Back in the 1960’s, Detroit’s automakers placed a great deal of emphasis on auto racing of all types and styles. One of the places they chose to do battle was in the Sports Car Club of America’s Trans-Am championship, which centered around commercially-produced cars that had been modified for racing competition.
The ponycars of the day, including the Ford Mustang, the Camaro seen here, the Plymouth Barracuda, Mercury Cougar, AMC Javelin, Pontiac Firebird, and Dodge Challenger, all found a home in Trans-Am racing.
Roger Penske campaigned a fleet of six Penske Camaro Z/28’s built to defend the Trans-Am championship in 1968, this one with the legendary Sam Posey behind the wheel for much of its racing career. As there are only four of these cars known to exist today, the significance of the car’s life takes on greater importance to the motorsports community.
Camaros of the day were actually poor road-race cars and required a lot of re-engineering to be successful in the twisties, but with the full weight of Chevrolet behind his race teams, Penske and Co. were able to be successful. This car relies on a 302-cube small-block topped off with a prototype dual-quad carburetor manifold, a manual transmission, and a notoriously-tight manual steering setup.
The roll cage and suspension were considered state-of-the-art at the time, although today they’d be considered backyard engineering. Regardless, the car still performs well enough that car owner Bill Bryan still toys around with the car on road courses like Watkins Glen and Lime Rock today as part of a classic Camaro road-race group. We enjoyed listening to Bryan’s reminiscence of the racing legends of the day, his ownership and road-race history in general. Which SCCA Trans Am Racer was your favorite?