Lime Rock Trans Am retro: Revson wins on debut in ’67

Lime Rock Trans Am retro: Revson wins on debut in ’67

Trans Am

Lime Rock Trans Am retro: Revson wins on debut in ’67

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Lime Rock Park will continue a cherished tradition on Memorial Day weekend when it hosts the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli.

The track played a key role in the “golden years” of Trans Am, showcasing Detroit’s Big Three manufacturers and a roster of world-class drivers from 1967 through 1972. Back then, it was all about the cars in the war for supremacy with the new sporty “pony cars.” Ford had its Mustang; Mercury, the Cougar; General Motors rolled out the Chevrolet Camaro; and Chrysler Corporation raced both the Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda.

The inaugural Lime Rock event was on Memorial Day in 1967. While that meant going head-to-head with the Indianapolis 500, the car builders ensured a standout field for the race. With lead driver Parnelli Jones headed for Indy — where his turbine-powered car expired with only four laps remaining — Bud Moore called on Peter Revson (left) to drive his lead Mercury Cougar. Teammate Dan Gurney also raced — and had misfortune — at Indy, with Moore getting Ed Leslie to fill his seat at Lime Rock.

Roger Penske debuted his Sunoco Camaro for Mark Donohue in 1967, with his best finish in the three races prior to Lime Rock being a second at Sebring. Another contender was Bob Tullius, who won the season opener at Daytona in his Group 44 Dodge Dart.

Revson made the most of his Trans Am debut in the substitute role — lapping the field twice en route to victory. (That’s Revson getting sideways, top, followed by Leslie.) Donohue finished second, followed by the Ford Mustang of racer/journalist Jerry Titus.

Revson’s Cougar gets some attention.

Trans Am also had the Under-2 liter class, with the smaller imports finding the tight 1.53-mile Lime Rock circuit to their liking against the heavy Detroit V8s. Horst Qwech finished a close fourth in an Alfa Romeo GTA, followed by Leslie in the second Cougar and Steve Smith and Bert Everett in a Porsche 911.

Trans Am returned to Lime Rock for the following five years at the height of the golden years. Donohue won in a Camaro in 1968 and ’69. Donohue and Penske switched to the AMC Javelin in 1970, with Donohue second behind Parnelli Jones in a Mustang. Donohue and George Follmer made it a Javelin 1-2 in 1971, followed by Peter Gregg in a Mustang and Revson in a Javelin. Follmer won the 1972 series opener in a Javelin, the final year of the pony car wars.

Detroit’s Big Three are again represented in Trans Am’s exciting TA2 division, when Ford Mustangs, Chevrolet Camaros and Dodge Challengers build on Trans Am’s legacy during the Memorial Day Classic (May 27-30). For ticket information, click here.

Trans Am’s golden years will be recreated at Lime Rock this year during the Historic Festival 40 as the Historic Trans Am Series returns Sept. 1-5. The actual pony cars that competed in Trans Am’s glory days will compete during the five-day festival. For more information, click here.

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