23T altered WB1978
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  1. #1
    I'm a newbie ! max-nl's Avatar
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    23T altered WB1978

    Hello to all,
    I’m Max from Germany and would like to introduce my 40+ year old 23T altered.

    The history of the car.
    The Chassis build by Norm Wheeldon in the UK in 1978/1979. The first owners of the car were 3 friends (Steve Bingham, Clive Dawe and Tony Little) who wanted to go faster after racing a Ford Pop with a Jaguar straight six for a little while.
    The Jaguar drivetrain was put into the new chassis fitted with a 23T glass body and named “Apollo II”.

    After several years of racing it was sold to 2 guys from Germany Guenter Kolb and Rico Anthes (that same Rico later ran a Mercedes funny car and Top Fuel dragsters and now has the Hockenheim Dragstrip named after him).
    Guenter ran the altered first as bought, then resprayed and called “Sunrise”. Later the car was fitted with a homemade East German car model Trabant Body and a SBC.

    Uwe Kuleci bought the car, refitted the 23T now painted in Green and named it the “Nitro Turtle”. After some years it was resprayed again, now with airbrush and called “Quicksilver”.
    Unfortunately Uwe passed away (RIP) and the rolling chassis was put up for sale by his relatives.

    Markus Witte bought it, fitted a Mazda 2 rotor rotary engine with a Turbo painted it Red and named it “the Red Baron”.

    After having some bad luck with these engines it was sold to Tom Meier who wanted to build it with an early supercharged Hemi. Doctor’s advice made him stop racing and that is when I bought the rolling chassis in late 2015.

    My first intention was to put in the BBC with crower stacks I had standing in my garage for several years. Opening the engine unveiled a lot of bad/worn parts so that engine is back in the corner for some other time/project. Due to moving house/renovating the altered was put on hold for several years.

    I got in mail contact with Steve, 1 of the original owners, in 2016 via his Website Steve Bingham Vintage Services - Start Page (here is also the history of the car) and we met at Dragstalgia in the UK in 2017. That is where we made a gentlemen’s agreement to race against each other in 2018. Steve has returned to drag racing as well with an old topolino altered which he restored himself.

    Before I finally could get started on the car it was November 2017, now the pressure was on.
    The chassis was brought back to bare metal and some support tubes were added, finished it off with a brushed on black paint.
    I found an 1972 350 Oldsmobile 2 barrel engine with 7A heads which I fitted to a Powerglide, an engine plate was made to adapt the 2 together (BOP vs Chevy bolt pattern) and fit it in the chassis, this works really well.
    The engine was checked over, seals, gaskets and timing chain + gears replaced and a damaged lifter repaired. Then it was cleaned, brush painted gold and fitted with some goodies, MT valve covers, 3711 Edelbrock intake, homemade zoomies, MSD 6AL HEI conversion ignition, and a 76 olds Quadrajet.
    Fuel comes from an electric Edelbrock pump.
    The cooling was done with the stock water pump, V-belt driven to the crank and an Opel Corsa radiator with electric fan.
    The Powerglide already had a lot of TCI stuff in it and received a B&M 3200 stall converter.
    Driveshaft is from a Gen2 F body which was heavily shortened and fitted with a rear conversion U-Joint to match the Chrysler 8 ¾ rear axle with 4,55 gears. The 31” slicks ensure more than enough grip.
    The body was repaired, stripped from 40 years of paint, revealing all the colors it wore during its life (the paint was not bounded well to the body and lose), and painted in black & white with a gold stripe with some rattle cans (as time was not on my side). A friend from my neighbor made the decals WB1978 which is the race number and also the year of birth of the car. WB is the class, Wild Bunch.
    All the aluminum panels were made as well as the electrics.

    3 days before leaving to the UK the car was finished, no time for testing as we do not have a dragstrip here, so we loaded it all up on the trailer and started the 530 mile journey to Santa Pod raceway from Germany via Luxemburg, Belgium, France crossing the Channel to the UK.

    It was a great event and I met all my goals:
    1 getting to the event, with the car (running or not).
    2 run the car at the event
    3 run faster then 13.9 (my previous best ET)
    4 match race against Steve.
    First practice runs were made on Friday and ran an 11.9 on the first run. I was over the moon on that as I never expected it to go that fast with this old untested 200hp engine. As well as the engine already hit the 5800 rpm limiter at 1250 feet causing it to sputter the last bit on the track due to the 4.55 gears.
    Best run was an 11.5 against Steve who ran an 11.4, in total we ran 3 races, he won all.
    We both had a blast racing these 2 old cars as they were nice side by side runs

    Clive Dawe (one of the other first owners) was also at the races to visit, he had not been at Santa Pod for 35 years (that is when they stopped racing). Clive and Steve still recognized a lot of things on the car from back then.
    Even Tony Morris who ran a similar car in Germany back in the 80’s and 90’s in Germany dropped by to have a chat, he now lives and races in the US again.

    All in all it was totally worth it even though the engine started to have a bit of an oil pressure issue on Friday, fixed it but came back later on Saturday stopping us from racing on Sunday.
    We did attend the Cackle fest on Saturday evening and for me, that was the icing on the cake.

    Since then I did not have the time to attend any other races but have been working on the car fixing some issues.

    I will post some pics of the build later on.




    Last edited by max-nl; 28-03-2019 at 09:24.

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  3. #2
    Rods 'n' Sods Junkie Andy650's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting. What a great story glad you met your goals sounds like you had a great time

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    Official RnS Addict steve1275's Avatar
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    Great story!
    Nuttier than squirrel shit

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    Official RnS Addict 296moon's Avatar
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    Great stuff love to see the build pics

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    Great story - I was racing back then and Apollo II beat me!

  8. #6
    I'm a newbie ! max-nl's Avatar
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    Thanks for the nice comments,
    Here are the pics of the build, first the Body
    IMG_0001.JPG
    Last edited by max-nl; 31-03-2019 at 20:38.

  9. #7
    I'm a newbie ! max-nl's Avatar
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    The body was is over 6 months time as my mate did not always had time in the after hours.
    So it was a jumping back and forth between the body and the rest of the car.

    The idea was to return it to the original shape from 1978 as much as possible.
    I cut out the riser around the drivers area as it was very heavy (4kg) and completly made out of filler, plus It provided the clearance to have more room for the steeringwheel. As I am 195cm I needed to change the angle of the steering column which caused interfearance.
    The shorthening of the body in the front was needed, as the extension was not bonded well to the rest of the body. It then was decided to make that out of Aluminium, how it used to be. It also made the body a bit lighter.

    Due to the lack of time I had to paint it with some spray paint cans but it turned out better as expected.
    The vynil race numbers finished it off.








    Last edited by max-nl; 31-03-2019 at 21:58.

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