Mount Panorama Bathurst

The regional city of New South Wales, Bathurst, is home to the widely renowned Mount Panorama Circuit - one of the most fearsome motor racing circuits in the world. The track, which is a public road for most of the year, holds the Bathurst 12 hour motor race each February and the Bathurst 1000 motor race each October. Mount Panorama is open to the public on non-race days, however if you intend on bringing out your inner ‘Lowndes’, unfortunately a strict speed limit of 60km/h is enforced (sorry!).

Unique in its rural setting, the remarkable track is 6.213km long with a 174-metre vertical difference at its highest and lowest points. In its infancy, dating back as early as the 1960s, the race was dominated by the smaller cars until the development of Ford’s 289 cubic inch V8 Ford Falcon GT. The smaller cars were no match for the big V8 which dominated the Mount on the long up hills and down hills, ultimately changing the face of racing at Mount Panorama forever. Subsequently, manufacturers country-wide attempted to tame the mountain with their vehicles, as success at the track would greatly increase the car’s image and credibility in the Australian marketplace, thus increasing sales.

Ongoing rivalry at this time between Ford, Holden and earlier Chrysler bred the era of our much-loved muscle cars including the Holden Monaro and Torana, the Ford Falcon GT and later GT-HO Super Falcon, and Chrysler's Pacer and Charger. It was also not long after where we were introduced to the late legend Peter Brock, crowned “King of the Mountain” after going on to successfully capture nine Bathurst 1000 victories.

Since 1999, Ford and Holden have lead the pack by miles in the Bathurst 1000, with crowd numbers rapidly increasing each year… and this year was no exception. An enormous 201,416 fans joined the adrenalin rush and excitement of Bathurst, the second highest ever attendance topping last year’s crowd of 195,261!

Falcon GT Nationals

27. April 2015 15:25 by Rare Spares in   //  Tags: , ,   //   Comments (0)

 Once every 10 years, a very special motoring event takes place and this year, it was the 30th Anniversary Falcon GT Nationals event.

 Held at Sandown International Raceway over the Easter weekend, April 2 – 6 and hosted by the Falcon GT Club of Australia, the Falcon GT Nationals is a celebration of everything Ford Falcon GT.

Entrants and enthusiast travelled from all over Australia to the once in a decade GT celebration. A total of 300 Ford’s entered, with 250 of those Falcon GT’s, so it was one of the larger collections of GT Falcon’s ever assembled in Australia.

More than 3,500 spectators attended the main Saturday show day, revelling in the best of Ford’s special model designation.

The weather was kind to the GT faithful throughout the weekend, which culminated in some on track action on Sunday for a number of machines and their drivers, as they took to the famous Sandown circuit for some sprints, giving them the chance to stretch the legs of their high performance GT machinery.  

Rare Spares were on site displaying its large marquee and showcasing the GT Flacon parts available plus they were offering a $200 parts voucher via a special event promotion. There was strong interest in the stand and 116 people entered the promotion.

“It was a great event, with nothing but positive feedback. Everyone enjoyed themselves and it was the best crowd we have had a for a Nationals event,” said Falcon GT Club of Australia President Darrell Mitchell.

“I want to thank all the club members who helped promote the event and also assisted in the running of the event. I also want to thank all the sponsor, including Rare Spares who supported what is a fantastic event. Finally, thank you to all the entrants and spectators who made it an event to remember,” said Mitchell.

For all your Ford Falcon parts, head to www.rarespares.net.au

  

 

All Ford Sunday

24. February 2015 14:22 by Rare Spares in Rare Spares  //  Tags: , , , ,   //   Comments (0)

Rare Spares were proud to sponsor the 24th annual Kiwanis All Ford Day.

Held on Sunday 15th Feb at Deakin University, Waun Ponds Geelong in Victoria, the All Ford Day  turned on some beautiful summer weather which resulted in the largest event on record.

 

Over 7,000 spectators joined in the automotive celebrations of all things Ford, to view over 1,300 vehicles on display. There was a great range of all type of Fords, young and old and included both racing machinery and street cars. 

Event Organiser Graeme Munro was in awe at the success of the event this year.

“It was a magnificent event and the best we have ever held over our 24 year history. The quality of the cars was up on previous years, the huge crowds enjoyed it and the weather was perfect.”   

“The All Ford Sunday is the biggest Ford show in Australia and we are looking forward to going again in 2015”

Rare Spares set up a trade stand at the event and were inundated by restoration enthusiasts, making part enquiries and entering the Rare Spares promotion, where a lucky spectator had a chance to win a Rare Spares product voucher.

“We are very happy to have Rare Spares involved and they are one of our club’s gold sponsors. They also assisted in getting John Bowe to attend the event, so we are very thankful to their support” said Munro.

Rare Spares Ambassador and Ford man John Bowe was on hand at the Rare Spares stand signing autographs and taking part in the trophy presentation amongst other motor racing legends including Allan Moffat and Jim Richards.

For more information on the event, head to www.allfordday.org.au

You can find out more about local events by joining the Rare Spares Loyalty Club at https://www.rarespares.net.au/Loyalty/default.aspx 

Time with a Legend: Howard Astill

12. January 2015 16:02 by Rare Spares in   //  Tags: , , ,   //   Comments (0)

Howard Astill has gone all the way from casually modifying his XC Ford Falcon panel van in the late 70’s, to achieving one of the highest honours in the street machine world, the Summernats Grand Champion, not once but on three occasions.  More recently Howard was honoured again, this time as the Rare Spares Legend for 2009.

Howard’s love of all things automotive started with his family. 

“My father raced in hill climb’s and boats and was involved with a ford dealership. So it was pretty much a given” said Howard.

1977 was the year of Howard’s first ever event, where he headed to the ‘Van Nationals’ in Mildura with his XC Ford Falcon panel van. 

Howard’s first complete car build was an XA Ford Falcon which he turned into a stunning machine that was nick named ‘Rock Solid’. Howard’s hard work paid off, and established Howard’s reputation as an Elite car builder.

After various rebuilds of ‘Rock Solid’ and in its third guise, Howard finally achieved Top Judged and Grand Champion at Summernats.

In 1990 and in association with Street Machine Magazine, the build of a rare 1960’s Ford ‘Compact’ Fairlane would become a project car for the magazine and ultimately be given away as a prize to a lucky reader. Powered by a fuel-injected Ford 5.0-litre V8, the Fairlane was street-legal and one of the first new-generation ‘retro-tech’ or ‘pro touring’ street machines ever built. At its first outing at Summernats 5 the Fairlane obtained the coveted Summernats Grand Champion award. 

Never one to rest on his laurels, the next project was named ‘Race Rock’ and was an XA Falcon Hardtop built to win the Street Machine Magazine’s ‘Street Machine of the Year’ award. Appealing to a broad range of enthusiasts, with a supercharged engine, pro street stance, classy comp-style trim and a beautiful paint job, the Pioneer sponsored machine won the 1995 SMOTY and incredibly secured a third ‘Grand Champion’ award for Howard.

With the tragic death of his friend Leigh Demain, who had assisted in previous builds, Howard decided to freshen up ‘Race Rock’ in 1999 and turned the machine into ‘Die Hard’, all in memory of his mate.

“The biggest thing was taking the rear wing off it, which gave it a different stance. It got some new interior bits and a sound system. But basically, all I did was blow it apart, paint it, detail and put it back together. That car was about Leigh, nothing else” explained Howard.

In 2005, Howard once again turned his attention to street machines, commencing a long-planned Ford Mustang - The Mustang was debuted at Summernats 22 and took out Top Standard Paint, Top Coupe and placed in the Top 10 for the Top Elite Awards.

“I am proud to say that I have put my heart and soul into building some of the most highly regarded Elite-standard show cars in Australia and I hope that I have inspired a whole generation of others to do the same. Looking around the industry, the scene and the magazines, I know that modified car building in Australia is now stronger and better than it has ever been.”  

Howard explains why he continues to love the scene and events like Summernats.

“It’s ultimately about the people, for an event like Summernats it’s the once a year opportunity to catch up with friends and associates I may not see during the rest of the year. It’s a great excuse and all in an environment we all love.”

These days Howard runs a boutique car design and custom build workshop in Wollongong known as Astill Design.

 

“My passion has always been cars, but when you turn your hobby into your job, you need a new hobby!”

Howard now plays golf competitively to have a regular break from cars so he can remain fresh, focused and motivated with the builds he is working on.

One of the more interesting projects is one of the surviving XC Bathurst Cobra’s, one of only thirty ever produced.

“We are using quite a few parts from Rare Spares to put it back together.”

Another large project in the works at Astill Design is an FB Holden known as ‘Tail Spin’ that is going to be something special.

“It will be very unique and should be finished in late 2015 so keep an eye out for it.”

In terms of the changing of trends over the years, Howard thinks the quality of builds is the biggest change.

“The innovation and quality of cars now vs thirty years ago are light years apart. The top car thirty years ago would be struggling to get any awards at today’s events.”

Finally, Howard spoke of receiving the Rare Spares Legend Award in 2009.

"To receive the Rare Spares Legend award was an emotional thing. I have always put a lot of myself into my builds and this award gave something back.  I love to talk to the up and coming builders and hopefully inspire them to give it their all. This award rewards those who give unconditionally to the sport of street machining."

 

 

 

 

 

The Love of a Mustang

25. November 2014 12:27 by Rare Spares in Rare Spares  //  Tags: , , , , ,   //   Comments (0)

The Ford Mustang is arguably one of the world’s most iconic cars and by the end of 2015, the  Mustang will be once again heading for Australian shores.

With the ending of the locally produced Falcon and the associated performance models of FPV, Ford will be missing a performance model to sell to Australian consumers and the Ford faithful.  This is where the famous Mustang re-enters the equation and will resume a love affair that has existed in Australia for 50 years.

The Mustang was debuted at the New York motor show in 1964 and was an instant success, selling one million examples in the first eighteen months of production.

With the swell in popularity from around the world, Australia got its first taste of RHD converted models of the Mustang in the late 1960’s.

Steve McQueen solidified the cool factor of the Mustang ‘brand’ around the world with the extensive use of a 1968 Mustang in the movie Bullitt as Steve belted his machine through the streets of San Francisco.

After this time, most of the Mustangs seen in Australia were being imported privately in LHD specification.

Between 2001 and 2003 Ford Australia did convert a small group of Mustangs to compete with Holden’s then new Monaro, however an expensive price tag of $90,000 resulted in less than 400 models being sold.

The sixth and latest generation of the Ford Mustang will be a truly global player and is a huge update for the iconic machine, with design cues taken from the beautiful lines of the 1968 version, as shown below in Bullitt.  

The Mustang will be officially built in Right Hand Drive and for the first time will change from a solid rear axle to Independent Rear Suspension or (IRS).

Australia will be receiving the V8 model naturally with the same engine as FPV’s GT engine sans supercharging and a solid 324kw’s. Purists may scoff at the fact the new Mustang will also be available in a four cylinder EcoBoost turbocharged engine, however with a handy 231kw’s, 433nm of torque and some positive fuel economy numbers, it may prove to be a popular choice.

It remains to be seen how successful the new Mustang will be, but early indications seem to support a successful introduction of the new model.

Ford has reported more than 13,000 enquiries about the new Mustang and with Ford dealers indicating pricing in the range of $50- 70k depending on model and spec, the price point is much more palatable than the previous batch sold by Ford in the early 2000’s.

Finally, despite many new features, the one that stands out is the ‘Burnout’ button. It essentially is an electronic line lock that initiates the front brakes, and releases the rear brakes, so if you are heading to the drag strip and want to warm your tyres, you are all set!