June 30, 2011
June 29, 2011
Red Mk1 Lysholm
June 28, 2011
June 20, 2011
The 'VW Motorsports Handbook' in its entirety. I honestly had no idea anything like this ever existed, but it makes a lot of sense given the direction of the company in the USA at the time. The VW of America president, Fuller, wanted to promote Volkswagens as the car that was affordable and could deliver the goods both on and off the track. This piece of promotional history shows that VW was actively promoting the use of their cars in motorsport, and going so far as to spell out all the ways that you yourself could get involved. From auto cross to SCCA and IMSA pro racing, and everything in between.
It just so happens that our IMSA GTI / VW Sport Caravan GTI was an integral part of that message, appearing on both the front and back covers. It's a real shame Fuller wasn't able to see his vision to fruition, we might have a very different VW here today.
Full handbook posted after the jump.
June 18, 2011
So I received that 'VW Motorsports Handbook' that I found on eBay, and have put together this little combination of scans from the 8-page booklet. I'll do a full post on what it covers inside, but I thought it was very cool to not only find this oddball piece of VW Sport history in the USA, but to find it in such good condition. The thing is mint!
Although there is now not a shred of doubt about the Caravan GTI being an official Volkswagen car, and the car we have in our possession being the same car pictured here, it is curious that it does appear slightly different in these pictures. Sure, the wheels, fenders, graphics, instrument cluster and everything are the same. But there is no giant 'Portland Racing' painted down the side and it has some additional stickers not seen in any other images, that we have seen thus-far. Those include additional Valvoline stickers on the front fenders and rear valance and Schrick stickers, also up on the fenders. Stickers are no big deal as they are easily added or removed, but it's odd that there is not a trace of these on the car as it sits now. Curiously, there are two race seats in one shot, only one race seat in other shots. Why go through the trouble of putting seats in and out for different pictures? Makes no sense.
Full scans of the VW Motorsports Handbook tomorrow!
June 10, 2011
Against all odds APR Motorsport pulled out a fantastic 1-2 finish at Watkins Glen this past weekend. Considering how things were at the start, this seems almost impossible to believe. APR has always seemed to do well at Watkins, with their first Continental Tire victory coming at the track in 2009. All three APR VW GTIs started from the back of the pack. The #171 championship car of Ian Baas and Ryan Ellis had an engine let go in qualifying which meant they started at the back of the pack.
The 181 and new 161 Mk5 GTI (replacing the now-retired / written-off GS class S4) were moved to the back of the pack for a technical infraction of some sort, which was doubly disappointing as the Gleason brothers in the 181 and Nate Norenberg in the 161 (along with Josh Hurley) were set to start 3rd in ST.
Despite all that, the team regrouped and passed the entire ST field and ended up at the front of the pack. That's 55 cars! The equivalent of starting from the back and passing the entire field for victory at Le Mans from a number of cars passed standpoint.
The final finish was the 181 in first, 161 in second, and 171 in 31st. Ian lost the driver's championship points lead after suspension problems set them back in the field.
Although it's unfortunate for Ian to get bumped from the lead of the driver's championship, APR and VW remain in very strong positions, with VW retaining the manufacturer lead by one point over Mazda, and APR sitting fourth in team points. Ryan Ellis remains in the top five in the driver's championship.
With four events remaining it's crucial for APR to keep it together and finish strong in every event.
For more: www.grand-am.com / www.aprmotorsport.com
June 8, 2011
Jack. Pot. Found on eBay and currently en route, what we have here is definitive proof of a connection between our Mk2 and VW Sport. I'll detail the rest as soon as we get it, but it's finally proof of this car's existence beyond the hearsay and VW Sport Caravan poster.
Speaking of which, I also scored this VW Sport Caravan '85 poster. A little rough around the edges to be sure, but at 30x40" it's a glorious find. Once again the VW Sport Caravan IMSA GTI is on the poster at the far right. Supposedly they gave out different posters and 'hero cards' for each car at each race. The hunt is currently on for the IMSA GTI's hero card, as that should provide the true reason for this car's existence.
So just when things were looking down, they're looking up. Way up. More soon.
June 6, 2011
Axis of Oversteer, one of the better auto blogs out there in the big wide world of web, has just introduced the livery for their new Porsche GT3 Cup, and I have to say, it's pretty eye catching. Somewhat ironically, despite it being a semi-professional feeder series for the American Le Mans Series, the GT3 Challenge has some of the better-looking race cars out there. It's like everyone who moves up forgets how to make a good looking livery once they go full-super-bigtime.
Anyways, we wish them the best of luck this weekend at their debut event, check out the full batch of pics and some video over at Axis of Oversteer.
June 4, 2011
I referenced the Momo 935 pit truck in another post about a year ago, and here we have another shot with Dr. Moretti aka Mr. Momo, and the Momo Rabbit Pickup. I snagged this the the Pelican Parts forums, where there is a vast supply of vintage photos thanks to a few key members. Obviously this is a cutout of an ad for something, maybe Bosch?
Moretti had a certain fondness for Joest-built Porsche 935s, this one being an earlier model based on the standard 935 chassis, and the one pictured in the previous post being an aluminum tube-frame Joest Moby Dick copy. Yes. Aluminum tube-frame. You'll note that the car is sporting Penthouse Magazine co-sponsorship, and Moretti is accompanied by Dominique Maure who was the official spokeswoman of the Penthouse / Momo team.
DeNarvaez Enterprises is a sponsor on the car as well, and some time after this picture was taken this Joest 935J was repainted in the traditional DeNarvaez racing colors of blue with a tri-color band of yellow, orange and red, while retaining less extensive Momo and Penthouse sponsorship. Based on the car and the paint-scheme, this picture was likely taken between in early 1981. DeNarvaez first ran with the Momo team in 1980 at the Daytona Finale. Beginning in 1981 Mauricio DeNarvaez started driving full-time with Momo, so based on that and the settting I would bet this was taken at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1981 where they finished 6th (DNF'd) with Charles Mendez.
June 1, 2011
The VW Sport Caravan GTI. Ever since it popped up onto Bring a Trailer it has been shrouded in mystery. Or perhaps more accurately, it wasn't as mysterious as it was that barely anyone knew anything about it. All that we had to go on was the following:
- The GTI was used on the 1985 VW Sport Caravan, a traveling example of sporting VWs put on display at motorsport events.
- It was painted in VW Sport graphics, along with logos (and a build tag) for a company named Portland Racing. Google revealed absolutely nothing about Portland Racing.
- It may or may not have been built from a spare IMSA ProFormance shell that Portland Racing ran in 1985, for a driver named Eric Randoph.
- Eric's name also adorned the roof of the GTI. Google turns up nothing on Eric Randolph.
- The car had big, wide fenders similar to what a GTU class car would have been allowed, but VW did not run GTU in 1985. It may have been a GTU concept.
- The GTI had never seen the track.
- The GTI came from VW and was gifted to a rally driver in 1991, Mark Molner.
- Mark never used the car as he retired from driving after a bad accident, and it sat on a trailer in Ohio until it was sold off in 2002.
- The current owner had plans to restore it at various times, but decided to sell it as he has too many other projects and not enough time.
- Literally no other pictures, information or memories could be found, discovered or dislodged about the car, Portland Racing, Eric Randolph, or the 1985 VW Sport Caravan itself. Not a shred.