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Australian Muscle Car - - Muscle Mail -

ED: Last is­sue’s Muscle Man pro­file on Bob Forbes’ driv­ing ca­reer in­cluded the anec­dote from Bathurst 1971 when his Charger sur­vived a bizarre shunt on Moun­tain Straight that left the Selke-backed car with a heav­ily stoved in driver’s door. “One lap go­ing up Moun­tain Straight, two cars ahead of me came to­gether,” Forbes de­scribed. “They hit each other, and one of them, I think it was Scott McNaughton’s To­rana, [shot off to the right] and went off through the barbed wire fence and kept on go­ing. There was a west­erly wind blowing that day, very dry, and all the dust came back onto the track. So I couldn’t see any­thing. Any­way, un­be­knownst to me, McNaughton’s car spun back onto the track. So all of a sud­den, out of nowhere in the dust, he’s come straight into the side of my door!” Peter Wher­rett wrote Rac­ing Car News that the To­rana had hit a man and his son, ‘but luck­ily with only slight in­juries’. It was a tale that filled in a gap or two for McNaughton, who, af­ter read­ing Forbes’ rec­ol­lec­tions, sent us his own.

Bathurst barbed wire in­ci­dent


the Bathurst 1971 in­ci­dent, Peter Wher­rett’s ac­count is cor­rect as I rec­ol­lect. Af­ter I got tan­gled up with an­other car I got in the dirt on the left side of the track and then speared across to the right into some­one’s front­yard on Moun­tain Straight.

I am fairly sure an adult male hit the wind­screen and went right over the car. He had been wear­ing a heavy tweed jacket and the ma­te­rial left an im­print in the paint­work on the roof and boot. A young lad went un­der the car or my front wheel; I was told he had his an­kle bro­ken.

The XU-1 con­tin­ued through an­other fence and back across the track and through the fence just past the pad­dock en­trance. I un­der­stand I dragged fenc­ing wire onto the track with very un­pleas­ant prob­lems for those who ran over it.

Un­til read­ing the story I did not re­alise I had col­lided with Bob Forbes on my way back onto the track. But that ex­plains dam­age to left-front corner of my car. That said, dam­age was mostly su­per­fi­cial and some­one else must have been in­volved given how heav­ily stoved in the Charger’s door ap­pears. Go­ing through the barb wire with­out a wind­screen tore a lot of plas­tic off my XU-1’s dash­board. My crew wanted to re­place the wind­screen and con­tinue to give Gra­ham Har­vey, from NZ, a drive in the race. How­ever, not know­ing the ex­tent of in­juries we de­cided to put the car away. I hope this fills in some gaps, as it has for me! Scott McNaughton Email

Sandown fence in­ci­dent

Your is­sue #95 ar­ti­cle on Bob Forbes brought back some re­pressed mem­o­ries of past sins that I had hoped were for­got­ten. Your story re­counted Bob’s mem­ory of Wayne Ne­gus’ crash through the fence at Sandown be­ing at­trib­ut­able to my rec­om­men­da­tion of Ferodo 2444F pads for the 1975 Sandown 400. But Bob’s ver­sion tells only half the story. It’s true that we choose 2444F over 1103 on the rec­om­men­da­tion of PBR’s Eddy ‘type of thing’ Mun­ner­ley, who knew about such things. But I also made a set of wheel fans to cool the front brakes in the hope of them last­ing the dis­tance. How­ever, the real prob­lem was that af­ter prac­tice, I changed the rear brake shoes as a pre­cau­tion and in my haste, mis-po­si­tioned the hand­brake strut be­tween the two right rear brake shoes. This mis­take caused the shoes to not re­lease prop­erly, wear­ing out the lin­ings and al­low­ing the wheel cylin­der pis­tons to pop out and the loss of all rear brakes. To add to the con­fu­sion, when Wayne pulled in to re­port the rear brake fail­ure, we tried to block off the rear brake pipe, which of course, ac­com­plished noth­ing.

Wayne’s ul­ti­mate at­tack on the fence was due to the front brake pads wear­ing out and pop­ping the front caliper pis­ton as Bob re­calls, but the real cause of the fail­ure was no rear brakes for most of the race, cou­pled with the pad se­lec­tion, caus­ing the front brake fail­ure. Sorry Bob!

Thanks for your mag­a­zine that al­lows old codgers to re­live the highs and lows of the won­der­ful baby boomer ex­pe­ri­ence. War­ren Mills Dock­lands VIC

KB’s son’s feed­back


Forbes’ story is long over­due. I have had the plea­sure of know­ing the Forbes fam­ily for nearly 40 years – great peo­ple to spend time with. Bob is one of the nicest peo­ple I have met in Aus­tralian motorsport. He is unas­sum­ing, ap­proach­able and very much un­der­rated as a driver. The at­tributes for his suc­cess in busi­ness away from the track could be seen in his abil­ity to pull to­gether well-or­gan­ised pri­va­teer teams to at­tack the Moun­tain in the 1970s and later on to­wards the end of the Group A era and into the early years of V8s.

Thanks to AMC for tak­ing the time to tell Bob’s story. He’s some­one I al­ways en­joy hav­ing a chat with. Greg Bartlett Via Face­book

Can-Am fan


Can-Am fea­ture ( AMC #95) was an­other gem. Dur­ing the 1960s and ’70s I fol­lowed the Can-Am se­ries via the US pub­li­ca­tion Sports Car Graphic. My in­ter­est back then cen­tred on the ex­ploits of the Cha­parral cars. I was fas­ci­nated by their ground-break­ing engi­neer­ing in­no­va­tions. They were the first, in 1966, to in­tro­duce rear side­mounted ra­di­a­tors to mod­ern rac­ing cars, years be­fore F1. Jim Hall’s at­trac­tion to aero­dy­namic so­lu­tions to bet­ter car per­for­mance cer­tainly cre­ated some weird and won­der­ful rac­ing cars. Un­for­tu­nately, they were not as re­li­able as the McLarens. They still get my vote as the most in­ter­est­ing of the Can-Am cars.

One of the big at­trac­tions for the Euro­pean driv­ers was the huge prize­money on of­fer in the Can-Am. One race’s purse was prob­a­bly more that they could earn in a year of F1. Howard Smith West Pen­nant Hills, NSW

Tick­ford 1


en­joyed is­sue #95, es­pe­cially the story out­lin­ing the his­tory of Tick­ford. I noted with in­ter­est that you re­cently did an ar­ti­cle on the EB GT and its sig­nif­i­cance now the mar­ket is iden­ti­fy­ing.

I was won­der­ing if you have ever done an ar­ti­cle on the FTE T3 (TE50/TS50 and TL50). This is­sue’s ar­ti­cle I don’t think re­ally nailed the im­por­tance of this very lim­ited run car. Your data I don’t think was cor­rect on its 0-100km/h or 400m times. I un­der­stand the TE50 was tested at 6.0 sec­onds for 0-100km/h and 14.1 for 400m and the TE50 was the fastest ver­sion due to its slightly lower weight than the TS50 which was Fair­mont based. The TE50 was XR8 based.

The TE50/TS50 is sig­nif­i­cant in a num­ber of ways: - Only 256 built, num­bered and signed; - Last of the Wind­sor mo­tor blocks built; - The only 347ci (5.6-litre) Wind­sor pro­duced and unique to Aus­tralia (blueprinted/bal­anced/ hand­made, etc), unique throt­tle body, in­take, ex­haust and most of the mo­tor was high end Yella Terra and up­mar­ket parts; - Last of the Tick­fords and FTE; - Fastest fac­tory pushrod V8 pro­duced (in­clud­ing the Phase III);

- Low­est ride height of any Ford (it broke their rules) and the wildest bodykit;

- First FTE to beat the HSV prod­uct in both ride/ han­dling/power and in a straight­line;

- It’s the ul­ti­mate Wind­sor swan­song and Tick­ford weapon, was a bet­ter and quicker car than the BA/BF GT that fol­lowed it;

- The fastest/best/most rarest V8 Ford pro­duced that was not badged a GT, but prob­a­bly should have been;

- It was the first Ford to have Brem­bos as an op­tion.

Her­rod had an af­ter­mar­ket op­tion that pushed the power to 300kW and also num­bered and badged. There is a FTE club and web­site with a reg­is­ter of the ve­hi­cles that re­main.

I own one so I’m per­haps bi­ased but would say that this car ticks many boxes for what older cars have now be­come very de­sir­able and ex­pen­sive and if a EB GT in good con­di­tion is worth $30$40K, then the T3 is set to be­come a de­sir­able op­tion car, etc.

If you haven’t done an ar­ti­cle on the T3 would love to see one as this car in its own way was very much a land­mark ve­hi­cle and one in now very lim­ited num­bers. Scott J Price Email ED: Scott, is­sue #53 con­tained a ‘Buy­ers Guide’ ar­ti­cle on the 2001-2003 T3 range. Coin­ci­dently, the very first is­sue of AMC had a two-page news story on the range’s re­lease.

Tick­ford 2

I was read­ing the ar­ti­cle on the Tick­ford Fords and a cou­ple things stood out. In the 10 notable Tick­ford-tick­led Fords it lists the ‘EA Fal­con S XR6’ and ‘EA Fal­con S XR8’. Also quoted was a test time against the ‘Holden SS V6’?

As I un­der­stand, and I’m happy to be cor­rected, the XR6 didn’t ar­rive un­til Septem­ber 1992, with the 4.0 en­gine, and more so the XR8 didn’t ar­rive un­til the V8 came back, also in 1992, both in the EBII up­grade.

An ar­ti­cle in Wheels mag­a­zine of the time also lists an SS 6 cylin­der Fal­con and SS V6 Com­modore both of which were al­most se­cret squir­rel or­ders to be used ex­clu­sively as pro­duc­tion car rac­ers. Shaun Dun­ford Mount Gam­bier, SA ED: Shaun, it was very sloppy on our be­half to list the EB mod­els as EAs. No ex­cuses. That was a bad miss and hurts when we put so much ef­fort into bring­ing each is­sue of AMC to life. No such typo with the Holden SS V6, which was a very low-run model that did in­deed en­able the six-cylin­der Com­modores to com­pete with the equally se­cret squir­rel six-cylin­der Fal­con SS. This story was told in AMC #66.

Wel­come guest


on the ex­cel­lent ar­ti­cle by guest colum­nist Mark Mathot in AMC #94. He hit the nail right on the head re­gard­ing V8 Su­per­cars treat­ment of track spec­ta­tors.

I am 70 and can fondly re­mem­ber sit­ting on the grass at Oran Park’s BP corner. What a view. Not like East­ern Creek where it costs an ex­tra $20 to go on top of the Pit Roof Top. Also the big­gest trans­porters in the car park were owned by V8 Su­per­cars and the staff strut­ting around like used car sales­men in their tight slacks and white shirts. The fi­nal blow came when V8 Su­per­cars SOLD the TV rights to 10/Fox­tel.

Don’t the management un­der­stand that they are pric­ing a nor­mal per­son out of en­joy­ing their motorsport. Fans who would nor­mally go to the track to see their favourite driv­ers and pur­chase mer­chan­dise are miss­ing out.

Fi­nally I can re­mem­ber go­ing to Catalina squashed with the tools in the boot of a Mor­ris Ox­ford to save the price of en­try. John Cullen Email

1939 Mer­cury relic

Re­gard­ing is­sue #95’s Out of Ac­tion, I’m just let­ting you know that the car Jeremy found near Launce­s­ton, is a 1939 Mer­cury sedan, or what’s left of one... Sob! 1939 was the first year for up­mar­ket Mer­cury and it had a larger flat­head than the Fords, and sim­i­lar, but more rounded styling than the Fords of 1939. Phil Minns Email

Cop­per in a Cooper


your ar­ti­cle late last year on NSW Po­lice Cooper Mi­nis, I was on the re­ceiv­ing end of a chase by an en­thu­si­as­tic cop­per in a Cooper S from Grafton.

My MGB was stan­dard ex­cept for a drain­pipe ex­haust bel­low­ing away as I headed north out of town about 6am. Re­al­is­ing a Mini was fol­low­ing closely, it was pedal to the me­tal. In those care­free days I had not been passed for many thou­sands of kays and was not about to let some chump in a beige Mini do so. Flat out mo­tor­ing fol­lowed with the MG draw­ing away when the road was clear and the mini clos­ing up a bit with mo­men­tary traf­fic de­lays.

The sur­pris­ing thing was how many lo­cals came out onto their ve­ran­das or front yards to see us go by. What a keen crowd I thought, they en­joy a bit of high speed mo­tor­ing, and I re­turned a wave here and there as I pow­ered on.

Even­tu­ally, I had to pull in be­hind a gravel truck as it ground its way slowly up a hill. Idling along I was sur­prised to hear a po­lice siren in the dis­tance, and af­ter a minute or so the Mini ar­rived. The NSW Po­lice were us­ing Coop­ers. Who knew?

Un­like the lo­cals, I had not heard the siren over the noise of my ex­haust and I pulled over at once. Ex­plain­ing my side of the story, the of­fi­cer re­marked that I seemed to know what I was do­ing so wouldn’t book me for speeding, or dan­ger­ous driv­ing or ex­cess noise. But he said, I’ve got to ticket you for some­thing, I’ll put you down for not us­ing your in­di­ca­tor when pass­ing. Point­ing to a nearby mileage post he said, “I’ve been chas­ing you for 20 kays and I wasn’t catch­ing you; it’s been an in­ter­est­ing start to the day.”

Dis­grace­ful be­hav­iour? Politicly in­cor­rect? You bet!

Now I’m a model ci­ti­zen on the road. Those days are gone but not for­got­ten and not to be rec­om­mended. Fun though! Rob Switzer Email

TheRon Krause Sports Sedan that made is­sue #94’s Top 25 Weird & Won­der­ful Sports Sedans fea­ture was pow­ered by a V6 Chev while Ron raced it and not a mod­i­fied 3.8-litre donk from the VN-VR se­ries of Com­modores as we stated. Also the Devil cursed our Bedev­illed Com­modore fea­ture in that is­sue by slip­ping a pic of the wrong #05 Com­modore on page 50. Cheeky bug­ger. Mean­time, we can’t blame the devil for the er­rors in last is­sue’s Sacred Sites story, as picked up by ea­gle-eyed reader David Ste­wart. Bob Jane won the first Calder ATCC race in the blue 1968 302ci ex-Trans-Am Mus­tang, not the orange 1967 289 model, while his Ca­maro was run­ning the 350 en­gine in ’72 and not the 427ci donk. Fi­nally, Mof­fat won in ’73 in an XY Fal­con and not the Mus­tang that the ar­ti­cle in­cor­rectly stated. Apolo­gies.

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