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Discussion Starter #1
Seeking C Sedan historians!

3 years has passed since I bought GTAJ (775511) from Dan Rapley and it is now only a few months from completion of its restoration in Australia.

Tim Doyle has completed the bodywork (a bigger job than at first sight as the car had a twisted front cross member). Vin Sharp has provided all engine and gearbox parts,and Sydney race preparer Mick Mitchell (who has a great Alfa history) is completing the mechanical assembly.

I have done a fair bit of work on the car’s history but there is one aspect of which I am not 100% sure and that is its history from 1969-71. I imagine the BB is the best way to clarify this.

I have some good bits of verified knowledge….

- 2 x SCCA logbooks commencing in April 1972
- Correspondence with 5 of the 6 guys listed as racing it in the logbooks
- Racing history from 2nd owner on…Robert Henson/Gerald Strickfaden 1972-3, Jerry Wannarka 1973-4, George J Cichon 1975-7, Larry Sterenberg 1976-81
- A file note that says it was driven by Robert Henson in 1971.
- SFollowing retirement from racing, owners were John Murphy, Judge Parker and briefly Daniel Rapley
- A note from Don Black listing the Audodelta cars he sold new. There were 5 Juniors, including 775511. He notes that “any other cars in U.S were private ‘grey’ imports”. He also notes that no production GTAs are in his records. So it is fair to say that 775511 was an Autodelta car.
- Don Black’s record says he sold it to “O’Brien in NJ”. From my research I deduced that this would have been European sports car importer, Tom O’Brien. I corresponded with O’Brien who says he never sold a GTA but some cars might have gone through his books, as Alfa Inc was not able to sell directly to customers.

So, who was the first owner?
- Both Wannarka and Henson think the first owner was Gene Strandberg from Des Moines. He raced a GTAJ in C Sedan in 1969-70. It was listed for sale in August 1970 "Autodelta, Shankle prepared, excellent record, freshly rebuilt engine”
- SCCA did not commence issuing logbooks until 1972. 775511’s first logbook was issued to Gerry Strickfaden in April 1972, but he tells me that the car was actually owned by Bob Henson and they both raced it.
- Strickaden told me: Henson had a red GTA that was damaged in a trailer accident and he bought the white car (775511) from Strandberg.

All this seems to me to hang together .

I want the history of the car to be accurate. As an Aussie I am not well versed in US race history so I am wondering if any of you American GTA experts can confirm the first owner of 775511 as Gene Strandberg?

I will post photos of the car when it is finished. My plan is to race (or at least track) it in Australia, following which I would love to bring it to America to race it at some of its old hunting grounds such as Road America, Road Atlanta, Mid Ohio.

Any snippets of history or photos would be most welcome. The photo below shows Jerry Wannarka at VIR in 1974.

Colin Wilson-Brown
Sydney
 

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This the one that had steel front fenders? If so I was interested when Rapley had it. I talked to Judge Parker at the time, who knew it in period. I don't know how to get ahold of him any longer though.
Andrew
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Andrew. I had not seen that photo. Do you know where it was taken?
After I bought it from Dan Rapley, I had email exchanges with Judge Parker and with four of the guys who raced it in period. It also came with SCCA log books so I have pretty good history.
It had aluminium fenders when I bought it but I don't think the front fenders were original.
The car has been restored by the three best 105 specialists in Australia and is only a month away from completion. Very exciting after 5 years! I will post photos soon.
Colin
 

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From Gene Strandberg. I ordered the car from Don Black, Alfa USA before it was eligible for racing. It was prepared for racing by Autodelta in Italy. It arrived at Newark in December 1967. A dealer had to be involved so we used Tom Obrien because he was closest to the Newark docks. That same month the FIA homologated it for racing. So I had the only car in the US at that time. Don Black strongly encouraged me to race it in the 1968 24 hours of Daytona and also Sebring. However, I didn't either the time or the money for that kind of race. I have regretted the decision ever since.

I did race at Daytona in the 1969 ARRC - a picture is attached.

I replaced the front end and fenders but got the aluminum parts from Don. Also, dropped a valve head in the engine at Elkhart Lake. Sent the head to Shankle and he welded up and sized the combustion chambers. Also replaced the piston, rod, and sleeve. No damage to the block.

Another picture and an Alfa newspaper ad are also attached.



Gene
 

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Seemed to me it was described by Rapley as having steel front fenders, but maybe that had been in period and not at the time it was for sale. I'll see if I saved anything from Judge Parker but I don't think so (old email disasters) and you probably have anything I'd have found out then in any case.
So great, congrats.
Andrew
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Great to hear from you, Gene.
With the benefit of the SCCA logbooks from 1972, I managed to contact all of the owner/drivers of 775511 with the exception of you - the first owner. I even spoke with Tom O'Brien, who explained that he may have put the car through his books for Don Black, but that he didn't actually sell any Alfas. So he didn't know who bought it. Jerry Wannarka, who raced it in '73-'74 thought it was you, as did Bob Henson, who I believe you sold it to. Bob and Gerry Strickfaden raced it in 1972.
What a shame you didn't race it in the Sebring 12 hour or Daytona 24. But you did well to qualify for ARRC in '69. My research says you finished 10th (and won the Mid West division).
Do you have any history of where and when you raced the car? Or any other photos you could share with me at [email protected]?
Needless to say the restoration has cost an arm and a leg, but the car is going to be as near as I can get it to when you bought it.
Kind regards,
Colin
 

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Congratulations

Congratulations Colin and crew,
Magnificent restoration and I look forward to acting out our deal one day!! :grin2:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
It's been 5 years since I bought this GTA Junior Corsa (775511) off eBay from Daniel Rapley in New York and shipped it to Sydney. Tim Doyle (Zoo Autocraft) and Mick Mitchell's team at Corse Automotive Services have done fabulous work recreating it as raced by first owner Gene Strandberg 50 years ago.
Thanks for posting the pics, Sketchi.
 

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Hi Colin,
Car looks great.
I'm not a C sedan historian, so my comments may not be what you are looking for.

I was going over some of the comments made and matching them up with the dates the FIA documents were listed.

Dec-67 Gene Strandberg : First owner
I ordered the car from Don Black, Alfa USA before it was eligible for racing. .
It was prepared for racing by Autodelta in Italy. It arrived at Newark in December 1967
A dealer had to be involved so we used Tom Obrien because he was closest to the Newark docks

Dec-67 ? That same month the FIA homologated it for racing.
This does not make sense, the only cars homologated in around Dec 67 was the addition in Jan 68 for the GTj FIA 5148 page 18, or the GTA 1600 for the ATE calipers

Don Black strongly encouraged me to race it in the 1968 24 hours of Daytona and also Sebring
This does not make sense as it was too early to race it as a GTAj, as had to wait until Jan 1969 to race it as GTAj was first homoligated in Jan 1969 FIA 1557.

It could have raced as a GTj with steel fenders and panels in the 3rd-4th Feb 1968 Daytona 24 hours
(or possibly as a GTA 1600 in Jan 1968 when the 1600 GTA had ATE brakes FIA 625? but I doubt it as wrong body number for an all alloy car)

I replaced the front end and fenders but got the aluminum parts from Don.

Jan-69 First GTAj Homologation FIA 1557 1-1-1969

The Daytona ARRC in the 1969 was held 26th Nov 1969
http://www.virhistory.com/cars/arrc/covers/69-cover.jpg
Okay now as an alloy with front fenders body

Regards Steve
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thank you Steve. You have an eagle eye for detail.
In Alleggerita, Martin Uebelher notes the production date as 19680507 and the sale to Alfa Romeo Inc, New Jersey as 19681231. So my guess is that Gene Strandberg's memory or records are 12 months out. It is 50 years ago!
If Gene bought the car in December 1968, not '67 and began racing it in '69 that would fit with the homologation dates you have detailed. Does that make sense to you?
Regards, Colin
 

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Hi Colin,
One year out sure.

The Daytona ARRC in the 1969 was held 26th Nov 1969, was a 14 lap race average speed of winning car was 142 km/hr, where Gene came 10th 1969 ARRC Complete Results. The Porsche 911's were running in other events at Daytona at 153km/hr winning speed that's over 10km/hr difference.

But let's have a look at 24 Hour Daytona was held 3rd Feb 1968 https://www.racingsportscars.com/results/Daytona-1968-02-04.html coming 20th was not what Autodelta was expecting for one of it's 1600 GTA (a private GTA team came 19th).

The 24 Hour Daytona was held 2nd Feb 1969 average speed of winner was 159.75 km/hr needed there was a Giulia SS probably a 1600(27th). https://www.racingsportscars.com/results/Daytona-1969-02-02.html
It may have been possible with a huge amount of effort to take delivery of a car on the 31st December 1968 and have it ready and practiced in it by 2nd Feb 1969. In 1969 there was only one Alfa running a Giulia SS. The big factory 1968 effort just wasn't there in 69. With so many Porsche 911's it would have been a hard slog for a placing no better than 20th for the GTAj 1300 if every thing when well.
Regards Steve
 

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Hi Colin,
here are two bits of information

I have some good bits of verified knowledge….
- A file note that says it was driven by Robert Henson in 1971.
.
.
- Strickaden told me: Henson had a red GTA that was damaged in a trailer accident and he bought the white car (775511) from Strandberg.
One hypothetical series of events:
The alloy nose/front fenders on the white car (775511) were remove and place on the red GTA car, by Henson.
Then a steel nose/front fenders were placed on the white car (775511) by Henson or the next owner?
Then later a steel nose/front fenders on the white car (775511) were remove and an alloy nose/front fenders were placed on the white car (775511) by ?
Now you have removed the alloy nose/front fenders on the white car (775511) and repaired them ?

Second hypothetical series of events:
Gene damaged the the white car (775511) and installed a steel front end?.
Then Gene reinstated the alloy nose on the white car (775511) ?
The alloy nose/front fenders on the white car (775511) were remove and place on the red GTA car, by Henson.
Then a steel nose/front fenders were placed on the white car (775511) by Henson or the next owner?
Then later a steel nose/front fenders on the white car (775511) were remove and an alloy nose/front fenders were placed on the white car (775511) by ?

I'm thinking the Second hypothetical series of events even though seems exhausting for the car's front end could be a line of investigation.

Regards Steve
 

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Sorry - my memory was a year off.

Re fenders: I had to replace both fenders and the front end. Don Black shipped them to my body shop in three pieces. They were definitely aluminum - I remember watching the repairman trying to weld them together. He had never welded aluminum before. They were still aluminum when I sold the car to Henson.

Gene
 

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More names from memory lane - my Duetto was built by John Shankle and raced by Lee Midgley for a year before I bought it. Gene
 

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Lee Midgley car - #613217 1600 GTA that was ultimately converted to C Sedan sported steel fenders ...
I think when Tucker got her in the 1990s she had a steel rear clip. Not sure about front. Also never heard about C-Sedan use So as not to hijack thread send me an email at kendgb at AOL dot com.

Ken
 
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