Australian Muscle Car - - Sacred Sites Special -


big news of the 1974 off-sea­son was that Liver­pool Speed­way was about to change to a hard sur­face for the next sum­mer’s rac­ing. Also in the plans was the con­struc­tion of a ful­ly­cov­ered grand­stand with en­closed res­tau­rant, VIP lounge and three-storey con­trol tower, a series of ren­o­va­tions that would in­crease ca­pac­ity to 35,000 spec­ta­tors. The grand­stand com­plex never hap­pened but by the start of the 1974/1975 sea­son the Liver­pool track was given a layer of hot mix. It was still the same shape and length – about a quar­ter-mile around – but the some ex­tra bank­ing on the cor­ners in­creased speeds dra­mat­i­cally. Some say lap times de­creased by at least 30 per cent in one year.

The new track at­tracted a new gen­er­a­tion of race­cars, mak­ing it the most ex­cit­ing cat­e­gory ever seen on an Aus­tralian speed­way. These cars were ini­tially called Late Mod­els, then Grand Na­tion­als. Driv­ing them was a new gen­er­a­tion of rac­ers, also of the mus­cu­lar va­ri­ety.

The cars were ini­tially based around Aus­tralian mus­cle cars, fea­tur­ing full-race mo­tors and a min­i­mum of bar work. For­mula 5000 race tyres were used, with the 350 Chev the dom­i­nant pow­er­plant, usu­ally fuel-in­jected and some­times su­per­charged. There were also some po­tent Fal­con Su­per­birds rac­ing and some very fast XU-1 and SL/R 5000 To­ranas. Man, were these cars quick.

To mark this new era the track was now called Liver­pool City Race­way. The an­nual tour by the Amer­i­can sedan team was the high­light of the sum­mer, with mas­sive TV pro­mo­tion – Be There! – and ca­pac­ity crowds.

Sadly, this sit­u­a­tion didn’t last long. Even­tu­ally the Grand Na­tion­als be­came so ex­pen­sive that few lo­cals could af­ford to com­pete. Mean­while, across town the new Par­ra­matta City Race­way was up and run­ning, spe­cially de­signed for Sprint­cars with its tacky clay sur­face. It soon be­came the next big thing.

Liver­pool be­gan to fade out around 1980 and soon af­ter the asphalt was re­placed with clay. The speed­way was sold for de­vel­op­ment in the late 1980s and is now the site of a large sub­ur­ban shop­ping cen­tre.

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