Seven cars from historic race reunite at Rolex Reunion

IMG_5118_2
1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 No. 15 takes on a 1968 Ford Shelby Trans Am Mustang | Nicole James photos

In 1972, the Sports Car Club of America Trans-Am racing series staged the fourth event of its season at Watkins Glen International in upstate New York. The series was in its seventh year and, in hindsight, is considered to the end of the series’ golden era.

Seven of the 32 cars that competed in the Watkins Glen race were reunited after 44 years to compete once more in the 1966-1972 Trans-Am class at the Rolex Motorsports Reunion this past weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca during Monterey Car Week.

In 1972, not only did the Roy Woods Racing team place first and third in the Watkins Glen SCCA Trans-Am race with a pair of 1971 AMC Javelins, but it went on to win the season championship in those cars.

Here are the magnificent seven:

1971 AMC Javelin No. 2
1972 Finish: 1st | 1972 Driver: George Follmer | 1972 Owner: Roy Woods Racing
2016 Finish: 1st | 2016 Driver: Ken Espman | 2016 Owner: Ken Espman


The Javelin’s that won the 1972 SCCA Trans-Am season by Roy Woods and George Follmer were purchased from Rodger Penske. Upon receiving the cars, Woods updated the sheetmetal. In 1971, the cars were driven by Vic Elford, Peter Revson, Milt Minter and George Follmer. In 1972, Woods campaigned the cars in AMC Red, White and Blue. He drove the No. 1 car with Follmer in the No. 2. Follmer won at Watkins Glen.
IMG_5099
1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 No. 15
1972 Finish: 2nd | 1972 Driver: Jerry Thompson 1972 Owner: Marshall Robbins Enterprises
2016 Finish: 36th | 2016 Driver: William Connor | 2016 Owner: William Connor


In addition to three cars built by Ford, Kar Kraft and Bud Moore for the 1970 Trans Am season, four chassis/bodies were assembled late in ’70 production run and were delivered as unpainted “bodies in white.”

This car was completed in mid-’71 and replaced the car used in St. Jovite, Quebec, where driver George Follmer had qualified and finished second while wearing No. 16. Moore preferred his top car and driver combination to wear No. 15, so the switch was made.

At the end of the season, the car was sold to Marshall Robbins, who painted it red and white and converted the car to dry-sump oiling and power brakes. He ran the car in the 1972 SCCA Trans-Am series with the No. 24.

Today, most of the lightweight sheetmetal remains original. The original "dry-deck" motor is intact, as are the transmission, full-floating rear axle assembly, special steering linkage, Kelsey Hayes floating brakes, trans and diff gear lube coolers and pumps, brake ducting, brass radiator and shrouding.
IMG_5184
1970 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 No. 86
1972 Finish: 6th | 1972 Driver: Dick Brown | 1972 Owner: Don Duncan
2016 Finish: 8th | 2016 Driver: Leon Desimone | 2016 Owner: Leon Desimone


In 1970, this Z28 Camaro was sold in Canada to Don Duncan, who wanted to build a race car. Duncan enlisted the help of John Todds of Todco Racing and recruited Dick Brown to drive. The car featured a unique, multi-color paint scheme and ran with the No. 93 in 1971.

In 1972 Duncan ran under the Sunoco of Canada banner and had the car painted Sunoco blue with No. 86. Brown continued to drive.

The car moved to from Trans-Am to IMSA competition from 1973-75.
IMG_5431
1970 Chevrolet Camaro No. 71
1972 Finish: 20th | 1972 Driver: Robert Clemens | 1972 Owner: Robert Clemens
2016 Finish: 3rd | 2016 Driver: Walt Brown Jr. | 2016 Owner: Walt Brown Jr.


Dubbed the “Clemens Trans-Am Camaro” by the current owners, this car was a 1970 Chevrolet Camaro “Rally Sport” street car painted in Cortez Silver and was used as a daily driver/family car by Robert and Carol Simmons. Robert Clemens worked as a suspension and chassis engineer in the Corvette program at General Motors from 1955-85.

Clemens was an active SCCA racer with some success in regional, divisional and national events. In an effort to demonstrate his abilities to potentially launch a full-time racing career, Clemens decided he would enter the Trans-Am series with the family car, which had raked up 5,000 miles by this time.

With the help of David Skibowski, Clemens converted the street car into a race car. Modifications included a roll cage, steel fender flairs, an added fuel cell, the engine was re-built, and the proper safety equipment was installed. Despite the fact that the car is a street car, it bears many similarities to the factory race cars given Clemens “insider knowledge.”

The steel flairs could only be sourced from GM at the time and the rollbar configuration appears to have been copied from the factory race car set up. The Camaro also features some personal touches of the Corvette engineer — Corvette brake calipers and adapters as well as knuckles and spindles.
IMG_5423
1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 No. 81
1972 Finish: 16th | 1972 Driver: Ed Hinchliff | 1972 Owner: Hinchliff Racing
2016 Finish: 18th | 2016 Driver: Robert Canepa | 2016 Owner: Robert Canepa


Ed Hinchliff, a Trans-Am racer and Ford engineer, acquired a new “body-in-white” fastback Mustang in 1970 that he built into a Trans-Am racing Boss 302 using parts, information and his contacts at Ford, Kar Kraft, and Bud Moore Engineering. When he finished the car, it had most of the racing component parts as the factory race cars, but had none of the factory funding behind it.

Volunteers from Ford’s research and engineering center in Dearborn, Michigan, helped Hinchliff build the car and worked as his crew during races. Together, they managed to complete the car in time to run Road America in the 1970 SCCA Trans-Am season.

The Grabber Blue Boss 302 was campaigned in nine races in 1971 and in five in 1972. The car took four top-10 finished, including 16th at the Glen.
IMG_5315
1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 No. 57
1972 Finish: 13th | 1972 Driver: Dan Moore | 1972 Owner: Dan Moore
2016 Finish: 10th | 2016 Driver: Forrest Straight | 2016 Owner: Forrest Straight


The No. 57 Boss 302 was the successor to Dan Moore’s “Orange Blossom Special” Shelby GT350. The Boss was built with help from Bud Moore to compete in the Trans-Am while also qualifying for the IMSA GT category.

The car finished in 13th place at Watkins Glen in 1972. It also raced in the 12-hour IMSA event at Sebring that season.

Moore raced the car in SCCA Southwest division races from 1973-79.
IMG_5115
1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 No. 25
1972 Finish: 24th | 1972 Driver: Mike Folsom | 1972 Owner: Libra International Racing
2016 Finish: 32nd | 2016 Driver: Craig Conley | 2016 Owner: Craig Conley


This Boss 302 was ordered by a Ford employee on September 22, 1969, as a fully optioned Grabber Green car. Later, it was purchased by rally racing star John Buffum of Libra International Racing.

Driven by Mike Folsom, the car raced in the Trans-Am event at Lime Rock in 1972 and also at Bryar, New Hampshire, and at the Glen.

The car raced in various events until 1975, when it went into storage until 1989. That’s when Brent Hacker and Richard Dean bought it. In 1997, they sold it to he Chris Lienbenberg, who restored it to 1970 specs and sold it to Craig Conley, who drove it in the reunion race.
IMG_5127

Share your comments