Cars

"Life is measured in terms of achievement, not in years alone." - Bruce McLaren

So what is a car to you? To me, it is not just a mode of transport, but an insight into your personality, or in some cases, lack thereof...! I've enjoyed cars from my early years, they were part of the environment I was brought up in, the people I hung out with and goes hand in hand with my love of motorcycles. Old cars were cool, simple in design, easy to work on, often dangerous... but they did have character, some more than others. New cars are generally mediocre, humdrum and bland, full of technology that is simply there to compete with other manufacturers, like a competition of who has the most "bells & whistles". Don't get me wrong, some technology is worthwhile like air bags, ABS and traction control, but for the most part the rest is a gimick and a considerable cost to the puchaser.

Old cars "were fun" and the tinkering you could do to make them better, or just working on them to learn how they went together and worked was pleasurable. These days you can forget it, even a simple thing like changing engine oil can lead to engine failure, same with the transmission. Old cars were and still are character building, no need for a diagnostic computer hook up to read error codes, simply use your brain and logic along with a few tools most home handymen had in the shed or garage was generally enough to change the plugs, points, oil, filter and you were done... easy as..!

I've had quite a few cars over the years, much like bikes. Many Fords, Holdens, Valiant's and one Toyota... which was a pretty good vehicle, an 80 Series Lancruiser. I find cars an enjoyable release on life from the normal working, family, home life scenario most of us have... a way to calm down frustrations of daily life, and adding some challenge and satisfaction to when you fix, upgrade, modify or finish that project you have had on the go for a while.

These days I enjoy motorcycles tinkering perhaps a little more than cars, mainly because of the space a motorcycle does not consume when completely stripped down. My current motorcycle project is a 1982 Ducati Pantah 500SL - a complete frame-up restoration for a good friend.

Drag Racing

Is motor racing where vehicles compete to be first to cross a finish line. The race follows a short, straight course from a standing start over a measured distance, commonly ¼ mile (1,320 ft), with a shorter 3/16 mile 10 feet (1,000 ft) becoming increasingly popular for nitromethane-powered Top Fuel Dragsters and Funny Cars. The history of drag racing is nearly as long as the history of motorised vehicles themselves, and has taken the form of both illegal street racing, and as an organized and regulated motorsport.

Grand Prix

The first ever Grand Prix had its origins in France around 1894. The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile or "FIA" in Paris has overseen this form of racing since 1950, linking several national Grands Prix to create a World Championship for drivers. The first World Championship race was held on 13th May, 1950 at Silverstone in the United Kingdom. The first World Champion was Giuseppe Farina, driving an Alfa Romeo. Ferrari has the distinction of being the only manufacturer to compete throughout the entire history of the World Championship.

Australian Touring Cars

The first Australian Touring Car Championship was held in 1960. The original race was won by journalist, David McKay in a Jaguar. The first championship victory by the driver of an Australian car was by Norm Beechey in 1970. The 1971 and 1972 championships were won by 1962 and 1963 champion Bob Jane who drove a 7.0 litre Chevrolet Camaro ZL-1 in 1971 before CAMS rule changes forced Jane to use the smaller 5.7 litre 350 Chevrolet in the Camaro in 1972. The 'Supercar scare' that rocked the buildup to 1972 Bathurst 500 then forced sweeping changes through touring car regulations. The Improved Touring Car regulations which governed the ATCC, known at the time as Group C were amalgamated with the more basic Group E Series Production Touring Cars regulations which governed the Bathurst touring car endurance race in a compromise between the two, creating a single class for touring car racing that would hold sway of Australian Touring Car racing until the introduction of Group A in 1985.

This period saw a rise in the tribal style conflicts between Holden and Ford and in particular the two marques leading drivers, respectively Peter Brock and Allan Moffat who between them would claim seven of the eras 12 championships (and nine of the associated Bathurst victories). By the mid-1980s Group C had become wracked with infighting and almost random parity adjustments between competing marques. By the mid-1980s, a number of the leading teams including the Holden Dealer Team, Dick Johnson Racing, JPS Team BMW and the Peter Jackson Nissan team had begun to make a lot of noise about the very little amount of prize money on offer for their efforts in criss-crossing the country in pursuit of the title. In 1984, the final year of the Group C rules, it was estimated that the Brisbane based Johnson team had covered some 20,000 km in travelling to and from championship meetings, often for as little as AU$1,500 for a win.

When CAMS increased the title to 10 rounds in 1986, with little change to the prize money, the teams were threatening that the ATCC would see smaller and smaller grids unless CAMS found a series sponsor. The sponsor that was found was oil giant Shell who put up some $275,000 worth of prize money from the 1987 ATCC, ensuring the long term future of the series. 1992 saw the unhappy demise of Group A and with the international touring car scene fragmenting in several directions (moving towards DTM, Super Touring and Super GT) Australia forged its own path evolving the Group A specification Holden Commodores and re-introducing the Ford Falcon into the new Group 3A regulations that would later be renamed as V8 Supercar. The ATCC name continued to be used until the end of the 1998 season, after which V8 Supercar organisers altered the name of the series and dropped it for good.

1969 Lola T70 MKIII B

Used by Steve McQueen’s Solar Productions Company for the filming of “Le Mans” in 1970