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LETTER OF THE MONTH

Noel receives a Unique Cars prize pack. Relieve your stress our goodies.

HOT RENAULT

In Rob Blackbourn’s column in issue 424 you ran a story about Citroen 2CV/Renault 4CV/Renault 750 cars.

Back around 1970 or thereabouts, a mate of a mate was employed at a Renault specialist garage in Surrey Hills Victoria. The car we all thought was the pick of the range at the time was the R8 Gordini. What about one of these motors in a 750 as a drag car, was the thought.

The servo he worked at was a Golden Fleece (remember the Stanley adverts?) so a Renault 750 was dragged out from under a tree in an orchard in Doncaster, painted yellow, Golden Fleece chipped in a few bucks toward the effort and in due course a clone of an R8 Gordini engine with a Wade Cam, the appropriate crossflow head and twin side draft Webers etcetera was created. We somehow shovelled it into the back of this thing far enough forward to get the boot shut on it.

The front shocks were turned upside down for maximum loss of damping and best weight transfer, a set of plates fitted and onto the streets it went for a couple of trial runs. Results were encouraging, so off it went on a trailer to do battle at Calder Drags. All good drag car get a name, so “Stanley’s Steamer” it was

Now normally you would need a cut lunch and a water bottle to sustain you on a green light passage of an intersection in a stocker, that is if you were lucky enough to get across in time before the lights went green for the other road!

This amazing little jigger ran a mid-15 sec pass on its first run and, with a bit of a tweak here and there, got into the low 15s regularly.

Having this engine bolted up to the gearbox meant that the 750 shot off the mark like a cork out of a champagne bottle, making for a hard chase for much more powerful opposition. This rather poor photo is the only one I can find

Noel McLaughlin Email

ED: Alright folks, where is it now? We want a drive!

OUT OF STEP

Read your Article “Time To Go” (editorial, issue 425). I’m not a collector so I don’t normally face this dilemma but there’s a saying; “When you can park it and not look back, then it’s time to say farewell.”

However four years ago my crook back gave out while riding to Phillip Island on my 1981 GS1000G Suzuki motorcycle, which I’ve had since new. So ended 50 years of motorcycling.

The thought of watching someone riding my bike away nearly had me blubbering. That ol’ sickle has given me more than half a million kilometres of priceless memories. She’s sat in storage with covers over her ever since.

In actor Eric Banner’s film about his 1972 Falcon coupe, The Beast, it mentions his father’s classic T-bird which he never drives. He says just knowing it’s there is good enough.

Geez, after 18 years driving my 1991 Camry/ Apollo I’m buggered if I can walk away from that without looking back, either. It’s not an expensive sought-after classic but I’ve grown to love that car despite the engine facing the wrong way.

To me these things develop a life and character over time. I guess I’m just a silly old bugger who’s out of step with this throw away hi-tech society. Hey, at least the Apollo has computerised injection. Whoopie doo!

Here’s to ya…

Aussie Sadler Email

“A VERY BIG THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO VOTED FOR MY CAR, AND YOU GUYS AT UC”

PHASE IV

Wait long enough and things morph into the twilight zone; I had almost forgotten that the Ford Falcon GT-HO Phase IV (cover car on issue 425) did not have four-wheel discs, albeit being a brilliant design exercise for its intended purpose.

That year of 1972 promised so much for us petrolheads in the form of a no holds barred contest of the big three on ‘the Mountain’. Whilst living with the knowledge that it all came to nought because of newspaper excesses, one almost forgets that the weather was crap anyway; (yours truly was in it).

With all due respects to the late ‘HF’, Bondy’s Torana in ‘72 was shod with hand grooved slicks, which in the wet were as useful as a saddle on a bull!

In later years, much conjecture arose about the bonfides of the V8 Torana which was the weapon of choice for GMH to achieve a Bathurst win. Power to weight ratios appeared to give it a straight line advantage over the Phase IV, but questions were raised as to the ability of the existing chassis to withstand structural fatigue after repeated passes through ‘the Dipper’ with a V8 ‘lump’ bolted in.

Given the on-road impressions of the Phase IV listed in the UC story it would have been nice to have had a comparison of the production model compared to the race version back in the day.

One would have to say that Paul Carthew’s car would command a premium over the others that were modified for rallying, one of which I believe was written off in a crash.

ED: Road and race Phase IV comparison? Now there’s an interesting thought – we’ll see what we can do.

Eric Waples Email

RUSTY RESTO WINNER

Just wanted to say how blown away I was when I opened the pages to issue 424 and not only was it as good as a Mopar Edition could get (Plymouth Cuda and Valiant Charger comparison), as well as the start of another Challenger journey which was also great reading, but I was proper chuffed and not a little bit amazed to see that somehow I had managed to end up Reader Resto of the year!

I really didn’t consider myself to be in with a chance, as there were in my opinion several nicer cars than mine in the running.

I actually voted for Shane O’Briens XY Ford Ute as I thought he did a bloody top job on it on a budget like myself and was really nice to see another young bloke dead keen on the classic car scene. Didn’t any of the few million Ford fans out there vote?

I just wanted to say though how absolutely pleased I was. It’s an honour to win such an award, it doesn’t get much better than that for me personally.

A very big thanks to everyone who voted for my car, and you guys at UC for giving me the opportunity to publish it and a bigger thanks to my family for all their support over the years and my mates who constantly gave me stick about buying a rusty old turd: it was great motivation to get it done!

My two kids Henrietta and Felix absolutely love going for drives in the “Yellow Car”. All I know is they and I will continue to enjoy it for a long time to come. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that money can never replace being able to create great memories. So don’t ever sell them – this one is a keeper for life with many more happy memories yet to come!

Logan Leatham

1970 Dodge Challenger

ED: Your car won the popular vote, Logan, and it is a spectacular machine. Congratulations to all our Reader Resto entrants, as we reckon it’s a major achievement just to get the damned thing finished!