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Friday, September 23, 2011

The Awesome Can Am " I Knew My Limitations"

 By Miguel Caparros
You can safely say that I was really influenced in my life by the Can Am cars of the mid 60's to the early 70's. These were the ultimate race cars, 1300 lbs of weight, big block V8's with 600 Horsepower. Formula 1 seemed wimpy by comparison to the Canadian American series. This was perhaps the most innovative time in the evolution of the ultimate race car. some of the Men and their cars involved were; Jim Hall and his Chaparral, Colin Chapman and the Lotus cars, A.J. Foyt and the Coyote, Eric Broadley of Lola and there were more. All of it fueled by major corporations that saw the worth of getting their name out on the fastest billboards anywhere.  Here Is a slide show.      Here is the video!

Lotus 19
Rarely such a few production of cars have effected racing as deeply as Lotus Cars.  The Lotus 19 two seat sports racer was developed in 1960 from  the Formula 1 single seat Lotus 18.  Widening the cockpit to adda second seat, and a refinement of the body envelope shape from the previous sports racer along with the Lotus magic to make a super light car that was a success the first time out. The light fiberglass body and the magic of the tube frame created a very light 1,000 lbs and powered by a Coventry Climax 2.5 liter 250 hp 4 cylinder engine. The light weight, powerful engine and then state of the art aerodynamics this little car could go. As boys become men the need for more power arises. It was not long that the quest for more power and the appearance of  the all aluminum Buick V8 the light engine was soon drafted into sports car racing.Dan Gurney had great success driving the Arciero Brothers Climax powered Lotus 19. Gurney was also forging a relationship with a transplanted Texan, Carol Shelby. Gurney requested that lotus build for him a 19 that had thicker tubing to withstand the 400 horsepower King Cobra Ford 289. Lotus built this one car and it was labeled the 19B. A worthwhile trade of 240 lbs created a much faster and safer car. This would be the only Lotus factory built V8 car.It almost seems that at one point or another the 16 4 cylinder cars were converted to V8 power.  Well almost all, one was re-powered with a Ferrari 3 liter V12. If 400 horsepower is good 500 is better. in 1964, Alan Green Chevrolet of Seattle built what may have been the ultimate Lotus 19, using a 377 cubic inch Chevrolet, Built by Traco. Driven by Jerry Grant during 1964 the car achieved an unofficial to speed of 224 mph with use of some experimental spoilers and ground effects. Today there are more Lotus 19's than the 17 originally built. Check out the  video here!

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