The Story Behind Ferrari and Norwood

The Man, The Myth, The Legend, Bob Norwood, has been building, racing, restoring and servicing vintage/race Ferraris and other vehicles for over fifty years. He’s known for incorporating innovative developments into high-performance automotive design.

His passion for automobiles started at a young age. At 13, he drove a 1946 Ford Coupe in his first competitive drag race. He continued drag racing while in high school, driving a six cylinder GMC G-Gas Coupe and later an A-Sports Corvette. In 1971, he raced a Superstock Hemi-Cuda and made it number two in the world A/FC point standings.

Norwood got into Cam AM racing in 1982 with the purchase of the 1979 Citi-Corp Championship car from Carl Hass. He ran SCCA A-Sports with driver Phil Compton and continued on in 1983 with the addition of a second Lola 333 driven by Mike Rowe. The Norwood team partnered with Don Walker in late 1983, bought Team VDS and won Cam AM in 1984. At one point he was the proud owner of 137 listings in the Guinness Book of Automotive World Records.

In the mid ’80s, Bob’s modified Ferrari 308 QV, the first with programmable fuel injection, set two class speed records on the Bonneville Salt Flats and one of them stood for 26 years.

His Ferrari 288 GTO rebody still holds the record as the fastest Ferrari in the world and his intercooled twin turbo Ferrari Testarossa won a Road & Track Magazine Shootout.

In the late ’80s, Norwood equipped a Ferrari 12-cylinder Boxer engine with a locomotive sourced supercharger. It featured a lightened flywheel and knife-edged crank and could rev from the engine’s 1200 RPM idle to the 9,000 RPM redline in just over a tenth of a second. It was certified on a Superflow 901 engine dyno to make 1,400 horsepower on 120-octane gasoline at 60 psi boost.

The short-stroke 3.2-inch bore engine was upgraded with a billet Crower crankshaft, extra-long Crower rods and custom forged pistons. It was managed by a Haltech F3 EFI controller and a Firepower Direct-Fire 12 coil ignition system. Fast forward to today and he is making (including the engine block and heads) custom 5.0 liter 4 cylinder engines from scratch that produce 3,000+ horsepower!

Drawing on his racing background and passion for Ferraris, Norwood’s first Ferrari restoration projects were a 330 2+2 road car and a Boano club racer. He then built his first Ferrari replica, a 59/TR (Testarossa), and went on to build four more. He has since built numerous Ferrari replicas, including the 330/P4. After years of building P4 replicas, GTO rebodies, and 250 Testrossa 59s, he decided to build rebodied Ferrari 250 GT SWB Spyders (scroll down to learn more about these and his 330 P/4s).

In addition to his own projects, he builds race and street motors for several racing teams and is one of the leading service and restoration providers for Ferrari owners/collectors around the world.

How To Restored and Modified an Classic Cars

Not all owners of classic cars think in the same way. Some prefer to keep them original (patina and minor issues), some completely restore them and some restore them and also do modifications. All three require the love and attention to detail of a classic car collector. No matter his preference the commitment, effort and knowledge associated with this very involved hobby is admirable.

Original Vehicles

An original vehicle is one that has been maintained so well that it has all of its original factory specified parts. Their parts have been mostly fixed rather than replaced and if they had been replaced at one time it will have been with the original part intended for the model from the exact year of its introduction. To determine the originality of a classic, enthusiasts look for “matching numbers”, serial numbers that are stamped on parts throughout the car that match each other and the number originally associated with the car in its year.

Pros and Cons

Original vehicles are extremely hard to come by. To produce one takes the most time and money because the original parts are as rare as or more rare than the car itself. Because of the lack of availability of models and their parts, many car owner’s claiming “original” are actually restored. A true original and a restored vehicle should look the same and nearly operate the same, but because of the difference in original parts vs. re-manufactured parts, the prestige and value of a true original is significantly higher. The value of the three types of vehicles fluctuates based on the changing demand of collectors just like many consumables, but original vehicles, even in their shabbiest appearances can sell for 35% more than their perfectly restored opponent, a reason why you’ll find a lot of speculation on which route to take.

Restored Vehicles

Restored vehicles are made to look and drive like they did the day they were introduced to consumers. Their owners however, choose to replace parts with factory refurbished remakes of original parts. Using the original as inspiration, a car restorer will match the interior, parts and paint as closely to its glory days as possible.

Pros and Cons

Because restoration parts are easier to obtain and the restoration route creates more of its kind, this vehicle is less rare and often less valuable than an original. This is also the reason a collector can achieve results faster and perhaps joyride in his car sooner and for longer, a pro that’s hard to argue if you’re familiar with the work required of an original. As previously stated, the monetary value of a restored is less than an original in many cases, but there is value in having the most fun in your car and if that’s a high priority for an owner than this is a fine choice!

Resto-mod Vehicles

Resto-mod is short for restored and modified. These vehicles are the furthest from originals. They are restored and often “modernfied” if you will. Some owners choose to enhance the engine, make it more fuel efficient, or add modern luxuries like a preferred sound system or safety features.

Pros and Cons

The sky is the limit for an owner with the freedom of modifications. He can build his dream car! Resell for these cars is difficult though and the return could be even less than was put in it so this is the biggest pit fall. The reward is grand and the risk too, is grand, but for many this is the perfect fit for them. The value of a restored and modified vehicle is very unpredictable because the vehicle has been tailored to its owner’s specific tastes and he’d have to find a similar buyer, something to consider when choosing this method and while choosing each modification as well, if reselling is an area of importance at all.

The debate and judgment of this sector of cars will always be, keeping this art form alive and well, but one thing is certain; classic car owners love their cars and that’s worthy of respect. After considerable research you’ll find that each collector has to make their car collecting decisions based on his own lifestyle and what he plans to do with it, re-sell or enjoy. Judge a collector not by the category of his car, but how well it’s been done and cared for.