When it comes to iconic cars, Holden has produced plenty, but it wasn’t until they developed their first fuel injected V8 along with a partnership between HSV and Tom Walkinshaw Racing that the Walkinshaw VL Commodore SS Group A SV was born. After the parting of ways of Holden and Peter Brock’s Holden Dealer Team, The Walkinshaw was scheduled for release in November 1987 but did not arrive until March 1988 in showrooms. A limited initial run of 500 units were produced to meet race homologation rules with a further 250 units ordered after some early success with sales. The cars were assembled in Dandenong then modified in Clayton here in Victoria. Ticket price was initially $47,000 back in 1988.
It’s heart was a Highly Tuned 308 with Delco EFI, High flow intake ports, Roller Rockers, 4 bolt mains backed by a Borg Warner T56 5 speed Transmission. It pumped out 180kw @ 5200rpm, 380nm @ 4000rpm of torque and was capable of 0-100kmh in 6.5 seconds. ‘Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday’. The exhaust system comprised of eight primary pipes each with a join adjacent to the head, this made it possible for the exhaust system to be free from the first join whilst still complying with race regulations.
The Walky had one of the most complex body kits implemented in a production car. There are around 22 pieces that make up it’s fibreglass kit. A bonnet bulge was required to make room for the twin-throttle body intake manifold. Due to it’s garish appearance it earned a few unfair nicknames like ‘Plastic Pig’, ‘Winged Warrior’, ‘Batmobile’ and ‘Plastic Fantastic’. Despite a slow start in motorsport after the changeover from HDT to HRT/HSV the pinnacle race success for the vehicle was achieved in 1990. The stout VL SS Group A (Allan Grice and Win Percy at the wheel) secured a win at the 1990 Tooheys 1000 which silenced some of the cars non-believers and left the Ford Sierras in the rearview.
The VN Commodore was released in August 1988 which hampered sales on the second Walkinshaw batch of 250 units. A highly collectable car now a recent Shannons auction this year saw a VL Commodore SS Group A sell for $81,000.
Have you got a story to tell about the VL Walkinshaw? What did you think of the car when you first laid eyes on it? Head over to the Rare Spares Facebook page and let us know in the comments!
When it comes to shear originality, not many brands took the great outdoors as seriously as Holden. Our manufactures knew a thing or two about making cars that suited the Australian lifestyle. Here we will take a look how the Holden Torana and Sandman Panel Van were adapted with unique and creative extras for the savvy camper.
The LX Torana Hatchback captivated audiences in 1976 with its sleek styling and 3 door fastback style design. It was a welcomed change from the Torana Sedan that had been available previously, and was available in two models, the SL (Sports Luxury) and iconic SS (Super Sports). The entry level SL came with the humble 202ci 3.3L whilst the SS came with sportier upgrades and the popular 253ci 4.2 Litre V8 and 308ci 5.0 Litre V8. As expected the car was a runaway success, but one of its most unique optional extras was the tent that attached to the tailgate. Known as the Hatch Hutch, it was quick and easy to set up, featured two windows with a fly screen and appealed directly to those who love to go out and explore Australia’s wide open spaces.
It wasn’t just the Torana that was given this trademark treatment; the HX Sandman Panel Van also copped the appropriately renamed Tail Tent. Being a more suitable camper due its larger dimensions and interior space, the tent itself featured a singular rear window with fly screen and also came in the same red and blue design offered on the Torana. The HX Sandman came with the 202ci 3.3L and could also be optioned to either a 253ci 4.2Litre V8 or 308ci 5.0 Litre V8, and became a cult car in its own right, with many trying to recreate it today.
Camping and cars go hand in hand, and if it wasn’t for Rare Spares, many of these classic Holden’s wouldn’t be able to make it out of the driveway let alone to our favourite spots. Although there are plenty of great cars available on the market today, they just don’t make ‘em like they used to!
If you have any memorable camping experiences with your classic ride, head to the comments section on our Facebook page and let us know!
As motoring enthusiasts, most of us are fans of motorsport in one form or another, from the golden days at Mount Panorama to the modern high tech powerhouses we see in the V8 Supercars, we really can’t get enough motorsport action. Fortunately for those of us who are fans of classic metal we have the thrilling Touring Car Masters series on offer as well as many grass roots events. However there is another class that really holds its own in the world of competitive racing and that is Group N Touring Cars.
For those unaccustomed to the old school racing category, it was introduced in 1981 and originally only cars manufactured prior to 1965 were eligible. Vehicles requirements stated that only saloons with seating for four passengers could be entered and mechanical modifications were allowed as long as they replicated those which would have existed to the prior to 1965.
The class was a runaway success and due to its popularity, the eligibility criteria changed in 1995 to include cars built up until the end of December 1972, allowing a larger and more varied array of vehicles to compete.
Today the group features three distinct sub categories.
Group Na is suitable for cars that were commercially available in Australia prior to the end 1957 and includes timeless classics such as the Morris Oxford, Jaguar Mk 1 and the Austin A30.
Group Nb is a broader class that includes vehicles that were built and cemented a competition history either overseas or on home soil, as long as the make and model was homologated by the FIA (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile). These cars could be manufactured up until December 31st 1964 and includes pioneering vehicles such as EH Holden, XM Falcon and the nimble Mk1 Mini Cooper S.
Group Nc is only for touring cars that competed in Australia between the start of 1965 until the end of 1972. These classics must have competed in the Australian Touring Car championship or the third category for Group C in Improved Touring Cars. This is the most popular Group N category due to its accessibility and includes many iconic cars such as the 1967 Camaro, Holden XU1 LJ Torana, XY Falcon and Valiant Charger as well as a long list of others.
Group N racing is for those who want to relieve the golden days of motor racing and with these classic cars, although a handful at times, the experience can be incredibly rewarding. With the modern world moving ahead and advancing vehicle technology, many will always have a soft spot for these vintage rides and we are thankful that there are so many racing series which celebrate and promote classic car culture.
Here at Rare Spares, we love keeping your old classic alive by supplying a broad range of parts and panels to keep your pride and joy running perfectly. If you have fond memories of the series, or have even entered yourself, head over to the Rare Spares Facebook page and share it in the comments!
There is just something about old cars that makes them special, the sound, the simplicity, the nostalgia, but there are a couple things we don’t like to discuss. Their temperamental nature and expensive running costs are all second to biggest destroyer of classic metal, rust.
It’s a harsh reality when it comes to owning a classic car but back in the day, automotive manufactures were focused on design and never really stopped to think how their cars will fare 30 years down the track. Most left the factory with minimal safeguards against the elements but over time, paints and finishes have improved to become more resilient to our climate, so the condition of these classic cars today was largely left in the hands of previous owners.
Appropriately nicknamed “Cancer” due to its ability to spread rapidly throughout a vehicle, the sight of rust can be disheartening at first. Generally speaking you could be up for big bucks if you are lacking metal fabrication skills or aren’t on good terms with a fabricator. The process usually involves stripping the car back to bare metal and hitting it with a sand blaster, a time consuming and frighteningly expensive process.
Lucky for us Rare Spares takes pride in offering replacement sections from panels to fenders and even rails and sub frames, without these god send parts, you would probably have to take out a bank loan to get things up to scratch.
So once you have sorted out the rust (or made a smart purchase) it is time to make sure it doesn’t come back. Some choose not to but we think it is a good idea to prevent the rust from gaining a foothold again. Everyone has their own personal method of prevention which generally includes Fish Oil, Cavity Wax or Lanox, all we can advise is to make sure you treat the right places. We suggesting hitting the door sills, inner guards, wheel wells, cavities, anywhere water can collect, it can rust.
Nowadays cars are coated from factory to prevent rust, but modern cars still miss the classic feel and charm of a vintage masterpiece. If you have carried out a big repair job or have your own rust prevention secret, head over the comments section of the Rare Spares page let us know!
We are all privileged to call Australia home, with world class scenery right at our door step and summer just around the corner, it’s a great time to get our pride and joy ready for some amazing road trips. Here is a list of some of Australia’s best driving roads and what makes them so special.
Great Ocean Road – Victoria
Covering 243km of some of the country’s most breathtaking coastline, the winding road passes through lush rainforests, over limestone cliffs and alongside a number of offshore inlets and blowholes. Originally built as a memorial to those who fought in World War I, the coastal marvel is home to a number of tourist attractions such as The Twelve Apostles and the London Bridge. Although the speed limit has been lowered over time, it still doesn’t make it any less breathtaking.
99 Bends – Tasmania
With a stretch of road known by locals as the 99 Bends, you’d be able to bet that it is one hell of a drive. The sections of winding road are a fleeting example of what Victoria’s closest neighbour has on offer. Smooth freshly paved tarmac glides through some of Tassie’s best mountain ranges making the route a true test of skill and bravery. The stretch of road is also a favourite among drivers or the Targa Tasmania, but whether you have a high performance street machine or a classic cruiser, this road never fails to impress.
Macquarie Pass - New South Wales
Deep within one of New South Wales many national parks, hides an extraordinary 8km road that has many stories to tell. With an abundance of narrow roads, tight hairpins, steep roadways and limited visibility, the stretch is notorious for accidents, but when driven with caution, the technical and testing road is incredibly rewarding.
Black Spur Drive - Victoria
A favorite spot among car enthusiasts and motorcyclists alike, Black Spur Drive is one of Victoria’s many unique offerings. The towering Eucalyptus trees and a sea of flora and fauna, makes the backdrop one of a kind. The road twists and turns over 30km between Healesville and Narbethong and features many hairpin turns and short punchy straights. Although two thirds of the Black Spur was burnt in the Black Saturday firestorm, the road is still just as beautiful as it is challenging.
Think we’ve missed a couple or have a few secret spots of your own? Head over to the Rare Spares Facebook page and share your favourite piece of asphalt in the comments!