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74 Dodge Charger

Discussion in 'Historical' started by JohnRogers, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. JohnRogers

    JohnRogers Paper Tag Rubicon

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  2. Mike V.

    Mike V. Mopar-nac The Moderator
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    Before LeMans 24 there are various days where different races are held with everything from classic race cars to modern sportsman racing.

    It is not televised as far as I know but there have been YouTube videos previously posted here of various muscle at era cars (including Charger) running the full course.

    Mike
     
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  3. Beentherebefore

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    Here is a link with much more information on that car. It actually ran in a LeMans race back when it was competitive. Then it was brought back out in 2006 for one of their historical events.

    http://www.olympia-charger.com/2007/05/hershel_mcgriff.html

    I'm a little surprised that R&T didn't do a better job researching the history of the car for their story.
     
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  4. Beentherebefore

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    I knew that there was stuff out there on the ORIGINAL car that Herschel McGriff took to LeMans in 1976 (not the clone built for the 2006 nostalgia trip). I clicked onto every link in the above website and it eventually led me to a Photobucket page which had these pictures from an (unspecified) magazine article written back in 1976 on McGriff's LeMans adventure. The Photobucket site said to share, so........



    Le Mans class for NASCAR cars [Grand International Class] in 1976. Herschel McGriff's Dodge as it passes under the famous Dunlop Bridge at Le Mans.

    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately, though the team had been warned about the lower octane gas available in Europe (and had cut the motor's octane requirement from 100+ to about 90) they did not come prepared for the lowly 80 octane gas that actually was available and only were able to run a few actual race laps before burning a piston and dropping out.
     
  5. DC-93

    DC-93 Active Member

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    Cool info - great job of sluething!

    So, this "may" be the real reskinned Hamilton #40 SuperBird. Soon after this, the car traded hands and was lost to history. (apparently)

    Unless the actual heritage was known at the time, it could have ended up anywhere... dirt track, figure 8, anywhere...

    It was 'just a car' and an old, non competitive one at that. Put out to pasture, parted out, cut up... Who knows??

    p.s. the car appears to sit high, which could be a clue it was re-skinned. from an old 69 built Nichels chassis. A 'new' 74 era Petty Charger body sits lower on the chassis.
    Just noticed, it's a 71-72 body. 1/4 windows gave it away! Bumper appears to have the 'dent' in the middle too, unlike 73-74 Chargers.
     
  6. Beentherebefore

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    Here is another picture from the same site showing Herschel entering the car @ LeMans and giving a more comprehensive side view of the body. In an interview posted on the Olympia Charger link, McGriff talks about being mobbed everywhere they went with that car and the surprising amount of interest in it, even though the actual race results obviously weren't good. Considering that the chassis underneath was 6 or even 7 years old at the time (and there are good indications that it was originally the old #40 Petty Enterprises winged car driven by Pete Hamilton), it goes to show how a factory backed racing effort can still pay off for the company years later and in ways originally unforeseen.


    [​IMG]
     

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  7. Beentherebefore

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    Information on the REPLICA '74 Olympia Charger (NOT the original) taken to the 2006 LeMans reunion from the April 2009 issue of "Hemmings Motor News";

    "Further investigation led him to Dick Pierson, who helped fill in the gaps in the unrecorded portions of the Le Mans Dodge effort, which had widened over time. Bringing the Dodge back to Le Mans for the inaugural Le Mans Classic was fast becoming a reality, except that the whereabouts of Herschel's steed were unknown, and further searching proved futile. With a dream nearly dashed, Christophe was able to locate another '72 Charger racer, still equipped with a 426 Hemi. In fact, the car was a legend in its own right; it was the last Hemi big-block powered Dodge to win a national title--the 1977 USAC series, which still allowed such a power plant--with Paul Feldner behind the wheel. With Dick's help stateside, Christophe was able to restore the USAC vintage racer a second time, under the guise of Herschel's Olympia Beer Dodge, and have it ready to race in the 2006 running of Le Mans Classic."
     
  8. Beentherebefore

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    I debated which thread to post this (partial) article on (USAC historical would have been appropriate) but finally decided it would fit here better as it fills in a missing link from the Hemmings article in post #7 above. If you can read it, it mentions that the car that Paul Feldner drove to the USAC championship in 1977 was an ex-Butch Hartman car.

    Paul Feldner USAC article.jpg

    Again, this is the car Pierson & Christophe used in 2006 to build the REPLICA of Herschel McGriff's Le Mans car , NOT the original car that McGriff took in 1976.

    Nevertheless, an interesting story.
     
  9. Fast Eddie

    Fast Eddie Valued Member
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  10. Beentherebefore

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    Just found this Youtube link of the replica Olympia Charger @ LeMans;

    It's obviouisly not the original car, but it's worth playing the video just to hear that glorious Nascar Hemi sound.

     
  11. Fast Eddie

    Fast Eddie Valued Member
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    For your information there also was a Hemi Cuda that was entered in he race but was not allowed to race due to not passing inspection. It was entered by:

    #45
    Michel Guicherd, F
    Chrysler Hemicuda V8
    Christian Avril, F
    Jean-Claude Geral, F
    Entry not accepted
     
  12. Beentherebefore

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    Maybe because a Hemi-Cuda was never legal for road racing, at least not in any series that I can recall. Now if Mr Gucherd had tried to enter a small-block powered 'Cuda (a la Trans AM) he might have passed inspection and been allowed on the track.......in fact, they might have been glad to have him participate.
     
  13. Beentherebefore

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    This just popped up on Pinterest - photo of the original Dodge Charger that Hershel McGriff took to LeMans in 1976;

    McGriff Charger @ LeMans, 1976.jpg
     
  14. Beentherebefore

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    Boy, I didn't realize that there still was that much interest in Hershel McGriff's Le Mans effort.

    Here is a link to a short You-tube video that briefly shows the car being prepped before the race by Hersh (in green shirt) and his son Doug;


    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1LQKhhaGhs
     
  15. DC-93

    DC-93 Active Member

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    That's because today's Nascar sucks! o_O
    :cool:
     
  16. Fast Eddie

    Fast Eddie Valued Member
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    How do you know. You said you haven't watched a race in years. The racing is way better than it was back in the 60's and 70's.
     
  17. DC-93

    DC-93 Active Member

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    I gambled and watched the '17 500. That wasn't racing.
    That was a wreckfest designed to keep the ghouls interested.

    Stages? Really? o_O
     
  18. DC-93

    DC-93 Active Member

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  19. Fast Eddie

    Fast Eddie Valued Member
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    I remember watching the race there from behind the Petty pit.
    And if you want to compare stats the 1974 race had 59 lead changes by 15 drivers with 10 cautions.
    The 2017 race had 37 lead changes by 18 drivers with 8 cautions.
    And when they were racing they were all bunched together.............not strung out around the track. Petty lapped the field and you had to wait for an extra lap to see who came in second.
    But whatever...................every one to their own opinion.
     
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  20. Beentherebefore

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    OK, then enter some teams in other major US motorsports series. Just saw (part) of a great Audi commercial tying their street car program to various motorsports series that they participate in. When l catch the whole thing, I'll try to find it on You-tube and post it on this board. Audi sales have been steadily increasing.

    If Jeep is your favored brand, then why isn't there any factory backing for Jeeps in major off-road series? If RAM trucks are your best seller, the enter them in the Nascar Truck series. Dodge runs ads sponsoring the series on TV yet no RAMs in the race. Free publicity for Ford, Toyota, and "Brand C" trucks at FCA's expense - marketing insanity. In keeping with the theme of this thread, build something that can be raced @ LeMans - maybe Gen III Hemi powered, though I don't know if they would be allowed. The only place that I see Mopar vehicles participating in major motorsports is in NHRA, supporting Funny Cars (fine, but about as far from "stock" as just about anything with a full body) and TF dragsters,a complete waste since that class is essentially a Mopar spec series.
     
    #20 Beentherebefore, Mar 2, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2017

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