1966 Pontiac GTO Tin Indian Part 4

This is a continuation from yesterday’s Part 3

Part 4:

“Most of my understanding of drag racing has come from limited observation, from a husband who is interested but does not claim it as one of his areas of expertise, and from conversations with Pete McCarthy, well known both in the annals of Pontiac drag racing and as an author of Pontiac performance literature, and with Greg Sharp, noted hotrodding historian and curator of the NHRA Motorsports Museum. Both national and local drag racing  have evolved from the hot rodders of the ‘40’s and ‘50’s. Those guys were, however, frowned upon, even stigmatized as the bad boys of the open road. It was to provide them an alternative, not actually to initiate a national drag racing organization, that Wally Parks established the NHRA in the early ‘50’s. Additionally, Robert E. Peterson’s creation of Hot Rod magazine in 1948 was, at that time, considered a very daring move. By the ‘60’s, however, the evolutuion was well under way, and the quarter mile track was a popular spot for a weekend’s recreation and/or entertainment. For a while factory or individually backed teams that could afford to hire fast reacting drivers to race expensively optioned stock cars dominated the scene. Now, with the integration of bracket racing at he local level, anyone with a good reaction time who can put together a consistently running car has a good chance of winning. The races that Tin Indian V participated in were probably very similar, though not exactly the same as bracket races are today, since even drag racing at the national level had not evolved to the levels of sophistication and expense that it has today. Continue reading 1966 Pontiac GTO Tin Indian Part 4

1966 Pontiac GTO Tin Indian Part 3

This is a continuation from yesterday’s Part 2

Part 3

“Actually Pontiac Historic Services had not quite materialized yet. A gentleman named Fred Simmonds had unearthed old files at Pontiac Motor Division (PMD) of General Motors Corporation (GMC or GM), and shortly thereafter, those files would be turned over to Jim Mattison who would launch the business Pontiac Historic Services. At one point during the fall of 1989, Merle had occasion to talk with Fred Simmonds, and, in the course of the conversation, mentioned that he wished he could see the original build sheets for his cars, so he would know what options they were assembled with and where (to what dealership) they were first delivered. Simmonds offered to do a bit of research, so Merle sent him the vehicle identification numbers (VIN’s). Soon the information arrived in the form of photocopies of the original build sheets. Basically, a build sheet is a dated purchase order that gives instructions to the factory about how to build a car and where it is to be delivered afterward. The instructions are in code, and the translation of the numbers into words is not always immediately obvious without research. The build sheet for the green car was vibrant with blue marker. Anticipating Merle’s excitement, Fred Simmonds had parenthetically listed several of the build sheet codes and identified them: “Safe-T-Track Performance Ratio (733), 4.33 axle (74 S), 4-speed close ratio (778), HD Metallic brakes (484)”; and finally “(08-197)” the codes designating zone (section of the country) and delivery dealership were followed by big, bold, believe-it-or-not, capital letters: “KNAFEL PONTIAC, AKRON, OH.” Continue reading 1966 Pontiac GTO Tin Indian Part 3