Peter Brock has become a blogger! Sometimes referred to as the Energizer Bunny, Brock continues to delight us with his designs, insights and stories.
Now you don’t have to go to an event to ask Brock a question. He will answer your questions online on his blog, which will also make the answers available for all to see. You may want to ask questions about a project or vehicle Brock has worked on, a person he may have worked with, a design, his photography career or a question on current automotive happenings on which you would like his opinion.
Brock may not be able to get to all questions but he’ll try. Brock’s answers may be in various formats such as a text response or as video. Often Brock will have something in his archives or in the shop he will share.
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July 26, 2019 July 2, 2019 June 7, 2019 May 31, 2019
Q: Recently a video of “Against All Odds”, the brief documentary on the BRE Datsun team in ’71-’72, was posted online. Some of the responses people posted reminded me of the controversy that keeps coming up about your BRE team winning the ’71 season-ending Trans-Am race at Laguna. The “winning” Alfa was disqualified in a post-race inspection with an illegal oversize fuel tank. What are your thoughts on this race; what happened and why do you think this story never dies down?”
July 4th it will be 54 years when the Daytona Cobra Coupe won the FIA GT World Championship. What was it like for you when that happened?
With summer upon us, which automotive museums would you recommend people visit that don’t get a lot of publicity and we might otherwise miss?
You ran BRE Datsuns in several of the very first Baja races, including a 4 vehicle team in 1969 consisting of a Datsun pick-up and three factory-built “lightweight” Datsun 510s, built to African Safari Rally specs. You managed the team and then co-drove one of those cars with John Morton. Then for many years more recently you also covered the Baja races as a photojournalist with your wife Gayle. What are the top things you’d like to share about the Baja races for those of us who’ve never been?
July 26, 2019
July 2, 2019
June 7, 2019
May 31, 2019
6 thoughts on “Q: Recently a video of “Against All Odds”, the brief documentary on the BRE Datsun team in ’71-’72, was posted online. Some of the responses people posted reminded me of the controversy that keeps coming up about your BRE team winning the ’71 season-ending Trans-Am race at Laguna. The “winning” Alfa was disqualified in a post-race inspection with an illegal oversize fuel tank. What are your thoughts on this race; what happened and why do you think this story never dies down?””
So nice to hear from so many nice people on PL510. As a then-young foreign student from Japan, I arrived in Seattle, WA in July of 1972. Immediately, I got interested in cars. But, it took me for a few years to get to know about BRE. My family in Japan had a brand new 1969 P510 SSS, and I wanted a used PL510 for my daily transportation.
But, I got myself a used 67′ RL411 instead, because 510s are still quite expensive for me – a poor foreign student. Then, while I was in UW, I found a book titled “How to Make A Datsun Handle” or to that effect. That book taught me lots of things about cars, but also taught me English as well.
Fast forward, in 1980, I found a nice inexpensive 1970 PL510 Four-Door. Then, I transformed it into a BRE copy, eventually with L20B, 5-Spd, Twin Mikuni Solex 44, Bored-Out Intakes, 240Z Water Pump, Lightened 240Z Flywheel, HD Clutch Pressure Plate, Racer Brown Cam kit, Front & Rear Sway Bars, Japanese SSS Instrument Panel, Electronic Ignition & Distributor from a newer Datsun. It was fun. Sadly, I had to let it go in 1992 when I returned to Japan.
Again fast forward, in summer of 2014, I started working at Global Headquarters (GHQ) of Nissan Motor in Yokohama, Japan. It is a big disappointment that Nissan today doesn’t offer anything similar to the legendary 510. Sure, they revived the DATSUN brand, but the mark is used for cheap, boring, uninspiring econo-box cars for Asian and Indian markets. A very sad thing is that almost nobody really knows about the BRE achievement and story at Nissan GHQ. How about putting some exhibitions at their Nissan Gallery at the first floor of Nissan GHQ?
Hello Shin….So nice to hear from you! You have some great history with Nissan racers. If you read “How to Hot Rod your Datsun” you’ve seen all the cool BRE parts and special way we built our cars. Nissan has in fact recognized what we did 50 years ago with the new special edition 370Z. I don’t know if these cars got much coverage in Japan but they were well promoted here in America. I was disappointed though that the Nissan IDX concept never made it to production. That car would really sell well anywhere in the world. I hope Nissan reconsiders it for the future. There is a big following for BRE in America. Many many BRE replicas are racing here and in Australia and Europe. The Nissan USA office keeps our 46 BRE 510 for permanent display. Kind regards, Peter Brock
I met Mr. Morton on the grid when he was driving the BF Goodrich 962 at Road Atlanta. I walked up and introduced myself as a “510 guy” and told him how much he inspired me as a racer. Mr. Morton’s response: “That was a really fun car to drive”. Priceless coming from a fellow that was about to strap into a 962. Fond memory,
Da rules is da rules…..!
Again, another fascinating post, Peter! Please keep ’em coming! Thank you!
A great story. I never doubted Alfa cheated and lost accordingly.
As a lifelong fan of the BRE Team, John Morton and Peter Brock, I may be a bit biased.
At a car show in LA, I ran into an Alfa guy. My Argentinian buddy noticed he had an Argentine flag on his Alfa and we started talking. Out of the blue he tells us this crazy, but plausible story about how Alfa was so hot to win the Manufacturer’s Championship, that they created a slightly oversized fuel cell box that they then packed with dry ice. When the fuel was added, the cooling contracted the fuel load and allowed extra gas to occupy the tank. As we now know, their ruse was discovered.
Point is, this was a true-blue Alfa guy! But he didn’t think the Alfa Team’s action was right, and he was still talking about it 45+ years later.
I met John Morton at a Vintage Race event; he kindly spent time with me gassing about the old days, a very fine fellow!
The same weekend, I got to meet Peter and Gayle Brock, two very excellent people.
The cars are the stars, but the people who make them go are the real story!