Gone But Not Forgotten – Australian Tracks of Yesteryear

Australia plays host to a number of internationally renowned motorsports events each and every year with Philip Island, Mount Panorama and Albert Park the most notable circuits on the motorsports calendar. But what about the tracks of yesteryear, the tracks that once held events which spectators would flock to in droves? What happened to these tracks and what lays in their place now? We will look to answer a few of these questions in this week’s blog.

Oran Park

Oran Park closed down in 2010 to make way for a housing development after almost 50 years of racing. The course held a reputation within both the car and motorcycle world as a tight, fast and unforgiving circuit which punished even the slightest mistake. The last Supercar race took place at the venue in 2008, in what also served as Mark Skaife’s final full time race event, Rick Kelly went to win the final race of the weekend while Garth Tander took the round win. Unfortunately, as a result of the housing development there’s not really anything left of the track at Oran Park, with only the street names such as Moffat St, Seton St and Peter Brock Drive to represent the racing of yesteryear.

 

Surfers Paradise Raceway

Racing in Surfers Paradise began long before the days of champ cars, the Indy 300, A1 Grand Prix and Supercars as we know them today. Way back in 1966, Gold Coast Businessman Keith Williams (of Sea World fame) decided to build a co-existing race track and drag strip in Surfers Paradise. The popular track hosted weekly drags as well as the ATCC, Tasman Series and even the 1975 Australian Grand Prix with drivers such as Peter Brock, Dick Johnson, Allan Moffat and Bob Jane racing at the track regularly. As with Oran Park, Surfers Paradise Raceway was demolished to give way to the ever-expanding urban sprawl. Of course racing still continues in the form of Supercars on the iconic Surfers Paradise Street Circuit, so not all racing has been lost in the city.

 

Catalina Park  

Opening in 1960, ‘The Gully’ as it was commonly known was one of the nation’s more treacherous racing circuits including rock walls, cliffs and a narrow track right in the heart of the blue mountains. As a result of its mountainous location, fog issues ensured that many race days encountered scheduling issues. While racing stopped at the venue in 1970, the track was utilised for one lap dashes with single cars up until the 1990’s. In 2002 the site was declared an Aboriginal place.

Lobethal

Considered by some to be Australia’s Spa-Francorchamps, Lobethal was a fast, flowing street circuit in South Australia. The almost 14km course ran through the towns of Charleston and Lobethal, with scores of spectators basing themselves at the local pubs to watch the racing. The 1939 Australian Grand Prix was raced on the Lobethal circuit, with racers completing 17 laps in the scorching Australian summer – a number of cars were unable to complete the race. The final race meeting was held in 1948, before closed-street racing was banned altogether by the South Australian government.

Have you driven or raced around any of these circuits? Or do you have a favourite Australian circuit that’s no longer with us? Head over to the Rare Spares Facebook Page and let us know in the comments section below.

Summer Loving - Australia’s best driving roads (Continued)

Australia isn't called the lucky country for nothing, we have great weather (in some places), a thriving automotive culture and world class scenery at our doorstep. So when it comes to the great Aussie road trip, we really are spoilt for choice. Here we will continue our list of amazing drives, just in time for summer.

 

The Nullarbor Plain -Western Australia (pictured above)

If you have a few days to spare then we suggest heading off from Ceduna in SA and head west for 2000km to Perth through the wide, almost treeless, landscape of the Nullarbor. It may be dry and known as a harsh environment, but it’s surely no desert. The flowing wooded hills flatten out to plateaus that are sprinkled with bluebush. Kangaroos line the roads and giant wedge-tailed eagles patrol the skies. You’ll probably need a four-wheel-drive if you plan to leave the highway, but otherwise it’s easy driving with plenty to take in. 

Kuranda - Queensland (pictured above)

If you take off from the tropical beaches of Cairns, it won't take long before you are experiencing the incredible World Heritage listed rainforest air around the mountain retreat of Kuranda. We suggest keeping your windows down along the route to truly take in the humming of thousands of cicadas from among huge buttress trees as  well as the sounds of the birds that call the rainforest home. 

Uluru to Kings Canyon - Northern Territory (pictured above)

This three hour drive along the Lasseter Highway from the red rock to Kings Canyon will provide you with true blue red earth country and skies bigger than you could ever imagine. You can also take the trip starting off at Alice Springs and take on the Red Centre Way. You’ll need about five days, with stops at historic towns and ancient rock art sites, not to mention the odd wild camel, this is one special journey.

Sydney to Melbourne

Most of the time this trip is made by budget airline, but did you know that choosing the four wheeled option can be a lot more fun? Expect a string of quant coastal towns, wild camping spots, vast national parks and turquoise lagoons. The lovely scenery is complimented by plenty of beaut fishing spots, birdlife galore and many kangaroos who regularly pose for photographs beside the surf at Pebbly Beach.

With all these great spots to check out, we say fill up the tank, throw in your swag and get to adventuring! What's your favourite drive? Head over to the Rare Spares Facebook page and let us know in the comments! 

The Rare lions - Revisiting one of the Rarest GROUP A's of all time

Back at a time when Australia was serious about muscle cars, a popular beverage company took one of Holden’s most desirable creations at the time, and made it even more special. Here we will take a look at the ultra-exclusive 1991 HSV VN SS GROUP A (TOOHEYS GROUP A)

It was the year 1991 and Brocky was back on Holden’s books, driving the VN Group A SS like a bat out of hell. The VN Group A SS was the result of the 500 vehicle requirement for homologation touring and group a cars. The car itself was Holden’s most intimidating yet however it wasn’t until great race sponsors Toohey’s decided to go ahead with the mother of all promotions, sparing dodgy key chains and stubby holders, the beer giant decided to go all out and add their own touch to Holden’s already formidable beast.

The Group A VN SS was a truly well designed piece of kit. The engine featured Chev NASCAR conrods among other upgrades and Germanys own ZF supplying the first six speed ever fitted to a Holden. Not to mention Bilstein shocks all round and AP Racing claiming the clutch department with the car being fitted with switchgear, cruise and trip computer from the upmarket Calais. All in all, the beast was putting out a mind boggling 215kw (for the time) and got the midas touch from the crew at Tom Walkinshaw Racing, who placed the car in a British wind tunnel and got to work on its aero package.

Tooheys got their hands on chassis number 123 (1000V8) and 161 (2000V8), painting the cars in black and decorating with the appropriate decals , the two Rare Lions were on the cards to one lucky winner who gave the second vehicle to his son in law. Since then time has passed and car 1000V8 has been lovingly brought back to original condition after the current owner found the car used and abused. The whereabouts of 2000V8 remains a mystery, either being hidden away in a shed somewhere or having met its maker.

When it comes to Aussie legends, only in Australia could a beer company partner with an automotive powerhouse to produce some of the rarest Group A cars ever. So when it comes to the performance icons of the past, we say pour a cold one and raise a glass!

Do you know the whereabouts of the lost unicorn? What did you think when you first laid eyes on the mythical beast? Head over to the comments section on our Facebook page and let us know! ­­­

Aussie Muscle Car Run

17. August 2015 14:52 by Rare Spares in Rare Spares  //  Tags: , ,   //   Comments (0)

The Leukaemia Foundation is calling for car enthusiasts to take part in its Aussie Muscle Car Run events in WA and SA this year and Rare Spares is proud to be a supporting partner of this wonderful event. This unique fundraising event provides owners of cars manufactured during the period 1963-1977 with an opportunity to show case their cars in a seven day cruise throughout Western Australia in October and throughout South Australia in November.

The Leukaemia Foundation’s Aussie Muscle Car Run has been held in South Australia since 2012 and has been a huge success, raising over $1.1 million to support people with blood cancer. This year is the first time the event will be held in WA and the Foundation invites Australians to get involved in both events and help raise funds to support its important work helping people with leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma and related blood disorders.

The events are leisure paced motoring runs, providing Aussie Muscle Car owners with the opportunity to show case their cars to the wider community while having an adventure of a lifetime.

“We invite car clubs and car owners to sign up and register for our events in WA and SA. It is an iconic event for car owners from this era and with places limited, it is an event not to be missed,” said Adrian Collins, CEO of the Leukaemia Foundation of Australia.

The registration fee covers accommodation, breakfasts, dinners, motor sport, car livery, overnight security for the vehicles and more. Once registered, participants are then required to fundraise a minimum of $4000 per car to be eligible to participate.

There are also places open for ‘special interest’ cars to participate (as determined by the event organisers). Modern muscle cars and other racing vehicles will be considered for entry.

“Across both states, we are aiming to raise $500,000 from this event, to invest in the provision of accommodation at no charge for families from regional Australia who need to relocate to capital cities for blood cancer treatment,” said Adrian Collins.

For more information about the event or to register visit www.aussiemusclecarrun.com or contact the Aussie Muscle Car teams on 08 8169 6042 for SA or 08 6241 1000 for WA.