1963-1/2 Ford Factory Drag Racing Car

This past weekend I went to the Mass Cruisers Car Show in nearby Wrentham, Massachusetts.  There were many interesting cars there.  One of them was the 1963 1/2 factory Ford drag racing car shown below.

1963 1/2 Factory Ford Galaxie 500 Drag Racing Car 

In the first part of 1963 Ford’s largest V8 engine available in the Ford line was a 406 cubic inch engine.  Ford needed a better engine to keep up with the Chevrolets and the Dodges.  To solve this problem in mid-1963 Ford built and installed the high performance 427 cubic inch V8 engine in a few of their top of the line cars.  In fact, Ford built 200 of these special Ford Galaxie cars.  Fifty, or 25% of Ford’s total production of these cars were shipped to one dealership, Tasca Ford in East Providence, Rhode Island.  This is one of those cars.

Note The Tasca Ford Badge On The Back Of This Ford Galaxie

Tasca Ford was arguably the biggest Ford performance dealer in the world.  Even growing up in small town Ontario, I knew of Tasca Ford and their success on the drag strip.  The image below shows a 1963 1/2 Tasca Ford Galaxie on the drag strip.

A Tasca Ford On The Drag Strip

In addition to the big 427 cubic inch engine, these cars built to weigh as little as possible in that era.  Many of the body parts were made from fiberglass instead of steel.  The bumpers were made from lightweight aluminum.  These cars weren’t built for much everyday street usage.

The Bumpers Were made From Aluminum To Reduce Weight

As the hood was raised on this Ford at the car show, it was easy to see that the hood was made from fiberglass.  I did not check on how many other body panels were made from fiberglass.  I don’t think that the car’s owner would have liked me tapping on a the body panels to find out.

The Hood Was Made From Fiberglass

As I mentioned, Tasca Ford was a high performance car dealer.  Note the advertisement  below saying that they had 18 of these 427 Fiberglass Fords for sale to run in the Super Stock class.  In addition, they had A Stock and B Stock steel body 427 Fords, 289 V8 Fairlane 500 cars for the C Stock class, as well as Ford Falcons with a 260 cubic inch V8 to compete in I Stock.  If you wanted to go fast or go drag racing with a Ford car on the east coast of the United States, then you went to Tasca Ford.

A Tasca Ford Advertisement For Performance Fords

These cars also came with the “radio delete” option – that meant a bare bones car.  If you look at the interior below, you can see that there is no radio and there is not even a heater.  Anything that was not necessary to meet the rules was eliminated to reduce the car’s weight.  This car was built to go fast in a straight line.

This Interior Demonstrates The “Radio Delete” Option

The 427 V8 engine was fitted with two four-barrel carburetors.  I was going to look up how much horsepower that these engines produced, but in reality, in those days, the engine’s horsepower was often under-reported by the manufacturers.  Suffice to say, these engines were among the most powerful V8 engines available at that time.  This era was just before the smaller “pony” cars appeared on the market, so at this time the fast cars were still big cars with big engines.

The High Horsepower 427 Cubic Inch V8 Engine

For more information about Tasca Ford and the high performance Fords, I would recommend the book by Bob McClurg: “The Tasca Ford Legacy”.  I got my copy a couple of years ago and the older images in this post were taken from this book.  The cover of this book is shown below.

Bob McClurg’s Book About Tasca Ford

The black & white photo on the cover is interesting.  Note the Lotus Cortina parked below the “Welcome Mario Andretti” billboard.  I could not find a reference to this car in the book.  I wonder if they ever drag raced that car?  A Lotus Cortina drag racer???!!

If you have any questions or comments about this post, then leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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David Wells Will Compete In The 2018 Great Race

This week I was pleased to get news that David Wells’ entry into the 2018 Great Race has been accepted.  David was an important member of our Support Crew at the 2017 Great Race.

David Wells (right) With Harald And I At The 2017 Great Race

I first came into contact with David about 2 years ago when he sent me an email saying that he was interested in entering the Great Race and was wondering if I would be his navigator.  David outlined his rally experience, which is long, mostly involving the famous East African Safari Rally.  I urged caution on David’s part as the Great Race is probably at the opposite end of the rally spectrum from the East African Safari Rally.  I suggested that he become more familiar with the Great Race type of rally, perhaps by entering a regional rally, before he enters the Great Race.  As David lives in Ontario, I put David in contact with Harald von Langsdorff, who also lives in Ontario to find out more about this style of rallying.  David, a knowledgeable, professional mechanic, began to assist Harald with the preparation of Harald’s Mercedes-Benz rally car for the Great Race and become familiar with the Great Race.  This resulted in David joining Harald and I, first at the Penn-York Rally this spring (where David worked on a timing crew as well as assisting us) and again at this year’s Great Race.  This gave David a very good working knowledge of the Great Race based on first hand experience from all sides.

The picture below shows David working on the front brakes of Harald’s Mercedes-Benz 350 SLC at the 2017 Great Race.  David is an excellent mechanic in all types of machinery.

David Wells Hard At Work On Our Car During The 2017 Great Race

At this time David does not have a suitable car for the Great Race.  He had hoped to use his Mercedes-Benz 280 SL, based on the similarity provisions in the Great Race rules, but that request was not successful.  David has his eyes on a Volvo 122, as these are cars that he prepared for the East African Safari Rally in the past, but the car search is still an unfolding story.  Based on what I know about David I am sure that he will have a well-prepared car in time for the 2018 Great Race.  I am very pleased that David will be competing in the 2018 Great Race.

If you have any questions or comments about this post, then please leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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2018 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique Concentration Leg Schematic

Recently the Automobile Club of Monaco released the Supplementary Regulations for the 2018 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique.  In these Supplementary Regulations the outline and timing of the Concentration Run from the starting cities are presented.

There will be the following starting cities in 2018:

  • Oslo – 1,611 km starting on Wednesday January 31 at 9:55AM
  • Glasgow – 1,987 km starting on Wednesday, January 31 at 6:00PM
  • Lisbon – 2,309 km starting on Wednesday, January 31 at 7:00PM
  • Bad Hombourg – 1,028 km starting on Friday February 2 at 2:10PM
  • Barcelona – 1,150 km starting on Friday February 2 at 2:30PM
  • Monte-Carlo – 962 km starting on Friday February 2 at 7:00PM
  • Reims – 801 km starting on Friday February 2 at 7:00PM

Monte Carlo has been added as a starting city in 2018, while Copenhagen was dropped from 2017.

I have prepared the following rough schematic of the Concentration Leg from all of the starting cities.  The starting cities are presented in a box.  This year the Concentration Leg ends in Valence rather than Monte Carlo.  The next two days of the rally will be originated out of Valence.

2018 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique Concentration Leg Schematic

Note that all crews will pass through Bourgoin – Jallieu (Isère), starting at Saturday February 3 from 6:10am where they will have their cars fitted with the Tripy GPS unit.  After this all the crews will do two regularity stages, ZR-1 and ZR-2 then going through a Timing Control at Crest before the Concentration Leg ends in  Valence (Drôme) where the first crews are expected  on Champ de Mars from 1:00PM onwards.

If you have any questions about this post or the Rallye Monte Carlo Historique, then leave a comment below or contact me by a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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Updated And Revised 2018 Great Race Route

I have been advised that the 2018 route of the Great Race has been revised and updated.  The locations of the overnight stops and the lunch stops have been provided  The new route is shown below.

Updated And Revised 2018 Great Race Route

I think that the revised portions of the route through Maine and New Brunswick are better and I like the idea of spending more time in Nova Scotia.  I will miss not going over into Prince Edward Island, but I understand the scheduling issues.

It is good to see that the route will visit Mount Washington, where there have been many hill climb events held there since the 1930s.

Scene From A Past Hill Climb At Mount Washington

Note that the locations identified in red are overnight stops and those locations in blue are lunch stops.

If you have any comments or questions about this post, then leave a comment below or send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net


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Our Entry Into The 2018 Great Race Has Been Accepted

We got notice this week that our entry into the 2018 Great Race has been accepted.  As the field for this car rally has filled very quickly after entry is open in the last few years, this acceptance was a relief.  Once again I will be navigating for Harald von Langsdorff in his 1972 Mercedes-Benz 350 SLC.

The route for the 2018 Great Race is significantly different from the south to north 2017 route.  Next year the Great Race will start in Buffalo, New York in the USA and end in Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada.  The generalized route is shown on the poster below.

2018 Great Race Poster

The course looks like a very good route and for both Harald and I, the route is relatively close to our homes. In addition, the route will go out onto Prince Edward Island which I have never visited.

The 2018 Great Race will end on July 1, 2018 which is Canada Day (Canada was formed on July 1, 1867) so I am sure that there will be a good celebration in Halifax in addition to our own mobile Great Race celebration.

Harald Von Langsdorff’s 1972 Mercedes-Benz 350 SLC

During the 2017 we learned a great deal about the car and we also learned what we did not know.  We had a respectable finish and hope to do better next year.  So much of the Great Race involves having a thorough understanding of the car’s performance and how to develop and quantify that performance, so it can be reproduced consistently, day after day.  I think that somebody could write a book about participating in the Great Race and call it “Zen And The Art Of The Great Race”.

If you have any questions or comments about this post or the Great Race, then leave a comment below or you can send me a personal email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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John Gott’s Big Healey At Silverstone in 1964

Once again my friend Evan Gamblin, of the Ottawa area in Canada has come up with some interesting photos from England in the 1960s.  As I understand it, Evan lived in England for a few years at that time and attended school over there.  Evan’s interest in cars started early in life and fortunately for us, Evan took a lot of pictures of cars.  Because I will be competing with Simon Arscott in a big Healey in this year’s LeJog car rally, Evan sent me some pictures that he took of a big Healey at the Silverstone race track in 1964.  I am including these photos in this post.  Thanks Evan for sharing these photos.

John Gott’s Big Healey, SMO 746, At Silverstone In 1964

This Healey is a 1959 Austin-Healey 3000 that was built for the team of Jack Sears/Sam Moore to compete in the 1959 Alpine Rally as part of the BMC works team.  Their rally ended on the infamous Vivione Pass where an impact with a gully flexed the engine mountings putting the fan through the radiator core.  In 1960 John Gott along with Bill Shepherd competed in the Alpine Rally where they finished 8th Overall and 2nd in the Grand Touring Category: Over 2,000cc.

Later that year John Gott, along with navigator Rupert Jones, drove this car in the 1960 Liege-Rome-Leige rally to a 10th place overall finish and third in class.  This was a tough rally as only 13 of 81 cars made it to the finish!

This Former Rally Car Was In Race Trim By 1964

At the end of the 1960 season, the works cars were put up for sale and John Gott bought SMO 746.  Also in 1960, John Gott was appointed Chief Constable of Northampton Constabulary.  While Gott did enter the occasional rally with this car, it was mostly used for circuit racing after that time.

John Gott, In Short Sleeves, Standing To The Left Of SMO 746

John Gott was almost as famous as the big Healeys.  He was captain of the BMC Works Rally Team up to about 1962, a distinguished policeman, and a successful road racer.  Unfortunately in September 1972, John Gott was killed in a racing accident at the Lydden Hill Circuit in Kent while driving this car.

With some reluctance the car was rebuilt after the fatal accident with the condition from his wife that the car never be shown in public during her lifetime.  The car then entered a private collection and I do not know of its current situation.

If you have any questions or comments about this post, then leave a comment below or send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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Simple Example Of Route Plotting On A Landranger Map

As I have noted, I will be competing in this year’s Lejog rally in the United Kingdom.  I was asked about the plotting of the route that must be done for this rally.  With this post I hope to explain an approach to plotting the route on the maps.  In order to explain the plotting techniques, first of all I want to show the map coordinate system used in the United Kingdom.

The coordinates used are based on the 1:50,000 scale Landranger Maps that I have referred to in the past.  These maps use a coordinate system based on a northing and an easting with a 1 kilometer grid system.  This coordinate grid is shown on every Landranger Map.  This grid can be seen as blue lines on the image below of a portion of Landranger Map 187.  Each of those blue squares measures 1 kilometer by 1 kilometer on the ground.

Blue Grid On The Landranger Maps Identifies The Northings And Eastings

On the above image the northing grid is illustrated by the faint blue horizontal lines that say 39, 40, 41, and 42 in this case.  The numbers increase the farther north that the grid goes.  The easting grid is illustrated by the faint blue vertical lines that say 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, and 13 in this case.  The larger numbers are more easterly than the smaller easterly numbers.

The coordinates of points to be plotted as provided by the rallymaster can either be provided in a six digit style or the 8 digit style.  Note that the northing is always the first number listed and the easting is the second number listed.

Six-Digit Style

420 1/2  101

In the above example the northing is 420 1/2 while the easting is 101.

Eight-Digit Style

4205 1010

With the eight digit style, the northing is 4205 and the easting is 1010.

These two styles of point presentation represent the same point on the map.  These points have a northing that is located 50 metres north of the 42 north grid line and an easting of 100 meters east of the 10 east of the 10 east grid line.

Now that the grid reference on the map is understood, a “romer” or “roamer” is needed to assist in the plotting of points on the map.  I have seem the spelling both ways, but I think that “roamer” is more correct.  And that is the spelling that I will use.  I have a couple of roamers, but the one that I am planning on using for LeJog is shown below.  It is shown on a white background for clarity, but my roamer is transparent.

My Roamer Used For Plotting Points And Measuring On A 1:50,000 Map

The upper right hand corner of the roamer is the key display that can be used to plot the locations on the Landranger Map. This display represents 1 square kilometer at a scale of 1:50,000 with increments as fine as 50 meters.  This corner scale is more clearly shown in the image below.  This 1 kilometer scale matches the grid squares on the Landranger Map.

The Upper Right Corner Is Used To Plot The Reference Points 

The use of a roamer for plotting the route can be illustrated with the following example.  This example uses Landranger Map 187.  For this example, I will use the eight-digit style of presenting the coordinates.  Assume for this example that the starting point has the coordinates of  4035 1110 and the next or end point of this simple route has coordinates of 4245 0995. A more complete description of a reference point will also include the Landranger Map number, such that the complete reference point description of the starting point for this example would be 187/ 4035 1110.

The image below shows how the starting point 4035 1110 is plotted using the upper right corner display of the roamer.  Note that the vertical or northing scale is placed at 350 meters north or above the 40 northing grid line.  Also note that the horizontal scale is placed at 100 meters east or to the right of the 11 easting grid line.  The confluence of these two points is located at the very top right corner of the roamer.

Using The Roamer To Plot Coordinates On The Map

Once the two points, the starting and ending points of the example are plotted, the route to be followed is the shortest route between those two points.  The image below shows the route to be followed marked in pencil on the map for the example that I have used.

Plotted Route Between Two Points On The Map

Once the route is plotted then the “poti” can be used to help follow the route.

If you have any questions or comments about this post or plotting a route on a map then leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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