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jh36 Reader
10/18/20 6:23 a.m.

To start my saga, this is what I've been racing for 20 years.  I have thoroughly enjoyed figuring out how to make the Porsche 944 go quickly.  I have done pretty well with these cars with the help of my sons and friends. 

In August at VIR i was the first car into some oil at turn 3.  I had just passed for the lead and was cranking through there.  The hit was significant, it rang my bell pretty good and the geometry was compromised.  The car was done.

It would be fairly straightforward to pull the organs and transplant...but I've been there/done that.  Greener paddocks were calling me.

jh36 Reader
10/18/20 6:57 a.m.

Out with the old, in with the new.  To make room in my heart, my schedule and my shop, it was time to let go of a lot of stuff.  Everything went to one guy, Greg.  Not all the stuff made these pictures.  It was considerable.

jh36 Reader
10/18/20 7:18 a.m.

In with the new.

I romanticize the original Trans Am series.  Who doesn't?  And while I've mostly raced smaller displacement cars, I like everything.  On race weekends, Chris Cobetto (NASA Mid ATLANTIC DIRECTOR) and i typically start the day in my bus with a good cup of coffee and a mediocre breakfast bagel.  He is largely to blame for this.  Or thank.  Or both.

Chris and I agreed that the retired Late Model platform was the biggest bang for the HP buck in racing.  if I could trim off enough, I thought I could fit a body on the chassis that I would find interesting and attractive with just the right amount of challenging.  Then I saw this.

This car was driven by Deren Ardinger.  It was well built, sorted and raced by a competent fellow. 

Javelin (Forum Supporter)
Javelin (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/18/20 10:23 a.m.

I like where this is going.

vwcorvette (Forum Supporter)
vwcorvette (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
10/18/20 12:23 p.m.

frenchyd PowerDork
10/18/20 12:50 p.m.

In reply to jh36 :

I've often thought about buying an  out dated chassis  and put Jaguar skin Engine & under pinnings on it. 

jh36 Reader
10/18/20 1:20 p.m.

There are lots of nice things about this particular find.  The car was built well and maintained carefully.  It used all excellent parts.  It was set up for road racing and had won plenty of events.  The tipping point for me was it came with a second chassis and nearly enough parts for a second car. 

slowbird SuperDork
10/18/20 1:22 p.m.

What's the wheelbase on these? I might be able to someday use one for my IMSA Mercury Cougar replica build ideas. devil

jh36 Reader
10/18/20 1:25 p.m.

The Monte Carlo has a 108" wheelbase.  A 1967 Camaro has 108" wheelbase.  The width is an issue.  The ASA chassis is phenomenally over engineered, and the cage is very wide.  Aerodynamically, it is superior to the 1967 Camaro as the body wraps around the wheels and the sides are flat and smooth. 

All that goes out the window, because what i have in my head is this....

jh36 Reader
10/18/20 1:26 p.m.

In reply to slowbird :

108"......it's a nice size plus or minus to fit quite a few projects!!

slowbird SuperDork
10/18/20 1:37 p.m.

In reply to jh36 :

Excellent...I like your idea for this build! Race cars with production-esque bodies are my favorite.

jh36 Reader
10/18/20 10:48 p.m.

In reply to slowbird :  I'm with you.  Here's what I like about this project in summary:

-a purpose built tube frame chassis that is strong

-highly accessible components - things are easy to get at and everything is made to adjust/replace/maintain

-parts are plentiful and reasonably priced


-reliability- LS1 understressed engine connected to robust components 

​​​​​​-all this, wrapped up with a 1967 Fiberglass Camaro body, should be light and have an appearance that makes me want to pull up a chair in the shop at the end of the day and stare  



NOT A TA SuperDork
10/18/20 11:11 p.m.

Great project! Kinda like an earlier version of "Big Red".

Have you considered using '68 style doors without the vent window? You could still use the '67 style grill. Might give you more wiggle room if you need to get out quick in a worst case scenario like upside down & on fire.

Edit: I have a '67 if you need any measurements and will be following along.

jh36 Reader
10/18/20 11:23 p.m.

In reply to NOT A TA :

Thank you for the measurements offer!  I will let you know.
What you described is exactly the plan. Since it is an aftermarket fg body, there will be no vent windows. I am leaning toward an RS front at this point as well.  

jh36 Reader
10/20/20 6:36 a.m.

This project is a few months along. I am writing a “catch up”. I am not the greatest at documentation, so I will give you the cliff notes version of the last few months, then I will tell you when we hit “REAL TIME”.

I bought the running car, the roller, a crate block, heads, pistons, trans, rears, seats, wheels, tires….three truck loads of stuff all in. At this point, the spare chassis and all the parts are stored at my son’s shop an hour away and I still don’t have a clear understanding of what I bought! It’s a lot.

For the fiberglass body, there are a few choices. I made calls to a few different internet options…In the end I went with VFN outside of Chicago. They have a huge inventory of parts and a good reputation in the drag world. They also actually answered the phone, unlike some others. I spent some time on the phone with their customer service folks and landed on their 1967/68 body, stock hood and spoiler delete. I ordered a one piece front (except it does have a pin on hood) with an integrated air dam. Not very “1967” but I figure it will be a better platform for a splitter this way.


jh36 Reader
10/20/20 6:46 a.m.

jh36 Reader
10/20/20 6:47 a.m.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/20/20 8:59 a.m.

In reply to jh36 :

Welcome back! I wondered if you'd had time to do much racing since your last posts. This new car sounds like it's going to be awesome & definitely a step above the 944. 

jh36 Reader
10/20/20 6:39 p.m.

We figured out the price, got a delivery date and I opted to pay in full, in advance. Then #COVID. They were shut down seemingly forever, obviously not their fault. What they could have done better was read my emails or answered my phone calls. I spent a couple of months trying to figure out if they had gone out of business. Thankfully (for them, for me, and for the greater drag community) they did not.

Finally, it was  delivered to my work place.  I got it home without making the evening news. I did lose one end of a box on the back roads, but the goods remained inside.



jh36 Reader
10/20/20 6:41 p.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

Hi Pete!  Thanks for checking in!  I have raced this year as COVID rules and my schedule allowed...which was once for me.   I have one more weekend testing a friend's E36 at Summit Point and that will be it for me and the track for this year.  I hope to channel the majority of my shop energy into this latest project.  I hope to test in March at VIR.  Fingers crossed...

jh36 Reader
10/20/20 6:47 p.m.

The stock car as it sits is too wide to accept the Camaro body so I couldn’t really see what’s going to happen until the nascar bars are cut and some sheet metal was trimmed up. One thing for sure, the Late Model rig is WAY LONGER than the Camaro. Fortunately, a lot of that length is in bumpers and outriggers. Once I pulled the bumpers off, the front sat like this. The intake needs significant trimming, but my hope is to cut it back, then pipe it through the lower facia openings on the front. The total area I can grab is more than sufficient, but I will need to split it and angle it a bit to get it to fit. Only time will tell if that creates any issues…I’m guessing and hoping it will not. It is also apparent that the front wheel wells will need to be enlarged and flared, which I wanted to do anyway.

noddaz GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
10/21/20 12:48 p.m.

This is gonna be good!

stylngle2003 GRM+ Memberand Reader
10/21/20 12:55 p.m.

oh my.....excited to watch this unfold!

PMRacing GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
10/21/20 1:16 p.m.

Lof8 - Andy
Lof8 - Andy GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/21/20 1:41 p.m.

I haven't had any project ideas really jump out to me as a great "next" one in a while.  I'm probably not close to doing anything like this real soon, but this is definitely something to add on my list.  Very cool.  I'll be following!

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