Greenwood Customer Car, Chassis #12
by Wayne Ellwood

It was 1997 when I visited Dave Force's race shop to see the Greenwood customer car chassis #012. This was the Albert DeLeo car that Lance Smith had found in pristine condition at Albert's home in Connecticut. The car had been built and prepped but never raced. It was put away as a bridesmaid and kept in the castle tower for ten lonely years. When Lance found it (and came up with the gold), Goldilocks let down her hair and Lance took her away.

Lance sold the car to Dave in 1990. It was a coil-over (rear) widebody and very collectible. having been stored for so long it was guaranteed to be a primo example of the genre. If you wanted to see how Greenwood really did it, there was no car that was going to be more likely to be "as built". The car has since been sold (2002) to a gentleman in Texas.

So what’s the story behind chassis #12?

Well, it's a standard all-aluminum block, running 478 cubic inches with magnesium based Kinsler fuel injection (unit #001) putting out 730 HP, 630 ft/lb, and redlining at 6400 RPM. It's a wide body with 15 inch diameter Jongbloed racing wheels, 12" wide in front and 15" wide in rear. Painted white and black, it's pristine. Dave has added some extra finishing touches in the form of custom-built bracketry and heat shielding but it's hard to improve on the original product. The one modification that was really super critical was lowering the floor so Dave could fit his (very tall) frame into the car. I was invited to sit in it and see how it felt. Who knows; I couldn't see over the dash! It was a very attractive dash... where are my seat cushions???

The car is notable in several other respects. It was built in an era when the tube frame cars left little room for the older full frame cars to compete. As a result a lot of cars were modified to run the lower GTO classes. This required the engine to be set back in its forward position (1" setback was allowed) and place a limit on some of the other modifications racers liked to employ. Emory Donaldson, the builder of the needle-bearing steering arm and A-arm pieces, was hired to do this work. This wasn’t as easy as it sounds, either. For example, when the engine was moved back to its legally mandated position, it interfered with the steering rack. This required Emory to build a tubular heim-jointed steering rod arrangement that passes under the oil pan.

The frame and cage, in Greenwood tradition, are masterpieces of design and construction. Very safe. The radiator is a brass item with an aluminum cover.

How does it drive now? Well, even with all the good stuff that was put into them by Greenwood, these monsters still require a gentle hand. With that much power, pieces just bend and snap. Dave went through three or four transmissions before he learned how much care and maintenance can be required. The transmissions are built by the very reputable Tex Racing Transmissions in Tennessee but they were breaking anyway. Inquiries soon revealed that Tex Racing changes the cluster gears with every 6 hours of use; Dave wasn't changing them at all.

Apart from the many lessons Dave has learned about the big leagues, he is still enjoying the car. The heat, the noise and the great thumping engine are just part of the rush. Outside the cars may be clearly a product of another era, but inside they light up the soul.

This car has since been sold to Darryl Tyson from Texas.

BUILD CAR # CAR # CAR # CAR # CAR #
YEAR CAR OWNER OWNER OWNER OWNER OWNER
YEAR YEAR YEAR YEAR YEAR
1977 chassis #012 # __ # __ #72 #48
A. DeLeo L. Smith D. Force D. Tyson
1979-90 1990 1991-2002 '02-present