Mus­cle Mail

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Read­ers drop us a line with their mem­o­ries of the sig­nif­i­cant To­rana A9Xs and pay trib­ute to liv­ing le­gends of our sport: Al­lan Mof­fat and Ray Kaleda.

Bo’s A9X race­car

Ican fill in some of the his­tory of the Se­ton A9X – the one that ac­tu­ally raced in pe­riod. As a bit of back­ground, I am the bloke from Wagga men­tioned in the is­sue #97 story. I raced an early model Holden when there was still a class for them, moved on to a Se­ries Pro­duc­tion To­rana XU-1 in the early 1970s, then drove some of De­nis O’Brien’s many Mus­tangs and his 427 Galaxie. Se­ton had a drive in this car at an Oran Park prac­tice day and said, “You bas­tards are bloody mad.” We had got to be good mates with Seto, get­ting en­gines dy­noed there and stay­ing at his house when we were in Syd­ney. (De­nis even­tu­ally bought his dyno). One night, af­ter the end of its Group C rac­ing life, we were sit­ting out in his back shed drink­ing nu­mer­ous beers look­ing at the A9X. I asked, “What are you go­ing to do with the car?” His re­ply: “I don’t know.” I had al­ways had a fan­tasy about driv­ing a race­car on the road and told him I would buy it. He said there was no class for them and when I told him I would put it on the road he thought it was joke. He laughed and said you can have it for ten grand, think­ing I was not se­ri­ous. He kept the bar­gain and also put in a fresh en­gine, his tallest diff and soft­est spring and shocks, plus a set of grooved slicks. I got it reg­is­tered (don’t ask how) and away I went! It was im­pos­si­ble to drive on the road with the grooved slicks and the noise from stones hit­ting the un-in­su­lated floor and guards was deaf­en­ing. We un­der-sealed ev­ery­thing and put ra­di­als on. Had to go down a size in width and di­am­e­ter on the front to en­able it to turn, but left the 15x10s on the back. It still had the race paint scheme, drop tank, roll-cage, race seats, etc in it and I drove it as a toy car for a few years un­til a po­lice­man sug­gested I put it away unless it was very late at night.

I de­cided to race it in Sports Sedans and not want­ing to dam­age the orig­i­nal pan­els put on fi­bre­glass doors, guards, bon­net, bumpers and hatch. I also fit­ted per­spex win­dows, gut­ted the in­te­rior and away I went again. Seto saw it like that at Ama­roo and nearly cried un­til I told him I still had the orig­i­nal bits.

In this class it merely ran around in the mid­dle of the field, but this was all I ex­pected. Was only for fun.

Even­tu­ally I sold the car to Ken I’an­son of Berry, SA and gave him all the orig­i­nal pieces. He put it all back to­gether, painted it white and raced it for a while. Last I heard of it was when Seto wanted to buy it back and he traced it to Mel­bourne. This was a few years ago, but the guy wanted over three hun­dred big ones even then so Seto de­clined.

I don’t know what has hap­pened since then. Ross Wood­bridge Email

Make that the Top 26 notable A9X sur­vivors

I’ve just read the lat­est AMC (#97) and I thought I would let you know that one more Bathurst A9X has sur­vived. It’s the four-door To­rana that Ralph Rad­burn and John Smith drove to third place in the 1979 Hardie Ferodo 1000.

As you can see, its restora­tion is well on its way to com­ple­tion and hope­fully be ready in time for re­main­ing 40th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions of the To­rana A9X.

The Les Small-in­spired ‘sun­roof’ (ED: see MIA in AMC #37 for an ex­pla­na­tion of the roof panel) re­mains as it is part of the car’s DNA. We were for­tu­nate when we bought the car back in 1986 that the car was still com­plete in ev­ery as­pect. Chris An­geli Email ED: Fan­tas­tic, Chris. It will be great to see this sur­vivor out and about in pub­lic again.

Prom­ise to Mof­fat

Ijust wanted to add an anec­dote about Al­lan Mof­fat to the ar­ti­cles in is­sue #97 which were fab­u­lous. I would like to share this story about his

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gen­eros­ity and friend­li­ness.

At the All Ford Day a cou­ple of years ago at the sign­ing desk I ap­proached Al­lan with a col­lec­tion of post­cards that I had bought back in the 1980s which were mod­els of the Fal­cons that he had driven at Bathurst. I asked if he could please sign them. He agreed if I promised not to sell them on eBay. I as­sured him that they would be framed and would hang from my wall.

He signed the lot and I thought that I’d share a photo of them on my wall. If you or the team at AMC bump into Al­lan please re­as­sure him that they are in­deed on my wall. Patrick Caru­ana Email

Mini Moff mod­els

Re the ar­ti­cle by Bruce Moxon in Mini Mus­cle on build­ing a Mof­fat car, here’s a photo of a model Mus­tang I built up as a trib­ute car. It’s pho­tographed along­side the orig­i­nal car. Dave Page Email

Work­ing for Ray Kaleda

Re­gard­ing the story on Ray Kaleda (AMC #97), as a teenager I worked for Ray at the ‘Col­lege Auto Port’ at Gladesville (Syd­ney) in the mid 1970s.

It is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber back then that ‘Kaledas’ was a lo­cal land­mark for guys in the area who were in­ter­ested in cars. Plenty of peo­ple al­ways com­ing and go­ing for gen­eral chats, tune-ups and hang­ing around. Ev­ery­one seemed to know Ray and he was on good terms with nearly ev­ery­one.

It was amaz­ing how many would show up the week af­ter a race meet­ing and want to catch up with him for all the news, etc. There was al­ways some­thing go­ing on at the place and al­ways some­one to chat to about some­thing.

The servo was a meet­ing place for a lot of good cars – Monaros, Minis, GT-HOs, MGBs, etc. They all came and went in for a ‘tune-up’ on the dyno and a tank of the spe­cial ‘race’ fuel he mixed up for one of the bowsers. They were great days at Gladesville.

His wife Irena would drop in some days with the three boys all in their school kit and they’d be run­ning all round the joint get­ting into crap un­til Mum hauled them back home for the day.

I started there late 1974 need­ing to earn a buck to pay for my bike (cy­cle) rac­ing. He gave me a start at 75 cents an hour! Not bad money back then to be hon­est for a 14-year-old kid who just wanted to work around cars. Over time he taught me more and gave me more re­spon­si­bil­ity and hours and I earned more. I learned a lot about deal­ing with peo­ple and learn­ing to ‘read’ them and get along with them. Very, very good train­ing for later years.

Re Bathurst 1976, I re­mem­ber that week­end well – as a dis­as­ter from the get go. Bob Stevens or­gan­ised the Braun money and the team was half his guys and half Ray’s. I was a go­pher and, af­ter the Satur­day crash, re­mem­ber be­ing at Bathurst Mo­tors un­til very late on Satur­day night while they tried to straighten the rails. They had to give up in the end. The whole week­end was a night­mare of silly things go­ing wrong, fuel link­ages, fuel shield/ di­viders be­hind the rear seat, axles break­ing and no­body re­ally gelled in the team.

When the car failed to make the start on Sun­day, we headed back to Syd­ney on Sun­day morn­ing in his red XB GT – side­ways up the hill out of Lith­gow! Yee­hah! Greg Farmer Email

Jolly well Rogered A9X

Thanks for the great pro­file story you ran on my fa­ther Ray Kaleda in is­sue #97. As an aside, that same is­sue’s A9X con­tent men­tioned this hatch­back raced by Garry Rogers. Here’s a ‘Pun­ters Pic’ I took of the car af­ter its crash at Ama­roo Park. Danny Kaleda Email

Denys’ rec­ol­lec­tions

Thanks for the snip­pet on the HD from 1975 and the in­cluded shot of me at the wheel in is­sue #96’s pro­file on Bob Forbes.

Thought the at­tached pic­ture bet­ter shows both the lack of sus­pen­sion move­ment and how dif­fi­cult it was to sit upright on a bench seat. Note the dam­age to the near side front guard is ev­i­dent in both pic­tures, the shape of the Armco fence onto the straight at Ama­roo Park from mem­ory.

The HD shot was taken ex­it­ing BP Bend onto the straight at Oran Park.

Is­sue #95 car­ried a sec­tion on the L34 driven by Wayne Ne­gus end­ing up in the river at Sandown, with a let­ter to the edi­tor from War­ren Mills in is­sue #96 fur­ther out­lin­ing the brake is­sue from the time.

The car was re-built as wit­nessed by the sec­ond shot, this time from Ama­roo Park, with it on pole. I was be­hind the wheel and given the com­pe­ti­tion in that par­tic­u­lar race, so it should have been!

Thanks for the story on Bob, a great amount of de­tail and some very fond mem­o­ries. Denys Gille­spie Email

Can-Am MkII fan

Can- Am MkII ( AMC #96) was an era of in­no­va­tion: ground ef­fects, wings, switch to rac­ing ra­di­als, use of chas­sis from F5000, F1, Indy Cars, Euro­pean F2 with added tur­bocharg­ers, even asym­met­ric cars with the driver be­side the en­gine. Need­less to say the aero made them even faster than F1 cars for much of the time. As for the driv­ers, many were great cham­pi­ons in this and other classes. Rhys Fil­bee Via Face­book

Can-Am MkII sur­vivor

Gar­rie

Cooper built three Elfin MR8s, this one (chas­sis 8772) was the sec­ond built. It first ran at Oran Park Rac­ing in the 1977 Aus­tralian Grand Prix.

Then Vern Schup­pan re­bod­ied it with ‘cy­cle guards’ and took it to run Can-Am for two sea­sons. It was re-bod­ied as the pho­tos be­low show and run with Bobby Boxx on re­turn to Aus­tralia. I ran it from 1991 to 1994. Then Aaron Lewis raced it and changed the body back to Ansett F5000 con­fig­u­ra­tion. Now Bill Hem­ming has it and races it.

Hope you find it in­ter­est­ing as a sin­gle-seater than ran in Can-Am (MkII) as an Elfin MR8 A-C. Ron Gouttman Syd­ney, NSW

173 GTR turbo

Your ar­ti­cle ear­lier this year ( AMC #93), prompted me to tell you about my 1972 To­rana GTR. I bought the GTR new in my early 20s but was dis­ap­pointed by the limp per­for­mance. So when I had saved enough money I took the car to David Inall for a tur­bocharger in­stal­la­tion. This in­cluded wa­ter in­jec­tion, ‘O’ ringed head, 45DCOE We­ber carby, free flow exhaust, etc. The en­gine ran at about 1.4 bar of boost which rad­i­cally changed the per­for­mance of such a light car and pro­vided me with a few years of fun and en­joy­ment.

It would eas­ily do 13 sec­onds for 0-160km/h with at least 200kW of power.

For the first two years the only trou­ble I had was a blown head gas­ket. Un­for­tu­nately the lack of a waste gate con­trol prob­a­bly contributed to turbo fail­ure while giv­ing it a big rev. The Opel gear­box was about stuffed as well, so I re­turned the car to orig­i­nal specs just be­fore I was trans­ferred over­seas for two years and later traded it on an Alpine White E49 Charger with 30,000 kays on the clock. The Charger was not as fast or nim­ble as the To­rana; the XU-1 would have been a bet­ter car to tur­bocharge due to its stronger com­po­nents and LSD. Dave Regal Gold Coast, QLD

One small cor­rec­tion

Con­grat­u­la­tions

on an­other great is­sue, #96, and your cel­e­bra­tion of the Fal­con GT’s 50th an­niver­sary. In re­la­tion to the ‘50 Rea­sons to Love the First GT’ ar­ti­cle, I would like to make one small cor­rec­tion to the ‘Colour My World’ item, which says: “Among the oth­ers, were Sul­tan Ma­roon and no less than three shades of white. The lat­ter in­cluded Avis White, a nod to Ford’s fleet cus­tomer.”

Although there were three ‘white’ cars built, there were only two shades of white: the Avis White car noted above and the two Po­lar White race­cars – one for the Geoghe­gans and one for Greg Cusak, as noted in the ar­ti­cle on the Geoghe­gan car.

An in­ter­est­ing fact about the Avis White car, is that dur­ing pro­duc­tion, this car got pulled from the pro­duc­tion line for a time and was di­rectly re­spon­si­ble for a num­ber of GTs hav­ing non­match­ing en­gine and chas­sis num­bers, be­fore some­one iden­ti­fied the er­ror. Paul Til­ley Burpen­gary, QLD

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