By on October 24, 2011

It’s been quite a year for the builders of the Model T GT: a feature article in Hot Rod, plus several races in which the T held the lead for quite a while before vaporizing the transmission. Finally, everything came together this weekend at Infineon Raceway aka Sears Point, and the world’s quickest road-race Model T turned more laps than every one of its 170 competitors.
The team’s route to the winner’s circle involved a reduction in power, going from a 500CFM two-barrel carburetor to a 390CFM model, then retarding the ignition timing. This slowed the car down by a few seconds per lap, but kept the fragile T5 transmission alive and reduced the number of fuel stops by increasing the car’s range on a tank of fuel.
I’ve known Dave Schaible, the hot-rodder behind the T GT, since he helped me build the Impala Hell Project’s engine more than a decade ago, and I know how he scrounged up the bits and pieces to build today’s winner (I also know he’s good enough at building engines that we did an impound-and-dyno-test routine on the T GT’s Ford 302— when it was in the Buttonwillow-winning Mustard Yellow Volvo Doing 45 In The Fast Lane— at a Thunderhill LeMons race a while back: 188 horsepower).
According to LeMons Chief Perp Jay Lamm, the rules will soon be a-changing, making quasi-scratchbuilt-chassis cars like this (the T GT is built on a much-modified Model A frame with Fox Thunderbird suspension) more difficult to get onto a LeMons track (rumor has it that motorcycle engines in LeMons cars may also be outlawed). The T GT has become Schaible’s daily driver, anyway, so maybe it’s just as well that its racing days will be over soon. Congratulations, Team Model T GT!

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10 Comments on “And the Winner Is…...”

  • avatar

    Bummer about the proposed scratchbuilt rule, but congratulations to the Model T GT crew for rocking it while you can still go wild.

  • avatar

    Wow, that’s the first I’ve heard about not allowing scratch builts onto the track. I certainly won’t jump to conclusions until I see it in the rules, but that’d be a damn shame since it would exclude some of the coolest cars that have appeared in the series.

  • avatar

    Hopefully this won’t lead to a whole bunch of confusing rules that will turn this into another BMW or Miata spec series.

    I’m being an alarmist, I know, but penalty laps or buyout programs should be able to put a halt to scratch built junk being too fast shouldn’t it?

  • avatar

    Seems to me that leveling the playing field is a good think in this case. One person of 100 will have the knowledge to put together a car like the T. Fewer yet, the resources. The $500 rule is a good thing and it seems to be laughed at.

    I could put together a $500 car from the stuff in my yard. That is, I could if I were Schiable. Since I can’t I just follow the action from afar. Personally, I don’t think the tube frame chassis is one I can agree with.

  • avatar

    Aye, Senior Martin… I know you love to say this beautiful heap has 188hp – but how much TORQUE did it spew out?
    One of those numbers is bigger than the other. And I thought was kinda impressive – but might be why they kill those poor T-5’s.
    ~just sayin~

  • avatar

    I don’t mind the rule changes. To me, LeMons is about racing beaters on the cheap.

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