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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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or phone me on 0415 921 657.
You can follow the film’s progress at www.facebook.com/lastofthefurious 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 email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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!
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.facebook.com/M2Photographycar
Glenn Parkes Email