A DOZEN ABSTRACT oils line the walls of the large room over looking New York's Central Park. The strong subject matter, set off by bold black outlines, reminds you of the early German moderns. The paintings are the work of Samuel Felton Posey, who wasn't born when the Bauhaus flourished.
Sam went to the Gunnery School near his Sharon, Conn., home and graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design but now, at 23, he is completely committed to the life of a race driver and car builder. Sam thinks the bug first bit him in Boca Grande, Fla., when he was five. The Collier brothers also lived on this Gulf Coast island and Sam says he can still see Miles Collier's 1932 MG under the palms. Sam also marks the reading of Mike Hawthorn's Challenge Me the Race as significant, as it was then that he decided to drive professionally.
"I started with Formula Vee," Sam explains in what must be the purest New England accent in motor racing ("started" rhymes with "potted" when Sam says it, for example). "I could have bought any car but I think this was the best way to start. I've had several rides in an Alfa GTZ, including Sebring, and I bought a Porsche 904, which I ran at the Daytona 24 hours with Jim Haynes and at Nassau in 1965. I also raced at Le Mans in 1965 but lasted only about four hours and made eight pit stops."
Sam met Ray Caldwell of Autodynamics while racing Formula Vees and these two now have several projects underway, including a new Group 7 car for the Can-Am races this fall. Last year, Sam ran all six Can-Am races in a McLaren with a 289 Ford engine, with an eighth at Bridgehampton his best finish. Sam says that he and Ray are using this year's USRRC for learning and that they don't hesitate to change things that are working, like good handling, just to see what would happen. "We felt that Mark [Donohue] would run away with the USRRc: and he is, so we gave up trying and started experimenting. For example, I chan-ged to spring-steel halfshafts to see if it would decrease the conventional roll stiffness. Well, it did, but they split and we dropped the idea."
Sam recently had two new experiences. He earned the pole as fastest qualifier at Las Vegas and flipped at Bridgehampton. When questioned after going on his head for the first time, Sam calmly replied that he guessed it was because he had missed a shift or that something broke. It turned out that something, the shift linkage, had broken and Sam had to kick the door open and slide out. At his next race, the Watkins Glen USRRC, Sam showed he was none the worse for his experience by qualifying on the front row and finishing a cool second to Donohue.
If two of the new Group 7 Caldwells are ready for the Can-Am series, Brett Lunger of Wilmington, Del., will drive one but Sam cautions that they will be relatively crude looking prototypes. Caldwell runs the team and Colin Day, formerly with Chapman and Broadley, is Sam's chief mechanic.
Sam, along with some experts, shares the feeling that Donohue, Peter Revson and Skip Scott have developed into our outstanding drivers and intends to learn from them.