A9X 1: 40 rea­sons

Australian Muscle Car - - Contents -

The To­rana A9X turns 40 this year. To cel­e­brate, AMC presents 40 rea­sons to love the ul­ti­mate fac­tory To­rana V8.

1984 Can­non­ball web­site

I know is­sue #56 is a long way in the past now, but since learn­ing about the 1984 Can­non­ball Cup that was men­tioned in that is­sue, I have be­come a bit ob­sessed with col­lect­ing as much in­for­ma­tion as pos­si­ble about the race.

I have now put to­gether a web­site to record the his­tory of the race be­fore it is com­pletely for­got­ten about.

Get­ting the story straight from the driv­ers is the best way of find­ing out what re­ally hap­pened on the race and I have now man­aged to con­tact a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of the driv­ers and peo­ple in­volved. In ad­di­tion to their rec­ol­lec­tions many have been able to pro­vide photos, news­pa­per ar­ti­cles, orig­i­nal doc­u­ments from the race or­gan­is­ers, route maps, and even video. One even had a copy of the of­fi­cial race re­sults. All of this is now avail­able to see on the web­site.

Many sto­ries have now been un­cov­ered, in­clud­ing the fact that the orig­i­nal win­ners were later con­tro­ver­sially dis­qual­i­fied and the sec­ond placed team were awarded the win as they man­aged to make it to Perth with­out get­ting fined for any driv­ing of­fences.

The story about the su­per­charged Ford break­ing down and the team buy­ing an­other car to com­plete the race is not quite cor­rect. The Ford did break down but it was fixed at the road side and did go on to fin­ish the race. There was an­other team in a Ford LTD which bought a car to get to the fin­ish af­ter the LTD blew a head gas­ket.

There’s so many other great sto­ries from the race, like the team that dressed as new­ly­weds and painted “just mar­ried” all over their car, and an­other team that dressed as priests.

I would love to hear from any driv­ers who I haven’t man­aged to con­tact, or any­one who has any in­for­ma­tion about the race to share. John Avis john_avis@hot­mail.com www.can­non­ball.info

That’s gotta be...

Iwas fas­ci­nated by the photo on page 23 of AMC is­sue #93 of the Geoghe­gan Sports Car yard, circa 1967. In it we see as­sorted Porsche, MG and Lo­tus ve­hi­cles and per­haps not sur­pris­ingly a row of new or near new 1966 and ‘67 Mus­tangs.

This photo ap­pears to have been snapped right at the time Big Pete was chang­ing from his tried-and-true ’65 Mus­tang to his lat­est ’67 model. There can be lit­tle doubt it is the two-times Aus­tralian Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship win­ner sit­ting sec­ond from the right, sans num­bers but with the tell­tale Cas­trol strip­ing in lace, await­ing its new owner, Kiwi Rod Cop­pins.

But it wasn’t this car that piqued my in­ter­est, but rather the white ’67 Fast­back parked along­side. Pete fa­mously brought not one but two white Mus­tangs over from the US in early 1967. The ’67 GTA coupe that he fa­mously went on to win three con­sec­u­tive ATCC ti­tles to­gether with a bog stan­dard 289ci man­ual fast­back that was sup­posed to be his race­car. Leg­end goes that the Geoghe­gans were un­sure whether the fast­back would be ac­cepted by CAMS and brought the GTA over as in­sur­ance. Sure enough CAMS re­jected the fast­back as in­el­i­gi­ble to race, so Pete then swapped the top loader 4-speed from the Fast­back to the Coupe, stripped out all the GTA fancy gear from the coupe (auto trans­mis­sion, con­sole, driv­ing lights) and dropped them into the fast­back. And there sit­ting on the Geoghe­gan sales lot is (I be­lieve) that Mus­tang. The colour, the GTA spot­lights and the fact that it is in the sales yard along­side Pete’s pre­vi­ous race­car makes it a near cer­tainty that this is it.

If only its where­abouts could be traced to­day. It would be even more fa­mous than the Goss Fal­con re­cently un­cov­ered in AMC. At the very least it is pos­si­bly the only known photo of the car that al­most be­came the leg­end. Rus­sell Unitt rus­sel­lu­nitt@ya­hoo.com.au ED: Good pick-up, Rus­sell! You should be on that TV show Have You Been Pay­ing At­ten­tion?

Ad­dicted to slot machines

Just like to say how much I’ve en­joyed the magazine and the ar­ti­cles on slot mus­cle cars. I bought a Scalex­tric Bathurst Leg­ends set think­ing it would be fun for the kids, be­fore be­com­ing en­grossed my­self. Sound fa­mil­iar? I’ve ex­tended the track, added a laser timer and syn­thetic grass, hedges and trees. We’ve had some great races. On one oc­ca­sion I over­took my mate half­way through the last lap. He then crashed at the last bend be­fore bar­rel rolling down the straight to the fin­ish line; nearly tak­ing my car out in the process.

For a brief mo­ment in time you en­ter a par­al­lel uni­verse and come out feel­ing to­tally re­freshed. Every­one’s a win­ner! Brian Breakey Kelm­scott, WA

An ex­plo­sive read

Ibought the new ‘Gelig­nite’ Jack Mur­ray book a few weeks ago, and am so pleased that his son Phil has put pen to pa­per with this de­fin­i­tive bi­og­ra­phy. A lot of the sto­ries I had heard in the past, but there was lots of new stuff I didn’t know, such as his ap­pear­ance on This Is Your Life.

Pre­vi­ous to this, I had only seen a few short ar­ti­cles in the like of Mod­ern Mo­tor, and the ex­ploits that have been fea­tured in Evan Green’s books about their jour­neys to­gether.

I was for­tu­nate enough sev­eral years ago to buy a copy of Jour­neys With Gelig­nite Jack by Evan Green, which is a re­ally fas­ci­nat­ing story about their fig­ure-ofeight cross­ing of Aus­tralia in a Austin 1800 and a Mor­ris Mini, while test­ing a new oil (GTX?) for Cas­trol. When I spot­ted an au­to­graphed copy of the book on Ama­zon about three years ago, I jumped at the chance to grab it, which up­set one or two vet­eran Aussie mo­tor­ing journos when they found out!

This copy had been signed by Green, Mur­ray, Scott Polk­inghorne (who filmed the whole trip – it is avail­able from Duke Video on a DVD called Epic Road Trips 1965-1970), and Alan Kemp, along with Bob Gray­don from Cas­trol, and two oth­ers who I don’t know where they fit­ted in (re­fer photo).

If you haven’t read this book, you re­ally should try and search it out – it re­ally is a good read.

Mal­colm McLeod Pa­pakura, NZ

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