Mon­terey Mo­tor­sports Re­union

Paul New­man’s old Nis­san 300ZX Turbo leads the historic SCCA charge at La­guna Seca

Classic Cars (UK) - - Contents -

Ja­pa­nese rac­ing clas­sics, Dat­suns and Nis­sans in par­tic­u­lar, pro­vided a dra­matic coun­ter­bal­ance to the tra­di­tional diet of Trans-am and Can-am vet­er­ans pound­ing the Cal­i­for­nian as­phalt at La­guna Seca.

1984 Nis­san 300ZX

‘This is prob­a­bly the first time this car has been driven in 33 years,’ said Matt D’an­dria, co-re­storer and friend of the owner of this ex-paul New­man Nis­san 300ZX Turbo, which the rac­ing ac­tor used to win the 1985 IMSA GT1 Cham­pi­onship.

‘We have spent the last cou­ple of years restor­ing it and this week­end is both our test and first race, all in one. The owner, Adam, bought the car quite a while back, and it just sat in the work­shop un­til about two years ago. But be­fore we were able to start we had to do a huge amount of re­search. We spoke to a lot of peo­ple from New­man’s race crew back in the Eight­ies who gave us lots of ref­er­ence in­for­ma­tion on ev­ery­thing, even op­ti­mum sus­pen­sion set-ups and tyre pres­sures.

‘As a re­sult, the car has been restored as close as pos­si­ble to the way it was when it won the Cham­pi­onship in 1985, with a few mod­ern safety up­grades so that it can still race to­day.’

1938 Bu­gatti Type 57

‘We have spent the last nine months find­ing all the miss­ing parts and re­build­ing this Bu­gatti; we fin­ished it a few days ago and this is its first event,’ said owner Mike Gert­ner.

‘It was orig­i­nally built from a kit of parts that ar­rived in the USA in the Six­ties. It’s a Type 57, but has a body de­signed to em­u­late the Wimille Type 59 Mono­posto, which lives at the Sch­lumpf mu­seum.

‘This car fell into dis­re­pair in the early Eight­ies and was kept in the stor­age area at Peter Mullin’s mu­seum, hav­ing parts taken off it to fix other Bu­gat­tis.

‘David North, who restored it in the late Seven­ties, told me about the car, so I ar­ranged to buy it. He restored it for the sec­ond time to the won­der­ful con­di­tion it is in to­day.’

1973 Porsche RSR 2.8

This ex-penske Rac­ing Team Porsche has re­cently been re­turned to the track fol­low­ing a par­tic­u­larly con­vo­luted restora­tion.

Ex­plained Bill Follmer, Ge­orge Follmer’s nephew, ‘My un­cle raced this Car­rera RSR in the 1973 Day­tona 24-hour race, paired with Mark Dono­hue as part of the Penske rac­ing team. They led for more than nine hours un­til the engine failed.’

‘When we ac­quired the car it had been re­bod­ied fol­low­ing an ac­ci­dent. It had been built into kind of a tribute car but was lack­ing prob­a­bly 75% of the orig­i­nal parts. Luck­ily I was able to lo­cate the cor­rect items and use them dur­ing the restora­tion, which meant we have been able to re­turn the car as closely as pos­si­ble back to the way it was.

‘We are very happy with how it has turned out, and we have Roger Penske com­ing to drive it at the up­com­ing Rennsport meet­ing – that’s very ex­cit­ing.’

1966 Shelby GT350R

Chad Ray­nal’s Shelby made a rare ap­pear­ance, and was still driven hard de­spite its fiery past.

‘It was orig­i­nally a GT350H – a Shelby Mus­tang rented out by Hertz – that got burnt out,’ said Ray­nal. ‘It was sold by Hertz for just $100 to a lo­cal racer, Richard ‘Dick’ Gam­boni, here on the West Coast in late 1966. He re­built the car us­ing parts from his wrecked GT350R, painted it green, and went rac­ing.

‘I don’t re­ally care about the R parts on it – I re­ally wanted a car with a pe­riod race his­tory. This car was raced for 14 years un­til 1980 and I have four full log books of all the races it com­peted in.

‘It was pretty ugly when I bought it, and not that sorted. So about two-and-a-half years ago we got onto it in earnest, stripped it down to a bare bodyshell, and restored it. This is only its third time out since.

‘When we restored the car we were lucky to find two small sam­ples of the unique green paint colour Gam­boni had painted it, one hid­den in the rear whee­larch and the other in the door open­ing, which al­lowed us to match it and put it back to the way it was in late 1966.”

Ex-paul New­man 300ZX Sam­ples of this GT350R’S unique paint were found in whee­larch and door open­ing

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