Tag Archives: Posey

A53 For Civilians – Dodge Challenger T/A

Back at the end of the 1960’s and early 1970’s in order to compete in the SCCA sanctioned Trans Am series of road races potential entrants had to show that they had manufactured, or in the case of the Challeger T/A Dodge had to show they intended to manufacture 2,400 similar units for ‘civilian’ use.

Dodge Challenger T/A, Goodwood Festival of Speed

In May 1969 a Chrysler product planner conceived the Dodge Challenger T/A as an option pack that could be fitted in the build of new cars or retro fitted by dealers to existing 1970 Challengers which had a new second generation body designed by Carl Cameron.

Dodge Challenger T/A, Goodwood Festival of Speed

The T/A spec, also known internally at Dodge as the A53, was first seen in February 1970 by which time Pontiac has launched the “Trans Am” forcing Dodge to opt for the T/A abbreviation. The T/A spec featured a pair of front spoilers which were optional unlike the rear fibreglass spoiler on the boot / trunk lid.

Dodge Challenger T/A, Goodwood Festival of Speed

The, matt black only, T/A bonnet / hood was also made from fibre glass and was fitted with lighter hinge springs and pins at the front to keep it shut at speed. The large airscoop only directed air into the engine bay unlike the shaker hood on the 395hp six pack 440 Magnum which was attached to the 3 twin barrel carburetors and fed air directly into the throttle bodies.

04 Dodge Challenger T/A_8008sc

Trans Am regulations mandated a maximum engine size of 5 litres / 305 cui and Dodge had Power Boat legend and Drag race engine Keith Black prepare small block 303 cui motors for the Classic Wax sponsored Challenger race cars, but the SCCA appear to have been happy to see the T/A spec civilian cars run with small block 340 cui / 5,571cc motors fitted with 3 Holley twin barrel carburetors which combined to produce between 290 and 320 hp depending on whom one was talking to and to what purpose.

Dodge Challenger T/A, Goodwood Festival of Speed

The Challenger T/A had an unusual stance thanks to the 15 inch front wheels being fitted with F60 size tyres at the front and wider taller G60 tyres at the rear. This was the first US car for civilian use to be fitted with different size tyres front and rear and is said by some to have contributed to the cars tendency to understeer / push.

Dodge Challenger T/A, Goodwood Festival of Speed

A53 cars ran a normal exhaust to the silencer muffler but it then curved round to exit through “low restriction” megaphones ahead of the rear wheels instead of running to the rear as per all other 1970 Challengers.

Dodge Challenger T/A, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Civilian A53’s were also the only Challengers to have an aerial mounted on the rear passenger side, this was so as to minimise radio interference from the motor which was now running only beneath a fiber glass hood.

Dodge Challenger T/A, Goodwood Festival of Speed

With an other wise stock interior, one T/A also had a sunroof a T/A could cover a 1/4 mile in 14 secs having reached 60 mph in six seconds slower than the big block 440 Magnum and Hemi Challengers but, due to their lighter weight, a little more agile in the corners thanks to a fast ratio steering rack with optional power assistance designed for ‘sports car driving’, improved suspension and all wheel disc brakes, though this was all compromised by the smaller F60 front tyres.

The Challenger T/A was available only in 1970 because Dodge decided to withdraw from Trans Am after Sam Posey finished 4th in the Trans Am championship without scoring any wins.

Some sources say in all from late March 1970 to Mid April 1970 just 1,500 Challenger T/A’s were completed 989 with automatic transmission and the remainder with 4 speed manual while others say 2,399 units were built without splitting the auto and manual transmission numbers. If you know which is correct don’t be afraid to chip in below.

Thanks for joining me on this “A53 For Civilians” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Ultimate Cars Ultimate Race – Porsche 917K #053

If there is one race I’d love to be able to turn the clock back for in order to attend it would be the 1971 Le Mans 24 hours which for my money was the ultimate road race with the ultimate cars.

Porsche 917K, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

Lined up on the grid were seven Porsche 917’s with a variety of body configurations against 9 Ferrari 512s in both closed M spec, earlier open S Spec and two unique 512’s one from the Penske team which had a large rear wing and the F spec car of Scuderia Filipinetti that had a narrow cockpit built around a Porsche 917 windscreen.

Porsche 917K, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

The race was an uneven contest between the Porsches as the Ferraris suffered from inferior reliability and top speeds were down on the Porsche’s 230 mph plus capabilities. However it was the fastest to be run at the circuit until 2010.

Porsche 917K, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

The winning car chassis #056 seen here at Goodwood Festival of Speed featured a special lightweight magnesium chassis built only for the works supported Porsche Salzburg team much to the annoyance of Porsche’s other works supported team run by John Wyer who’s employees had developed the Porsche body work in short (K Kurz) and long (LH Lang heck) tail forms and shared them freely with all the other teams running 917’s.

Porsche 917K, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

Gils van Lennep and Helmut Marko shared the winning 600 hp 4.9 litre 299 cui aircooled flat 12 powered #22 car which traveled 3,107.7 miles in 24 hours covering 397 laps at an average speed of 138.6 mph the equivalent to five consecutive Coke 600’s !

They beat the next car driven by Richard Attwood, Herbert Muller and Brian Redman in a Gulf Porsche 917 by two laps, 16 miles, and the third finisher the Ferrari of Sam Posey and Tony Adamowicz by 31 laps.

After the race chassis #053 was immediately retired and so has a 100% winning record.

Thanks for joining me on this “Ultimate Cars Ultimate Race” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a 1925 3 litre / 183 cui Bentley. Don’t forget to come back now !


Class But No Championships – Ferrari 312P #0872

For 1968 a new championship was announced for 3 litre / 183 cui prototype sports cars called Championnat Internationale des Marques. A lack of entries for the series led to a late change in the rules which extended the life of the Ford GT40 and Lola T70 for four years and inadvertently gave Ferrari and Porsche a window in which to build the 512S and 917 models respectively.

Ferrari 312P, Goodwood Festival of Speed

For 1969 Ferrari built it’s first 3 litre / 183 cui prototypes using detuned V12 engines from it’s Formula One programme. In all three 312P’s were built by the factory two open top Spyders and the closed top Berlinetta chassis #0872 featured today.

Although the 312P’s are not remembered as being a match for the Porsche 908’s that ran in the same class they did take several class wins when they finished. #0872 won it’s class at Daytona in 1970, 4th overall, driven by Mike Parkes and Sam Posey, and again at Sebring driven by Parkes and Chuck Parsons who replaced Posey.

In 1971 #0872 appeared with Spyder bodywork and Luigi Chinetti and Garcia Veiga took another class victory at Daytona in the 24 hour marathon.

Ferrari 312P, Goodwood Festival of Speed

When #0872 was first raced by Chris Amon and Peter Schetty at Le Mans in 1969 carrying the #19 the car was a last minuet substitute for chassis #0868, which had crashed a couple of weeks earlier at Monza, and was raced with the #0868 identity due to the difficulty in getting the correct international travel documents for #0872 ready in time.

Chris Amon hit a fuel tank from the fatally disintegrated Porsche 917 of John Woolfe on the opening lap, causing #0872 to catch fire and it’s subsequent retirement without injury to the New Zealander.

Ferrari 312P, Goodwood Festival of Speed

In the spring of 1971 #0872 was dismantled, the engine, transmission, suspension and steering were subsequently fitted to a brand new chassis known as the Chinetti Special / Flying Shingle, a car which did not finish at Daytona in 1972 and manged 9th overall 6th in class at Le Mans in 1974 driven by Jean-Claude Andruet and Teodoro Zeccoli.

In 1980/81 all the parts of #0872 were reunited along with it’s original Berlinetta body, and the Flying Shingle has been reconstructed without any of the original parts from #0872.

Thanks for joining me on this “Class But No Championships” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Classic Acid – Dodge Challenger

I was reminded of today’s photograph by Geoffrey Horton at the 2008 Danville Concours d’Elegance yesterday by my response to a blog about movies beginning with the letter V by Chief 187. One of my all time favorite movies is “Vanishing Point” (1971) which features a white Dodge Challenger in the ‘maximum trip at maximum speed’.

Dodge Challenger

I believe the #77 Dodge ‘Classic Wax’ Challenger seen here is owned by Ken Epsman was originally prepared by Dan Gurney’s All American Racers for the 1970 Trans Am championship and driven by Sam Posey.

Back then teams would acid dip their cars to make them lighter and allegedly after this car had passed tech inspection at the first race of the season at Laguna Seca the team offered the Chief Technical Inspector a beer, who then relaxed, resting his elbow on the roof of this car which dimpled in as a result of having spent a little too much time in the acid bath.

The Technical Inspector promptly informed the team that they could no longer run until the roof had been replaced. Within an hour the roof of a brand new Challenger in a Monterey Dodge Dealers show room was being torched off before replacing the offending dimpled roof.

Sam drove the 3200 lb 460 hp car to 6th place in the race and claimed 4th place in the championship standings at the end of the season.

My thanks to Chief 187, Geoffrey Horton and to the Historic Trans Am website.

Thanks for joining me on today’s ‘Acid Bath’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’, I hope you’ll join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !