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Team Associates 73 Grand Am Nascar race Car


DoctorLarry
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Began final work on this project. I got the body smoothed out and primed. Shot it with Dupli Color auto paint but was not happy with the finish so I re-shot it with Model Master black lacquer. I have a couple of things to finish on the chassis and finish the underside of the hood. After it cures a little I will wet sand and buff then Molotow and decals. Then on to the Minter Firebird.

GA painted 1.jpg

GA painted 2.jpg

GA painted 3.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Getting near (I hope) to the end on this one.  I got some Molotow chrome on the window moldings, added the glass retaining straps and clips to the windows and put the trunk lid pins and clips in.  On the chassis I finally finished the 180 degree headers and am mocking up the tail pipes.  Made the shroud and carb plate for the hood.  There are a few more details to work out then clean and detail the body with decals. Then on to a hopefully shorter build next.

180 degree headers.jpg

carb plate.jpg

exhaust fit.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Final Stages: Chassis done. I added the fuel fill and vent lines, chassis jacks, exhaust and trunk fill panel. Made a window net from gauze bandage and ribbon and added the hold down seat belt. Touched up the paint and it is ready for the body.

finished chassis 1.jpg

finished chassis 2.jpg

finished chassis 3.jpg

finished chassis 4.jpg

finished chassis 5.jpg

finished chassis 6.jpg

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  • 10 months later...

@DrLarry and @yellowsportwagon,  The NASCAR Grand Am used a rear sway bar, same configuration as the production 2nd generation Camaro/Firebird sway bar we used after the first race on the 1964 Tempest Gray Ghost in the Trans-Am series, and, naturally, on the 1972 Firebird Trans Am Trans-Am series car.

At the Riverside debut, we were the outsiders with an outsider driver, Jerry Thompson,. Herb Adams was called to meet with the officials privately, who told him, that we would have a lot easier time if we hired one of the NASCAR regular drivers. In those days, tech inspection came to you according to whatever arbitrary order they wanted. They didn't even come to look at the car until after qualifying for the first 15 positions had been completed. We qualified 17th, 2nd fastest of the 2nd day qualifiers. We ran as high as 7th before we had a problem with the brakes.

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  • 1 year later...

I am embarrassed that I hadn't read this thread before, although I was aware of DrLarry's model because he sent me pics. But I am STUNNED with the detail of the chassis and engine compartment, down to the Doug Nash intake manifold.  A few questions and opinions came up I wanted to address in the thread:

Swede speculated on the bushings on the Tempest. The pivots on the rear control arms (2 uppers and 2 lowers) used spherical bearings, like a spherical rod end (AKA Heim joint), but just a mono-ball bearing that fits in a tubular sleeve welded into the control arms. It also used spherical bearings in the pivots on the lower front control arms, and used tubular sleeve bushings on the upper control arm pivots in the front, comprised of steep tubes, with Nyliner brand flanged nylon bushings.

The Grand Am DID use a rear sway bar,  On a circle track car, you can tune the understeer/oversteer balance for left turns only by "wedging" the car, adjusting a front or rear spring pad.  If it understeers ("pushes"), you can screw down the right rear screw jack (or left front screw jack), or unscrew the left rear or right front screw jack. If it oversteers ("loose"), unscrew the right rear screw jack.

The poster who said rear sway bars weren't used (except for our Grand Am) in that era in NASCAR, because they wouldn't work is partly right. They weren't generally used, because If the car only needs to turn one direction, you can adjust the balance slightly by changing to wedge, but that doesn't mean the rear sway bar can't be made to work and have the car still have great forward bite (AKA traction coming out of the corner). I personally installed a rear sway bar on one of  H.B. Bailey's NASCAR "baby grand" Grand-Am class Firebird at Daytona in 1972.

The Tempest first used a solid bar bolted to the  lower control arms, just like the production 1965-1967 Chevelle and Tempests used.  That was swapped out for a 2nd generation Camaro/Firebird-style  sway bar after the first or second race.

Any other questions, i will be happy to try to answer.

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That may have been the reason for the reinforcing plates in the rear-to mount the "posts" for the Camaro sway bar to mount to. I wanted this to be as real as possible, and it turned out great, Thanks to Harry and Swede and Tim. All tremendous sources of information. This was kind of a mission build for me after I saw the first picture. It has often been called one of the most beautiful NASCAR cars ever and I agree. It was also probably one of the most innovative cars ever. A real tribute to a bunch of REALLY smart engineers.

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  • 1 month later...

DoctorLarry, your compliments on the car are very much appreciated. There is a part of the story that might be obvious to insiders, which hasn't been acknowledged. The car we built was really ideal for road racing, and would have been, I believe, competitive on short tracks, but the car itself was outclassed at Daytona. Even in that era, the cars that were fast at Daytona had fender wells that were way closer to the tire for less drag, and a number of details that made them slick, but still could get past the inspectors. Also, we figured out that even though we had designed the suspension for Daytona (it was different from the Riverside configuration), we had underestimated how bumpy the track was, so had to go way up in spring rates there. And finally, while the motors had good power, we ran into reliability problems during practice at Daytona.  All things that we would have figured out and addressed if we had been able to assemble a bigger budget. As it was, we went to Daytona thinking we were going to show those guys something. NASCAR didn't make it easy.  But even though we got treated like freshmen in the fraternity being hazed, we were still in over our heads, and I came away with a lot more respect for NASCAR racers' trial and error approach.

There was a big difference between our approach, and what Roger Penske's team had been through a year ahead of us. Roger's team built (or bought) conventional NASCAR Cup chassis, and skinned them with AMC Matador sheet metal.

It turns out one of the Pontiac guys had a huge impact on NASCAR several years later. Terry Satchell, who helped out on the Gray Ghost ended up working with Rusty Wallace at the time that NASCAR switched to radial tires, which led to a job with Penske. You can see an interview i did with Terry in the first hour of a video I helped with under the auspices of SAE. Here's the link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWe33JKmAG4

 

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Harry, I will take a look at the video. I have parts and decals to do the Grey Ghost and the Firebird. Your emails and photos have been invaluable, as well as the Petersen archives.  My goal is to complete the three Team cars. One down, two to go!

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