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C L A S S I C F A I R L A D Y R O A D S T E R R E G I S T E R
The John Coen/Dave Eagleson Years
In 1968, John Coen, who had been racing Sprites for a number of years, decided to try one of the hot new Datsun 2000s, which had broken onto the SCCA scene around a year earlier. John, from Olney, Illinois called up Bob Sharp, who in 1967 had brought Nissan it's first National Championshiop in a 1600 Roadster. Coincidentally Bob had recently received 5 'Salt Damaged' 2000s from Yutaka Katayama. Not wanting to campaign all five, Bob agreed to sell John one of the cars, SRL311-04627, a 1968 SU spec 2000 in silver, with magnesium Minilite wheels. John went to collect the race-prepared car at Bob's shop in Conneticut. When asked about the 'salt damaged' roadsters over 30 years later John commented 'if there was any salt damage on the car, we couldn't find it'.
John registered the car in the St.Louis Region SCCA - to this day the car's roll bar sports the ID '36-005', the 36 standing for the St. Louis Region and the 005 confirming that this car was the 5th car registered with the SCCA in the region.
Dave heads the field - from 1969
In 1969, John, together with his brother-in-law Dave Eagleson, campaigned the car very successfully in D Production. Eagleson qualified the car (and his Sprite) for the SCCA National Championships (ARRC) at Daytona in 1969. At the runoffs, Dave Eagleson was running near the lead late in the race - unfortunately, on the penultimate lap, he was involved in an accident which resulted in a DNF. Eagleson was in good company - other Datsun retirements included BRE racers John Morton and Frank Monise, as well as Jim Fitzgerald. Jack Scoville went on to win the race, giving the Datsun 2000 it's first National Championship. Bob Sharp finished 4th (in another 'Salt Damaged' 2000) and, incredibly, Datsun 2000s took 7 out of the first 8 places.
The official 1969 ARRC Results
In 1970, Dave Eagleson again had a good year. For the second year running he qualified both his Datsun and Sprite for the SCCA National Championships, the first to be run at Road Atlanta. Eagleson, running in D Production, eventually finished 5th, behind the winner and National Champion, Jim Fitzgerald.
Bob Sharp's Crew Chief Dave Riley (later of Riley Cams) was always asking how Dave got the car running so fast but Dave never told him. Dave apparently took out the domed pistons originally supplied by Bob Sharp because they kept breaking - these were replaced with flat tops and a milled head to assist compression. This set up gave improved breathing and the engine ran better.
The official 1970 ARRC Results
Images from the 1969-1970 seasons - please click for enlargements
|Dave Eagleson - from the 1969 season|
|1969 ARRC - Dave Eagleson lies in 6th place at Daytona|