Aaron Noo­nan

Australian Muscle Car - - Brockclimbing - Broad­caster and jour­nal­ist Aaron Noo­nan op­er­ates the pop­u­lar V8 Sleuth web­site, which is ded­i­cated to trac­ing, track­ing, record­ing and ar­chiv­ing mo­tor­sport his­tory of all kinds – with a pri­mary fo­cus on the his­to­ries of in­di­vid­ual rac­ing cars. Visit www.v

The evening news ser­vices (and in­deed the 24 hour news cy­cle we live in) these days seems to be con­stantly lled with ter­ri­ble, de­press­ingly sad sto­ries of tragedies and dis­as­ters that un­der­line the very worst of peo­ple in so­ci­ety.

Gladly, though, there’s some slith­ers of sun­shine that shine through the cracks, but this is some­what the mi­nor­ity of con­tent rather than the ma­jor­ity.

The on­line world, one in which I am en­gaged for rea­sons in­clud­ing the na­ture of my work and busi­ness, is packed full of neg­a­tiv­ity and spew­ing with vile, out­rage and in­sults at a minute’s no­tice. It’s easy to get sucked into this and stamp your feet and fu­ri­ously hit the key­board to send out a few jabs of your own.

Some­times the words I, and in­deed the team from my V8 Sleuth of­fice, have penned in

Aus­tralian Mus­cle Car mag­a­zine’s pages have gen­er­ated bit­ter dis­agree­ment, spir­ited de­bate, glow­ing praise (yes true!) and ev­ery­where in be­tween, in­clud­ing some ‘key­board war­rior’ grum­bling that got out of hand and was, frankly, dis­taste­ful.

But, in di­rect con­trast with all of the neg­a­tiv­ity out there in the world, I want to tell you a story of good, not evil, all achieved via the pages of

AMC mag­a­zine in re­cent times. It’s one that re­ally does make you feel great to be part of this lo­cal mo­tor­sport in­dus­try.

Some­time ago I came into con­tact with a Kiwi named Rod­ney Heads, who had ac­quired an ex-Lansvale Com­modore VL Group A car and was em­bark­ing on a project to re­store it to its 1988 fuel-in­jected ‘Walkin­shaw’ Bathurst speci cation and liv­ery. As you will have read in the news pages of the last is­sue in a story by V8 Sleuth re­porter Dy­lan Gul­son, this work has very nearly been com­pleted and the car is back in the fa­mil­iar yel­low colours as car­ried by pop­u­lar Syd­ney pri­va­teers Trevor Ashby and Steve Reed.

The story in the last AMC prompted for­mer Lansvale team man­ager Ron Gillard to get in touch. He told us he had come across a log book for that very car while sift­ing through some old papers re­cently from those ‘Ashby/Reed’ days. Quite sim­ply, he said, the log book needed to be in the same place as the car it­self and he’d like to see it re­united with the V8-pow­ered ma­chine that did the on-track work re­lat­ing to the date and cir­cuit en­tries within its pages. This was in­deed a no­ble ges­ture. But there was one prob­lem… The log book he had was not for this par­tic­u­lar car, given Heads al­ready has in his pos­ses­sion the log book that de­tails all of his car’s rac­ing his­tory from the time it was wheeled out as a car­bu­re­tor-en­gined VL in late 1987 to its nal Bathurst 1000 start in the hands of Greg Fa­hey and De­nis Crib­bin in 1994.

Af­ter a quick con­sul­ta­tion ‘across the ditch’ with Heads, I picked up the phone for a fur­ther chat with Gillard. Af­ter all, if the log book he was look­ing at wasn’t for the car in New Zealand, then what the hell was it for?!

As Ron started run­ning through some of the dates and tracks listed in the book in front of him it be­came clear that he was in fact look­ing at a log book re­lat­ing to the ex-Perkins Com­modore VL that the Lansvale team later had pur­chased from the late Llyn­den Rei­th­muller in 1990 and ran at Bathurst that year be­fore us­ing com­po­nents from it for their new VN Com­modore.

The VL from which the parts had been plucked for the new VN was re­stored over time by owner Glen Feather­stone back to its 1988 carby-spec and Perkins/HSV liv­ery as car­ried in that year’s Aus­tralian Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship, mak­ing its re-ap­pear­ance on the track in Group A his­torics at Mus­cle Car Mas­ters four years ago.

It’s been a while since I had spo­ken with Glen so I placed a very quick email along the lines of ‘have a lead on your log book, give me a call’.

Now, any car owner that has ex­pe­ri­enced the an­guish of pur­chas­ing, restor­ing or cer­ti­fy­ing to race a car only to dis­cover its orig­i­nal log book has been de­stroyed, mis­placed or no longer ex­ist for any other rea­son, will un­der­stand the ex­tra hur­dles that adds to the process. They aren’t in­sur­mount­able hur­dles, but nev­er­the­less an added step in the jour­ney.

So it was with great ex­cite­ment a call came back on the mo­bile from Glen.

“I’d given up the chase on that log book,” he said, his voice al­most hushed in a tone that sounded like he was try­ing not to get his hopes up too much, fear­ful of there hav­ing been a mis­take and in­deed the log book for his car would re­main elu­sive. But there was no mis­take. The CAMS log book, that lit­tle book­let of scrib­bles, num­bers, names, dates and track names, was most de nitely for his very car with a catch-up quickly ar­ranged for col­lec­tion from Gillard’s base in Bal­lina, New South Wales.

Some­times you never know where things are go­ing to lead in life. My con­tact with a Kiwi bloke 18 months ago with an old Com­modore that started its life in Syd­ney 31 years ago has helped set off a chain of events and con­nec­tions that led to an elu­sive log book be­ing re­united with its car’s, it must be said, chuffed, owner.

It’s sit­u­a­tions like these and con­nect­ing the dots that keep fu­elling my love of mo­tor­sport and its peo­ple.

No mat­ter how much neg­a­tiv­ity is out there in the broader world or within our ‘petrol head post­code’, it’s sto­ries like these that put a pep in your step. I wanted to share it with you all to hope­fully put some of that pep in your step too.

Just an­other day in the life of the V8 Sleuth and AMC mag­a­zine…

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