The cars just keep on coming from the classic car show at the Historic Winton races, and this mildly hot-rodded 1934 Ford coupe and 1976-78 Chrysler Valiant Regal show the range of cars that came for the day. The 34 had simply incredible bodywork – just look at those reflections. The Valiant is quite removed from the US models of the time even though it is just a facelifted ’71 fuselage model.
First, on the walk over from the oval there was this Toyota Celica GT4 (ST185), the turbocharged rally homologation model that was sold from 1991-1993 in Australia (1989 in other markets) – or so I thought! It turns out that there was a special model with a water-air intercooler instead of air-air that was the official 5,000 unit homologation car. 150 came to Australia, and they can be distinguished by a different bonnet with an extractor vent and small scoop to cool the engine’s timing case instead of the version seen above. The US didn’t get these.
Here’s a 73-76 XB Falcon 500 GS I spotted away from the main car park, which probably has the 2 barrel version of the 351 Cleveland V8. This was the cheaper, more insurance-friendly alternative to the GT. And another set of Globe Bathurst mags!
This Ford F350 is probably not what you are expecting. The red & blue lights are because it was donated by Ford to the Country Fire Authority (CFA) after the terrible Ash Wednesday bushfires in 1983. The 4wd and hefty aluminium bull bar are not what I’m referring to.
Here is the right-hand drive interior complete with a gear lever worthy of Ed Roth. The F-series was being built in Ford’s Eagle Farm factory in Brisbane, Queensland and was thus the most common US-based pickup in the country and a staple of ambulance fleets everywhere.
The tray wears mounting holes from a slide-on tank and pump unit. The surprising part is that it doesn’t have a V8, but rather a 4.1L six and 4-speed gearbox. I don’t think that this would have been the most popular configuration among civilian sales!
Because the Historic Winton event has both car and bike racing, there were several interesting motorcycles from every make you could think of, from BMW to Yamaha, but this 1954 Velocette LE. Not Limited Edition, LE stands for Little Engine in this case – just 192 cc from its water-cooled boxer twin. The bike has a pressed steel frame, shaft drive, and with just 8 horsepower it had a top speed of 50 mph. I suppose it could be regarded as a hybrid of a motorcycle and a scooter?
Back to cars, we have a Saab 900 Turbo and a Cobra replica. The Saab looks to be too early for the 3-spoke (oh so 90s) wheels.
Next, a very personalised 1972 Ford F100 (right-hand drive) and a Triumph GT6, which was true to its mini-E Type vibe with a 2-litre straight six.
In the comments last week Antisuv mentioned that he preferred the later VG model that had a different grille treatment and the Australian Hemi 6. This one obviously has the K-for-Kustom treatment, but is not obnoxious about it.
The Alpine A110 surely needs no introduction, and this one has the full rally vibe – these things were giantkillers in their day. The Cortina next door is a basic 240 model, and is the updated version with flow-through ventilation. It is hard to fathom that cars were being introduced without it.
One for the Porsche fans, a 912 which has made the trek from the island state of Tasmania. Don’t worry, I’ll come back for a closer look at the Moke next door later.
This Morris Minor is definitely not the average little-old-lady special, the non-pastel colour, flares and engine bay contents give that away!
Here’s a better view of the engine bay, that has a 3800 V6 from a 1990-93 Commodore! With something like 170 hp it should motivate a lightweight Morry Minor very well. I think the owner said it weighed about 1000 or 1100 kg (2200-2400 lb).
The interior has been heavily customised too – the dashboard has been taken from a VN-VP Commodore too, like the one shown in the last instalment. The owner said it was built to have fun with, and I have no doubt that would be the case!
Next door to our opening pairing was this well-done 1940 Ford rat rod pickup. The six-stud wheels are a bit out of the ordinary, can anyone speculate on what might be going on under the skin here? That is not consistent with any of the ‘usual suspects’ that I can think might be used as a chassis donor (Holden/Toyota/Mitsubishi).
Another eclectic grouping; Mercedes Benz SEC coupe, which could be anything from a 380 to a 560, a Mini Cooper S (1275), and a Volvo 244. The oval badge above the grille indicates a later version of the Cooper S here in Australia (which has many different details to the UK version), while I have not delved into Volvo minutiae enough to nail down the specifics I am confident that a CC reader will be able to do so.
This XB Falcon GT has a 1980’s vibe with wide 12-slotters and heavy window tint. Bonus points for having the original centres that would have been fitted to the stock silver painted 12-slotters rather than the centre caps as per the earlier models. The Valiant Pacer was Chrysler’s response to the Falcon GT and Monaro GTS, and with its 6-cylinder power it was aimed as a younger audience, similar to the US A-bodies. There was a hardtop version too, but it was more expensive and heavier, so not the main focus.
More variety – an MGA 1600, Ferrari 308 and Valiant S-type.
You probably spotted this one next door to the Falcon earlier – a 1964-65 Studebaker Lark Cruiser. The Simmons FR wheels are the most obvious sign that the car has been given some upgrades to suit the owner’s preferences; I imagine some won’t like the wheels, but if you want a more modern tyre size something has to be done.
The Datsun 1200 ute is a bit of a cult car; by 1981 when this car was manufactured they were probably unappreciated – there are stories of them being given away by some dealers with medium-duty truck purchases, but in more recent times any that come up for sale get snapped up by people who have always wanted one. There is certainly no modern equivalent!
This Mustang is one of the 400-ish 2002-03 Cobra R’s imported and converted by Tickford. I’d hate to think how much money was lost on this program; the conversion program cost something like AUD$4 million, and the cars did not sell well at their original price of $85k – to clear them discounts of $25k were available in the end. The cars themselves were fairly well-received though, predictably the main criticism was interior quality.
As with Volvos, I haven’t immersed myself into the intricacies of VW variations. Note that Australian cars have their quirks compared to the usual German-built cars, lacking the same updates, and I’m guessing it is a late 60s version (yes, big call!). Next door is a Datsun 260Z 2+2, which seem to be getting a lot more attention these days.
This is a 1973-75 VJ model Valiant Charger, the first facelift of this generation. This is a fantastic looking restoration, but I don’t know that the striping is an original style. I probably should have taken a closer look at the Holden Premier next door given its similarity to the Brougham we saw earlier, but I was trying to get through things quickly so I could check out some racing – sorry.
Further along the fenceline, past an early Mazda MX5 with hardtop and another Jag E-type was a Triumph Dolomite Sprint. These were a good early example of a sports sedan, being one of the first 16-valve engines in production.
At the end of the row was this 1966 HR model Holden which has a great period look with wide chromed wheels and the mud flaps that would come in handy on unsealed roads to prevent stone damage.
Next up, a rather vibrantly-coloured Holden HQ Monaro GTS sedan. These were released in 197? To juice sales with a premium sporty-flavoured car that wider appeal than the Monaro Coupe. They did arguably dilute the reputation of the Monaro though, also being available with the 253 V8 as well as the 308. Another frustration factor in this photo too – notice that Audi Coupe 100S in the background? Unfortunately I only did when looking through the photos afterwards, because I don’t think I have ever seen one before. Surely the prettiest car Audi has ever built.
I’ve seen this 1962 Pontiac Bonneville around for at least 20 years, and from what I can tell it is a genuine US model with the wide-track – would Canadian cars have the 8-lug drum brakes with bolt-on wheel rims?
Being a convertible makes it easy to get a shot of the converted right-hand drive interior.
This Morris Mini van is pretty great, being built for charity ‘bashes’ that are run all over the countryside – in 5 years this team has been through all 7 mainland states and territories covering tens of thousands of kilometres and raised tens of thousands of dollars.
The trailer is made from another Mini van of course. Note the ‘long vehicle’ decal on the right door, which notes overall length of the combination of 5.8 metres (228”). Huuuuuge!
I’m sure there is a story why the wheels all had “Don’t forget the wheel nuts” stickers on them…
There are enough GT replica versions of XY model Falcon utes that you would be excused for thinking that Ford made them originally. This Electric Blue example is pretty nice, and, more Globe Bathurst wheels!
This 1946-49 Triumph 1800 sedan was for sale, and presumably someone would have jumped on this very rare opportunity to buy what has to be a rare car, especially in restored condition. It has a mini-Rolls Royce vibe to it, but without the size the effect just isn’t the same.
This car is far more rare than you might think. Rootes Australia chose to re-badge the Singer Vogue sedan as a Humber for the Australian market rather than import the more expensive Sceptre. This though is the 1964-65 Sports model, which had twin carbies as on the Sunbeam Rapier and other expected niceties. I’m not sure that people were ready for a sports version of an entry luxury car at that time; sounds a bit like a 3-series!
Here is a nicely-restored early Toyota Corolla, note the badge at the lower part of the front guard that we will see again soon.
First though, another variety shot – Mercedes-Benz R107 SL (380/450?), second generaton Toyota Celica, a more very Holden EH (missing headlight trim rings), and an Austin-Healey 3000.
Featuring the same AMI (Australian Motor Industries) badge as the Corolla is this Rambler Hornet; believe it or not they were assembled in the same factory. I’ll have more of this car in a future post.
Here is the right-hand drive interior of an S-series Valiant, with column-shifted auto. The prior R-series, just 1,008 cars, could be had with a floor-shift manual but the S-series changed to column-shift. I don’t know if the tan/beige seats and two-tone green door trims would be an original combination, the seat looks newer. The vee-shaped feature on the door is a nice touch.
Here is another Mark 1 Ford Cortina 440. I see these as a real landmark car for Ford, such a departure from the previous Consuls. Even without the Lotus version, the GT was possibly one of the first sporty mainstream sedans in Europe. The 440 was just below that in the model hierarchy, above the 220 (2-door) and 240 (4-door).
Next, a 1973 VW Superbug L (1600 cc) with some nice Empi wheels and a Leyland Mini which would have a 998cc engine.
The post-71 Minis in Australia all had what is known as the Clubman front; I gather there might have been some benefit in crash performance, certainly there was a little more length to work with. Note there are still external hinges, as some of the UK updates to the body (like rear window size) weren’t done in Australia.
Here is the interior, showing attempts to bring a 1950s design into the 1970s and some personalisation in the form of wood steering wheel and shift knob, and sheepskin seat covers.
Here is a closer look at the R129 series Mercedes-Benz SL. I didn’t check, but it gives the vibe of being a 300SL rather than one of the V8 versions. It makes an interesting contrast to the Big Healey next door.
The white Mark 1 Escort here has been built as a Mexico replica. These were developed for the 1970 World Cup Rally, with a 1600cc pushrod engine chosen as a more durable engine than the Twin Cams used in the factory Ford rally teams. Afterwards they went on sale to the public, but not in Australia which is why I think it is a replica.
The Sierra Cosworth RS is a proper homologation special for Group A racing and rallying, with a Cosworth YB 2L turbo engine. Road car performance with 204-224 hp was strong but not amazing, but in race trim power was more than doubled. Sierras weren’t sold in Australia either, so it is a treat to see one.
I’ll end for now with an interesting pair; the Alfa Romeo GTV 2000 is one I really like, with its twin cam engine and 5-speed gearbox it was a magnificent car. The Momo alloy wheels are a great design too. The Singer Gazelle is a rare car now, and much more mundane – although with the bright metallic paint that is not a label you would apply to this particular one, and the Minilite wheels work too. A product of Rootes’ badge engineering expertise, it has a 1600cc engine.
Further Reading from the Winton Historics: