Gíday all you fine folk at Unique Cars. Fine mag as always.
I was just reading 422, page 26, about the FC special. About ten years ago I was looking for some company for my EJ 225 special in the garage, and came across this FC Easter Special on one of the many stay up late web sites.
I asked the seller what is an Easter Special? He wasnít sure, but with some help we came up with the theory that it was one of those short-run things they do to flog more cars. You know, letís add more embellishments to the side of the car (ie rust traps) and a chrome sporty exhaust tip and maybe a hood ornament.
If youíre lucky maybe the dealer could add a safety feature like a hand brake warning light or, god forbid, a heater!
ED: Ah, Garry Ė youíre so cynical for one so young!
I was interested to read that even though the Shelby was fitted with ďthe mother of all 427s at that time, and had the same power plant as the Le Mans winning Ford GT40Ē, its top speed was 274 km/h. Back in 2006, Mobil sponsored a speed record attempt on the existing utility record top speed, held by an American Dodge Ram at 248km/h. Mark Skaife drove an off-the-shelf HSV Maloo and, supervised by the Guinness Book of Records, set a two way average time over a flying kilometre of 271 km/h on a rough one car wide track at Woomera. Not bad for a stock standard car costing under $60,000 at the time.
I had the good fortune to drive the same car around Australia clocking up 40,000km on the same Mobil 1 oil that was the initial fill in the car. The run was supervised by state motoring authorities and oil samples taken every 10,000 kms under strict scrutiny. Having done the distance with no problems, the engine was dismantled in public at Bathurst and found to be in perfect condition. Why arenít there more jobs around like that!
Guido, in your latest column you offered the challenge to name our favourite engine bay. I would have to say that we think alike you and I, and my favourite is also a Jag.
Not the V12 however Ė you canít go past a Jag straight six, especially if it is adorned with a set of triple carburetors. I donít particularly care if they are SUs, Strombergs or the Weber variety. In fact sticking a set of triples on most straight sixes turns them into a work of art and any so adorned is a pleasant sight, even a humble Holden.
Equally impressive in the engine bay design stakes would be anything from Porsche so long as itís aircooled.
I would have to agree with Blackbourn when it comes to the modern engine bay and the description of the plastic engine cover as a Ďpicnic tableí is certainly one which will enter the vernacular sooner rather than later.
ED: Bob is referring to the news story in issue 423, about a prototype 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake going up for auction.
Iíll tell you the best looking engine bay: anything with a flathead Ford V8. Itís the prettiest-looking, bestsounding car engine ever made and thatís coming from a GM bloke!
Iíve owned EH, EJ, HK, LC and LJ Toranas, a VC Dunnydoor, but that gorgeous V8 flattie had to be specifically designed to be seen in an open bonnet deuce coupe. It still looks great in my mateís Ď48 Deluxe sloper.
My son, a Ford man (where did I go wrong?), just bought a 2003 Falcon V8. Ironically when I looked under the bonnet I asked if that plastic disc was his dinner plate!
Incidentally though Clyde Barrow of Bonnie and Clyde only stole Ford V8 getaway cars, and it was the unique sound which spelled their doom. The ambushing cops knew the sound without having to have a giveaway peek from the bushes.
Hereís to ya...
ED: Thanks for nothing, Aussie. Blackbourn, our resident Ford flathead nut, is now going to be impossible to live with.
By far the best looking engine bay is in my recently sold 1998 Alfa Romeo 3.0 litre V6. Just like you, I stood there with a glass of vino in the evening and just looked at it!
ED: Buy it back, Mark. You only live onceÖ
Gíday, first off, great magazine which I always look forward to getting as soon as it hits the shelves. I do have one small note about Uncle Philís comment (issue 422) that the Fiat 131 Supermirafiori was their attempt at the world of rallying. As a teenager I remember Dad had the fourdoor, 2.0lt version sporting a little sticker across the back window indicating that it had won the world championship in 1978,1979 and 1980. I have since double-checked this and find the only year Fordís Escort won was 1979 and it was the brandís only win until the Focus arrived in 2006.
Unfortunately I only got to drive the 131 while learning to drive and when I borrowed it as a P-plater, but I do know that the ďthree lunch boxes stuck togetherĒ handled very well and all you had to do to lose a tailgaiter was find some corners and use them I find most people still donít understand that well-made cars arenít scared of corners.