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1977 Chenowth 1000 for Baja 1000 and NORRA Vintage Racing

LantanaTX

Well-Known Member
I am starting a build thread of the restoration of a Chenowth 1000 that we found in Texas last year. We just sold our Funco SS2 so its now time to get serious about our next racer. Besides racing NORRA, we intend to race the car in this year's 50th anniversary 1,300 mile Baja 1000. We are putting together a team of great drivers who have wins and overall wins at the 1000. SCORE recently added a vintage class for the 1000 Here is a link to the press release if you missed it:

SCORE International adds two vintage classes to the lineup For November’s Golden anniversary of the SCORE Baja 1000

History of the car:

Lynn Chenowth is searching his records but has not yet found any history on chassis #1033 What we do know is that the Chassis was built in early 1977 and is a Chromoly chassis. We can approximate its build date because Mark Stahl remembers when he took delivery of his car which was chassis 1038. We purchased the car from Jud Cowley of Texas. Jud bought the car from a guy in Oklahoma around '81. The car was a desert race car, but Jud updated the car to race it in the Mickey Thompson Stadium series. At some point Jud sold the car to Joe Nelson but later Jud got the car back and it has sat in his shop for almost 30 years. The car was complete as it last raced and was in relatively very good shape as it was never stored outside.

Here is how I found the car in Jud Cowley's shop:






A fork lift was used to get it out of the shop and onto the trailer. Here is the first time the car has seen the sun in many years!






The next step was to get the car and all the spare parts to Dave Tilton in Redlands, CA

West Texas about 3 hours east of El Paso.



Its new home in the Feldkamp Shop

Trying on some desert rubber



The tear down starts



 

NIKAL

Well-Known Member
What's the wheelbase? Besides the extra tubs added on the rear bumper, which you cut off, the vertical tubes in the side window was added too. Was the bumper extended back farther? I thought it went straight across the back.
 

LantanaTX

Well-Known Member
What's the wheelbase? Besides the extra tubs added on the rear bumper, which you cut off, the vertical tubes in the side window was added too. Was the bumper extended back farther? I thought it went straight across the back.
It is a 100" chassis that measured close to 105 before we stripped it. The vertical tubes in the side window look like a good idea. The extra tubes in the back were nice for short course but not really needed in No Nerf vintage racing. The bumper may have been extended as most Chenowth's I've seen have a bar that goes straight across. The curved bar looks pretty good in person and will probably stay. We are in a bit of a crunch to get the car prepped. There are also some added bars around the rear torsion housing.



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Team Todo En

Well-Known Member
It looks like it has a nice solid chassis. It's fortunate that it was stored inside all those years or you would have a lot more work on your hands then you already have, or it probably would have been too far gone to even consider it a contender for a rebuild.
Good luck, looking forward to the progress.
 

LantanaTX

Well-Known Member
John Holmes who has won the 1000 and will be doing a lot of the night driving for us, is helping Dave by getting parts to Mag check.




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bajaxp

Baja Bobsled Team
Which John Holmes? I think there are three guys with the same name that do race and/or have raced off road in the desert.
 

LantanaTX

Well-Known Member
Dave Callaway / John Holmes 1997/1998 Class 12 Score Champions.


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LantanaTX

Well-Known Member
Sounds like you approve Matt! I think it is time to introduce you to the rest of the team.... Bobby Ferro, Glenn Harris, Pete Alesi Jr., John Holmes, and Jake Johnson. Since we are racing the new SCORE Vintage class, it only makes sense to have mostly vintage drivers. This is a group of guys that know every rock in Baja and have accumulated an enormous number of wins.

Here are former teammates, Glenn Harris and Bobby Ferro at the 2016 Off Road Motorsports Hall of Fame (ORMHOF) Induction Dinner as well as a picture of Glenn and Bobby after they won overall the 1979 Mint 400. Also in the picture is Team owner Tracy Valenta (ORMHOF) and master prep man, Scott McKenzie (ORMHOF)


1979 Mint 400 Overall winners, Bobby Ferro & Glenn Harris


To give our vintage group an edge, I want to introduce and thank one of the many sponsors that are supporting our effort, ePowerSteering.com

I have been watching this system being tested in other cars including the Retro Racing Funco driven by Pete Alesi Jr. I like that if this system was to ever fail, you just revert back to regular non power steering and don't have to fight a Hydraulic ram. The system is also adjustable on the fly by the driver through a knob on the dash.

 

NIKAL

Well-Known Member
I love the electric power steering. I dont know about this kit, but some others allow you to adjust how much assist & feed back you want. And like mentioned if it fails, you have manual steering.

Was down in San Quintin at Jardines and was talking too two guys with pretty nice prerun buggy's and both had made the switch to EPS. One guy said he was tired or taking his pumps into Howe and getting it back in pieces and being told he needs a new pump. The other guy said he had a hydro PS issue in Baja and had to muscle it back home. After seeing how ESP worked on his friends he swapped his out.

In the next year I'd like to tear down my Baja Bug prerunner and do some upgrades, ESP will be one of them. The old Baja has just been sitting since we got the RZR4.
 

LantanaTX

Well-Known Member
I love the electric power steering. I dont know about this kit, but some others allow you to adjust how much assist & feed back you want. And like mentioned if it fails, you have manual steering.

Was down in San Quintin at Jardines and was talking too two guys with pretty nice prerun buggy's and both had made the switch to EPS. One guy said he was tired or taking his pumps into Howe and getting it back in pieces and being told he needs a new pump. The other guy said he had a hydro PS issue in Baja and had to muscle it back home. After seeing how ESP worked on his friends he swapped his out.

In the next year I'd like to tear down my Baja Bug prerunner and do some upgrades, ESP will be one of them. The old Baja has just been sitting since we got the RZR4.
This kit uses a larger system than some others I have seen and if you study the photo above you can see the knob that allows you to adjust how much assist you want. One tip I heard today is to not use a steering stabilizer with electric power steering.
 

bajaxp

Baja Bobsled Team
This kit uses a larger system than some others I have seen and if you study the photo above you can see the knob that allows you to adjust how much assist you want. One tip I heard today is to not use a steering stabilizer with electric power steering.
How many amps does it draw?
 

LantanaTX

Well-Known Member
How many amps does it draw?
It uses a 50amp fuse if that is a hint. The draw increases as you add more assist with the knob. I have heard that most desert racers are setting the knob at the halfway point. I was told that since I run a VW engine that the stock 50 amp alternator would cause problems. We run an 90 amp which should be fine.
 

NIKAL

Well-Known Member
This kit uses a larger system than some others I have seen and if you study the photo above you can see the knob that allows you to adjust how much assist you want. One tip I heard today is to not use a steering stabilizer with electric power steering.
I was told just the opposite, that it's a good idea to run a steering stabilizer as it will help protect and absorb some of the shock load the rack & pinion will see. It makes sense as a Hydro Ram absorbs the shock load before the rack. EPS is attached to the steering shaft after the rack & lower U-joint leaving them exposed to all the shock & vibration.
 

Buschman

New Member
Time to ask an actual customer. Bob Howle, what do you say?

I hear that Gil George is developing a dampener for an EPS system that is not based on a hydraulic shock.
 
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LantanaTX

Well-Known Member
Time to ask an actual customer. Bob Howle, what do you say?

I hear that Gil George is developing a dampener for an EPS system that is not based on a hydraulic shock.
I spoke to Norm Francis who's vintage Funco is raced by Pete Alesi Jr. and also received a message from Bob Howle who we race NORRA with and they both said to ditch the dampener.
 

LantanaTX

Well-Known Member
Dave was busy on the car yesterday. The first thing he needed to do was to make the front beam removable. He is also busy cutting and welding to get the chassis the way he wants it before sending it to Glenn Harris for sandblasting, paint or powder coat.

Some of the modifications included cutting off all the Dzus fasteners that had held on the belly pan and replace them with nutserts. The next thing was to get the new PRP seat installed. PRP did a great job on the seat! We had them cover it in black vinyl for a vintage look and because we had vinyl in our Funco and prefer it over fabric. The vinyl seat is very easy to clean and dry. The seat has a built in camelback to keep us hydrated. We also went with PRP seat belts. We used their belts at the recent NORRA race and we were very impressed! They are very comfortable and no matter how dirty you get them, they are easy to loosen for driver changes.

Beam is now removable


New PRP seat getting installed
 

LantanaTX

Well-Known Member
So who is interested in running the 50th Baja 1000 in one of the new vintage classes? We would love to see a great turnout! If not having a car is holding you back, I have the ultimate deal for you. A friend of mine is selling this Funco SS2 prepped and ready to race the Baja 1000. It was built for the '82 and older class. If you want a truly smoking deal on a great car pm me for info.








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