Scouts Rally SA 2014

ROSA_2014_Saturday (46)Scouts Rally SA once again returned to the Mount Crawford Forest and the northern hills over the weekend of August 1-3 for three heats of intense gravel rally action on some of South Australia’s most challenging roads.

ROSA_2014_Sunday (12)Taking the outright event win and victory in round four of the Australian Rally Championship was Scott Pedder and Dale Moscatt in the Walkinshaw Performance prepared Renault Sport Clio R3. The pairing narrowly claimed victory in all three heats which was enough to snatch the lead of the ARC.

ROSA_2014_Saturday (50)Claiming second place was Brendon Reeves and Rhiannon Gelsomino in the quick little G2 Mazda 2. It was a close battle for much of the event however the Mazda 2 was struck with problems, including non functioning windscreen wipers in heavy rain and the loss of a rear wheel on SS20 when the studs broke, forcing Reeves to tripod back to service. Reeves was able to match the pace of Pedder when everything was working correctly, but these niggling problems kept him down at this crucial point in the championship. With two rounds remaining, Pedder managed to snatch the championship lead. Continue reading

Burning the midnight oil

Barry_LoweAs I write it is exactly 29 days until Scouts Rally SA, the South Australian round of the Australian Rally Championship. There are many teams out there burning the midnight oil to have their cars ready for the event, including crowd favorite and twice Australian rally champion Barry Lowe and a group of his close friends who are finishing the build of Barry’s brand new VB Commodore gravel rally car. After over 2,500 hours work in the past few months, it’s actually closer to completion than it looks but there is still a fair way to go.

This thing is going to be an absolute weapon. All info, specs and photos are under embargo until Rally SA, however Barry was kind enough to let Any Given Reason share this sneak preview. The engine is the same one used in his previous VB – a NASCAR GM race 6.8 V8, limited to a shade over 8,000rpm and about 700ish horses for reliability. As for the rest of the car? You’ll have to wait and see…

Ben Simpson Memorial Cruise 2014

BSMC 957Well over 600 enthusiast cars gathered recently on a hot Saturday night in early February for the Ben Simpson Memorial Cruise; an interclub, everything welcome, drive through Adelaide and the hills to raise awareness and funds for a variety of mental health issues.

BSMC 947Initially organised by the late Ben’s parents as a small memorial event for their son who tragically took his own life, the BSMC has quickly become one of the biggest events on the Adelaide calendar. Whilst it’s the cars we come for, the cruise has a sub-plot and serves to not only raise funds but to spread knowledge of mental health issues within the automotive community; a group of people that would sooner give away their cars than discuss their mental health.

BSMC 1018But it is the cars that we come for, and most certainly the cars are what takes centre stage. The cruise met at the Tea Tree Plaza carpark, and managed to completely fill a fair proportion of it. Think how busy the carpark is at the height of the pre Christmas rush, and that’s a fair indication of how full the BSMC was.

BSMC 1016However rather than traffic jams of family trucksters and people negotiating tiny gaps with overflowing trolleys, there were lines of immaculately modified cars and people with cameras far outnumbered people with shopping bags. Continue reading

Jaf’s Last Cruise 2013

Jafs 688The Jaf’s Cruise, traditionally held on the Saturday night between Christmas and New Year, is easily one of the biggest cruise nights in Adelaide. With over 1000 cars, this annual event has become both famous and infamous for a variety of equally excellent reasons.

Jafs 690This year the cruise clashed with Any Given Reason’s own Burger Meet 3, however at the conclusion of Burger Meet a few of us went down to the Marion shopping center to check out the finish point. We arrived at around 1030pm and there were still cars streaming into an already overflowing car park – it was quite a sight. Picture the Marion car park at the height of the pre-Christmas rush but with a lot more people milling about, and that’s an idea of how packed it was.

Jafs 687Most of the cars at Jaf’s aren’t typically what we’re into here at Any Given Reason, and to be honest the thought of sitting stationary in a big police patrolled 70km traffic jam around the suburbs from one shopping centre to another isn’t exactly my idea of a good night out with my car. I suspect a lot of AGR readers share that view.

Jafs 691That said, there’s still some really cool stuff that surfaces at Jaf’s and it’s still definitely worth checking out. I think going to Jaf’s is a bit like shopping at an op-shop. Most of the stuff isn’t worth your time, but every so often you uncover a gem.

Jafs 683So this is a small collection of a few of the more interesting cars we discovered at Jaf’s. Enjoy!

Jafs 694Jafs 693Jafs 685Jafs 689Jafs 684Jafs 696Jafs 695Jafs 692

Look mate, it’s a VC Monaro!

DSC_0167The car you never knew existed…. doesn’t exist. But it’s a rather interesting prospect, isn’t it? Imagine this with a Brock 5.0 V8, flared guards and wide rims. And in Marlboro livery tearing across the mountain? That’s all kinds of awesome.

DSC_01741980 Opel Monza 3.0E. I did a double take when I saw this freakishly perfect example for sale at a service station near Innsbruck, Austria.

DSC_0177It just goes to show that the ‘world car’, a concept so mooted by Ford and Volkswagen as the easy road to auto manufacturing profit these days, isn’t really anything new at all.

DSC_0173So this poses the question: Imagine you were to import this to Australia and convert it to right hand drive, a relatively simple task I assume given the easy supply of old Commodore parts. You’d also replace the Opel grille and badging with local GMH items. If you took it to a car show with a comprehensive information board explaining how this is the long lost VC Monaro concept car that never saw the light of day, how many people do you think you’d fool?

DSC_0175Of course not the diehard enthusiasts, but I’m sure you could have some fun with it.

DSC_0011And while we’re on the subject of odd Opel/Holden bedfellows – VT Commodore much? These slightly narrower Opel Omega’s have been fooling me for weeks.

Words and photos by Andrew Coles

A very special LJ XU-1 Torana

DSC_0063Last year Any Given Reason visited the workshop of well known Adelaide race car builder Garry Kirk to take a closer look at a Dakar car he was preparing for a customer. We noticed another interesting shape sitting under a car cover in the corner which was Garry’s next customer project – a 1972 LJ XU-1 Torana tarmac rally car. Now that the Torana is nearing completion, Garry invited AGR back to take a closer look at it. I’m not usually a big one for the Torana, but this example is a little different.

DSC_0074Anything with that number of Weber carburettors simply has to be a good thing, you just know it. But the thing that makes this engine really special is the custom head, made by J.Zed. It’s essentially a copy of the Duggan and Irving heads from back in the day, and features a down port inlet and redesigned valves and combustion chambers for increased flow. And the results speak for themselves – this engine recently produced 327hp on the engine dyno. When you take into consideration that the stock car makes 200ish on a good day, and that Brocky’s Bathurst winning car never had any more than about 250, that’s a pretty impressive figure. And a final kerb weight of less than 1000kg makes for an entertaining drive.

DSC_0054That power is sent through to a Tex Racing 101 4 speed Nascar straight cut dog box. With a magnesium casing and small size its extremely light, and given that these boxes are designed to take 750+hp of Nascar V8, it should prove almost indestructible in the Torana. A custom bell housing was needed to mate it to the straight 6 motor. Continue reading

2013 Ben Simpson Memorial Cruise

A_DSC_0230Easily over six hundred cars. But not just six hundred cars – over six hundred enthusiast cars. By my estimation, that’s how many vehicles attended the Ben Simpson Memorial cruise last Saturday night.

LamboPut on by the forum guys, the Ben Simpson Memorial Cruise is one of the biggest annual events run by the forum. So what exactly is it?

A_DSC_0158I’m sure you’ve all seen these R.I.P drift_pig13 stickers around. That is the forum alias used by Ben Simpson on the forum, who sadly took his own life a few years ago. After Ben’s death, his parents actively got involved in the Japanese car scene, and used it as a vehicle to promote mental health awareness so that their son’s death need not be in vein. ‘The Olds’, as they are popularly known, have since owned a range of Japanese performance cars and have become well-known fixtures of the forum.

A_DSC_0211Each year they hold a fundraising memorial megacruise in his honor, which has quickly become one of the biggest cruises in South Australia. The sheer number, and quality, of cars in attendance was huge. Continue reading

The ‘race rage’ 2003 HRT V8 Supercar

Sitting on the showroom floor of Adelaide BMW was probably one of the most famous Australian racecars of the past three decades – Mark Skaife’s 2003 Holden Racing Team VY V8 Supercar.

Flash back to 2003, and both Mark Skaife and the Holden Racing Team are at the height of their powers. It’s the last race of the season at Eastern Creek, and Skaife has been trying to pass Ingall for several laps. But it’s more than that, because second place in the 2003 championship would be decided by that race.

Skaife ducked down the inside around a corner and drew lineball with Ingall coming out. The stewards view is that Ingall moved across, sending Skaife into the wall and out of the race. But it’s what happened after the incident that made the headlines. On Ingall’s next lap around, Skaife runs to the edge of the track to shake his fist in understandable frustration. Ingall then swerves toward Skaife and powers on, swerving away at the last moment.

It was quickly dubbed ‘race rage’ and became one of the most famous moments in V8 Supercar history…

… and one of the protagonists involved is sitting on a showroom floor in Adelaide.

The cars of the legends dinner

Even the biggest mysteries of the world have a way of explaining themselves. In a previous post I mused as to why there was a HDT Bathurst Torana sitting on the showroom floor of Adelaide BMW, and as it turns out it was merely there a little early for last night’s Legends Dinner. Any Given Reason reader Tom Gilbert tipped me off (thanks Tom!), and it seems that somebody had the brilliant idea to assemble some of Australia’s most important race cars in the same room as the drivers who drove them, and invite whoever was lucky enough to hold a ticket to have dinner with these automotive and human legends.

Unlike Tom I wasn’t lucky enough to hold a ticket for the dinner, so I did the next best thing – I dropped in for a 730am visit the Sunday morning after in the hope of catching a glimpse of some of these cars. There were a couple of guys from Adelaide BMW cleaning up around the showroom, and they very kindly allowed me to come in and have a look around. The solid lineup of HDT cars was very impressive.

This Torana has lived many lives. It was originally used as a rally car by Colin Bond, and was then transformed into an unbeatable sports sedan and driven by Captain Peter Janson. It’s been restored but a small patch on the roof has been left showing the many historic layers of paint that lay beneath. Does anyone have any more info on this car? Continue reading

HDT A9X Torana at Adelaide BMW

No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. That is a Bathurst liveried Marlboro HDT A9X Torana sitting on the showroom floor of Adelaide BMW.

My knowledge of these cars isn’t deep enough to know if this is the real deal or not, but it looked quite legit to me. The hand welded aluminium drop-tank, basic polished alloy roll cage and period seats all point to this car being genuine, or at least a very good replica. Does anyone else out there have any more info on this car?


If this example is genuine, it is the sister 1979 car to Peter Brock’s famous 05 A9X, the two forming the Holden Dealer Team. It was raced in the ATCC by John Harvey, who was partnered by Ron Harrop at Bathurst that year. Yes, the same Ron Harrop who went on to form the famous Harrop Engineering business.

Number 26 didn’t have the same fortunes as 05 (victory by Brock and Jim Richards) at Bathurst in 1979. It ran as high as second place, but with Harrop behind the wheel the brakes failed on lap 57, sending the Torana heavily into the barriers at XL bend. The wreck was purchased by the HDT paint and panel guy, who restored it back to perfect condition and kept it out of the public eye for the next 30 years.

The genuine car is now part of the famous Bowden collection, where it resides with the 05 car once more. So its really got me thinking – is this real deal?

Genuine or not, it was a refreshing change from the sea of grey and black BMW’s.