The ti­tle of Mr Holden

Australian Muscle Car - - News -

If there has been one con­stant in Aus­tralian mo­tor­sport over the past 50 years it is the deadly se­ri­ous ri­valry between arch ri­vals Holden and Ford. It isn’t just played out at cor­po­rate level, but per­meates to the far­thest mar­gins of the Aus­tralian per­sona, seep­ing into the very bones of our cul­tural soul. Yet, sur­pris­ingly, as a mar­ketable propo­si­tion to be pack­aged and served up to Joe Public, it has a rel­a­tively short his­tory, and can be traced back to only the late 1960s and early 1970s and to a se­ries of drag racing events de­signed to de­ter­mine ex­actly who owned the quick­est Hold­ens and Fords.

At Bathurst, Ford be­gan the war with a win from their new XR Fal­con GT in 1967, prompt­ing Holden into re­tal­i­at­ing with its new Monaro, in­di­rectly cre­at­ing the head-to-head fac­tory clash (with a mix of less suc­cess­ful Chryslers); whereas the drag racing ver­sion was a di­rect ap­peal to sup­port­ers of the re­spec­tive brands, start­ing with Holden in 1967, and Ford in 1970, then pitch­ing them against each other each year from 1971. Over the next three is­sues of AMC we’ll out­line this es­ca­la­tion of hos­til­i­ties.

There was no Chrysler, no Mi­nis or Ja­panese or Euro­pean brands, this was pure Aus­tralian au­to­mo­tive angst, and un­til 1993, when CAMS cre­ated its Group 3A Class A Tour­ing Car cat­e­gory for Aus­tralian-pro­duced 5.0-litre V8en­gined Fords and Hold­ens, the cir­cuit clashes were an evo­lu­tion­ary rather than a de­lib­er­ately tai­lored process.

When first cre­ated, these drag racing events were prob­a­bly the peak of the still rel­a­tively new quar­ter-mile mo­tor­sport. Sedans ca­pa­ble of

Ford ver­sus Holden is as Aus­tralian as a fly-blown sheep jump­ing Uluru in a Driza-Bone, and in mo­tor­sport it started on the quar­ter mile. The seeds were sown 50 years ago this year with the Mr Holden con­test that soon es­ca­lated.

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