Shutter Speed: More racing, new friends, better images and more death

I was encouraged by Harvey Hudes to show my images around to anyone that would look at them. I decided I’d blow up my favourites and build a portfolio. Naturally any mistakes never saw the light of day and there were many mistakes mostly in the exposure department. I decided to continue the poster business and secured the rights to sell any image from 8 x 10 to poster size and larger at Mosport, Ste. Jovite and Watkins Glen. It was going to be a busy year with my regular work and the race track. Work was also becoming a bit of a problem. Being in the recreation department did not allow me to just take the weekend off and go to the track. Life being what it is, it presented me an alternative. I had been working for almost two years with handicapped children in Toronto. I was making just under nine thousand dollars a year. Hard to support a family of three on that so naturally my wife was also out working and our son was in daycare. My wife and I attended a party at a friend’s home where I met a man that would change my life. We’ve all enjoyed party talk and suggestions that you get together at a later date. I call it ‘bar talk’. Once the alcohol is gone so are the suggestions of getting together. At the party I was approached by a slim black man by the name of Fred Winn. He had boundless energy. He knew I worked with children. He also knew I had worked with the camera. He asked what I was making at the time. Being a little drunk I told him. He easily asked if I’d like to triple that. I’d be happy doubling it! He asked if I’d come with him the following Monday and see what he did for his living. Judging from his clothes he seemed to be doing quite well. He wouldn’t tell me what he did. He wanted me to see first hand. I was curious and very interested. The financial change would help my family to a huge extent. I wasn’t to start my job with the kids until one in the afternoon on Monday so I headed out with my new interest to see what he was up to. I had no idea what it was. He picked me up and off we went to North York. He then told me he was doing family photography.
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Shutter Speed: Posters, dash plaques and a new mentor

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In the spring of 1968 my wife and son and I moved to the real world away from the mountains and skiing. We chose Toronto. Jobs as now are often found through family and friends. This again proved to be true. Through the same man who got me the Dunlop job I applied for a job as a recreation councilor at the Ontario Crippled Children Center. I really had little qualifications other than I was a man, which was difficult for them to find one interested in working with kids, and I had a sports background. The kids turned out to be a wonderful addition to my life. Many had challenges they would never overcome. Many were results of serious accidents or in the case of the Thalidomide children, the result of a drug that had not been properly tested and prescribed by doctors to suppress morning sickness in pregnant Mothers. I was excited and wanted to involve them in experiences they would never have if left to their own devices or families. I contacted the Don Valley Ski Center in Don Mills and got them to donate rental equipment and facilities to introduce the kids to skiing. We took them to events in a beat up shit-box Chevy van that should not have been on the road, but without it we would not be going anywhere. One of the things I introduced them to was auto racing. [Read more...]

Shutter Speed: A new start, a new car and more racing!

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I struggled through until spring and realized I needed to get either back to North Bay or head for Toronto where my parents now lived. My Father had been offered a senior position with the Globe and Mail. It was an offer he couldn’t refuse so they moved to the big city. I decided to follow and hitch-hiked down where I was met with some reluctance. I had little left that you could call belongings and taking over the sofa was not something either of my parents liked. Through a family friend I was able to get hired on at Dunlop Tire and Rubber Company on Queen Street. I started at the bottom. I enjoyed manual labour, but sweeping carbon black off floors was not my idea of a good time. I watched the job postings constantly. The job I lusted after, but one I never expected to have come up shone like a beacon when it was posted. It was a job many wanted, but somehow I got the job! I was now a fork-lift driver! It was the night shift for some time, but I loved getting behind the wheel of that rig. I actually loved getting behind the wheel of anything, but the big old Clarke was a constant source of challenge and fun. I soon became a much better driver. With very narrow spaces between the rows I had to drive, my precision became much more acute. My real problem at the time was street wheels. I nosed around looking for something sporty. I was tired of taking the Toronto transit. I got pre-qualified for a loan from the company credit union and bought the first decent MGB I could find. I don’t even remember it’s year. I do remember it had wonky spoke wheels that needed truing up and it clanked and rumbled along, but it would go if you wanted it to. I also wanted to get back to skiing and noticed that the Canadian Ski Patrol was looking for patrollers near Barrie and Collingwood. I went to the first aid courses and met a number of young guys that were trying to get on at various ski hills. I met a constantly smiling character who was excited about a private club in Collingwood about ninety miles north. The season had just started and we decided to go up and take a look. The patrol leader was an English guy by the name of Bruce Smith. He was said to be tough as nails and I guess he was if you got on his bad side. Both Larry and I were good skiers and Smith asked us to sign up for the Craigleith patrol and he would see we got that assignment. The Sunday we returned from our first trip to Collingwood, Larry, better known as ‘Woody’, said he wanted to drop in at the Toronto Boat show to see what was new. I have always loved boats and said I wanted to tag along. Who I met at the boat show presented a lot of fun over the next few years. As we walked across the show floor the large yachts towered over us. As we approached one, Larry stopped me and casually said ‘take a look at that!’ I looked up and there on one of the boats was a beautiful blonde girl! I actually could not see her face, but the part that was presented to me looked more than attractive! The rest of the evening Woody and I chatted up Jane Parkinson, the lady of the yacht. We talked about lots of different things, but skiing was near the top of her list. We said we were going to Collingwood the following weekend. I quietly told Woody to go along with what I was going to say to her. I told her I had not skied much. The following Saturday morning Jane and I drove up to the ski hill in my ‘B’. I did not own skis at the time so had to rent them. We went to Zotter’s Ski Shop next to the hill. I was standing at the rental counter when the owner, Carl Zotter, spied me and came over. He wanted to know what I was up to and I just said I needed to rent a pair of skis for the weekend. I had raced with his son Werner. Carl told the rental person to give me the best they had. Jane just stood there bewildered. The cat still wasn’t out of the bag. When we got to the hill I fumbled with the skis, fumbled with the bindings and fell on the way to the lift. On the way up the lift, a T-bar, I nearly fell off twice and succeeded on the third try when the lift got to a short flat section. Jane was frustrated as she helped me get on the lift again. At the top she headed for a hill called ‘The Birches’. Looking back that is the last place I would take a novice, but I guess she thought she could guide me down or maybe she just wanted to throw me off at the deep end. I fell twice getting to the top of the hill. She looked down and said I should watch how it is done and slowly follow her. She descended about fifty yards down the hill doing nice snow-plows. She turned and waved me down. I started slowly towards her making a few wide snow-plow turns. She was smiling as I approached her. As I got to her I said that this was boring and got into a tuck and hurtled straight down the hill. When I got to the bottom I slid into a long turn and looked back up. She was nowhere to be seen! I turned just in time to get a large snowball right in the face! It was love at first descent! We skied, snuggled and just did everything young lovers did all winter. In the spring we went to Mosport to the Victoria Day Sprints. We also went to Watkins Glen in upper New York state.
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The story of the Mo Carter/Robert Barg ’67 Camaro

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Taken at Sebring in 69 during practice for the 12 hr – Rick Stevens co-drove 4 hrs. We finished 25th o/a and 3rd in 5 litre touring – won 1000 bucks. We were amazed to finish in that almost stock Camaro – it was quite the adventure.

We are very lucky to have had an incredibly rich motorsports history here in Canada. Fortunately many of the folks involved back in the early days of racing are still active within the sport. Even more fortunate is that many of them are more than happy to share their memories. Today’s post covers some Trans Am history thanks to Robert Barg who raced an ex Mo Carter ’67 Camaro from 1968 to 1972. I’ll let Robert pick up the tale from here:

The ex 67 Mo Carter car is the one I raced from 68 to 72, 14 races in total including a DNS at Bryar in 70, after practicing and qualifying, but unable to start because a jr. crew member overheated the engine in the paddock.

I purchased this car from Mo as a roller in the spring of 68 for $1800. He had driven it on the 67 Shell 4000 Cross Canada Rally before club racing it that summer. It was a very basic car, just a roll cage, drum brakes on the rear, and street Koni shocks. It was one of the first Z 28’s imported into Canada by his dealership City Chev in Hamilton Ontario. This car was a work in progress. My previous racing experience was with a 998cc Mini, so it was a steep learning curve. A friend built an almost stock 302 engine for me and we did a few club races in 68 at Harewood and Mosport before trying the T/A at the Glen that year. A racing friend Rick Stevens co-drove that race with me at the Glen. He also raced that 4 hr. 67 Sebring T/A race with his Mini. At that Glen race, we had front suspension problems, and just limped the car home. Despite this, we finished 7th in the over 2 litre class and 12 o/a. We learned that we had a long way to go to be somewhat competitive, even as a privateer. Note that in the race I waved Jerry Titus by during a caution period as we were very slow with problems. Later after the race there was a meeting with the stewards as Jerry had been called for passing under the yellow. I assured them I had waved him by and Jerry’s victory was allowed to stand.
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Andre’s new baby comes home

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Regular readers might recognize the name AndreGT6 from his comments here in The Garage. Andre’s post name comes from his mint ’68 Triumph GT6. His pride and joy. Until now that is. Last summer, Andre made the mistake of going to the annual vintage race at The Glen and fell in love with vintage racing. The search was on for a suitable ride. This past weekend, the new toy came home and the poor GT6 has been relegated to the driveway. I have offered to keep an eye on the little coupe, but for some reason Andre isn’t responding!

Given my past with Fiats of the 124 Coupe and Special variety, I am feeling some pangs of jealousy over this nice Spider. I just commented to Mrs. G that this would be the perfect car for us. It is far from being a show winner, but looks perfect from a distance. Not overly fast, so moments of brilliance stupidity behind the wheel aren’t likely to prove too damaging. Reliable. Mrs G just rolled her eyes. She is used to me coveting every car I come across.

Along with the new car, comes a new web site. 124racer.com may not be fully up and running yet, but Mr. Rousseau has already loaded up tons of pictures of the wee beastie. He has even posted a quick video from the driveway, which you can find after the break.

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1967 US Grand Prix Ticket

While having a look through some of the Ranta collection for a few fun historical posts for the next couple of days, this great little find fell out of a Canadian Grand Prix program. A pristine entry ticket for the 1967 Grand Prix of the United States at Watkins Glen, October 1, 1967. The price? Just $8.

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According to the Wikipedia entry on this event, Sarj Ranta was one of 80,000 people who watched Jim Clark nurse his ailing Lotus to a win over team mate Graham Hill on that bright, sunny day.

1962 Glen Classic

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The entry lists for this event probably look like a typical regional race anywhere in the States at that time. Most of the drivers are local, with most from New York and a few from Pennsylvania or Ontario. One name though sticks out. At the top of the Formula Jr, III, Libre race is none other than New York’s own Brock Yates. The father of the Cannonball Baker Sea to Shining Sea Memorial Run was driving a Taraschi. As I didn’t have a clue what a Taraschi was, a quick google taught me that it was a front engined, rear wheel drive Formula Junior with a Fiat engine.

pic of an unrelated Taraschi after the break

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1961 US Grand Prix Camera Close up

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This wonderful magazine, published after the Grand Prix includes shots of pit & on track action. On the cover we see BRM crew members filling the fuel tank of Graham Hill’s BRM. Eventual winner Innes Ireland had an eventful weekend on the way to his first Grand Prix victory. Friday’s practice session saw the steering wheel come off in his hands, sending the Lotus into the trees. Luckily, with no major impacts, Ireland was fine to race and the Lotus was repaired in time for qualifying on Saturday. 105.08 was was the fastest lap he could turn, placing him 8th on the grid, before the engine blew up. After crew members worked 8 hours replacing the engine, Ireland did his job on Sunday and won the 1961 US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen.