The 10th annual Australian Muscle Car
had a certain sense of déjà vu about it.
The Australian Muscle Car Masters reached double figures at Sydney Motorsport Park in September. So it was apt, if a tad disappointing, that the Masters’ 10th running was held in conditions that mirrored the soggy inaugural event in 2005. Dodging showers didn’t seem to faze spectators, though. Not with big fields of classic muscle putting on a great on-track show. As AMC has always said of motorsport: when the rain falls the spectacle rises. Cars slid their way around all three layouts that hosted the packed programme of racing. That’s right, three tracks.
Sunday’s racing commenced on the 4.5km Brabham Circuit (the longest track), before switching to the 3.9km Gardner Circuit late morning. Then, from mid-afternoon, the trophy races were held on 2.8km Druitt Circuit. The idea was to mix up results, with each layout favouring different cars.
The new kid on the block at this year’s Masters was Australian Trans-Am – the Queenslandbased category that pays tribute to a golden period of racing in the muscle car’s homeland, North America. AMC was blown away by the level of presentation of these classic pony cars – Ford Mustang, Pontiac Firebird, Chev Camaro, AMC Javelin and even a Plymouth AAR Cuda – and the gusto with which they were driven.
“Judging by the reaction from the fans, our races were a big hit, so we hope to be able to bring our cars back in greater numbers in 2015,” category boss John English said. AMC takes a close look at what goes into building these fabulous cars elsewhere in this edition.
Another new addition to the Masters was an historic rally demonstration on SMP’s figure-eight track. Dave Thompson brought along vehicles from his collection, including the XY GT crowdpleaser known as ‘The Hoey’ and a replica of an Audi Quattro rally monster.
Subaru and Toyota also supported the new initiative via, respectively, Cody Crocker’s ARC winner and Neal Bates’ Celica.
Of course, motor racing legends were out in force again. One of those in the spotlight was Leo Geoghegan, who is celebrating 60 years in racing this year. It’s fitting that the bloke who won the Angus and Coote Diamond Trophy at Oran Park six times, is this year celebrating his diamond anniversary. Leo was taken on a much slower journey than he might have been used to, in a Daimler SP250, the same as the car he and younger brother Ian used to win the Bathurst 6-Hour in 1962.
The traditional midday parade remembered two of Leo’s rivals who passed away earlier this year: Harry Firth and Sir Jack Brabham. A selection of cars the pair campaigned turned laps on Sunday as the crowd paused for a few moments to pay their respects.
On the subject of paying tribute, V8 Supercar driver David Wall had his display of historic Sports Sedans behind his pit garages again. Not content with (successfully) driving the Ian Geoghegan Mustang himself in Group Nc and chucking our mate John Bowe the keys to the Bob Jane HQ Monaro, the just-finished-its-restoration HDT Torana was in the tent (along with father Des’s Toyota Supra-Chev and Alan East’s LH Torana hillclimb car.)
Those at the track on Friday might have seen (and heard) David do a couple of quiet laps in the Torana, the first time it had turned a wheel in over 20 years. The car sounded gorgeous, looks a million bucks and we can’t wait to see and hear it strutting its stuff again.
It was that kind of weekend, with a typically eclectic mix of cars, classes, categories, colours and characters remembering Australian motorsport’s glorious – and gloriously diverse – past. Over the following pages, AMC turns the spotlight on a small selection of cars that caught our attention.