Category: racecar restoration

Some of us can remember when 300 Horsepower was a lot for the street, even some pretty exotic cars were fairly hard pressed to meet that number. But in case you haven’t heard time isn’t the only thing that has moved on.

My first GT1 car.

My first GT1 car.

The car in the picture was my first GT1 car. It had about 550 HP, on its best day, back in the late 80’s. Not bad for a club racer but its 351 engine was almost certainly the best thing about it. The professionals however wouldn’t have considered it.

By the time the second coming of the TransAm series ended they were running 310 cid engines with rev limiters. These engines were, at least for those at the front end of the pack, in excess of 700 horsepower.

But now things have really changed. The 310 has gone the way of the dinosaur, replaced by the 358 cubic inch V8’s. Initially a lot of these were refugees from Nascar. Bought for less than one could build a 310 and producing big horsepower numbers. Initially some people just changed the cam, and maybe something with carburetion and exhaust and went racing. Worked pretty well and now the horsepower numbers were over 800.

But today the bar has been raised again. Some people have realized that an engine built purposely for road racing will out perform a converted stock car engine. This despite the fact that the horsepower numbers are the same.

And what are those numbers today? One racer who reportedly has about 830 HP told me recently ” I can’t pass them (the top cars) on the straight, but they can pass me.” His opinion is that he is 30 horsepower shy of the top cars.

So times have changed my friend, times have changed.



TA Style Wheel Safety Clip. For use w/centerlok spindles. Required by TA

TA Style Wheel Safety Clip. For use w/centerlok spindles. Required by TA

We now produce  two new products, wheel safety clips and dashboards. This marks our initial foray into manufacturing our own material.  Both will be used on the GT1 Chassis that is being built by Mark.


The safety clips as most know are an important safety device  which prevents the wheel nut from backing off on centerlok equipped cars.Which as anyone who has had a wheel run off knows can get exciting quickly. Previous the have been a wide variety in quality and dimensions in these relatively simple parts. We address that by having all clips 3.50″ inches long and made of 304 stainless annealed wire. That prevents the wire from cracking or kinking at the bends. In addition the spring rate is slightly higher than some of our competitors.

Sold individually for $11.00 each or pack of 2 for $20.00

Give us a call at (804) 921-0902.


Ever had the mishap of a “stuck” caliper? If you have it’s probably something you haven’t forgotten. What happens is that when you apply the brakes the pistons in the caliper press the pad against the rotor and the car slows. All good, right?

But when you release the pedal the piston does not return to its seated position, allowing the pads to release the rotor. How much of a problem is that? When it happened to me a 550 hp engine could barely move the car down pit road. Not good.

Several things can cause this, just disuse, like in a car that has sat for a period of time. Or, more commonly the heat cycles that the brakes go thru eventually deteriorate the seals.

The answer, is of course to add caliper maintenance to your check sheet. Every 2 or 3 races, pull the pistons, check them over and replace the seals. Seals are cheap insurance and it could save a lot of heartache.

Brembo pressure seals available from 28-44 mm.

Brembo pressure seals available from 28-44 mm.


For those of you using Brembo calipers, they have a new design of anti-knockback seal. A direct replacement for their regular pressure seal it reduces the issue of pad knock back.

We carry AP, Alcon, and Brembo caliper seals in stock ready for immediate delivery.

Under construction. The lower portion of the chassis taking shape.

Under construction. The lower portion of the chassis taking shape.

Can you guess what type chassis this is under construction? Brand? Well the type is pretty obvious. Its a GT1/Trans-Am/IMSA style road racing chassis.

Brand may be a little more difficult, because it is only the second one built.

Everyone that is involved in racing does so because they have a passion for it.  And part of that passion is a dream. A dream to succeed at the highest level. And of course  we all love to tackle those projects that are a challenge.

Thats how it is for Mark K. one of the principals in A veteran vintage racer he had dreamed of driving a Trans-Am car. Not just drive it but own it as well. So when the opportunity came about to purchase the engineering drawing for a professionally designed chassis and spares he jumped at it. Of course, knowing that one car had been built and successfully raced made it a little easier.

a start

A start. one of the sections that will become part of the lower chassis.

So in this brief article you can see several photos of the chassis on the surface plate. Work continues and all indications are that the results will be well worth the effort.

A professional at work.

A professional at work.

Bottom section of frame completed.

Bottom section of frame completed.

So that’s our little sneak preview. Hope you enjoyed it.

Chicago Rawhide spindle seals.

Chicago Rawhide spindle seals.
CR26144 – their price $22.49 – ours $17.99
CR27271 our price $14.49

So give us a call at (804) 921-0902 or email at

Much has been made in the Nascar world recently about the fact that the Hendricks Motorsport car driven by Jimmy Johnson failed inspection at Daytona. As a result, Nascar reacted in their typical manner, fines and suspensions for the crew and car chief, as well as a deduction in points for the driver and car owner.

Of course there was the predictable reaction from the Nascar fans. Those who dislike/resent the success of/hate HMS and its efforts were not satisfied. The usual wailing and knashing of teeth followed about Nascar being in lockstep with its most successful team. On the other side of the coin there was the equally predictable response that “cheatin'” was a part of racing, it was basically boys being boys and it was much ado about nothing.

So which camp do you fall in? The “if you ain’t cheating you ain’t trying” group? or the one that prefers the enforce the rules to the letter group?

As for myself I have a foot firmly planted in both camps. I understand the desire and maybe need to be successful which will drive people to bend the rules. On the other hand, I favor zero tolerances. If a C Pillar or fender is supposed to have this configuration – no deviation. Measure it before the race, if it fails it fails, passes it passes. There is no need then to do anything postrace. But thats only my opinion.

While at it I have a question for you. We all know that the Nascar Sprint Cup car  is a spec car, right? So why not contract out to some metal stamping company, and there are thousands out there, the job of stamping out the body parts? Everybody gets the same parts, they add their manufacturers nose fascia and rear bumper cover. That way they put an end to all this nonsense. Zero tolerance before the race, if it isnt like you got it you’re out.

That of course assumes they really want to stop it. Which I doubt.


As many of you the V8 StockCar Series has been around for, I believe 9 years. That makes it one of if not the longest consecutively running road racing series in this country. As I mentioned we will be doing a series of articles on all the respective classes in this series.

But before that I want to give a shout out to their season opener next weekend at Sebring. If you get the chance, get down there and check it out. They put on a good show. I’m upset because I want to see the tube frame Falcon that Tommy Riggins built!

Crane Cams V8 StockCar Series kicks off 2012 at Sebring

The Crane Cams V8 StockCar Road Racing Series will kick off its’ ninth season at Historic Sebring International Raceway February 11 & 12 running with the Central Florida Region SCCA. The Sebring event will be the first round of the “Winter Heat”, with round two the following week at Palm Beach. Some thirty plus competitors in our four classes are expected to compete for points, bragging rights, and prizes. The Porterfield Enterprises V8 GT-1 classes features some outstanding drivers and machines such as four time series champion Dave Machavern in his Heritage Motorsports, Tommy Riggins built, silhouette 1963 Ford Falcon, multi time V8 Series winner Charles Wicht in his Rocketsports Corvette, Larry Beebe in a Tony Ave prepped ex Trans Am Mustang, Ray Webb in a Riggins Chassis Corvette, V8 winner Robert Borders in his C6 Corvette, George Prentice in his winged Monte Carlo and more.
The LG Motorsports V8 GT-2 class should be a battle between the Goldin Brothers ex Grand Am Rolex Mazda RX8 driven be Keith Goldin, Ed Braswell’s
ex World Challenge Corvette, and the giant killing Mazda RX7 of Bill McGavic. The Goldin Brothers’ Mazda was constructed by Tommy Riggins and competed for a number of years in Grand Am, including several Rolex 24 appearances. Braswell has a very fast Doug Rippie Built Corvette and he will be tough on his home course. McGavic led the class points battle most of last year, but was unable to make the ARRC championship race costing him a chance at the title. Despite being way underpowered compared to the big bore cars in the class, McGavic cut competitive lap times using the nimble handling and great brakes of his lightweight racer.In the Howe Racing V8 GTA class, 2011 Champ Randy Walker will be on hand in his brand new Howe Racing built Camaro. V8 StockCar rookie of the year Cameron Lawrence will be bring out his Mike Cope Racing prepared Impala. Cameron has been competitive at every track he has raced at during the past year and grabbed a podium finish in the TA2 class at the Trans Am finale at Road Atlanta. Georgia’s Ricky Sanders is entered in his Monte Carlo and he will make some noise. Alabama’s Bobby and Roger Reuse will fly their beautiful new ARP bodied Camaro’s and either is fully capable of taking the win. Veteran stock car road racer John Goodson will have the only Ford in the class in his 2010 Ford Fusion. Newcomer Mike Wilson will bring out his ex ASA Delco racer to test the the 12 hour circuit. Hall Robertson returns in his #62 Farner Barley & Associates late model type Monte Carlo. The spoiler in this class this weekend could very well be Tony Ave, the reigning SCCA Trans Am Champion, who will shoe the #167 Boden Masonry Monte Carlo owned by Larry and Debbie Beebe.

In the V8 SPO class Paul Breehne will debut his Ford Mustang, actually the same championship winning chassis from last year rebodied and prepared by Mike Breault at PMS Motorsports. Expect a good battle between Breehne and Lee Arnold in his Impala late model for the class honors.

In addition to the Crane Cams V8 Series points event the weekend will also feature the Nordic Camaro Cup. The Camaro Cup is a European Professional series that includes Corvette Racing’s Jan Magnusson and Grand Am driver Nic Jonnson in tube frame Camaro’s similar to our V8 GTA cars.

The Sebring weekend will be a spectator event and non SCCA members will be admitted for a very nominal charge.
The following weekend the series will move to Palm Beach International Raceway with the Historic Sportscar Racing group as will the Camaro Cup Series.

The V8 Series thanks it partners, especially our new title sponsor Crane Cams. Other partners are:

SCCA, Porterfield Enterprises, LG Motorsports, Howe Racing,, GoPro,, Sunoco, Hoosier, Goodyear, FiveStar, RaceCar Engineering,, Roehrig-Enders, GrassRoots Motorsports Magazine, SafeRacer

Some of you may know that “the lump” is a term used to describe the engine in a car. Normally it refers to a race engine. That huge mass of iron, aluminum, titanium, unobtanium and who knows what else that resides under the hood of the car.

For most of us, I dare say we really have no idea what is inside of that big piece of metal. We rely on people who, because they are “engine builders” , tell us all kinds of stories about how complicated they are, how every piece is hand polished and machined to .00000000001 of an inch.  And of course since so much is involved it is a bargain indeed, regardless of the price. A price which no rational person would pay, and makes us live in mortal fear that the wife will discover. Having listened to many of those stories both as a former racer and a parts man for quite a few years, today I just smile.

So I thought I would share with you the tale of a couple of engines in my experience. Now what is special about these engines?  Not a thing. Two engines from different stages of my racing career, if you want to call it that. Just two collections of metal that started life at a couple of Ford plants somewhere in the world.

The first one was a V8, size and engine builder omitted to protect the innocent. Or maybe the guilty. But this was my first experience with a Gt1 car. And of course i had read all the stories and articles about the powerful Gt1 cars. So I had a local engine builder who specialized in short track cars build it. The only thing left from Ford was the block itself. One of the proudest days in my life was when I picked it up and paid the bill.

First let me say that we were/are amateur racers, and everything we knew could dance on the head of a pin. That thing was a pain from the day I got it. Constantly ran hot, not a lot of power,  despite the engine builders claims, or maybe I didn’t know what to expect, etc. On one occasion when we shut it off it was running fine.  When we next cranked it up it was missing, checked – bent pushrod.  Finally at its last scheduled race before it was to be replaced, the oil pressure began to drop,  and 10 laps later we drove it into the pits and retired. My brother looked under the hood and said “you might as well shut it off you have water coming out of the breathers”. When pulled out  and inspected, the webs in the block were busted in three places. needless to say was a great conversation piece and I still have some paperweights I think.

The other was a V6 Ford. We pulled this out of a juck car we bought for $200 to use the engine and transmission. Put it up on a stand, and scapped all the oil and dirt away so we could pull the pan off. Pulled all the rod and main bearings out. Didn’t measure anything, and replaced them with new std. bearings. Torqued everything back down, put the pan back on, and put the engine back in the car.

This engine ran  through the drivers school at Daytona and Charlotte. At Charlotte it got so hot, (idiot owner and friend had forgotten to tighten down the hold down clamp on the distributor so variable timing) that we finally had to put it in 4th gear, hold the brakes and choke it off. Did I mention that it had water running out of both exhaust pipes?

So we let it cool down, found every plastic pepsi bottle we could, filled them with water, put 2 cans of Bars Leak in the radiator and drove it the 200 miles home. After a couple of stops it sealed up and ran fine. Shaved both cylinder heads and it was as good as new.

Now this was no race engine of course, and didnt pretend to be one. But every time after that when the hand built race engine blew up or screwed up, we put that engine in and kept racing. You just couldn’t kill it. In fact a friend now has the car, and has had some more exotic, modern engines built for it.  But you know what he does when they go bad? Yep, back in goes that same old motor.

And the moral of this is that sometimes things exceed your expectations. Or, maybe you don’t know when you are well off.

Are you ever amazed how the old family cruiser keeps running after all this time? Remember the days when nobody had a car that made a 100,000 miles? Well I do.

BAR 003

The most beautiful thing about motorsport and the love of cars generally is its diversity. Now before you click that mouse read a little further. In this case I’m not talking about gender, race, color, national origin or even politics.

Instead I am talking about the varieties of racing disciplines, the new versus the storied past, our favorite brands or marques, etc. We invest a lot in these mechanical beasts and we live vicariously through their success or failure.

Now we have all seen a lot of project cars, and restored cars, the latest factory flash, and after a while you kinda hohum your way through them. But I saw Twitter article yesterday that made me sit up and do the mental”WTF?”!!!

It was a link (provided by ScarbsF1) to an article on It was in there forum section, and was one of the most fascinating thread I’ve seen in some time. Here you have a guy that is building a real F1 car out of parts hes buying primarily off of ebay! Now I dont know about you but I would have thought it impossible.  After all aren’t F1 cars the pinnacle of motorsports? Aren’t they built in some lab with more security than Area 51? How in the heck is he going to be able to find enough parts to do this? And he’s not building a 1908 Dingbat Purple Flash either. Rather he has acquired a tub from a 2001 BAR 005, driven and crashed by Jacques V.Even more amazing is this isnt a guy who has some country named after his great grandfather, rather a guy who has a mortgage and seems to live a normal life.

You know the thing I hate about articles like this? It’s that not not only do i find them fascinating, but I start to think “heck, I could do that”. Next thing you know I’m searching the internet, sending emails, and making inquiries. But not this time. Nope.

So I encourage you to check out the thread on

But I swear to you that reading about it is all I will do. But you know I liked the looks of the Jag F1 cars. Wonder what ever became of all the chassis they built? Hmmh, think if I called …….

Mustang Vintage Racer

Mustang Vintage TA Car

Aerodynamics is probably the most important aspect of the modern race car. Those of us who are F1 fans see how those teams spend untold sums of money, expend more man hours in wind tunnels and employ unimaginable computer power to gain just the slightest advantage in down force or drag reduction. Who would have imagined a couple of years ago that the engines exhaust gases could be used to increase downforce? Or that how that was executed would be the difference between a world beater and a mid pack car.

But how, if at all, does aerodynamics effect our world, where the bodywork is made from carbon fiber or fiberglass, and all made from the same molds? The answer isn’t simple, and I will freely admit that I dont know everything that is going on here.

But we do know that in the days when steel roofs were required, things were creative.  A steel roof was required to prevent the cheating up of the windshield. However a stock roof will not fit the molded bodywork. Not only was the metal stretched, but it was sectioned. In other words a pie shaped section cut out so that the stock windshield fits but the greenhouse is as small as possible.

But you say that’s just vintage cars whats that got to do with the cars we run now? True, point well taken. But remember that the laws of physics are the same for an F1 car or a GT1 car. And  its all about managing the flow of air around the vehicle and underneath the car. So I will just point some things in no particular order. And remember, in making these points I am not accusing anybody of doing anything.

First, back in the old days of the Trans-Am series they required that the body not below the line of the chassis. As part of the tech inspection a straight edge be placed across the bottom of the car. The advantage of course being that dropping the body below the frame, (which has a belly pan) you create diffuser tunnels between the door and the frame rail.

Even if the body is even with the frame rails, you can do the same thing with the filler panels between the body and frame. This requires a little creativity so as not to be conspicuous.

Speaking of the area between the door panel and the car itself, I have seen some radiused pieces placed at the front of the filler panel. The purpose was obvious, but how do you get that air out from under the car? Its blocked by the rear wheel tub, so wouldnt it be better to get it out at the front wheel opening?

A few years ago one of the major Ford teams cars cars appeared to be a little different. Just by observation it seemed that the rear undertray had more of a slope than the other Fords. Of course the part had the proper approval stickers.

The mesh on the grill opening can effect the amount of downforce on the front of the car. Of course the finer the mesh the less air can get through. And using one consistent mesh is just a matter of convenience right?

Speaking of Fords, the 93-up Mustang had a huge flat rear deck. That made these cars more responsive to body rake. By getting that deck exposed to more airflow, you increased the downforce. Almost like using a larger spoiler. Other makes may have the same issues.

Dive planes of course are useful in tuning the front end.

And the primary goal is doing anything possible to first prevent air from getting under the car, secondly to exhaust the air that does get under the front of the car. I had a steel bodied Mustang, that used a steel hood, with a scoop, that had all the reinforcement removed. Down the straightaway the rear of the hood would rise up to the full extent of the hood pins. Perhaps 6″ in the center. If we could have prevented that it could have meant some nice gains. Food for thought.

If its allowed by the rules, opening up where the rear license plate was allows a place to exhaust air from the rear. many people  use this as a place to place an oil cooler for the trans or rear.

And of course the wickerbill on the rear end can be used as a tuning tool, as well as the angle of the wing itself will increase rear downforce.

Like anything else when you change one end of the car it effects the other as well. We’ve just thrown a few things out there, and obviously just scratched the surface of what may be going on. But if you look closely there may be things that make you say “hmmm?”

Chassis under construction My apologies for the quality of the above photo. But you can see that it is a collage of photos showing the side view of a chassis under construction. No points for what type, but look at the braces between the front of the greenhouse.

Earlier in this blog, I had posted a photo sent me of a car that someone wanted me to help sell. Being several states away, we never went to see the car but did mention it to several people that we knew who dealt in similar things.  As it turned out the gentleman was able to sell it on his own and we  moved on to other things.

This weekend we were contacted by the person who had bought the car and seen the photo which we had posted. It appears that the information we had been given by the seller was not exactly correct. That the car was not in fact what he had indicated but rather a homebuilt attempt at a replica using spares from similar cars.

Now I certainly am not going to accuse that person of anything unseemly. For all I know he had acquired it from someone else in the interim and was merely repeating what was told to him.  In addition the price he was asking was more than reasonable, (read cheap), and about the value of the spares package.

But the moral of the story  is this. Many of these cars and chassis have been around for quite some time.  . Some of them have been owned and/or raced by multiple people over the years. And in a variety of configurations, even different manufacturers bodywork and running gear. So at what point of its history are you going to restore it to?Only some by the larger fabricators even have serial numbers, and the lack of a number may not confirm anything, although it may eliminate some others.

You need to be sure you personally look at the car, and do the research to find out exactly what is being presented to you.

Now btw, the picture at the top? Its not a Roush chassis, but a similar chassis built by a name fabricator which was a Riley type design below the belt, and a late Roush style greenhouse. Food for thought.