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Author Topic: TRACO Fans  (Read 32446 times)
Jon Mello
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« Reply #60 on: June 03, 2012, 09:15:55 PM »

Pigpen,

Chevrolet had a Holley carburetor they recommended and listed for "off-highway use only" which was meant for the Trans-Am cars in the early '70s when they were restricted to running a single 4bbl. This was an 830cfm double-pumper, mechanical secondaries carb, GM part number 3965736, List-4788. As I remember, these got the nickname of "turkey-herder". Whether this was the same carburetor Traco was supplying, I wouldn't know for sure but it would make sense.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #61 on: June 04, 2012, 09:32:35 PM »

Jon,

That 830 CFM Holly sounds about right, gear driven mechanical secondaries, dbl pump and designed for off road.

I don't remember "turkey-herder", I think we referred to them as designed for marine usage, where there was constant bouncing and jarring. The floats were made of rubber or some plastic and there were factory modifications inside the float chambers to reduce sloshing.

At one time, way back or early on, an engine was used to comparatively test a few equal (same model / mods) Holly carbs, the results showed a very minimal difference between them, suggesting that if there were any performance restriction, it was not due to an individual carb.

Pigpen
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OG69Z
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« Reply #62 on: June 04, 2012, 11:21:26 PM »

Thanks for the follow up Pigpen.
 I suspect those early carbs may have been versions of the Holley 4224 and 4223S and possibly the 4543S. The first being the center squirt 660 cfm and the later two being an 850cfm configuration, also center squirters. These carbs were of the 1 to 1 primary and secondary throttle opening variety. They used a cam type linkage with the central 50cc accelerator pump to achieve a smooth opening of all throttle blades simultaneously, and inwardly as you suggested.

The 850 cfm versions were popular on the Big Blocks in a single 4V application, and also could be used in pairs on a potent Big Block. L88's were a common home for them.
The 660's may have been tried on the 302's.  The pair of 660's on my AMC Traco intake are setup  as you mentioned with the air horns machined off. The inward throttle blade opening is necessary for proper fuel distribution with the intake design. Also of note,the 4224 660's are the carbs listed in the SCCA Javelin Trans-Am Homologation papers. They are to be used in pairs.

I believe the Holley List 4778 is rated at a 700 cfm capacity, and has undergone several revisions.

The bottom line on these carbs with simultaneous opening secondaries is you better be positioned properly before putting your foot in it!
Robert
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #63 on: June 06, 2012, 08:38:55 AM »

Great info. Thanks, guys.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #64 on: June 14, 2012, 10:01:26 PM »

Pigpen,  I don't want you to think you are forgotten!   
Do you recall Traco using any of the Crane ported heads talked about here:  http://www.camaros.org/forum/index.php?topic=8984.0  I would think they may have been worth a try on the Dyno if nothing else, considering their pricing, and availability.
Robert 
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Pigpen
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« Reply #65 on: June 16, 2012, 02:17:54 PM »

Robert,

Forgotten is the last thing I worry about, Fathers Day tomorrow and I have 4 children (grown) plus 5 grandchildren, even my parents are still alive at 93 and 92 years, so I have few moments to feel alone.

Happy Fathers Day to all of you so blessed !

This forum has brought back some good time memories, thank you all for putting up with an old farts reminiscing.

As I mentioned in a previous thread, Lockerman was the one Head Porter I remember during the time I had charge of the heads. If I remember right, Eddie Hansen took over after me and I honestly don't know who was used to port the heads. After a year or so of engine building, I started traveling to the various tracks, trouble shooting and basically just being there in case something happened where I would be needed. Jim and Frank were getting pretty tired after all the long hours they had invested, so Stewart (Van Dyne) and Eddie took on the major duties at the shop, also Gordon Chance came back for awhile to help out.

For a period of time, I must have traveled to practically every track in the USA and some in Canada, it's all a big blur, I can't even remember track names or States. My children grew up and I missed most of it, I regret that allot. When I wasn't traveling, I was in the shop building or rebuilding engines, 60 to 70 hour weeks were about all I knew.

Pigpen
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OG69Z
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« Reply #66 on: June 16, 2012, 11:06:11 PM »

Pigpen,
     Thanks so much. Those long hours must have been tough for sure.  The travelling really takes its toll also.  I would suspect your children learned to appreciate you even more when you came home.  As far as that big blur, that's probably a blessing too.  We have a knack to forget life's unpleasant experiences.....  It's nice to hear you are enjoying the "good time memories". We are too!
      You have a Great Father's Day, and a special Father's Day greeting to your Dad!
Robert
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #67 on: June 17, 2012, 12:07:33 AM »

Enjoy Father's Day, Pigpen. I know we are all very grateful for your participation and the sharing of your memories from that great era. If I can ask, what is that you went off and did career-wise after you left Traco?
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #68 on: June 17, 2012, 07:52:42 PM »

Thank you for the Fathers Day wishes, I think I appreciate my (now grown) children more because of my traveling time.

I was offered a job with Roy Woods racing when he first set up with Kastner, a salary I found impossible to refuse to set up and run an engine shop for him. Jim and Frank understood, or at least wished me good luck, so I spent the next number of months putting in long hours to get the shop set up and their engines built up. I had a run in with someone they hired, a past acquaintance whom I had been warned was strictly self serving (no names). I had built up an Offy and had it on the Dyno to run in for 30 mins at minimal load before tearing it down for inspection, something I was told was required for new / first time run Offys, this person, who had the respect / friendship of Kastner, took over the Dyno and over my objections ran the engine up to 9000 RPM and full load, at which point it failed. He convinced Kastner that the engine was put together poorly and Woods believed the two of them, so I left, seeing that I was fighting a losing battle.

I returned to TRACO and asked for my job back, explaining what had occurred, both Jim and Frank reminded me that they had warned me about this person Kastner had hired and I think felt sorry for the situation, anyway they gave me another chance. I worked as previous for 3 or 4 months, but found that I could no longer support my family and the house I had purchased with the salary from Woods, so I told everyone that I needed to find other work and left on a pretty sour note.

I could have continued in the racing industry, but I was tired and fairly disillusioned. I worked part time and went back to school, ending up with degrees in engineering  for mechanical (primary) & optical (secondary). I went to work for a small optical emission spectrometer company there in LA, which was later sold to Baird Atomic and they offered me a position on the East Coast. I ended up as Service Manager for the America's, North and South, then they sold out to Thermo Instruments, at which point I left. I ended up doing R&D design work for J.E.O.L. (Japan Electro Optical Laboratories) before retiring. During my carrear I designed, built sold and serviced; Optical Emission equipment, Ion Beam Spectrometers, MASER satelite focusing systems, Abrams tank optical sighting systems and more, earning four patents. I traveled much of our little planet with over a million miles on Pan AM, unfortunately before the mileage incentives. I was offered a position at MIT Lincoln Labs working on the Airborne Laser system, but I found retirement far too enticing, so now I play the stock market (day trading) and lots of computer games.

I enjoyed my work, but always looked back to my TRACO days with fond memories, there's something about the sound of a well tuned, high performance engine that gets in one's blood.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #69 on: June 18, 2012, 01:39:54 AM »

Pigpen, sounds like some bad bumps in the road initially but you persevered and did quite well for yourself. I'm happy to hear that. Thanks for taking the time to tell us that story.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #70 on: June 19, 2012, 10:35:17 AM »

During my time working for TRACO I (like many others I’m sure) wondered what it would be like to drive a car on a track, I never did, but I was chauffeured around a few tracks by a couple drivers, at lower (non-racing) speeds, interesting but not the same.

One weekend in July (?? Year), I returned home to CA from some track just in time to light fireworks for the kids in the driveway, when Roy Woods called and said they were having problems with both Javelin engines at a track in New England, where they had rented practice time for a day or two, he said I needed to come and sort it out immediately as it was costing him a lot of $$, so I jumped on the first available midnight special.

Both engines were missing as if sabotaged, so I disassembled the ignition systems and the carbs, checking everything and replacing some components, nothing was wrong. George Follmer was Roy Woods co-driver then and he was really upset that the engines were causing problems, more so because I could not find the problem after a few hours searching. Follmer insisted that I ride the track with him and experience the problem first hand, so I donned a helmet and wormed my way into the role cage where the passenger seat would normally be. The engine was missing, just as it had been all day, not really any different than I could hear from the pit area, but I guess it made Follmer feel better.

Two laps, one of the regular pit crew mentioned that he broke the track speed record on both laps, which he may have said just to make me feel “better”. I remember his driving skills, amazing to watch, amazing what he could make that car do. I also remember a few of the really sharp turns and how scared I was seeing them coming up at those speeds, but one particular turn, a reverse camber right turn which ended in a short concrete tunnel (I say short as we were through it in no time flat), is forever burned in my memory, I was sure we were dead, twice, when I saw that tunnel wall coming up, absolutely no doubt.

When I exited the car, I’m sure I was “Green”. I had a new “Very high” respect for drivers and their extraordinary skills; I also knew that I’d never be a track driver.

The laps did have a good affect, they woke me up, as I hadn’t slept for a day or so. Being able to think for a minute or two I finally realized the common denominator for the problem; With a Chamois in a funnel and a few gas cans, we removed the water from the gas tanks of both cars, they had both been filled there at the track when they first pulled in. We removed about 10% (by volume) of water, which I would have thought impossible for an engine to run on.

So to all you drivers; I salute you and I’m truly impressed with your capabilities, now when I watch a race, I have a much better feel for what’s involved.

Pigpen
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #71 on: June 20, 2012, 09:41:21 AM »

Great story, Pigpen. That sounds like '72 to me. The Roy Woods thread has some '72 Javelin photos from the July 4, 1972
Trans-Am at Donnybrooke (Brainerd, MN) which is right around that timeframe you are talking about.

Below is an engine building article, courtesy of Mike K (Swede70), showing the buildup of an AMC 5-liter
engine by the Traco shop for the '68 season. I'm sure we would appreciate hearing any of the thoughts
that spring to mind as you review this old article.











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Jon Mello
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« Reply #72 on: June 20, 2012, 08:28:56 PM »

Jon,

"That sounds like '72 to me. The Roy Woods thread has some '72 Javelin photos from the July 4, 1972
Trans-Am at Donnybrooke (Brainerd, MN) which is right around that timeframe you are talking about."


I'm sure it was either New England or up state New York. I returned home the afternoon of July 4th from some track, then got the call from Woods, so I was at the track with them on July 5th. There was no one else at the track but Woods, Follmer & crew, I didn't even see any track personnel. It was a few months later when Woods made me the offer to set up his shop, I wish I could remember dates, but...

If anyone knows how to get in touch with George Bolthoff, "Skipper", I'd like to contact him and reminisce the old TRACO days, we were pretty tight back then. We both lived in the San Fernando Valley, so after work we'd ride / race our bikes (motorcycles) through the canyons to get home, flat out, peg to peg turns, lots of fun.

Pigpen
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« Reply #73 on: June 21, 2012, 07:25:13 AM »

Pigpen,

You were a brave man climbing into the roll cage with George Follmer!

I'm guessing you were at Watkins Glen? the only track in upstate NY, and if it was New England, it would have been either Bryar or Lime Rock, but I don't remember any "concrete tunnels" at either of those tracks.

Off camber right turn?  I'm scratching my head over that one - maybe that sharp right-hander leading onto the old front straight where the pits used to be? I remember the Glen as mostly high speed turns.

Like you, the memory has dimmed over the years.

Robert Barg
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« Reply #74 on: June 21, 2012, 09:44:25 AM »

The applicable contact details for George Bolthoff have been passed on to Pigpen.
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