AMC BEST LETTER
Iread the editorial in issue #104 with great interest, and it certainly struck a chord with me. I’ve been attending motorsport events for the best part of 50 years in various roles: spectator, official, pit crew and as a driver. I think that the electronic media, the organisers and the circuit promoters have truly lost sight of the importance that satis ed spectators play in the overall success and viability of any motorsport event. It is one reason why I no longer attend Supercars events. To me they no longer represent value for money or “bang for your bucks” entertainment.
I know that it is probably an unfair comparison, but I now invest my time and money into attending speedway to get my up-close motorsport experience. The cost of attending a local speedway meeting is less than half the price of attending a Supercars meeting, the action is fast, furious and nonstop, and it is common for a meeting to feature 20-plus events spread across ve or six different racing classes. This provides enormous variety, and there is usually something in it for everyone. Your average speedway meeting doesn’t attract the volume of spectators that a Supercars event does, but for any circuit Supercars events happen once a year. Speedway facilities conduct an event every two or three weeks during their season. You start to add together total spectator numbers and speedway begins to look pretty attractive. Maybe it’s time that circuit promoters started to examine the speedway mindset and approach before they lose the spectators that, quite frankly, are the ones that make their circuits viable.
Regarding the article on the ‘83 Brock Commodore, I wasn’t sure whether you were aware that the car actually did go to Bathurst in 1984. From memory the HDT were scouting around for a possible lease deal for it in the lead-up to the race. When nothing eventuated they took it to Bathurst as a display car. They rolled it out of the transporter in the state it was in in the attached photo. It had no engine or gearbox, but I believe that they tted a set of the Momo wheels for display. They used the engine bay to store spare parts for the trip up. I’m sorry about the quality of the photo, but I scanned it out of the 1984 The
Great Race yearbook. Adam Clarke Tasmania
That man Jack
Just wanted to say many thanks for your excellent article on the ‘Galah’ that Lex Brailey and I raced in the 1963 Armstrong 500.
Did you notice in his photograph of both cars at the nish that the man in the white overalls and no hat standing behind the man with the nish board (?) is none other than Jack Hinxman who, at that time, was the Secretary of the ARDC based in Norton Street Leichardt then, and Jack was THE man whose job it was to organise this rst 500 in NSW. He has a slight smile on his face – not a common thing for Jack to do…
But he was an absolute wizard at organising anything to do with motor racing. Perhaps he may have been smiling at the fact that Lex and myself had done the job in spite of what others thought pre-race –and in the oldest car entered? Or maybe he was self-acknowledging that he had done a very good job of organising and running the race. Hail fellow, well met.
I do remember that he came over to us after the race and shook our hands. He was a true gentleman. I am probably a little biased here, but I think we were about to lap the Mini and Browney was laughing and thinking ‘You’re too late Phil!’
By the way, the hose hanging down under the front of the FB was an obligatory race rule for all cars and went from the breather pipe tted to the side plate of the grey Holden motors of the day to an oil catch tank that had to be tted to the inside mudguard under the bonnet so that no oil would leak onto the track during practice or during the race. Philip McCumisky Rochester, Victoria
Thank you for the feature on the ‘colourful’ FB at the 1963 Armstrong 500. My father and I were regular visitors to the two race meetings at Bathurst since the mid ‘50s but the rst showroombred race blew our minds. Lo and behold, on the grid; an FB just like the one we came to the race in! Ours was white but still an embarrassing car for a 17 yearold to be seen driving…
The achievement ( nishing the race) of this FB amazed me because as you say, it was a dinosaur, and a slow, cumbersome one at that!
The information I have obtained, shows the car nishing 24th on 115 laps, just ahead of the Peter Brown/Ron Marshall Morris Cooper in 25th. This is fantastic with 45 cars classi ed as nishers.
Perhaps the photo depicts the cars receiving the last lap board. Even better still, the FB may have been about to put a lap on the Mini but I don’t think so somehow.
Among those behind the FB were the Needham/Weldon Studebaker Lark (27th) and the highly fancied Class B runners, Charlie Smith and Ron Hodgson (Mini Cooper) 28th.
Well done with your feature article this month. Very enjoyable. Ken Marsh Email
The chequered board
lcan shed some light on the 1963 Armstrong 500 result and, in particular, the nishing positions of the Brown/Marshall Mini Cooper and the McCumisky/Brailey FB Holden. I rst saw this photo in the 2015 The Great
Race - Bathurst magazine and looked into it then. This is the nish of the race and the Mini just beat home the FB Holden. The very limited lm of the race also showed the same chap in the white overalls with a darker jacket and cap, and you see the other side of the board and it is black-and-white chequered with “FINISH” written in large letters. Great story on the FB Holden and its young drivers.
In the Bruce McPhee story, the beaut photo taken by Brier Thomas of the McPhee Monaro you ran at the end of in the Surfers pits after dark makes me wonder if Bruce did get the car mobile to nish the race. l would have thought after a big blow up, it would have been pushed behind the pits, but maybe they got it going to cross the nish line and receive the chequered ag? l have attached the official results which clearly list car 13 nishing eighth in class on 245 laps. l have always thought this was wrong, but maybe I’m wrong. It would be very rare for a retired car that stopped hours before the nish to be listed as a nisher. Another great story on the Ron Dickson HQ Monaro, and so good that this car is still with us. Looking forward to reading some of the other stories tonight. Thanks again AMC, Scott Mackay Email
Iam writing to you as I would like to try to chase down some history of my Bathurst HK Monaro.
I purchased the car in 1980. At the time I had been on way to buy a HQ 350 Statesman. The Statesman was all about having a ‘responsible’ muscle car with four doors to suit our family, but unfortunately I never made it to see the Statesman as I purchased the Monaro right there and then!
In those days a Bathurst 327 was just another car, and to be honest the information about special body and engine numbers was really not readily available. You really had to know your cars in those days or you just ran off what you were told. I would say the Falcons of the day were the easy ones due to the fact that the ID plates told you that you were buying a GT.
The car that I bought that night was white with a white interior (Parchment), it was straight and had a HT GTS bonnet tted. All the mechanicals were intact and the car was not butchered in any way and showed normal wear and tear. The
paint, though, was cracking and the seller told me the car had been laid up for a number of years and he had just registered it, hence the new number plates.
He told me the car had a racing history but didn’t expand further and I didn’t ask, which in retrospect was foolish. Anyway, I handed over cash for the car and the gentleman apologised for the lack of the original steering wheel, which he said had been souvenired...
We used the car for two years or so and then I was offered a job in Singapore and I put the car in a friend’s garage. After many years and a few address changes I decided to restore it as the whole muscle car scene in Australia started to take off.
Whilst starting the restoration, the numbers on the car all checked out as the genuine article. The car was an early Sydney build (under 225) and the colour scheme by the numbers was in fact Picardy Red with Parchment interior. The white paint was the result of a colour change sometime during its life before me.
I often wondered when looking through the various publications about racing Monaros – what ever happened to the Lorack Motors EYG 184 racecar? I often wondered would there be any chance to actually be able to track information regarding those cars that raced at Bathurst.
Who would have such information regarding cars entered etc and also who maybe left in the old school world might have any information?
I have attached a picture of my car as it is today, and a picture in white as it headed off for soda blasting. I hope you can help me with any contacts. I also plan to contact Lorack Motors this week as I believe they still have a business in Sydney. Keith email@example.com
Memories of McPhee
Regarding Bruce McPhee, back in late 2003 most of our family went to Long Jetty for a BBQ with relatives and friends. As I recall, one of my wife’s nieces was keeping company with one of Bruce’s grandsons, and Bruce and his wife were there. So I did get to have some direct comment from him on his 1968 exploits at Bathurst.
As for that red Lorack Motors sponsored 327 at the mountain, I can verify that it had a similar performance advantage up Mountain Straight, (over the other Monaros), as did the 327 over the 302 GTs. It was good to read about what actually went down with that engine.
After seeing the brake pads extracted from McPhee’s Monaro on p44 it is no wonder the 327 had brake issues. The physical size of that component on the ground is only marginally larger than the ones that were on our ‘71 Mk 1 Escort! Eric Waples Albion Park, NSW
Bolwell Nagari’s upcoming birthday
Everyone likes a celebration and although it may seem early to herald the celebration, next year will be 50 years since the Bolwell Nagari rst graced our roads joining its earlier brothers as the eighth generation of the marque. Despite its relatively small numbers it holds a place as one of Australia’s most iconic vehicles. There will be a number of celebrations next year but we are looking to reach out to Bolwell owners, people who have an interest, or family members and friends of past owners everywhere to help us celebrate this birthday. At this stage Bolwell will be one of the Marques of the Meeting for the VHRR Phillip Island Classic March 8-10, 2019. Campbell and Graham Bolwell are planning to be at the meeting and we are aware of about 50 Bolwells from the Bolwell Car Clubs of Australia attending at this stage – but we would like to get as many cars out of garages for the event as possible, and maybe break some records. If there is more interest we will look at other events in other states. So mark March 8-10, 2019 on your calendar, start getting your car ready, or drop us a line firstname.lastname@example.org We would be happy to hear from you, and even more happy to see you Fred Podner