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Rasey Feezell built a GTV-based race car in the early-to-mid seventies to compete in the GTU class in IMSA. Although he had decided to utilize a GTAm-spec engine, he started with a 1967 step nose chassis. He had a lathe in his basement garage/shop and fabricated several parts for the car, some with more success than others...more on that in a minute.

He purchased a new narrow angle twin plug cylinder head and monosleeve from Alfa Romeo USA in New Jersey. I do not recall now whether he acquired a complete ready-to-run head, or an unfinished bare casting (but with cam caps) that came with a set of blueprints showing how to finish the ports, etc. Alfa USA had both versions on the shelf at the time. He did not want to fool with injection, so he ran 45 DCOE Webers. His big mistake was to try to machine his own block to accommodate the monosleeve. Either forgetting or not knowing to heat the block before removing the head studs resulted in disaster. While running in the newly assembled race engine, several studs pulled out of the block, taking chunks of the block with them. After buying a properly machined block from Alfa, he assembled another engine that stayed together, at least for a while.

The car had a regular close ratio gearbox (regular GTA ratios), which I bet came out of the old Ti Super race car, because I bought the Ti Super with a standard ratio 5 speed), mechanical linkage clutch, and a rear axle into which he installed one of those ratcheting limited slip units, not the common clutch pack LSD unit. I remember you could actually hear the clicking ratchet sound when pushing it around in his driveway or in the paddock at the track. He also put one of the Montreal sumps on the bottom of the diff to increase fluid capacity. It had a sliding block, too, with much of it homemade. I know because I spent the better part of a Saturday in his shop smooth sanding to his satisfaction the bronze block used in the sliding block assembly, after he had cut it off of a piece of bar stock.

It had stock 1600 uprights with knuckle risers. Brakes were stock 1600, as I recall, and utilized the stock master cylinder with a single reservoir. I remember that he mounted a second reservoir beside the first one up on the inner fender, and the pipe from it went down under the car to nothing. IMSA required separate reservoirs for front and rear brakes and Rasey didn't think it was necessary, so he did that to fool them. I guess one could say that some of his decisions on the car strayed from commonly-accepted practice on race car building. Is that tactful enough?

One of his brilliant moves, to me anyway, was his choice of wheels. Under IMSA rules wheels were "free" meaning you could run any width and even use center-lock wheels. To me, that particular Halibrand design is similar to the Campy designs seen on some exotic Italian super cars of that period. So they seem so natural on an Alfa. I believe he actually got the idea to use Halibrands from the huge annual or semi-annual (forget which it was back then) sale that Holman-Moody held regular as clockwork. They would take out this huge ad in Competition Press (now Autoweek) and list all of these neat race parts and tools that were obsolete to them. Those ads were always so interesting to read because it showed you what kind of projects they had been working on besides NASCAR.

So they listed their inventory of pin drive Halibrands that had been part of the GT40 LeMans program that H-M had been involved in. They were 15” diameter in three widths: I think they were 8, 9.5 and 11 inches wide. First Rasey ordered one of the narrowest, along with some pin drive adapter hubs, and made sure they would fit. Then he ordered one of the next widest and went through the same fitment process. Once he ascertained that it would work, too, he ordered one of the widest wheels to see if it would fit. It did – in the rear only. Since they all fit (widest only on the rear), he finally called them and bought out their complete inventory! He ended up using the 9.5’s on the front and the 11’s on the rear. Since he had no use for the narrow 8’s, he asked me if I would like to have him adapt them for the rear of the Ti Super…Let’s see, bolt-on GTA Campys on the front and pin drive Halibrands on the rear of an Alfa sedan? Uh, no, I don’t think so, Rasey. Thanks anyway. He said adapting the pin drive hubs to the rear was very simple, but putting them on the front required a lot of machine work.

As for body work, Rasey hated the bulbous look that GTAm flaired fenders gave to the front end, so he didn’t use them. Instead, he massaged stock inner and outer panels on the front to make those Halibrands and appropriate tires work. On the other hand, special work was needed to cover the super wide wheels and tires in the rear. First he took some regular GTAm rear fendrs, mounted them, and then used them to make molds for even wider flaired fenders that still retained the GTAm fender profile. First, he screwed sheet metal screws into the fenders at regular intervals and all to the same depth, so that they all protruded from the fender the same distance. Then he draped angel hair fiberglass over them and covered the angel hair in epoxy resin to set it. Voila! A new fender just like the old one, only sticking out farther. Very creative, or resourceful…or both.

Rasey ran the car one year but had a poor record with it. At the end of that season, he sold it to Ernie Smith and John Foshee, less the GTAm cylinder head. He would not say who he sold the head to. I could never figure out the need for that secrecy. Here are a couple of pictures of the car at Road Atlanta when Rasey owned it, and then a couple of the car at the same track a year later when Ernie and John first got it and began racing it. As you can see, one of the first things they did was update the look with a two headlight nose. You can also see that the engine has a single plug head. That was a “high port” head done by Ron Neal, complete with custom intake manifold with no water circulating through it. The block was monosleeve. While they had it, Ernie and John did a ton of work to the car. In a separate post, I’ll include pictures of the car after their improvements, and provide an account of the IMSA race at season’s end in 1977 that cinched the class trophy for Alfa Romeo that year.

Ted
OldAlfaGuy
 

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Richard Jemison
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Rasey`s race car

Ted, that car was bought by Dave Anderson from Tallahassee, Fl. around 1989/1990. He can elaborate on it`s minutae, but I know it had a 1600 engine with GTA gearbox, tilton type clutch, GTA /Autodelta suspension parts and sliding block (and a spare) rear end. Also came with a pair of FG GTA doors with sliding plexiglass windows, and a Alfa Romeo factory rear spoiler that was new and still had the parts decal on it. (he still has I believe) Along with the purchase came a spare chassis that is Dave`s current racecar. The original car did not have the Knock-off Ford GT40 wheels on it then. Those were on a GTJr with Autodelta Suspension parts that I bought from him in the late 90s along with the fixtures to build/drill the parts.

I sold Dave the wheels/adaptors and hubs for the original car and I know he ran the car at Daytona with them on it as we were garaged together. He sold the car to someone in Arkansas I believe.

The GTJr was built into a GTAm replica with 5 link rear suspension and all aluminum interior bits. I built 3 identicle roll cages in it along with Dave`s current car and another GT from the DC area over a week sometime about 2001. The GTJr remains unfinished but in new paint in Gerald Reyenga`s garage. He would sell it for the right offer.
If I can find pics I`ll post them below:
First two are of Dave`s car in my shop between my GTV6 GT2 car and my Formula Atlantic.
Other is at Sebring in `06
 

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Wish someone had a picture of my race car in action. Raced in New England New Hampshire, 75 Fetta,
a.k.a. "The Flying Dentist". Won many times got the trophies to prove it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Richard, you're getting ahead of me. Most of what you mention was going to be detailed in my next post. I know the details of the IMSA GTV car because I bought it from Ernie Smith, less engine and those Halibrands - to keep the cost down for me. I was living in Fort Walton Beach at the time, by the way. Right after he sold me the car, Ernie went to Sebring to try to sell the Halibrands because there was a vintage race there in conjunction with the 12 hour event, and he thought it would be a good opportunity to find a buyer for them. I went with him. I'll never forget, we were talking to a guy by the name of Dick Lepla who was a big-time vintage racer back then - he had an enclosed transporter back before it was common for vintage guys like today. He raced high end cars like chevrons, GT40's, etc. Because we didn't have the wheels with us for people to see, he was sure that they were not REAL Halibrands, and that we were trying to pull a scam. He wouldn't even give Ernie his contact info so he could send him pictures. So we kept strolling around the vintage paddock talking to the Cobra guys and eventually found a Cobra guy who wanted them. He was very happy with the wheels, so that deal worked out great for both parties.

All of the stuff you mention, the parts plus the IMSA race car and the car Dave Anderson now vintage races, was in a package deal that I traded to a friend named Doug Patterson (who also lived in FWB at the time) for a Ferrari Dino 206 GT. I had begun building the car Dave Anderson now owns and races, but lost interest in that project and felt like I needed a break from all things Alfa. So I gave Doug Patterson both cars and all of those parts you mentioned -plus some cash - for the Dino. Doug subsequently got into 911 Porches, lost interest in Alfas, and sold the collection of cars and parts to Dave Anderson. Once Dave Anderson acquired all of the stuff, he contacted me for details and history about the IMSA car. By the way, that damaged block that Rasey had machined for a monosleeve was in the bunch of parts that went with the cars. Side note: while I had that damaged block, I talked to Bill Barnes about repairing it. He had a machine shop of sorts, doing production contract work as I recall. I forget which year now, but we met in the infield at the 24 Hours of Daytona. I brought the block in my trunk for him to inspect. He said that, although in theory anything made of aluminum could be made good again, that block was nothing more than a huge paperweight! That was the last time I saw Bill Barnes.

Ted
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Discussion Starter #6
Richard, I was jesting about commenting your on my post too soon. I appreciate your input and knowledge about those cars. In fact, anyone is welcome to chime in anytime they feel like it. The fact is, I know I am taking too long to get all of this posted anyhow. But it is time consuming and like you and many others, I have more than one garage project going currently.

Probably not too many people interested in our old war stories, anyway, except us.

Ted
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Not quite true, I knew some of those players through Ron Neal at Ausca and Prototype engineering with Fast Eddy Wachs. I'm sure others that worked around these shops knew them as well.
My Jacket patch came from Karen (hotlegs) Mcgowan from her stint with Ron.
 

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Another voice of experience that remembers odd stuff is heard from!
 

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I find these history lessons ("war stories") quite interesting without having any personal knowledge of the people involved. Thanks for sharing.
 

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I agree, I'm in on all of these. I came onto the SoCal scene as a teen in the mid 70s, and missed most of the good stuff by a few years, but was there for the early vintage and AROSC events at Riverside and Willow Springs. These stories are the best, whether everyone's memory is 100% or not.
Andrew
 

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More History

I bought the Rasey Feezell car, later improved and raced by Ernie Smith and John Foshee from Doug Patterson in 1996 and vintage race it until 1999 when I sold the car to Sam Partin in Little Rock. Sam raced a 1300 GTV in the Corinthian Group at Texas World Speedway and want another car, but with a 2 liter engine. The car was fun to drive, even with the mild 1600 engine that Ted put in it. I never found out if Sam put it on the track. I think he was interested in restoring it and I even lined up a GTAm engine for him, but it was too expensive.

Ernie and John ran the car in IMSA from 1973 to 1978 when they moved on to a transaxle car. In 1976 they had enough points to win the Touring Under 2 Liter championship and gave their trophy to Alfa at a big party in NY.

In its final configuration it had wide factory fiberglass fenders, a wide from air dam and eventually ran a GTAm engine. Later, Ernie sold the GTAm parts to a GTA expert in the US. I added a set of factory lightweight fiberglass doors, with sliding plexiglas windows, that I obtained from Doug Patterson with all his other Alfa parts.

If you search for old IMSA records, you can find race results for this car with both Rasey and Ernie driving.

I have a couple photos from Ernie Smith filed away and i will try to scan them tomorrow an post to the board.
 

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Sam is a friend of mine and a fellow racer in CVAR. He still has the car but has not restored it and it is in storage. He races a 1300 jr and is very fast so he doesn't need a 2 liter to make us look even worse!
 

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I bought the Rasey Feezell car, later improved and raced by Ernie Smith and John Foshee from Doug Patterson in 1996 and vintage race it until 1999 when I sold the car to Sam Partin in Little Rock. Sam raced a 1300 GTV in the Corinthian Group at Texas World Speedway and want another car, but with a 2 liter engine. The car was fun to drive, even with the mild 1600 engine that Ted put in it. I never found out if Sam put it on the track. I think he was interested in restoring it and I even lined up a GTAm engine for him, but it was too expensive.

Ernie and John ran the car in IMSA from 1973 to 1978 when they moved on to a transaxle car. In 1976 they had enough points to win the Touring Under 2 Liter championship and gave their trophy to Alfa at a big party in NY.

In its final configuration it had wide factory fiberglass fenders, a wide from air dam and eventually ran a GTAm engine. Later, Ernie sold the GTAm parts to a GTA expert in the US. I added a set of factory lightweight fiberglass doors, with sliding plexiglas windows, that I obtained from Doug Patterson with all his other Alfa parts.

If you search for old IMSA records, you can find race results for this car with both Rasey and Ernie driving.

I have a couple photos from Ernie Smith filed away and i will try to scan them tomorrow an post to the board.
Hi, did any one record the serial number of this GT.

Thanks

Ken
 

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Not quite true, I knew some of those players through Ron Neal at Ausca and Prototype engineering with Fast Eddy Wachs. I'm sure others that worked around these shops knew them as well.
My Jacket patch came from Karen (hotlegs) Mcgowan from her stint with Ron.
Any pictures?
 
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