Some very rare photos of the infamous Penske/Donohue 1969 Sonoco Camaro prepped for the Trans Am Series at Mid-Ohio. Note the holes in the wheel wells which were part of a duct system to relieve front end lift at 170 mph. Going to have to do a bit of research on those! I can’t imagine driving on bias plys that fast. Serious balls! Note the Vinyl roof to cover up the acid dipped roofs to reduce weight. These cars had some serious research and development in them. I am so fascinated by the vintage trans am series. If NASCAR ran these cars I might actually watch! I love these cars so much I have been in the processing of building my own Z-28 into a VTA ‘street’ car for 7 years now. Just with a bit more displacement ;)
The donor car for this project was a 250 GT SWB Competition, serial number 2819 GT. This car had previously competed in the 1961 Tour de France, where it took 2nd place overall driven by Olivier Gendebien and Lucien Bianchi. The car was sold by Gendebien to Volpi shortly afterward for use with Scuderia Serenissima. As with other competition-spec SWBs, this car had a lightweight body and chassis, minimal trim, and a more powerful 286 bhp Tipo 168 engine with Testarossa-type heads.
Bizzarrini applied all the ideas he had developed working on the GTO and together with the car body specialistPiero Drogo developed an aerodynamically advanced body, even lower than GTO, with the roof line dramatically extended to the rear end following Kamm aerodynamic theory. The resulting shooting-brake appearance led to the French press nicknaming it “La Camionette” (little truck), while the English-speaking journalists called it the “Breadvan.”
Bizzarrini moved the engine and radiator further back to the center of the chassis than the GTO, and lowered it by fitting a dry sump system. The original three 46 DCN Weber carburetors were replaced with six twin choke 38 DCN Webers. The original 4-speed gearbox was retained. Giorgio Neri and Lucciano Bonacini of Modena were contracted to perform all the mechanical modifications and race preparation. The resulting car was significantly lighter than the GTO, at 935 kg compared to the typical GTO weight of 1,000 kg.
The car was completed in 14 days
The rebodied Breadvan made its competition debut at the 1962 24 Hours of Le Mans. It quickly passed all Ferrari GTOs and was 7th overall during the 4th hour when a driveshaft failure caused its retirement. Results at other races proved the design’s effectiveness, as the car won the GT class in two races during the 1962 season. The car’s last race in period was at the Coppa Gallenga Hillclimb in 1965, however since 1973 it has appeared regularly at historic races worldwide, including events such as the Monterey Historic Automobile Races, the Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Tour Auto.