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Australian Muscle Car - - Contents -

This is­sue, read­ers show us pics of Starlight Blue GT-HO’s en­gine that “wouldn’t turn over”; re­port in from South Africa with ex­pert info about the Fair­mont GT; ap­plaud Trevor Ashby and Steve Reed; and gen­er­ally chime in with in­ter­est­ing tid­bits.

Cop it on the Chin

Here are a few pic­tures that my dad took back in the day that I thought the good read­ers of AMC might find of in­ter­est.

Dad was work­ing as a me­chanic up in Dar­win at Chin Ford back in 1970 when a near new Starlight Blue GT-HO Phase II gets towed into the deal­er­ship, the owner say­ing that it was re­fus­ing to turn over. So Dad gives the car the once over, jacks it up and no­tices a small dent in the side of the sump...

Well, Dad soon found out why it wouldn’t ‘turn over’!

As the pics show, that Clevo had let go in ab­so­lutely spec­tac­u­lar fash­ion, break­ing the crank into five pieces, twist­ing rods, smash­ing pis­tons and putting a huge crack the whole way round the fly­wheel.

Af­ter get­ting noth­ing out of the owner as to what had caused the car­nage, his new friend even­tu­ally ex­plains what had hap­pened. Ap­par­ently old mate thought it would be a great idea to give it a rev and hold it flat in the shed (I’m guess­ing to im­press his friend). I can only imag­ine what was go­ing through their heads when that amaz­ing Clevo roar went so ter­ri­bly wrong so ter­ri­bly quickly.

Also in­cluded is a photo of the re­built mo­tor (new short mo­tor of course), com­plete with a big set of ex­trac­tors and a photo of the Chin Ford work­shop from 1970.

So if any­one hap­pens to own a Starlight Blue Phase II that was sold new at Chin Ford in Dar­win and won­ders why it has a non-match­ing num­bers en­gine. This is why!

Restora­tions ver­sus re­builds

I read with much in­ter­est ‘Right Said Fred’ in AMC #89 and couldn’t agree with Fred Gib­son more. There have been some fan­tas­tic, restora­tions of Group C and Group A tour­ing cars done over the years and there have been some fan­tas­tic re­builds of these cars as well.

By def­i­ni­tion a restora­tion of an orig­i­nal car uses as many of the orig­i­nal type of com­po­nents that were on the car as it raced in the par­tic­u­lar race meet­ing the car is sup­posed to rep­re­sent (as is pos­si­ble) all these years later. Our cars have a CAMS Cer­tifi­cate of De­scrip­tion based upon how the car was at a nom­i­nated race meet­ing, my car, a for­mer JPS Team BMW M3, be­ing that of Bathurst 1987.

I’ve seen cars in some his­toric cat­e­gories that have been fan­tas­ti­cally re­built where peo­ple’s de­sires have changed the way it was back in the day. These cars look fan­tas­tic and are a credit to the skills of the trades­men who did the work and to the owner who has forked out cu­bic dol­lars in the pur­suit of hav­ing a car that will sim­ply make peo­ple’s jaws drop. These re­builds are how­ever a dif­fer­ent ket­tle of fish to the afore­men­tioned restora­tions. None­the­less, it’s great to see fa­mous cars back on the track.

His­toric cat­e­gories have a CAMS-ap­plied, com­po­nent sub­sti­tu­tion pro­ce­dure to fol­low should we need to re­place a part that is no longer avail­able or ser­vice­able such as the ECU in my case be­cause no one has the pro­gramme to tune the orig­i­nal any­more and a fuel cell be­cause the old one was well and truly out of date.

There will al­ways be cheat­ing in all lev­els of mo­tor­sport, it’s in some peo­ple’s make up, but I’m talk­ing more about cos­metic rather than per­for­mance parts such as hoses, fit­tings, switches, etc. Are we not al­ter­ing his­tory? In the life of a race­car there will be holes drilled into it by own­ers for all sorts of rea­sons as mine has. It car­ried a Race­cam at Bathurst in 1988 and they had to se­cure it some­how. Pas­sen­ger ride seats have to be mounted, etc. I’ve ag­o­nised over the de­ci­sion of whether to weld up the holes or sim­ply plug them. My think­ing is that the holes are there and are part of the his­tory of the car no mat­ter how bad they look. At this point in time I’ve cho­sen to plug them and maybe weld them up later on. Rather like the con­tin­ual blur­ring of the cig­a­rette ad­ver­tis­ing on these cars when shown on the tele­vi­sion or their omis­sion on scale mod­els is cen­sor­ing/al­ter­ing his­tory.

It’s a con­tentious point but in my hum­ble opin­ion a restora­tion should never end up bet­ter than the car was when it was orig­i­nally built. David Towe Glen­more Park NSW

Lansvale al­liance

I have just read AMC #90’s piece on the Ashby/ Reed al­liance. What a fan­tas­tic hu­man in­ter­est story from go to whoa! And great blokes to boot. How about that sup­port for each other? For in­stance, the five minute rule about not dwelling on who bent the car; just get on and fix it. Like­wise, they never wor­ried who had the quick­est lap. Great stuff. Eric Waples Al­bion Park, NSW

Su­per car scary movie

As a long time reader of AMC, I’ve al­ways re­spected the thor­ough and care­ful at­ten­tion this mag­a­zine pays to Aus­tralia’s unique mus­cle car her­itage. That’s why I am reach­ing out to your read­ers, in the hope they might be able to help with a doc­u­men­tary film I’m shoot­ing, which has a strong fo­cus on the Su­per Car Scare of 1972.

The film is called Last of the Fu­ri­ous and it looks at the events of that fate­ful week in 1972 and com­pares them to what’s un­fold­ing in Aus­tralia to­day with the clo­sure of Ford and Holden. It’s a story burst­ing with po­lit­i­cal in­trigue, and this is a chance to doc­u­ment his­tory which is quickly slip­ping away.

My team and I are look­ing to con­nect with any­one who is in­ter­ested in this story, or maybe played a part.

Al­ready we’ve spo­ken to some of the key po­lit­i­cal play­ers, but we’re cast­ing a wide net as the film moves into the next ex­cit­ing phase of pro­duc­tion. We’ve al­ready in­ter­viewed two of the ‘ar­chi­tects’ of the Su­per Car Scare, for­mer NSW trans­port min­is­ter Mil­ton Mor­ris, aka Mr Road Safety, and his press sec­re­tary Har­vey Gren­nan (pic­tured at bot­tom), who have shed much light on what re­ally hap­pened in the lead up.

If you’d like to know more, or have some­thing to share, you can reach me at jon@lastofthe­fu­ri­ or phone me on 0415 921 657.

You can fol­low the film’s progress at www.face­­fu­ri­ous Jon Brooks Pro­ducer/di­rec­tor Last of the Fu­ri­ous

More info on Fair­mont GT

Af­ter read­ing the South African Fair­mont GT ar­ti­cle ( AMC #88) I would like to com­ment on the claim that a XW GT was built with a 460ci mo­tor for a se­nior ex­ec­u­tive of Ford SA. Af­ter speak­ing to, amongst oth­ers, Spencer Ster­ling (di­rec­tor prod­uct en­gi­neer­ing, 1970-75), Richard Cros­bie (prod­uct qual­ity as­sur­ance boss, 1968-73, at the Neave Plant, where the cars were built), Chris­ti­aan ‘Skop­pie’ van Staaden (elec­tri­cal re­pair­man main as­sem­bly line, 1965-75), none of them re­call such a ve­hi­cle ever be­ing built at Ford. Spence says that a one-off build would never have hap­pened on the as­sem­bly line. He fur­ther said that with­out proper en­gi­neer­ing in­puts the com­pany would never build or be in­volved with such a project.

I re­spect­fully sug­gest that the car in New Zealand was mod­i­fied by some­one be­fore it left

SA and if it is in­spected it will be clear that the mod­i­fi­ca­tions done to the body to ac­com­mo­date a 460 mo­tor are not to fac­tory stan­dards. The fac­tory records doc­u­ment from Ford SA on page 45 was signed by Ge­orge Ludeke, who un­for­tu­nately passed away ear­lier this year. He was the only man who knew how to find and read the mi­cro­fiche build records of that time that are stored in the ar­chives in Pre­to­ria, so any fu­ture build en­quiries have come to a sad end.

Hope­fully this will clear up the mis­con­cep­tion that this NZ GT was built at Ford SA. An­drew Cave Port El­iz­a­beth South Africa Ex-Ford Mo­tor Sport South Africa, 1973-82 (First owner of the Raw Or­ange GT-HO Phase III shipped to South Africa and now owned by Joe Barca) ED: Many thanks An­drew for your ex­pert in­put on this topic.

Do you own this car?

I have some doc­u­ments from my time own­ing a 1970 XW GT (JG33KS77068 – GJ 2851 C), sold in Tam­worth on April 21, 1970 and I’m try­ing to track down the cur­rent owner so I can give the doc­u­ments to him/her and share some of the his­tory of the car that he/she may not know.

The car was Sil­ver Fox with FMX auto and I be­lieve the car is still in Vic­to­ria, per­haps Gipp­s­land, and it is still reg­is­tered with pe­riod rego KJG 3xx.

I bought the car in 1978 when on hol­i­days in Bris­bane and drove it home to Vic­to­ria. Un­be­known to me at the time it had some delete op­tions such as delete stripes/pins/bon­net black and had the Cleve­land en­gine, 36 gal­lon tank, saddle trim, 12 slots, no ra­dio from fac­tory.

When I bought the car, the GT num­bers in­for­ma­tion was not known (to me any­way) and it had some non-gen­uine black body stripes. How­ever, even though it was a delete stripes op­tion car, the only way I could sat­isfy my­self it was a gen­uine GT was the fact that in­side the doors there were rem­nants of orig­i­nal or­ange stripes where they wrapped around! The car had been re­sprayed and it would ap­pear be­tween be­ing bought new and the re­spray some­one had de­cided to op­tion the car up again. The bon­net pins were later XY pins!

I would be grate­ful if you could put some­thing in your pub­li­ca­tion to try and lo­cate the cur­rent owner. The in­for­ma­tion I have in­cludes rego pa­pers with the VIN in­cluded, in­sur­ance doc­u­ments, pur­chased re­ceipt and old Queens­land num­ber plate (OBF-583) amongst other things. David Dart

KoB’s Com­mon­door Ve­hikku­lar

It’s the King of Bling here. Pur­chased a new Com­mon­door Ve­hikku­lar. Spec fol­low­ing. I would to ask the view­ers if they know of build num­bers for this rare ve­hikku­lar?

Barn find. Ex­tremely rare. Ap­par­ently 10 left the fac­tory with a five-speed man­ual, V8 and FE2? I am not an ex­pert but have car­ried out some re­search and this is what I am read­ing and hear­ing on the street. If any­one out there can as­sist fur­ther that would be great. Happy to be put right by more knowl­edge­ables.

It’s a 1989 VN Calais Com­modore Se­ries 1, T5 five-speed man­ual, air-con, 5-litre V8, FE2 sus­pen­sion. Low­ered. Heavyduty V8 diff. Shot peened. Strength­ened. Com­plete Calais in­te­rior. Grey 16I trim code. Rose grey colour across en­tirety of car. Dealer fit­ted bodykit. Looks like what could be a gen­uine Group A or very sim­i­lar. Dealer re­fit­ted Cruise Con­trol. Ex­trac­tors. 2.0 inch or 2.5 inch Ex­haust sys­tem. Gen­uine GM-H over radiator cold air in­take fit­ted. All match­ing num­bers ve­hi­cle.

Car is per fac­tory spec and build tags, etc. All tags are on car as well as other de­tailed stick­ers on diff, drive shaft, etc.

Ap­prox­i­mately 220,000km. Been in dry stor­age un­reg­is­tered for four years. Build plate at­tached for au­then­tic­ity pur­poses. Brett Col­li­son brett.col­li­son1@big­

Please stay

Aus­tralia needs to try and keep Holden in Ade­laide. We im­port too many cars at a huge cost when, we should buy our own, as I’m sure you re­alise.

With the head­winds get­ting worse, our dol­lar and credit rat­ings will drop. Mak­ing im­ports dearer, just the re­sult that a lo­cal pro­ducer would sur­vive in.

We have be­come too so­phis­ti­cated to buy Aus­tralian and show our sup­port for Aus­tralian made. We are vic­tims of our own per­ceived suc­cess and the over­paid wages we re­ceive. The av­er­age in­come here is 30 per cent higher than the US. With that we have to show off with ex­pen­sive badge-pos­ing Ger­man cars at the ex­pense of our own in­dus­try.

This will cost Aus­tralia $30 bil­lion a year in car im­ports alone from 2017. Our grand­chil­dren will not thank us for that.

With the loss of all these skills and man­u­fac­tur­ing base we are less able to de­fend ourselves than be­fore World War I.

But we are so clever these days. We can bor­row $85 mil­lion a day to pay for these in­dul­gences, now that debt is called credit and wel­fare is called en­ti­tle­ments.

Please save Aus­tralia and en­tice Holden to stay man­u­fac­tur­ing in this coun­try.

I’ve sent this same let­ter to sev­eral mem­bers of par­lia­ment, but didn’t get a re­ply.

Still love your great mag. I have all 90 is­sues and look for­ward to many more. Mur­ray Roberts Email

AMC stor­age sys­tem

Just want to share a pic. I’ve re­cently moved house and found the best place to keep my AMC mags – the boot of my LJ To­rana. An­drew Hurst Via Face­book

Dick the Kiwi

Thought you may be in­ter­ested in this old (ac­cord­ing to the wife!) T-shirt from the 1991 Nis­san Mo­bil 500 in Welling­ton. It has the glar­ing er­ror on the back of hav­ing Dick John­son as be­ing from New Zealand! Mike Kuiper New Zealand ED: Aussies have claimed plenty of Ki­wis as our own over the years – Rus­sell Crowe, Jim Richards, Crowded House, etc – so we can eas­ily for­give the typo!

Dad’s van

I thought your mag­a­zine might be in­ter­ested in see­ing this photo of my dad’s 1982 WB panel van. It was his midlife cri­sis pur­chase some 10 years ago. Mum was stoked when he came home with the panel van and not a new girl­friend.

Had a bit if work done to it: win­dows cut out; Caprice doors to fit wiring looms for elec­tric mir­rors; bench seat re­uphol­stered in cus­tom grey/ black/blue leather and stitch­ing; and roof re­lined in light grey. Fi­nally painted in a cus­tomer elec­tric blue with matte black bon­net and speed stripes.

Then the fun stuff: 5.0-litre fuel-in­jected V8 re­placed the stan­dard straight six and auto trans­mis­sion re­plac­ing the three on the tree. Pace­maker head­ers and ex­trac­tors through to a 3.5” inch ex­haust sys­tem. Twin dual chrome pipes out the back roughly 100mm ei­ther side of the num­ber­plate. The wheels are a GTS im­i­ta­tion wheel. Dad de­cided on the cus­tom scroll work on the side and tail­gate of the car; not a stan­dard paint job of PVs how­ever colour wise ties in beau­ti­fully to com­plete the car. Ben Deery Email


Is­sue #90’s cov­er­age of the Aussie as­sault on the Mon­ter­rey Mo­tor­sports Reunion er­ro­neously placed Adrian Brady in the ‘wrong’ JPS BMW 635 at La­guna Seca. Adrian owns the 1985 ATCC-win­ning Group A 635 (#62, pic­tured rac­ing at Phillip Is­land) which didn’t make the trip to the US and re­mained in Aus­tralia. In­stead, Adrian was aboard the sim­i­lar ma­chine (#1, pic­tured at La­guna Seca) that Jim Richards drove in the 1986 ATCC and is now owned by Seat­tle-based BMW col­lec­tor Pete Glee­son. He kindly sup­plied the car for Adrian to drive in Cal­i­for­nia. Glee­son ac­quired that later car from New Zealand sev­eral years ago. Apolo­gies! We ne­glected to credit the pho­tos kindly pro­vided by Mark Wat­son of M 2 Pho­tog­ra­phy in our Aussie Mus­cle Car Run story last is­sue about Jeff Gil­bert’s sil­ver Gal­la­her XR GT Fal­con. Apolo­gies to Mark for this over­sight. Check out his work at https://www.face­­tog­ra­phy­car

Glenn Parkes Email

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