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 Post subject: Bob Tullius vs Bob Sharp
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:13 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:53 pm
Posts: 12443
Location: CT
We all know our member and Technical Advisor, Bob Sharp, is a SIX TIME SCCA/IMSA World Champion race car driver. We also know Bob introduced the very first 240Z to the western racing world, car #HLS30-00006. That car (and Bob) proudly appear on the CT Z Car Club membership rolls today. The Z is owned by our member Alan Robbins of Rochester NY.

Bob raced Z#00006 thru the 1970s, before passing it on to his subordinate racers in Bob Sharp Racing (BSR) and eventually to his own son, Scott Sharp.

You should also know there was a LOT of fierce competition for the C Production championship throughout the 1970s, and our Bob had some archrivals. From the West Coast in an equally prepared 240Z, driver Ken Morton raced for Brock Racing Enterprises (BRE) and took the C/P Championship on alternate years from Bob Sharp. And from "Group 44 Racing", Bob Tullius brought a heavily-worked English Triumph 170hp pushrod-engined TR-6 roadster which became Bob's arch nemesis on the track. Off track they were great friends, but when the flag went down, they were bitter rivals. Some of the most exciting camera footage of sportscar racing in the 1970s involved these two "Bobs" going at each other, wheel to wheel, at 120 mph. I've seen photographs of these two cars, door to door, cresting a hill with daylight under both of them.

Bob Tullius became known in larger circles for the next 25 years, notably with the Quaker State Jaguar #44 cars, but this was where he got his start; running from Bob Sharp was how Bob Tullius learned to race, and lose, and occasionally win.

The 240Z (with Sharp at the wheel) sounded the death-knell for the Triumph TR series in the USA. No matter what Triumph tried, or how hard Tullius drove, Sharp beat him. Not every race, but always to the Championship. Tullius destroyed the TR's engines and suspensions trying to stay ahead of the 240Z. Group 44 quickly decided the Triumph simply wasn't competitive against the Z, and moved on to race other cars in other classes. But make no mistake about it ~ Tullius was a world-class driver, and had it not been for the 240Z, Tullius would have been the repeated C/P champion of the '70s decade.

The current issue of Hemmings' SPORTS & EXOTIC CAR magazine features an article on Tullius and his long and successful racing career. The very first photograph in the article is this one ~ with Bob Sharp hot on his heels in Z #0006, sandwiched btwn a Group 44 Spitfire and Tullius in the Group 44 TR6.

Today HLS30-00006 has been repainted in the colors it was most famous for ~ the BSR red/white/blue livery of later races. But here, in the early 1970 races, Bob Sharp's car #33 bears its original colors.

Our Z brethren in the Z Car Club of Rochester zee this original 240Z racer often.

This was the EXACT competition which brought my heart to the Datsun 240Z. Fix these two cars in your mind's eye ~ they are a CLASSIC representation of a decade of hot and heavy competition btwn two young racers who poured their hearts out for the cars they campaigned.

Frank T


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File comment: A young Bob Sharp chases the excellent Bob Tullius with his new race car, the never-before seen Datsun 240Z, 1970.
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img091.jpg [ 268.02 KiB | Viewed 3303 times ]

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1970 240Z


Last edited by Frank T on Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:00 am 
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Location: CT
And here it is ~ the original Bob Sharp 1970 240Z race car, getting back out onto a racetrack after a doZen idle years and a total rebuild. Altho you can tell this car is now painted in Red/White/Blue "Datsun USA" livery, it's the same green car as the one pictured above. I have seen this Z run at LRP two years ago.

1970 Datsun 240Z #HLS30-00006 was the only real 240Z street car built up into a racer. It has holes in the panels for heaters, door locks, antenna, windscreen wipers, etc, and the roll cage is placed where ever it fit. The six Zs which followed (#007-0012) were designated racers from the factory, with more tubbed interiors, better placed steering wheels and complex roll cages.

This was Bob Sharp's "Office" for about 5 years in the 1970s.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHKVWe02ddQ

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1970 240Z


Last edited by Frank T on Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:33 am, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:45 am 
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Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 9:24 am
Posts: 1218
Location: Webster, NY
I still get goosebumps everytime I have the honor of visiting this car!

Frank is spot-on with his history. 00006 was one of the first three Zs to leave the factory intended for North American car show and press review cars. 00006 was originally a green car with tan interior (Bob S. will verify this) and sent to the New York Auto Show then on to the Toronto Auto Show. In Toronto, a model sat on the roof for photos and put a good sized dent in it. Nissan immediately pulled the car from the show circuit. Bob had been asking (begging?) Nissan for a 240Z to race, but there just weren't enough in existence yet to do that. When 00006 was damaged, Nissan kindly sent it to BSR who made it into the race track terror you see in the photo above.

When I visited the car, examining every nook and cranny of it, I saw the original GREEN paint exposed in the driver side door jamb! :shock:

My HOLY GRAIL moment.

Come to ZCCR's car show next July 14 and see it for yourselves.....

:D


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00006.png
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00006paint.png [ 399.82 KiB | Viewed 3279 times ]

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John Taddonio
President, Z Car Club of Rochester NY
1970 Datsun 240Z - 70 ZCAR
1984 Datsun 300ZXT - ZCARNUT
1978 Datsun 280Z 2+2 - KIMZ Z
1972 Datsun 240Z - ORANGE PEEL
zcarnut@hotmail.com
FB: Zccr zcarclubofrochester
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:45 am 
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Location: CT
I still feel stunned every time I zee this photo of the original 43 yr old paint poking thru there! :shock:

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1970 240Z


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:54 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:44 am
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Location: New Haven, CT
Any photos of the model? :P

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Justin
1986 Z31 NA 2+0


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 4:04 pm 
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Location: CT
Nope! We've tried, believe me! :lol:

We don't even know her name, what she did for a living, or any personal info about her. If she lived in Toronto there's little chance of learning that.

I wanted to identify and meet her personally a few years ago, for setting in motion an incredible series of events which we all benefit from to this day. We can't find anyone who knew who she was.

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1970 240Z


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:01 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2005 12:59 pm
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This is a great story - yet another fascinating chapter in the history of a modest car that literally came out of nowhere forty-plus years ago and continues to drop jaws today.

As always, thanks for sharing this Frank. In addition to many other things, you are also certainly our resident Z historian!

- Jim


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:07 pm 
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Location: CT
Thanks Jim ~ but I've learned everything I know from Carl Beck, and he disagrees with about half of what I say!!! :lol: (just kidding ~ but he's the real authority here). :wink:

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1970 240Z


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 1:27 pm 
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Frank T wrote:
Thanks Jim ~ but I've learned everything I know from Carl Beck, and he disagrees with about half of what I say!!! :lol: (just kidding ~ but he's the real authority here). :wink:

Frank:

Both you and Carl are incredible resources, but the club is very fortunate that we have you all to ourselves!

- Jim


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:45 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2009 9:49 am
Posts: 51
Location: Atlanta GA
And all this time I was hoping the model was Johnnie Mr K's beautiful secretary setting the stage for the BSR vs BRE
Shootout,making it all a Nissan-Datsun racing inside job......thanks to everyone who shared in this post!! :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 1:18 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2014 9:48 am
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I am going to try and thread lightly here, as I am not an expert by no means, BUT 240Z vin#006 was indeed the first car to be turned into a racecar by Bob Sharp and ran as 33 for most of if not all of the 1970 season as such. Once another Z was made available to BSR as a racecar, that car became Bob's #33 and vin#006 became Jim Fitzgerald's #38 racecar. Jim continued to run vin #006 as BSR #38 until Jim began his own race team in 1974 and bought(?) the car from Bob. Jim drove the car until the intro of the 280ZX and vin#006 was retired in favor of the 280ZX he raced thru 1983- In 1984 Jim returned to drive for Bob Sharp Racing alongside his friend Paul Newman still running his #38 number to Paul's #33.
Jim won the National title in 1984 in the BSR 300ZX and raced for BSR until his fatal accident at the 1987 Saint Petersburg Grand Prix. From what I have heard, Allan Robbins bought the car vin#006 from the Fitzgerald family.


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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 1:24 pm 
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One other thing- the racecars were a dark red color in 1970-1972 until the now famous red/white blue livery was adopted.


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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2014 9:39 pm 
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["....the racecars were a dark red color in 1970-1972"].

That's actually completely correct. Thank you for the correction. I knew that to be the case, and should have specified it in my story. The car came from the factory GREEN, and BSR painted it red with the stylized "33" numbers.

Thank you again for the accurate correction! :thumbs_up:

Frank

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