The cu­ri­ous case of #14D

Australian Muscle Car - - Maniac -

There are still those who be­lieve Des West’s Lo­rack Mo­tors-en­tered GTS 327 was robbed of vic­tory at Bathurst ’68. Greg ‘Pygmy’ Lynch is not one of them.

Pygmy has much af­fec­tion for the late West, but he doesn’t sub­scribe to the view car #14D was un­fairly dis­quali ed for over­sized valves.

“You know why it was dis­quali ed?!” Lynch asks rhetor­i­cally dur­ing our chat about how Page­wood as­sisted race teams dur­ing the Se­ries Pro­duc­tion era.

“When they [West’s me­chan­ics] started to pre­pare the car for Bathurst, they were blueprint­ing the en­gine. They took the cylin­der heads off and dis­cov­ered that one of the valves in the cylin­der head was very loose.

“Des rang me rst and told me about the prob­lem and how the valve was jump­ing out of the seat. They were Amer­i­can engines, of course, the 327 Chevs. At that stage we started think­ing about a re­pair un­der war­ranty.

“The mechanic then rings and says he doesn’t have the equip­ment to re­pair the orig­i­nal, so I gave them the al­ter­na­tive of putting a new cylin­der head on it [as a war­ranty job]. I made the nec­es­sary con­tacts and we got a cylin­der head from the Holden dealer at Mas­cot, I think it was, and took a look at it and could see that the valves were con­sid­er­ably larger than in the orig­i­nal head. This re­place­ment head was a cus­tomised head that tted Buicks and Pon­ti­acs, all sorts of things.

“So the next phone call from the team is, well, hang-on, we’ve got the big valves in one head, lit­tle valves in the other one. What are we go­ing to do?

“I lo­cated an­other cylin­der head [again through the of­fi­cial GM-H chan­nels] and when it ar­rived it had the big valves in it, too. All of the GM-H re­place­ments did.

“We sent it to Burr’s [Bruce Burr’s, where the West Monaro was be­ing pre­pared] and I told them, ‘It’s up to you to clear this with CAMS and ex­plain it was a war­ranty re­place­ment and this is what we had to do.

“As I see it now, the bloke made no con­tact and thought he could do a sneaky and get away with it.”

His­tory re­calls that #14D was the fastest of the GTS 327s at Bathurst and led for much of the day. Typ­i­cal lap-scor­ing con­fu­sion saw of­fi­cials show Bruce McPhee’s #13D Monaro the che­quered ag. West’s post-race dis­ap­point­ment was com­pounded when scru­ti­neers found the in­let valves were not iden­ti­cal in speci cation to the work­shop man­ual and the car was booted from sec­ond place. He protested on the grounds that the valves were the only ones avail­able from Holden for that model and was even­tu­ally ex­on­er­ated of any wrong do­ing. Yet the dis­quali cation still stood.

Pygmy Lynch be­lieves #14D’s re­place­ment valves gave it a signi cant per­for­mance ad­van­tage over the other Monaros in the race.

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