The farmer wants some strife

Australian Muscle Car - - Muscle Man -

David Par­sons was born into a mo­tor rac­ing fam­ily. Father Gra­ham, who op­er­ated the fam­ily dairy farm in South Sprey­ton near Devon­port, was a keen racer who started in a Ford Cortina GT, later grad­u­at­ing to a Group C To­rana XU-1 and then an L34. Gra­ham Par­sons of­ten em­bar­rassed the main­lan­ders when they in­vaded his patch.

Learn­ing to drive came early to a young lad who grew-up on the land.

“Dad used to put the calves in the back of the old FB ute,” ex­plains David, 57, to­day. “He put it into low gear and bumped the idling up. I’d stand up on the seat; I was barely four! I knew how to turn the key on and off and I’d steer through gates and posts and never hit any­thing. Cows would fol­low the car and Dad would walk be­hind them. That’s how we did it!”

“I learnt to drive as soon as my legs could reach the ped­als, about eight. I didn’t like to change gears but could use a clutch to get go­ing and I’d sit up with the foot on the throt­tle and away I’d go. I was in trou­ble if I hit any cows, though...”

On ob­tain­ing his driver’s li­cence, Par­sons bought an XY Fal­con which he en­tered in club days. Then at age 18 he was thrown the keys to Dad’s To­rana L34 on a prac­tice day, as he re­calls.

“I was dead scared. I thought: ‘Can’t crash it; can’t lock a wheel.’ Never been on slicks. I did four or five laps and it was a hand­ful, but I went quicker than Dad by a cou­ple of tenths. From that time on I was hooked.”

Soon there was a chang­ing of the guard with Gra­ham hand­ing over the L34 to his lad who com­peted in the lo­cal Tas­ma­nian ‘street car’ cat­e­gory on ra­di­als, fin­ish­ing se­ries run­ner up in 1980 be­fore win­ning the the fol­low­ing year. He was still rac­ing the L34 into 1982 when Team Par­sons took a huge punt and bought a Group C VC Com­modore.

Top: David Par­sons con­tin­ues to com­pete. Here he is in a HQ Holden. Below: Gra­ham Par­sons (#25) gave the main­lan­ders curry at Sym­mons Plains’ 1976 ATCC round.

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