Things go bet­ter with Coke

Australian Muscle Car - - Muscle Maniac -

We men­tioned the re­vival of Row­ley Park speed­way’s unique style of pro­duc­tion sedan rac­ing last is­sue, which in­spired an up­com­ing re­union, on Septem­ber 21, at the Ca­nine As­so­ci­a­tion head­quar­ters in Kil­burn, South Aus­tralia.

Per­haps the best known of all Row­ley Park pro­duc­tion sedans were the cars of John Gar­land, who ran with full spon­sor­ship from the lo­cal Coca-Cola bot­tlers.

Gar­land was the company’s spe­cial ser­vices man­ager so he had an ad­van­tage in this area. He re­calls that he re­ceived a few thou­sand dol­lars a year from his em­ploy­ers, plus travel ex­penses and use of a tow car when he com­peted in­ter­state. This would have been one of the most lu­cra­tive spon­sor­ship deals in Ade­laide mo­tor­sport.

John Gar­land’s To­rana XU-1 ap­peared in the 1972/73 sea­son re­plac­ing his pre­vi­ous ma­chine, a very suc­cess­ful Valiant Hemi Pacer.

Th­ese pho­tos show the Coke To­rana as it looked at its first test ses­sion on the Row­ley Park track. Th­ese pho­tos were given to oth­ers build­ing a car as a guide to how they should look.

Another well-backed lo­cal driver was Ian Jones, whose lime green XU-1 was spon­sored by GM-H deal­er­ship Smith’s of Port Ade­laide.

One of the Fal­con stars was Tony Smith, run­ning with spon­sor­ship from the Bow­den Ford deal­er­ship. The majority of com­peti­tors were on much more limited bud­gets.

Steve Ste­wart, the or­gan­iser of the re­union with his wife Wendy, re­calls that he bought his first To­rana XU-1 for $1200 ready to run, then built his sec­ond one up from a shell for a lot less. Ac­cord­ing to the ex­penses list he still has, he picked up a body shell for $10 from a wrecker’s yard and had the com­plete pack­age on the track for a grand to­tal of $319.

This ex­plains why there were usu­ally over 50 sedans in the pits at the peak of their pop­u­lar­ity.

The me­dia were also in­volved. SAS Chan­nel 10 per­son­al­ity Noel O’Con­nor was a fan and of­ten had speed­way sedans and driv­ers in the stu­dio for In­ter­na­tional Rac­ers, his Satur­day morn­ing mo­tor­sports show.

The top speed­way rac­ers were as well known in Ade­laide as their road-rac­ing equiv­a­lents like John Walker, Mal­colm Ram­say and Clem Smith. A bonus was that speed­way sedans were usu­ally pre­pared at ser­vice sta­tions so they were more vis­i­ble than they are to­day. And all were trans­ported on open trail­ers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.