Updated: Jan 21
Built to take on giants.
Jim Hall and Hap Sharp would build some of the most revolutionary and groundbreaking cars for the time in their own workshop at the Rattlesnake race track in Midland Texas.
In 1966, Jim Hall debuted the enclosed version of the Chaparral 2 for the World Manufacturers’ Championship races – such as Daytona, Sebring, and the famous 24 hours of Le Mans in France. While finishing only one race in 1966 the 2D would win the prestigious 1,000 kilometer race at Nurburgring, Germany.
Jim Hall and Hap Sharp built the semi-monocoque fiberglass structure pioneered the light weight design technology that is still used in high end and prototype race cars today. Chaparral cars also experimented with a wide variety of surface shapes on the 2D that took advantage of the airflow. The new design, aerodynamics, and down force used on this machine would hint at the major aerodynamic innovations that Chaparral would develop on its later cars.
The 2D’s “automatic” transmission helped ease fatigue on the drive and decreased drive train wear. With a “free clutch foot” it allowed the driver to left foot brake and have better control in entry and cornering.
The 2D was basically a re-bodied Chaparral 2 chassis with a coupe body and used the proven 327-cubic-inch aluminum block engine in addition to the closed cockpit. They changed up the aerodynamic drag for increased top speed the car would be achieving at tracks like the Nurburgring.
The Chaparral 2D ran a Chevrolet aluminum small-block 327-cubic-inch V-8 pumping out 420hp at 6,500 rpm. All that power ran through the genius drive system that was the 2-speed Chaparral “automatic” transmission.
As you can see from the pictures this amazing machine was tagged and street legal running it’s Texas license plates.
You know companies like Ferrari and Porsche were not happy being passed by a little white car wearing Texas license plate and built by an oil man in a little town in Texas.
Once visiting the chaparral museum in Midland Texas (100% recommend visiting the https://petroleummuseum.org/ if you’re ever near Midland Texas) I was told a story about Jim and his wife taking this car to the country club in Midland and while they were inside talking with friends the kids in the swimming pool got out and started playing in the 2D! Jim would let the kids play in the race cars if he ever brought them up but on this occasion the children completely soaked the fiberglass bucket seat and when he got ready to leave he had to drive home in a puddle.
I have always loved the Amazing, innovative, and groundbreaking creations that came out of the Chaparral shop.