Super2 Mid-Season Recap

Super2 is the name given to the second level of Supercars racing in Australia. It’s undergone a number of name changes in recent years, but the level of entertainment and gripping racing hasn’t. It’s provided a home for superseded top tier Supercars, and is a place for drivers aiming to enter the big league to test themselves in close quarter racing.

Naturally there is some big money being moved around on track in the form of Commodore, Falcon, and Nissan shaped cars. All of these are draped in sponsorship logos and proudly representing Rare Spares is Perth born Adam Marjoram.

The West Aussie is no stranger to high performance racing. The Saloon Cars category and Porsche GT3s have felt the Marjoram touch, before finding a place in the biff and barge that was V8 Utes. The talented Marjoram quickly caught the eye of Erebus Motorsport and the dynamic Betty Klimenko.

After rapid growth in racing stature here and almost winning the V8 Ute Championship in 2015, Marjoram entered the Super2 category and raced the Ford FG Falcon in a tough competition in 2016. 2017 and Marjoram moves into a Holden VF Commodore, where he remains but now with the Image Racing/Erebus Motorsport team.

There have been two rounds of the Super2 with Adelaide and Perth having seen the cars on circuit so far. Qualifying for the Rare Spares backed driver wasn’t kind for his first 2019 race, starting from 11th, but did manage to make his way up through to 9th. Race 2 was a better result, with Marjoram getting good pace on the tight Adelaide street circuit and finishing in 6th.

Round 2 saw the category head to Barbagallo, a circuit that Marjoram knows well. Up against some serious competition, and just weeks away from his 26th birthday, Marjoram’s first race was forgettable, with no result against his name after reaching 7th. Brake failure took him out of a top 8 finish on the last lap and took him out of serious points contention. Race 2 saw Adam climb from 10th to 6th off the start, only to be muscled off the track on lap 3, dropping to 12th and driving back through to 10th.

Round 3 was held in rainy conditions in the normally sunny town of Townsville. Race 1 Adam qualified 13th and was in contention for pole but a last second error took that out of his hands. The race itself saw him finish as high as 6th. This would be where he would finish in Race 1, and in Race 2 just had nowhere to go. Most of the second race was held under safety car conditions due to the inclement weather. A second 6th will be in his history books for the third round of Super2s in 2019.

Adam says of Rare Spares that he aligns with them due to their passion for motorsport, and enjoys their like minded attitude when it comes to cars and the aftermarket automotive industry. For the rest of the year he says a podium is well and truly within sight, and by continuing to harass the top five, he’s certain that a podium finish and a chance to spray the champers is his!

Are you a follower of Super2 and/or Adam Marjoram? Let us know your thoughts on the category and this talented and engaging Perth born driver via our blog feedback section. 

 

 

 

VT Olympic Edition Commodore

“And the winner is....Syduhknee” And with those words in the early 1990s the Olympic games were heading to Australia for the first time in over forty years. They kickstarted a revamp of a tired section of Sydney, reinvigorated Little Athletics, and would give Australia’s own, Holden, a chance to showcase its home grown hero, the Commodore.

In 1997 Holden released the VT Commodore. In a program that would ultimately cost around $600 million, Holden took the outgoing VR/VS sheetmetal  and revamped both exterior and interior. Taking Opel’s Omega B, a brand and car that Holden used previously for its Commodore designs, it was widened, strengthened, and given a substantial increase in electronics. Underneath was a work in progress for the IRS or Independent Rear Suspension and the front MacPherson struts. Both had changes that would contribute to a ride and handling package widely regarded as being far better overall than the previous model.

The Commodore Executive was the door opener to the VT range, followed by Acclaim, S, SS, Berlina, and Calais. All models received a driver’s airbag, with a passenger airbag an option on the S and Executive.

Safety items such as ABS were an option on the base model Executive, but standard on the rest of the range. Traction control was standard on the Acclaim and Calais.

Power was courtesy of a 3.8L EcoTec V6, or Holden’s own 5.0L V8. At the time, the Series 1 V6 could also be specified with a supercharger as a factory fitted item. In 1999 the range had a slight update, dropping the supercharged V6 and slotting in the Chevrolet sourced 5.7L V8, which saw the end of Holden using its own 5.0L.

The Olympic Edition was like most of the other limited edition cars made available from Holden.  Badges denoting it was part of the Sydney Olympics were fitted to base model cars, and bumpers were body coloured. Wheels were sourced from the higher spec Berlina, aircon was standard as were power windows, and the exhaust was given a chromed tip. Inside a bespoke Olympic Edition cloth was used for the seats and the key came with an Olympic Edition badge. Finally, a dash mounted plaque stated that these cars were of the 3500 cars supplied by Holden and used during the Olympics for official duties.

Being little more than a cosmetically enhanced Series 2 VT means that prices for these are on par for the everyday version. But who knows, if you have one it may have been the car that had Cathy Freeman or Ian Thorpe as a passenger.

Do you own one a VT Olympic Edition Commodore ? Tell us your story via our blog comments or drop us a line via our social media links. 

The ‘Welcome Strangers’ and the 10th Annual Shitbox Rally

A convoy of 275 cars and 550 participants left Perth on Wednesday May 8, 2019 to start the 10th Anniversary Shitbox Rally. The 10-day rally travelled via Uluru and finished up in Sydney on Friday May 17th.

The Rally challenges teams to drive cars worth less than $1,000 across some of Australia’s most formidable roads, all in the name of charity.

Like other teams, Aaron Barnes and the ‘Welcome Strangers’ took on the challenge in a VS Commodore Ute, spending countless hours sourcing and decorating their shitboxes, furiously fundraising and preparing for the epic Aussie adventure.

“The rally went really well for our first attempt.  The Ute made it through in one piece although looking a little worse for wear now.” Aaron Barnes

“We travelled over the Nullabor first travelling the best part of 4,000km before the rally begun and then once the rally started we travelled 5,500km over the middle of remote WA, ULURU in NT, Camerons Corner on the QLD/SA/ NSW border, then on to Sydney to cross the finish line.”

“The Ute performed pretty much floorlessly over the 10,000km with only 2 punctured tyres and an ignition issue based on using Opel fuel in the Northern Territory. The Opel fuel has less Octane, so it can foul up the injectors and fuel filters etc creating ignition and fuel issues.”

Rare Spares are proud to have sponsored Aaron and the team for such a worthy cause and great adventure. 

 

 

 

 

 

1970s Aussie Street Machines

Street Machine. Two words that, for a slowly diminishing band of brothers, mean a lifestyle, a form of rebellion, a chance to self-expression via changes to sheetmetal, shoehorning into a tight engine bay a donk that shouldn’t fit but does, or layers of luscious custom “kandy” pearl paint.

Although largely a forgotten scene in the eyes of the public, street machine aficionados will be happy to tell you the cars and the lifestyle are alive and well, and that there are names as revered in the field as McCartney is in music or Hawking in science.

One particular magazine, born of the era, and still living in an age of electronic media, was originally called Street Machine and Van Wheels. That second part provides an echo of the past, with panel vans from Holden, Ford, Chrysler, and a smattering of others, part of street machining history.

One such entry was the 1977 HZ Holden panel van of Greg Mercer. Starting with a clean sheet, Mercer and his dedicated team reworked every aspect of the humble HZ. Gull wing style doors, flares, a TV in the interior watched whilst one relaxes on shagpile carpet and an enlarged rear window in the tailgate, plus a huge mural on the rear flanks, mark this one as having history in both the panel van era and as a street machine. 

Rodney Neal cast his eyes over the coke-bottle flanks of an 1973 XA Falcon “tudor” in bright yellow, liked what he saw, but thought to himself it’s lacking in.....big rear rubber, a lowered road scraping stance, and a “Clevo” fitted with one of the biggest “huffers” available at the time, breathing through a scoop big enough to catch whales. Rodney dreamt, and his dream came true in the form of the eyeball searing “Lethal Weapon”.

Kevin Monk etched his name into street machine history with a car so good, its American based body has many thinking it was modified in the States. Nope. His 1970 Dodge Challenger is a work of art and all homegrown down under. Slammed to a floor meets tarmac stance, coated in a red paint so deep one could drown in it, Monk’s epic work was powered by an engine Thor was scared of. Packed with all of the proper go-fast good bits, the alloy 426ci monster churned out a massive 1000 ponies in its time.

Sometimes a street machine can look for all the world like a car that’s had some big tyres melted on to the rims and not much else. Craige Wood had a Falcon XW/XY ute that looked a little like this, with the addition of a pair of oil refinery draining carbies bolted to the top of a meaty 429ci engine. A resprayed body hides hundreds of hours of painstaking work underneath, chromed bumpers were filed and straightened to look like new, and huge Cragar 15x12 alloys at the back add up to a noticeable yet subtle looking piece of street machine history.

Our final pick is one that Australia had never seen the likes of before, and has not seen since. Allan Cooper had a philosophy that mirrored the two “O”s in his name. Cooper took a Holden HQ ute, painted it black and called it Blo Bak. He added an extra pair of tail lights for a 2x2 look, filled in the tailgate’s gaps and added a spoiler to crown the tail lights, added fins from the ute’s roof down to the spoiler and that was almost enough. No sir. Clad in silver paint and slotting in a 253ci up front, Blo bak 2 was born. Out back, slap bang in the middle of the ute’s tray, is a heavily reworked and blown 350ci Chev carried over from the first version. Power goes to the ground via a TH425 transaxle “tranny” and the rubber wraps Moon wheels.

Are you a street machiner? Own a car that is a street machine? Tell us your story via our blog comments or drop us a line via our social media links.

(Pictures courtesy of Which Car and Street Machine)

 

 

 

 

 

A Look at the Dodge Hellcat Crate Engine

There are blokes that like simple things. Press a button on a remote, the television springs into life. There, nothing to it.

When it comes to cars, surprisingly enough there is the same thing when it comes to engines. Yes, second hand ones, complete with stinky oil and worn out spark plugs can be bought, but to do it properly, a “crate engine” is the go. What is in a crate is substantial but there will be some extras to buy.

American muscle cars have a great crate history and Dodge keeps that tradition going with the availability of the Hellcat crate engine. There are two available and there are some seriously big numbers involved.

There is the “standard” engine and it’s good for 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. In Aussie speak that’s a hefty 521kW and 881Nm.  They come from a 6.2L or 371ci capacity V8 and it’s almost ready to go straight out of the box.

The block and heads have some deep breathing capabilities; bore is a huge 103.9mm, and the stroke a long 90mm. In order to feed those huge cylinders, intake valves of 54.3mm are fitted, and to breathe out there are 42mm exhaust valves. And with a compression ratio of 9.5:1, premium pump fuel is highly recommended.

By buying a crate engine, nearly everything is packaged and little else is required. This particular crate has the basic engine block, heads, standard water pump, and front sump oil pan. There is also the flywheel and clutch, intake manifold & throttle body, the coil pack ignition system, and fuel injectors.  As a package, it’s called the “Hellcrate”. Cost is around $15K in U.S. dollars. That’s around $21,600 AUD.

However, dig deeper into the pocket and there is the “Hellephant” crate engine.  At a monstrous 426ci or 7.0L in size, this takes out of the box power and torque to a whole new level. 1,000 horsepower or just under 748kW, 950 lb-ft, or a truly incredible 1288 torques are there for the asking. Dodge says this alloy blocked behemoth isn’t available to buy here in Australia. And then there’s some serious conversations with a bank manager if it was. Figure on around $43k AUD...

Much like the “Hellcrate”, a buyer will need to source their own ECU, wiring, throttle, sensors, and some other parts, but according to Dodge, there won’t be a need to buy a supercharger. That’s standard fitment. Custom forged pistons are part of the internals, as is a higher profile camshaft.

So if simplicity is a thing, and a desire to upgrade with not a lot of extra work needed, then a crate engine such as the “Hellcrate” or “Hellephant” is a good starting point if changing the earth’s rotation is required.

Have you bought a crate engine? Tell us what you bought and where it went in the comment section below this article on the Rare Spares Facebook Page!