any of it to me. He was also very active in service clubs and charity work in the Hamilton area. He certainly flew the Canadian flag at races all over North America, both T/A and later IMSA. He even went to Le Mans in ‘80 but ran afoul of the French racing authorities.  He didn’t like their politics and the rumour was Mo made reference to their lack of fighting skills in the 2nd war.
 
    I actually worked for Mo for 3 months in ‘69 as a sales rep.  I can remember all kinds of Chevy muscle in the inventory. One day I road tested a plain looking black 69 Camaro with a 396 that had aluminum heads. It had a 4-speed and I only drove it around the block. It was as fast or quicker than the Corvette Healey I used to own. It had torque you wouldn’t believe. Can’t recall what model that would have been – maybe something specially ordered by Mo or a COPO car? He was a reserved no-nonsense kind of guy – well spoken. I don’t think he suffered fools gladly. I left his employ because the commute was too long for me and something else came up.


Mo Carter                                                                                                                 Photo: Robert Barg Collection
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

SCARY MOMENTS --- They were always the ones in the first few laps.  Because I usually qualified well back, the first few laps were busy and I took pains to stay out of trouble but there were some hairy moments.  It was only important for us to make the grid as sometimes 45 cars would show up and they only started 33. We played the waiting game during the race – they were over 2 hrs. long in those days.  My fastest race lap was usually 2-3 seconds faster than I qualified at.  We seldom had new tires for the race and for qualifying just used the ones from the previous race.  We only ran enough laps to get on the grid so as not to wear out the car.

    One time at Mid-Ohio during the race, Warren Tope passed me and moved me over on the marbles and he and I both sort of did 360’s on the grass in tandem but never hit each other.  He was, of course, going way too fast and never made the corner either.  He was a wild man but eventually became very fast.  He had access to all the good Ford stuff because his dad was a big wheel with Ford.  I got off the track a few times in those early years but was never involved in a race accident – just lucky I guess.  Later in 1980 I had a big crash at Laguna after a Corvette hit me in the passenger door and sailed me off the track into the tire wall in front of the bridge – wasn’t hurt but the car was a mess (the first Hoffman 70/71 Camaro).
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

GOIN’ SOUTH FOR THE WINTER --- I first went to Daytona in ‘62 to spectate at the Daytona 500 Nascar race (Weatherly, Turner, Fireball, Johnson, etc).  I remember getting into the garage area. You can’t do that now. In those years we drove down to Daytona and also Sebring because we were sick of the Ontario winters by then. Sebring used to be a sleepy town in the middle of Florida and I wonder how much it has changed.  The last time I went was 1980 when Mo Carter was running his big block tube frame Camaro with Craig Carter as his co driver (no relation).  Lots of racing history at Sebring. It is not the same 5.2-mile track that I remember, which used those rough cement runways. I think it’s now a repaved 3.6-mile layout with very little left of the original track.

    I attended every Sebring 12-hour from ’61 through ‘69, except for the famous rain race that Jim Hall’s Chaparral won in ‘65. I can’t remember why I didn’t attend that one.  I must have worked as a pit marshal for at least 3 or 4 years.  I thought that was great. There were two of us assigned to each car during the Sebring 12-hour. We worked 2 hour shifts, then had 2 hours off. The pit marshal’s job at Sebring was to make sure only the allotted amount of crew were over the wall working on the car and to record the time in and time out of the race car stop in the pits. Remember, there was no electronic stuff in those days.  Someone would come around from timing and scoring every hour and give each crew an updated scoring list. We received no pay but we got some shirts and a free lunch every day and there was one large party for all of us each year.  It was a great way to meet other enthusiasts and of course, to observe all the hysterics in the Ferrari pits – I loved it.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

HOTSHOTS vs THE LITTLE GUYS --- I don’t think the hotshoe racers cared much about us lowlifes at the back of the grid as long as we kept out of their way.  I remember looking out the rear view mirror diligently.  I remember that we sort of got to know the guys in our group that were about the same speed.  Never got to know the factory guys.  I think we were somewhat intimidated by them, although if we needed a part I would go up and down the paddock rows to see what I could borrow or get donated.  I got quite good at scrounging for parts.  Our crew learned slowly about set-up etc. just by asking others and observing.  There were probably only about 2 or 3 other Camaro teams that our crew got to know well.  Don’t forget, we were all competing against one another and there was money involved.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

MISCELLANEOUS STUFF --- 1971 Michigan result - the original SCCA results showed me as a "Robert Park" - a typo.  www.ultimateracinghistory.com has made the correction. I drove that race with a consistent misfire - some ignition problem if I remember, or maybe fuel related - lost about 5 seconds a lap.  That was one of the Brock Yates rental ride races.
 
1970 Watkins Glen - I drove that race on dry tires despite having it rain for almost an hour.  That was the race I was lucky to get on the grid because some guys blew their motors in practise. It was either Francois Guertin or Leon Alain who also joined me.  One guy had loaded up and gone home or maybe didn't hear the call to get on the grid.
 
1970 Bryar - Entered, practised and qualified but didn't start because a jr. crew guy overheated the engine driving the car around the paddock - Al was not pleased and I missed the next race at Mid-Ohio before another engine was cobbled together.
 
1970 St. Jovite - I was almost overcome by cockpit fumes - either exhaust or gas - barely made it to the finish.
 
1971 Watkins Glen - The front driveshaft yolk exploded going down the front straight - I had mentioned a driveline vibration from the previous race but couldn't say where it exactly came from.
 
1973 T/A Lime Rock driving the 69 ex-Alfie Camaro - engine let go on the front straight.

1973 T/A Watkins Glen - I was drving (Rick Stevens was co-driver) when the rains came, the fog rolled in and the race was stopped. Mo was declared the winner.  We were still using a 302 engine even though they had dropped the 5-litre limit that year.  Some results say we were a DNF - not so. I had just made a stop and we put on rain tires - passed a whole bunch of guys who had been caught without.
 
Thanks to Al Richards for all those drives - I still have some contact with him from time to time. I paid the entry fees, if I remember - $100 each and sent the entries in too. Al did not want to drive the car - was happy just to be the owner and chief wrench.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

TRAILER TOWING --- I remember that for one race at the Glen (can’t remember which year) I enlisted the help of a young friend for his tow vehicle – a ‘68 Ford Ranchero – well, it was useless as a tow vehicle. I was following him down our 4- lane hwy on the way to the border and the trailer started to do a tank-slapper on him – he ended up in the median in a cloud of dust, with thankfully the car still upright on the trailer. After that it was a painful 45 mph all the way to the Glen. It taught me a lesson never to use something as dumb as a Ranchero to tow a race car and trailer.
 
    One other time Al had borrowed a stock car trailer from one of his stock car racer friends and because the thing hadn’t been used for years, all the wheels bearings seized up about 50 miles down the road from Toronto. He had to find another trailer – the whole episode was a horror show and we wasted a day – did not get to the Glen till about noon on Sat.
 

Loaded down and ready to head to the track.                                                                                            Photo: Robert Barg Collection

    Another time, because we were broke, it was decided not to pay the NY Thruway toll on the other side of Buffalo, and instead, take the old Hwy 20 to Bryar. It wound up and down the backcountry – very nice drive if you weren’t in a hurry and thru every little NY state town. In the middle of the night, about 3am, the trailer tongue broke and it dropped on the pavement, just in the middle of a small town.  As luck would have it, there was one gas station open, and the attendant saw our problem and actually phoned a local welder guy to come out and fix the trailer!  It only cost $20, but that was twice the NY Thruway toll of $10!
 
    I think we barely made it to Bryar (or maybe Lime Rock) in time for Sat. afternoon practice.  I remember (crew member) Roy Bean driving the tow truck and he was so tired he was weaving all over the road. I was following behind and was terrified he would dump it upside down. By the time I got to the track after that all-nighter and with no sleep, it was a wonder I could even drive.
 
    So you can see, we had some drama and weren’t even yet at the track! It was all part of the racing experience – in hindsight I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2011, 05:01:36 PM by Jon Mello » Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
Sixteen Grand Sedan #56
Member
***
Posts: 73



View Profile
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2011, 12:26:06 AM »

THANK YOU Jon for these VERY COOL stories and pictures from the day.

Robert
Logged

Robert Lodewyk
Bruce302
Member
***
Posts: 97


View Profile Email
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2011, 01:51:09 AM »

Excellent interview and recollections.
Many thanks to Robert Barg, and to Jon for making it happen.  Nice to see the great pics and put faces to the names.

Bruce.
Logged
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3244



View Profile
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2011, 01:33:07 AM »

This is the ad Mo Carter placed in the October-November 1967 issue of "Track & Traffic" magazine when he put his Z-28 up for sale.

« Last Edit: October 09, 2011, 10:52:22 PM by Jon Mello » Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
oldtransamdriver
Member
***
Posts: 241


View Profile Email
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2011, 04:51:46 PM »

I don't remember "race wheels and spares". Fully prepped to Group II ? I think some of that suff was saved for his next build - the 68 camaro - later raced, after Mo, by Jerry Daca.  I don't think that 68 has surfaced.

Robert Barg
Logged
michael84
Newbie
*
Posts: 2


View Profile Email
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2011, 02:18:01 AM »

This article is a fantastic read.And very well written

Also Thank you to Robert for mentioning this site to me on another forum
Logged
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3244



View Profile
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2011, 03:33:57 PM »

Thanks. I'm glad you like it. It was pieced together from numerous emails and made to read like a story rather than an interview but I think it turned out well. Robert is a great guy, a terrific asset to enthusiasts of Trans-Am racing back in the "golden era", and I am really pleased to have his story here on this forum. It gives great insight into what it took to be a dedicated racer back then.
Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3244



View Profile
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2012, 11:01:21 PM »

For sale ad in Wheelspin News, a Canadian racing pub. 1971

Courtesy of Lance Hill
Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
oldtransamdriver
Member
***
Posts: 241


View Profile Email
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2012, 12:55:04 AM »

Very interesting ad - who bought this car?  What was the date of that ad?  Possibly the car that Alfie Ruys de Perez raced in 71? and was later purchased by Rick Stevens and I in 72 - see the photo of the red camaro with Rick standing beside it.

Robert Barg
Logged
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3244



View Profile
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2012, 04:00:34 PM »

Robert,

That ad is from April '71. It advertises two '69 Camaros for sale but does not specifically say if either is the Trans-Am car that we normally associate with Mo and Alfie. Certainly, the first one does not appear to be a Trans-Am car but the second one is a "maybe".
Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3244



View Profile
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2012, 08:48:38 AM »

Here's a neat photo of Robert's car in the fall of '68 looking pretty much how it was received from Mo Carter. It looks like it is on display in a shopping mall or something. The sticker in the RH headlight area is from the 1968 Watkins Glen Trans-Am race and Glen 500 which were on the same weekend in August '68. As we know, the car started out as a rally sport Z-28 but for some reason a standard grille was installed after the original was damaged.

Robert Barg photo
Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3244



View Profile
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2012, 07:20:22 AM »

Robert Barg and co-driver Rick Stevens pose with the Camaro prior to leaving Canada to head south to Florida for the 1969 Sebring 12-hour race.

Robert Barg Collection

Sebring tech was in a Sebring downtown parking lot, not at the track itself.

Robert Barg Collection

On the actual scales where the weight on each wheel is tallied.

Robert Barg Collection

Post weigh-in.

Robert Barg Collection

The upper end of the pits.

Robert Barg Collection

Not sure what's going on here. Almost looks like the tranny is being pulled or reinstalled out in front of the local Church of the Nazarene. At least they weren't doing it on Sunday.

Robert Barg Collection

In one of the hangars at the Sebring race track. Maybe Robert can tell us why the engine has been pulled. Notice one of the headers is hanging in the background.

Robert Barg Collection

The over-all winner of the Sebring 12-hour. The Ferrari of Chris Amon and Mario Andretti.

Robert Barg Collection
« Last Edit: June 07, 2012, 09:40:41 AM by Jon Mello » Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
oldtransamdriver
Member
***
Posts: 241


View Profile Email
« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2012, 11:05:15 AM »

re Sebring photos -

The tech was held downtown in the market square - a common feature of small town America.  I think it was done there to get the sleepy locals revved up about the race.  The race car crews would drive the Ferraris etc from the airport hangars to the downtown market square for tech (some 6 miles away if I remember), sometimes exceeding the speed limit I'm sure.  The local constabulary would just close their eyes to this business.  

Camaro parked on the street - we failed the FIA box drive-over for ground clearance and moved the car around the block to where my car (Dodge Monaco) and the Cadillac tow vehicle were parked (more road stories).  We had to jack up the car and Al and his crew rigged up the suspension so it would clear the FIA box one-time and we passed!

Airport hangar -

We rented some space in the airport hangars, as did other teams.  Upon startup of the car it was discovered there was way too much oil pressure.  My understanding is that the engine had to be removed from the car before some adjustiment to the oil pressure relief valve could be made?  The crew was not happy - I had told them they would have plenty of time to lie on the beach at the small lake by the town!  ha ha.

Robert
« Last Edit: June 07, 2012, 10:00:27 PM by Jon Mello » Logged
oldtransamdriver
Member
***
Posts: 241


View Profile Email
« Reply #16 on: June 07, 2012, 11:11:24 AM »

The race was actually won by a Ford GT-40 as the Amon Andretti Ferrari had mechanical problems late in the race.

Robert
Logged
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3244



View Profile
« Reply #17 on: June 07, 2012, 11:49:17 AM »

Thanks for correcting me on who won the race, Robert. The Amon-Andretti Ferrari was on the pole and had the fastest lap during the race but came in 2nd at the end. Thanks also for the other insights.
Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3244



View Profile
« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2012, 01:22:49 AM »


"This photo is from Sebring '66.  My friend Gerry and I towed a small trailer with 3 motorbikes down to Sebring.  That is me on the bike - a 175 Honda.  The other guys are friends who also drove down for the race.
 
That was the year that Canadian driver Bob McLean was killed driving a GT 40 owned by Comstock Racing out of Toronto.  I happened to be at the esses watching when he suddenley veered off the track and crashed into a trackside utility pole and burst into flames - marshalls couldn't put out the fire or get him out and he burned to death - most horrifying thing I have seen at the race track.  I had been working as a pit marshall and had just done my 2 hr stint and went to the esses to watch the race. My friend Gerry was working in the Comstock pits and was requested to go out to the accident scene on his motorbike and report back.  From the pits you could see huge pillars of smoke."
Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3244



View Profile
« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2012, 09:50:32 PM »

Talking with Craig Fisher, who was part of the Comstock team in '66, he told me the wrecked remains of the GT40 got buried under a freeway overpass after the '66 race. The overpass project was underway at that time and for whatever reason, that's where the car got taken rather than a salvage yard. As you can imagine, this accident deeply affected the members of the team.
Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3244



View Profile
« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2012, 07:25:39 AM »

For the 1970 season, Robert's Camaro was part of a 2-car team. The second car (seen on the back trailer) was a '68 Camaro
driven by Dave Lawler. Both car were painted gold for 1970. I believe this shot was taken at Mosport, a non-Trans-Am event.

Robert Barg Collection
Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3244



View Profile
« Reply #21 on: June 16, 2012, 01:17:27 AM »

More photos, courtesy of Robert Barg.

Big PowWow of some sort. Car owners Al Richards and Dennis Marks with their backs to the camera.


Al Richards (in the red coat) appears deep in thought. Interesting black Z-28 in the background.


Al Richards, Robert Barg and engine builder Brian Robertson.


Robert's car on the outside of the front row for the start of the race. That's Mo Carter's '68 Camaro next to him.


Robert's car about to come roaring by the pits.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2012, 01:48:37 AM by Jon Mello » Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
oldtransamdriver
Member
***
Posts: 241


View Profile Email
« Reply #22 on: June 17, 2012, 05:11:25 PM »

Starting Grid - this is the sedan support race for the 1969 Mosport Can-Am race.  The other car on the front row is the Al Mason 68 camaro - later raced by Pete Wiseman in a few T/A races.  Pete used to race a Cooper S and operate a mini repair service in Toronto known as Fossman Racing - have lost track of him. Al Mason is restoring old cars like 57 Chevys.  For a long time he operated a Sunoco station fixing Corvettes in the days when you could actually take your car to a gas station and get your car fixed.

I finished 3rd behind Mo and Al.

Robert Barg
Logged
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3244



View Profile
« Reply #23 on: June 19, 2012, 07:24:34 AM »

Thanks for those details, Robert. Care to fill us in on these next two photos from your collection?


Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
oldtransamdriver
Member
***
Posts: 241


View Profile Email
« Reply #24 on: June 20, 2012, 12:38:14 AM »

This was a 3 hr. relay race at the old Harewood Acres airport circuit - a left over from the Air Commonwealth Training Program.  Many such airports were built and used during the 2nd WW to train thousands of pilots and crew.  You can find these circuits everywhere in Canada, and much of the early post WW II sports car racing started at these tracks.  Harewood was last used in 1970.  In it's early days even Roger Penske raced there. After the war the track was sold to a farmer called Doug Hare who would let you come and practise all day during the week for $5 - no ambulance or corner workers of course.

In the race Les Miller started with his Valiant but it conked out after a few laps and Mo and I did the rest of the racing.  Les was a friend of Dick Hoffman's and that how we got to know Dick.

Robert Barg
Logged
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3244



View Profile
« Reply #25 on: June 21, 2012, 10:29:53 AM »

Thanks, Robert. A relay race using three different cars and drivers is kind of an interesting concept.
I don't recall hearing of something like that before. Here are a couple more photos from your collection.
I can't quite figure out where these might have been taken. Maybe St. Jovite?


Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
oldtransamdriver
Member
***
Posts: 241


View Profile Email
« Reply #26 on: June 21, 2012, 05:49:45 PM »

Not sure about the top photo, but the above - we are staying in the Campgound Hilton tent (left side of photo) in the St. Jovite paddock.  The price was right.

St. Jovite, also known as Le Circuit Mont Tremblant, is set in the beautiful Laurentian hill country.  You can see the ski runs from the racetrack, and there is some great accomodation nearby, but it just didn't fit our budget at the time. I think this is the last time the car was raced in the blue colour at the 70 TA race.

The track itself is a magnificent test of man and machine. Many of the HTA cars went back there a few years ago.

Robert Barg
Logged
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3244



View Profile
« Reply #27 on: June 22, 2012, 09:35:48 AM »

The top photo seems to look like the car is #46. Would you guys have used that number if it
was a Trans-Am race and one of the AAR Cudas was already using the #48?

Here are a few more pictures from your collection. Now, the car has had the fiberglass cowl
induction hood replaced with a stock flat hood. Do you recall why it was replaced? At which
track/race were these photos taken?






« Last Edit: June 24, 2012, 01:49:16 AM by Jon Mello » Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
oldtransamdriver
Member
***
Posts: 241


View Profile Email
« Reply #28 on: June 23, 2012, 12:38:28 AM »

These photos look to be from Harewood Acres.  Don't remember about the hood business. I don't recall ever using the number 46.

The track was near the small town of Jarvis Ontario, and actually leased out to the London Automobile Sport Club (LASC)  who organized 3 race weekends there each year.  Other Ontario car clubs also put on races at this track.

Robert
Logged
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3244



View Profile
« Reply #29 on: June 23, 2012, 06:42:52 PM »

Robert was never afraid to do the grunt work.
Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3244



View Profile
« Reply #30 on: June 24, 2012, 01:01:17 AM »

More Robert Barg pics from the 1971 Mid-Ohio Trans-Am. Notice the camera
platform from the '69 Riverside Trans-Am is still on the roof of the car.
Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
oldtransamdriver
Member
***
Posts: 241


View Profile Email
« Reply #31 on: June 24, 2012, 10:13:00 PM »

Friends at Mid-Ohio - it was lunch break I think, and we are gathered at Alfie's old converted bus which he carried his 69 camaro race car in. I am leaning against the bus and you can see my hand sticking out.  Mo is standing with his hat on, and to his right is "Stevie" (Stephanie), Alfie's wife.  She was also a racer in a mini and a camaro, but not T/A.  Sadly, she passed away in the early eighiies from cancer.  Alfie is sitting down and his young mechanic helper guy Barry Coombs, has his head turned around looking at something.  I had some contact with him a few years ago.  Alfie is also gone, killed in a road crash several years ago.  He was a neat guy. Before joining the T/A series, he raced a Chinook Can-Am car and a Chinook F 5000 car.

Tire grunt work at MO - mechanic Roy Bean and I are checking out our race tires, hoping that they would last the distance of the race, as they were probably used. Roy would later club race the first Dick Hoffman 70 camaro which eventually passed thru my hands. Last talked to Roy a few years ago - he built a race truck and maintained it for his employer.  He also, in the late seventies, worked for Brad Franciis, who built Mo's tube frame IMSA camaro.  Brad is a tech director for a Nascar team, last I heard.

Robert Barg





.
Logged
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3244



View Profile
« Reply #32 on: June 24, 2012, 10:22:21 PM »

Robert Barg's Camaro at the very wet 1971 Lime Rock Trans-Am. Looks like the car is still using the paint job
from the previous season. This was just a month prior to the Mid-Ohio race seen immediately above.

Robert Barg Collection
Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
oldtransamdriver
Member
***
Posts: 241


View Profile Email
« Reply #33 on: June 25, 2012, 09:08:06 AM »

Mid-Ohio paddock - in those days, there was very little paved paddock area, so our status ensured we were out in the grass area. I remember this 71 race weekend as being very hot and I had to be helped out of the car at the finish - suffering from heat exhaustion - had to go to the medic area for help.

Lime Rock - this looks like just the time that Donohue came up behind me and tapped me twice in the back, just to let me know he was there and not to make a dumb move (he knew I couldn't see anything out the back window).  At first I thought I was going to get punted off.  He gave me a wave as he went buy on the right.  Later in the pits I looked at the front of the Javelin - not a mark on it.

I went down the front escape road 3 times taking evasive action and from just plain overdriving.  We did have rain tires and managed a 9th.

Robert Barg
Logged
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3244



View Profile
« Reply #34 on: July 02, 2012, 12:24:52 AM »

July 22, 1972 ad in Competition Press & Autoweek. This is the car that Robert Barg
and Rick Stevens bought together to try their hand at IMSA racing in 1973.
Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
oldtransamdriver
Member
***
Posts: 241


View Profile Email
« Reply #35 on: July 02, 2012, 12:14:18 PM »

This car was purchased shortly after that ad appeared and Rick and I had time to run 3 IMSA races with it later that year - Mid-Ohio, Wakins Glen, and Daytona.  They were long races and we managed 3 3rds in the TO class.

In 73 the 302 engine expired at the Lime Rock T/A race (I drove this race) and later after a quick rebuild we both drove in the Glen T/A race - the one red flagged for fog rolling in and the turn workers couldn't see from one station to the next.  The race was won by Mo Carter who was leading at the time with his 427 engined ex Chapparal camaro.  I had come in for fuel when it started to rain and we put rain tires on and passed several cars before the race was flagged.  Of course, when the red flag came out the official positions reverted back to the previous lap and we lost the positions we had gained!

Some results show us as a DNF but we were in the pits refueling and changing tires when the race was
was reverted back to that lap.

Robert Barg

Logged
group/7
Member
***
Posts: 85


View Profile Email
« Reply #36 on: July 06, 2012, 07:49:48 PM »

hello, mike in ontario canada,been lurking here for some time ! finally decided to join. is there a spot where I can introduce myself ? will try to post a photo for the old trans am driver. my photo, paddock mosport september '67 of the carter camaro. which became your ride.
Logged
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3244



View Profile
« Reply #37 on: July 06, 2012, 10:47:22 PM »

Hello, Mike.  There is not a dedicated introduction spot but the "Intent of the 1st-Gen Trans-Am Camaro Forum" thread located at the top of page 1 works as good as anything. Please feel free to post a little bit about yourself there. Thanks for joining us.
Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
oldtransamdriver
Member
***
Posts: 241


View Profile Email
« Reply #38 on: July 07, 2012, 02:05:43 AM »

Hey Mike, welcome aboard!  Any photos of those CTC races at Harewood and Mosport from 68 to 70? Were you involved with any race teams, or just taking photos?

Robert Barg
Logged
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3244



View Profile
« Reply #39 on: July 17, 2012, 07:40:24 AM »

Here are the two photos that Mike (group/7) wanted to share with us. These are of Mo Carter's red '67 Z-28, taken at Mosport in September 1967.
Thanks for sharing, Mike!


Photo by Mike Scott


Photo by Mike Scott
Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
oldtransamdriver
Member
***
Posts: 241


View Profile Email
« Reply #40 on: July 19, 2012, 07:14:48 PM »

Thanks for those photos, Mike.  Note that when I purchased the car from Mo, there were no stripes or the 2 gas filler caps.

Robert Barg
Logged
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3244



View Profile
« Reply #41 on: July 19, 2012, 10:03:04 PM »

Those are some strange wheels on the back of Mo's car. Can't quite tell what they are but they look wider than 8" and have a lot of outward offset to them. Robert, do you recall if CASC allowed wider rims than SCCA at that time?
Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
oldtransamdriver
Member
***
Posts: 241


View Profile Email
« Reply #42 on: July 19, 2012, 11:17:15 PM »

In those days I think that CASC was doing their own thing - possiblly related to what the Brits were doing.  We also had "Improved" classes for more modified cars. Not sure when we aligned with the SCCA.

Robert Barg
Logged
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3244



View Profile
« Reply #43 on: July 25, 2012, 10:48:35 AM »

Mike Scott pointed out the Shell 4000 Rally webpage to me which features some nice photos from that Trans-Canadian event. Mo Carter (and co-pilot Art Dempsey) raced his red '67 Z-28 in this event before converting it into a road racer, which Robert Barg bought from him in the winter of '67-'68.
Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3244



View Profile
« Reply #44 on: July 25, 2012, 10:51:29 AM »

Mike also found this nice color photo on-line, but has forgotten where. If anyone know whose photo it is, I would like to give credit to that indiviidual or website.
Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3244



View Profile
« Reply #45 on: December 05, 2012, 12:08:15 PM »

Here's a racing memory by Robert Barg's car owner Al Richards after seeing the photo of his car at Riverside in '69,
seen at this link http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/mission-bell-250-race-riverside-trans-am-news-photo/155880270

"Great picture that photo brings back a lot of memories ......
We borrowed a ramp truck from my stock car buddy Phil Zampino and Dennis
and a helper drove it to Riverside after stopping at Ford Motorcraft in Detroit
where they installed all the cameras and sound equipment. My buddy Reg
and I flew out and they picked us up at the airport.
  Ford paid all our travel expenses and put us up at the Riverside Inn, a
real fancy hotel by our standards. We were payed $1000, contingent on us
qualifying and starting the race. When we got to the track on Saturday I was
shocked at the number of cars. There must have been at least 50 or 60 cars
trying to make the field so I was quite concerned at the time but Dick did
an amazing job and we qualified very well. In fact, I think we out qualified
some of the factory cars.
  The Ford people were very pleased with our performance as they had
originally been using a Mustang as a camera car but it had failed to qualify
for any of the races and with Riverside being the final race of the year and
Ford being in contention for the championship they were under a lot of
pressure from the top brass to get some actual real race footage.
  We were running very well during the race and the Ford people asked me
if they could change the film in the cameras during the first pit stop telling
me that it wouldn't take long. Unfortunately I agreed and the stop took
forever putting us out of contention for a good finish.
 Anyway all in all it was an amazing experience and I wouldn't have missed
it for the world but unfortunately the race didn't go well for Ford. Follmer
had wheel problems and Parnelli crashed so they lost the race to Donhue and
the championship as well. I guess that's the reason they didn't show too
much footage from the race."
Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
group/7
Member
***
Posts: 85


View Profile Email
« Reply #46 on: January 20, 2013, 11:04:28 PM »

hi robert, what can you tell us about the ex carter 69 camaro that you raced. do you know it's history between the time you raced it and  before joe freitas got it ? deperez raced it as a  independent in 71. how did he become involved with carter in 72, when the car was sponsored by "mo". maybe jon can give us some input as well.

   mike in canada
Logged
group/7
Member
***
Posts: 85


View Profile Email
« Reply #47 on: January 20, 2013, 11:28:51 PM »

 sorry guys, didn't mean to muddy the waters ! after going back to roberts post on jan. 1 this year, the car went to leon alain, correct ? I was under the impression that the carter car and deperez car were one and the same. my mistake.

  mike
Logged
oldtransamdriver
Member
***
Posts: 241


View Profile Email
« Reply #48 on: January 21, 2013, 12:14:24 AM »

Rick Stevens and I always assumed the 69 camaro that we purchased from Alfie Ruys de Perez in the summer of 72 was the same car that Mo raced in 70.  It was sold to Leon Alain sometime in 74 and Leon told us it was destroyed in a garage fire along with some other race cars.

At some point the Mo Carter 69 camaro appeared in the vintage race world - restored?  (there is a strange story associated with this restoration).  Ok, so now we think maybe what we bought was the "2nd"
69 camaro built in the Carter shops? but I'm not sure.  Can't find anyone to verify anything. Maybe Ken Ball, who worked for Mo, or possibly Dave Covey, couild shed some light on this story.

Robert Barg
Logged
group/7
Member
***
Posts: 85


View Profile Email
« Reply #49 on: January 21, 2013, 07:41:04 PM »

old transam driver, thanks for you reply. there are differences between the two cars. I am no expert, but from looking in period pics.  one car has the fuel filler in the tailight panel, with a vent to the left of it.  the other has the fuel filler cut into the rear spoiler and trunk, is this the car you drove ? can't post a link ! but i'm sure you know the pictures on the autocourse.ca sight. trois rivieres sept./74 with  alain. with deperez at tremblant..71. the restored ? freitas car has the filler on the taillight panel. always  a lot of questions with these cars, considering the value they now have.

  mike
Logged
oldtransamdriver
Member
***
Posts: 241


View Profile Email
« Reply #50 on: January 25, 2013, 01:53:49 AM »

Mike, go back and look at "original T/A photos etc" last 2 pages - the cage looks the same, the fuel filler in the middle of the trunk and into the spoiler looks the same to me, also the 2 rear window clips.  Only thing is the fuel vent to the left of the filler in 72 - I think something SCCA may have madated to keep spillage down using a colletor bolltle.

I didn't see a photo of de Perez on autocourse at the 71 T/A and Alain with a new paint job in 74.

Robert
Logged
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3244



View Profile
« Reply #51 on: October 05, 2013, 07:41:40 PM »

Here's a photo of the car from late 1968 when it just arrived in Weston (Toronto) after Robert Barg sold it to Al Richards.


Al Richards Collection
Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3244



View Profile
« Reply #52 on: October 06, 2013, 12:00:31 AM »

More pictures of the car, this time from the '69 Riverside Trans-Am race. There does appear to be a cross ram on it in the shot with the raised hood.


Al Richards Collection


Al Richards Collection


Al Richards Collection


Al Richards Collection
Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3244



View Profile
« Reply #53 on: October 09, 2013, 12:04:34 AM »




A few more pictures from the '69 Sebring race. On the scales in downtown Sebring and in the pits during practice.


Al Richards Collection


Al Richards Collection


Al Richards Collection
Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
Pages: 1 2 3 4 [All] Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.156 seconds with 17 queries.