Jump to content


Photo

Was the Chevy 302 small block ever used in Can Am ?


  • Please log in to reply
20 replies to this topic

#1 arttidesco

arttidesco
  • Member

  • 6,313 posts
  • Joined: April 10

Posted 14 June 2011 - 06:29

Looking into the history of the Chevrolet 302 small block I have found out that it was primarily built to meet the max 305 cui engine regulations for the SCCA Trans Am Series and successfully used by Mark Donohue in a Penske Z/28 Camaro to win the '68 and '69 Trans Am series.

Posted Image

However the sticker above

Posted Image

found on a Chevrolet Firenza 302 badged vehicle suggests the 302 also has a history in Can Am.

I am wondering if anybody could be so kind as to definitively confirm or refute this ?

If the Chevy 302 small block was used in the Can Am series was that original unlimited Group 7 Can Am or 5 litre Can Am 2 ?

Relevant answers may be used and credited in a forthcoming blog.

Thanking you in anticipation of your responses.

Advertisement

#2 E1pix

E1pix
  • Member

  • 22,112 posts
  • Joined: January 11

Posted 14 June 2011 - 07:02

The SCCA Formula 5000 series allowed 5,000 cc, or up to 305 cubic inches, and ran as a pro series from 1968 through 1976 in the US, and for even longer Down Under. Originally badged here as 'Formula A', it was soon known as Formula 5000. Chevrolet was the motor to have throughout F5000 series history, and comprised a significant piece of 5-liter Chevy history on several continents.

During the original 1966-'74 "unlimited" Can-Am series, 5 liters was too small by 1967 (?) or shortly after. Those motors exceeded 8 liters in the latter years.

In 1977, the SCCA "added fenders" to convert 5-liter Formula 5000 cars to "Can-Am II" cars in a failed attempt to recreate the Glory Days of the original Can-Am series. That Can-Am II series ran through 1986 and used the same 5-liter maximum engine specification as did Formula 5000.

The Chevy 5-liter motor also has a long history in many other motor sports everywhere. Here in the US that's everything from drag racing to oval racing on dirt.

Edited by E1pix, 14 June 2011 - 07:25.


#3 buckaluck

buckaluck
  • Member

  • 149 posts
  • Joined: May 09

Posted 14 June 2011 - 07:11

I doubt it was used in the original series as you wanted the largest engine possible so as to have the most HP but that is not to say they didn't use it in the Can Am 2 series. That makes me wonder if any one used the Boss 302 Ford motor as well. I'm sure they both would have been used in the F5000 series if they were legal as both engines were around at the time. I'm sure someone will be able to chime in with the details. My guess would be yes it was used in the F5000 and continued into the Can Am 2 but off hand I can't confirm but I'm sure someone from the F5000 community can confirm.

Good question as it opens the door to discuss the merits of both engines in alternative uses other then a Mustang and a Camero. Both engines were great
motors so will follow this thread to see what happens.

Buck

#4 2F-001

2F-001
  • Member

  • 3,666 posts
  • Joined: November 01

Posted 14 June 2011 - 07:16

I was re-reading some parts of Pete Lyon's multi-part 'CanAm' series in Vintage Motorsport just last week - he comments that McLaren used small-block based engines in the M6A (and by implication in the 1966 series too) - experimenting with aluminium blocks (which were troublesome) to start with before settling on iron and then iron with alloy heads. Donohue had tested alloy versions of the small-block type engine too.

I can't remember too many other specifics, but could revisit the articles if needed. I believe the M6B production variants were all intended to use small-blocks, although not all kept them. I think Chaparral were already looking at big-block type alloy engines at that point, but if McLaren were using small-blocks I'd think it a safe bet that others did too.

Edited by 2F-001, 14 June 2011 - 07:32.


#5 2F-001

2F-001
  • Member

  • 3,666 posts
  • Joined: November 01

Posted 14 June 2011 - 07:28

Mr Lyons reiterates this in the following article - pointing out that all of the 1967 races were won by iron small-blocks, although it seems that McLaren's conservative approach to engines that year was particularly notable, even at the time**, since much work (and Donohue's USRCC championship win??) had already been done with big-blocks. That article (part 3 of the series in VM 6/94 has an interesting account of McLaren's switch to the bigger motors for the M8.

** so my confidence that others would be sure to follow McLaren's lead (unless using an out-of-box M6B, perhaps) might be misplaced...

Edited by 2F-001, 14 June 2011 - 07:36.


#6 arttidesco

arttidesco
  • Member

  • 6,313 posts
  • Joined: April 10

Posted 14 June 2011 - 07:45

E-Pix thanks for making the F5000 connection :up:

Buck a luck I have my doubts about the '302' being used in original Can Am because as you say that was all about HP, though the high reving '302' was not short of top end power, an account I have heard of suggests the pull of the '302' was not that far short of the 426 hemi with only 2/3rds the cui of the Mopar ! (Last but one paragraph )

Does Mr Lyons mention what size cui small blocks were used on the M6A 2F - 001 ?

As I understand it small blocks came initially in 265, 283, 307 cui sizes from '55 to '73 and then 327, 350, 302 and 400 from '62 to '98 excluding the economy small blocks introduced in 1975 and the 267 cui 3.5 bore built from '79 to '82.

Edited by arttidesco, 14 June 2011 - 07:48.


#7 E1pix

E1pix
  • Member

  • 22,112 posts
  • Joined: January 11

Posted 14 June 2011 - 07:46

I doubt it was used in the original series as you wanted the largest engine possible so as to have the most HP but that is not to say they didn't use it in the Can Am 2 series. That makes me wonder if any one used the Boss 302 Ford motor as well. I'm sure they both would have been used in the F5000 series if they were legal as both engines were around at the time. I'm sure someone will be able to chime in with the details. My guess would be yes it was used in the F5000 and continued into the Can Am 2 but off hand I can't confirm but I'm sure someone from the F5000 community can confirm.

Good question as it opens the door to discuss the merits of both engines in alternative uses other then a Mustang and a Camero. Both engines were great
motors so will follow this thread to see what happens.

Buck

Hi, Buck! :wave:

I don't recall anyone using a Ford in the Can-Am II, but would imagine some 302s may have been used in F5000 (in the earliest years, for the later years I don't think so). There were some Ford attempts in the original Can-Am, most notably the Honker II fielded by Paul Newman and driven by Mario Andretti in 1967 or '68.

In Formula 5000, Chrysler fielded I believe a 304 cubic-inch engine as a 'Dodge' for Team Shadow in the early- or mid-70s, and in much larger, Big Block configuration in later Can-Am years. AMC (American Motors Corp.) fielded an AMC-badged engine to power Team Penske and driver Mark Donohue in the 1973 Formula 5000 Series in the US. I believe it, too was a 304 cubic-inch engine. Though heavy, the team never won with the engine but did have a 2nd at Road Atlanta and other good finishes.

Chevy Ruled (though I drive VW).


#8 arttidesco

arttidesco
  • Member

  • 6,313 posts
  • Joined: April 10

Posted 14 June 2011 - 07:53

(though I drive VW).


Snap :wave:

#9 2F-001

2F-001
  • Member

  • 3,666 posts
  • Joined: November 01

Posted 14 June 2011 - 07:58

Does Mr Lyons mention what size cui small blocks were used on the M6A 2F - 001 ?

Nominally, 6-litres, but I think I've seen various figures from 5.8 to 6.0 mentioned in the past with varying degrees of authority. I think they began a touch smaller in '66 though - 5.4 maybe? - when they'd switched from the Olds-based engines.

re: F5000... wasn't the rather ill-starred Lotus 70 originally intended to used a Ford 302-based engine?
I can't remember if Pete Lyon's great series continued to cover the 'revived' (F5000-based) Can Am or not - and if he mentioned anyone using anything other than a Chev. When I get a moment I'll check. I'm not sure if I've got Lyons' Can Am book or not - can't recall that either (bit of a problem these days, recalling stuff).

Edited by 2F-001, 14 June 2011 - 08:01.


#10 E1pix

E1pix
  • Member

  • 22,112 posts
  • Joined: January 11

Posted 14 June 2011 - 08:11

Does Mr Lyons mention what size cui small blocks were used on the M6A 2F - 001 ?

:up:
The 1966 McLaren M1B-Chevrolet motor was 330 cubic inches/5.4 liters in its original guise, soon expanded to 364 ci and 6.0 liters.
The 1967 McLaren M6A-Chevrolet motor you mention was 358.9 cubic inches/5.88 liters.

It appears that both year's configurations were small blocks, in the pre-Big Block days. The more studious will know the year of the first "Big."

#11 E1pix

E1pix
  • Member

  • 22,112 posts
  • Joined: January 11

Posted 14 June 2011 - 08:19

I can't remember if Pete Lyon's great series continued to cover the 'revived' (F5000-based) Can Am or not - and if he mentioned anyone using anything other than a Chev. When I get a moment I'll check. I'm not sure if I've got Lyons' Can Am book or not - can't recall that either (bit of a problem these days, recalling stuff).

2F.... Lyons got it right and omitted the Can-Am II series. Beyond wrecking F5000 in the States, it was a good series at times but paled dramatically by the Original — and compared to US F5000, in my opinion.

Memory.... research 5-HTP and DHEA. Research yourself, I'm no Doc but they work for me at 50.

Edited by E1pix, 14 June 2011 - 08:20.


#12 2F-001

2F-001
  • Member

  • 3,666 posts
  • Joined: November 01

Posted 14 June 2011 - 08:35

(I'll look into those E1 pix - I have three years' start on you but this is a recent development for me. It's the recent stuff that doesn't stay filed properly, so maybe my head is just full - or needs de-fragging or something!)

Lyons relates that Penske/Donohue tried a alloy big-block early in '66 (for URRRC, I presume) but I don't think they raced it seriously until the end of the following year. I'm fairly sure that both Penske and Chaparral turned at the first CanAm of '67 with big-block powered cars, so that might be the first usage (in Can Am) unless some of the less-talked-about runners were trying it out further down the field.

(as an off-topic aside, E1-pix, are you using an Olympus E1 or have I misunderstood the origin of your handle?)

#13 Lee Nicolle

Lee Nicolle
  • Member

  • 9,863 posts
  • Joined: July 08

Posted 14 June 2011 - 08:35

The 302 Chev was something the hotrodders/racers had played with for several years before GM made them officially for the Trans am series. in 69? A 302 Chev is a 327 350 block with 3" stroke 283 crank and with the 5.7" [standard]rods that all small blocks used plus Chevys very good oiling system made a engine that made VERY good power and could be turned well over 8000rpm .Plus the Chev has 5 bolts per cylinder to retain the heads.Unlike any of the opposition. Also it is possibly the lightest/ best size package of any of the engines
The Boss Ford made for TransAm in 69 Mustangs is also a good engine, though not as user friendly as the Chev.It is the tiny little 302 Windsor block [also 4x3"] with the very large port heads from the 4V 351 Cleveland. These engines had 5.4" rods [standard] They are a very torquless l ittle engine and a little suspect when turned very hard, which the heads allowed, in fact needed. These engines were far more developed than the Chev for a standard road car as they had special intakes, cooling routes on the engine, special 4 bolt blocks.
Wheras the Chev was a parts bin special, nothing more.
I know very little about the Mopars, though they are 340 based and I believe used the T/A heads so would have been a fairly strong engine, probably let down a little by the torsion bar chassis on Cudas/ Challengers. As far as I know the 304 Chrysler engine was never sold in a road car unlike the Ford and Chev.
All of these engines, as long with the AMC which I know NOTHING about would have been elegible and could be used in Formula A/ F5000 and 5 litre CanAm cars. And in fact I believe were at some stage or another,
Though the Chev was by far the best, probably followed by the Aussie plastic fantastic 308 Holden based Repco engine which was very driveable, quite light though never produced the power of the Chev. The Repcos were used in F5000 here and in NZ extensively with quite good results. Because they were developed as a package at a reasonable price is why they were so widely used.

#14 RA Historian

RA Historian
  • Member

  • 3,741 posts
  • Joined: October 06

Posted 14 June 2011 - 14:01

At the beginning of the Can Am in 1966, and in the various pro races that preceded its formation, the engines of choice were primarily the small block Chevrolet V-8, with some teams using the Ford V-8. In most cases, the engines were enlarged from their stock displacements. By 1966-67 most were punched out to the vicinity of six liters.

The six race 1966 Can Am season had five wins for Chevy V-8s and one for a Ford. That was Bridgehampton, won by Dan Gurney in an AAR Lola T-70.

In 1967 experiments with big block Chevrolet V-8s began. At the first Can Am of that year, at Road America, Penske Racing showed up with a 427 block stuffed into a Lola T-70. However, as I recall, Donohue was not satisfied during practice and a small block was substituted for the race. Also running a big block was the new Chaparral 2G of Jim Hall, who finished fourth in the race behind Denny Hulme (McLaren M6A), Mark Donohue (Lola T-70), and John Surtees (Lola T-70), all with small blocks.

For the 1968 USRRC season Penske purchased the McLaren M6A that Bruce had driven in 1967 and stuffed a 427 big block into it, duly winning the USRRC. By the time the Can Am rolled around in the fall, several teams were now using the big blocks, which quickly was becoming a requirement. Indeed, a small block only won once, when John Cannon prevailed in the downpour at Laguna Seca in a two year old McLaren M1 with a small block. From then on, one had to have a big block, especially after the "Reynolds" aluminum big blocks became available.

Ford made a mild attempt at a big block too, its aluminum unit being used by the Shelby entered McLaren M6B of Peter Revson in 1968 and the occasional appearances of the Holman-Moody M6B "429er" and the Agapiou Brothers Ford G7A in the 1969-70 period. But as has been pointed out in other threads, Ford never had its heart in the program and it foundered for lack of development and interest, fading away without a win.

But my main point is that the small block, in various displacements from stock to somewhere over six liters, ruled Group 7 racing until 1968.

In F-5000 in the States, the Chevy V-8 was absolutely the engine to have. The Ford V-8 was used occasionally, but good results were few, mainly the two wins by George Follmer in a Lotus 70 in 1970. The only other win by a non-Chevy in F-5000 1968-76 was by Jackie Oliver in a Shadow DN-6B at Road America in July, 1976. That was powered by a Dodge V-8. As mentioned, in 1973 Penske Racing ran a Lola T-330 with an AMC V-8 in it as part of their contractual obligations with AMC, but the car was never very competitive, despite the talents of the Penske team and Mark Donohue. A higher CG due to the block configuration is most often cited as the reason for the less than stellar results.

#15 Bob Riebe

Bob Riebe
  • Member

  • 2,288 posts
  • Joined: January 05

Posted 14 June 2011 - 14:17

Part of the lack of success for Fords in the early small block years was the original iron Ford smal-block could not be enlarged above apprx. 344 inches, leaving it inches cubed short compared to the Chevy.
By the time Ford and Alcoa were playing with an alloy version of what became the Windsor 351, big-block ruled.

Its light weight and even Gurney/Weslake heads could not make up the difference.
The same too small size is what stopped use of the Buick/Oldsmobile all aluminum engines. As the old saying goes, "there is no substitute for cubic inches."

Time is ripe for a new Formula A. With the new Chevy small-block and the CHrysler Hemi, semi-hemi, plus a two-valve version of the Ford mod. engine, it would be glorious.
Heck, they could put the sohc Jeep engine in there too.

#16 fbarrett

fbarrett
  • Member

  • 1,154 posts
  • Joined: January 08

Posted 14 June 2011 - 17:19

Art:

Maybe you already know about this, but here's an explanation of the rally car's decal: http://www.flickr.co...oud/4439180028/

Frank

#17 arttidesco

arttidesco
  • Member

  • 6,313 posts
  • Joined: April 10

Posted 14 June 2011 - 18:07

Thanks for the additional information E1P, 2F 001, Tom, and Bob.

Frank thanks for the link to the photo, I am not sure the car in my photos at the top of this thread is the same car, when I ran an HPI check the registration TDH 345 K came up Vauxhall Viva 1256 SL fitted with an 1800 cc motor !

I suspect the car in my pic may not be one of the original 100 homologation specials rather a tribute car based on the shell of the aforementioned Vauxhall Viva unless the HPI information is out of date which is not beyond the bounds of possibility.



#18 E1pix

E1pix
  • Member

  • 22,112 posts
  • Joined: January 11

Posted 14 June 2011 - 18:38

(as an off-topic aside, E1-pix, are you using an Olympus E1 or have I misunderstood the origin of your handle?)

No, just an abbreviation. Nikon Man all the way.

#19 kayemod

kayemod
  • Member

  • 9,013 posts
  • Joined: August 05

Posted 14 June 2011 - 20:38

Part of the lack of success for Fords in the early small block years was the original iron Ford smal-block could not be enlarged above apprx. 344 inches, leaving it inches cubed short compared to the Chevy.
By the time Ford and Alcoa were playing with an alloy version of what became the Windsor 351, big-block ruled.


One reason for a Chevy preference, certainly in the early days, was that compared to the equivalent Ford, the ubiquitous small block Chevy was more suited to racing and tuning, though of course both were originally planned as engines for ordinary road cars. The Ford was considerably lighter, but although both had a similar bore limit, a higher deck height on the Chevy meant that it could be stroked to an extra litre, which wasn't possible with the Ford 350, though the later 351 block was better. In the entire history of CanAm, there was only ever a single Ford win, scored by Dan Gurney in a Lola T70 with a high-revving 305ci (5 litre) engine with his own Gurney-Weslake heads. This engine had a near 2000 revs and about 30 hp advantage over contemporary Chevys in the McLarens and most others, but in comparison it lacked the torque and driveability their extra litre or so of displacement gave them. When McLarens and others won all the time with Chevys, that became the obvious route to follow, but McLaren and Chaparral both got a lot of 'unofficial' help from GM, special alloy big blocks etc, and GM clearly appreciated the publicity that winning provided. In comparison, although they occasionally appeared with one-off engines, Ford never really seemed to be serious about CanAm, which was surprising considering the success the 7 litre Mk IVs had at LeMans, surely they could have done it if they'd really wanted to, but that would have meant finding a team capable of taking on McLaren.


Advertisement

#20 E1pix

E1pix
  • Member

  • 22,112 posts
  • Joined: January 11

Posted 14 June 2011 - 21:17

One reason for a Chevy preference, certainly in the early days, was that compared to the equivalent Ford, the ubiquitous small block Chevy was more suited to racing and tuning, though of course both were originally planned as engines for ordinary road cars. The Ford was considerably lighter, but although both had a similar bore limit, a higher deck height on the Chevy meant that it could be stroked to an extra litre, which wasn't possible with the Ford 350, though the later 351 block was better. In the entire history of CanAm, there was only ever a single Ford win, scored by Dan Gurney in a Lola T70 with a high-revving 305ci (5 litre) engine with his own Gurney-Weslake heads. This engine had a near 2000 revs and about 30 hp advantage over contemporary Chevys in the McLarens and most others, but in comparison it lacked the torque and driveability their extra litre or so of displacement gave them. When McLarens and others won all the time with Chevys, that became the obvious route to follow, but McLaren and Chaparral both got a lot of 'unofficial' help from GM, special alloy big blocks etc, and GM clearly appreciated the publicity that winning provided. In comparison, although they occasionally appeared with one-off engines, Ford never really seemed to be serious about CanAm, which was surprising considering the success the 7 litre Mk IVs had at LeMans, surely they could have done it if they'd really wanted to, but that would have meant finding a team capable of taking on McLaren.

Excellent analysis! :up:

#21 arttidesco

arttidesco
  • Member

  • 6,313 posts
  • Joined: April 10

Posted 14 June 2011 - 23:31

Thanks for your help on this one :wave: