Radial Tuned Suspension

24. December 2015 10:56 by Rare Spares in Rare Spares  //  Tags: , , , , , , ,   //   Comments (0)
Ask an Australian car lover who invented RTS (Radial Tuned Suspension) and the answer will be Holden. However, ask an American car lover who invented it and they would likely say Pontiac. In truth, the facts are a little hazy. In America, Radial Tuned Suspension started in the mid-70s when radial tyres were becoming more of a standard feature on GM cars, and Pontiac tuned the spring rates and shock valving to better match the type of tyres going onto their new cars. In Australia, the first cars to get RTS were the Holden HZ Kingswood SL, Premier, Wagon and GTS. The HZ hit our roads on October 1977, so from that perspective, the victory goes to our friends on the other side of the Pacific. RTS, according to Holden was “an important new design which integrates all suspension components into one finely tuned system.” Assistant Chief Engineer Peter Hanenberger from GM Germany headed up the RTS program in Australia and explained RTS was designed to “reduce vehicle roll when cornering, improve straight ahead stability and improve vehicle handling and load carrying ability on all types of road surfaces.” Effectively it was designed to match all the suspension components because Holden was also moving from bias ply tyres to steel belted radial tyres. Changes included wider wheel rims, revised body mountings as well as the chassis. Front and rear stabiliser bars helped control lean, the four coil springs were deeper, front suspension control arms were redesigned and moved, control arm bushings were reengineered and new, larger diameter shock absorbers were carefully tuned to match the RTS system. All this was designed to create Holden’s claim of “exceptional road holding”. RTS was so important to Holden, it ran an advertising campaign. It showed a Kingswood SL against a BMW in an evasive manoeuvre display to demonstrate how well it compared against one of the best handling European sedans. A Holden Premier was then pitted against a Mercedes Benz on a bumpy and undulating road, which showed our home grown hero had just as good a ”smooth, flat ride” as its more prestigious and expensive competition. With the Europeans easily dispatched, the advertisement then turned to Holden’s domestic nemesis. (No prizes for guessing who that might be!) This involved a typical highway exit situation where the RTS equipped Kingswood easily out manoeuvred the competition around a tight bend in wet conditions, showing how predictable the Kingswood SL corners as compared with the other car. That other car, without RTS, was of course unable to follow the Holden at the same speed. So there you have it. RTS was designed as “a system, through a sophisticated program of engineering research, designed for Australian conditions, so as to enjoy confident, relaxed driving, mile after mile.” Of course, RTS may have been cutting edge at the time, but suspension systems have certainly moved on and will continue to evolve. It’s certainly interesting to see the progress that’s been made over the last four decades of automobile development, that’s for sure. 

Rare Spares Rare Specials at Summernats 29

Hot off the press! Rare Spares is going to make your Summernats trip even better! For the 29th edition of this iconic event, Rare Spares is offering a HUGE 20% off* plus FREE Shipping for all orders placed and paid for at the Rare Spares stand during the entire event period! PLUS Rare Spares are giving you the opportunity to go in the draw to WIN the ultimate motorsport weekend, known as ‘Rare Experience!’** How does tickets to the 2016 Clipsal 500 with flights and accommodation for two and a weekend to remember sound? All you have to do is see the team at the Rare Spares stand in Pavilion C to enter! Rare Spares will also be showcasing none other than John Bowe’s race winning Touring Car Masters Holden Torana and RSP Director David Ryan’s famous FJ Holden all weekend. To take advantage of these great offers and help us in celebrating Summernats and the classic cars we love, join us at the Rare Spares stand for Summernats 29! The coveted Rare Spares Legend award will again be presented with a new industry legend being inducted to the Hall of Fame. Who will it be this year? Find out on Saturday night in the Main Arena. *excluding vouchers and items already on special and 20% off full RRP of Rubber Kits ** For full terms and conditions see the online entry form at the Rare Spares stand. Permit No: ACT TP 15/08101

The BJR Transporter

Back in the 60s, if you went car racing, chances are you would fill your race car with everything you needed for the weekend. What you couldn’t fit would be strapped to the car somehow, before you hit the road and drove it and yourself to the race track to go racing. Oh how times have changed! This week, we’re going to see how a modern professional V8 Supercar Race Team, and to be more precise, the Brad Jones Racing Team, moves their expensive, powerful and precious cargo around this huge country of ours to compete in the fiercely competitive series. Team BOC’s "B-Double" transporter will typically travel about 50,000km per year. This amount of travel in this behemoth of a truck won’t get you much change from $100,000 in running costs alone. Up front and pulling the total load of about 58 tonnes is the Freightliner Argosy prime mover. At $375,000 new, the Argosy needs to deliver and fortunately, it does in spades. It gives drivers all the creature comforts needed for long days on the road. The 110 mid roof cab has the lot. From the Ezyrider II high back air suspension driver’s seat with lumbar support, 51” double bed sleeper compartment and air adjustable tilt and telescopic steering column, to dual air conditioning, cruise control and a chrome and leather steering wheel. All this luxury sits over a 15L, 560HP engine and 18 speed manual gear box. As impressive as the Freightliner Argosy prime mover may be, what it pulls is just as impressive. The two trailers are each split into two compartments. Trailer A is used for carrying the heavy equipment when on the move and transforms into the engineers briefing room and office when parked up for race meetings. Trailer B’s front section is used as the driver's area where they can store their helmets, driving suits and race gear. The mid-section is the workshop area and includes a lathe, vice and work benches and the two race cars travel nose to tail on ramps above the workshop area. The underbelly of the B trailer features 16 lockers loaded with spare gear boxes, diffs, jack stands, car set up equipment and consumables. The entire outfit, worth about $1.5 million each, (and BJR run two!) is packed to the rafters with enough parts to completely rebuild the cars, including spare engines, gear boxes, diffs and every other body part. At a race and you need a spark plug? Have no fear. Each transporter carries ten boxes of them! How about a wheel? Well, each transporter has 64 spare wheels and tyres, just in case. Need some tools to change a tyre? Will 15 fully equipped tool boxes, along with gas canisters, air jacks and panel beating equipment help? An impressive setup I think you would agree. Next time you’re watching your favourite driver spraying champagne in celebration on the podium, now at least you’ll have more of an idea of how they got there. 

Rob's Torana

7. December 2015 12:00 by Rare Spares in Rare Spares  //  Tags: , ,   //   Comments (0)
We here at Rare Spares eat, sleep and breathe classic cars. It’s not just a job, it’s a passion. So, what do we do when we leave the office after helping Rare Spares customers restore their cars? We restore our own of course. Our Graphic Designer, Rob Mackey, is a case in point. His beloved 1971 LC Holden Torana two-door that still presents in its factory Rally Red hue and Sandalwood trim, is not just a car to him; it is part of the family. Originally sold in 1971 from Reg Hunt Rhodes in South-East Melbourne, Rob stumbled upon “Cherry” on eBay some 34 years later during the Easter weekend of 2005. With $2000 in hand (and $2000 in his shoes!) he eventually purchased the car from a well-known drag racer in Thomastown for $3800 and jumped straight on the boat back to Tasmania. Still running its original 161 motor and trimatic gearbox, Rob quickly swapped this out for a 186 that would eventually make way for the worked 202 red motor that still powers the old girl to this day. Not content with a standard 202, many of the original parts have been replaced. Rob rebuilt the motor himself into a classic Hot Street Combo including all the usual upgrades, such as; Stage 3 Yella Terra head, Roller Rockers, aftermarket cam shaft, Starfire rods, extractors, electronic ignition and a 38DGMS Webber carburettor off a V6 Ford Capri. Next on the “to do” list was the transmission, which was changed from the original column shift Trimatic transmission to a floor shift Celica five speed gearbox. At the same time the original 2.78 Banjo was replaced with a lower ratio 3.55 limited slip version. The suspension has all been upgraded with improved springs and shocks, coupled with front and rear sway bars to firm up the ride, while the brake booster, callipers, rotors and 13X6 Sprintmaster wheels were upgraded to LJ GTR XU-1 spec. Inside, there’s a Bond half alloy roll cage. Rare Spares came to the rescue for the next addition, supplying the reproduction steering wheel and centre console from a LC GTR Torana. Cherry sat then for several years while Rob worked and travelled overseas. Rob, who does all the mechanical work himself, recently cut some rust out of it and welded in new bits which came from RSP and is getting painted as I type this blog. Due to the odometer, which is off a 1973 LJ Torana, only going to 99,000km, its mileage is a bit of an unknown, but Rob thinks he’s done about 30,000km in it in the past 10 years. Cherry is Rob’s third Torana, and is bringing it back over from Tassie to its spiritual home of Victoria in January. His first  car was a 1970 LC S four door, followed by a 1973 LJ SL four door. (Guess where his current speedo came from?) Rob says he’ll never sell this one, even though he estimates it is worth in excess of $20,000. He would like another one… but also always had a bit of a soft spot for early Monaros. Rob is also an long-time member of the www.gmh-torana.com.au  internet forum which is proudly supported by Rare Spares.

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!

The Vehicle Proving Ground

Have you driven a Ford or Holden that’s less than half a century old? If so, before that car made it to the showroom and then eventually to your good self, the first models of its type off the production line would have gone through testing, just to make sure everything was tickety-boo. But we're not talking about a couple of spins round the block and a “She’ll be right mate.” On the contrary, nothing could be further from the truth. Australia’s first automotive testing and development complex was Lang Lang, 95 kilometres south-east of Melbourne. The 2167 acre site was purchased by Holden in 1955 with the first testing of the FC in 1957. Still in operation, Lang Lang runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week apart from public holidays. The high security facility consists of 44 kilometres of roads, consisting of every conceivable road condition, from the high speed banked ring road to skid pans and ride and handling tracks with different levels of surface, grip and road noise. And those roads and tracks have been well used, with over 111 million kilometres of testing being accumulated over the years. The recent VF Commodore had racked up over 1.1 million kilometres of testing alone. Besides the massive network of test roads is also Australia’s most comprehensive vehicle safety and emissions laboratory. Ford’s version of its vehicle proving ground lies near the You Yangs, 55 kilometres to the south-west of Melbourne. The 2300 acre site which began operation in 1965 consists of over 80 kilometres of the same type of torturous roads and tracks found at Lang Lang. Cobblestones, corrugations and Belgian blocks are par for the course along with a low speed track, a high speed ride and handling course and sealed and unsealed gradients and skid pans. The fun continues with a salt and mud bath, an environmental exposure area, crash test site, climatic test chambers, anechoic dyno chamber, high speed wind tunnel and finally, an emissions testing laboratory. And what proving ground would be complete without a high speed test road? Well, Ford has that covered too with a 4.8 kilometer high speed circuit. So next time you take your pride and joy for a ride, you’ll be safe in the knowledge that it’s been well and truly put through its paces before getting anywhere near a dealership showroom.

Special Colour Vehicles

6. November 2015 16:21 by Rare Spares in Rare Spares  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments (0)
What’s your favourite colour? How many times have you been asked that question? Learning about colours would probably rank as one of the first things we learn as children. And we use colour so much, we don’t even know we are. Whether we know it or not, colour is an important part of our lives. Companies also know this and take advantage of the subconscious benefits it can provide. It wasn’t that long ago that a major confectionary company actually tried to copyright a shade of purple as its own. So we know companies place great emphasis on colour and its importance to corporate identity. Back in the 60s and 70s, big companies cared so much, they had the likes of Ford and Holden produce extremely limited numbers of vehicles painted in what could only be described as their ‘corporate colours’. Shell Oil, one of the biggest companies in the world, is easily identified by its yellow and red colour scheme. It had two XW GT-HO Phase2 Falcons painted in what is now known as ‘Shell Yellow’. Gallaher, a major U.K based multinational tobacco company wanted its then corporate logo colours, silver with red stripes, to adorn 8 Ford Falcon XR GTs in ‘Gallaher Silver’. Companies a little closer to home also started to get in on the act. Brambles, then only a transport and logistics company had its trucks painted in a unique shade of red. Que Ford with its four ‘Brambles Red’ XY GTs. And Waltons, a large department chain store founded in the 1950s, had a distinctive blue as part of its corporate identity. Here’s where Holden enters the fray with its ‘Waltons Blue’ Torana. And there’s many more examples of corporate colours infiltrating car manufacturer’s colour choices. From ‘Agfa Orange’, ‘Fanta Orange’ and ‘Ansett Blue’ to ‘Royal Automobile Association Yellow’ and ‘C.U.B Brown’. Chances are that if you were a company back in the 60s and 70s with a distinctive corporate colour, a Ford or Holden was driving around the country proudly displaying it for you.

Safety In TCM

30. October 2015 09:04 by Rare Spares in Rare Spares  //  Tags: , , ,   //   Comments (0)
The Touring Car Masters in recent years has become one of motorsports most loved categories. The series transports fans back to the heady days where names like Beechey, Moffat, Brock and Johnson were the gods of the racetracks. As much as the drivers were considered gods, the cars were almost on the same level. Moffat’s ‘Coke’ Mustang and Brock’s SLR 5000 Torana are now considered motorsport royalty and hold a very special place in the pantheon of great racing machines. But are today’s TCM cars just like the cars of the old days? The answer is not a simple yes or no. Really, the answer is “kind of”. Yes they look exactly the same, tough and brutish, with an engine note that makes motorsport fans run to the fence to see what’s making such a beautiful sound. However, one big difference between the old and new is the safety aspects of the cars... and thank goodness! Back in the heyday of the 60’s and 70’s, racing drivers took their lives into their hands every time they strapped themselves into their machines. While today’s racing is still dangerous, drivers stand a much better chance of emerging from an incident relatively unscathed. Some of the cars in TCM generate well over 600 horsepower and can easily get up to speeds in excess of 250kph, so although we might like these cars to be exactly as they were back in the day and stay true to history, keeping the driver safe is a priority. Today’s TCM cars feature cutting edge safety systems such as full roll cages as opposed to 4 point cages or indeed nothing at all and full side intrusion beams to keep the driver safe instead of just a door skin that came from the factory. Carbon fibre race seats are now used instead of the unsupported seat that came with the car from the showroom and of course 6 point race harnesses instead of a lap sash belt... and that’s just the cars! Drivers are now better protected by their racing attire too. Three layer flame resistant NOMEX race suits with fire proof gloves, boots, socks and underwear, carbon fibre helmets attached to head and neck restraint systems (HANS Device), are all a far cry from cotton race suits, no gloves, loafers and open face helmets which were the only available options at the time. So next time you’re at the track, make sure you go by the TCM pits and take a closer look at the cars of yesteryear with the technology of today and tip your hat to those brave souls of the past because back in its heyday, racing really was DANGEROUS!

NSW gets a Modified Classic Vehicle Scheme

26. October 2015 10:05 by Rare Spares in Rare Spares  //  Tags: , ,   //   Comments (0)
Life for modified classic car enthusiasts in New South Wales just got a little sweeter recently. Up until now, if you drove a 30 plus year old modified car that was on a club registration, you were only permitted to drive to club events or for maintenance purposes, end of story. Well, thanks to some progressive politicians, that’s no longer the case. Duncan Gay, the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight recently announced a two year trial beginning early next year that will allow a car lover’s pride and joy to be used for 60 days every year, as long as it satisfies some basic requirements. "The current Historic Conditional Registration scheme remains unchanged as an option for enthusiasts but, this Government recognised that owners of conditionally registered vehicles had limited use," said Mr Gay. "We've incorporated safe, sensible additions in consultation with the community and stakeholders so owners and the wider community can revel in these vehicles' unique beauty more often," he added. As long as the car satisfies the requirements for either full registration or the Modified Classic Vehicle Scheme and their club is participating in the trial, car enthusiasts with a modified classic that is at least 30 years old will be able indulge in their passion far more than ever before. And the scheme also caters for our two wheeled friends as well because motorcycles are also able to take part in the two year trial. So with the opportunity to get that classic or restored beauty out and about more than ever, there’s never been a better time to make sure they’ll be ready for all that extra cruising. And the best way to do that is head to Rare Spares for all your classic car’s needs. Find us at www.rarespares.net.au

Toranafest 2015

19. October 2015 11:46 by Rare Spares in Rare Spares  //  Tags: , , , , ,   //   Comments (0)
Toranafest, proudly sponsored by Rare Spares, was recently held at the Maitland Showground, north-west of Newcastle. Taking place over the weekend from the 19th and 20th of September and billed as “the largest Torana only car show in Australia”, it has become one of the highlights on the car show calendar. From its humble beginnings in 1994 when 183 Toranas attended at Bar Beach to its recent record breaking year in 2013, when that number had grown to a massive 354, Toranafest has gone from strength to strength. And with entrants coming for the event from as far afield as Queensland, Tasmania and even Western Australia, Toranafest enjoys a truly national following. After having a year off in 2014, Toranafest 2015 promised to be massive and in spite of less than ideal weather, still managed to attract over 330 cars worth a staggering $16milion. First generation HBs to final generation UCs were on display in every possible guise, from just left the factory originals to street machine show cars and everything in between. Saturday kicked off with the Toranafest Cruise to Morpeth, where 150 cars took part. "We had a great cruise. The regular Saturday shopping crowd was blown away by the sights, the smells and the sounds of all these beautiful cars," said organiser Peter Morris. Sunday was the Toranafest Show and Shine, which also involved bringing these glorious cars to life so spectators could not only see these classics but also hear and feel them. Everything from A9Xs, L34s and XU-1s showed the crowd what they are really made of! The Club has always donated the proceeds to a nominated local charity or community group. Over the years the groups who have benefited from Toranafest included Neonatal Intensive Care Ward at JHH, Delando Cresent Special School and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter with this year’s proceeds going to Ronald McDonald House Newcastle, Riding for the Disabled and Dog Rescue Newcastle. With Toranafest turning to a bi-annual event, Torana lovers will have to wait until September 2017 for their next fix of Torana Nirvana. Let the countdown begin! And with Rare Spares being able to supply 1000s of parts for your Torana restoration, there’s no excuse for not seeing you and your Torana at Toranafest 2017. For all your Torana resoration needs, head to www.rarespares.net.au