One of the first cars built by Fabcar Engineering

Also known as the Shakee Sports Racer, this car is one of the first built by Fabcar Engineering from Roman Slobodynski’s designs. The former AAR Chief Designer was commissioned by Tom Spalding.

Inspired by early ’70s Can Am beasts, the Shakee never raced in the Citicorp Canadian-American Challenge itself which had, by 1978, turned to a single-seater formula where former F5000 open-wheelers were converted to closed-bodywork sports cars. It was most likely used for SCCA-sanctioned races or Autocross events.

Tom Spalding was involved in the Can-Am series running the Bob McKee-designed Schkee DB1 which won the first race of the rejuvenated series with works driver Tom Klausler a year before.

The car doesn’t have a verified racing history but is akin to C-Production sports cars that run in SCCA championships in the US.

What makes the Shakee Sports Racer special

1978 Shakee Can Am racer
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The 40-year-old Shakee is a strange sports car. For one, its name is dead similar to Schkee, the brand of car which Tom Spalding, the man who paid for the Shakee, drove in the Can-Am championship. Let me explain.

In 1977, the Can-Am series returned trying to grow the American's interest in sports car racing in the same way that the original series had done up until 1974.

This time, though, SCCA devised a book of regulations that saw most competitors show up with modified F5000 cars. Bob McKee designed a body for Doug Schulz to put on top of a Lola T332C chassis which was christened Schkee from Mckee’s and Schulz’s names. The DB1 ran the whole 1977 season before being sold to Tom Spalding in 1978. He, in turn, ran the same car until 1979 without ever finishing higher than 7th.

While racing with the Schkee, he employed ex-All-American Racers Chief Designer Roman Slobodynski’s talents to draw him a Can-Am-style racer. Slobodynski, who’s responsible for the 1972 Eagle, the first Indy Car to surpass 200 mph on an oval, came up with what was to be known as the Shakee.

1978 Shakee Can Am racer
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The car, of which two were built by Fabcar Engineering, remained largely anonymous as Splading never used it in Can-Am. It is unclear if it ever raced, although the use of a 3.5-liter, Buick, V-8 engine with four two-barrel downdraft Dellortos suggests it at least ran SCCA events or Autocross.

The aluminum block Buick engine was capable, when new, of 330+ horsepower and was mated to a five-speed Porsche manual transaxle with a heavy-duty clutch.

The suspension was a double wishbone setup up front and a single wishbone with twin radius arms at the back. Drilled discs are mounted all round behind ATS rims which are said to be period-correct.

The car was advertised by Russo&Steele as nimbler than other Can-Am cars which it could be due to the light aluminum bodywork which sits on a spaceframe chassis. Even if that’s the case, the power is still puny given that late ’70s Can-Am cars were capable of over 650 horsepower.

1978 Shakee Can Am racer
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While Tom Spalding’s money funds dried out towards the end of the decade and he stopped racing in professional series, there is some consolation in knowing that at least one Shakee survived and that builders Protofab went on to much bigger things in the following years by racing Porsche-powered IMSA GT Lights prototypes and then Daytona Prototypes into the new millennium.

Shakee Can Am racer Technical information

1978 Shakee Can Am racer
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Engine Type Aluminum Block 3.5-liter Buick V8
Max Power 330+ Horsepower
Induction 4 x 2bbl Dellorto Downdraft Carburetors
Heads Ported & flowed
Block Helicoiled with larger studs
Crankshaft 327 steel-nitrided
Connecting Rods Shot peened and polished
Pistons Arias 13:1 compression
Camshaft Crower
Valves Manley Stainless Valves
Valve Train Crane
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