Two Pony Garage

TWO PONY GARAGE

Two Pony Garage

These two “horses” are a perfect combination.

Think of “cars” and “horses” and most people think of either a Mustang or a Ferrari. But take a closer look at a Porsche and you’ll notice a horse in its badge, too. While Ferrari’s ‘Prancing Horse’ may be the best known of any car emblem, Porsche’s rampant stallion – taken from the coat of arms of the city of Stuttgart – has been around almost as long, first appearing on a 356A in 1953.

A little over a decade later, that other famous horse would come into the automotive sphere, when the Mustang arrived. Since its debut in April, 1964, the Mustang’s millions of sales created the whole ‘pony car’ genre in the US and made the car an icon around the world, including here in Australia.
One of those local Mustang devotees is Chris Clifford. Despite a long-held desire for a Mustang, the Queenslander only added on to his garage relatively recently.

MY FIRST PONY

“I’d always wanted a Mustang since I was a kid,” Chris said. “I wanted a Mustang and a Porsche 911 coupe.”

That desire for a ‘Stang wasn’t satisfied until 2005, when Chris came across the car you see here.

A largely standard 1965-model coupe, running a period-correct 289 V8 and 3-speed automatic, the car featured a few minor changes from stock, like a mandrel-bent aftermarket exhaust system and Holley carby, adjustable White Line suspension and Koya 19-inch wheels.

“It was purchased off a follow car enthusiast who had a collection,” Chris explained. “I was lucky enough to get it after seeing it advertised.”

MUSTANG MODDED

As purchased, the car was already a stunner in its bold red paint and tidy black vinyl interior, and also came with an aftermarket air con system, so it needed very little. But Chris did add a modern 3-row aluminum radiator and fan for trouble-free cruising in the Queensland Summer, as well as new two-tone door trims.

“I then spent numerous hours polishing and cleaning it to bring it to mint condition,” Chris added.

Those Koya alloys are a standout, their impact augmented by the fact that the car now rides 60mm lower than stock.

With a car history that includes a 1962 Rambler Classic and ’65 HD Holden, Chris is no stranger to the highs and lows of owning and running a classic, and has some Ford history, too, as his first car was a ’72 MkII Escort 2-door, but the Mustang is something extra special.

“I love the ability to cruise in it, its classic appeal, as well as the nostalgia it brings from that era,” Chris explained. “It’s great that my young boys and family love the car as well.”

As well as regular cruising, Chris has also provided the car for wedding duty on several occasions – “I continually get requests for it to be used at weddings.”

OLD AND NEW

In 2009, four years after the Mustang was bought, the second part of Chris’ dream came to fruition when he purchased a 2003-model Porsche 911 Carrera.

The Mustang and the 911 Carrera may seem strange companions, but Chris enjoys them both equally, reserving his new and old “horses” for weekends and special occasions, while a Chrysler 300C serves as the daily driver. While he’s quite enamoured with the Mustang, Chris said he may be persuaded to part with the car sometime in the future, especially if a tidy 1958 Corvette came along at the right price – keeping the “horse” theme going, albeit in the form of “horsepower”!

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Hot Half Tonner

HOT HALF TONNER

Hot Half Tonner

this Chevy pickup packs a lot under the bonnet… and under the tray!

When the Advance-Design series made its debut, it was actually Chevrolet’s first all-new post-War range, preceding the new passenger cars by more than a year.

The new-for-1947 ‘3000 Series’ light duty pickup were split into three basic versions – 3100, 3600 and 3,800 – covering ½ ton, ¾ ton and 1- ton load capacities, respectively.

CHOICE OF THREE

When the Advance-Design series made its debut, it was actually Chevrolet’s first all-new post-War range, preceding the new passenger cars by m ore than a year.

The new-for-1947 ‘3000 Series’ light duty pickup were split into three basic versions – 3100, 3600 and 3,800 – covering ½ ton, ¾ ton and 1- ton load capacities, respectively.

While restyled from nose to tail, the most notable change with the Advance-Design was the cabin. In the case of the 3000 series, the cabs were both wider and longer by more than a foot each way. The result was greatly increased in-cabin space, which allowed for the adoption of three abreast seating on an adjustable bench seat for the first time.

Glass area was enlarged too ,with optional ‘Nu-Vue’ cut-outs in the rear corners of the cab further increasing visibility.

From the 3000 series’ debut, right up to 1954, changes were minor, but there were small numbers of modifications made each year, which purists can use to identify when their pickup was built.

A FINE '51

In the case of Mark’s, it doesn’t deviate a lot from the ’47 model, but can be identified as a 1951 thanks to the side vent windows which debuted that year, deletion of the left-side cowl vent, a lower position for the rear-view mirror and a few other minor changes.

Paint choices were unaltered on the ’51 models, while the previously available two-tone paint option was restricted to fleet sales only.

However, Mark’s 3100 runs a two-tone treatment in the factory-style and extends the black and blue theme from that into the ‘CHEVROLET’ embossing on the tailgate.

MORE GRUNT

From the factory, the ’51 3100 could only be had with a 216ci ‘Thriftmaster’ inline six hooked up to a three-speed manual transmission, producing 92hp – but Mark’s pickup differs a lot from stock!

Powerplant is now a 350 Small Block Chev, juiced up with alloy heads, a Scat crank, roller rockers and a 650 Holley carb. There’s also a 2 ½ inch exhaust system and a Turbo700 4-speed auto trans with a hi-stall torque convertor.

Putting all 340hp to the ground is a 9-inch diff and a BIG set of rear boots – super-fat 31 x18.50-15 Mickey Thompson Sportsman Pro tyres on Weld Racing rims – with Hankook 185×60-15 rubber up front. That big back end was part of the appeal of this vehicle, which Mark actually received as a present for his 50th birthday in 2013: “I loved its fat ass,” Marked laughed.

Given his passion for old trucks, tractors and utes, Mark’s wife clearly chose well in selecting a pickup for Mark’s big 5-0.

MODS AND MORE

As presented to Mark, the pickup featured shaved door handles and a split rear window, with the fuel tank moved to load area, between those enlarged tubs.

Out back, there are a couple of neat additions, including the rolled rear pan, LED lighting (which runs through an upgraded 12 volt electric system) and stop/tail lights in the “rolled” section of the tray sides.

The lack of a rear bumper isn’t unusual, as it was wasn’t actually standard equipment with the ’51 model pickups when new, but could be had as an option.

Similarly, chrome trim for the grille and bumpers was rarely seen on these workhorses when new. Nowadays, though, it seems all the restored and modified 3000 Series pickups carry a bold chrome front end.

Inside, Mark’s pickup features a Momo steering wheel and full complement of instrumentation, but the rest of the cabin area is pretty much stock.

Since getting the 3100, Mark’s modified the suspension – ’70 Camaro front and leaf spring rear – so it sits lower. Other more recent changes include a blower kit for the V8 and a few touch-ups on the paint.

Given this pickup was a gift, Mark says it’s definitely a keeper, so there are no plans to sell it. There are, however, ongoing plans to drive it – and drive it often!

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Black & Strong

BLACK & STRONG

Black & Strong

This old school Model A roadster is a pretty tasty brew!

For a bloke who’s owned a string of classic American pickups, a roadster may seem like a weird diversion, but for Ray Rust, it’s been a perfect fit.

In Ray’s garage, a ’48 model Chev C3100 (that’s currently for sale) sits alongside the hot rod featured, but before that, Ray has had a ’69 Chev C10, ’65 Chev longbed, ’52 Chev, ’51 Chev and ’57 GMC pickup in the fleet, as well as a ‘’66 HR Holden ute. So, given that history, why purchase the car featured?

“The Model A was all about owning an old-school hot rod,” Ray explained, adding that the car not only had to look good, but needed to be easy to drive and cruise in, too.

THE NEW BLACK

Last year, Ray started scouting for a suitable vehicle, and was initially looking to source something from the US. But, in putting his ’57 GMC on the market, he came across the car featured, which was located in Inverleigh in rural Victoria.

The bloke interested in Ray’s pickup had a hot rod for sale – a 1930 Model A roadster. With a ‘glass body and steel cowl, ‘Bigs n Littles’ wheel combo, whitewalls and a bunch of other cool touches, the rod looked the goods.

“The rod has been built and engineered in Ballarat in 1993 and the first owner was from Stawell,” Ray explained.

Despite its age, the triple-black treatment on the body, removable hood and interior still looked pretty fresh and was offset with a green-painted grille and wheel centres.

“It was exactly what I was looking for.”

The car really needed nothing to jump in and enjoy, which increased its appeal, so the two agreed to a swap, with the Ford coming in Ray’s possession last November.

SOLID, TRAVELLED.

In the 2-door roadster body style, the 1930 Model A had all the classic hot rod touches, like the classic ’32 Ford grille, low mount headlights and ’39-style teardrop tail lights. But, in a somewhat unusual touch for a hot rod, it also had a tow bar.

Inside, there’s vinyl bucket seats, Jaguar gauges and a steering wheel liberated from one of Ray’s pickups he brought out from the US.
A history file provided with the car detailed all the engineering work done, which had been proven with a trouble-free run from Victoria to the Sandgroper Nats in WA and back.

A very reliable and comfortable cruiser, the rod is equipped with a 307 Chevy V8 and 350 auto, with a new exhaust system being the only mechanical change made to the car before a minor bingle put it off the road at the start of 2016.

JOHNNY Z's TO THE RESCUE

Ray entrusted the repair work to Johnny Z’s in Cheltenham, Victoria, who have plenty of restos, rods and custom builds under their belt, including the awesome ‘Scarlet’ 1932 Ford roadster that debuted at last year’s MotorEx.

Repair work included a new grille surround and bars, lights, new front spreader bar and nerf bars, suspension and axle repairs, plus some other minor front-end fix ups.

In a finishing touch that was very much appreciated by Ray, the Johnny Z’s crew tracked down the pinstriper who had originally done the line work on the car back in the 90s and got him to restripe the grille shell and add the personalized ‘Rusty’ script on the door. Nice!

This time around, the grille bars were left in stainless and the wheels repainted black. These mods aside, the rod looks pretty much as it did when Ray picked it up.

PERMANENT FIXTURE

With business and other commitments, Ray hasn’t had the chance to take the rod out since February, so is itching for some time behind the wheel!

While it’ll definitely be racking up some miles in the future, this rod also definitely won’t be sold off: “This roadster’s a keeper,” Ray laughed.

Alongside the Model A and Chev C3100, the American theme continues in the Rust household with an ’88 Chevy Corvette.

This is Ray’s wife’s car, and it’s a ride she loves just as much as Ray loves his hot rod!

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An Oldie but a Goldie

AN OLDIE BUT A GOLDIE

An Oldie but a Goldie

A conventional frame and engine to power the entry level car.

The Austin Seven transformed the British motoring scene.

How often do you get the chance to buy your first car back, 50 years later? For a bloke who spends his days entertaining and performing, owning an Austin may seem like an odd sidekick, but for Dan Burt, it’s a match made in heaven.

LORD AUSTIN

The quest for the first people’s car, with a classless appeal in the UK, was finally achieved when Lord Austin realised his dream of manufacturing a low cost, economical, 2-door, 4-seater family convertible in 1922. With full weather equipment, a 4-cylinder engine, 4-wheel brakes and 3-speed gearbox, the Austin Seven saved the company which was on the verge of liquidation post World War I.

The following for Austin Sevens has weathered all markets, from the aspirational first car owner through all decades. Including during the 1960s when Dan Burt purchased a 1927 Austin Seven Chummy Tourer for only 2 pounds 10 shillings.

'GREAT DAYS. GREAT PEOPLE. GREAT CLUB'

After the first restoration, Dan was inspired to join the Bristol Austin 7 Club. In doing so, he gained a bank of knowledge and “know how/useful tricks” of Austin Seven’s and was fortunate enough to go on some pretty amazing trips with fellow enthusiasts. He went on runs and tours around England, Ireland and France, just to name a few. 50 years later, Dan still has his original membership number and is not far off joining another Austin Seven Club in Australia.

SAME CAR. 50 YEARS LATER!

In 1972, Dan migrated from the West Country of England to Australia leaving his Austin behind. He sold her to its new Bristol owner who had the car for about 30 years. After this time, a mate of Dan’s bought it off the Bristol owners hands for himself.

When Dan went back to England for a visit, he got to drive the car and he fell back in love all over again. “She still drove like a rocket”.

The Austin Seven still had the stainless exhaust system Dan had made at Rolls-Royce (Aero) while an apprentice, and nick plating that he had done for a packet of fags- which was the currency back in the day.

In 2015, his mate kindly offered the Austin back to Dan- the ‘original’ owner- and before he knew it he had her imported to Australia.

THE TOURER

In the 2-door convertible body style, the 1929 Tourer has had minimal touches and modifications and is almost in completely original condition. Inside, there’s a bucket front, bench back seats along with a round aluminium steering wheel, which is in original condition. Since he sold her, she had done no more than 500 miles.

“She was virtually the same as when I left her some 40 years ago. Same hood, seats, side screens, paint, etc. which I’d made in the late 1960s. Body and paint the same with just a few marks. Some SU (non-original) carb.”

With log books dating back to 1949, Dan has all engineering and service history which proves the Tourer to be somewhat reliable.

PERMANENT IN THE BURT FAMILY

The tourer has been racking up some miles since Dan bought it back and he has no plans on letting her go again.

Alongside the tourer, Dan also owns a 1975 Citroen D Special (DS), 1989 Citroen 2 CV, and also 2 French Solex motorised bikes!

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Italian Steed

ITALIAN STEED

Italian Steed

With a Cleveland heart.

Like most enthusiasts, Paul Cibotto had a mental collection of cars he was dying to own and enjoy. Back in 2010, Paul found a run down but honest 1974 De Tomaso Pantera online and just couldn’t resist.

RESTORATION

Since making the purchase, she’s been fully restored inside and out with like-new full custom interior and powertrain! The spec sheet is impressive with a unibody construction, four-wheel power disc brakes and independent suspension and billet steering. Ford’s 351-cubic-inch Cleveland V8 was mounted midship, mated to a five-speed ZF transaxle with a gated shifter.

THE DE TOMASO PANTERA

The Pantera was a sports car produced by the De Tomaso company of Italy from 1971 through to 1996. The word ‘Pantera’ is Italian for ‘Panther’. The car was designed by Tom Tjaarda and replaced the De Tomaso Mangusta. Unlike the Mangusta, which employed a steel backbone chassis, the Pantera was a steel monocoque design, the first instance of De Tomaso using this construction technique. The Pantera also stops as well as she goes. Disc brakes are used all around and the power assist is standard equipment.

SLICK BLACK BEAUTY

The basic layout of the Pantera is very efficient. Most importantly, there is enough room in the cockpit for two average sized adults. A six-footer has plenty of headroom, his knees won’t be around his ears and he can stretch his arms and square his shoulders without feeling like he is in a one-man submarine. Nevertheless, it’s definitely worth the squeeze!

Her elegant look, practical engine, fantastic performance, and the guarantee that similar cars won’t be seen around the corner – the Pantera is a desirable acquisition for the right enthusiast!

With a beautiful motor compartment and slick black paint, everything on this car just works! It is rare to come across a Pantera this nice… If you want to get some attention, all you need to do is go for a ride in this baby. You’ll have a flock of people following you!

Paul has enjoyed a multitude of different units throughout the past few years, with an appreciation for drag cars, pro mod cars, a Custom Pro Street Chopper and a VN Group A (genuine).

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Fiat’s Beloved

FIAT'S BELOVED

Fiat’s Beloved

The Fiat 124 Spider is as Italian as the Dolce Vita under the Southern sun.

Michael’s Fiat is the first original black 124 Spider that Fiat released, the oldest Fiat 124 Spider in Australia and the 13th oldest Fiat 124 Spider in the world! Not only did these rare stats appeal to Michael, but the fact that the car is designed by Pininfarina and had the same characteristics as early model Ferrari’s (Michael’s dream car) made it an easy choice to make the Fiat his back in 2003.

THE LITTLE CAR COMPANY

Stop thinking of Fiat as a little car company. It may make little cars but that’s different. And just because there was never an aggressive bolt in the body of any Fiat you’ve ever met doesn’t mean that the same applies to the parent company either. It just so happens that Fiat makes enough little cars to be the second largest manufacturer in the entire little-car producing world.

PININFARINA BEAUTY

The RS2000’s were designed by Ford’s Cologne styling department in Germany, which was home to the company’s high-performance European operation. However, it took Ford Australia quite some time to decide when the time would be right to introduce this car to the Aussie’s, despite not being a stranger to the enthusiasts.

Through its successes in motor racing, especially in events like the Hardie Ferodo 1000 and to an even greater extent in rallying, the RS2000 is a well-known and highly respected car.

The Australian version was not the pure-bred German RS2000. Instead, Aussie buyers had to make do with a compromise car.

The styling was the same, but because the RS2000 was made in Australia, Ford chose to use the standard 2.0-litre OHC Cortina engine. Although it was a nice suburban engine, quiet and moderately powerful, it was not anything like the more highly tuned European RS2000 engine. Despite this disadvantage, the Aussie RS2000 still proved itself to be an exceptional little car for drivers who wanted extra excitement to brighten mundane driving.

The RS2000 has become something of a legend in Ford circles and with its rally heritage, it was the Seventies equivalent of Subaru’s WRX and Mitsubishi’s Evo. Announced in ’79, the Australian RS2000 differed from its English counterpart in a number of ways and was available in both two and four-door guises, with a two-litre engine and short-shift four-speed gearbox.

Although Aussie production figures for the RS2000 aren’t well documented, there were approximately 2,400 produced and relatively few of these survive. With interest in the RS Escorts coming up all the time, it won’t be long before values on the Aussie RS 2000s begin to climb rapidly.

If you’re looking into something similar to Chris’ RS2000, now is definitely the time to start looking hard for good, low mileage examples.

SPIDER FACTS

The Fiat 124 Spider is considered to be one of the best looking roadsters designed with agile handling and fun driving characteristics. It was well known as an affordable roadster and started with a capacity of 1438 cc in 1966 progressively increasing to 1608 cc in 1970.

The main claim to fame is that it broke the English monopoly on the small convertible roadster designs and was the first to use a mass produced Double Overhead Cam (DOHC) engine. The DOHC version utilised reinforced rubber timing belts, an innovation that would come into nearly universal use in the decades after its introduction.

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One-Year Wonder

ONE-YEAR WONDER

One-Year Wonder

A rare unit from America’s muscle heyday, the AAR ‘Cuda was built for a purpose.

The magical year for America’s Trans Am racing series was 1970. Momentum in the SCCA-sanctioned series had been building for the past few years, but the explosion in the Pony Car market saw every manufacturer want a piece of the action, so what better way to show off your wares than on the racetrack in a manufacturer’s championship.

The dawn of the new decade saw factory-backed teams representing Ford (Mustang), GM (Camaro and Firebird), AMC (Javelin) and newcomer Chrysler, who fielded both the new ‘E-Body’ Plymouth Barracuda and its Dodge Challenger sibling.

NUMBERS TO RACE

Dan Gurney and his ‘All American Racers’ (AAR) team were recruited by Chrysler to run the Plymouth Trans Am tilt. In addition to his management role, Gurney would also get behind the wheel, with David ‘Swede’ Savage serving as the other driver in the two-car team.
Gurney’s AAR workshop also built the Dodge Challenger driven by Sam Posey, but the round-by-round management of that campaign was handled by Ray Caldwell’s ‘Autodynamics’ operation.

As the deal was signed in October, 1969, AAR had only a few months to get the cars built and tested before the opening race of the ’70 season.

Chrysler had to build a number of roadgoing cars to homologate the new AAR ‘Cuda for racing, too.

In an effort to make the cars more ‘production-based’, the homologation minimum was set at 2,800 for Plymouth – up from only 1,000 units the previous season.

It was all a bit tight, both in the AAR workshops and on the factory floor, but Gurney got the race cars ready and Plymouth got all the homologation specials built – almost. History shows that only 2,724 AAR ‘Cudas were produced, but its seems SCCA rulemakers weren’t counting! One of those homologation specials is the car you see here.

PRICEY FISH

When new, the roadgoing AAR ‘Cuda was the most expensive Plymouth Barracuda/’Cuda you could buy. At US$3,966 before options, it was 20 per cent dearer than a base ‘Cuda V8 hardtop, but you got a fair bit of gear – and unmissable style – for your coin.

Under the bonnet, the AAR ‘Cuda used an engine configuration unique in the Barracuda lineup for 1970. The 340ci V8 was similar to that used in the actual race cars (the race engines had to be de-stroked to meet the 305ci capacity limit), but topped with a trio of 2-barrel Holley carburetors and connected to a 4-speed manual transmission and Sure-Grip diff. Heavy duty suspension at both ends was augmented with front and rear sway bars, while power-assisted front disc brakes were standard. Wide rear wheels and tyres ensured all 290 horses from the powertrain didn’t go to waste, while the side-exit exhausts mimicked those on Gurney’s AAR racers, but featured extra bends and redesigned mufflers to make them street legal.

RICK'S RIDE

This particular AAR ‘Cuda has been owned by Rick Saunders for more than eight years now, but he came across it purely by chance. The Victorian was actually looking for a ’71 ‘Cuda when this AAR came up – at a good price.

History on the car was sparse, but it appeared reasonably solid and looked undeniably cool, so a deal was done.
Investigation revealed that the car was originally painted in Lime Light green, but had been changed at some point to the Vitamin C Orange it wears today.

As a mechanic, Rick found the work the car needed wasn’t daunting, and completed fairly easily after purchase. This included a new fuel tank, fixing the gear stick (shifter breakages were a known problem) and some electrical work.

Inside and out, the car is stock, right down to the 15-inch steel Rallye wheels, but Rick has worked a little more mumbo into the engine department with high compression heads and a lumpier camshaft.

ONE YEAR ONLY

For all the fanfare of Plymouth and Dodge’s entry into the Trans Am series, the outcome was disappointing. The AAR ‘Cudas were fast, but fragile, with Chrysler-mandated strengthening of engines, gearboxes and diffs upping the weight to the point where the cars struggled to be competitive. Gurney vacated the driver’s seat after two rounds to ensure there was enough money for Savage to complete the season, but returned for a “retirement” send-off at the final round.

The best result for an AAR ‘Cuda in that golden 1970 season was a second place for Savage. At the end of the year, Chrysler joined GM and Ford in withdrawing their factory-backing and Trans Am was the worse for it. The series continued, but undeniably lacked the sparkle of preceding years.

Of course, the end of the Plymouth ‘Cuda racers meant the end of the homologation requirements, too, so the AAR ‘Cuda road car became a one-year-only model.

Fortunately, guys like Rick are keeping the AAR ‘Cuda – and a bit of the Trans Am era – alive today.

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Ford Heaven

FORD HEAVEN

Ford Heaven

Mark Fenech’s 1988 Ford Sierra Sapphire RS Cosworth is one of eight in his garage.​

Mark has got to be Sydney’s biggest Ford car buff! He’s got a crazy garage full of a bunch of small Ford’s, but there’s no doubt that Mark’s 1988 Ford Sierra Sapphire RS Cosworth is a stand out beauty! This highly collectable Ford in the rare colour of Crystal Blue drew Mark in and he couldn’t resist adding it to the collection.

CRYSTAL BLUE

12 years ago, while keen to start up a new project, Chris stumbled upon a shell of a 1980 Ford Escort Mk2 RS2000 at a local car wrecking yard while a mate was looking for some parts. Being the Ford fanatic he is, the RS2000 seemed like a no-brainer to work on.

From what Chris knows, the car had been through quite a few owners, all who modified the RS2000 at some point. The last known owner tried to sell the car but was unable to get his asking price, so he split it up and sold in as parts, dumping the shell at the wreckers.

Since purchasing, the RS2000 has undergone a full body restoration. Chris has added a new motor, suspension, interior, wheels and tyres.  He’s ramped up the engine with a PL30 Kent Cam, oversized valves, a Ford Motorsport inlet manifold, Alloy adjustable cam pulley, alloy accessory pulley and a .040 rebore. The RS2000 features a four-speed manual transmission.

Other mechanical attributes like the pinto engine and rear leaf spring suspension can be a bit old-fashioned even when the cars were new, but they are efficient, lightweight and fun to drive!

Jaw dropping and gorgeous in every respect, this RS2000 finished in Monza Blue, amazes perfection seeking connoisseurs, like Chris. From the front wings to the black coachline below the swage line trimmed slightly short of all the panel gaps, this car is definitely a unique one.

LUSTED BY THE YOUTH

The Ford Sierra Cosworth, otherwise known as the ‘Cossie’ defined the 1980s and the teens who lusted after them. Now those youths have grown up, and the prices of the ‘Cossie’ have matured alongside them, the best ones today are worth just as much as – or sometimes even more than – contemporary Ferraris.

In 1983, Stuart Turner, Ford’s new motoring boss, realised that the Ford was no longer competitive in touring car racing. He suggested mating an experimental Cosworth 16-valve engine with a turbocharger and inserting it into a three-door Sierra shell. The RS Cosworth’s first debut was in 1985.

In 1988, the Sierra got the Sapphire treatment. The car changed to have more of a subtle looking four-door styling and while still not cheap, represents the best value today. Well-preserved Sapphires are going up in value, even since Mark bought his over 2 years ago.

Finding an un-molested car like this is a challenge, and because of dubious rust proofing out there, finding one in a condition similar to Mark’s is hard. RWD Sapphires are now also uncommon.

THE NAME OF THE GAME

Dick Johnson’s racing team gave the Ford Sierra’s their name in 1988/1989 at the Australian Touring Car Championship. He dominated both years alongside his team mate John Bowe who finished first and second place. The Sierra’s took the top three in the championship in both years.

In 1988, Dick Johnson and his team also took the step of homologating a modified Ford nine-inch axle for the Sierra. Meaning its weak drivetrain, one of the cars biggest weaknesses, was eliminated which allowed the car to be driven harder with less fear of failure. This was also seen as essential in Australia which used standing starts compared to the rolling starts used in Europe.

The Ford Sierra Sapphire is the driver’s car. Many experienced Ford driver consider the 4-door Sierra to be the best of the lot… This is a big call considering the 2-door is an iconic unit.

Considering this one is an Australian iconic race car, the drive is remarkably smooth, strong and responsive that to the high-performance engine.

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Perfect Holiday

PERFECT HOLIDAY

Perfect Holiday

This rare piece of 1950s Americana makes a bold statement on the road.

In 1959, America’s ‘Chrome Age’ reached its peak. The decade finished with some of Detroit’s wildest ever designs: designs that, for many, are still revered today. Of course, those with even a passing knowledge of four-wheel Americana will be familiar with the ’59 Cadillac.

Those sky-high tailfins defined the era like nothing else and have made it a popular choice with individuals and hire companies alike.

Equally as memorable are the ‘batwing’ fins on the Chevrolet’s 1959 models, while Ford’s 1959 ‘tank’ Fairlane is arguably the most popular of all Blue Oval offerings from the entire 1950s. While the Caddy and Chevy still draw a lot of attention today, it’s fair to say that GM’s other 1959 models aren’t as well-known or popular here. Buick’s sharp tailfin treatment and diagonally canted headlights has found favour with a number of enthusiasts, while 1959 saw the debut of Pontiac’s “split” grille; a style feature that the brand would hold onto for decades. Oldsmobile, however, largely missed the spotlight and remains GM’s most underappreciated 1959 car.

OLDS IN AUS

Oldsmobile’s ‘curved dash’ runabout was America’s first truly successful automobile and set a template for volume production in the USA, well ahead of the Ford Model T. In 1901, the same year it debuted in the US, a curved dash Olds is believed to have been imported into Australia; making it one of the first American cars to reach our shores.

For much of the interwar period, Oldsmobile was a popular brand in Australia. Both locally-bodied (by Holden) and fully-imported Oldsmobiles roamed our roads, with the local offerings including the famous ’sloper’ coupe and four-door tourer bodies that were unavailable in the US.

Following World War II, local Oldsmobile manufacture and assembly continued, but with the 48-215 Holden gaining momentum, GM-H officially phased Oldsmobiles out of the locally-available range in 1951.

Today, an Oldsmobile of any era – and especially from the late ‘50s – is a rare sight here, even at an American-themed car show. But the Oldsmobile Club of Australia, as well as individual enthusiasts like Wayne Beard, are keeping the marque alive.

WAYNE'S WORLD

The rarity of a 1959 Oldsmobile was just one of the elements that appealed to Wayne when he spotted this one in JUST CARS back in 2012.

The advertised car was a Ninety-Eight ‘Holiday’ hardtop sport sedan fitted with a factory-correct 394ci V8 and ‘Jetaway’ 3-speed HydraMatic auto transmission.

The Ninety-Eight represented the top of Oldsmobile’s three-tier model structure (above the Dynamic 88 and Super 88) for 1959 and was the second most expensive Oldsmobile you could buy that year. At US$4,159 new, only the US$4,362 Ninety-Eight convertible outpointed it.

So, why ‘Ninety-Eight’ and not ‘98’? It was a curiosity of the Oldsmobile range that, while the Super and Dynamic 88s were badged ‘numerically’, the Ninety-Eight model name was identified in written form, and had been since 1952.

As well as the rarity, Wayne also love the size of the hardtop sedan. At 18.2 feet long by 6.7 feet wide (5.54mt x 2.05mt), the ’59 model Ninety-Eight was significantly longer and wider than the previous year’s model. All-new styling for the ’59, dubbed the “Linear Look”, accentuated these expanded dimension, too.

Bold O-L-D-S-M-O-B-I-L-E lettering in the grille AND tail panel meant the car was easily identified from both ends, while dual headlights were incorporated into the grille and widely spaced – wide enough to allow customisers to fit a third full-size headlight in between.

Trimmed-down tailfins, smaller ‘rocket’ tail lights and a significant reduction in chrome trim further identified the ’59 models and foretold the coming decade’s styling trends.
For Wayne, the size and style of the big Olds appealed, as did the condition. The price was right, too, so he bought the car and has been enjoying it ever since.

SHOW STAR

The previous owner had imported the Ninety-Eight from a dealership call Gessewin Motors in South Dakota in 2007. Perhaps reflecting the somewhat unloved nature of Oldsmobiles amongst classic car enthusiasts, Wayne discovered the car had been sitting in Gesswein’s showroom for several years before it came here.

Soon after purchase in 2012, some rust around the base of the Oldsmobile’s rear window was repaired, with the fuel pump rebuilt the following year. Since then, the car has needed nothing.

With the grunt of the 315hp (235Kw) V8 and smooth-shifting auto, the Ninety-Eight is a delight to cruise in, while the rarity of the car causes more than a few double-takes from other road users.

The Olds draws plenty of attention at shows, too, scoring a ‘Top 4 Classic Car’ trophy at the Northern Beaches Car & Hot Road Show in both 2013 and 2014.

With this car, Wayne is in pretty special company, as Jay Leno also has a ’59 Oldsmobile in his world-famous car collection. Given Leno’s penchant for the rare and unusual, this is further proof of the ‘uncommon’ nature of a 1959 Oldsmobile.

While Wayne’s garage will never match that of Jay Leno’s, he is keen to pair this Oldsmobile with another – a 1959 Ninety-Eight convertible. Maybe Leno can help out a fellow Olds enthusiast with that one!

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Ryno Insurance is a specialist division of East West Insurance Brokers Pty Ltd ABN 83 010 630 092, 
Australian Financial Services Licence No. 230041. 

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Space Age

SPACE AGE

Space Age

This rare 1960s Phoenix is an incredibly preserved time capsule.

Queensland customer, Dave Roberts, has always had old cars. He started out with a 1966 Vauxhall Viva, then moved onto a GTS Monaro, three Chargers, and a couple of Escorts. Now, he’s got this 1961 Dodge Phoenix.

The 1960s was a cool time to buy a car in Australia. With the increasing desire for power and sex appeal, this drove the auto design decisions. If you look back in time, the new muscle cars, as they were called, were truly the supercars of the day!

MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN

The engineers at Chrysler had recognised this new market and announced the 1960 Phoenix. Based on the Dodge Dart, it derived its name from the upmarket variant of the USA, which luxuriated in the triple-barrel handle of Dodge Dart Phoenix. The Dodge Phoenix did very well in Australia’s 1960s car market and attracts plenty of admiration to this day.

Dave is a fan of wings and was originally looking for a 1959 Chevrolet. “I was looking at absolute buckets of rust for five to ten thousand… I’m talking submerged vehicles that were absolutely useless, but you’d still be paying that amount because it’s a Chev.”

He was reading Just Cars magazine one day and sure enough, there was the Phoenix. Although not what he originally had in mind, it had wings and it was unique… Of course, this ticked all of Dave’s boxes! It was in Syndey, and a young guy had bought it with the plans to hot it up. Life happened, and the guy got married and had kids, so the Phoenix ended up sitting in his garage.

“It virtually had chickens living in it, but still thought, “Yeah, I gotta have it”, Dave explains.

Dave knew the Phoenix was something different, but the drawcard for him was that he didn’t have to go searching the four corners of the globe to find parts for it. When he bought it, only minor parts were missing, the paint had been redone in a modern grey, the dash had been painted and the seats and carpets were re-upholstered. The carbs and chrome air filters are now new and not in original condition.

After giving his Phoenix a bit of a tidy up here and there, it is now in a nice mechanical condition and runs and drives well. With a mix of its powerful good looks and throaty sounds, this Phoenix definitely turns a few heads on the roads!

THE DART LINE

The Dart line was originally offered in three trim packages: ‘Seneca’ which was the basic trim package, ‘Pioneer’ which was the mid-range trim package and the ‘Phoenix’ which was the premium trim package.

The 1961 Dodge Phoenix was top of the line for its year and fewer than 4,000 models were produced.

The unit got a facelift and was restyled, inside and out, with new fabrics and door trim, a new instrument panel, and colour-keyed steering wheels. Designers at Chrysler restyled the vehicle to emulate the mid-sized Polara.

The 1961 Phoenix was a monocoque design and was advanced for its day – using independent torsion bar suspension up front and semi-elliptic out back. The styling was dramatically revised from 1960 with a wide concave aluminium grille encircling the dual headlights.

The Dart had lived a long production lifespan and has endured multiple aesthetic and mechanical changes through its 16 years of production. Dodge evolved and adapted the Dart to all of the different trends, safety and emission concerns and Government regulations that the market had to offer.

They had the undeniable reputation for longevity, durability and value. It’s safe to say that the Dart’s had a good run!

THE JETSON'S: SPACE AGE

“She brings some major 1960s The Jetson’s Space age vibes to the table,” Dave confirms when asked what he loves most about his Phoenix. The Jetsons represented a nostalgia for the future, and perhaps more oddly, it still represents the future to what Dave grew up with. The wings on his Phoenix brings back vivid memories of the spaceship from watching the show as a kid.

“I guess you could say that my Phoenix is an incredibly preserved time capsule!”

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Australian Financial Services Licence No. 230041. 

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