Appleseed HalfDork
April 28, 2009 8:25 p.m.

Herb Adams constructed a Trans-Am race car around his wife's 64 PontiacTempest. The 80,000-mile 1964 Pontiac had a de-stroked 389-in. motor. It was entered in the opening round of the Sports Car Club of America's 1971 Trans-Am championship. Unable to qualify, the car was allowed to start from the back of the pack. It mowed through the field, and was running second behind eventual winner Mark Donahue's factory-supported Penske Racing AMC Javelin when the engine quit.

Pontiac did not want Adams to show up their Firebird, so Herb and his crew did it themselves and damn near whipped everyone. That's grassroots.

Greg Voth Associate Publisher
April 28, 2009 8:53 p.m.

Herb did a whole bunch of cool things during his career. He now runs an outfit called Passion Motors building a car called the Contessa. Available in both street and track trim. It looks like a mean ride and he will be displaying it at the Mitty in Vendors Row. We will have to get some pictures up for you guys.

confuZion3 Dork
April 28, 2009 9:48 p.m.

The GRMest new car is the Solstice. Lots of Corvetteesque goodies but 1/3 the price? The base price is Miata territory. Want to spend some dough? GXP = Porsche beater at 1/2 the price and no Miata ever made (by Mazda for mass production) could touch it.

Edit: If you want utilitarian, you can still get a mean sports car at a good price that can haul the family around with the G6 GXP or even it's little brother base-model.

PaulY New Reader
April 29, 2009 12:48 a.m.

That's a wicked story, running 2nd to Mark Donahue is no small feet and tempests are cool. Those Javelins were a little underpowered compared to the rest of the field but he ruled that series. (I've been reading "The Unfair Advantage")

maroon92 SuperDork
April 29, 2009 11:43 a.m.

I love that book, it is seriously my favorite book I have ever read. and I learned alot from it too.

fastmiata New Reader
April 29, 2009 7:48 p.m.

One of my earliest motorsports memories was the story of the Tempest against Mark and Roger's TransAm factory effort. In those days, Mark won in almost every class he tried.
The book was out of print and unavailable for a period of time but my wife found an autographed copy thru Autoweek(in the days before Al Gore invented the internet) and I proudly display it in our den. I noticed that it is available now on Amazon.com. It should be mandatory reading for all motorsports fans.

Appleseed HalfDork
April 29, 2009 8:20 p.m.

The funny thing is I can't find this book anywhere in my local libraries. I even rocked the WorldCat and nothing. But is on my to read list.

April 29, 2009 9:14 p.m.

Herb Adam's Grey Ghost Tempest still exists, it's in the hands of a collector out there someplace. I believe he still brings it out for track days now and then. There's a guy over on the Performance Years Pontiac board who's built sort of a modern version of that car; he has a few videos of it on Youtube. http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=gtoroadracer&view=videos

jde Reader
April 29, 2009 9:21 p.m.
maroon92 wrote: I love that book, it is seriously my favorite book I have ever read. and I learned alot from it too.

FWIW, there's a new Donohue bio being released this week:

http://www.bullpublishing.com/shop/item.asp?itemid=117

Appleseed HalfDork
April 29, 2009 9:54 p.m.

It lives? That is so awesome. I've now added it to the cars I need to see before I die.

NYG95GA Dork
April 29, 2009 10:23 p.m.
jde wrote: <FWIW, there's a new Donohue bio being released this week:

Donahue was the man. My introduction to road racing was when a high school buddy took me to a brand new track called Road Atlanta. I'd read about Mark in magazines, but this was the only time I actually saw him drive. He took a Porsche 917-20 around that track in 1:21.. a record that has never been surpassed, (and never will, now that they've changed the back straight), He came off the ground on turn 8, a photographer got a still of it, and the track used that logo for decades.

Needless to say, it was a hoot, and I was hooked.

westsidetalon New Reader
April 29, 2009 10:35 p.m.
DILYSI Dave SuperDork
April 29, 2009 11:50 p.m.
NYG95GA wrote:
jde wrote: <FWIW, there's a new Donohue bio being released this week:

Donahue was the man. My introduction to road racing was when a high school buddy took me to a brand new track called Road Atlanta. I'd read about Mark in magazines, but this was the only time I actually saw him drive. He took a Porsche 917-20 around that track in 1:21.. a record that has never been surpassed, (and never will, now that they've changed the back straight), He came off the ground on turn 8, a photographer got a still of it, and the track used that logo for decades.

Needless to say, it was a hoot, and I was hooked.

While Donahue was indeed the man, time marches on. His record has been far surpassed. ALMS Prototypes were running 1:06's at Petit Le mans last year.

PaulY Reader
April 30, 2009 12:36 a.m.

Track times are one thing, could any of those drivers set up, develop and run a car like him? Not likely.

NYG95GA Dork
April 30, 2009 7:55 a.m.
DILYSI Dave wrote: While Donahue was indeed the man, time marches on. His record has been far surpassed. ALMS Prototypes were running 1:06's at Petit Le mans last year.

Good Lord! I didn't realize they had gotten that quick! Guess I should pay more attention; I stand corrected.

As I think about it, the pic of the 917 airbourne was not on turn 8, but the straight between 8 and 9. The memories I have of that track include David Hobbs in a Werks BMW, a plethora of BRE Datsuns, Paul Newman, and Huffaker SBCs. I need to get back up there, and refresh my youthful memories. The Mitty would be a good time; hope to see y'all there.

P71 Dork
April 30, 2009 8:45 a.m.

Donohue people.

And one of my favorite cars of all time is the 1970 AMC Javelin Mark Donohue edition. It just has the look. Ram air hood, ducktail spoiler, fastback roof, and had the performance to back it up. It was the first muscle car I had ever driven and man could it handle.

DILYSI Dave SuperDork
April 30, 2009 9:06 a.m.
PaulY wrote: Track times are one thing, could any of those drivers set up, develop and run a car like him? Not likely.

Again - time marches on. There may be modern drivers that can set up as well. There may not be. Fact is, that driver's input on setup is now a much smaller part of the equation. It is now the era of data acquisition, telemetry, video, dedicated chassis engineering teams, 4 post rigs, etc. So, while he may have had superior skills to his contemporaries, I suspect a modern car will be infinitely better set up.

maroon92 SuperDork
April 30, 2009 9:38 a.m.

plus the advances in aerodynamics, tire engineering, brake engineering, and lightweight materials all lead to current prototypes being miles ahead of a 917-30...

slefain Dork
April 30, 2009 11:27 a.m.

1995 Pontiac Sunfire

It just keeps running and thus allows me to have any number of cars in running/non-running status at one time. It's slow, ugly, and sounds like it's dying but it is paid for, costs penny's to insure, and gets 28mpg. The money I save in maintenance (or lack thereof) goes back into my project cars. Also the lack of a car payment is nice. I'll keep duct taping it back together and putting the saved money in the bank for my 4-post lift.

Schmidlap New Reader
April 30, 2009 11:33 a.m.

Herb Adams is my younger brother's neighbour. Seriously. I haven't seen a finished Contessa, but the unfinished one looked pretty cool.

Bob

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