Just like Corvettes, Holden Torana SL/R 5000s have their stereotypes too – I’d say similar to Camaros in the US. And given the Triumph TR5 and TR6 are virtually the same under the skin, the 6 would have to be one of the more successful facelifts there has been. There will be lots of Australian cars this time, and lots of cars in general!
Next we have a 1969 VF Chrysler Valiant hardtop which was a mix and match of Dodge Dart and local panels. I haven’t seen production numbers but they weren’t common.
The next car is interesting, being a replica of Ford’s 1968 Melbourne Motor Show concept car which was a 2-door version of the current Falcon GT, ostensibly with a 428 V8 although I don’t believe the car was ever seen with the bonnet open, or that there was any other confirmation.
The recreation would have been relatively straightforward, emulating the original in converting an imported 2-door body. The green and gold is a nice colour combination, especially with the Minilite wheels. To someone used to the 4-door sedan, the longer doors and wider C-pillar look a bit out of balance. Without a coupe-ish roofline, why not have 4 doors?
This 1971-72 XY Ford Fairmont has had a few subtle changes added, like the 12-slot wheels, but has escaped being turned into a Falcon GT replica.
The dual exhausts also weren’t a feature of a V8 Fairmont like this. It might be a 302 Windsor or a 351 Cleveland with a 2-barrel carb and 250hp. It is good to see a first-gen (E21) BMW 3-series too; the 323i was the biggest inline six that was probably the most significant change over the previous 2002.
Here is the back of a 1946-48 Dodge coupe, which has to be one of the more extraordinary shapes of the era.
I’m sure the front will allow a more accurate identification. I wonder if this car will end up restored? It has only been imported a couple of years ago, and looks to be in good solid condition. Even with the ‘patina’ trend I wonder if this look would get old? The car next door is a 1957 Pontiac Star Chief.
Staying with Mopar, this Plymouth Barracuda is very well presented.
Just like the boat-tail Riviera, the back of the Barracuda was a bigger feature of the car than the Valiant-clone front.
This 1950 Chevrolet Deluxe has had at least a day’s drive from South Australia to be here. The number plate would indicate it is running a 250ci six, rather than the 216 it would have left the factory with, but who knows?
Here’s what a RHD version of the interior looks like – surely a simpler conversion than the Riviera!
This Jaguar XJ-S is one of the post-1992 versions, which had a cleaned-up side window shape and different tail lights. I don’t think too many were sold here, as the basic car was pretty long in the tooth by then.
Some more Falcon GTs – another 1970 XW, a pair of 1970-72 XYs and a 1973-76 XB. Remember that Australian models were introduced at any point during the year, there wasn’t a common model-year changeover like the US.
Here are the back of the XY GTs, note the tail light difference to the XW one seen in the bottom right corner of this shot. There were a lot of great colour and stripe combinations available, like Quick Silver and orange, or Candy Apple Red and gold. The XW is GT Gold, which had stayed in the colour chart since the original 1967 XR model when it was the only colour available (well, apart from a handful of special orders).
Just like not all Mustangs were V8s, not all Falcons were GTs. This 1969-70 XW Falcon GS has a V8, but it would be just as likely a 302 as a 351. The GS was a cheaper option for both purchase and insurance cost. The 12-slot wheels and front spoiler are additions, it originally would have had the chromed full wheel cover as per the previous XT model GT (and Mercury Comet Cyclone).
I said there would be more Toranas – this one is a 1970-72 LJ model. The Torana came with 1.2-1.6L fours (with a shorter front end), or 2.25-2.85L six cylinders, which is what would typically be found in a Torana S. The Ford next door looks like a late Model A.
Something I didn’t know was that the Volkswagen Type 3 fastback was fully-imported in Australia, whereas the notchback sedan and wagon were manufactured in the Clayton, Melbourne factory, as well as about 500 panel van/sedan delivery versions.
Another non-GT! This 1968-69 XT Fairmont V8 has lost its vinyl roof (note the chrome strip at the base of the C-pillar), and gained a set of 12-slot chromies that got to be a bit overdone.
This 1962 Dodge Lancer GT is owned by a real Valiant enthusiast. Neither the Dart or 2-door hardtop were sold in Australia.
The car has the Hyper-Pak 225ci slant six, which makes 195 hp. Most sources refer to a 4-barrel carburettor, so would this twin-carb setup be correct? (Ed: No it’s not. It appears to be an aftermarket intake manifold)
Now for a pair of 1950s sedans – a Mercedes-Benz 190 and a 1949 Sunbeam-Talbot 90. They have quite different character.
For something newer, how about a 1992 Volvo 940. You couldn’t mistake it for a modern car any more, and doesn’t perform like one; even in Volvo’s renowned area of safety. Body strength has come a long way.
Another South Australian car is this Porsche 928S, so I bet the trip over was a bit easier than the Chev seen earlier.
You won’t mistake this for a modern car either, but considering the design dates back to the 1975 it is pretty close!
Another line-up; Bolwell Nagari convertible, early 90s Mercedes-Benz 500SL, Porsche 997.2 generation 911 and BMW Z3. All sportscars, but very different. Note Globe Bathurst wheels again, on the Nagari.
Here is the Nagari’s interior. Note the cramped footwells caused by the heavily set-back V8, and the small steering wheel that compromises the view of the instrumentation.
This Renault 750 or 4CV sedan might have been leaving already, or perhaps just heading to another part of the track. What a little gem.
A pair of Holdens – 1970 HT model Premier wagon and 1963 EH model Special. The crossed flag badge on the wagon would indicate a V8 – the first application of the Holden 253/308 engine. A wagon wouldn’t have had the ‘nostril’ bonnet; that comes from a Monaro. Over 250,000 EH Holdens were built in 18 months – the fastest-selling Holdens ever and still one of the most popular.
This Alfa Romeo tourer looks like a 1929-33 6C 1750. These had a straight six engine with single or double overhead cams, and as for performance – racing versions won four Grands Prix in 1929 and the Mille Miglia twice.
There is space in the rear for a pair of occasional seats or luggage space, yet the car is very compact.
The details, as typical of the era, are great – look at the cast clutch and brake pedals that say ‘Alfa’ and ‘Romeo’. The throttle pedal is in between. The exposed gear change gate became a staple of high-end Italian sports cars.
I think I’d be happy with this as my classic garage; Lancia Fulvia coupe and 1972 XA model Falcon GT. The Fulvia is a telepathically-steered go kart, while the Falcon is a very versatile muscle car. They were promoted as the Great Australian Road Car, and it was a good description.
Another Torana, again a 1969-70 LC model, but this time a 2-door GTR XU-1. This was the homologation special with a 186ci engine sporting triple Stromberg carburettors to make 160 hp, and front and rear spoilers.
I thought this mid-30s Riley sedan is pretty fantastic. The front view doesn’t jump out at you, other than realising it is fairly low for a car of the era.
The streamlined rear end is the best part. I’m sure it is more impressive aesthetically than aerodynamically, but I expect there was more emulation than wind tunnel experimentation (to continue the alliteration).
The interior is just as different from a modern car than the outside, but the leather and wood look inviting.
Another contrasting couple – a Smokey and the Bandit Firebird in blue, and a purposeful-looking 1970-72 ish 911.
This 1994 ED model Ford Falcon XR8 has Sprint badging, which was a special-edition model (just 356 built) that followed on from the 1993 GT. There are a few details that seem more like a standard XR8 rather than the Sprint such as the intake manifold and bumper strip colour. Aftermarket wheels don’t help either way, and it also has an aftermarket front air dam.
Despite not a lot changing cosmetically, including no sheetmetal change, the ED had improved vastly over the 1998 EA model. A tow bar was pretty common on Falcons of all types in this pre SUV/pickup mass market era. The Sprint’s 5.0 was rated at 260hp, giving the car a quarter mile time in the 14 second range, instead of the standard XR8’s 220hp.
The interior also is what it probably should have been earlier in the cycle. There are numerous custom touches here, but one thing that is stock is the steering wheel with its cruise control buttons.
A more mundane Australian car from the same era is this 1992 VP model Holden Commodore Executive – the base model in the range. The top end had IRS, but this has a basic live axle. The first VP’s had a clear plastic ‘grille’ reminiscent of an Oldsmobile or Mercury Sable, but the painted version was more conventional. The plastic wheel covers are from a later model (VS?) and are on 15” wheels instead of the original 14’s.
The rear end had even less differentiation from the preceding VN model than the front, just a red panel between the tail lights instead of grey! The towbar and plastic sunshade are entirely routine, and the black fuel filler is for an aftermarket LPG dual fuel installation. Note the M-B 450SLC next door, a very nice example of the breed.
Inside the Commodore I don’t think you get a very good impression, but it does show that the dash mat must have been hard to find in brown.
By now a couple more trucks had arrived. This Ford 9000 has a GVM of 42,500 kg (93,695 lb) that was the limit for a long time, on a tare weight of 12,640 kg (27,866 lb). Modern cabover semi-tractors are now down around the 8,000 kg (17,600 lb) mark, but I bet you don’t see the chassis rails of this Ford twist with every gear change like those trucks do. Note the two AC units on the top of the cab and sleeper.
There was also an IH R200, sporting Detroit Diesel Power decals that would indicate a re-power. On a side note, I am still working away at the article on International trucks in Australia when I get the chance.
This Mercedes-Benz 220SE was probably assembled in Australia, at Port Melbourne where they were built from 1959-64. The stone guards beside the radiator grille were a very common accessory – when a good percentage of roads were still unsealed you can imagine how prone to damage the vertical panels were otherwise.
It looks like this car has been recently restored, and it was for sale too; I didn’t check the phone number though.
This Subaru L-series wagon was rescued from paddock-bashing duties. It had some large tyres and rubber wheel arch flares that were removed, hence the white paint as temporary protection.
There is some minor body damage, but you can see why the owner rescued it. Yes, another tow bar and sun shield! Sorry, no photos of the Alfa Romeo 1750 sedan next door.
How about a Martini’d Porsche 944 instead? Are these still underappreciated?
Engine bay without a car (to be read to the tune of the Billy Idol song Eyes without a face!). This is a(nother) Morris Minor, with a heart transplant – the rocker cover reads Nissan because their A-series engine was based on the Morris A-series. Chances are this is an early-80s 1.4L engine from a Sunny.
The Minor can be glimpsed beside our next car, a 1974 LH model Holden Torana. This car is a true survivor, showing signs of plenty of use and sun exposure. This model has quite a bit in common with Opels and Vauxhalls, but also shares a lot of parts with the full-size Holdens.
Under the bonnet is a 253 V8, this Torana being a member of the small club of cars that were sold with 4, 6 and 8-cylinder engines.
A nice Peugeot 404. One of the downsides of club plates is you can’t search the VicRoads database to get any details on the car, like normal registration, so I can’t tell which part of the fairly lengthy production run this is from.
The 1987-89 Ford Telstar TX5 Turbo wasn’t unique to the Australian market, but I think it was probably the reason it exists. It is of course a re-badged Mazda 626, but was a good seller for Ford at the time.
The liftback body style designated by the TX5 part of the car’s name is very versatile. Not a great deal of additional space compared to a sedan; some gain due to the fast back and lack of parcel shelf, but it is so much more usable.
The interior shot shows some details such as the curious square silver buttoned Ford stereo complete with little joystick control for the balance and fader.
I bet a few Jaguar E-Types and Rover 3.5 Coupes (P5B) have shared a garage. For contemporary cars there is quite the contrast between the spaceship on wheels and the very traditional. No need to say which is which!
I will finish here for now – this was probably only half the cars on show at this historic race meeting, and there are a lot more special cars to share.
Further Reading from the Winton Historics: