Vintage Racer Group Now Welcoming Cars Through the 1980s

How do you define vintage racing? If you’re the Vintage Racer Group, vintage racing now goes up through 1989. 

In addition,” the release explains, “recognizing the safety standards incorporated into the design of many of these 1980s production cars allows VRG to relax the fuel cell requirement for many of these cars. These changes will allow select SCCA IT cars and other 1980s production cars to be eligible for participation with VRG.”

Cars now eligible to run with this East Coast group include favorites like the E30-chassis BMW, VW Golf, Honda Civic and CRX, Mazda RX-7 and Porsche 944. Even though the Miata technically debuted for the 1990 model year, the release states that 1.6-liter models are welcome. 

We are hoping to attract new friends with cool cars to come race with us safely!” VRG President Mike Lawton said in a release. “We met a number people who fit into this expanded group through the new VRG Virtual Racing League we started in May 2020 and have already seen some of them at our VRG races held at Watkins Glen and Summit Point in 2020.”

The 2021 VRG schedule visits VIR, Summit Point, Thompson, PittRace, Lime Rock Park and Watkins Glen. 

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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/25/21 1:57 p.m.

Related to the original news topic: The yellow Miata at the end of the row? Supposedly being prepped for vintage. 

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
1/25/21 2:03 p.m.

I know it's because of the natural passage of time, but it's wild to think '80s cars are classics now.

Cactus
Cactus HalfDork
1/25/21 2:06 p.m.

In reply to Colin Wood :

Some of them were classics when they left the factory.

 

This is both exciting and possibly catastrophic to my bank balance.

frenchyd
frenchyd UltimaDork
1/25/21 2:47 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

Some but surely not all?!?!?  I mean an econo 4 door sedan is going to remain that isn't it?  
 

Aston Martin, Ferrari, Jaguar, Corvette. OK. 
But a 4 door automatic sedan, even it is tarted up with numbers and a roll cage?  I understand people with limitations using an automatic but at least a car with sporty pretensions .     

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
1/25/21 3:28 p.m.

Mk2 16v gti racing just became a thing again

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/25/21 3:41 p.m.

In reply to captdownshift (Forum Supporter) :

Totally yes--perhaps with some Firehawk history. 

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
1/25/21 4:09 p.m.

All of the car listed are solid iconic cars from that era.  I say bravo VRG.

In Tom's world any 30yr old car properly prepared would be accepted.

We are having the discussion about vintage racing among the F500 group.  I ran my 87 Novakar this past fall, I think I was the first person to run one at a vintage race and some might question this but how is a 34 year old race car not a vintage race car?

So again bravo VRG

 

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt UltimaDork
1/25/21 4:50 p.m.
frenchyd said:

In reply to David S. Wallens :

Some but surely not all?!?!?  I mean an econo 4 door sedan is going to remain that isn't it?  
 

Aston Martin, Ferrari, Jaguar, Corvette. OK. 
But a 4 door automatic sedan, even it is tarted up with numbers and a roll cage?  I understand people with limitations using an automatic but at least a car with sporty pretensions .     

Just for fun, I thought I'd try to think up what might be the sportiest cars that were made in the '80s, sold in the US, and had four doors, four cylinders, and an automatic. Something like a Volvo 240 or 740 would have been a presence in club level racing for quite a while, of course, but let's see if there's something that also doesn't quite fit the "boxy but good" styling.

Shelby did put together a few of his tuner cars with automatics, like the Shelby Lancer.

From Germany, it appears you could get a Mercedes 190E 2.3-16 with an automatic.

What other contenders are out there?

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
1/25/21 4:58 p.m.

St Mary's Trophy at Goodwood. 4 doors seem to have an awful lot of racing history.

 

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
1/25/21 5:06 p.m.

In reply to MadScientistMatt :

I remember a guy racing a Volvo 244 in ITB.

There are tons of 4 door cars from that era; I'd love to do a Cressida, they had a detuned Supra motor and came with 5 speeds. They were my favorite car when I worked at the Toyota dealer in the early 80s.

 

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/25/21 5:24 p.m.

In reply to MadScientistMatt :

Alfa Romeo MIlano/75

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/25/21 5:32 p.m.

Also, the Alfa Berlina and TI were very successful.  But that's not the era we are talking about.

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/25/21 5:35 p.m.

Can go newer- the Mondeo- which would include the Contour. And the Neons'

Not sure why the number of doors decides if race car or not.  Especially compared to some super cars that were not really raced (like 80's Aston Martins).

Lawton
Lawton New Reader
1/25/21 5:42 p.m.

In reply to alfadriver (Forum Supporter) : that actual 75 Evo IMSA in your photo raced in our race at Watkins Glen in 2020. Very cool car. 

 

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/25/21 6:38 p.m.
Lawton said:

In reply to alfadriver (Forum Supporter) : that actual 75 Evo IMSA in your photo raced in our race at Watkins Glen in 2020. Very cool car. 

 

On the absolute opposite end of the racing spectrum, I understand that the Milano is a very successful crap can racer. Had I stayed in racing, I would have very much tried to be a part of a Lemons team who was planning a Milano locally.  

Still, some good 4 door racers from the 80's out there.

slowbird
slowbird SuperDork
1/25/21 7:04 p.m.

My Mercury Cougar was designed in the 80s, does that count? The ABS is a convoluted system that doesn't work anymore, does that make it vintage enough? devil

Really I just want to find some place to race it so I have an excuse to not bother putting the dashboard back together.

Lawton
Lawton New Reader
1/25/21 7:10 p.m.

In reply to alfadriver (Forum Supporter) : no limitation on #doors. We accept 2, 3, 4 or 5.... As originally equipped.

 

vwcorvette (Forum Supporter)
vwcorvette (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
1/25/21 8:20 p.m.

French car anyone?

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
1/25/21 9:01 p.m.

In reply to vwcorvette (Forum Supporter) :

look ooo ooo a 504, nice.

LanEvo
LanEvo Dork
1/26/21 8:31 a.m.

I've run my 1987 190E 2.3-16 with VRG as part of the Pittsburgh Vintage GP a couple of times over the last few years. So, I guess they've already been open to '80s cars for at least a little while now. 

frenchyd said:

Aston Martin, Ferrari, Jaguar, Corvette. OK. 
But a 4 door automatic sedan, even it is tarted up with numbers and a roll cage? 

Lots of homologation specials in the 80's and 90's were based on econoboxes. What makes a '70s Vette more of a racecar than a Sierra Cosworth?

camaroz1985
camaroz1985 HalfDork
1/26/21 9:28 a.m.

Here come the 3rd gen Camaros...

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
1/26/21 10:02 a.m.
LanEvo said:

Lots of homologation specials in the 80's and 90's were based on econoboxes. What makes a '70s Vette more of a racecar than a Sierra Cosworth?

Exactly, hence my posting pics from Goodwood; they have cars that run the full spectrum because racing runs the full spectrum. 

I like groups that welcome a wide range of cars. When I first joined the SCCA 32 years ago most people were racing IT cars.  Well those cars are now pushing 40 years old. Again this move by VRG makes total sense.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/26/21 12:21 p.m.

When I started at GRM in 1994, a 30-year-old car was an MGB, E-type or 356. Now a 30-year-old car is a CRX, GTI or Miata. 

frenchyd
frenchyd UltimaDork
1/26/21 1:42 p.m.
MadScientistMatt said:
frenchyd said:

In reply to David S. Wallens :

Some but surely not all?!?!?  I mean an econo 4 door sedan is going to remain that isn't it?  
 

Aston Martin, Ferrari, Jaguar, Corvette. OK. 
But a 4 door automatic sedan, even it is tarted up with numbers and a roll cage?  I understand people with limitations using an automatic but at least a car with sporty pretensions .     

Just for fun, I thought I'd try to think up what might be the sportiest cars that were made in the '80s, sold in the US, and had four doors, four cylinders, and an automatic. Something like a Volvo 240 or 740 would have been a presence in club level racing for quite a while, of course, but let's see if there's something that also doesn't quite fit the "boxy but good" styling.

Shelby did put together a few of his tuner cars with automatics, like the Shelby Lancer.

From Germany, it appears you could get a Mercedes 190E 2.3-16 with an automatic.

What other contenders are out there?

You can also get them as taxi cabs. 

frenchyd
frenchyd UltimaDork
1/26/21 1:50 p.m.
LanEvo said:

I've run my 1987 190E 2.3-16 with VRG as part of the Pittsburgh Vintage GP a couple of times over the last few years. So, I guess they've already been open to '80s cars for at least a little while now. 

frenchyd said:

Aston Martin, Ferrari, Jaguar, Corvette. OK. 
But a 4 door automatic sedan, even it is tarted up with numbers and a roll cage? 

Lots of homologation specials in the 80's and 90's were based on econoboxes. What makes a '70s Vette more of a racecar than a Sierra Cosworth?

Really most 1980's cars are pretty awful. It was early pollution control, early EFI,  early safety, etc.  Yes they got better. An early 80's Corvette was a pretty blaaah car.  By the end of the 80's things were getting much better. 
So it's pretty hard to get excited about cars of that era except they tend to be cheap.  And cheap at least to the GRM crowd is better.   

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
1/26/21 2:03 p.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

Ou Contraire Sir;  CRX, MR2, 944, V8 Fox Body Mustangs, Merkur, Corolla GTS all of these cars were a revelation in comparison to cars from just 5 or 6 years before. Even a 84 Vette is way better than the 79.

 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/26/21 4:14 p.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :

Yeah, I'm with you there. The '80s gave us many, many great cars. More to add to that list: Porsche 944, Porsche 911, E30 BMW, Golf/Rabbit. The cars were simple regarding electronics but still making progress via other technology--things like VTEC, wishbone suspension, etc. I would totally vintage race a Firehawk car. 

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
1/26/21 4:24 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

Pepe Pombo's 240SX comes to mind.

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/26/21 4:37 p.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

So you are saying "get off my lawn".  Got it.

The first car I ever autocrossed was my dad's 85 MR2.  That would have been in 85 or 86.  Great car.

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
1/26/21 5:00 p.m.

In reply to alfadriver (Forum Supporter) :

I had an 84 MR2 for about a year; they are great cars, I actually liked my May of 89 Miata better but the MR2 was great fun on and off the track.

The 80s cars are near and dear to me; I was never a muscle car because I had motorcycles, which were much faster, handled better and had real brakes. There were some great handling cars from the 70s but European cars were beyond my budget. When things like the Rabbit/Golf GTI, CRX & MR2 they were really exciting and affordable. Another big bonus is these cars all had AC (we'd move to Vegas by then), most 70s cars didn't have AC.

 

vwcorvette (Forum Supporter)
vwcorvette (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
1/26/21 8:24 p.m.
Tom1200 said:

In reply to vwcorvette (Forum Supporter) :

look ooo ooo a 504, nice.

That's a 505 Turbo.

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
1/26/21 8:46 p.m.

In reply to vwcorvette (Forum Supporter) :

I'd still happily flog it.........

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/27/21 10:34 a.m.

I was thinking about this more last night: Yeah, an old Firehawk car would be awesome--and one set up with a bunch of auxiliary lamps on the front. Also, how about just an '80s SCCA Showroom Stock car? Or Playboy endurance? Lotta choices. 

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
1/27/21 11:06 a.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

My 1990 Showroom Stock C Miata had a few top 5s at the RunOffs (before I bought it)  and was one of the most fun cars I've ever raced.  I would love to race that as a vintage car.

frenchyd
frenchyd UltimaDork
1/27/21 11:51 a.m.
Tom1200 said:

In reply to frenchyd :

Ou Contraire Sir;  CRX, MR2, 944, V8 Fox Body Mustangs, Merkur, Corolla GTS all of these cars were a revelation in comparison to cars from just 5 or 6 years before. Even a 84 Vette is way better than the 79.

 

The 84 Corvette had a dash full of potential disaster. A transmission that is very glad the engine in front of it didn't have as much power as it later got and a fuel rejection system without the ability the later OBD2 gave it.  
Was it better than the 79?  OK. And it got better as the decade progressed. ( I owned an 86 ) 

    As for the others you mentioned. Please compare them to the 90's versions. 
The things I mentioned really were valid. The EFI was bad not by design but the ability to trouble shoot and repair. With a sufficient knowledge mass to fix at a reasonable cost. In Those days mechanics would blindly replace parts they could name and if it didn't fix the problem, really start to throw money at it. 

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/27/21 12:10 p.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

Given we are talking vintage racing, what vintage race car is better that a more modern counterpart?  To compare a C4 a C5 WRT vintage racing is, well, not a relevant comparison.  Across the board, 80s  cars were superior than their 70s' counterparts.  And in many cases, better than their 60s' counterparts.  

And none of that is relevant, since we are talking about preserving history and the racing around it.

Spitsix
Spitsix HalfDork
1/27/21 12:10 p.m.

In reply to vwcorvette (Forum Supporter) : Jon and Janet raced with us with the Peugeot in Escort series Briody Racing.  First factory car was a 505 Diesel!!  

 

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
1/27/21 12:40 p.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

The VRG announcement was about the inclusion of Improved Touring cars.

Further, and why I think it's such a big deal is the modifications were very limited for Improved Touring; No cams, No porting (gasket match only), Weber 32/36 carb, a header and free exhaust. The suspension was bare bones as well, coil overs & sway bars. Brakes are only allowed different pads.

For ITA I'd go with a CRX or RX7, for ITB I'd do a 2002 or Golf, for ITC a Civic hatch. My Datsun as been modified well beyond the ITC rules.

I see including 80s IT cars as a great way to grow vintage racing.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/27/21 1:12 p.m.
Tom1200 said:

In reply to David S. Wallens :

My 1990 Showroom Stock C Miata had a few top 5s at the RunOffs (before I bought it)  and was one of the most fun cars I've ever raced.  I would love to race that as a vintage car.

Who ran your car at the Runoffs? And, yeah, be cool to see a "vintage" SSC Miata, complete in the original/stock color as per the SCCA rules at the time. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/27/21 1:14 p.m.
Tom1200 said:

In reply to frenchyd :

For ITA I'd go with a CRX or RX7, for ITB I'd do a 2002 or Golf, for ITC a Civic hatch. My Datsun as been modified well beyond the ITC rules.

I see including 80s IT cars as a great way to grow vintage racing.

I like that list. A few more that would be cool to see:

ITA BMW 2002tii or Mazda RX-3

ITB Volvo 142E

ITC VW Rabbit

Also, gotta mention ITS: 240Z or 13B RX-7. (And how about an ITS GSL-SE?)

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/27/21 1:17 p.m.
David S. Wallens said:
Tom1200 said:

In reply to frenchyd :

For ITA I'd go with a CRX or RX7, for ITB I'd do a 2002 or Golf, for ITC a Civic hatch. My Datsun as been modified well beyond the ITC rules.

I see including 80s IT cars as a great way to grow vintage racing.

I like that list. A few more that would be cool to see:

ITA BMW 2002tii or Mazda RX-3

ITB Volvo 142E

ITC VW Rabbit

Also, gotta mention ITS: 240Z or 13B RX-7. (And how about an ITS GSL-SE?)

I know more than one person that ran an 80's era Spider in ITB.  See them for sale in Alfa Owner pretty often.  Curiously, almost no GTV6's that should be ITA.  One or two, but not as many as hard top equipped Spiders.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/27/21 1:20 p.m.

In reply to alfadriver (Forum Supporter) :

That's right, you did see some Alfas in ITB back in the day. Why not get those cars back on track in vintage? Seems like a fun thing to do. 

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
1/27/21 3:30 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

 Eric Morehouse ran the car at the Runoffs; I bought it after it was no longer eligible for Nationals. For those folks who don't remember Showroom Stock cars were eligible for Nationals for 5 years then 2 more years for Regionals. I actually raced Alex Gurney at a regional, he was running a Neon. We both went under the current SSC lap record, naturally he was 5-6 tenths a lap fast than me. Eventually I managed to find another 5-6 tenths but then John Fernandez showed up in the Neon mule that Emerson Fittipaldi drove as part of the development work.........................sigh I was never able to manage the SSC lap record.  I did manage to get into the top ten overall. Pretty good considering we routinely had over 40 cars in the IT / Showroom Stock group.  The best part was that I also used the car as a daily driver.

ITB 142E = Sam Moore.  I loved my Volvo 142 street car, it would made a great race car.

As for ITA RX3s we had loads of them running; they could be had cheap.  A few of them welded the diffs, this mod came to be known as a Las Vegas Locker

frenchyd
frenchyd UltimaDork
1/27/21 5:45 p.m.
Tom1200 said:

In reply to frenchyd :

The VRG announcement was about the inclusion of Improved Touring cars.

Further, and why I think it's such a big deal is the modifications were very limited for Improved Touring; No cams, No porting (gasket match only), Weber 32/36 carb, a header and free exhaust. The suspension was bare bones as well, coil overs & sway bars. Brakes are only allowed different pads.

For ITA I'd go with a CRX or RX7, for ITB I'd do a 2002 or Golf, for ITC a Civic hatch. My Datsun as been modified well beyond the ITC rules.

I see including 80s IT cars as a great way to grow vintage racing.

OK I'm a snob.  I think 4 door sedans certainly have a place. I just don't think calling them sports cars is honest.   But hey I think real sports cars have wire wheels and a hand crank. 
      However I've no objection to those taxi cabs filling out the fields so the real sports cars can play ( I'm saying that very much tongue-in-cheek) Just get off my lawn!!! 

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
1/27/21 5:53 p.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

No worres; 30 years later my mentor still gives me crap becuase I gave up racing a proper GP bike to go race that Datsun "peoples car".

frenchyd
frenchyd UltimaDork
1/27/21 6:02 p.m.
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to frenchyd :

Given we are talking vintage racing, what vintage race car is better that a more modern counterpart?  To compare a C4 a C5 WRT vintage racing is, well, not a relevant comparison.  Across the board, 80s  cars were superior than their 70s' counterparts.  And in many cases, better than their 60s' counterparts.  

And none of that is relevant, since we are talking about preserving history and the racing around it.

My beloved Jaguar XJS V12 is a 1984. So I legitimately know of what I speak. I mean cramming 3  Volkswagen Rabbit ECM 's together to run a V12?    
  You think that's bad? Look at a 1984 Corvette's Fuel injection. 

Vajingo
Vajingo Reader
1/27/21 6:13 p.m.

Rules like this generally come about when the staff starts noticing the clientele base declining due to age.

I remember when I called into the classic rock station and requested Metallica and Pearl Jam. And they laughed at me and said those aren't classic songs. I told him To eat my shorts

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/27/21 6:25 p.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

Still better than carbs- especially 70's era carbs designed for the Clean Air Act.  Alfa had EFI in '82, and it was way better than the SPICA it replaced- got all of the power back, was cleaner, better driving, and more efficient.  

Unless you are honestly trying to convince people that an 84 C4 is worse than an 79 C3.  I very much don't buy that.  Heck, I know for sure that an EFI 85 Mustang is better than it's carbed '79 brother.  I'm not talking modified ones.

Either way, it's not important when obsolete 80's era race cars are trying to find a place to race.

LanEvo
LanEvo Dork
1/28/21 10:04 a.m.

Another opportunity to post a pic of my own '80s econobox racer...

How many "sportscars" of the '70s had a better racing pedigree?

trigun7469
trigun7469 SuperDork
1/28/21 10:09 a.m.

I have only been to Pitt Race and VGP in schenley park. Does this change the atmosphere and style of driving? I remember watching one of the races in schenley park and the guy was waiving to the fans each lap lolz.

sergio
sergio HalfDork
1/28/21 10:44 a.m.

Grandma's racing sedan

LanEvo
LanEvo Dork
1/28/21 11:05 a.m.
trigun7469 said:

I have only been to Pitt Race and VGP in schenley park. Does this change the atmosphere and style of driving? I remember watching one of the races in schenley park and the guy was waiving to the fans each lap lolz.

The PVGP covers two race weekends. My experience has been that the Schenley Park weekend is closer to a "brisk driving tour for the wire wheel crowd." The Pitt Race weekend is closer to a typical club racing event.

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
1/28/21 11:15 a.m.

In reply to LanEvo :

Mar-say-Deez!!!!! ist goot.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/28/21 11:32 a.m.

In reply to sergio :

Yup, the TMNT SHOs for the win. 

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