Thursday, January 15, 2009

Kas Kastner Musings

When we bought The Macau we did some fairly detailed research into the history including contacting as many past owners as possible. We now know (or think we know!) The Macau's history for every year of it's life. Thanks to the contributions of people like Ray Henderson (Triumph Competition's), Fred Nicklin (Triumph test driver), Vernon Branon (owner of ADU 4B and ace researcher), and Kas Kastner (one time owner of Macau) we have filled in a few of the gaps in The Macau's history. There follows the musings of one Mr Kas Kastner on his period of ownership of the car which ran from April 14th 1966 to the 2nd February 1968 (yes we know the actual dates!). Thanks also to Mr Kastner for the pictures he forwarded along with his e-mail as reproduced below.

Yes, I did put in the 6 cylinder engine and built the scoop for the hood to clear the valve cover. Hard to remember other things but I'll look through my photos and see if I've got some others that might give some better views. I do believe that I put a TR-4 gearbox in it but don't remember any dates, probably early '64 ish. I thought I did cause I remembered putting in the TR-4 rear motor mount (the tranny one) but you know that was 35 years ago and I've had so many cars and did so many conversions and modifications... sometimes it gets a little confusing.

I changed the tank because we were running pretty short races and needed a sealed unit for technical inspection. Whatever the chassis was when I got the car is the same one that is in it now for all of me. I did not change it, not having a reason or the time or facility or money to do it.

Courtesy Kas Kastner

Bigger radiator, 2 litre engine and the TR-4 gearbox were installed and we ran the car in a new series called the United States Road Racing Championships which was a fore-runner to the Can-Am. This was circa '65-'66. We ran in the under 2 litre section and did okay. The straight line was great but too small a brakes and tyres held the car from really being a thing of real performance. It looked great on the track though and always caused a lot of comment.

I guess it would have probably been in '67 cause that would have given me time to do the conversion over the Christmas holidays. We ran it two or three times in the 1147cc form but were not even close to being competitive against such new and modern design cars not devised from a production unit, so I figured I'd do something about it.

In early 6 cyl form Charlie Gates at the helm.
Picture courtesy of Kas Kastner

It went a lot better with 200bhp under the bonnet. I think (probably) we got a third in the under 2000 class at Riverside because I do remember we made $800 that day. I've checked all my photos and nothing has a date on it.

Sorry but at the time it didn't mean a damn thing so why bother with the details. This was strictly a fun thing toy for me to get away from the production car regulations and hum drum. Charlie Gates was the only one to drive the car for me.

Getting back to the roto-flex, I just don't remember what the car had as received. Whatever Ray Henderson (who worked in Triumph experimental/competitions) sent to Macau, that's what I had and that's what I sold. This means that if it was updated then another owner along the way did that part. I am guilty of the engine and hood scoops though. The original parts are long "gone". I have no idea as they were not worth anything to me at the time. I expect I used the head on some cheater engine for someone to win with. I have found four photos, two in colour with 2000cc engine and one with the 1147cc engine all at Riverside with another at a track in Northern California called Cottati north of San Francisco.

Courtesy Kas Kastner

I would expect I sold the car right after the season in 1967 as I was up to my ears with spying for Harry Webster and worrying about emissions and also getting ready for the new 6 cylinder cars. I hope you understand I am rather a ruthless character and when I'm finished with a tool I want it out of my sight. That's how I felt about the cars... out with the old and in with the new. Too much to do and too little time and no money.

I do not remember the guy I sold the car to in Texas. It might sound familiar if I heard his name. (Seems I sold a lot of cars into Texas) What happened to it after that I have no idea. I think I have a couple photos in my collection that you might find of interest. One is the original configuration with Charlie Gates driving at Riverside California.

I was also at the factory when they were making this car... never thinking I would have it in my control later. We kind of raced this as a lark and fun, and it was just that.

Kas Kastner

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