Car Feature: The Granny Goose II Modified Production 1969 Camaro

Car Feature: The Granny Goose II Modified Production 1969 Camaro

*(With our live streaming broadcast of the 2014 Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion starting in two days, we have been looking back at some of the coolest cars we’ve featured from the race over the years. This one, the “Granny Goose II” Camaro is absolutely awesome and fast, too!) We’re lucky enough to spend lots of time at cool events either shooting video or photos of neat cars. During the Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion, we saw a D/Modified Production 1969 Camaro called the Granny Goose II and immediately fell in love.

Modified Production was an NHRA class that appeared in 1964 and was killed off in 1981. Along the way, racers used multitudes of combinations in several different classes. While the A and B/MP cars got lots of recognition because of their ability to throw big numbers up on the score boards, it is cars like the Granny Goose II which ran in the lower classes that people remember so fondly. Why? You listen to the 331ci small block spin to about ten grand on the starting line and tell us.

This particular car was restored to the condition you see it in now just after the turn of the millenium. It was destined to live it’s life as a show car until it was seen by current owner James Payne in 2005. He managed to buy the car and despite please from the former owner to leave it as a show car, Payne did the right thing and prepped it for the track. We’re very glad that he did because it would be wrong to have this awesome piece of history used only for power parking at car shows.

The history of the car, which has been painstakingly documented by both the Paynes  and former owner Karl Thiele is awesome. Starting life as a 396/375hp “x66” code car, it ran B/Stock for a few seasons while doing some street duty with original owner Woody Bateman behind the wheel. In 1970 the car was purchased by Dave Lewis and Bruce Scott who whipped it into D/Modified Production form with a screaming small block and four speed transmission. The paint was laid on by renowned painter Bill Roell and the lettering was done by the equally respected Daubber. That pair actually painted this car three times. Firstly in 1970, then again in 1972, and finally during the resto process in 1999 (with work also being done by Doug Gumbert)! Jerry Coley and Max Hall bought the car in 1973 and raced it for several years. It then sat until the late 1980’s after being discovered by Thiele.

What made these cars, especially those in the lower MP classes so special was the combination of small blocks and four speeds. Modified Production was a heads-up class, you needed to be the baddest man on the grounds to leave with hardware. The “Goose” through both of it’s ownership regimes was a terror. It won Columbus in 1971, won Indy in 1972, the Winternationals in 1974, was an NHRA Division 2 champion, and was on the Car Craft All-Star team in 1971. This isn’t just a pretty old race car. This Camaro was a bona-fide ass kicker.

James Payne is the man who gets the credit for putting it back on the track. The car has gone a best of 10.27/132mph with Payne at the wheel. The low 10-second times are courtesy of a tunnel rammed 331ci small block Chevy. Instead of a factory four-speed this car uses a clutch assisted G-Force transmission that bludgeons a Dana 60 rear end with all the power from that screaming small block. The suspension is the same as it was when the car was campaigned in the 1970’s and judging by the way this monster launches, it works just fine for stone age technology.

Driving duties are now handled by Bill “Slow Dollar Bill” Stewart and he does a fine job rowing the gears and hustling the car down the track.

This car has a real effect on people. As we were shooting the feature photos at the end of the strip, people came wandering down to ask Bevy and James questions on the history of the car and to simply admire it. The stance is perfect. The motor, which revs to the freaking moon is perfect, and the fact that there is a third pedal and a shifter coming up through the floor completes the picture.

The Paynes wanted to thank Bill Stewart and his wife Bertie, Dave Sanderson, Jerry Coley, Bruce Scott, Tom Roudebush, and Dave Lewis.

Click below to see a gallery of photos featuring the Granny Goose II 1969 Camaro!




Granny Goose II



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18 thoughts on “Car Feature: The Granny Goose II Modified Production 1969 Camaro

  1. Gary Scott

    I got to watch this monster many times in the 70s and it is my favorite car-monster of all time .

  2. cobra vic

    cincinnati ohio based car / ran edgewater drag strip many times / would
    run up against preparation h 6 cylinder maverick for the money alot / saturday
    night at edgewater in the early 70″s was like a nationals preview

  3. Piston Pete

    I love Fuel Coupes and T/F, but this stuff is the real deal. I remember this car at Indy and National Trails. There is a slight error in the story; Modified ran heads up in class eliminations, but were index handicapped in their category eliminations, I’m sure that’s what Brian meant. If you couldn’t run at least .8 under the index at divisional and national races, you were toast. Many top doorslammer stars started here, Paul Blevins’ 56 Nomad and Corvette, Reher, Morrison and Shepherd’s Chevy small block Maverick and Corvette and dozens of other top racers (those mentioned were my favorites). In the mid 70s Rick Voegelin and Norm Mayerson of Car Craft magazine created a “econo-modified” class called Super Modified that ran in Modified Production eliminations and they ran a 67 Camaro that dominated the west coast, but rarely traveled. I asked Rick at the Nationals one year why they never ran at Indy and he said it would cost over $1,000 in expenses for the week and he couldn’t afford it. I asked why the magazine wouldn’t cover it and he laughed, shook his head and said “You must be joking” Anyway, anyone reading this story that was there already knows this stuff, no new news, just a trip down memory lane for me. Also, current P/S standout Mike Edwards was the last M/P National Champion. The demise of this eliminator was a damn travesty and helped created the notion that NHRA stands for No Hot Rods Allowed. Thanks for the great story, thanks for the chance to relive those thrilling days and, as always, thanks to Brian and Chad for doing what they do.

  4. gary willis

    great car. they also had a granny goose covette. one of the early cars painted by SHORT ROUND BILL ROEL out of cincy area. they sure took pride in those cars!! those were the days!!!

  5. John Brown

    Still missing on the restored version is one of the greatest lines ever painted in microscopic letters. “Are you man enough to eat Granny Goose?” Granny Goose was a brand of locally produced potato chips.

  6. Bill Fry

    Yes, a great restoration of a grat racecar! I count Karl Thiele as a close friend and was lucky enough to see the ‘Goose’ during some of the resto phases. As stated, Karl has almost every artical ever published about the car and its drivers. After approaching the original painters mentioned about painting the Goose, a can of the original paint was discovered stored in a shop cabinet and used to complete the resto. Just a few years ago, Granny Goose was entered in the Cincinnati Cavalcade of Customs and drew a whole lot of attention.

  7. Jerry Coley

    The “Goose” through both of it’s ownership regimes was a terror. It won Columbus in 1971, won Indy in 1972, the Winternationals in 1974, was an NHRA Division 2 champion, and was on the Car Craft All-Star team in 1971. This isn’t just a pretty old race car. This Camaro was a bona-fide ass kicker.
    Just wanted to also advise that it was runner-up at the 74 Gatornationals and the correct spelling of the driver/owner was Jerry Coley.
    The car now is owned by Darrel Hatton from the Ohio area.

  8. lyn smith

    Someone needs to do a book on Modified Eliminator.Alot of great cars and drivers raced in that category.The drama of the 81 Nationals would be enough for one chapter.

  9. Greg Debus

    Surely a missed class of cars at any drag race. You could see wheellies every first second and sometimes third gear. High winding small blocks, some of the coolest cars ever.

  10. john samson

    Great article on one of the coolest door slammers ever! Nothing was better than those high winding small blocks yanking the wheels in every gear. Got to see The Golden Goose many times at Gainesville and home track down here in Bradenton Fl. Jerry Coley was a hell of A stick man on that 5 speed. Rock on goose!

  11. The Revenuer

    Awesome article .. I have a page dedicated to this and other Max Hall owned cars. … I am always glad to find more information about these great pieces of racing history …. also very glad that some of them have survived. The Granny Goose/Golden Goose as well as the Opel (Revenuer) still survive .. if only the whereabouts of the the Revenuer III were known. “Bend over and touch your toes and I’ll show you where the wild goose goes.”

  12. Barn Engineering

    Back in the day, I helped out another 69′ Camaro running D/MP so I made it a point to check out Dave’s car at Englishtown one year. Just as nice today as it was back then.

  13. John Brown

    This article is like deja vu all over again. I’m still up for Granny Goose type of cars and articles, just like I was when they were running down the strip every weekend.

  14. Darrell Hatton

    I too had the opportunity and the pleasure to own and race the Granny Goose in the Ohio and Kentucky region. This article brings back great memories. In my many years of drag racing, it has been an honor to be a part of the Goose’s history.
    2010 Semi Finals UMTR Stick Shift Nationals at Edgewater, Ohio.
    Darrell Hatton
    Georgetown OH

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