22 Mus­cle Ma­niac

Australian Muscle Car - - Contents -

This edi­tion Mus­cle Ma­niac James Cock­ing­ton re­ports back in on a 60th birth­day bash with a Mopar flavour and also un­cov­ers an XR GT that was quite a hit when it was first sold in Shep­par­ton. Theme song: Michael Sem­bello’s ‘Ma­niac’ from Flash­dance.

As pre­viewed here a few is­sues ago, the first an­nual Amer­i­can Mo­tors Cor­po­ra­tion/ Ram­bler car show was held this year as part of the an­nual Chrysler’s on the Mur­ray event.

The gath­er­ing, cel­e­brat­ing the AMC mar­que’s 60th an­niver­sary, was a great weekend, says or­gan­iser Ja­son Chap­lin.

“Shame it stormed on Satur­day night and it was a bit touch and go Sun­day morn­ing. We had about 40 cars on the radar but lost a few due to the weather, al­though 27 AMC cars in the one spot cer­tainly isn’t some­thing that hap­pens ev­ery day in Aus­tralia.”

Most of those on show were Aus­tralian-made, as­sem­bled in Port Mel­bourne by AMC im­porters Aus­tralian Mo­tor In­dus­tries. AMI even put their own badge on these cars.

Last is­sue this mag­a­zine put the spot­light on Clem Smith’s re­mark­able – and re­mark­ably long – mo­tor rac­ing ca­reer. Clem had a long as­so­ci­a­tion with Chrysler prod­uct but we now know that he’s also a fan of AMC – Amer­i­can Mo­tors Cor­po­ra­tion that is. He sold his fair share of Ram­blers, Javelins, et al through his Ade­laide deal­er­ship and kept one for his own collection.

Clem was a bit crook that weekend so he asked his me­chanic Gor­don Sweeney to tow the car over from Ade­laide. The choco­late brown Javelin is a 1970 model and No. 46 of only 70 made by AMI that year.

“I have never seen one so orig­i­nal,” says Ja­son Chap­lin.

Clem also has a mint 30,000 mile 1954 Amer­i­can Mo­tors-built Hud­son Hor­net which he hopes to bring over next year.

An­other long-dis­tance en­try was the Ram­bler hearse for­merly owned by Madame Lash, now owned by Gor­don Pendle­bury from the Blue Moun­tains. Sad to say, it was de­stroyed in the re­cent bush­fires, along with the other cars in his collection, but Gor­don de­cided to tow it over any­way. He re­placed the col­lapsed springs, re­moved the mo­tor, trans­mis­sion and all other un­nec­es­sary items to re­duce weight and re­placed the tyres and rims so it could be steered.

For­tu­nately the fa­mous (or in­fa­mous) STIFF num­ber plates sur­vived.

The hearse was a big hit. Gor­don has writ­ten a book on his bush­fire ex­pe­ri­ences, so more on this next is­sue.

All of the seven Javelins and five of the Hor­nets on dis­play were Aussie-built mod­els. A real rar­ity was the 1970 Am­bas­sador Hard­top which was bought new in the US as a RHD car be­cause the owner knew he was be­ing posted over here.

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