Roots in Racing

By: Bob Goodson
February 28, 2020
Author: Michael Yount
 
 
 
This project has its roots in a little car I bought from one of my best friends and turned into an SCCA race car.  In the mid-80’s I went to my first race driving schools.  I concluded I was good enough to have fun and not hurt anyone – so I set about figuring out what I wanted to race.  I volunteered as a “pit crew” for a neighbor of mine who raced SCCA and that allowed me to begin deciding which cars were competitive in which classes.  I zero’d in on Improved Touring – Class C (ITC).  This was originally a class designed so that cars competing in the Showroom Stock classes would have a place to go after they became ineligible.  At Texas World Speedway, the early rear wheel drive Toyota Corollas were quick – it’s a horsepower track and the venerable 1.6L 2TC hemi 4 cylinder made good power.  My buddy Ron was being transferred from Houston to Mississippi and he needed to get rid of a car.  We agreed on a deal for me to buy his bright yellow 1974 TE27 (2 dr Coupe) Corolla – The Bee.
 
 
Over several months, I made the changes needed to turn it into a road racer.  It was a great little car.  Dead reliable – 57 races over a 7 year period with no DNF’s.  And together we were quick enough to earn me the 1989 and 1991 S.W. Division Championships in ITC.  By 1992, my daughter headed off to Emory University in Atlanta and my racing budget became significantly squeezed.  So the racer sat in storage for a few years.  By the mid-90’s I was contemplating a change in jobs and a move out of Houston.  It became evident that selling the Bee was the right thing to do.  Given the car’s history I had no problems finding an eager buyer.

Fast forward to the last few years – I’m now in Charlotte, NC and retired.  I’d wanted for quite some time to find another Corolla to build into a fun street car.  But they are few and far between these days.  Luckily, Bring-A-Trailer brought the car to me, so to speak.  Mr. Angel Diaz out in Round Rock, TX had restored a 1973 TE21 (2 dr. Sedan) around 2010.  By 2019 he decided it was time to sell it and I was the winning bidder.  As you can see from the pictures Mr. Diaz took for the BAT listing, all the big bits had been done quite nicely – paint, drivetrain, interior.  Mr. Diaz had pulled out the OEM 1600cc 2TC/4 speed and went back in with a freshly rebuilt early 80’s 1800cc 3TC/T50-5 speed.  But quite a few details needed to be changed to suit my tastes.  In the rest of the blog we’ll chronicle those changes.  Huge thanks to my good friend John Kenney — he volunteered his time, truck and trailer to roll out to TX from NC with me and bring The Red Bee (Abeja Roja) back to Charlotte, where my LS3 powered Volvo 242 acquired a new “roomie”.

2 Comments

  1. Jakespeed

    No North Carolina License Plate yet?

    Reply
    • Michael H Yount

      That picture was taken the day the car rolled out of the trailer 2 days after we picked it up in TX. Yup – NC plate acquired just a few days later. Still waiting on a NC title though…..damn Coronavirus….

      Reply

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