Muscle Mail AMC BEST LETTER
The reader’s letter that is judged to be the best in each issue will win a Meguiar’s detailing pack.
HQ GTS 253 4-door
Ireally enjoyed the story on the auto HQ GTS 253 4-door in AMC #75 and I thought you might like to hear the story of ours. We owned one of these back in 1984 and for a 24-year-old mechanic it was an affordable dream car. Mine was purchased from an older couple who bought it to tow a caravan.
It was on the showroom floor at City State Motorcity in Adelaide and they needed it straight away so it was purchased and driven home. It was a 253 V8 auto with power steering, houndstooth trim, single exhaust and delete option radio.
We purchased it with about 90,000km on the clock. They had trouble selling it as everyone who called wanted a coupe and wouldn’t
Many years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Doug Mulray at Amaroo Park. Doug was at the time Sydney’s leading breakfast radio announcer on 2MMM. He was trying at the time to get some Triple M sponsorship of racing to happen, but it was not to be.
You see, station boss Rod Muir (and Mulray’s brother-in-law) had been bitten three times by then. As you detailed last issue, he was behind 2SM’s sponsorship of the doomed Brabham/ Moss Bathurst 1976 challenge.
A few years later Rod, now at Triple M, backed up with sponsorship of Terry Finnigan’s Commodore (and that car looked GREAT) but that car too went out right at the start of the 1982 Bathurst race. Their third strike was with the John Goss/Tom Walkinshaw Jaguar, which lasted until the Australian flag dropped. Three races, three lap one DNFs.
Rod Muir hasn’t been seen much around even come to look at the car. It was advertised in the paper every weekend for about a month.
We owned it for about nine months before it was sadly written off about 25km on the Sydney side of Gunning, NSW, with just less than 100,000km. Due to the high cost of getting the vehicle back to Adelaide and then the repairs, we took the insurance pay out and made a small profit. Had it been closer to home I would have kept and repaired it and I would like to think we would still own it. As you could imagine it drove really well as to be expected with such low kilometres.
The last we saw of it was in the tow yard at Gunning. I don’t know if it was repaired or wrecked. The damage was mostly under the vehicle and it can be seen in the engine bay photo by comparing the height of the inner guards.
There was a big rock sticking out of the side of a cutting and that was hit by the passenger-side front-wheel and this is what caused all the damage. David Fitzgerald Email motor racing since the mid-1980s – other sports, including yachting, beckoned. Bruce Moxon Email
ED: Not forgetting the Triple M-backed Schnitzer BMW 635 that crashed on lap three in 1986. Then there’s the Triple M-backed Gulson/ Geoghegan Commodore that finished third in 1980, but somehow escaped the TV cameras.
After reading the excellent story on the Brabham/Moss 1976 Bathurst campaign in AMC #75, l recalled there was an article by Peter Robinson in the December 1976 issue of Wheels magazine.
The article points out that Brabham, when the car returned to the race at lunchtime, completed 13 laps in the race, then handed over to Moss who completed 24 laps. It lists all of Stirling Moss’s unofficial lap times including a 2:32.2 lap which was not bad in a damaged car considering Moffat and Brock shared the equal fastest race lap of 2:28.4. Scott Mackay Email
Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing 1
Iwas a member of the Victorian Police for 46 years, in the traffic branch from 1971 to 2011, driving the powerful XW and XY K-Code 500 Falcons through to the SS Commodore V8 sedans and wagons and XR8 and XR6 Turbo Fords.
I remember when we were issued with the VL Commodore Turbo. We all thought, “What’s this toy?” We were pleasantly surprised as the little car could hold its own pretty well with the big boys.
In 2004 I opted for a Magna VRX AWD as an unmarked vehicle. It was an excellent vehicle for police work with its power and handling. It was maintenance free, unlike the Holdens and Fords that were experiencing diff and gearbox troubles. The only fault with the Magna was, being a frontwheel drive, it had a terrible turning circle making it difficult to do a U-turn on the highway.
The force also used the Subaru WRX, which were like go-karts on steroids. We also had a Mitsubishi Lancer EVO loaned to us which was one of the quickest cars I have ever driven due to its power-to-weight ratio.
Given a choice I would still opt for a K-Code XY 500 with all the GT specs as it was an exciting machine to drive. At the time I felt like ‘King of The Road’ in my patch. David Carey Email
Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing 2
Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing issue was a great way of giving some lesser known muscle cars some well deserved respect.
I know the list could go on and on, but one car that jumps to mind was back in the VX Commodore-era, where if you looked closely enough you could actually option a Executive Sedan or Wagon to SS specs. Complete with the Gen 3 V8, manual transmission and LSD diff, it was a option available to the general public and not a police spec.
I believe only a handful were built as, rightfully, everyone just bought a SS or Monaro. But I do remember working on a couple of Storm Grey examples when I was a first year apprentice.
On the flip side, I have a couple of suggestions for future Sheep in Wolves’ Clothing. The John Goss Special hardtop sprung to mind. They certainly looked the part with the paint schemes and 302 decals, but that’s about where it stopped, as the 302 was pretty tame with a single exhaust and emission gear. I believe they were nicknamed at one stage “The Goose That Didn’t Fly”.
No disrespect to anyone that owns one of these, as they are a great car and very sought after today. They no doubt would make a great highway cruiser. Luke Charteris Email
Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing 3
Ihave a couple suggestions for Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing. I might add that I’ve owned both of these cars in standard form – and over 90 other Aussie cars, both Holdens and Ford
Firstly, the ZC Fairlane with the 351 Windsor 4V. The one I had was stock and I couldn’t believe how it went for what it was.
Secondly, there’s the 1984 model VK 5.0 with the ‘B Cast’ heads, manual transmission. I took one to a street meet in 1991 with 80,000km on the clock and ran a 14.9. Didn’t even have extractors and it was so quiet.
I’ve had a few standard VL turbos and this car was just as quick. I currently own a VK SS and I’m waiting for the final Falcon XR8 to come out, so
that I can buy one of them. Allan Burns Email
wanted to send you a couple of photos of my daughter Simone and now son-in-law Tyler’s muscle car wedding. Simone insisted on using LJ Toranas, as they have always been part of her life.
The white one is an auto I rebuilt and was Simone’s first car, driving it to school while finishing Year 12, then uni. The green XU-1 Torana is also mine, since 1983. The Gold is a potent XU-1 lookalike, the yellow is an XU-1 and the pink a daily drive lookalike.
We couldn’t find a sixth car, so used an SL/R 5000. Unfortunately, during the photo shoot I was down the road looking for a thrown fan belt...
It was Simone’s idea for the under the bonnet shot; good for a laugh, but she is pretty handy with the spanners.
The little country church shook as the cars rolled in. Then later at the reception, it was like a mini car show everybody checking out the cars. Oh yes, and the bridal party too! Paul Attard Email
Regarding your Sacred Sites section, as a committee member of the Stanthorpe and District Sporting Car Club I would like to inform readers that closure of tracks is still happening.
Carnell Raceway, which dates back to the early 1970s, is one such circuit under threat.
The track was originally around 800m in length and attracted a huge following of touring cars for the clay-based circuit. The track was made by local contractors, businesses, committee members and drivers. All worked tirelessly for months on end to ensure that the first meeting was a success.
The track remained relatively unchanged for many years, until the early 1990s, when the circuit increased in length to 960m, had a 200m drag strip implemented into the main straight and the clay surface was replaced with asphalt.
The track has 15 days a year for racing, divided into drag, short circuit meets, motorcycle meets and stadium drift events.
We are currently in a battle with a total of five households and council about the raceway. It started back in 1996 when restrictions were placed on the club because of residents complaining about noise.
The first official meeting was held in 1974 and no residents were near the track at this stage. In approximately 1983, the surrounding land was subdivided. The local dump was placed between the track and the subdivision as to make some sort of buffer zone.
As more people moved closer to the track, more and more pressure was placed on the club. In 1996 rates, insurances, affiliations were nothing compared to the costs of running a raceway today.
This leaves the club in a doubtful position as to whether it can survive. We have a petition on www.carnellraceway.com.au
Wild about Harry
Ijust thought I’d provide a few words and a pic or two as a tribute to Harry Firth. I competed with my standard 1962 1200cc 40bhp VW Beetle in the 1996 Bathurst Legends Rally and won class A to receive the Harry Firth Trophy. This is something memorable that will live with me for the rest of my life!
The Rally, which journeyed from Melbourne to Bathurst ahead of the 1996 Great Race, featured a line-up of Bathurst legends competing. This included Frank Coad, Bob Holden, Pete Geoghegan Bruce McPhee, George Reynolds and Harry himself.
One thing I especially remember is the talk Harry gave during the lunch break at Winton to tell competitors how they should drive around the track. Let me tell you, everyone listened; you did not interrupt! Everyone’s lap times improved in the afternoon. John Watt Deepwater, NSW
Sir Jack portrait
I'm a bit of an amateur artist and with the passing of Sir Jack I was inspired to do this tribute. Martin Davies Email