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.
I sold the car as a roller, at the end of 68, to Al Richards in Toronto. Al was a mechanic by trade and had a drag racing background. I managed to con him into trying the Sebring 12 hr. in 69 if I supplied the engine. It was quite the adventure and Rick Stevens and I managed to finish 3rd in the over 2 touring class and 25th o/a. That summer I co-drove that car at the Mid Ohio T/A with GM engineer Dick Hoffman (who later built 2 1970/71 T/A camaros, one of which I owned and raced in 1980 in 3 T/A races) Dick had already been racing with Dave Horchler in a 67 Camaro (H & H Racing). I’ve had some email contact recently with Dave, but Dick sadly died in a road crash in the mid eighties in CA. I continued on driving for Al Richards till the end of 72. We had no budget and the prize money we won helped us thru.. My job was to keep the car in one piece and find us a tow vehicle for each race. I had to borrow one from friends for each race. I was also very good at scrounging spare parts in the paddock. One time at Mid Ohio we needed some front brake parts and actually went out into the parking area, found a Z 28 and jacked up the guy’s car, and removed the parts, and left a note on his window saying we would be back after the race. The guy was thrilled that he was able to help us out – imagine!
By the end of 72 the 67 was old, and worn out, and we could see the writing on the wall for the series. It was sold to a stock car racer who wrecked it at Pinecrest Speedway, near Toronto. I managed to contact the stock car driver’s son a few years ago and asked him what happened to the car. He said it got “bent” and was parted out. No idea what happened to the remains, except that the 12 bolt rear end was in his street camaro.
It was a great time, running with the “Big Dogs”.
Taken after the 71 rain race at Lime Rock – we were a happy gang – finished 9th despite taking the front escape road 3 times – won $1,000 – a very big deal for us at that time as we literally had no budget to go racing – needed the money to see us to the next race.
As requested by a few readers, here are some people details for this photo:
On the left leaning on the car is crew member Gil (can’t remember his last name) – I believe he was a relative of either Roy Bean or Al Richards. Al is holding out the can or cup of beer. Next is crew member Dennis Marks. Dennis was from Jamaica and at one time worked for the large downtown Ford dealer in Toronto as a mechanic. Have lost contact with him and was told he went back to Jamaica. That is Roy Bean far right.
Roy and Al worked together at Romano Construction as HD diesel mechanics when I met them. After we quit racing in 72 Al and his parents went on to start Holland Valley Nurseries just outside of Holland Landing and there is also a garden centre in north Toronto.
Roy acquired the first Dick Hoffman T/A 70/71 Camaro in about 75, restored it, and went club racing with it at Shannonville and Mosport. Dick Hoffman drove it in the 78 Mosport T/A. The car was sold to Cam Champion who raced it in 79 – then sold to myself for the 80 season.
I next saw Roy working with Brad Francis in the late seventies on that Mo Carter tube frame Camaro. Recently he is back with Leo Romano and I understand he built a race truck for Leo, his old boss. Haven’t had any recent contact with him.
“Ricky Racer” is living on Gabriola Island but thinking of moving back to the Victoria area. He has a neat m/c powered sports racer in his garage but isn’t doing anything with it. It might be for sale. (not vintage)
Stories like this make you wonder how many other historically significant race cars have been destroyed in one manner or another. At least this one was racing at the end, rather than rotting in a field.