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Australian Muscle Car Magazine

Bathurst privateers show pluck

September 26th, 2011 by Luke | No Comments | Filed in Uncategorized

The Chickadee Commodore turned laps at the Muscle Car Masters

The September October edition of Australian Muscle Car magazine celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Chickadee Commodore’s victory on the Mountain on October 5, 1986.

Allan Grice and Graeme Bailey were motor racing’s odd couple and their unorthodox ‘team’ arrangement with master race car builder Les Small netted a Bathurst victory against the run of play. Specifically, against the might of the Peter Brock-led Holden Dealer Team.

Car owner Bailey was the last privateer (non professional driver) to win the Great Race. He was a businessman racer who drove his own car and bankrolled the operation.

Grice did the bulk of the driving and Melbourne-based Small built, updated and prepared the machine for its date with destiny.

Incredibly, the car spent the first half of the season in a modest NSW Central Coast backyard garage being fettled by Bailey’s main man, Peter Pattenden.

In other words, this was not a team in the traditional or modern-day sense. It was a set-up best described as a co-operative effort. Each major player had what the others needed and they decided a few short months before the big race that they would attack it together. The fact that this bits and pieces approach worked, is, upon reflection, something of a minor miracle.

Edition #57 of AMC details this and provides a fitting tribute to the last of the breed of privateers whose dream of winning Australia’s biggest car race actually came true.

AMC outlines how the planets aligned to give a former chicken farmer the biggest day of his life.

The Chickadee Commodore was a tough old bird and has now come out of hibernation as a museum-piece to turn laps at gatherings like the Muscle Car Masters.

The latest edition of AMC also heavily features Jim Richards. The seven-time Bathurst winner is profiled, as is his 1964 Falcon Sprint, which won the 2010 Touring Car Masters title.

AMC also looks back at the glory days of Australian rallying and checks out the classic muscle cars still threading the needle in forests around the country. Drag racing fans should check out the profile on drag racer Norm Oakey and see some of his precarious seating positions – such as with his head poking through the windscreen.

AMC also features many previously unpublished images from the dramafest which was the 1976 Hardie Ferodo 1000.

All that and whole lot more in the latest edition of AMC.

Richards stars at the Masters

September 8th, 2011 by Luke | No Comments | Filed in Uncategorized

Jason Richards at the Muscle Car Masters


V8 Supercar driver Jason Richards wowed crowds at the 2011 Australian Muscle Car Masters on Fathers Day, just as he did at the inaugural event in 2006. 

This year, however, there was extra appreciation for Richards’ exploits aboard Paul Stubber’s ex-Holden Dealer Team Torana A9X, with the New Zealander battling a rare form of cancer. Hence, the Torana was officially entered under the ‘FCUK CANCER’ banner. 

Car owner Stubber was thrilled with the big crowd’s reaction when Richards won Sunday’s Group C trophy race. 

“The spectators really got behind Jason, who everyone knows is a ripper bloke, and cheered when he took the chequered flag,” Stubber said. Richards led home Stephen Perrott in a similar Torana, and Adam Workman’s Nissan Bluebird Turbo. 

In the later, combined Group C/A trophy race Richards finished second, behind David Holc’s ex-GIO VL Commodore, the best of the Group A cars. Third was David Towe’s BMW M3. Over 42 cars contested the Group A/C events 

Other highlights witnessed by the bumper crowd on Fathers Day include: 

– Richards turn behind the wheel of the 1987 Le Mans 24 Hour-winning Porsche 962 in a Master Blast session. The same car appeared in the final event of the day, held as the sun was setting, with headlights ablaze. Eastern Creek’s front stretch was not quite the Mulsanne Straight, but the twilight conditions did give punters a taste of the French classic. 

– John French turned laps in the Tru-Blu XD Falcon that he and then team boss Dick Johnson drove to victory in the 1981 James Hardie 1000. 

– Another French Bathurst car, the Ford motor company-entered Phase III in which he finished fifth in the 1971 Great Race, turned laps in the Master Blasts to celebrate the 40th anniversary of that model GT-HO and the race. It hit the track in tandem with two other cars (and drivers) from that race, a Torana GTR XU-1 and Charger R/T E38. The Torana was driven by Digby Cook, who raced it to 23rd position in the ’71 Great Race with Geoff Leeds. Brian Reed was reunited with the Charger he and Graham Ritter drove to 25th outright 40 years ago. 

– Graeme Bailey returned the 1986 Bathurst 1000 winning Chickadee Commodore to the track at a race meeting for the first time in 20 years. The car is the subject of the current AMC’s cover story. 

– Dameon Jameson won the AMCM’s first Sports Sedan Spectacular. The Jaguar driver received the Tony Edmondson Trophy from the duel Australian Sports Sedan Champion himself. 

A one-hour program wrapping up the 2011 Australian Muscle Car Masters will air on 7mate at 3pm on Sunday, October 2.

Masters set for blast off

September 1st, 2011 by Luke | No Comments | Filed in Uncategorized

The 2011 Muscle Car Masters will feature an expanded line-up of historicially significant cars in its signature Master Blasts sessions, including two Bathurst 1000 winners: the 1986 James Hardie 1000-winning Chickadee VK Commodore and the 1981 1000-winning Tru-Blu Falcon.

The Chickadee machine will be driven on September 4 at Eastern Creek by its owner Graeme Bailey, the last privateer to win Bathurst. It will be the car’s first appearance at a race meeting in over 20 years. Incidently, the full story of that car’s racing career and freshen-up is the subject of Australian Muscle Car magazine’s September/October edition’s cover story.

Meantime, John ‘Father’ French, who co-drove Tru-Blu with Dick Johnson will turn laps in the Master Blasts.  Tru-Blu’s presence on Father’s Day will mark the 30th anniversary of the car’s ATCC and Bathurst win.

The Masters will be held a few days before the fifth anniversary of Peter Brock’s passing. To mark the anniversary, an #05 Commodore will turn laps in the Master Blasts. It’s the VL (now owned by Peter Champion) in which Brock started the dramatic 1987 Bathurst 1000, but only lasted until mid race before it retired. Brock then jumped into the second team car and, ultimately, won the race.

The Muscle Car Masters will pay homage to the classic muscle cars of the 1971 Hardie Ferodo 500, with an original example from that race from each of the ‘big three’ turning laps during the Master Blasts. Celebrating the GT-HO Phase III’s 40th birthday is the John French-driven works Falcon from Bathurst 1971. It will circulate with two other cars from that race: the ex-Brian Reed/Graham Ritter Charger and ex-Geoff Leeds/Digby Cooke Torana XU-1.

To reflect the growing interest in sports car racing, the 2011 MCM’s Master Blast demonstrations will feature sportscars for the first time. Porsche is bringing two Le Mans classics: the 962 which won the 1987 24-Hour classic and ‘Moby Dick’, the ‘whale tail’ 935 model of 1978. It will be the Porsche Museum cars only Sydney appearances.

Entries for the Group C/A races have again topped the 40-mark. The field includes 1986 ATCC winner Robbie Francevic in a Volvo. He will race the ex-Hazelton car.

Francevic is part of a big line-up of racing legends is confirmed for the Masters.

Races will also be held for the Touring Car Masters, Group N and Sports Sedans.

For road car fans, the day will honour the 40th anniversaries of the Ford Falcon GT-HO Phase III and Chrysler Charger R/T E38. And the 20th anniversary of the Holden Commodore VN Group A. Examples of these cars will hit the track in the featured muscle marques parade.

All that and a lot more at Eastern Creek Raceway on Fathers Day from 9am. Be there!