Let’s continue our wander around Winton with a couple of fast Fords, then some (slightly) more modern stuff, some (very) oddments and even some steam!
The white Mark 1 Escort 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. 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.
In front of the Gazelle is a 1952-54 Ford Customline – is it possible to tell from the rear? Unlike a lot of Customlines, this one has been restored faithfully to its original specification. To follow on from earlier discussions, I don’t think full-size 2-door sedans were not a consideration for Ford Australia after WW2.
Here is its right-hand drive interior. You can’t really see it in this photo, but the dashboard and door tops are finished in a hand-painted woodgrain finish.
Next up is another airflow Cortina and a resto-modded EH Holden. I refer a little more sidewall on cars of this era myself, not just for aesthetic reasons – comparatively large amounts of camber change with suspension travel (including from live axles) and a stiff, square tread face don’t always mix well.
Another S-Type Jaguar – I think there were more of these on the day than the more popular Mark 2 for some reason.
Here is the Austin 1800 Mk2 glimpsed in the earlier photo, wearing a sporty set of Cosmic alloy wheels and low profile tyres and a non-sporty sun visor – guess which of these were more popular when the car was new?
Here is a better view of the Leyland Moke Californian we saw earlier next to the Porsche 912. These originally came with a styled steel spoked 13” wheels, and had the 1275cc engine. The decals on the bonnet (hood) are original, and I suspect the striping may be too but I am not sure. Note the flared wheel arches and the angled panel at the rear added to make room for the 13” wheels. I’ve driven a couple of Mokes and with virtually no bodywork next to you, and being so low to the ground I’m not sure what they could be comparable to.
Here is something that makes the Studebaker Scotsman featured recently look luxurious – no fancy rubber floor mats here! There are the holes left where the original roll bar has been removed, and I think they originally had lap-sash (3 point) seat belts. The wiper blades must be stored in the boot for a rainy day, or perhaps the side pannier compartments since it doesn’t have a trunk.
Here is another normal Mini, with the 998cc engine that was the base offering in Australia after 1975. Production here finished in October 1978 with 176,284 built.
Here is the rear of a VG model Chrysler Valiant Regal, can you count the ways in which this is different from US Valiants?
Here is the Regal interior, with bucket seats but surprisingly three pedals on the floor. For what was an upper trim level I’m sure that is a radio blank panel underneath the minimalistic ventilation controls – things were different then.
No slant six under the hood! The air cleaner proudly announces the 245 ci ‘Hemi’ six. In basic, single carb form it made 165 hp or 185 hp with a 2-barrel, a good 20 hp increase over the 225 slant. The Pacer we saw earlier could have had either 195 hp with a 2-barrel carb or 235 hp with a 4-barrel.
To jump back a couple of decades, this 1947-51 Ford Pilot V8 is a car very much of its time. The post-war market was so hungry for cars that some were imported complete and some were assembled here. As is clear, not much of the car was post-war in origin, and they weren’t that good of a car especially if you drove them outside the capital cities. For one, the grille was prone to shaking to pieces on rough (normal) roads. They had the 221 flathead engine.
Something I’m not sure I’d seen before is this 1954 Singer Hunter, a facelift of the previous SM1500 with much more conventional styling on the front.
I did say ‘more’ conventional – there are quite a few details that aren’t conventional, from the wheelbase being unusually long for the roofline or body in general for an English car, rear-hinged rear doors, to minor things like the tacked-on registration plate mount.
Here is the interior, with timber aplenty.
This 1971-74 HQ model Holden is one of about 485,000 built, so you occasionally see an original car like this (save for chromed wheels with much wider rims on the rear). There has been a dedicated racing series for these cars that is very tightly controlled to contain costs – the race cars have to have the 202ci 6-cylinder engine and even the column shift for the 3-speed gearbox.
Here is what I am going to say is a modern-build Ford T speedster. Quite a few details don’t seem authentically ‘period’, such as the mudguards or fuel tank.
Something I’ve seen on a few T’s are this rear disc brake setup – not a bad idea when most drivers won’t have any idea on leaving space for vintage cars to stop.
But the really interesting thing here are these Rajo overhead valve cylinder heads, that reportedly have double the power potential of the stock heads.
I have been trying to work out when GM-H stopped selling 2-door Chevrolets, and until I spotted the steering wheel on the left I thought this car might have helped answer that. Oh well.
I also spotted the twin air cleaners under the bonnet, and a closer look revealed the magical Offenhauser name on the valve cover.
This unusual-looking sportscar called the Caversham has a fibreglass body on an Austin A40 chassis, and was built in Western Australia at Gosnells, not far from the WW2 Caversham airfield that was transformed into a motor racing circuit after the war, and hosted the Australian Grand Prix in 1957 and 62.
Another US import is this sharp looking 1965 Ford Galaxie convertible.
Would you believe there are 20 years between these two cars? 1934 Ford and 1954 Riley.
Turning to the rear of another Riley, it is definitely not a 1930’s car, but shouldn’t have made it into the second half of the 1950s – and didn’t. 1954 was the last year of production.
Here is a late-70s Ford F100 Custom XLT, aka a hamburger with the lot. The bull bar is fairly typical.
Here is the right-hand drive interior, the steering wheel is aftermarket as is the seat cover I think.
From the ‘something different’ file, we have a 1930s Willys hot rod. Right hand drive shows it was built here, into a hot rod at least although there were on average 1200 a year built here before WW2.
From the same era is this 1936 Ford pickup, although it is not from the same customisation style.
The last Shelby Mustang GT500 made a real impact, and inspired a few owners here in Australia to pay some pretty exorbitant prices for converted cars; I’d estimate in the order of AUD$150k – more if you wanted a Super Snake! This is a 2008 model.
And again, the interior. The dash looks easy to convert to RHD, at least the fascia – I’m sure the components behind it offered some more challenges.
Another varied group – ‘Harry Potter’ spec Ford Anglia, ‘squashed Golf’ VW Scirocco R, and something I would be astonished if anyone recognises.
This is an Allison sports car, which is an Australian-built sports car from the mid-2000s. It is a more modern take on a clubman sports car – think Lotus 7 for the original. Today’s drivetrain donor is going to be a transverse fwd car, which works nicely as a mid-engined sports car.
Information is hard to find on these, but I think they were built in Albury-Wodonga, twin towns on the Vic/NSW border an hour up the road from Winton.
The instrument cluster will give a clue to the origin of the mechanicals – can anyone recognise it?
Next we have a 1976 HX Holden Kingswood 50th Anniversary model. They were only available in gold, brown or Deville Blue, all with a gold roof, and all with the 202ci six and Trimatic auto.
The 50th anniversary edition interior had a full-length centre console to house the T-bar shifter, and a special badge on the glove box.
The 50th anniversary in question was the establishment of General Motors in Australia in 1926.
Here is another unique Australian car, the Elfin MS8 Streamliner that was first shown at the 2004 Melbourne Motor Show and went into production in 2006. Elfin was bought by Tom Walkinshaw who had grand plans of exports, but I’m not sure that it came to much and it seems that production ceased in 2012 if not during the GFC.
The narrowness of the interior reflects the sibling MS8 Clubman that had a narrower body and cycle guards over its wheels. The plaque behind the gear stick states that this was the first production MS8 Streamliner, and built for Bryan Thomson who was a famous racing car driver from nearby Shepparton.
The car was styled by current head of GM design Mike Simcoe, when he was with Holden. These Elfins were the product of close cooperation with Holden, and also had a 5.7L GenIII engine and other Commodore-sourced mechanicals. Kerb weight was listed at just 950kg!
Next to the Elfin was this 1972 LJ Holden Torana GTR XU-1, which was the ultimate version of this generation and famously took the win in the wet 1972 Bathurst 500 race in the hands of the famous Peter Brock. I think this is the Lone O’ranger colour.
An opportune shot – the Ford Special we saw earlier on the Oval driving past. They really did a great job in building this car!
Another Falcon GT, this time an XW model in Candy Apple Red. The gold stripes are reflective, and at the front there is the Superroo, in the vein of the Road Runner and Super Bee. Ironically Chrysler Australia didn’t do the cartoon character thing, and I don’t think Ford did in the US either. This car is from the first year of production when they had a 290 hp 351W.
Next to the Falcon was this 1965-72 Maserati Mexico, one of just 250 built. It was far more a Quattroporte Coupe than a sleek grand tourer like most Maseratis.
There was a display of model steam traction engines, which remarkably were all built by the one man! Some were from kits, others built from scratch.
In addition, there was a replica of an 1899 Locomobile steam car, also built from a kit with a few of the builder’s own enhancements. Has anyone seen one?
Here is the engine room, not entirely period-authentic but getting something like this to work without spending a fortune is not a bad priority.
I’ll finish coverage of the car park with this 2010 FPV GT. FPV or Ford Performance Vehicles was the Blue Oval’s answer to Holden Special Vehicles, in partnership with Prodrive out of the UK. The FG Mk2 model swapped out the old 315kW (422 hp) 5.4L DOHC 32-valve V8 for a supercharged version of the 5.0 V8 rated at 335kW (449 hp) on just 5.8 psi boost. That sounds low, but it actually makes an unspecified amount more on overboost (~10%) that operates for 10 seconds – and since the Northern Territory dropped open speed limits a couple of years ago I’m not sure where you could hold full throttle for that long.
Further Reading from the Winton Historics: