1972 Magic?

racingspridget

New member
I'm curious about the significance of the year 1972 in vintage racing? Was 1973 the beginning of some major changes in sportscar racing? It seems to me that when cars are grouped by their year of production or preparation level that the years separating the cars should be years of major changes. For examaple if 1973 was the first year body panels could be fiberglass then it makes since that 1972 is a cut off date when classing cars. Gladly I can say that this was all before my time so maybe Jack or Colin can give us a history lesson on this topic. I think VMC is a group that oversees member sanctioning bodies and attempts to keep preparation levels similar between sanctioning bodies. Is this correct? If so was it just a matter of one sanctioning body arbitrairly picking 1972 and those that followed kept the date?
 
ETRP said:
the significance of the year 1972 in vintage racing? Was 1973 the beginning of some major changes in sportscar racing?
In 1982 when Vintage racing first got going in earnest, 1972 was only 10 years in the mirror. It was somewhat arbitrary, but Vintage cars were deemed those that were at least 20 years old and Historic cars were at least ten years old.

1972 was also the when SCCA cars really broke out of the box specification wise. Slicks, flairs, spoilers, alternate body panels, altered suspensions all became widely accepted then.

Sports racers and formula cars sprouted wings and slicks at about the same time.

The fathers of Vintage racing saw 1972 as a logical absolute cut-off, and in fact it is still the standard for many traditional organizations.

1972 will always stand out as one of the defining timelines in sportscar racing history.

When I first started Vintage racing in 1984, there was an almost manic repulsion to anything that represented the current SCCA. That included car prep, specifications and driving etiquette. Also, keep in mind that certain clubs required production cars to have actual racing history. That meant that to race, you had to find a suitable car and backdate it the "proper" period specs.

I can't say how many folks went through the process of cutting out bars, taking out coilovers, welding in steel fenders and such. It was very painful for me to have to tell people what they had to do...but many did it and we have a lot of original cars now racing, that would have just faded away otherwise.

Is it any wonder that those fellows have somewhat of a resentment to y'all now hoping to waltz in without passing the test?

Having said that, I am in favor of some sort of solution to the situation, and there is no question that many of these cars have significant history and charm from a period later than 1972.
 
To follow up on this theme: I brought the first Mini to an SVRA race in 1984. It took me a year to convince them that a Mini was actually a sports car! They didn't like my fiberglass flip front, 6" wheels with Dunlop CR70 tires and Group 2 spats. However, I had documentation for everything but the flip nose. They did let me run and I changed out the fiberglass for steel before the next race.

Over the years I converted many Minis back to vintage specs and made a little money doing it. Most of those have faded back into oblivion it seems. By 1986 we were getting as many as 15 Minis at some races. Now we rarely see 1 or 2.

For the first time since I have been doing this, we are seeing a significant decline in numbers. This is a very fragile matrix and everyone must understand the dynamics and sensitivities of all the others that forged the way.

That doesn't mean sensible adjustments can't and shouldn't be made, but it must be done carefully and with a clear sense of what the goals are.
 

racingspridget

New member
Thanks Jack.......Now let me ask all involved...Is there a date/year that should serve as a new cut off time? A particular year when the car preparation rules took another significant jump. We have a topic "post 1972 production cars" should it say 1972-???? production cars? I started club racing in 1986 and two of the first things I can remember were the allowance of billet cranks (which SVRA already allows) and rear disc brakes. (which SVRA does not allow). Coil over susp. and fiberglass body panels were already allowed by then. SVRA's motor rules are actually more liberal than SCCA's so I'm looking for a time when chassis rules took a major leap. I really can't remember many changes in the rules regarding chassis. The next big change I remember is the introduction of "Limited Prep" around 1993 or 1994. I've always thought rules should be blind in regard to manufacturers so I don't think it would be fair to pick a year based on what cars were being raced at that time. If I want to race against Miata's I can do that with SCCA. At the same time the first generation Miata's are now older than my car was when I started vintage racing.
 

genericwood

New member
It appears that RMVR chose 1981 when they expanded participation for production cars. I could be wrong, but I believe that was the last year before SCCA allowed relocated suspension links etc.

Erik
 

racingspridget

New member
When I built my car in 1985 you still had to use the stock suspension pick-up points on the chassis. You could fabricate control arms and uprights. You could also add additional "control links".
 

hoffman900

New member
Cars had 4 links and coil overs well before the 1981 GCR. Leaf springs still had to exist, but they didn't have to be working ;)

Again, this falls into rules interpretation and how to define what a period car is. The top National teams were doing some very creative things, for obvious reasons they were done discreetly, and they fall outside the modern "vintage legal" philosophy. Usually the rule changes came about when SCCA realized that everyone had those type of modifications and it was just easier to write it as legal. The same thing as in modern SCCA, the rules being written are a response to something that had been going on for a long time and they had no way to police it. That's the underlying theme to rules creep in every series ever. Look at what's going on in SCCA Touring, A-Sedan, and Speed World Challenge over the last 15 years or so.

Not ever car was allowed alternate transmission ratios before 1981 however. I know of one EP car that was stripped of it's points and unable to go to the Runoffs for being found to have a close ratio transmission in 1980.

Again, what's vintage prep.

Is it:
regional type prep
mid pack national level prep
front pack national level prep with all rule loopholes exploited

This is all well before my time, but I've tried to pick the brains of those who were there. Driving to the track type of racing was dead by 1960 in SCCA competition on the National level. By the early / mid 60s, the motors were wild enough that cranks had to be replaced every 4 weekends and connecting rods every 2. Obviously, that's not practical today, so billet cranks and aftermarket transmissions are allowed in the name of reliability.
 
ETRP said:
rear disc brakes. (which SVRA does not allow).
It is not that SVRA does not allow rear disc brakes, it is that SVRA and most other reputable organizations don't allow incorrect brakes. Depending on the make and model, many legal cars have rear disc brakes. You may be surprised to know that bug-eye Sprites can legally run rear discs. Of course they have to be the very small Lockheeds that didn't work as well as well developed drums!

One thing that needs to be made clear... you folks are talking about a very small piece of the pie when you are discussing small bore production cars. Particularly those which fall outside the norm of acceptability.

The issues you are facing represent only one facet of a very complex set of standards that may not always be obvious at first glance.
 

racingspridget

New member
Jack,
You're absolutely correct. The disc brake issue has always stuck in my mind because it was the best improvement I ever made to my car. It's clear that cars were allowed rear disc brakes if that's what they came with. It just wasn't clear in my previous post. What I should have said was that SCCA allowed rear disc brakes on all production cars regardless of what they came with. That was a significant change in the rules for me.
 

genericwood

New member
ETRP said:
When I built my car in 1985 you still had to use the stock suspension pick-up points on the chassis. You could fabricate control arms and uprights. You could also add additional "control links".
According to the '81 GCR, "suspension pick-up points at the chassis may be moved, but the number cannot be changed." That was a surprise to me. I thought the ability to change pick-up points came later.

Erik
 

genericwood

New member
Jack Woehrle said:
ETRP said:
rear disc brakes. (which SVRA does not allow).
One thing that needs to be made clear... you folks are talking about a very small piece of the pie when you are discussing small bore production cars. Particularly those which fall outside the norm of acceptability.
Jack, you may be correct with regard to potential SVRA entries. It has been my impression that SVRA draws drivers with more resources who often gravitate to faster and more expensive cars. To run several SVRA events, you have to be willing to travel a significant distance. For that travel, you get some really neat events. Other organizations with a tighter geographic base seem to attract those willing to expend fewer resources, and I suspect the "unacceptable" prod car owners are more likely to fall into this group. I wish there were an easy way to quantify the opportunity. But given the challenges of getting entries, opening our arms to these cars might make sense?

Erik
 

JFW

New member
Erik Wood said:
I wish there were an easy way to quantify the opportunity. But given the challenges of getting entries, opening our arms to these cars might make sense?

Erik
I proposed a way to bring the later prod cars into SVRA by adding another Group last year. That was soundly rebuffed by the new owner.

That was just one of the very many reasons I am no longer with SVRA.

Now they are considering putting spec Miatas in Group 3...go figure!

Jack
 

Colin1944

New member
JFW said:
Erik Wood said:
I wish there were an easy way to quantify the opportunity. But given the challenges of getting entries, opening our arms to these cars might make sense?

Erik
Now they are considering putting spec Miatas in Group 3...go figure!

Jack
Not on my watch. I said Miata's were a possibility in 2012. I only asked the question, "Who wants to see Spec Miatas in Grp 3". A poor attempt at sarcasim maybe?
 

racingspridget

New member
Colin,
The problem with the spec Miata's is that if you enforce some type of 13/13 rule you'll lose 50% of them every event. I would rather see a properly prepared EP or FP Miata allowed to race before a bunch of spec Miata's. It's too bad Miata owners don't have anywhere else to race.....like SCCA EP, FP, GT-2, GT-3, GTL, Spec Miata, SSC, T3, SPU, SPL, as well as a variety of pro series.
 

JFW

New member
Colin King said:
Not on my watch. I said Miata's were a possibility in 2012. I only asked the question, "Who wants to see Spec Miatas in Grp 3". A poor attempt at sarcasim maybe?
That is reassuring. Still, it is good conversation.

jw
 

JFW

New member
ETRP said:
I think VMC is a group that oversees member sanctioning bodies and attempts to keep preparation levels similar between sanctioning bodies. Is this correct?
VMC learned early on that they have no influence or control over the content or administration of the various rules and classifications of their member clubs. While there are some basic similarities, when rubber hits the road, the concepts and attributes vary considerably.

jw
 

Beezerbum

New member
JFW said:
ETRP said:
I think VMC is a group that oversees member sanctioning bodies and attempts to keep preparation levels similar between sanctioning bodies. Is this correct?
VMC learned early on that they have no influence or control over the content or administration of the various rules and classifications of their member clubs. While there are some basic similarities, when rubber hits the road, the concepts and attributes vary considerably.

jw
As a "Newbie" I am confused by the differences in "rules" of the different organizations. Since many racers compete in several clubs, it seems that some continuity would be good for everyone!
 

gastephens

New member
Davo said:
As a "Newbie" I am confused by the differences in "rules" of the different organizations. Since many racers compete in several clubs, it seems that some continuity would be good for everyone!
As a 6 year vintage racer, I am confused too. Lucky for me I run in a class with no competitors and everyone just seems happy to have me attend. I have been thinking of a production-based car for the everyday events but these discussions really have me reconsidering that idea.

Yes continuity and interchangeable rules would be great. There is another thread on this web forum about that. The only thing clear is that everyone has a different idea of what the rules should be and each vintage racing organization is targeting a slightly different core group of racers. Unfortunately, I think a standard rulebook will never happen.
 
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