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HD not the worst Holden

Great is­sue and I have all of them. Par­tic­u­larly liked the ‘1966: the year in rac­ing’ pic­tures and ar­ti­cle. Re­gard­ing the ‘The Big Three in 1966’ ar­ti­cle, I loved the VC Valiant, HR Holden and XR Ford, but thought the au­thor’s com­ments on the pre­ced­ing HD Holden was a bit strong. Gavin Farmer wrote that the HD, re­leased in Feb­ru­ary 1965, “was prob­a­bly Holden’s worst car ever from sev­eral points of view”. Re­mem­ber the 1.9-litre Starfire 4 Sun­bird? What about that for Holden’s worst? HD out­sold the record break­ing EH dur­ing the first three months it was on sale and had a record reg­is­tra­tion of 19,000 units dur­ing May 1965. There was also a sig­nif­i­cant 20,000 ex­ports of this model, so some­one must have liked them! The HD re­leased in Feb­ru­ary 1965 had the ini­tial X2 140hp mo­tor avail­able, but be­cause of this should be more fairly com­pared with the 121hp 200 Su­per Pur­suit XP Fal­con of the same time and year, not XR Fal­con with 289 V8 and HR Holden (HR had 145hp X2 and later 186s with same out­put and 2-bar­rel carby). Also the HR Premier was avail­able with a bench frontseat as a no-cost op­tion in sedan and wagon. And what of the lim­ited run fac­tory S4 EH which pre-dated all of these ‘per­for­mance spe­cials’ in 1963?

The buck stops here

Firstly,

I’ve en­joyed ev­ery edi­tion of AMC. How­ever, a small er­ror ap­peared on page 35 of is­sue #91. The re­verse of the $20.00 note is cor­rect for 1966, prob­a­bly a Coombs-Wil­son signed note, but the $2.00 note de­picted on the same page is in­cor­rect. That par­tic­u­lar note with ‘Aus­tralia’ as the ti­tle was not re­leased un­til 19 June, 1974. ED: Phil, my good man, the next time I’m a con­tes­tant on ‘Who Wants To Be A Mil­lion­aire’ and Ed­die Maguire asks me a ques­tion I can’t an­swer, I’d like you to be my ‘Phone A Friend’ op­tion. You’re pay­ment? A crisp $2 ‘green and gold’ note.

Va­lerie, call on me

I had the plea­sure of driv­ing my trib­ute VC #05 Com­modore (Va­lerie! Ev­ery car has gotta have a name) to Bathurst for the 10-year an­niver­sary of the king’s pass­ing. What a great week and a half my wife Sandie and I had.

On our way to Bathurst from our home town of Bal­larat we called into Win­ton Mo­tor Race­way where the won­der­ful peo­ple there let us drive onto the track and get some great pics un­der the old start fin­ish line.

We ar­rived at the moun­tain the Thurs­day week be­fore the Great Race so we could take some pics of Va­lerie and hang a few laps around the iconic race track which was a great treat.

She was also present at the driver’s sign­ing on the Wednes­day and with the help of some great peo­ple, Mag El­shaar and Dale Sud­holz, Va­lerie got her dash signed by the great Jim Richards and Brocky’s ap­pren­tice, Craig Lown­des.

All in all, a fan­tas­tic race week for us to share our beau­ti­ful car with ev­ery­one. She sure did get a hell of a lot of at­ten­tion from Holden and Ford fans alike which made us very proud.

On the track the 48 TCM cars with 24 of the field from NZ was most def­i­nitely the high­light. They sounded awe­some.

FYI, Va­lerie has a pretty much stock 308 at the mo­ment. That will change next win­ter.

Missed op­por­tu­nity

Iread with in­ter­est your story about the move from Group A to the V8 cat­e­gory. I think that move was a huge missed op­por­tu­nity and never can I re­mem­ber a gov­ern­ing body im­ple­ment­ing rule changes that forced man­u­fac­tures out of the sport.

I think the first three years of Group A, 1985 to 1987, were good in terms of the rac­ing, va­ri­ety of cars, etc, but the fol­low­ing three years I think most peo­ple got sick of only Sier­ras win­ning. I think the rule mak­ers got the turbo equiv­a­lency rule wrong which al­lowed the Sier­ras to dom­i­nate.

I was happy to see an­other car beat them, be­ing the GT-R. How­ever, I re­mem­ber be­ing taken aback by the bi­ased Chan­nel Seven com­men­tary dur­ing 1991 and ’92. At ev­ery start we heard the words to the ef­fect of “4WD no ad­van­tage; don’t you be­lieve it”.

This I think must have had some in­flu­ence on fans. The change in equiv­a­lency rules in ’92 im­proved the rac­ing, which saw GTRs, M3s and Sier­ras all win­ning races. I be­lieved at the time and still be­lieve to­day the GT-Rs and M3s should have been al­lowed to con­tinue be­yond 1993 with all cars be sub­ject to re­stric­tions/free­doms to en­sure all were com­pet­i­tive. The weight put on the M3s in ’93 ren­dered them un­com­pet­i­tive. I thought it was un­fair and a tragedy.

My point is if Nis­san and BMW had been al­lowed to con­tinue com­pet­i­tively we would have had at least four man­u­fac­tur­ers, with three very dif­fer­ent types of cars cre­at­ing un­pre­dictabil­ity in races, dif­fer­ent sounds and more pass­ing, thus bet­ter rac­ing.

Pos­si­bly Audi could have even run a A4 Quat­tro turbo in­stead of the A4 they did in Su­per Tour­ing.

The Su­per­car for­mula has been al­lowed to evolve into what is ef­fec­tively a sports sedan for­mula, with the re­sult that all the cars are equal, con­se­quently it cre­ates close rac­ing, but not great rac­ing in terms of pass­ing and re pass­ing.

The races tend to be pro­ces­sional and pre­dictable. The cars are too ex­pen­sive, and there is not enough of them. And re­ally, a V8 Al­tima?!

There was a time when the cars on the track were as­pi­ra­tional and rep­re­sen­ta­tive of what you could go out and buy. The rule changes for next year, I can’t see chang­ing much. And with the aero and shorter brak­ing dis­tances the cars are too fast, mak­ing over­tak­ing harder.

I hope one day they will wake up and go back to stan­dard bod­ies, with en­gines rep­re­sen­ta­tive of what you can buy, al­low­ing cars with dif­fer­ent strengths and weak­nesses that will cre­ate bet­ter rac­ing, with cheaper cars.

Paul Oliver Email

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