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Chenowth 1000 3 link Restore

oldschool5er

Well-Known Member
I will add pictures as I go along documenting what I really have before starting a teardown since the car is complete. These pictures are from the initial inspection and as I remove fiberglass I will post more. Seat condition looks good, Fuel cell is probably not good, but I will know more when I get it settled in a warm garage and take it out. The Lee Leighton class 9 engine has not been started in a very long time and it will be taken out and I will go through it, rebuild it, and reassemble the same way Lee put it together. That will be documented so everybody will get a good look how it was put together and the specs. It will be used to run the car at shows and move it around but it will not be the engine I put in for Norra. After I get a good look at it's condition I might decide to fire it after some prep work on it before I take it out.

As Bob Lawrence's research shows it was raced by John Kruger and Norm Lester but I believe I have tracked it back to the original owner and if that proves out then I have most of the lineage ironed out. I do not know of any races outside of Score and the Mint but still researching as the car has had minor elements changed over the years so I am still cross-referencing.

1979 Mint possible still researching
1979 Mexicali 250 possible still researching
1980 Mint still researching possible
1981 Baja 500 proved
1981 Mint 400 proved
1982 Mint 400 proved
1982 Parker 400 car has the decal but have not found any evidence yet
1982 San Felipe 250 car has the decal but have not found any evidence yet
1982 Baja 500 still researching
1983 Mint possible still researching





Chen brake.jpgChen frt link.jpgChen lwr link.jpgChen rear arm.jpgChen rear shocks.jpgChen steering.jpgChen torsion.jpgChen uppr link.jpg
 
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Bro_Gill

Well-Known Member
Looks fantastic. I remember looking at a 3 link car back in the early 1990s. I THINK it was the Bernie Mayer car. It was sitting in a front yard in Banning if I remember right. But it was stored outside and really weathered. This looks like great find.
 

Rory

Crayola Killer
Great car, will be a ton of fun restoring. Good luck!
 

oldschool5er

Well-Known Member
Thanks Rory, I have to say that Chris Hamlin who found it was the best person I have ever worked with on a car purchase very upstanding guy. The condition makes it so much easier to get it all back.

Being that a 3 link is a rare bird now days, it makes going through the huge volumes of pictures looking for it fairly easy, as they are fairly noticable right away. Trying to find out finishes or podiums if there are any is a more difficult process I think.
 

oldschool5er

Well-Known Member
I decided to fire the Lee Leighton Class 9 engine even though it had been static for at least a decade. We had it in a small garage before I was moving it over to the main work space. Even though it is being taken out I wanted to hear it because it will not be torn down until the whole car is restored, and I am starting the tear down of the car this week. New Battery, hooked up fuel to external tank so I bypassed fuel cell, Fresh oil, plugs pulled and WD shot in the cylinders then the engine manually turned to see if it was frozen up. Turned manually about ten times while shooting WD in the cylinders. Checked all the electrical out and had to get the starter freed up. Worked on the 009 points and had to use the back up coil as the blue was dead. Spun the engine with the starter until I built PSI and wetted the fuel pump and carb accel. pump diaphram. Shot a little either and away it went.
 

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oldschool5er

Well-Known Member
watch out for that stinger exhaust, why I cant here anymore
Well after 45 years of doing this, it is a little late for me lol, but I have been wearing my ear plugs for sure or muffs.

Here are some more pics after I took the glass off today. I am amazed at the condition of the Mastercraft seat mostly dirt but no holes.
Along with the race trailer it came with,

1 spare sandblaster Jr. mounted on a bubble style Centerline
1 spare Sandblaster Jr. mounted on a standard Centerline
2 spare sandblaster 915's mounted on Centerlines
4 spare 8" Bilsteins
Spare torsions
Spare CV's and bits and pieces
Spare Axle assy. with CV's

The front Bubble Centerlines and Sandblaster Jr's are in good shape along with the rear 915's and Centerlines. There is minor race damage to some of the front's but they will clean up very well.

I cannot find any frame repairs or race damage. The welds are professional except for the mirror brackets and some minor odds and ends. It begs to wonder just how hard this car was pushed even though it has seen it's fair share of races.
 

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Bro_Gill

Well-Known Member
Engine sounds great. I had the pleasure of turning one of the Chenowth 2000 cars that the McMillins had owned into a Challenger. Even though the chassis was 15+ years old back then and had seen plenty of desert racing, the frame was immaculate with no signs of chassis failures or cracking. Lynn really knew his stuff.
 

oldschool5er

Well-Known Member
There is no doubt about that Martin. I am so used to fixing race damage I was expecting to find some. But I guess after the frame gets stripped some might show up as that really nice frame paint might be covering it up.

Took a closer look at the front arms, they are AMS. The links and spindles are not Wright so either stock plated or 356 plated. The two short rear shocks I am not sure about, one might be Bilstein but one has a threaded shock body and modular upper heim carrier, almost like a Koni for coil springs.
 
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Bro_Gill

Well-Known Member
Yep, AMS. Can tell by the scallops in the gussets. Lynn was close to AMS so it makes sense that their parts would be used. I believe when he started building the wide beam front ends with the long shock towers, AMS was his arm of choice since you had to order according to stock arm or single or 2 shock for AMS arms. I remember Bilstein also did a threaded green body way back then, but not with the modular heim, it was a welded carrier just like their other shocks. The spindles- The guys who started Mastercraft seats back then were doing some beautiful link carriers and spindles and they came with no markings.
 

oldschool5er

Well-Known Member
Jim Ober @ Trackside sent me some photos of the car and I found some on the Petersons pages I have not posted yet . We are moving it to my garage today to begin the tear down to a bare frame. Looking for color shots of it in 1981 since it was a class 9 champion, probably the year paint scheme we will put it back to.
 

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oldschool5er

Well-Known Member
Very nice time capsule! Is the car in Ohio now? I know a good engine builder there if NORRA is in the future.
The car is here in Westerville, Ohio suburb of Columbus. I have been building Score cars and race engines/ transmissions for 43 years so I will be doing everything except paint although I appreciate the offer. I primarly built and raced Score limited classes from 75 to the late 90's with a couple small teams with stints in Class 9 and Class 1. I have always kept building engines and transmissions on the side for old friends still racing.
The car was bought with full intent to run Norra. I won't be using Lee Leightons 1200cc race engine for a Norra race, even after I go through it. I would only put it in for a show or just a casual demo display as a C9 car. It will be a Legend big engine Class for Norra. The closest Norra race we would be ready to race would be the Norra 500 2020. I have another Norra 5/1600 but I am putting it on the back burner for now because of the new car.

I just paid attention for the first time today to the license plate that was on the trailer we brought it back on from Colorado. I thought it was a Colorado plate, but totally wrong on that lol. It was a faded blue Calif plate that was last registered in 1984 and had a Bezel from Long Beach Calif. Cabe Bros dealership. Good Karma for me as I was born, raised and worked in Long Beach VW dealerships Lol...... Uh Yeah officer I didn't know the plates expired 35 years ago.
 
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oldschool5er

Well-Known Member
So the tear down has begun and I expect it not to be as exciting as the re-assembly but I will document it anyway as there are some interesting little details that are showing up. I can see some of the changes made throughout several years of racing where they had remounted things or changed their positions. As I expected and not surprised at finding the fuel cell bladder had disentigrated to just the cloth left, so apparently the car has been static for decades like I thought. The Deist seat belts were installed in 1983. I would think if it had been raced much after that tech would have caught it and newer belts would be in it. The Jamar shifter had some shimming under it, one of which was made out of a coke can which I enjoyed seeing as that is a pretty fine adj. lol. I saved the shims of course. The Fuel cell can was in the shape of a wedge which we will have to add some height to in the new can to get a bigger cell in. Chenowth Shifter shims.jpgChenowth Fuel cell A.jpgChenowth Fuel cell top.jpgChenowth Fuel cell.jpegChenowth Fuel cell can.jpg
 

docramo

Member
The car definitely raced the 1982 Parker 400 as I drove the 1st Arizona loop. John drove the second and Norm drove the CA. loop. The Cabe Toyota sticker makes sense as there was a relationship with John and the Cabe’s.
Great find. Also if memory serves me well, the prior owner to Kruger/ Lester was Ivan Stewart. Norm or John could confirm that. Let me know if I can help in any way.....Ramo
 

oldschool5er

Well-Known Member
That is great I appreciate your input. I felt the car had a prior history before Kruger/Lester because I found some photos of a car very similiar prior to 81. I also found the HVW’s mag article on the Parker 400 where the car is mentioned. Those mag sources become pretty good references so I am buying up some of those years that I do not already have. Maybe I can glean some more info.
 
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