In 1964, Chuck Stoddard was invited by Alfa Romeo to drive a factory GTZ entry at Sebring. This was because of his winning record in Giuliettas in the SCCA's Central Division in G Production and D Production. At Sebring he co-drove with Jim Kayser, another noted Giulietta driver of the time. They won their class (beating, among others, Jim Clark in a Lotus Cortina). The other three factory-entered GTZ's failed to finish. The Kayser/Stoddard GTZ is now in the Revs Institute Museum in Naples, FL. I knew Chuck personally, because he owned an imported car store in my town, where I worked in the summers of 1963 and 1964. (Talk about a great first summer job!)
|Chuck, doing his thing in the GTZ at Sebring.|
"Zot" was named by Chuck's regular crewman, John Huddleson. Chuck himself had a penchant for gag names. He had a mini-fridge in his office (which I cleaned) labeled "PHOOD." But he didn't name his cars. John read the "B.C." comic strip (we all did), and thought the idea of the GTZ ant-eater vacuuming up ants was funny. As it turned out, John was prescient. John's own contribution to The Saga Of Zot was significant. In practice for the USRRC race at Mid-Ohio in '64, Chuck lost a gear in the tranny. So he was ready to DNS. John said, "Well... we could rebuild it..." So they towed home from Mid-Ohio to Cleveland, rebuilt the tranny overnight, and John towed the TZ back to Mid-Ohio while Chuck slept in the back seat of the '58 Pontiac Bonneville tow car. He finished 3rd the next day.
I was privileged to clean the car and hold tools for Chuck in 1964 when he prepped the TZ on weekday evenings between races. It was a remarkably reliable car, especially for a highly-tuned one. He never had a DNF in Zot in two full seasons of racing. So the checklist was mostly that: brake pad wear, etc. I was also privileged to "crew" for Chuck twice. He ran an SCCA National at Mid-Ohio to shake down the TZ (finishing 2nd to a Porsche 904). At Watkins Glen he won U2L, headed only by five Cobras (including the three factory entries). Aside from Chuck's trouble free run, my main memory of Watkins Glen is how difficult the Cobras appeared to be to manage. Even the 289 was a squirrely car to drive.
Chuck's car was "factory racer" in all respects. In fact, it had been Consalvo Sanesi's test mule, reconditioned before sale to Stoddard. (Alfa ran a factory team of TZ's in major European races.) As such, it was very long-geared: set up for long, fast European circuits like LeMans and Monza. This worked well at places like Watkins Glen and Road America and Meadowdale; less so at tighter circuits like Mid-Ohio. The TZ had very wild valve timing, and thus a high-speed "brap-brap-brap" idle. The Conrero tune got about 175 h.p. out of the Giulia's 1.6 liters. The TZ weighed about 1400 lbs. dry, so it was about 1800 lbs. on the starting grid, ready to race. Notwithstanding this set-up, Chuck was able to get the clutch in, in street driving, and sometimes tested the car on Route 20 where it ran past the dealership. The only change he made to the car in two seasons of racing was to replace the factory Jaeger "watch movement" tach with a more accurate U.S.-made Sun electronic instrument.
|The TZ in the Road America 500 (USRRC) in 1964. Stoddard drove solo (!)|
to another U2L class win in a typically crowded field of big bore and small
Stoddard's record in the TZ over two seasons was: four 1sts, three 2nds, two 3rds, and one 4th (at the Runoffs at the end of 1965. After a successful 12-year career in the SCCA, most of it in Alfa Giuliettas, he sold the TZ and concentrated on building his imported car dealership, which became an "exclusive" Porsche-Audi store (as required by Porsche when it took over its own distribution in the U.S.) in 1968.