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Guillaume Soumagne

  • Owner Name: Guillaume Soumagne
  • Location: France
  • Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
  • When did you purchase your Formula S: October, 2014
  • Serial #: ?
  • Body color: Blue with yellow striping
  • Chassis color: Grey
  • Engine: ?
  • Transmission: SAAB
  • Wheel & Tire package: ?
  • Brakes: drum front, disc rear
  • Ownership history and / or racing history: Purchased from Bertil Sollenberg, with the help of Tom Donney, and Bertil’s widow Pat. Bertil had purchased it from Leon Mull in May of 2012. Leon Mull purchased it from Chuck Harter. Chuck Harter purchased it from Dwight Egolf in June of 1973. Dwight Egolf purchased it from Randy Cook in January of 1971. Randy does not recall the serial number or the name of the person from whom he purchased it, though he does recall that they lived in Atlanta.
  • Intention to vintage race: Yes

Comments: The car was purchased as a restoration project that Bertil had started before he passed away.

 

Click to go to the photo gallery.


 

History of Guillaume's Car

In late 2014 and early 2015, Guillaume Soumange was doing research on the history the Formula S he'd just bought. He was able to contact two of the previous owners, likely the second and third owners of the car.

Randy Cook, a friend of mine and standout author, racer, legendary SAAB fanatic, and all around good guy wrote to Guillaume the following:

"Guillaume, this is unbelievable, I always wondered what happened to the car.  The first two photos were taken in front of my house at Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, South Carolina in 1970 or 1971. I have two other pictures taken there but they are faded.  You can see my BMW 1800 and VW camper in the photos.  I towed the car with the VW on a converted boat trailer.  I raced it twice that I can recall, once at Summit Point, West Virgina in the fall of 1970 and at Daytona earlier that year.  I don't know the serial number or the name for certain of the person I bought it from who lived it Atlanta.  Many years ago I bought a second Quantum to vintage race and in discussions with Cecil Stockard, friend from Atlanta who once had a Quantum, we thought it might have been the same car he had built in the mid 60s.  He remembered putting Road Atlanta decals on the side like the ones on it in the photos. When I got it, I painted the gold stripe on the nose and painted the wheels gold.

When I raced the car at Daytona the transmission locked up in third gear and following the race I left it at a friend's SAAB dealership, James Imports, in Orlando, FL where the transmission was replaced. When I raced my 62 SAAB 96, which I sold to buy the Quantum, the dealership had sponsored the car.

I recall the race at Summit Point which was either the first or second race ever held at that track. It was in October, and was cold and rainy.  On the first lap of the race there was a big wreck, I narrowly missed getting hit by a Formula A car that spun out and came across the track in front of me, I finished the race either first or second in FC.

I'd like to see the Ron Mann photos of the car.  I used a couple of his photos in my book Bowtie Ferraris.

I'll have the find the article I wrote about Quantums that was published in a magazine when I was vintage racing the second one.  

Best regards, Randy"

 Guillaume was also able to contact Dwight Egolf, who purchased the car from Randy in 1971. Dwight sent a very complete story of his time with the car:

"Guillaume:

I hope I can provide you with some information you don't have. I have had a chance to go through my files and have found a few items that my be of interest to you. Ron Mann has already supplied you with some of my photos but I found a few he doesn't have.

I guess the best thing would be for me to run through my history with the car. First I have to correct some things Alex Miller told you. I was not the original owner and I did not buy it in 1966 ( I was a sophomore in high school then ). I purchased the Quantum in January of 1971 and raced it in autocross,hillclimbs, and solo track events from then until June of 1973. After that I moved onto Formula Fords for the next  ten years before retiring from driving.I then started my own race car design and fabrication business. 

As I said I purchased the car in January 1971. I was looking for a formula car to run hillclimbs with and was familiar with Quantum SAAB's as one had been running in the PHA hillclimbs. I found an ad in Autoweek for a car located in South Carolina. The owner's name was Randall Cook. I see from your email that you bought your Sonett from a Randy Cook! What are the chances. I had very little contact with Mr. Cook. We talked briefly on the phone and he sent me a letter with some photos which I have attached, labeled as purchased. As I remember it, he was in the military and was being deployed or stationed in a different location and had to sell it. He raced the Quantum in SCCA road races.  My memory fails me here, but I don't think he was the original owner. I somewhat recall that he had raced it for a year or two. We agreed to meet in a parking lot in Virginia to exchange cash for the car. I paid $900.00 for the car. That meeting was very brief as there had been freezing rain all day, so we didn't spend time chatting. I recall him as someone who would be in their 30's. 

The car as I recall it was ready to race. I don't remember doing much to it that year. I believe the engine was a stock 850 with triple downdraft solex carburetors, and was an oil injection engine. I ran in several autocross series that year. I also ran six PHA hillcimbs and a solo track event at Watkins Glen. The Excel spreadsheets Ron Mann provided you are the results from the PHA hillclimb series for 1971 to 1973. I ran in the Formula II class. If you look through the results you will see that my main competition came from formula fords. I did not stand a chance of seriously competing with the stock 850 motor, as is evident from all the 4th,5th, and 6th place finishes. The highlight of the year was at the Rose Valley event where I managed a second place finish. This was a result of the fact that there was rain and fog all day and the slick road and bad visibility helped eliminate my lack of engine power as a factor in the results. Another interesting thing that occurred that year, happened at Weatherly Hillclimb. This course has a section where the road bends and drops at the same time so you get airborne. Usually if you got it wrong you ended up hitting the huge rock on the outside of the bend. I got it wrong one run, but somehow ended up going off to the inside of the bend and ended up some 20 or 30 feet into the woods sitting on some rocks.I have no idea how I got there. The car did not hit anything even though there were trees on either side of it. Because of the rocks covering the ground the car could not be rolled out of the woods, so a group of people surrounded the the car and picked it up and carried it out of the woods.  There was no damage to the car and I continued with the event. Even though my hillclimb results were not great, I apparently completed more events than anyone else in my class and ended up wining the class championship that year.

The color pictures Ron sent you are from the Fleetwood Hillclimb in '71. The picture with the barrels in the background is from the Watkins Glen solo event. This event was the first time the track was used  after it was reconfigured from the original layout. The barrels were standing in for the blue armco barriers that were soon to installed. I do not remember much from that event other than I enjoyed myself as it was my first time on a real race track. The picture of the three cars was taken early in '71. Its a staged photo taken at a go kart track we used to test our cars. The car in the foreground is a DKW Mitter formula junior that ran occasionally in the Formula II class. The car in the middle is a Triumph Spitfire with a homemade body.

For 1972 I made a lot changes to the car. The most noticeable is the rollbar which a regulation change required it to be 1 1/4 inch diameter. The original being 1 inch I believe. I left the design of the rollbar to a local dirt track stock car fabricator and it turned out bit more massive then I had hoped for, but was much safer. The next step was the engine. A friend of mine had raced a SAAB 93 sedan in hillclimbs for years and was well versed in the 2 strokes. He bored the block for oversize pistons, but I don't remember the size. He also milled the head a lot, I recall it being somewhere in the area of 1/8". Also I think he replaced all the bearings on the crank and aligned it. Meanwhile I ported the block. I had a book that listed the factory specifications for their rally cars and I ported the block to those specs. To finish off the engine I purchased a set of the side draft carbs from the Sonett motor from the guy who ran a Quantum in hillclimbs before me. Then I went Goodyear racing tires to get some better tires and the the guy there talked me into putting Formula 5000 (or whatever they were calling it at that time) front tires on the rear. I think these were around 9" wide. The final step in the upgrade was the F1 like intake scoop that I designed and fabricated. 

The modified engine had a lot of grunt and was loud. I figured I was going to have shot of being competitive in '72, but it turned out to be a disaster of a year. It seems the increased power and wider tires led to the destruction of the rubber doughnut cv joints every time I did a standing start. I went through a lot of the rubber doughnuts and they were hard to come by. I think I ended up special ordering them from the SAAB importer. Then to finish off the year, while running the Pagoda Hillclimb one of the motor mounts failed, more than likely due to all the vibration from the CV joints. In order to finish the event we chained the engine to the chassis. I only ran four events and as you can see in the spreadsheet for '72 the results were not good. 

I also ran a solo track event at Summit Pt. Raceway that year but have no recollection of how that went.

The next year was my senior year in college so my time for the car was limited. I can not recall doing anything to the car other than repairing the motor mount. At the first hillclimb I was making a short film for a film class so I was more consumed with that than racing. I made a mp4 of the portion that contains footage of the Quantum. I will try to send it to you in a separate  email as the file is large. At the second event we sat around all day waiting for the torrential rain to stop and when I finally got a chance to run I spun and Dnf'd. At the next event, which would be the last hillclimb I ran with the Quantum, when I got to the start line for my first run the engine would not start no matter what we did. Later that week it was found to be short in the distributor. A classmate of mine at college who raced a FV had been trying to convince me to put a set FV tires on the Quantum in hopes of curing the cv joint problem. I was not sure it was a good idea as the tires were so much narrower, but I finally went ahead and bought a set of used tires from him. After the last hillclimb I put on the FV tires and headed off to my first SCCA drivers school at Watkins Glen. The FV tires transformed the car. It eliminated the cv problem and the handling was improved. I ended up being the second fastest car behind a corvette. But all good things must end. As a result of the head milling and porting the engine was prone to overheating and the head needed to be retorqued on a regular basis. I also put antifreeze  in the coolant to help control the overheating. Because of the busy schedule of the school I neglected to check the head. During the race at the end of the school, I got to the end of the straight and the scream of the engine became a dull roar and I lost power. I shut it off and coasted to stop. There was a hole in the bottom of the case. When I got home and took the engine apart it was clear what happened. The head gasket started to leak and antifreeze washed the oil off the cylinder wall and the piston oveheated and began to melt. The molten aluminum flowed down into ring area and solidified and seized the piston. The piston then split at the wrist pin and the wrist pin and rod continued to go up and down milling deep grooves in cylinder wall on both sides. And somewhere along the way the rod bearing failed and the rod punched through the case. Several weeks later I purchased my first Formula Ford and sold the Quantum to Chuck Harter. 

All that said, I enjoyed my time with the Quantum. I learned a lot about car control as it was very prone to oversteer. Most of the problems were of my own making. There was a time in the early '90's that I was interested in buying it for vintage racing, but at that time Leon Mull was not interested in selling. So I am glad it finally found a good home.

I have attached some photos. There are the two photos from Randall cook, a photo of the car in '71 taken at a car show at a local mall, a couple of photos from '72 of the car at an autocross, and one of the car at Summit Pt. in '72. Also I am attaching a PDF of an article about the Quantum Formula S that was in the February 1966 issue of Sportscar magazine, and a jpeg of an ad for Quantum.

I hope the above is helpful in some way. If you have any questions, just email me.

Best regards,

Dwight"

 

Guillaume Soumagne buys Bertil Sollenskog's Formula S and ships it to France

Originally posted: 11 February 2015

Guillaume Soumagne has purchased the former Bertil Sollenskog car, which Bertil had purchased from Leon Mull. Bertil started the restoration but sadly passed away before he could complete it.

Guillaume has shipped the car to France where it will be given a full restoration. It will join the Motor Sport Service built "widebody" Sonett III that he purchased from Randy Cook a few years ago in his collection. Thankfully, both cars are slated to hit the vintage racing track soon!

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