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Continental Divide Trans Am, 1967


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#51 RShaw

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Posted 27 September 2009 - 19:41

Jon,
The only other Trans Am races I can remember attending was the one held in conjunction with the inaugural Denver Grand Prix in 1990, and one in Long Beach a few years later, also in conjunction with a CART race.

In summary, the facts about the '67 CDR Trans Am, as relates to the Penske team and the original Penske Camaro are these:
1. Gas Can Man appears to have been Bill "Murph" Mayberry.
2. There is some indication that Follmer may have been at the race, although he doesn't recall it.
3. The Camaro was entered and crewed by Penske's people, although Roy Gane may not have been present.
4. The car was returned to Penske's shops in Philadelphia following the CDR race on 27 August.
5. Craig Fisher and Tom Greatorex hauled the (original) Penske Camaro from Philadelphia towards the west coast, crashing the car and tow rig in Nevada some time between the end of August 1967 and it's reappearance in Las Vegas on 1 October, where it was driven to a dnf by Bob Johnson.
6. The (original) Penske Camaro was in the Kent, WA, Trans Am a week after Las Vegas, driven to a 4th place finish by Johnson and Fisher.

An interesting question remains. What ultimately became of the original Penske Camaro? It appears to have ended 1967 in the possession of Craig Fisher, apparently as a replacement for Fisher's original Camaro which was turned into the Penske lightweight. That car (the lightweight) was campaigned by the Penske team in the 1968 Trans Am series, ultimately becoming the Pat Ryan car of today.
The Historic Trans Am web site has a list of known '67 Trans Am Camaros, none of which match the history of the original Penske car. The closest seems to be the Tom McIntyre car, although that car is referred to as a '68 Camaro.
RonS.

Ron,

I have never seen a member of the Fisher/Godsall team work as a pitcrew member for Penske. I don't think that happened.

Craig Fisher told me personally that the Camaro returned to PA after the CDR race and that he and Tom Greatorex were the two that hauled the car from PA to the West Coast before crashing it near Fernley, NV. It was not on a mountain but a poorly lit new section of Interstate that came to a junction where the accident happened.

Pat Ryan's car does have the serial number of Craig Fisher's original Camaro on it. I discovered this because I have copies of Craig's original paperwork and have looked closely at Pat's car. I discussed this with Pat. There is a very clear lineage of chain of ownership all the way back to the Sebring T/A race in '68, which the car won. Roy Gane has looked at Pat's car and pointed out to Pat many things on the car that he recognized as his work. When Pat told him that the body had Craig Fisher's serial number on it, Gane purportedly said he was "not surprised to hear that". There is a Camaro that was driven by Gordon Dewar in Canada in late '67 and '68 that is alarmingly close in appearance to Fisher's car with the exception of paint but Dewar has passed on and it is extremely difficult to find out any details on the car from others who may have been involved with it. I do believe Pat's car is the one that won at Sebring in '68 based purely on the fact that it is very easy to trace the car from there to Pat's current ownership.

Out of curiosity, did you attend other T/A races besides the one at Continental Divide?

-Jon



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#52 Aero Z-28

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Posted 27 September 2009 - 20:04

Ron,

I'm in agreement with your 6 points of summary.

The original Penske '67 Camaro went to Europe after the end of the '67 racing season with Peter Reinhart (a German citizen to my understanding), who was working for Roger that year. It was raced in Europe with Sunoco sponsorship during 1968. The car has been tracked into the early '70s but there the trail turns cold. The car has not been located.

I'd love to see any more shots you may have from the CDR race, especially some more detail shots such as suspension, brakes, engines, etc.

-Jon


#53 RShaw

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 03:27

Ron,

I'm in agreement with your 6 points of summary.

The original Penske '67 Camaro went to Europe after the end of the '67 racing season with Peter Reinhart (a German citizen to my understanding), who was working for Roger that year. It was raced in Europe with Sunoco sponsorship during 1968. The car has been tracked into the early '70s but there the trail turns cold. The car has not been located.

I'd love to see any more shots you may have from the CDR race, especially some more detail shots such as suspension, brakes, engines, etc.

-Jon


I have only found a couple more pics of the '67 CDR Trans Am. One of them is this photo of Shelby posed nonchalantly among the barrels on the front straight. This was in direct contradiction to his attitude at the time. I remember him kvetching constantly at his crew on Sunday morning with things like "Why aren't we out on the track? Everybody else is out there ... why aren't we out there?"
Needless to say, the Mustangs were soon circulating along with everybody else.

Posted Image

The other pic is this one of one the Alfas.

Posted Image

If I find any more, I will post them. If anyone else has any photos of this event, please feel free to post them on this thread.
I think it is fascinating that Penske's original '67 Trans Am Camaro has apparently disappeared in Europe. Wouldn't that be a barn find?
RonS.

Edited by RShaw, 28 September 2009 - 03:32.


#54 RA Historian

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 16:40

The other pic is this one of one the Alfas.

Posted Image
RonS.

Ron, that looks like Horst Kwech in the Alfa. Can you confirm?

Tom

P.S. Great detective work on the Penske Camaro!

EDIT: correct spelling of Horst's last name. Ron is right!

Edited by RA Historian, 28 September 2009 - 22:02.


#55 RShaw

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 17:19

Ron, that looks like Horst Kweck in the Alfa. Can you confirm?

Tom

P.S. Great detective work on the Penske Camaro!


Tom,
Yes, that is Horst Kwech (or Kweck); qualified 9th, 3 places behind Donohue, finished 5th, 3 places ahead of Donohue.
Thanks for the compliment. Jon provided most of the answers, I just asked the questions. The thought of the Donohue car sitting in some hole in Germany or the UK is mouthwatering. Not that I could afford it anyway ...
RonS.

#56 Aero Z-28

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 20:26

Here's a couple of articles from Competition Press about the '67 CDR race. Notice that there is mention of Follmer being in attendance in the Penske pit.

-Jon
Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

Edited by Aero Z-28, 28 September 2009 - 22:03.


#57 Aero Z-28

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 20:36

Ron,

I'm curious, since your pictures were all taken from the pit side of the main straight, were you there as part of somebody's pit crew?

Thanks again for posting your pictures from this race. :up:

-Jon

#58 RShaw

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 22:27

Ron,

I'm curious, since your pictures were all taken from the pit side of the main straight, were you there as part of somebody's pit crew?

Thanks again for posting your pictures from this race. :up:

-Jon


Jon
No pit crew credentials. I would just get there early before the SCCA gatekeepers had their stuff together and wander around with my camera looking like I knew what I was doing for a while. Once you were inside the gate nobody bothered you.
Many thanks for posting the CP articles. I knew I didn't dream up Follmer being there, but I sure would have sworn Gas Can Man was him.
RonS.

#59 JeffJ

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 17:09

Some of you may be interested, this weekend marks the first return of the Sunoco Camaro in professional racing with the new Camaro. Drivers are the sons of Ronnie Bucknam and Mark Donohue from the 1969 Penske Sunoco Camaros. Jeff Bucknam and David Donohue will be driving the #6 Sunoco Camaro for Stevenson Motorsports in Grand-Am Koni Challenge at Virginia International Raceway. There will also be a new Challenger racing in old Trans-Am livery. There will also be a few Mustangs painted in TA livery. Should be a pretty cool retro race.
Link to Sunoco Camaro return news

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#60 AlMark

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 23:09

I asked my email friend Bill Preston some of the questions brought up in this thread. Bill was a SUNOCO engineer and member of Mark's pit crew. If you read Michael Argetsinger's recent biography you will remember some of Bill's extensive quotes. In part, Bill writes:


"Gil:

In direct answer to your question, I have quite a few photos of the 1967 Penske Camaros and, while NONE of them are with the door open, all of them look like the interiors are black and look like finished production interiors--but I can't see the instrument panels. The 1968 cars were light gray inside.

In answer to some of the other questions, yes, I believe the "gas man" to be Bill Mayberry. He did not work for Roger (or Mark), but worked for George Wintersteen. So he may not have been wearing a team uniform. ........

................

The strange, wood-rimmed steering wheel was given to Mark by some well-meaning vendor. Mark had it put on his car. Bill Scott, the team machinist and a fellow Sunoco employee of mine, reached into the car through the open driver's window and flexed the wheel. He then told Mark that the wheel wasn't strong enough and would break. Scotty was expert on making race parts just strong enough to do the job and yet light enough for the car. Mark didn't believe Scotty because it was a professionally-made steering wheel. Sure enough, during the race, the wheel broke. Mark came screaming in to the pits driving with the spokes to get the regular wheel re-installed.


About Mark's number being 6 and this car having the number 16. At that point in the game, Mark wasn't nationally famous enough to command the number 6. Six was Roger's lucky number. So Penske cars ran with 6, 16, 61, 66, 36, etc. depending, I believe, on what date the entry form was submitted, whether one or two cars were entered, and who else asked for a number.


During the 1967 season Sunoco did not sponsor the Camaros, only the Lolas, and no Sunoco support people attended the races.. Notice that the car has a Sunoco emblem on it, but does not say "Sunoco Camaro" but is painted blue and yellow in Sunoco colors. Roger is a smart salesman. Sunoco sponsorship would come with the 1968 season when we did sponsor two Camaros for the entire season and Mark became the 1968 Trans-Am Champion.


By the way, the car pictured in the photos is nowadays called "67-1." It was the 13th Camaro Z/28 built and was delivered to Penske Chevrolet as a complete car. I do not know its VIN. The 14th Z/28 built went to Godsall in Canada and was built into a race car by Doug Duncan in Canada. When Craig Fisher joined Penske as a driver, the car came also. It was then totally rebuilt as "67-2", the famous "Lightweight Camaro. The "Lightweight" made its debut at Crows Landing on 10 Sep 67.


Bill"





#61 Aero Z-28

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 19:11

Thanks, Ron. Were you there at CDR for SCCA National and Regional events in the '67 - '69 timeframe? If so, I may have some other questions for you.

-Jon

Jon
No pit crew credentials. I would just get there early before the SCCA gatekeepers had their stuff together and wander around with my camera looking like I knew what I was doing for a while. Once you were inside the gate nobody bothered you.
Many thanks for posting the CP articles. I knew I didn't dream up Follmer being there, but I sure would have sworn Gas Can Man was him.
RonS.



#62 Aero Z-28

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 19:13

That's pretty interesting, Jeff. Thank you for posting that.

-Jon

Some of you may be interested, this weekend marks the first return of the Sunoco Camaro in professional racing with the new Camaro. Drivers are the sons of Ronnie Bucknam and Mark Donohue from the 1969 Penske Sunoco Camaros. Jeff Bucknam and David Donohue will be driving the #6 Sunoco Camaro for Stevenson Motorsports in Grand-Am Koni Challenge at Virginia International Raceway. There will also be a new Challenger racing in old Trans-Am livery. There will also be a few Mustangs painted in TA livery. Should be a pretty cool retro race.
Link to Sunoco Camaro return news



#63 Aero Z-28

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 19:27

Thank you for asking Bill Preston those questions and posting his comments here. Monty Winkler was Horst Kwech's teammate in '67 with a two-car Alfa team. Kwech used the #3 and Winkler used #6 so unless Winkler was not at a particular race, Donohue ended up having to use other numbers with 6 in them. The first Penske Camaro was the 12th one built, picked up at the Norwood, Ohio GM plant by George Wintersteen on January 10th, just three weeks ahead of the Daytona 300. Fisher's street car Z-28 was the 13th and his race car was the 14th one built. Both of those black rallysport Z-28s came through Gorries Chevrolet-Olds in Toronto.

-Jon

I asked my email friend Bill Preston some of the questions brought up in this thread. Bill was a SUNOCO engineer and member of Mark's pit crew. If you read Michael Argetsinger's recent biography you will remember some of Bill's extensive quotes. In part, Bill writes:


"Gil:

In direct answer to your question, I have quite a few photos of the 1967 Penske Camaros and, while NONE of them are with the door open, all of them look like the interiors are black and look like finished production interiors--but I can't see the instrument panels. The 1968 cars were light gray inside.

In answer to some of the other questions, yes, I believe the "gas man" to be Bill Mayberry. He did not work for Roger (or Mark), but worked for George Wintersteen. So he may not have been wearing a team uniform. ........

................

The strange, wood-rimmed steering wheel was given to Mark by some well-meaning vendor. Mark had it put on his car. Bill Scott, the team machinist and a fellow Sunoco employee of mine, reached into the car through the open driver's window and flexed the wheel. He then told Mark that the wheel wasn't strong enough and would break. Scotty was expert on making race parts just strong enough to do the job and yet light enough for the car. Mark didn't believe Scotty because it was a professionally-made steering wheel. Sure enough, during the race, the wheel broke. Mark came screaming in to the pits driving with the spokes to get the regular wheel re-installed.


About Mark's number being 6 and this car having the number 16. At that point in the game, Mark wasn't nationally famous enough to command the number 6. Six was Roger's lucky number. So Penske cars ran with 6, 16, 61, 66, 36, etc. depending, I believe, on what date the entry form was submitted, whether one or two cars were entered, and who else asked for a number.


During the 1967 season Sunoco did not sponsor the Camaros, only the Lolas, and no Sunoco support people attended the races.. Notice that the car has a Sunoco emblem on it, but does not say "Sunoco Camaro" but is painted blue and yellow in Sunoco colors. Roger is a smart salesman. Sunoco sponsorship would come with the 1968 season when we did sponsor two Camaros for the entire season and Mark became the 1968 Trans-Am Champion.


By the way, the car pictured in the photos is nowadays called "67-1." It was the 13th Camaro Z/28 built and was delivered to Penske Chevrolet as a complete car. I do not know its VIN. The 14th Z/28 built went to Godsall in Canada and was built into a race car by Doug Duncan in Canada. When Craig Fisher joined Penske as a driver, the car came also. It was then totally rebuilt as "67-2", the famous "Lightweight Camaro. The "Lightweight" made its debut at Crows Landing on 10 Sep 67.


Bill"