Page 1 of 2 Next >> When a young Jim Hall competed in his first race in 1954, he was hooked. He had used his brother's Austin Healey 100, but realized that a more potent machine was required to take overall victories. While shopping for a Porsche 550, the brothers stumbled upon the Ferrari 750 Monza Carroll Shelby and Phil Hill drove to second overall in the Sebring 12 Hours race early in 1955. Throughout the second half of the 1950s Hall continued to successfully campaign a wide variety of European racers. His engineering degree proved really useful for the first time when he modified a Lister chassis to fit a Chevrolet small-block V8.
While racing the legendary Shelby 5.7 litre Maserati 450S at Riverside in 1960, Jim Hall met Dick Troutman and Tom Barnes. They had been responsible for the highly successful Scarab sportscar and were looking for a new backer to build another all-American racer. Impressed by the Scarabs, Hall was immediately interested and work was started quickly after. Together with a small group of investors, Hall had already constructed a race track just south of Midland, Texas, which would come in handy for testing the new cars. One of these investors was James R "Hap" Sharp who would be Hall's partner throughout his career as an independent constructor.
Troutman and Barnes applied the many lessons learned with the Scarab project in building Hall's new car. One of the Scarab's strengths was its rock solid reliability thanks to the sturdy construction. A downside of this was the excess weight and size of the car, which hampered the performance. In many respects the new car was a slimmer and smaller version of the Scarab. The car was constructed around a very rigid steel tubular frame and suspended by wishbones at the front and inverted A-arms at the back. The steering rack was derived from a Triumph Herald. The Scarab was deemed too heavy for disc brakes, but the downsizing was sufficient to install discs all-round, mounted inboard at the rear.
The obvious powerplant was Chevrolet's small block V8, which had already proven itself a worthy contender in international racing. Traco enlarged the 283ci Corvette engine to 318ci by increasing the stroke. A triple Stromberg Carburetor with an Edelbrock manifold setup was initially used for the induction, but shortly into the racer's career they were replaced by a six carb installation. Hall reckoned his small-block V8 was good for around 300 bhp, which gave it a better power to weight ratio than most European engines. The engine was mounted as far back in the chassis as possible to achieve a perfect 50:50 weight balance. It was definitely mounted further back than was comfortable for the driver who sat more or less next to the engine instead of behind it. Page 1 of 2 Next >>