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LOT 135

Raced professionally by John Morton, Rocky Moran, and Danny Sullivan 1981 FRISSBEE GB-2 CAN-AM Chassis no. 2

Estimate: US$145,000 - US$175,000
Lot 135
Raced professionally by John Morton, Rocky Moran, and Danny Sullivan

Raced professionally by John Morton, Rocky Moran, and Danny Sullivan

Chassis no. 2

5.0-liter Chevrolet V-8 by Ted Wenz
Lucas-McKay fuel-injection
540hp at 8200 rpm
Hewland DG-300 five-speed transmission
AP-Lockheed ventilated front and rear brakes

*One of only two Frissbee Can-Am cars with Trevor Harris-designed chassis
*Winner with Danny Sullivan at Las Vegas round of 1981 Can-Am
*Top speed 200+ mph
*Fitted with period-correct 23-degree cylinder heads
*Race ready with extensive collection of spare parts, including original Lozano/Sullivan long block
*Chassis autographed by Danny Sullivan


Although the Canadian-American Challenge Cup may be best known for the initial series of SCCA-sanctioned races that ran from 1966-74 — and which will forever be remembered for its wide-open rules and the epic battles between McLaren and Porsche — the revived Can-Am series, which ran from 1977-87, was just as colorful and dramatic, its grid packed with drivers from Formula One and other top series, with names like Tambay, Jones, Ickx, Brabham, Unser, Rahal, Sullivan, Holbert, and Villeneuve.

And though Can-Am II could not afford to be the relatively open — and ultimately too expensive — formula of Series I, its garages and pits teemed with talent and ingenuity, sporting such names as Haas, Lola, VDS, March, Dykstra, and the two at the heart of this Frissbee GB-2 Can-Am race car, Brad Frisselle and Trevor Harris.

This car is chassis # 2 of the Frissbee Can-Am machines, but it is the first — and one of only two — that were formed around a chassis designed by Harris, who earlier had drawn up the innovative, even radical, AVS-Shadow Can-Am car. All other Frissbee Can-Am cars were based on Lola chassis, beginning with the T332 that the SCCA brought over to its series from Formula 5000 through importer Carl Haas.

During its short life in professional competition, Frissbee #2 was driven by John Morton, Rocky Moran and Danny Sullivan, who earned a flag-to-flag win with it at the Las Vegas round of the Can-Am in 1981.

Before the Can-Am wrapped up, a Frissbee had taken four championship crowns, the first by Al Unser Jr. in 1982 while driving either chassis #1, a converted Lola, or #3, the only other "pure" Frissbee Can-Am car. Villeneuve Sr. won the series in 1983, Rick Miaskiewicz in 1985, and Horst Kroll in 1986, all driving Lolas with Frissbee bodywork.

Brad won 15 professional races in just five years of competition, but he is remembered more for the cars that bear the whimsical play on his name. The first was originally a Formula 5000 Lola T322 that had been driven to several F5000 wins by Al Unser Sr. in 1975 and 1976 (for Vels-Parnelli Jones Racing) before being purchased by Frisselle for conversion to Can-Am specs. He then enlisted the brilliant Trevor Harris and Yoshi Suzuka to oversee the body design. The car was ready for the Riverside round of the Can-Am in 1979, and though driver John Morton qualified it second, the car proved to be a handful and eventually did not finish.

Frisselle decided to fix the problem by hiring master fabricator Jack Smith to construct an entirely new tub (Frissbee chassis #2) of 2024 aluminum and 4130 steel from a design by Trevor Harris. Much of the development concentrated on improving torsional rigidity and the car's aerodynamics, and Harris came up with a number of innovations, including a reverse front underwing that increased downforce and helped stabilize the handling.

Frissbee #2 was fitted with a 5.0 Chevy built by Ryan Falconer Racing Engines and sold to Rocky Moran's American Spirit Racing in June 1981. Moran's entry at the Valvoline Can-Am Ohio on June 28, 1981, was the first time a full Frissbee made the grid. Moran followed up a fourth in qualifying with an auspicious third-place finish, earned the same result at the Glen Six Hours of Endurance in early July, DNFed at Road America on July 26, and, in his final race with the car (that season, at least), on August 16 took third at Edmonton's Can-Am round.

Moran sold #2 to Garvin Brown Racing in September, which purchased it for a young driver named Danny Sullivan. Brown and Sullivan had started their Can-Am careers together in 1980, with Sullivan driving either an Intrepid GB1 or Lola-530 to a couple of second-place finishes but otherwise finishing well back in the pack. Putting Sullivan in the recently purchased Frissbee might provide the edge the driver needed to show his best. And that's how it worked out. Sullivan's first outing with #2 was at Riverside on October 4, 1981, and he qualified well, in 6th, but an electrical problem earned him a DNF. Sullivan was back in the car at Laguna Seca in November and started 2nd on the grid.

The next round of the Can-Am, in Las Vegas, was less than a week away, and mechanics Dave White and Paul Zigowski labored to fit a new Chaparral engine in #2 before qualifying. Sullivan responded to the fresh powerplant, taking top spot on the grid and leading all 38 laps in front of Teo Fabi's March and Geoff Brabham's Lola. Sullivan's late-season surge in the Frissbee, in fact, caught the eye of Roger Penske, and their subsequent partnership flowered into well-known IndyCar history.

Meanwhile, #2 was sold back to Moran after the season, who entered it once during the 1982 season, at the Road Atlanta round in May, and started fourth on the grid; unfortunately, Moran crashed on the rain-soaked first lap of the race, and #2's career with American Spirit Racing was over.

That June, Paul Newman's race team purchased #2 as a back-up car for Sullivan, who had moved to the Newman/Budweiser team for the season. According to Jonesy Morris, who now was in charge of chassis and gearbox operations at Galles Racing for Al Unser Jr.'s championship 1982 season, Frissbee #2 was painted red as a T-car for Las Vegas and Laguna Seca, but there's no history of it ever running in a race for Newman.

The car's next owner was Rob Woltring, who raced it with no great distinction for a few Can-Am rounds in the 1982-83 seasons. It then passed into the hands of former race driver Brian Goellnicht, who had been storing the unassembled tub, bodywork, engine and boxes of parts at Toby Bean's shop in Norcross, Georgia. It was there where Steve Simpson spotted it in the late '90s and subsequently witnessed the expert restoration.

It was about then that Simpson discovered the uncanny connection between the Frissbee and a car he'd owned and raced since 1987 — the very same ex-Al Unser Sr. Vels-Parnelli F5000 race car that once had formed the basis for Frissbee #1, the prototype built off the identical Lola T-332 chassis. Joey Cavaglieri and other team mechanics had restored the car to original F5000 form and "American Wheels" livery before Simpson's ownership, and it would not be until Simpson's interest focused on the Frissbee that he learned the story of Brad Frisselle and Trevor Harris and chassis #2 — a story that would convince him the Frissbee was meant to sit alongside the F5000 car in his garage.

The restoration was completed in August 1998, and Simpson wasted little time competing with it in vintage races. The start of the extensive process to return #2 to the track was made a bit easier because of the tub's excellent condition. Despite the few mishaps suffered by the car during its competition career, they were all of the fender-bender type and never compromised the tub's integrity (though it still had the mark from Sullivan's shunt at Laguna Seca). The fuel cells were also found to be in good condition, needing only new foam. Suspension work included rebuilding the uprights and original Koni shocks, fitting new Goldline rod ends and aircraft-quality fasteners. The VDS-type rocker rear suspension was painted, like the original, gun blue. Also completely rebuilt were the original steering rack and Lockheed brake calipers. The brakes also benefited from new OE-type master and slave cylinders. Retained were the original cockpit-located adjustable brake bias and AP ventilated discs.

Frissbee #2 still has the 5.0-liter Chevrolet engine built for Danny Sullivan by Mike Lozano at the renowned engine developer V.D.S. in Midland, Texas. Though it no longer sits within the chassis, Simpson raced engine #115 for several years after he bought the car and its totally refreshed 542-horsepower engine, the work done again by Lozano, who now is at Lozano Brothers Porting in San Antonio.

Simpson replaced that engine with a Ted Wenz 5.0 out of Savannah Race Engineering and has competed in six race events with the motor; three events with a new ring and pinion and input shaft; two events on a Kinsler rebuild of the Lucas-McKay fuel injection; and one event on fresh Avon rubber.

Among the many spares for the car is a complete body (later sculpted version: two nose sections, center section, tail section, air box, all unpainted and in good condition) plus side-pod and tail-section molds, and the Lozano long-block 5.0 minus fuel injection. Additional components include a low downforce wing; four sets of upper and lower front suspension arms; one rear rocker suspension arm and upright; multiple spring sets of various rates; multiple brake calipers; multiple gearsets and dog rings; and two rear wheels.
Simpson says it's the "best-handling race car" he has ever driven, which includes his 1975 Lola T-322 F5000 and 1982 Rondeau M382-C built for Group C. Attesting to the car's huge downforce, neutral handling, and gradual breakaway that comes with plenty of warning, Simpson won his last race in the Frissbee, at the Hawk International Challenge at Road Atlanta in July 2015.

A noteworthy element of this sale is Danny Sullivan's signature on the Frissbee chassis, which Simpson secured at the Daytona 24 while competing in a vintage support race. Sullivan had noticed the Frissbee in the paddock and related to Simpson how much he had enjoyed driving the car. Also included is a copy of "Circuit," a documentary of the 1981 Can-Am season, Danny Sullivan's driving suit, featured in "Circuit," and the book by Leon Mandel covering the '81 season, "Fast Lane Summer."

Offered on a Bill of Sale.

Saleroom notices

Please note that the Frissbee comes with a wide assortment of spares and accompanying items, including but not limited to one complete additional body (later sculpted version) and sundry additional body components, various suspension and brake components, and a Lozano Brothers long block 5-liter engine. For a complete listing, please contact [email protected]. All spares and accompanying items can be collected from the seller post-sale at the buyers' expense.

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