Quar­ter smile

It warms the heart that a ded­i­cated bunch of like-minded mus­cle car en­thu­si­asts are still pre­pared to put their price­less (and age­ing) ma­chines to the test on the strip.

Australian Muscle Car - - Quarter Mile Muscle -

Re­al­is­ti­cally, there won’t be too many more op­por­tu­ni­ties to hold a day like this,” drag day or­gan­iser Manuel My­lon­akis tells AMC. “Cer­tainly not to this level, with as many dif­fer­ent clas­sic mus­cle cars as we’ve got com­pet­ing here. “There may soon come a time when own­ers are no longer will­ing to sub­ject their gen­uine cars – many of which are over 40 years old – to the rigours of a full-on blast over the quar­ter mile. So it’s a credit to the guys here to­day that they’ve come out and been pre­pared to have a go against their car’s tra­di­tional ri­vals.”

It’s a sober­ing, but prag­matic mes­sage. Hence, the NSW Mus­cle Car As­so­ci­a­tion aimed sky-high when call­ing for en­tries for its 2014 drag day.

“The goal was to have an ex­am­ple of ev­ery sig­nif­i­cant Aussie mus­cle car. Then put them up against their mar­ket place ri­vals – for ex­am­ple, 1970 GTS Monaro against 1970 Fal­con GT-HO. Now that was prob­a­bly an un­re­al­is­tic goal, as you’re never go­ing to get ev­ery sin­gle car here on the day. But we’re not far off!”

The odd me­chan­i­cal fail­ure, fam­ily sick­ness and un­fore­seen work com­mit­ment meant two or three key mod­els were con­spic­u­ous by their ab­sence from Syd­ney Drag­way. Still, the en­try was su­per im­pres­sive.

On the Ford side of the ledger, an ex­am­ple of each of the GT-HOs – at least those that made it into pro­duc­tion! – were present, along with early and late model GTs, and an XE ESP.

Up­hold­ing Mopar hon­ours were a VG Pacer, Charger E38s and an E55.

The clas­sic Holden ranks in­cluded a Monaro GTS 327, HG GTS 350, LC and LJ To­rana GTR XU-1s, an L34 and an ex-A9X To­rana race car, raced by Ray Kaleda. As to Com­modores, the list in­cluded VC, VH, VK and VL ‘Brocks’ and a se­lec­tion of HSVs from VN to VF. For some ex­tra HDT flavour, one of AMC’s club­land favourites, Phil Walm­s­ley brought along his HDT Monza.

The field spanned 1967 to 2014, from Bathurst-bred fac­tory-built grun­ters to

so­phis­ti­cated mod­ern-day per­for­mance cars. There was some­thing to ap­peal to all mar­que loy­al­ties and tastes. If any­thing, there was less brand ban­ter than usual and more dis­cus­sions that started with “Shame about”. As in, shame about the end of lo­cally built mus­cle cars.

Just as there was an “all mod­els/all brands” ap­proach to en­tries, the em­pha­sis was firmly on fun. It was a rare op­por­tu­nity to toast the treads and blow out the cob­webs of their favourite mus­cle car. More to the point, it was a chance for en­trants to match-race a few of their NSWMCA mates in a safe con­trolled en­vi­ron­ment.

After a short brief­ing – ex­plain­ing the ‘Christ­mas Tree’ start­ing light pro­ce­dure- and safety-fo­cused scru­ti­neer­ing, the field of show­room stock cars lined up to await a run.

And so it be­gan. An hour or so of runs, be­fore a break to give more pur­pose-built drag cars some strip time. Then more match races, with plenty of PBs and the odd blow-up.

Driv­ers were given time tick­ets after ev­ery run, with lots of know­ing nods and the odd gri­mace, too. How­ever, a drama with col­lat­ing times means we can’t publish the ta­ble of times that was our in­ten­tion, a la pre­vi­ous drag show­down ar­ti­cles in AMC. Yes, we feel your dis­ap­point­ment. We, too, had plenty of ques­tions after view­ing the races and sub­se­quently the pho­tos.

Still, sounds like a good ex­cuse to get the band back to­gether for another quar­ter-mile clash next year.

The gen­eral con­sen­sus was that times more or less matched the fig­ures recorded in car mag­a­zine road tests when they were new.

Such events may be an en­dan­gered species, but it’s good to know that a big bunch of mus­cle car en­thu­si­asts are still pre­pared to put their pride and joy to the test. Bless them.

Our thanks to An­gelo Soulas for the mag­nif­i­cent images that per­fectly cap­tured the essence of the day.

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