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Author Topic: Wheels used on Trans-Am Camaros  (Read 40081 times)
beighes
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« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2011, 12:49:20 PM »

I'm glad that the photos of the Cougar wheels were posted.  It reminded me that I have some of the extra long wheel nuts tucked away.........like 2 or 3 car sets.  Note to self....find them!

Steve
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« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2011, 05:44:15 PM »

Hello Mike,

I have a set of the cheater 15" X 9" magnesium Torq-Thrust "D" wheels that are on the back of my '66 Shelby B-Production car.  The outside wheel lip looks like a standard 7" or 8" wheel, but the extra width is all on the in-board side.  Since I don't run the car with vintage racing orgs, I've not felt the need to put the car back to a legal wheel width.

My cheater wheels are stamped/dated 6  67  (June '67) on the center cap mounting flange.  The previous owner of my Shelby said that he bought them from Bud Moore, but I have no way to confirm that.

I can take a picture when I get to the car, if others are interested.  They are 4 on 4 1/2" bolt pattern, so perhaps they're not as interesting or appropriate to a first gen Camaro forum.

-Chad
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OCTARD
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« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2011, 12:48:13 AM »

I believe the best real magnesium wheels being made for early Trans-Am era cars come from Ray Frankin at Vintage Engineering.  Ray's Torq-Thrust and Minilite style wheels are incredibly accurate, and the raw material and casting quality is the best I've seen.

I have an unused set of original magnesium Minilites that have never been without paint, and have never seen rain or moisture.  The casting quality of these original Minilites is nice, but the Vintage Engineering wheels have a much tighter "grain."  I guess others might describe the Vintage Engineering wheels as having much less visible porosity.

I've attached a picture of one of Ray's wheels in bare magnesium, though treated with DOW 7.  I wish I could post a larger image size to this forum, because a higher resolution would better illustrate the quality of the casting.

Vintage Engineering's site, and much of their other efforts with McLaren and Lola castings and parts can be seen here:

  http://vintageeng.com/MagWheelsProduct.html

Ray doesn't feature his Trans-Am style wheels prominently on his site, but I'm sure he can provide you more detailed shots for those interested.

-Chad
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2011, 01:39:22 AM »

Chad, Thanks for posting the pics of the Vintage Engineering Minilites and the link to the website. They sure look like high quality wheels.
Since you have posted full view pics of the front and back sides already, a similar sized photo zoomed in on a spoke or other suitable area
should give us a good feel for the grain or porosity of the metal. I'd love to see the cheater wheels on your Shelby and I bet others
would too.
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Jon Mello
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cuda48
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« Reply #19 on: April 04, 2011, 08:07:36 AM »

Those newer wheels look very nice Chad.  I didn't know you had a Shelby too!  That's really cool about the cheater wheels though.  What ever they could get away with at the time is how it went. That's why I love reading hearing the tales from back in the day.  I'm jealous of Robert Barg. That would have been so much fun mixing it up with the big boys!

Camicia
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« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2011, 11:14:18 PM »

Hello Mike and Jon,

Here are a couple pictures of my "cheater" 15 X 9 magnesium Torq-Thrust "D" wheels.  These are on the rear of my 1966 Shelby B-Production race car.  I only post these to a Camaro forum because Jon asked for them.

The measurement from the outboard center cap mounting flange to the outer lip is ~1 1/2".  The backspacing on these rims is ~5 1/2". 

The tires are Goodyear Blue Streak Sportscar Specials 6.00-15 that were generally available to vintage racers about 10 years ago.  I point the size of tire out because I'll later post a picture of the front wheels with the same size tire. 

These rear wheels would be illegal to run in west coast HMSA or General Racing events.

-Chad
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« Reply #21 on: April 05, 2011, 11:30:14 PM »

Hello Mike and Jon,

Here is a picture of the 15 X 7 magnesium Torq-Thrust "D" wheels on the front of my 1966 Shelby B-Production race car.  Again, I only post these to a Camaro forum because Jon asked for them, and they help show what's cheater about the previously posted 15 X 9 wheels.

The backspacing on this rim is ~3 1/2".  The measurement from the outboard center cap mounting flange to the outer lip is ~1 1/2".   If you compare measurements, you'll see that the outboard wheel "lip" is roughly identical to the cheater 15 X 9 wheels noted and pictured above, but the back spacing is roughly 2" less. 

The tires are Goodyear Blue Streak Sports Car Specials, size 6.00-15.  These tires are the same as what's shown on the cheater 15 X 9 wheels above.  You should be able to see more of a tire sidewall bulge with these tires mounted on this narrower wheel.

-Chad
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« Reply #22 on: April 06, 2011, 12:05:13 AM »

Hello Jon,

On the Vintage Engineering Minilite style magnesium wheel, Ray still makes the casting with "texture" in the spokes (front and back).  If the spokes didn't have this, they just wouldn't look right.

Where you can really see the casting quality difference is in the machined areas.  I'm no metallurgist, but you can visibly see that the grain of the material is much tighter, without the porosity, or small air pocket voids that are visible here and there in both my used and unused original magnesium Minilites.

The picture of the wheel backside on the DOW 7 treated magnesium Minilite style wheels I posted above, specifically the machined hub mounting flange, best shows the casting and material quality I'm trying to point out with the Vintage Engineering wheels. 

Ray Franklin of Vintage Engineering was even careful to copy the slight machining of the outboard casted flats near the wheel lip for me.  Though not all original Minilites were finish machined this way, the original sets I have were, and I wanted these new wheels finished to match.

-Chad
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cuda48
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« Reply #23 on: April 06, 2011, 10:41:26 AM »

You know Chad, I have to laugh because it seems to me that the Tech Inspectors could take a tape measure and easily see that one wheel is an 8 incher and the other a 9, but I guess if you took a quick look and they appeared to be the same you wouldn't notice...except maybe the tire sidewall bulge...but folks were trying different tires all the time so who knows?
I've seen a cheater Javelin Minilite in person, same deal, looked identical from the outside, just wider.

You have to laugh,
Mike Camicia
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« Reply #24 on: April 06, 2011, 05:42:05 PM »

Hello Mike,

I agree with your assessment of how easily these wheels could be noticed by a tech inspector.  Though I know next to nothing of the old SCCA Trans-Am tech inspection process, and I'm not sure these wheels were ever used in competition, perhaps it would have been possible to never let the tech inspectors see them up close.  In other words, stash them in the trailer, and only use the cheater wheels:

  • During qualifying, after you've passed tech... And change them in the hot pits, within the session.  Don't start or finish the qualifying with the cheater wheels.
  • After the first pit stop within the race.  And preferably, get them back off the car before the end of the race.  With ~300 mile races, multiple pit stops were a reality.
 
Here are a couple more pictures of the wheels off the car.  Again, these wheels are both running the exact same tire.

Perhaps Mr. Barg can tell us if he believes they would have been possible to get these by an SCCA Trans-Am tech inspector.

-Chad
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beighes
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« Reply #25 on: April 06, 2011, 06:14:32 PM »

Chad...The difference between the 7's & 9's is obvious.  Fit that tyre on an 8 inch rim, & it may not look too bad.  When I was involved with A-Sedans, I (much later) found that a couple of the fast drivers ran 9 inch wheels, only at selected events.   Even ran large motors, but that's for another thread.

I can't speak for early SCCA scrutineering, but I can pass on a mid-70's experience.  We were at Laguna Seca for a T/A event, with a car that had been, also, running IMSA.  The SCCA official (whose name escapes me now) went up to the driver, exchanged greetings, etc., then merely pointed to the left rear corner & said, "Just cover up the Camel decals, & you're set." 

Question for anyone, "Any truth to the story that in the early days of T/A (when post race weigh-ins included a spare tyre) Penske tossed in a water filled tyre?"  Robert Barg, where are you ?.....yes, I followed you here from TNF!

Cheers,
Steve
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oldtransamdriver
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« Reply #26 on: April 06, 2011, 09:37:34 PM »

Hi Steve,

I don't remember much about "cheater" wheels being used.  We were too busy to look at all the other racer wheels.  Our team used the 8 x 15 wheels, originally steel, then some Torque Thrusts.  The tire guys would have supplied the same size tire to all.

I think Timanus and company were probably too busy trying to find other "cheater" tricks.  He had his hands full with the factory guys, and probably didn't pay much attention to us privateer guys.

I have acquired a set of used Torque Thrusts that measure  15 x 8.5  Has anyone seen these before?  They were to be used on a 67 camaro T/A replica project by a friend of mine.  We have acquired a donor street car and some engine and tranny parts, but he has been taken ill and the project has been stalled, maybe for good.  The idea was to replicate just what I drove, not a fancy "modernized" vintage racer you see today.

Robert Barg
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #27 on: April 07, 2011, 09:22:42 AM »

Chad, really great photos and info. Thank you for taking the time and posting that. Does the total height (diameter) of the tire change much between the 7" and 9" wheel?

I saw a race report for the '67 Las Vegas Trans-Am which was very late in the racing season and the Bud Moore Cougars were shredding their tires on the leaf springs and having to make multiple pit stops. They said it was due to running larger rear tires than everybody else but it may have been due to thte usage of these wheels instead or a combination of both.

Steve, I have not heard of Penske doing that but have heard of Bud Moore putting water filled tires on his car for post race inspection. Something about a cement or lead filled helmet tossed in at the last second also.

Robert, the 15 x 8.5" American mags are not hard to find in the aluminum "straight spoke" design. In magnesium or with the original "D-spoke" design, I don't think I have seen or heard of one in that width. I'd love to see you with a replica of your old car someday.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #28 on: April 07, 2011, 01:19:53 PM »

Hello Jon,

With 30lbs of air pressure each, and sitting on the ground with the weight of the car, the tire diameter was measured as:

  • 15 X 9 Cheater: 24 1/2" tall
  • 15 X 7: 24 7/8" tall

Again, both wheels using Goodyear Blue Streak Sports Car Specials (vintage race tires).

-Chad
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maroman
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« Reply #29 on: April 07, 2011, 03:07:17 PM »

Not sure how others on this forum feel about all this modified raceing talk, but THANKS. Trans Am and Cam Am were my main interest in life in late 60's early 70's. You guys are making me remember lots of good stuff. Still have my first edition Chevrolt Racing? and still reread parts from time to time. A truley great time in raceing history, when there was still wiggle room in the rule book for interpretation. Thanks for starting all this!!
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Doug  '67 RS/SS 396 auto I know the car since new
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