Guy’s new Tarmac Rally project: The 1964 Alfa Romeo 2600 Sprint

2600Longtime Any Given Reason readers will be familiar with Guy Standen and his 1974 Fiat 124 Sport tarmac rally car. With a couple of Targa Tasmania’s already to his name, I stepped into the co-drivers seat and did Classic Targa Adelaide in 2011 and Targa Adelaide in 2012 with Guy. We had a blast, the 124 performed faultlessly, sounded fantastic and in both years we walked away with Targa plates for beating the base time on all of the special stages. Those two events were fantastic experiences that I’ll never forget.

Targa Adelaide Day 4 31 of 39After that last Targa in 2012 the 124 sat dormant; I was traveling overseas last year and it wasn’t practical to come home for Targa Adelaide 2013, and Guy made the logical decision to retire from competition and sell the 124. He’d already achieved everything he wanted and had developed it as far as possible, a Fiat Dino road car restoration was slowly peculating in the background and he wanted to spend more time with his family. It was a tough decision but the 124 was sold into Sydney and now resides with some enthusiastic Fiat club members who are gearing up for their first Targa Tasmania in 2015.

2600 (16)Over the past few months Guy and I have been talking about future rally cars, but I hadn’t taken any of our discussions terribly seriously until I logged onto Facebook one morning to find a message waiting for me: ‘Would you be interested in doing a Targa Tasmania?’ What!? You can’t ask a question like that with no explanation, so I got straight on the phone to discover that Guy was a little more serious about getting back into the game than I thought. His ‘retirement’ had lasted exactly three and a half months. Continue reading

Auto Italia Adelaide 2013

DSC_0096Italian cars, like their French counterparts, are possibly the most divisive vehicles in all autodom. You either love them or you hate them, and in this argument there are very few fence sitters.

DSC_0107Almost everyone appreciates the svelte lines of a 246 Dino or the downright cuteness of a 500 Bambino but when it comes to actual ownership, it’s only the brave who put their money where their mouth is. Those that are willing to endure dodgy electrics, crummy interiors and rusty metal are treated to superior dynamics, glorious noises and wonderfully tactile controls. Not to mention the fact that every journey in an Italian vehicle (with the possible exception of the new ones) is tinged with just a tiny bit of doubt. How boring would life be if you were always completely certain of reaching your destination?

DSC_0196You either ‘get’ Italian cars or you don’t, and the annual Auto Italia Adelaide show exists to bring as many of these like minded enthusiasts and their vehicles together in once place. In only its second year, the show once again assembled a vast range of Italian marques to the Campbelltown Soccer Club for a sunny Sunday of Italian cars, food and music. Continue reading

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

Wayville night stage and Targa Expo

For 2012 Octagon decided to try something different for Targa Adelaide – a night prologue around the Wayville Showgrounds. Not only this, but they allowed extra cars to run the course on the night, and also invited a whole bunch of local car clubs to put on a display, thus creating the ‘Targa Expo’.

I was co-driving in Targa Adelaide and didn’t have the time during the event to write a post about the Targa Expo and do it justice, so I decided to hold off for a few weeks. But the reason the Expo deserves its own post is because it was brilliant evening, and I am absolutely sure it will become an annual fixture on the Adelaide motorsport calendar.

One peek at the attendance figures tells you all you need to know. It was a cold, wet and rainy Wednesday night and the Targa Expo attracted 24,000 paying spectators! Those sorts of numbers are almost unheard of in Adelaide, even on a warm weekend let alone a damp mid-week evening. Targa Expo proved without a doubt that demand is definitely there for these sorts of events.

So what did those 24,000 people come to see?

Continue reading

Targa Adelaide – The day 2 that was

At about 830am I got a phone call that went a little like this: “Hey, It’s Busby, I’ve just got to my spectator point on Mt Lofty and this is your WRC style stage report. The bottom is dry, but there’s running water on the apex of a few blind corners mid way, and it’s very wet and foggy at the top”. Alright then, so it seemed yesterdays challenges wouldn’t be over.

But despite that, we were still both keen to get out onto the stage. (Thanks to Mark Williams from MWP Sports Photography for the top image!)

The first stage of the day would be Montacute, and it seems Naomi Tillett wasn’t expecting the challenge to be over either. Tony Quinn put the GTR into a creek on Montacute last time he ran the stage, so this time Naomi came prepared.

The weather was as expected when we arrived at Montacute, and would stay wet and dreary for most of the morning. We were anticipating another tough day after yesterdays challenging antics.

The rear limited slip diff was making more clunking noises than usual yesterday, so in service last night we decided to change to a different type of diff oil in an attempt to stop the noise. It worked in silencing the clunking, but to our absolute amazement it completely transformed the handing of the car. What was a difficult to drive handful in the wet yesterday was now a smooth, communicative rally car – exactly what we’ve come to expect of the 124. So much so that we put over a minute on the Powells in their Ferrari Dino 308GT4 in the wet, catching and passing them several kilometres from the finish of Montacute.  Continue reading

Aeroplanes and rally cars – the hanger shoot

On the eve of the Adelaide Hills Tarmac Rally we found ourselves not madly preparing cars for the following day’s racing, but taking photos of them in a rather brilliant location.

Pilatus are a Swiss manufacturer of aeroplanes – you might never have heard of their most popular executive plane, the PC-12, but you’ve almost definitely seen their product in action – Pilatus supply the RAAF Roulette’s and the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Pilatus’ Australian arm, based at Adelaide Airport, have recently began to increase their involvement in motorsports by sponsoring the Mt Alma Mile Hillclimb and a couple of rally cars.

With everyone in town for the Adelaide Hills Tarmac Rally anyway, the guys thought it would be a good idea to park a couple of rally cars in front of a couple of planes in the Pilatus hanger at Adelaide Airport and film a short promotional video about what motorsport means to Pilatus. With the lighting set up anyway by the film crew and a healthy disregard for the sleep I really should have been getting, I decided to stick around and shoot a few frames. Because really, when is this likely to happen again? Continue reading

Driven – David’s Peugeot 205 GTI rally car

We face a particular choice in just about everything we do. This choice defines us as people, defines the way we view the world and the way we choose to spend our time. It’s the choice of practicality, usability and reliability versus that of romance, emotion and feeling. According to Pirsig, each of us are either classically or romantically wired from the beginning. Some of us see things the way they are in reality (the classics), and some of us see the meaning and feeling in things (the romantics.)

It’s the choice between a maintenance free aluminium dingy or a beautiful polished wooden one. MP3 files or vinyl records? New carbon road bike or an old steel Colnago frame? Off the plan steel frame home or stone cottage? In each example the first option is cheaper and outperforms the last in every measurable way, but the second option has a romantic draw that some just can’t resist, despite its flaws.

In Australia, there is no rational reason to rally a Peugeot. There are a plethora of other, mostly Japanese, cars that are similar in size, weight and power. Japanese cars are typically more reliable and durable, and the parts are usually easier to come by and cheaper due to our geographic proximity to Japan. Toyota Corolla? Mitsubishi Mirage? Honda Civic? All excellent choices. But unless you’re out there rallying to win the World Championship, which I’m fairly sure at least 95% of people aren’t, you’re out there to have fun. You’re out there because you like the way it makes you feel. So it makes sense then that you would drive something that you connect with on an emotional level, something that you genuinely love. This is why David chose a 205 GTI as his rally car of choice.  Continue reading