AMC BEST LET­TER

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For­got­ten fans

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

Galah per­for­mance

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

Monaro help

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 bathurst68@out­look.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 bol­well­car­club@gmail.com We would be happy to hear from you, and even more happy to see you Fred Pod­ner

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