Morning Qualifying – Attack of the Killer B's edition

Horst Kwech's Alfa Romeo GTV under pressure from John Morton's Datsun 510
When the SCCA Trans-Am series began it’s 1971 series, they found themselves in a bit of a quandry.  The Over 2 liter class had been the star of the Trans-Am show to that point in series history, but various outside pressures and SCCA mismanagement had removed the Big 3 from the playing field, leaving only AMC to provide factory backing.   Into this newly created vacuum stepped the cars and manufacturers of the 2.5 Challenge to create a new paradigm for American sedan racing.

Horst Kwech's Alfa Romeo GTV
Alfa Romeo was the returning champion in 1971, but it faced stiff competition from BMW, Triumph, and a new entry from Datsun.  Alfa won the first 2 races of the season at Lime Rock and Bryar.  Datsun, the next 2 races at Mid-Ohio and Edmonton. The two manufacturers would trade wins for the rest of the season, coming down to the season finale in Kent, Washington.  Which was cancelled…and then things got interesting.
From the website:
“The story is that Peter Brock, owner of the BRE Datsun team, approached Laguna Seca managment with a Datsun backed guarantee to buy $6,000 (typical 2.5 purse) worth of tickets if they would add a 2.5 race to their scheduled Can-Am race. It seems as if the cancellation of the Kent race put the Datsun team out of the championship points race and they needed another race to have a chance to win.”
Once the race at Laguna Seca was underway, things got more interesting still..
“A tight points race would mean a high probability of a great race. And it was.  This included one hard hit by Kwech on Morton that almost put Morton out at the corkscrew.  As the race progressed the Datsun made its only pit stop for fuel but the Alfa did not stop and Morton was now far behind Kwech’s Alfa.  The Alfa did not stop for fuel as the car had a problem with their track side fueling location and the SCCA would not allow them to refuel the car unless the filler was changed to a pit side location.  The Alfa team didn’t change and therefore could not stop for fuel.  Kwech ran out of fuel just after he took the checkered flag for what appeared to be a win.”….”When Kwech’s fuel tank was tested for its capacity it was found to slightly over 18 gallons. The rules provided that the maximum capacity was 15 gallons, clearly Kwechs fuel tank was illegal. He was disqualified and Morton was promoted to the winner which allowed Datsun to win the Manufacturers Championship.”
But, don’t take my word (and the word of for it, see for yourself.  Here’s a highlight film of the 1971 Trans Am 2.5 Challenge, produced by Datsun, full of 5 and dime goodness.  Enjoy!

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29 responses to “Morning Qualifying – Attack of the Killer B's edition”

  1. Mr_Biggles Avatar

    Aaagh. Can't see the videos or pics here at work. I want five and dime goodness. This will taunt me all day. I feel a cough coming on.
    Some nice pictures at the bsedan website.

  2. SSurfer321 Avatar

    BRE 510 = Drool
    Alfa GTV = Drool
    This post = new keyboard required

  3. TurboBrick Avatar

    Amateurs! Surely you could have stuffed a 3-gallon fuel line somewhere in that body.

  4. Alff Avatar

    La merda succede.
    I don't like to see Alfa lose but, hell's bells, Pete Brock was The Man.

    1. dr zero Avatar
      dr zero

      References to the American Peter Brock always initially confuse me, such is the profile of the Australian Peter Brock in the national profile down here.

      1. Alff Avatar

        Our Pete Brock comes up first in Wikipedia, I suppose the opposite is true in Kiwipedia.

  5. muthalovin Avatar

    Goddamn, Alfa got hosed. That is a shame.

  6. engineerd Avatar

    Alfa's pit crew, drawing on past experiences, all fell down to try and draw the penalty against Datsun. Unfortunately, soccer isn't very popular in the US.

    1. PowerTryp Avatar

      Didn't they tell the driver to start going the other way around the track half way through the race as well?

  7. CptSevere Avatar

    When I was a kid, we had a Datsun 510 wagon bought, I think, from Brock Datsun in Connecticut. My stepdad traded a Porsche 912 for it, if I remember correctly (the Porsche spent most of its time in the shop, anyway). Anyway, at about the same time, they bought a book all about John Morton, racing Datsun 510's for Brock Racing, "The Stainless Steel Carrot." I remember it being a great read. The way that Mom used to wail on that Datsun wagon makes me think that she liked the book, too. Hey, it's on Amazon, if anybody here can read.

    1. CptSevere Avatar

      Hey, Schmo, I'm talking about your Eleanor, the same car that we had when I was a kid. It's a fine automobile, even though it's not a Brock Datsun.

  8. Deartháir Avatar

    That lead photo very nearly needs a NSFW tag. Throw a little more powerslide in there, and I'm pretty sure that counts as porn.

  9. Bret Avatar

    Absolutely LOVE small bore Trans Am cars. The Alfa vs 510 vs 2002 wars would have been fun to run.
    I wish I had some shots of real vintage small bore T/A cars. The B Sedan-ish Bimmer is all I have to share.
    <img src="; alt="cool paint eh?">

  10. texan_idiot25 Avatar

    Scroggs. I love you.

    1. Deartháir Avatar

      Seconded. All in favour?

      1. PowerTryp Avatar


    2. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar

      We (except our bosses) all love Scroggs

    3. engineerd Avatar

      You can't have him! He's mine!

  11. dragon951 Avatar

    So much 70s. Bug eye lenses, modest drivers in thick rimmed glasses, flower child credit music…that shirtless dude with white shorts hiked up to his armpits. Sure makes for a much more riveting race than plugging Go Daddy and doing a back flip off your car door.
    "Kwech tested the strength of the Alpha radiator in turn 9."

  12. Black Steelies Avatar

    I would love to put that Datsun's paint scheme on a car. Prefereably an actual Datsun but I imagine it would look great on any box.

    1. Jim-Bob Avatar

      I have always wanted to put it on the proto-510, the B13 Sentra. Few people know it, but the guy who styled it was a 510 nut (Teruo Uchino if memory serves) and the styling similarities are not coincidental. In fact, if you superimpose one on top of the other the silhouettes are very similar. It's also no coincidence that it was fun to drive like the original. It was meant to be one of the first retro cars but as no one cherished old Japanese cars back then they never mentioned it in the advertising. Instead, they referred to it's rival of the time, the BMW 2002.

      1. Black Steelies Avatar

        I never knew that about the Sentra, but it makes sense. I saw a first gen Sentra SE-R in a Grassroots Motorsports article done up just that way. The guy bought it for a song to use for some 24 Lemons action, then continued to DOMINATE SCCA events with a few budgeted mods.
        <img src="; width="600">
        See the cardomain HERE.

      2. JeepyJayhawk Avatar

        Great, after reading this now I want a sentra to beat on

  13. ZomBee Racer Avatar

    I don't see one single goofy antenna or improperly applied roll of duck-tape.
    Amateurs .

    1. mdharrell Avatar

      It's worse than that– I only see one B in that top photo and it isn't even on the track!

  14. Ol' Shel' Avatar
    Ol' Shel'

    I dunno about you guys, but I got a little misty-eyed during the credits.
    Who knew John Morton was a hipster, eh?
    Great video, mainly because it's reassured me that flaring my dime was the right thing to do.

    1. Deartháir Avatar

      Flaring a dime is ALWAYS the right thing to do.

  15. Lotte Avatar

    Anyone spot the Corolla?
    Now I'm gonna watch today's Morning Qualifying tonight, and leaving a thank-you note on it tomorrow. Like today's. For yesterday.
    Thank You.

  16. Van Sarockin Avatar
    Van Sarockin

    You know how folks are always yammering on about the good old days? Those really were the good old days. damn.