What's a B Sedan?
Most people associate a sedan as a passenger car with front and back seats, which the automotive industry refers to as a three-box configuration. The first compartment is the engine, the second is the cabin for passengers and the third is the trunk. More recently I came to learn that the name Sedan comes from the 17th century development of the sedan chair - a one-person enclosed box with windows that is carried by porters. Fast forward to the 1960’s, better known as the Golden Era for sedan racing. This Golden Era, was from 1966-1972 when the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) introduced new racing classes that included A Sedan – D Sedan. The credit for the visionary change belongs to the former Executive Director of SCCA, John Bishop. Prior to the addition of the sedan classes in ‘66, it was all about the sports cars. Fans came to watch the Cobras race the Corvettes and the Porsches race against the Triumphs and Austin-Healeys. Also, that same year, the SCCA launched Trans-Am, a parallel professional series for cars eligible for the A and B Sedan classes.
For me it is purely sentimental. Like certain foods, clothes, and music , cars have embedded themselves in my childhood memories. Some of those memories bring thoughts of joy, some are sad, but most of the time they bring a big smile. For the first time, the likes of the BWM 2002, the Alfa GTA, and the Datsun 510s brought that racey look and feel to the sedan world. These were cars that a family could own and go to the races to see them campaigned. I recall going to auto-crosses at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego to watch my sister and her boyfriend race their Cortina and Corvaire. I took in all the sights and sounds and knew I was somewhere special. As much as I loved their cars, the B Sedans were the cars that fascinated me the most. They were approachable but still out of reach. They were in the cool ads with cool people in cool places doing cool things, especially on the racetracks and auto cross courses across the US in the 1960s & 1970s.