Saturday, August 26, 2017

whoa, a history lesson all laid out of the time a penniless race team handed Shelby and his highly funded Toyota racing team a smack down defeat

grab the Aug 21st 2017 issue of Autoweek, and flip to pages 10-13

Hino started out making cars and trucks, which caught the attention of a guy named Dunham, who pointed out that to succeed big, they'd need to win some races, in America. This would open the US market, and then they'd get a foothold where they could sell serious numbers of vehicles

Dunham met Peter Brock, and BRE was making the Hino competitive. The 1st season Dunham raced it, the 2nd season Brock raced it, and made some podiums, enough to impress Hino. They then sourced bigger engines, and in 1966 Brock and Dunham take the 1st and 2nd places in the Mission Bell 100 in Riverside -  in front of a crowd of race fans that hadn't ever heard of the Hino.

So, they made a very nice little race car, the Samurai, and it stood a good chance of being a leader, but, Toyota was in cahoots with Fuji Speedway, and got the car disqualified so that Hino would lose face, and value, and then Toyota could buy them out and make Hino a subsidary that never reached it's potential, instead, they're a bus and truck maker.

The Hino Briska became the Toyota Hilux, and now, as Paul Harvey said, you know the rest of the story of the best truck in the world.

So, Toyota offers Brock a contract to race and design the 2000GT. But Shelby convinced Toyota to give it to him, and since he just bought a Toyota dealership, in addition to his racing success (can't take that away from him, regardless of this turn of events) he gets it, and Brock gets shut out in the last minute.

They didn't even give him a call to tell him, instead sending their 2000GTs to Shelby. This sort of insult was a very bad idea.

Brock goes to Datsun, as the chairman was the friend of the Hino racing connection, and Nissan goes ahead and backs Brock with the Datsun 2000 roadster, and a Hino transporter. The Datsun won the regional championship, and the Shelby 2000GTs didn't even qualify for the nationals... despite a half million dollar investment from Toyota

While a beautiful car, the 2000GT was off the map, and the 510 and 240Z went into SCCA and Trans Am racing history.

Adam Carolla has owned the BRE racer for a while, and just bought the Hino transporter. Finally, they are reunited.

BRE became the west coast Datsun factory race team and competed in 1969 in the SCCA DP class with Datsun 2000 roadsters, in 1970 and 1971 in the CP class with the 240Zs (SCCA National Champions '70-'71) and in 1971-72 the 2.5 Trans-Am Series races with the Datsun 510s (National Champions '71-'72). The race team was disbanded at the end of the 1972 season when Brock moved on to hang gliding.

Brock founded Ultralite Products, which he built into the largest hang gliding company in the world, and developed the sport of long distance hang gliding competition. He then left the company, citing dissatisfaction with liability laws, and returned to the automotive industry.

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