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Author Topic: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds  (Read 29065 times)
Steve Holmes
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« Reply #15 on: July 30, 2011, 06:45:19 PM »

Jon, thanks so much for your kind words about The Roaring Season. Yes, there was a lot of hard work involved, and still is, as there would have been with you creating this amazing forum you have here. But the hard work is all worth it when new people join the forum and contribute their own stories and photos. I worry sometimes people think its a New Zealand forum, when my intention is that it be international, but its only been running for 3 months, and a large number of the members are Kiwis, so it may give that impression. I'm very pleased in that members of the forum are now organising their own Roaring Season get-togethers, at certain venues in NZ and Australia, where they can meet up and shoot the breeze. I always intended that it be a community, so this is very encouraging.

Re the Beechey Monaro, yes it is impressive how subtle they were able to keep the flares. The Australian regulations at the time were quite strict, in that the shape of the production vehicle had to be retained as much as possible. 1970 was the first year teams were allowed to fit 10" wide wheels. Prior to that it was 8", same as the Trans-Am.

Beechey used two different gearboxes in the Monaro, depending on which track he was racing at. He had a close-ratio Muncie, and a Saginaw. The Saginaw really only retained the Saginaw casing. Inside was a set of straight cut gears machined by Australian gearbox specialist Peter Hollinger. Hollinger created a very tall 3rd gear so Beechey could by-pass some gears on certain tracks. On the top of the gear lever Beechey had a small trigger hand throttle device linked to the carbs. On down changes he would blip the hand throttle, rather than having to heel-toe, as he felt this set-up was more sensitive than the traditional heel-toe.

The rear end was a full-floating custom made 12-bolt with additional GM clutch plates and factory heavy-duty sprint pack. The axles were 30-spline custom made steel billet.

This was a very trick car for its day.  
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2011, 01:22:57 AM »

Steve, thanks for the further details on Norm Beechey's Monaro. It does sound like a trick, well-engineered car and it is nice to be able to know a little more about it. As for The Roaring Season, three months is not a long time for a website to be in existence and the quantity and quality of the articles is already very good. I'm sure it will continue to grow as more people hear about it and check out the content.
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Jon Mello
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Steve Holmes
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« Reply #17 on: August 01, 2011, 03:16:14 PM »

Thanks again for your compliments Jon, very much appreciated.
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Steve Holmes
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« Reply #18 on: August 01, 2011, 04:04:32 PM »

Of all the Camaro's that raced down-under, this car was the most successful. It was built up for Bob Jane from a genuine 1969 ZL1, to compete in the Australian Touring Car Championship. The ATCC at the time had a maximum engine size limit of 7,000cc, so Jane was able to run the car with the alloy 427. The car took a full year to build, and made its ATCC debut in 1971. Jane is a very successful businessman who at the time owned the largest General Motors dealership in the Southern Hemisphere, and his nationwide tire chain called Bob Jane T-Marts.

He'd raced a succession of Mustangs in the ATCC but hadn't achieved the success he'd hoped with these, so set about building this car. Bob had close ties with the McLaren racing team, who provided info to help with the rollcage construction and suspension. The plan had been to fit fuel-injection as the Mclaren Can-Am cars were running at the time, but the project was running late for the opening round of the '71 ATCC, and so a big 1180cfm Holley was fitted to the top of the 427. But Bob put the car on pole in the opening round of the ATCC, even though he placed 2nd in the race behind Allan Moffats Kar-Kraft Boss Mustang in wet conditions. The team realised then the single Holley should be up to the job.

I'm unsure of power figures, but John Sawyer, who oversaw the build of the car, said it had upward of 600hp. The real problem the team had was holding gearboxes together, as the Muncie M-21 and M-22 casings kept breaking under the load. So a steel casing was fabricated, then sand blasted and anodised to look like it was alloy, and this worked well. The rear end was a full-floating 12-bolt and Watts-linkage. Wheels were 15" x 10" Minilites.

Jane narrowly won the '71 ATCc with this car from Moffats Mustang, then the Confederation for Australian Motorsports (CAMS) imposed a 6,000cc engine limit for 1972, so the 427 was pulled and replaced with a small block. With this fitted, Jane won the ATCC again in '72. Jane used to regularly rev it to 9,000rpm, so it was a strong little engine.

It was sold to Jim Smith in 1973, but never enjoyed much success again as a road race car, and was eventually converted into a drag car. It was bought back by Bob Jane several years ago and restored by Myles Johnson. More info on the restoration can be found here: http://www.theroaringseason.com/showthread.php?164-Bob-Jane-Camaro-Beneath-The-Skin





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Steve Holmes
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« Reply #19 on: August 01, 2011, 04:30:41 PM »

In 1972, Bob Jane was already looking to replace his ZL1 Camaro, and had a Holden HQ Monaro built. As he owned a General Motors Dealership and Holden was the Australian branch of General Motors, it made sense from a marketing perspective to be racing a local product. The HQ Monaro was fitted with coil-springs on the rear, but otherwise was similar in many ways to the Camaro, and could be fitted with a small block Chevy, as the biggest engine available for the car was a 350 Chev.

The small block Chevy was built by Al Bartz, with Warren Brownfield alloy heads. John Sheppard, who was a Jane employee built for car for Bob Jane, then fitted a self-modified Lucas mechanical fuel injection system, and was getting 600hp.

The Monaro made its debut in 1972, driven by John Harvey, while Bob Jane himself continued to drive his Camaro until the Monaro was fully sorted. Bob Jane raced the car until the end of the 1977 season. Here he is chasing another Monaro at Calder Park, this being Pete Geoghegans car, which was also fitted with a fuel injected small block Chevy, and Ford GT40 wheels!



Some video footage of the Geoghegan Monaro in its second season with ugly widened bodywork and racing against Allan Moffats DeKon Monza can be viewed here: http://www.theroaringseason.com/showthread.php?148-1976-Australian-Sports-Sedans

Note in the footage, Jim Smith is shown racing the old Bob Jane Camaro in mid field, as is John Pollard, racing the ex Frank Gardner SCA Freight Camaro which I'll cover also.

Anyway, I promise this will be the last post on non-Camaros.

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Steve Holmes
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« Reply #20 on: August 01, 2011, 05:07:02 PM »

Years ago, when I had a little more available spare time, I used to do large oil paintings on canvas. I only used two colours, black and white. I liked the b/w for historic paintings. Seemed to work well. Anyway, this is one I did of Bob Janes Camaro, in the final round of the 1971 ATCC in which he narrowly won the championship from Allan Moffats Mustang. Whoever won the race would win the title, and it was this close at the finsih.

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wrongwayron
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« Reply #21 on: August 01, 2011, 08:01:38 PM »

I'm impressed with the image!
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OCTARD
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« Reply #22 on: August 01, 2011, 10:50:04 PM »

I agree with Ron, that's a great looking oil painting, Steve.  Two great looking cars, in a great race, and all the menacing bits so well represented.

Thanks for sharing.

-Chad
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #23 on: August 02, 2011, 01:49:20 PM »

Steve, no problem on posting the image of Bob Jane's Monaro HQ as it is kind of interesting to see what he moved on to. The car has a bit of '70 Camaro styling influence, at least to my eye it does. As for your artwork, that is very impressive. Well done!
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Jon Mello
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Steve Holmes
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« Reply #24 on: August 02, 2011, 07:12:40 PM »

Guys, many thanks for your compliments on the painting. Its been a few years since I painted anything, but they were fun to do at the time.

Jon, yes there is a definite 2nd gen Camaro influence in the side styling of the Monaro, but possibly even more so it was influenced by the Pontiac GTO and Le Mans. The front in particular has Le Mans influences. It was important that there be a clear family lineage in the styling of GM cars around the world. But it was the US styling that led the way.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #25 on: August 03, 2011, 09:55:12 AM »

Thanks, Steve. That makes sense.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #26 on: August 10, 2011, 04:25:51 PM »

I received a message the other day regarding the Terry Allan '67 Camaro. It seems that a little bit of new information has been gathered with regard to subsequent owners after Terry. Hopefully this will lead to finding out what ultimately happened to it and whether or not it still survives.
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Jon Mello
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Steve Holmes
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« Reply #27 on: August 10, 2011, 09:12:54 PM »

Hi Jon, the nephew of Terry Allan has started a thread on the Camaro, searching its current whereabouts/fate. It seems to have just vanished from trace around 1975. Hopefully it has survived. But the internet has certainly become a wonderful place for tracking down old race cars. I hope they find it.

Here is the thread: http://www.theroaringseason.com/showthread.php?256-Does-anyone-know-what-happened-to-the-Barry-Wearing-67-Z28-SS-Camaro-sold-in-74-75
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #28 on: August 11, 2011, 10:07:19 AM »

Thanks for the link to the discussion, Steve.  I agree, it would be terrific if they could track down the car.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #29 on: August 11, 2011, 10:22:26 PM »

I found out some interesting info today regarding Terry Allan's car. I spoke with Ron Ogilvie, the former parts manager for Bill Thomas Race Cars back in the '66-'69 era, and asked him some specific questions about Terry Allan and whether he remembered Terry and/or the car.

(JM) I am curious if you remember a red '67 Camaro being built into a road racer but having a 396 instead of a small block and being sent overseas. I have attached two photos of the car from '67. Red was the original color.

(RO) Terry's nickname around the shop was "Brillo" as he had this tightly curled bright red hair!  I remember Terry as he tried to talk me into moving 'down under' for the entire length of time he was here. He took both engines with him and every spare part we had in the shop.  Amazing that you brought up his name as I have not heard from him or about him since he left.

(JM) Interesting! So what was the car to begin with? A Z28 or a 396? When you say took both engines with him, are you saying a 396 and a 302?

(RO) Took both engines (396 & 302) plus about 10000lbs of sway bars shocks, headers, carbs, engine parts, suspension parts all inside the car when it was shipped.  Took pass seat out into back and put engine in that space.  He said he paid by the amount of room not pounds of weight. I believe the car was just a 'plain jane' that everything was added to it.  Had to weigh 10000 lbs when they loaded on ship.

(JM) So started life as a plain jane and Bill Thomas shop added SS396 emblems, hood, painted stripes, etc?

(RO) Car was red when it got on ship..  Terry was a speed shop owner.
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