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#1 GBORSARI

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Posted 04 September 2003 - 03:36

I just read the thread started by my Welsh Buddy, Barry Boor (ret) and hat to chime in with the book that I am reading.

The autobiography of Smokey Yunik is a fascinating book. I am no way a fan of NASCAR nor Indy back before the 66 race, I find that the book is a gold mine of serious engineering, and serious "loose" behavior.

If you noticed the pictures in Barry's thread, I did like how the cars were all different, or mostly so. Now, who the hell can tell the difference ????

Another thing I appreciated, is the fact that guys like Smokey could build a car in a few months or weeks, with such small crews is amazing !

Actually, I'm getting more interested in that period because there were more "characters" than there are in present day F/1, CART, IRL.

I think you will enjoy reading this book, if you take some of it "cum grano salis", and are not put off by all the talk about evening off-track inter-gender prowess of some of the protagonists.

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#2 wibblywobbly

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Posted 04 September 2003 - 09:57

Sounds an interesting read!

#3 petefenelon

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Posted 04 September 2003 - 10:21

It's a sort of mixture of engineering, sex, backwoods philosophy, sex, drink, sex, oil prospecting, sex, flying, sex, travel, sex, attacks on the France family, sex, dogs, sex, racing, and sex.

Cut out the rude bits and it'd be one little paperback (actually, that's not true - they've just republished it as one paperback missing some of the pics but with all of the words left in).

Smokey's writing style is.... well, Hemingway he wasn't. His attitude to grammar is fairly flexible, his vocabulary would shame the average longshoreman and his choice of subject matter idiosyncratic to say the least. He's the perfect narrator - cynical, world-weary, and far, far cleverer than the reader.

All in all they are just a total blast to read - really does feel like you're sat there while Smokey's fettling away at something, cussing and ranting on a long hot afternoon.

#4 wibblywobbly

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Posted 04 September 2003 - 13:44

Ordering, now..... :lol:

#5 Option1

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Posted 04 September 2003 - 14:02

Sounds great and all that stuff about engineering, backwoods philosophy, oil prospecting, flying, travel, attacks on the France family, dogs, and racing being thrown in is a definite bonus!

Will add it to my list.

Neil

#6 Bruce Moxon

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Posted 05 September 2003 - 10:23

I've got the audio version - six cds worth! Read by John DeLorean - and quite well too. Yes, most entertaining - the tales of the Hudson in stock car racing (when they were supposed to be stock) is hilarious - rebuilding a cheater engine right under the scrutineers' noses by sleight of hand is inspiring

And was it Smokey who drove a car away from post-race scrutineering after the fuel tank was taken out for measuring?


Bruce Moxon

#7 theunions

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Posted 05 September 2003 - 15:21

Originally posted by Bruce Moxon
And was it Smokey who drove a car away from post-race scrutineering after the fuel tank was taken out for measuring?


Affirmative - can't recall the specifics though.

#8 Don Capps

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Posted 05 September 2003 - 19:10

I haven't seen the abridged version of the original three volume set, but I have no doubt that Smokey will be just as entertaining without the photos as he was with them. And it was the Chevelle....

Smokey was even more awesome in the flesh. He was truly An Experience. I am happy that he left behind something that others can get a real clue about how things used to be....

#9 petefenelon

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Posted 05 September 2003 - 20:24

Originally posted by Don Capps
I haven't seen the abridged version of the original three volume set, but I have no doubt that Smokey will be just as entertaining without the photos as he was with them. And it was the Chevelle....

Smokey was even more awesome in the flesh. He was truly An Experience. I am happy that he left behind something that others can get a real clue about how things used to be....


I haven't seen the one-volume edition, but as far as I can tell from the publicity it's textually unaltered. Any book with an index called 'Here's where ya find shit' can't be bad ;)

#10 doc540

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Posted 06 September 2003 - 02:20

The rulebook specified tank capacity but not fuel line diameter. Smokey prompted that little revision.

(They actually reinstalled the fuel tank, but it was empty when he fired up and drove back to the garage.)

#11 Don Capps

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Posted 06 September 2003 - 02:59

Originally posted by doc540
The rulebook specified tank capacity but not fuel line diameter. Smokey prompted that little revision.

(They actually reinstalled the fuel tank, but it was empty when he fired up and drove back to the garage.)


That oversight was, of course corrected, but what is left usually unsaid is that the same "trick" was already in use and had been for awhile -- and not just by Smokey....

#12 Bladrian

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Posted 06 September 2003 - 08:28

Yep. The guys had figured out a while ago that not only was the fuel line diameter not specified in the rules ..... neither was the length. So they had fuel hoses that coulda been used to refuel The Queen Mary, running round and round inside the car.

I thought that was pretty damn inventive. :rotfl:

#13 WGD706

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Posted 09 February 2004 - 20:59

OPEN HOUSE AT SMOKEY’S BEST DAMN GARAGE IN TOWN DURING SPEED WEEKS

Smokey Yunick’s family will host racers and race fans for an open house during Speed Weeks 2004. With the imminent sale of the property, the family wanted to allow the legions of race fans who have never been inside to see what was behind the painted windows and high fences. The event is scheduled for February 14, 2004 and the gates will open at 5pm and close at 9pm. The event is free and open to the public.
Race fans will be able to walk through the shop and see where Smokey worked and played, including his office. Further details will be posted on www.SmokeyYunick.com in the coming weeks.

This three-acre property still holds a mythical place in the hearts of race fans. The upcoming 2004 Speed Weeks would have been the last time that legions of loyal Smokey fans will be able to come by and have their picture taken with the sign out front - now they will actually be able to go inside and see what has been hidden all these years.
http://smokeyyunick.com/

Warren

#14 lanciaman

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Posted 10 February 2004 - 12:54

Originally posted by Bladrian
Yep. The guys had figured out a while ago that not only was the fuel line diameter not specified in the rules ..... neither was the length. So they had fuel hoses that coulda been used to refuel The Queen Mary, running round and round inside the car.

I thought that was pretty damn inventive. :rotfl:


Reminds me of a CanAm racer I knew that used his Lola's rollbar as a fuel line. (IIRC the same car in fact later burned to the ground in a race.)

#15 just me again

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 01:34

I have just finished reading the Paperback version of "Best damn garage in town" .
I must say it was a very good read. I didn't know him before, but now i wish i had known him before he passed away,
I fail to see how this thread only is 14 posts long. There must be oceans of stuff there need"s to be written about Smokey Yunick.

Bjørn

#16 David Pozzi

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 03:08

He helped a lot of young mechanics. I recall reading his column "Say Smokey" in Popular Mechanics when I was a kid. I got to meet him a couple of times in his later years and savor the memories. I attended a seminar where he spoke, and the first thing he did was give out his phone number so we could call him any time if we needed more help. I actually did call him out of the blue on a question and he was right there in the "Best Damn Garage In Town"! I had to shout to be heard, his hearing was very bad by then, which was probably during the last year he lived. I have a couple of "Best Dam Garage In Town" coffee mugs from the family website that brighten my day each morning. When I think I'm in for a rough day, I think of Smokey and how hard he worked to make a race, - makes me feel humble.
David

#17 HistoricMustang

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 09:00

http://www.fireballr...key_yunick1.htm :clap:

http://www.schou.dk/hvce/?mode=2

Henry

#18 just me again

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 10:14

I can´t imagine why a Smokey Yunick thread can´t stay on the front page, there must be a lot of stories and personal expierences as David Pozzi´s
For me the book gave many thoughts and questions. Like :

Is there 35 foot Snakes

Is Roger Penske a bad money and power greedy man

Why did Smokey cheat so blatantly a few times, when he apperently was the master in "subtle"(SP?) cheating.

Bjørn

#19 petefenelon

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 15:17

Originally posted by just me again

Why did Smokey cheat so blatantly a few times, when he apperently was the master in "subtle"(SP?) cheating.

Bjørn


I suspect that whenever Smokey got caught cheating, it was because there was something far more subtle in the cars. You know, put a few obvious naughties on that won't get through tech (see, I can speak American too ;)) but keep the Good Stuff that they'll never find on there. "Yep, got us there, we'll unbolt these bits" - and keep the race-winning stuff on ;)

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#20 David Pozzi

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 03:16

Yes, I'm pretty sure on his chevelle, he intentionally had some obvious infractions, but the sneaky cheat he did was to turn the bell housing into a supercharger!
He discovered the clutch spinning inside the bell housing was capable of making some pressure, ducted the pressure up into the cowl-fed intake system via a hidden moveable panel.
David

#21 just me again

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 12:40

Originally posted by just me again


Why did Smokey cheat so blatantly a few times, when he apperently was the master in "subtle"(SP?) cheating.

Bjørn [/B]


The 2 cars i am thinking about is the 68 Chevelle and the 72 Camaro. Both did not start a race. the 72 camaro should have been driven by Jimm Hall, Bruce McLaren and dennis Hulme at Daytona.
Why did he go so far?. What exactely was wrong with the cars. If Raced, would they have blown the competetion.

And with Indy in my mind; is unlapping 7 times in 36 laps a record as Joe Leonard apperently did in 69.

Bjørn

#22 just me again

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 10:30

Hi
After having read smokey´s "Best damn garage in town" i am looking for other books of or about Smokey Yunick.
Have any read Smokey Yunick's Track Tech: Thirty Years of Rule Bending - Smokey Reveals All .
It's on Amazon.com but Currently unavailable, It was pulished in 1995 by BROOKLANDS BOOKS.

Any suggestions where to find it?.

Bjørn

#23 fines

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 11:26

Originally posted by just me again
And with Indy in my mind; is unlapping 7 times in 36 laps a record as Joe Leonard apperently did in 69.

A record in exaggeration, yes.

#24 Vitesse2

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 12:29

The Chevelle is featured in the July/August 2008 edition of Vintage Motorsport magazine.

#25 just me again

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 07:43

Originally posted by fines

A record in exaggeration, yes.


It could sound like that, but it´s a 6 page story where he goes in detail. ending with "it might have been the sorriest indy race ever run?"
He also write that only 4 cars ended on the lead lap. with the first having massive wear trouble in the diff and the second placed running on 6 cyl. for the last 100miles. So the racing speed can not have been that high.
The unlapping 7 times in 36 laps was after a 13min54sec. pittstop for changing a radiator after comfortably having runned second.
What´s the truth? what happened in 69 ( at Indy ).

Bjørn

#26 fines

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 08:12

Nobody has ever unlapped himself seven times in 36 laps, certainly not at Indy. It may have happened some time in an amateur short track event, I don't know, but Indy???? Do you recall the effort it took for Villeneuve to unlap himself twice in 200 laps????

Anyway, let's see what Rick Popely's Indianapolis 500 Chronicle has to say: Apparently, Leonard was really running second on lap 150 before losing 14 minutes at the pits. He is shown as "flagged", with 193 laps in the results. Aha! Someone made a calculation, "14 minutes lost is about 14 laps considering the speed they were making those days", deducts the seven laps he was down at the finish and - voilà! - "he made up seven laps!!!"

But is it true? Smokey should've known, he was there: Indy races did not stop with the chequered flag for the winner until many years later, in fact the race usually went on for many minutes, often until all the "money winners" were in. Back to Popely, and his results: he shows the last finisher as Mel Kenyon, 152.177 mph, against winner Mario at 156.867. A bit of math 101 tells us: 1 Andretti 3:11'15", 4 Kenyon 3:17'08", means Kenyon was about six laps down at the finish. This in turn means Leonard was at least 13 laps down! Got it?

#27 Catalina Park

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 10:21

I am still wondering how Bruce Mclaren was going to drive a 72 Comaro. (I would have loved it to happen though)

#28 McGuire

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 10:21

Best Damn Garage is one of my all-time favorite books, but you don't want to read it as the gospel truth. Smokey had his own way of looking at things and it is reflected in the book.

#29 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 11:58

I will have to get 'The Best Damn Garage' book.
As a sometime engine builder I learnt a huge amount from his Power Secrets SA design book. After reading it a few times most of what he said was very logical and even if not made you think.
I raced Chev powered cars for about 15 years on a very small budget and a lot of his ideas were incorporated and my engines were strong and very reliable. And not just Chevs but Fords, Holdens, Mopar also that I have built.

#30 HistoricMustang

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 19:48

Anyone that sticks it to the big man is OK with me. :smoking:

Henry

#31 Loren Lundberg

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 01:24

DON'T "save" by buying the condensed version. Break the piggybank and cash in the aluminum cans and get everything, including the pictures.....you won't regret it.
Back in the '70s, Russ Sanders provided me with some slides he had taken during the initial Corvette trip to Daytona in 1956. One was of Smokey - black cowboy hat & boots; white (khaki?) slacks and a shiny red jacket (that you just KNEW said "Best Dammed Garage In Town" on the back) and alongside of Smokey was his son (7?, 8?) in an IDENTICAL outfit! I sent the 8 X 10 along with a number of questions about 1956 Sebring and asked for an autograph on the photo - got it, with a note of too many questions and a phone #.
Tried on 4 occasions and never connected. Should have tried a thousand times........

#32 just me again

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 08:53

Yes. I got it.

but it raises some questions.

Was it clear cut before the race, when it will be stopped. othervice there must be incidents of pittstops for fuel and for cars breaking down, after the winner has finished,
and what with accidents. have there been a Safety car period after the winner has finished.
It's all a little confusing, but i gues the indy 500 rules never have been the most easy to know.

Bjørn

Originally posted by fines
Nobody has ever unlapped himself seven times in 36 laps, certainly not at Indy. It may have happened some time in an amateur short track event, I don't know, but Indy???? Do you recall the effort it took for Villeneuve to unlap himself twice in 200 laps????

Anyway, let's see what Rick Popely's Indianapolis 500 Chronicle has to say: Apparently, Leonard was really running second on lap 150 before losing 14 minutes at the pits. He is shown as "flagged", with 193 laps in the results. Aha! Someone made a calculation, "14 minutes lost is about 14 laps considering the speed they were making those days", deducts the seven laps he was down at the finish and - voilà! - "he made up seven laps!!!"

But is it true? Smokey should've known, he was there: Indy races did not stop with the chequered flag for the winner until many years later, in fact the race usually went on for many minutes, often until all the "money winners" were in. Back to Popely, and his results: he shows the last finisher as Mel Kenyon, 152.177 mph, against winner Mario at 156.867. A bit of math 101 tells us: 1 Andretti 3:11'15", 4 Kenyon 3:17'08", means Kenyon was about six laps down at the finish. This in turn means Leonard was at least 13 laps down! Got it?



#33 D-Type

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 09:12

Originally posted by Loren Lundberg
DON'T "save" by buying the condensed version. Break the piggybank and cash in the aluminum cans and get everything, including the pictures.....you won't regret it.
~

How many versions of "Best Damn Garage ~" are there?

Amazon currently feature two paperback editions with the 2001 version twice the price of the 2003 one. Is the 2003 version the condensed one? Or are all the paperback versions condensed?

#34 McGuire

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 09:34

The full version is a three-volume boxed set, in "Racers" (paperback) and "Collectors" (hardbound) versions. The Racers version is $75. The direct sales website is operated by Smokey's daughter Trish, who also runs Carbon Press, the private label that publishes the book.

You really want the full three-volume set, not the single-volume "abridged version." Smokey was perhaps the worst writer and best storyteller racing has ever seen.

http://www.smokeyyunick.com/

#35 fines

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 15:38

Originally posted by just me again
Yes. I got it.

but it raises some questions.

Was it clear cut before the race, when it will be stopped. othervice there must be incidents of pittstops for fuel and for cars breaking down, after the winner has finished,
and what with accidents. have there been a Safety car period after the winner has finished.
It's all a little confusing, but i gues the indy 500 rules never have been the most easy to know.

Bjørn

No, it was never quite clear, I think. I recall one episode in 1924, when the stewards decided at some point that the race would be stopped after the finish of #16, but that particular car managed to run out of fuel on the penultimate lap! :D Well, they did stop the race, eventually. In the early years, they usually waited for all the "money winners" to finish, and since nobody outside the top ten got any dough, it didn't matter in what position they finished, so they were flagged.

But that all doesn't matter anyway, because any competitor knows when a race is finished - e.g. at Indy after 200 laps, or 500 miles, so I don't see what's so difficult about that. Everyone tries to reach the finish, and if he's flagged off the course before that, tough luck. Or, as nowadays, "you're lucky you don't have to go the full distance, we'll give you the dough (and points) anyway!"

#36 thunder427

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 13:54

has any body got a colour shot of Smokey's Black and gold 701/2 Camaro,Minilites etc.......??

#37 HistoricMustang

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 20:08

Originally posted by thunder427
has any body got a colour shot of Smokey's Black and gold 701/2 Camaro,Minilites etc.......??


Modern Day with Torque Thrust: http://carcraft.auto.../photos3-0.html

Also ran across this last evening concerning Smokey and the Hudson Hornet:

http://hetclub.com/t...hall_teague.htm

Henry

#38 fbarrett

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 21:52

Friends:

As a writer, Smokey made a great race mechanic. If anyone wants a copy of the softbound set, excellent condition, with slipcase, I have one that I'd sell for $50 plus postage.

Frank
fbarrett@aol.com
303/237-0911 (Mountain Time)

#39 Bob Riebe

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 23:01

Originally posted by HistoricMustang


Modern Day with Torque Thrust: http://carcraft.auto.../photos3-0.html

Also ran across this last evening concerning Smokey and the Hudson Hornet:

http://hetclub.com/t...hall_teague.htm

Henry

I believe he wants the one driven by Swede Savage in 1970.

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#40 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 23:53

Originally posted by HistoricMustang


Modern Day with Torque Thrust: http://carcraft.auto.../photos3-0.html

Also ran across this last evening concerning Smokey and the Hudson Hornet:

http://hetclub.com/t...hall_teague.htm

Henry

But don;t those cars lok so tough, all of them. I would love to see them race but am on the wrong continent.
Though most of those cars are raced here too in some form. No AMCs though

#41 Gary C

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 00:14

I've got the 6 (I think) CD set, read by John DeLorean, a great listen !

#42 thunder427

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 13:30

Historic Mustang;thank you for the photo of #13 but its the 2nd/gen '701/2 Camaro that I seek colour shots of,I'm at this time working on a ZL1 1969 Camaro,but have a '72 rolling shell which I intend to build as a 'tribute' car...BUT ..has anybody had a real good look at #13, then take a look at a normal '68, then look at #13,then look at a real 67/68 Camaro and tell me that "Smokey' hasn't re-profiled the front,Grill cavity sit's way lower,then check the 'sweep' of the front guard/hood profile.....just looking ???????!!,Its OK to look,just not allowed to touch!!

#43 klemcoll

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 02:32

I met Smokey briefly back in 1962 when I went down to Jim Rathman's Chevrolet store in Melbourne Florida where he, with Smokey's aid, had built up a special (but homologated) Chevy II for me to take across the water to run in the Saloon Car class in the U.K. At that time it still had its OEM Corvair 9 inch brakes which would not stop a tricycle, much less a 2600 pound sedan with 300 bhp which could get up to 150 mph on any half mile straight. Smokey, complete with his trademark hat, said about three words in the hour I was there before I left to drive the beast back to New York. I think they both thought I was nuts and, in retrospect, they were probably correct. We eventually got Chevrolet to give us and homologate some larger brakes, but the cars never stopped worth a damn - however, they could REALLY accelerate. Mr. Yunick knew what he was doing, that's for sure.

#44 Gary C

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 04:08

Didn't I espy Smokey at a FoS one year??

#45 thunder427

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 05:24

klemcoll, small world, the ZL1 Camaro/manual, that I tend here in Australia,,along with its 'sister' ZL1 Camaro/auto came from the very same dealer,Jim Rathman's Chevrolet in Melbourne,Florida1970,which interestingly, was shipped to Melbourne, Australia,to Touring car 'Ace' of the time,now a 'Legend' ,Bob Jane of the Bob Jane.T.Marts Fame, not to mention 4/Aust.Touring Car Titles in the 'Hugger Orange'/Manual ZL1 Camaro, the other ZL1 'Le-Mans Blue'/Auto has gone to the big scrap-yard in the sky..............rearended and dumped........anybody got a back hoe,we will probably have to shift some house's of the ol' dump site first.........!!