New race car

My Gt40 is back together again and is close to being in its final stage, so I was thinking about my next project, was leaning towards one of Fran's Lolas or a Superformance Daytona coupe but upon more reflection I know that deep down inside I am an open wheel guy, soooo.. we had visited Can Am cars Ltd when we were on vacation in July. Can Am Cars is owned by Chuck Haines, he has been collecting old race cars for about 100 years and has an 11,000 sg ft warehouse in St Louis, jam packed with old Indy, Can Am and Champ cars and an amazing collection of parts, truly Alladins Cave for a gearhead! At his home he has another 12 cars.
At that time he did not have what I have been looking for, a late 60's round tub car, no aero, no computers, no active suspension or ground effects, just a four cam ford V8, no turbo, just a basic car built by blacksmiths and WWII aircraft mechanics.
These are the cars that ended the roadster era and pretty rare.
Shortly thereafter Chuck contacted me about a car that he was getting(he had to buy 3 cars to get the one he wanted, a Lola 38), it was to me a fair amount of money and I was going to pass but then he offered to take my Swift FF in trade and at that point I was doomed!
Even Doreen couldn't come up with a good reason why not to do it(she is the Best Girl ever!), I was having the body panels repainted for the Swift and had to get those back and reassemble the car plus get some work done on the Lightning(extra springs, trans service new tires etc), I got all that done and we grabbed up the 2 hounds and made a 6 day road trip to St Louis.
Chuck Haines was great to work with and we made the deal and turned right around and came back to San Diego.
This car is a copy of a Lotus 29 and was entered in both the 66 and 67 Indy 500 plus ran some other races and was used in the Paul Newman movie "Winning". It has not been raced since the late 60's and is in pretty good condition, it is set up with a symetric suspension and should be able to turn right as well as left. It ran with a Colleti gearbox(same as GT40) back in the day but I will probably run a Hewland LG. It is all aluminum monocoque, no fiberglass. It will also have a self starter, a fire system, rev limiter and an electrical system, none of which was used in these cars back then.
I do need a 4 cam and an LG and would appreciate any leads on that stuff.


Randy V

Staff member
Lifetime Supporter
Very cool - now THAT's a piece of history right there....
Thanks for your comments and FRPGuy I will call Jay Cushman.
This should be a fun project and pretty fast even though it is primitive, these cars would break the tires loose coming off the turns at 160 mph! Later they were allowed to increase the rear tire width and finally the width of the rim and that led to the aero and ground effects packages on todays cars.
Re: Pimp my Indy Car!

My birthday was the 4th of Jan and to celebrate my Crew Chief, Doreen and I went up to Anaheim to pick up a Four Cam Ford for the Indy car.
This engine came out of A J Foyts shop back in the late 90''s and was built and dynoed by Louis Unser.
As you can see it has an unusual color scheme for a race motor ( I am sure that Jac Mac will be excited by this) that is certain to be duplicated by Historic Racers everywhere!
It will come as no surprise when I explain that the engine was rebuilt and pimped out (that is real Gold plating!) to go in( no surprise here) a Pantera!
Much developement time was done on the dyno and an electronic distributor was designed and built (with 2 pickups, more on that later) and also electronic injection.
The engine actually made it into the Pantera but it was finally decided that a 255 ci engine that idled at 2000plus RPM and developed no torque below 6500 was probably not a good choice for a 3200 lb car and it was pulled and set on a shelf for the last 10 years.
This engine became very successful for Ford and eventually morphed into the later Cosworth Ford V8's.
This engine, when running on gas, has ignition timing(at 2000 RPM) set at 51 degrees before top dead center! a little less running on methonal and nitro. The thinking behind this is that Ford felt there would be a 1 degree retard/1000 RPM (loss in the electronics) and at 9000 the timing would be about 46. And that leads to the second pickup in the distributor which retards the timing so that the engine is easier to start.
I will run it on the original Hilborn injection set up and the electronic dist (not magnetos).


Excited, yes, but kinda glad Im on the other side of the planet & dont have to scrape off that gold plating ( Send it to me in a plain envelope & I will dispose of it for you-could be hazardous material).

Would love to be around the first time you fire it up- steep learning curve! Cannot help thinking there is a lot of power left in those motors yet with a bit of ( current practise )attention to squish height & piston dome design. not sure that Keith Duckworth would be amused at the 'connection!'

Those gold ram tube's remind me of a guy I built a 408w for a few decades ago- made up an electronic injection for it & Barry being a cash poor-talent rich Kiwi made his own ram tubes from pvc downpipe by forming into a trumpet shape & painted them with gold paint. He used to take great pleasure in telling anyone who asked what brand they were.--" Marley "--. The person asking would usually reply- 'never heard of that brand- isnt that a brand of down pipe for spouting etc?'. The answer was always unspoken, just a big grin from Barry.
Hi Jac Mac, I thought you might appreciate this thing. I will video the start up, and I don't believe that I have ever heard one of these engines in a live situation.
As for power I have heard numbers all over the place, I have a sign (from 1968) that came with my car that claims 525hp!, I am thinking maybe 450 is more likely.
I have a plating guy who is going to dip all the plated pieces for me and then(except for the polished block and heads and the powder coated timing cover) it will be just another ugly old race motor. Even the stainless exhaust is gold plated!
I love the story about the downspouts, we have a member in the San Diego Panteras who is always bragging about his latest find (for his Pantera) at Lowes or The Home Depot.

Pete McCluskey.

Lifetime Supporter
I Love that motor Dave the pimpyist? thing I have seen for a long time.
I wonder if race control will allow you to wear gold chains outside the Hahn's device and a diamond stud in your helmet?:D

Can't wait to hear how it sounds.

Brian Hamilton

I'm on the verge of touching myself inappropriatel
That car and that engine make me hate you. Just playing. That is an awesome project you have going. I wish you were closer, I'd love to take a look at the 4 cam Ford myself. I've never seen one before in real life. I also can't wait to hear it fire up and go through the gears on the track. What fuel are you going to run it on? E85 possibly and make a Green Machine? That would be pretty cool though, that fuel looooves compression as well as burns nice & cool to keep the operating temps down. Sure looks like you're going to be having lots of fun. I'm sure jealous!!



I noticed you live in San Diego. You wouldn't happen to know Roland Johnson would you? He is pretty widely known by most of the racers in that area, he does car transport & setup for many different people there. He's also my uncle. Just wondering, it is a small world after all...
Hi Brian, Thanks for the comments. it is a great project and the whole thing is a gearheads wet dream!
It is set up to run on Methonal and Nitromethane and I will fuel it with that unless it is too difficult logistically.
I do know Roland, he is a great guy and was the set up Guru for my Swift, I will get his help on the Indy car when it comes time to do the final chassis adjustments.
Roland also knows the way around the race track and his driving tips are a bonus.
Anybody who ever comes to San Diego is always welcome, plenty of festive liquid refreshments,and bench racing and note comparing on GT's(or Tigers, Panteras, Cobras, Mustangs etc).
That engine is a stunner! (once Jac Mac's retirement plating is removed) Even better when the truest form of ''a bundle of snakes'' exhaust is placed into the ''cam valley''. I always wondered how the hell that mess of pipes ever gets bolted to the heads. Do let me know!

Wild looking and I'd bet wild sounding

Good on ya.
The exhaust is pretty interesting, it is a 180 degree setup and is truly a bundle of snakes!
It bolts onto the engine as a unit, the pipes are intertwined and can't be seperated.
Note the oval ports.
Eric is my crew chief but is on a self imposed exile in Iowa!
I am not sure how useful he will be now that he has a beautiful wife, 2 kids and 3 weiner dogs.