Classic Race Car History

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Firenza GT

Classic Race Car History

Post by Firenza GT » Sun 12 Aug 2007, 13:31

Which of the original Chev Dealer Team racers is this car?
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Last edited by zahistorics on Wed 05 Sep 2007, 22:37, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Classic Race Car History

Post by ZA Perana » Sun 12 Aug 2007, 13:43

:D Well this would be very interesting to get the real story around this car....is it what it says it is or is it something completely differant?

Having seen the car a few times and spoken to some people there is a rather uneasy concensus sarrouding its history. But first a bit of what I do know.

The orginal of this car was featured in CAR magazine in 1989 and was at that time owned by a collector in Bloemfontein who let it be raced by a a third party, the third party rebuilt the motor and suspension and left everything else as the car was very orginal. The pictures of that car tally with the pictures I have of the dealer team cars, the photo being from a CAR magazine circa 1973. The article also mentions the motor parts still had GM numbers and it was the orginal motor from 1973 season being the 302.

Now we have the car in the picture which was discovered in 1997 as a wreck and had a supposed stroker motor but was supposedly the orginal car but that would have meant it was the same car in the magazine in 1989 and its highly unlikely any collector would have allowed a classic like this for which he swapped 2 cars to lie outside and become a wreck and how did the 302 dissapear.

My gut says that this car in the picture isnt the same car as the one that competed in 1973, I cant be sure but there are so many loose ends it hard to find anything substantive to prove this other than magazine articles and pictures. I have a hunch that this car may have been the reserve car, two were driven by Basil van Rooyen and Han Hettema and the other was the guest car to be driven by one of the Thomas brothers.

Would be great to find out more about this car....and how it went from being in a collection to being discarded like a piece of rubbish...
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Re: Classic Race Car History

Post by Firenza GT » Sun 12 Aug 2007, 13:55

.Ok that's a good factual start. Lets watch this thread run as whatever comes up now I'll have to try place with various theories, allegations etc. What gets me is how such an important, the most important with the Gunston cars, how there is no factual history. The race Vauxhalls in UK are there documented from their birth, come out to show every now and prestine condition. In Aus they do this, they put out a message and "bolts' and things get found when looking for "lost" cars if they can't find it. If found as they have many there is factual recorded and confirmed one story. If this car can be proved correct, then I will have to confirm that I have what must be classified as a fake road Can Am or "one-off" prototype that nobody knows about except me !Believe me I love watching this car. But what is wrong with say Alan Poulter's copy MK 2 Perana, Louis Powell's Meisner copy etc ? They are beautifull and originally copied by their owners. There's nothing wrong with that at all. In fact these two cars could have fooled me, they are very good copies true to detail in many aspects. The Gunston Cortina is "scary" real.

This is not about controversey or undermining another's integrity. This is about our interest in motoring and our very special heritage. Lets hold it there as we did with the "fraudulent" Perana plates. Refer to the comment regarding this "original" cabin". Very much doubt whether the Dealer's that sponsored the race cars - Chev Dealer TeamTeam would have been happy with this cabin which has very little resemblemce to the originals except maybe the area size inside. There's a "SL" badge but that you find in a Firenza SL coupe. Steering seems a lot lower than the originals. The cars all three of them had full interior with just the drivers seat replaced with a race seat. Probably some extra guages, a basic roll bar nothing like this one that seems to go through the car back and front. Hardly likely there were fluid resevoirs mounted on the dash either.
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Re: Classic Race Car History

Post by ZA Perana » Sun 12 Aug 2007, 14:03

Agree with you, there doesnt seem to be much factual history or even pictures of what this and the car pictured below looked like when they were found, I think pictures like those would both be interesting to see and also interesting to give us an idea of provenance...

Car below being....found in Namibia, not history of how it got there and what it did for 20 odd years....I have a theory about this car to but for the time being its best not typed....
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Re: Classic Race Car History

Post by Firenza GT » Sun 12 Aug 2007, 14:18

Aaaah, you mean to hit a nerve. I had a huge debate with John about this. It just saddens me that such a car of historic significance could have been pulled through the ring like this one. I saw it first time after sold by Cavaleri at Zwartkops think it was March 1995. Then had the Gurney Eaglemotor but was missi-firing. car was already owned by present owner, Guston taken off replaced by Gestetner and all that. How much original component qualifies as authentic original ? Is that what's crossing your mind ? It seems if you can find a Can Am's scavenged aerofoil, plant it on the boot you are say 30 percent to having an original Can Am ! Not to worry about the Vin plate as they get lost at panelbeaters, motors were uped to 350 for more grunt and so on .....
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Re: Classic Race Car History

Post by TdL351GT » Sun 12 Aug 2007, 14:26

Geee wizzz guys, slow down please! I can't keep up. Can't read fast enough.
The Can Am belongs to Anthony Corin. OK..we can all read. Name is on the door.
I happen to meet Anthony about a year ago I sold 2 Fairmont GT's to him.. an interesting guy with a lot of knowledge about racing of that era.
According to Anthony this was not a road car but one of the genuine racers. Anthony is also the co-owner with Peter Lindenberg, of the Capri Perana and 3 other Team Gunston cars which they race in historic events. I cannot comment much more as this is all I know.
Will contact him and ask to shed more light on the subject.

Unfortunately the car broke down twice in Cape Town and did not complete any of the races it started. Car was very competitive at Zwartkops and Anthony is better than average driver.

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Re: Classic Race Car History

Post by ZA Perana » Sun 12 Aug 2007, 14:35

TdL351GT wrote: Geee wizzz guys, slow down please! I can't keep up. Can't read fast enough.
The Can Am belongs to Anthony Corin. OK..we can all read. Name is on the door.
I happen to meet Anthony about a year ago I sold 2 Fairmont GT's to him.. an interesting guy with a lot of knowledge about racing of that era.
According to Anthony this was not a road car but one of the genuine racers. Anthony is also the co-owner with Peter Lindenberg, of the Capri Perana and 3 other Team Gunston cars which they race in historic events. I cannot comment much more as this is all I know.
Will contact him and ask to shed more light on the subject.

Unfortunately the car broke down twice in Cape Town and did not complete any of the races it started. Car was very competitive at Zwartkops and Anthony is better than average driver.

regards

Theuns


Very interesting, seems this might be cleared up very quickly.... :D Its a great looking car and I have seen it race in cape town before and is pretty quick but would be fascinated to know if it is the same car as featured in 1989 CAR mag and if so how did it end up going to a collector to tossed out like rubbish and where did the 302 go to?

Of course pictures of the car as found would also be v interesting.....

Anthony contributes on the FairmontGT.com site and he certainly does know the era very well.... :D
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Re: Classic Race Car History

Post by ZA Perana » Sun 12 Aug 2007, 14:38

Of course it may be another of the 3 race cars constructed....thats another possibility.....personally I beleive 4 race cars were in fact made....but its hard to prove this without hauling out about 50 magazines from the era.... :D
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Re: Classic Race Car History

Post by Firenza GT » Sun 12 Aug 2007, 16:48

.No-no, not acusing anyone or Anthony at that as the car was around before Anthony raced it anounced as an original Dealer Team Can Am. In fact since his name apeared on it some of the relevent signage re-apeared as seen here in Cape Town for the first time some years ago. Next I saw the car much had gone with more modern corporate signage. Ok then, which of the original race cars is it ? There were three. No more, just three circuit race Dealer Team V8's of which the third one was not done in the same colour scheme as this but in old ZA flag colours. I heard this was Nols Nimean's car. Nols Nieman, Ray Emond. There is no mention anywhere of it being Basil Van Rooyen's car. Lets see if we can first figure who's car it was, which of the three original Chev Can Am Dealer Team circuit racers.

If you go to the Vauxhall crowd they can tell you which race each of the two, "Old nail" and "Baby Bertha" raced, which they won, who drove each, when they broke, when they were retired, when they changed hands and what mods or repairs have been done to date as they stand in Museum's etc. The Holden crowd in Aus exactly the same, factual and recorded history of everything and if they don't they reverse person by person, anyone connected etc till they reach the origin's of the car. Oh yes, also heard this car was from East London and that was in the pit garage by who ever, the person was asked and that was the response together with Nols Nieman and so on.
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Lets just be sensible and factual about this. I have seen all three in real although not in Dealer Team hands as I was still a kid then. But did see the flag coloured one twice at Killarney then owned by Des Ally, the Maroon/white "guest" car at Kyalami in 1980 then in 1994 June 24th at Zwarkops in the hands of the late Paddy O' Sullivan and the basil Van Rooyen one also at Killarney in the seventies same event Des Ally was at too. Which of the three original Dealer Team Can Am's would this be ??
Last edited by zahistorics on Wed 05 Sep 2007, 22:38, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Classic Race Car History

Post by Firenza GT » Sun 12 Aug 2007, 16:55

Can it be agreed that a Cortina 1500 GT fitted with a Lotus motor is not a Lotus Cortina ? I mean one done in my backyard or whatever. A V6 Granada fitted with a 302 V8 at Joe's place is not a Granada Perana? Louis Powell's present race Escort is a Meisner Escort copy. Alan Poulters beautifull Cortina Perana although built from an originally road Perana shell is a copy of the original BG Olthoff Gunston Perana ? That a Chevrolet Firenza 2,5 coupe fitted with a Muncie, 302, aerofoil and whatever say 6, 7 10 years ago is not an Original Chevrolet Can Am ? That there is a difference between a Chevrolet Can Am and a Chevrolet Firenza that has been after the production year fitted with a V8 of sorts ? A Fairmont straight six fitted with a 4V, FMX, 2,75 diff and shaker is not one of the original 4V Fairmont GT's. Or are there exceptions ? Do we call a Firenza coupe a "Can Am" or is it a Chevrolet Firenza SL coupe ? Is a Capri 1600 GT a Perana if it has been fitted in 1980 say with a V8? What is the criteria to call a Chevrolet Firenza based shell a Chevrolet Can Am? Must it have been fitted with the 302 etc in the production year or could somebody clone one later and qualify to call such a car a Can Am ?

See I have a Capri V8 here that is better than many original Perana's I have seen and driven in. If I can get the go ahead and piece of mind we can as it is an excellent to detail well done conversion and feels exactly the same as a standard Capri Perana, I will have less stress saying to people no, it's a copy this and that. Everyone asks, I tell them the truth and they look amazed as it is so good. It has Perana Badges, same spec motor, Toploader, proper XL interior you name it. How will you guys with original Perana's feel about me adding this one to the list which will bring the build numbers up abit ?
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Last edited by zahistorics on Wed 05 Sep 2007, 22:39, edited 2 times in total.

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