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.
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.