Friday, June 24, 2011
Fast Friday: The Rollover
1965 was to the the 50th Anniversary of Reynolds Buick, and to help commemorate, Pete Reynolds decided to order 50 cars in a special gold metallic color to use in a springtime promotion. They would use the special gold cars as demos as well. It was just about that time that Buick announced the mid-year 1965 Gran Sport- a 401 V8 in the light mid size body. Pete ordered a pillared hardtop GS in Tiger Gold with tan interior and white top. The car was logged in to Reynolds' stock book on January 19, 1965 and was soon being prepared for the strip as the latest Reynolds Buick racer.
The same style Switch-pitch converter and two speed transmission were fitted, along with a hotter Mark III cam and lifters, and 11:1 pistons. Hooker headers were also used. The result was a car that turned in a 14.05 at 101 mph (while still in stock tune) and then drive home again from the track. Pete recalled that it was not at all unusual to drive the car to the track on racing slicks, win a few races, and drive home again. He recalls driving the car as far as Bakersfield on the racing slicks. He commented that they would allow extra time for braking, but otherwise didn't give it a second thought.
It was this car that was part of the highly publicized "Buick Sunday" wins at San Fernando Dragway, winning it's B-Stock class with a 14.05. Other victories went to Boulevard Buick in C-Stock with a 1965 GS convertible and Gil Le Barge in D-Stock driving a Reynolds sponsored 1964 Special.
Driving on slicks became an issue on April 3, 1965, when Pete Reynolds took the car over to Hooker Headers in Pomona to negotiate a distributorship from them. On the way back, it had unexpectedly begun to rain and the GS still had its 1965 racing slicks on. It rolled onto its roof as Pete attempted to exit I-10 at Holt Avenue.He recalls a passerby stopping and helping him crawl out of the passenger side window. Except for damage to his shoulder and his pride, Pete took the impact remarkably well. The Gran Sport was less fortunate- the roof was nearly crushed on the passenger side, and a replacement car had to be located. It should be noted that, at the request of Pete's wife Caroline, all further driving duties were delegate to Pop Kennedy.
Watch Pete Reynolds talk about the mishap: