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Australian Muscle Car-Magazine-Current issue

A Valiant effort…

September 9th, 2020 by mcowner | No Comments | Filed in Uncategorized

In 1970, Holden’s new Torana XU-1 six-cylinder high-performance Bathurst 500 challenger could hardly have been more different from its intended opponent, the Falcon GT-HO Phase II. But there was a third contender in Series Production racing that year, a new player with an altogether different machine. Chrysler’s VG Valiant Pacer landed somewhere in between the GT-HO and XU-1: a large car like the Falcon but without the grunt of a V8, and a six-cylinder like the XU-1 but hamstrung by a three-speed gearbox.

Despite the obvious shortcomings the big Valiant six went remarkably close to achieving success on the track – but for a touch of late race bad luck would likely have finished third at Bathurst that year.

This issue AMC celebrates the 50th anniversary of the near-forgotten VG Pacer. The wailing Hemi sixes were a colourful addition to the early ‘70s Australian performance sedan scene and they should be recognised for the genuine Australian muscle car classics that they are.

Fast forward to the start of the next decade to a momentous Bathurst 1000 as struggling Queensland privateer Dick Johnson’s bold bid for touring car stardom was destroyed along his Falcon when it hit a rock that had become dislodged from the spectator area. Of course, it wasn’t the end for Johnson, but rather a beginning – even though rival Holden ace Peter Brock scored what was a hat trick of Bathurst wins that day.

This issue we get reflections from crew members from both camps, and we track down one of the race officials who was first on the scene of the Johnson rock incident – a man who actually witnessed the whole thing.

 

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