A Fidanza Update

Hello, my name is Luke. My grandfather is Lou Fidanza, owner and chief engineer of Gran Turismo Jaguar and the circuit legend Ole #19. I have read here that some of you are wondering what happened to the car, and I’m pleased to inform you that it is still in our possession. The company Fidanza Performance is still (at the moment) a family company as I myself am employed and we are working hard in all divisions to continue 5-star driveline and clutch components.
I am working with him to put together stories and write a book to ensure that others do not forget some of the fantastic comeback stories as well as a handful of the fascinating drama that was going on off the tracks. If any of you happen to have Gran Turismo Jaguar, Ole #19, or Lou Fidanza insights or stories to share we would gladly like to read them. From what I’ve read so far, I would like to thank all of you who appreciate the history of the greatest underdogs in the circuit world.


Thank you for that update! Your grandfather is truly a legend among this group, and I look forward to a book of his accomplishments.

Welcome to our community!


Hi Luke,
Thanks for the update! I recall very clearly when Freddy Baker in the GTJ roadster took on Paul Newman and Nissan in winning the C Production championship… in spite of Nissan’s plot to run Baker off the road!

I still have (in storage) the 1967 E-Type that I contracted GTJ’s services for back in the day. All the way from Dallas, Texas, I shipped my crankshaft and my cylinder head to Ohio to get the crank reground and the head refurbished with the GTJ hot street cams. I also got new pistons and rings from GTJ, along with myriad other parts to put the engine in shape. I recall speaking with your grandfather on the phone many times (long distance!) in order to make sure I was getting the right stuff to suit my purposes.

Those were the days when quality Jaguar parts and services were hard to come by (1970s and 1980s), so I am one of many who appreciate Lou’s being there to meet our needs. Many thanks to you and your family for continuing the legacy!


Hey Luke,

Thanks too, from my perch in keeping your grandfather’s legacy alive and the company he so loved moving forward. He was and still is a legend from my SCCA days in the late 60s early 70s.
Thanks for checking in, you’ve done the family proud.

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I was there when F. Baker won the SCCA runoffs at Atlanta. What an exciting race that was! Especially the start when , I believe, Dan Fitzgerald and Freddy had a shoving match.

Those were the best days of automobiledom.

Jim Fitzgerald: one of the nastiest, dirtiest racers I ever had the displeasure of dealing with.

that’s why Datsun hired him to make sure he finished second to Newman…always.

The engine in my 67 S1 OTS was rebuilt by GTJ back in the 80’s. After the rebuild it and the car sat for 20 years before the owner completed the renovation (then sold it on to me.)

I’ve still got a copy of a printed GTJ catalog.



Let’s make a little noise. Turn up your volume controls:


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I found the 1980 SCCA runoffs on YouTube - trading paint at the start of the race here @ 4:15

Damage to Ole #19 can be seen @ 6:23. The gloves were off … what a race! :sunglasses:

Hey, Wigs, just for you - check out the Jim Fitzgerald interview @ 8:24. :joy:

Yeah, I recall seeing that film four or five years after: there was no such thing as YouTube then… :slight_smile:

Logan Blackburn should’ve lost his license for what he did to Kent.

Jim? I’ll aver to saying anything more here.

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That link will not work for me.

I put a copy on Youtube:


Ah… same as the other link.


I don’t have anything worthy of publishing, but I did go to GTJ in the '80’s.

I had a S1 XJ6 that I’d been trying to “improve”, with uprated sway bars, springs, T700 gearbox, triple SU’s etc.

I drove the car down from Niagara area of Canada, and slept in the car outside his shop. Lou seemed to be impressed by that, and was glad the car was not hot, so he could install a pair of his J25 cams with new springs.

There was lots going on at the shop, and Baker’s car was in the front room. Lou states the car made more power with SU’s than Webers.

There were lots of Jags there getting work done, and I was loving it.

Lou asked me what kind of music I liked, and put a CD to listen to while he worked. He used compressed air in the cylinders to hold the valve shut while he swapped the springs. Later he would call out the shim size he needed, and I plucked it from his box. He was very congenial.

Half way through the job, one of his customers arrived unexpectedly to pick up his V12 E that had had ‘the works’ done to it. Lou apologized for the interruption, but I was thrilled to watch Lou show him all the things he’d done to the car. They went for a test drive and the customer was thrilled.

He then finished my car, and I drove home. The engine did have more mid range and idle was normal.

I had the car for 36 years, but is now in NY NY- Willow green if anyone spots it.

Those are great memories.


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Do you remember if the car was on triple HD8’s or on triple HD6’s? I am sure I remember a statement in one of the GTJ publications that they were able to get better results with the 1 3/4 inch carbs than the 2 inch ones but have never seen a reference since.

Hey Geoff:

I found an old article about the 1980 SCCA “C” Production Championship race (Ole #19 piloted by Fred Baker). It mentions SCCA imposed sanctions requiring the car to be detuned for the 1981 season, 1 3/4" SUs being part of that, presumably to slow the car down. From that it would seem reasonable to assume they had previously been running triple HD8’s. Here’s the excerpt:

After the race, the scrutineers tore down the car to verify once more that it complied with all SCCA regulations, which it did. GTJ had stopped the Datsun juggernaut with an aged sports car, and avenged the British motor industry. Fred Baker was awarded “Jaguar Driver of the Year” personally by John Egan, president of Jaguar Cars.

GTJ and Number 19 weren’t done, though. For 1981, the SCCA rulemakers required that the Jaguar be detuned, with solid brake disks and 1.75" SU carburetors. Despite this, the winning streak continued. At the championships, only a minor spin on the rain slick track denied a Baker repeat victory. GTJ’s second place showing didn’t escape the rulemakers, and 1982 found the car forced into GT-1 class, the fastest SCCA racing category. The car would compete with 500+ horsepower Camaros and Corvettes, and the new turbocharged Datsuns. It was expected that the “old lady” would finally be brought down to earth. But the winning streak continued with the Jaguar winning four straight GT-1 races against daunting competition. Finally, the car was required to carry a 200 lb. weight penalty and succumbed to Datsun at the championship race.

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Not the first time, nor the last time, that SCCA did that stupid shit.

Also, when Audi came in TransAm and kicked everybody’s butt in a pan-chassised car, they changed the rules then. Part of the reason why I have no use for the club.

That is very interesting. I am pretty sure that the info I read from GTJ stated that they got better performance from the 1 3/4 inch carbs than they did with the 2 inch. I wonder if they discovered that after being forced to switch to the 1 3/4’s.

It wouldn’t surprise me at all, because the 1-3/4s would very likely give better throttle response than the 2 inchers.

I have it on good authority – – from the mechanic who used to own Margaret – – that switching the 2 L Rover engine from the 2 inch HD8s, to 1-3/4" carbs gives better performance.

I would do it, but I’ve never had a spare set of inch and three-quarter carburetors!

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