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Author Topic: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds  (Read 21564 times)
nick_tassie
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« Reply #30 on: August 19, 2011, 04:47:37 AM »


Hello to everyone at CRG, what a great discussion forum you have developed. I'm the nephew of Terry Allan whose Camaro has been discussed in this thread, as mentioned by Steve I have actively been trying to track down his lost race car, as well as, find out its build history. It's all been a challenge as it has been "missing in action" since 1974. I have managed to find out quiet a bit of new information about it but as yet not that critical piece that will help me find if it survives. I must thank Jon for replying to my first email, he has been an enormous help and I greatly appreciate it.

Jon kindly passed on the contact details for Ron Ogilvie so I could ask some further questions from his last post. Ron was also kind enough to respond. This is some of what he helped to clarify regarding uncle Terry's Camaro. I thought it worthwhile to share.

Quote
"What I can remember is that your uncle’s car was a standard Camaro that we added several Z28 components that we manufactured at Bill Thomas racecars. I don't believe the car was originally a Z28.It was a standard 327 Camaro, we removed the small block engine and added a Hi-Performance 396 with a 4 barrel Holley Carb, which was standard at the time for the Nickey Camaro, we also added exhaust headers and beefed up the front and rear suspension; added a large capacity fuel tank; upgraded the clutch assemble and rear axles gears".

"I do remember helping Terry pack the inside of that Camaro with everything from sway bars and shocks to sparkplugs. Also we removed the passenger seat and bolted a complete engine in the space where the seat went. Your uncle was torn between using the lighter 302 engine in the standard Trans Am configuration that was successful at the time in the USA and Canada or using the brute horsepower of the 396".
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #31 on: August 19, 2011, 04:51:29 PM »

Nick, very nice to have you sign up here and share with us what you found out from Ron Ogilvie. We hope you find the one or two lucky breaks you need to finally track the car down. Do you mind posting here some of the photos you have of the car in its original red and white color scheme? Thank you and good luck!
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Jon Mello
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nick_tassie
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« Reply #32 on: August 19, 2011, 07:09:25 PM »

Cheers for the welcome Jon.

Here are some photos of the Camaro in its first years of racing in Australia and Tasmania, Its pretty much in the same spec as completed by Bill Thomas Races Cars in 67. The very first photo of it when it landed in Australia on the docks in Sydney indicate it was all red as suggested by Ron Ogilvie, Uncle Terry must have had the white stripes painted on prior to his first races, he also added the alloy front brake ducts which look very well made compared to other example of the era I've seen.

I'm not sure if the exhaust system, looks like twin RH & LH side pipes in most race photo's, was added later or installed by Bill Thomas, I must ask Ron next time I get in touch with him. The engine bay shot shows the quad weber 48mm carburettor setup Terry's race mechanic Wayne Mahnken developed, pretty impressive looking setup. Wayne mentioned in one conversation that he had the intake manifold specially made in Australia by a fabricator/engineer. I notice it had the Holley carb fitted back on in later years when it was advertised for sale in 71, by then Wayne had moved on and Terry had another full time race mechanic looking after the race prep.

I would be interested to know from anyone if the remote brake booster as seen in the engine bay shot was a standard modification for big block Camaro's or just a necessity because of the quad weber setup, it does look a tight fit. Are the brake fluid reservoirs a standard items as well, I can't recall seeing similar setups on other Camaro's but I don't pretend to be an expert (just yet anyway), I would be interested in people's comments. If we can't find the original car, we have plans to build a replica and showcase it at historic Aussie race events as a family tribute, so all we can find out the better.

Cheers from Tasmania

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Jon Mello
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« Reply #33 on: August 22, 2011, 07:37:15 PM »

Nick, thanks for posting those images. On The Roaring Season I saw the photos that were posted by Leo D, as seen below. The pictures without the stripes appear to confirm what Ron Ogilvie said... that it was just a red car when it got on the ship.







I have not seen Bill Thomas do a double exhaust out both sides of the car and in the photos above it does appear that the car has single outlets to each side as prepared by Bill Thomas Race Cars. Regarding the brake booster as seen over on the passenger side of the engine compartment, that is not any kind of General Motors or Chevrolet piece of equipment. I'm sure it definitely has to do with the interference posed by the mounting of the Weber carbs. As for what sort of car the booster may have been sourced from, for some reason a Lotus Cortina comes to mind. I thought I remembered a strange location for the booster in those cars but it may have been something else under the hood of one of those cars that struck me as odd. Those brake fluid reservoirs are also not GM and are most likely of European origin.
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Jon Mello
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nick_tassie
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« Reply #34 on: August 22, 2011, 11:14:53 PM »

Hi Jon,

Thanks for the update, aren't these great photo's for the day (67) its amazing what people have got stored away in photo albums that never see the light of day.

I will contact Wayne Mahnken, Terry's first race mechanic, and ask him about the brake modifications. There was a special remote brake booster available aftermarket in Australia so it could be one of these that was used.  A lot of people use them when converting older drum brake setups to disc.
 
I'll let you know what I find out.

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Jon Mello
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« Reply #35 on: August 23, 2011, 12:49:35 PM »

Yes, I thought the photos were terrific. It really is amazing what people have stored away and that's part of why this forum has been established... to help bring some of it out of the woodwork and hopefully help us unravel some mysteries. Contacting Wayne Mahnken should provide you with a wealth of information. Maybe not where the car is currently, but at least some information on what was done to it while under your uncle's ownership. Thanks for your willingness to keep us informed!
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #36 on: October 08, 2011, 04:33:34 AM »

I chased this car for a fairly long period about 10 years ago and also looked at buying Bryan Thompson's car. I searched through a heap of old Racing Car News magaizine's and found a for sale add in the back of a 1977 edition. Lakis Manticas owned it in Sydney, so I called him and spoke to him for quite a long time and established that he couldn't rememeber anything about who or where it went to. I have searched since in many different magazines and have found no trace of it.

I also spoke to Wayne Mahnken, Jonnie (Popsie) Walker and  Ken Hastings and we just ran out of places to look or cars to follow up.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #37 on: October 08, 2011, 06:57:44 PM »

Thanks for letting us know of your efforts. It's too bad this car has been so difficult to locate and we don't know for sure whether it survives or not. Lots of neat overseas history and I especially like the Bill Thomas connection.
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Jon Mello
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JoeC
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« Reply #38 on: October 09, 2011, 07:49:38 AM »

great photos

interesting that they ran it with the SS emblems and the big block 396 fender emblems still on it
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nick_tassie
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« Reply #39 on: March 28, 2012, 07:52:53 PM »

Hi Jon and everyone at CRG, its been a while so I thought I would update you on the search for the Terry Allan Camaro.

No good news at this stage but we have been chasing some leads and won't stop trying. We have however uncovered some amazing new photo's and even video footage of Terry running the big block which has been exciting Smiley

In other news we are looking at building a tribute car to get it out on some of the historic race meetings being run around Australia, they have become very popular recently. The idea is also that if we are successful at finding terry's car one day the running gear in the tribute car can be used to restore the original, it was stripped of its race gear in 74 so it would require running gear anyway.

Members of CRG can help with this, I'm trying to source info on if the unique quad weber manifold as shown in the attached photo is available somewhere. Ron Ogilvie identified it as possibly a Briar MacKay item, Bill Thomas Race Cars were testing a similar unit when Terry was at the workshop getting his Camaro race prepared. So it is logical he saw it running and had a similar setup fitted back in Australia. His original Race mechanic Wayne Mahnken has told me that he had the manifold fabricated to fit the big block 396 in Aus, lookes as if it uses a fabricated steel base plate with the MacKay alloy cross overs.

If anyone can help me with info on where I can find one I would like to here from you, it would be a must for any tribute car we build.

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OG69Z
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« Reply #40 on: March 28, 2012, 09:30:58 PM »

Hello,
    Glad to hear of your success in finding more photos. As to your search for a manifold, Kinsler Injection might be a good place to start. They may at least have some leads for you.  Kinsler does manufacture a cross ram set up, but of course, theirs is for fuel injection.  A couple links to their site:
http://www.kinsler.com/page--GM--17.html

http://www.kinsler.com/56pg_hand_HTMLs/pg5_H.htm

Best of luck in your endeavor.
Bob
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nick_tassie
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« Reply #41 on: March 28, 2012, 10:20:13 PM »

Cheers Bob

I will take a look at what you have suggested, actually the idea of running a similar look injection setup wouldn't be such a bad option.

If you are interested in some of what we have found about Terry Camaro here is the a link to the thread on The Roaring Season

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 #42 on: March 29, 2012, 02:41:37 PM »

Nick, thanks for checking in and giving us an update. I've not got much experience in looking for those types of intake manifolds. I think there were quite a few different manufacturers back in the day and it appears there are some newer ones as well. If I do happen across something that looks like it would fit the bill, I'll let you know. I'm glad to know you are still working hard at trying to track down the car.
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Jon Mello
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nick_tassie
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« Reply #43 on: March 30, 2012, 04:08:22 AM »

Thanks Jon I appreciate that, we might be able to fabricate a replica if we don't find any information on the original, one advantage of working for a technical college is that there are plenty of skilled tradesman to use for these kinds of projects.

Its been quiet interesting researching Uncles Terry's adventures in the Camaro, I managed to source some of the race reports from the 67-71 years that he ran the car. What's certainly apparent from these articles is that it was a wild and temperamental race car. He struggled with chassis handling and brakes in the early 67-68 races, the car being awesome on the straights blowing by most other cars it was up against but cornering and stopping the big block usually ended in tears. In most races he forced his way to the front but lost it under braking or cornering after 3-4 laps. The cars suspension was eventually modified quiet extensively by an Australian chassis tuning specialist and photos after that clearly show the car behaving much better.

Although he slowly tuned the chassis into Australian touring car racing, bad luck seemed always to be his best competitor, on numerous occasions mechanical failure stopped short his races. Just some examples being a ruptured fuel tank while in second, the fumes being so bad that Terry blacked out when returning to the pits. Another failure was an exploding clutch and flywheel with some pieces coming through the firewall and hitting him in the leg. I've discovered a great sequence of photo's of the car spinning on three wheels on the back straight of Sandown Raceway when a left rear axle flange sheared off while Terry was warming up for a qualifying run.

He did win on occasions and was also successful in an invitation event overseas in New Zealand, he actually raced there a number of times, being quiet popular with the big Camaro.

Towards the end of his racing career with the car in 70-71 the big block started to have regular failures, spare parts lists in his advertisements when the car was for sale indicated damaged cranks, pistons and rods. By the end of 71 the car was a heavily modified race car, it was running 10" minilite magnesium race wheels, full floater locker diff, aluminium fuel cell, rear disc brakes, and full roll cage. Interestingly he persisted with the 396, I can't find any reference to him running the Bill Thomas Trans Am 302 that he brought over from the US bolted where the passenger seat was removed.This mystery engine that Ron Ogilvie told us was sent with the car just disappeared. Terry's first race mechanic told me he didn't know anything about it.

I've managed to talk with Graeme Blanchard who brought the car off Terry in 71 and he told me that the 396 block showed signs of major damage with welding repairs all over it. He ran with the big block for a while, (scared the hell out of him at times) but eventually gave up on it and replaced it with a 350 small block. Graeme was the last to race the car, he ran it until 72 when it was sold to a guy called Lakis Manticas, who was a successful mini racer. Manticas stripped the car of its race components and sold it as a roller to drag racer Barry Wearing. Barry who is a lovely bloke can't recall where the car went to after he sold the roller in 74, its being missing in action since then.

So lots of history but no car, yet...! we will keep looking.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #44 on: March 30, 2012, 11:06:07 AM »

Nick, I find it odd that Terry kept plugging away with that 396 when it seems like it would have been a much more enjoyable car with the more balanced weight of a small block in it. It really is strange that he never gave the Bill Thomas 302 a try, even just temporarily. It's neat that you dug up as much history as you have on the car. I sure hope that effort eventually bears fruit and you find the car.
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Jon Mello
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