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Australian Muscle Car Magazine

October 25th, 2017 by mcowner | No Comments | Filed in Uncategorized |

Our cover story this issue is about the Group A racecar we’ve dubbed ‘The Stayer’. Dick Johnson’s mean green Ford Mustang only won a single race, but this orphan became an Australian motor racing icon and proved a vital stepping-stone on Dick’s remarkable career journey.

The AMC office’s dictionary defines a stayer as ‘a tenacious person or thing, especially a horse able to hold out to the end of a race’. Dick’s pony was a stayer in two senses: it held him over until the Sierra Turbo arrived; and it invariably was still galloping on at race’s end.

The Mustang had a great name, but no pedigree. Johnson would have to take this bastard child of trans-Atlantic parents and on the sweat of his own brow turn it into a winner. It was never going to be a world-beater against factory turbo cars, yet it became an unexpected fan favourite downunder over the two seasons that he raced it, 1985 and ’86. It certainly did nothing to diminish Dick’s standing as the ultimate Aussie motorsport underdog.

We speak to Dick at length and hear how this mechanical whiz made the Group A Mustang competitive. We also outline where his two Zakspeed-sourced cars are today.

Issue #98 also marks the passing of Aussie Holdens by revisiting GM-H Pagewood in Sydney, presenting a matching pair of A9X Toranas and a complete set of Group A Commodores.

  AMC Issue 98- Dick’s Greens-Tuf Mustang 1

Soon the only trace of Holden at Pagewood will be the workers’ old pub, as remaining buildings at GM-H’s former Sydney assembly plant are completely torn down. It’s a metaphor for local manufacturing’s October 20 demise, signifying more than just the end of the line at Elizabeth and for Aussie-built Commodores. We took three former Pagewood workers out to their own stomping ground to hear their recollections of the GM factory where Holden’s first Bathurst winner, the Monaro GTS 327, was built. We also present a stunning GTS Monaro that was built at Pagewood.

Then there’s our feature on four brothers who have four Commodores with one common build number. They have a very familiar name, too.

This is not the only set of matching Holdens in AMC #98. We profile two Roadways A9Xs – one sedan and one hatch – that were running mates in the late 1970s, spent nearly two decades apart and have now found a home again with each other, as AMC discovers.

We can’t recall ever seeing a profile on perennial touring car privateer Bill O’Brien. AMC caught up with O’Brien in Canberra, of course, to hear the story of his everlasting Bathurst attacks in powder blue.

Meantime, motor racing legend Allan Moffat takes us back to his epic 1973 season – when he won both the ATCC and the (first) Bathurst 1000 – in this extract from his long-awaited autobiography, Climbing the Mountain

This story is complemented by an interview with one of his former crew members. Among former Lot 6 mechanic Colin Russell’s many achievements in motorsport was building the engine that won the first Bathurst classic held over 1000 kilometres. AMC sat down with Russell to hear his recollections of fettling the fastest GTs of the late 1960s and early ’70s in both quarter mile and touring car competition.

For hardcore racing history buffs, we continue our series on Aussies racing in the United States. America’s F5000 scene offered big-buck tobacco-funded prizemoney and attracted Australia’s best open-wheeler drivers of the 1970s who invariably punched above their weight.

It’s fitting that Matich was the first Australian to try his hand in US Formula 5000. After all, Matich’s F5000 programme began off the back of his US Can-Am sports car effort.

Kevin Bartlett had several reasons for hitting the US scene. He and his mate Max Stewart were among the Aussie contingent in American F5000 in 1973. They followed expatriate Australian Horst Kwech, who was among the Lola T300 runners in 1972.

Bob Muir is best known for his Army Reserve Falcon, but it was his open-wheeler career during the early ’70s where he really starred. Meanwhile, for John Walker, doing US F5000 was never about the money.

The severe leg injuries Warwick Brown sustained at Surfers Paradise in early ’73 prompted him to look to the American F5000 scene. AJ, meanwhile, sought extra-curricular racing activities in F5000 when he was establishing himself in F1. Then there was Vern Schuppan.

All that and a whole lot more in AMC #98.

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