Australian Muscle Car - - Muscle Mail -

The reader’s let­ter that is judged to be the best in each is­sue will win a Meguiar’s de­tail­ing pack.

Stir­ling’s spe­cial sedan


you for the great ar­ti­cle on the Stir­ling Moss Spe­cial VG Valiants in is­sue #82. It brought back some fond mem­o­ries of my first Valiant.

I was re­ally sur­prised to read that the Stir­ling Moss Spe­cials ac­counted for only 148 of the to­tal VG build and even more sur­prised that there were only nine ‘Stir­ling’ sedans. How­ever, I can shed some light on one of the pre­vi­ously un­ac­counted-for Moss sedans.

In 1970 my fa­ther pur­chased a new VG Valiant Stir­ling Moss Spe­cial sedan from Bat­son’s Garage in Gympie, Queens­land.

Our 1960 FB Holden Spe­cial sta­tion wagon joined the list of Hold­ens in that big park­ing lot in the sky when it lost an ar­gu­ment with a cow on a coun­try road at Mary’s Creek, out­side Gympie.

My un­cle or­dered a very ‘spe­cial’ VG sedan for my Dad. The hemi had not long been re­leased with all the hype of Stir­ling Moss’s pub­lic­ity. Back in the day, with ev­ery new Valiant model re­lease, deal­er­ships were pro­vided with the new cars prior to the re­lease date so that on the re­lease day the deal­er­ship could have the real cars on the floor. Dad and my­self (though pre-li­censed) were of­ten co-opted to help drive th­ese pre-re­lease cars (and cars for stock) from Aus­tral Mo­tors (Bris­bane and Queens­land dis­trib­u­tors) to Gympie, so we saw and drove the R and S se­ries, the AP5s and AP6s, the VC, VF and VG and later VH and VK in many mod­els, well be­fore the gen­eral pub­lic.

From mem­ory, our spe­cial VG ar­rived about Au­gust, 1970. It was a Stir­ling Moss Spe­cial reg­is­tered as PRB-659. It was white with a black vinyl roof, wheel arch mould­ings, wheel trims, side pro­tec­tion strips, black floor car­pets, that incredible re­mote ex­ter­nal driver’s side mir­ror and bags of new car scent. No wire head­light pro­tec­tors though, no heater demister, no ra­dio, no discs, just drum brakes, bench seats and two front seat­belts; a gen­uine 1970s, six-seater, fam­ily car.

Much has been writ­ten about the hemi mo­tor. In the sedan and hard­top form there were three ver­sions. The leg­endary 245ci in either sin­gle or two-bar­rel Carter car­bu­ret­ted form and the sleeper, the lit­tle known 215ci hemi low-com­pres­sion mo­tor with a sin­gle-bar­rel Carter. Dif­fer­ent ver­sions of 245 tune also pow­ered the VG Pac­ers (2 and 4 bar­rel).

Our Stir­ling sedan car­ried the 215 hemi. It ran on ‘stan­dard’ petrol – the 245s ran on ‘su­per’ – and it was a free-revving de­light with­out, seem­ingly, the tim­ing chain har­mon­ics and stretch is­sues of the 245 and later 265 hemis. Very same de­sign though, with no re­tainer for the cam. Three on the tree, padded dash, and a floor-mounted head­light dip­per switch com­pleted the pic­ture. Af­ter the FB it was For­mula 1-spec stuff.

In the early 1970s and it was univer­sity for me. Match­less 500 sin­gle and Honda 750 four, un­til fi­nally my ever-car­ing un­cle de­cided I needed to be saved from death on two wheels and found me a ’64 Cortina GT with a blown mo­tor. In late 1973, I pur­chased the VG Stir­ling from my Dad and he re­placed it with a VJ sedan in sim­i­lar spec to the VG, but with­out the Stir­ling tag, ob­vi­ously.

April 2, 1974. It’s about 4pm, Tues­day af­ter­noon, in­ward-bound on Ip­swich Road at Ox­ley, south west Bris­bane, not too far from the Aus­tral Mo­tors ware­houses (where the VG Stir­ling started its Queens­land life) and a ZD Fair­lane (green with parch­ment vinyl roof) driven by an over-in­dul­gent, lunchtime drinker wanders across the out­bound lanes, hits the hedged cen­tre is­land and launches it­self into the air, head­ing right. It lands, very in­el­e­gantly, on the bon­net of the in­bound VG Stir­ling, de­stroy­ing it­self and the Stir­ling in one brief mo­ment.

The pur­ple HQ Ute fol­low­ing the VG buries it­self into the back of the VG and some­thing else hits the HQ spin­ning it around. Smok­ing brakes, break­ing glass, sirens, am­bu­lances, flash­ing lights, tow trucks, hos­pi­tals and in­sur­ance claims. Ev­ery­one sur­vived, but both the VG Stir­ling and the ZD be­came fod­der for the Ron Wan­less (yes, that Ron Wan­less) wreck­ing yard car crusher, prob­a­bly both end­ing up as Coke cans.

And that was the end of one of those nine VG Stir­ling sedans, the only trace of it now is in an old news­pa­per cut­ting which I kept (see photo). Per­haps the only VG Stir­ling 215 hemi ever made. That leaves only five VG Stir­ling sedans now left un­ac­counted for and the three ex­ist­ing sedans. I’ve never seen an­other VG Stir­ling sedan, and had no idea how rare they were un­til your story.

I re­placed it with a VJ Charger 265 2 bar­rel (rego OEC-719) – Sun­fire yel­low with black bum­ble­bee strip­ing.

Con­grat­u­la­tions to Si­mon Smith for pre­serv­ing his Aussie icon VG Stir­ling hard­top. Great mag – I have ev­ery is­sue! ED: Com­mis­er­a­tions Lex, thanks for shar­ing your SMS Val’s story. You will be pleased to know that our fea­ture car’s owner, Si­mon Smith, has now found out more about his SMS hard­top’s early his­tory. See his note over the page.

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