Off the beaten path – A look at some of Australia’s best driving roads

25. July 2016 10:46 by Rare Spares in General, Rare Spares  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

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!

The Rotary Holden – When Cultures Collide

18. July 2016 12:27 by Rare Spares in General, Rare Spares  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

Many of us have fond memories of the old HJ Holden. Whether it was the humble sedan, the handy wagon, useful ute or even the mighty Monaro, these cars are a staple of our automotive history. Featuring a base 173c straight six up to a 308ci V8, these cars were quite a performer at the time, but there is another tale to the humble Holden that lived a very different life overseas.

Japan is known for its automotive quirks and out of the box designs, but in 1975 there was a prestige car taking place. Mazda needed a flagship sedan that was large, comfortable and would appeal the luxury vehicle market. Having made ties with General Motors, our HJ Premier was soon exported to the land of the rising sun to fill their missing segment. Exporting cars and re badging them is nothing new and has been done for many years, but Mazda didn’t want to skip on adding it’s most well-known feature to the luxury sedan, a factory fitted wankel rotary engine.

The 13b has featured in many of the brands cars over the years but its most unique use would undeniably be in the Holden HJ. Known as the Mazda Road Pacer, the rebadged (and re-engined) HJ (and later HX) Premier and most were destined for use by Japanese Diplomats and high ranking government officials.

The car offered many ultra-luxurious features that no one knew they wanted such as a central locking system that automatically activated over 10km/h, a chime system that activated at 90 km/h, duel air conditioning, a mini fridge in the boot a dictation systems and stereo that could be controlled from both the front and rear seats.

The short lived unicorn was made over the span of two years and with only 840 produced and with Japans snowing winter conditions, not many have expected to last to the current day, making the car as rare as hen’s teeth. The strangest thing is that some die hard Mazda/ and Holden fans have imported a handful of these cars back to Australia.

So if you see one of Holden’s classic icons sporting a pair of quirky fender mirrors, just know that the owner hasn’t miss-matched two classic car cultures and probably has a story to tell about his Road Pacer.

Reborn Wrecks – Creating a Masterpiece

11. July 2016 09:31 by Rare Spares in General, Rare Spares  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

When it comes to cars we often picture ourselves cruising down long winding roads or working away in the shed, getting our pride and joy running just right. But sometimes that’s just not enough to satisfy our automotive obsession. Most of us are just big kids at heart and now we have the tools to turn those left over spares sitting at the back of the shed into something special.

Some may frown because these parts could be used to restore other classics, but these cars can be beyond repair and it could be their last chance before they are sent to china and turned into a fridge.

Many creative individuals have spent countless hours and money on turning forgotten or discarded parts and sections into some of the most original furniture and decretive items. Buying a wreck can be cheap as chips and if you have some fabrication skills and a little bit of creativity on your side, there is no limit to what you can do.

For those who couldn’t see themselves carving up a piece of classic metal, Rare Spares provides a plethora of reproduction panels so you can sleep easier at night.

Pool at the pub is fun, but how about having your favourite American classic converted into a pool table? Carpool Tables in the US turns out these wonders starting at a cool $10,000 US, but we think it might be more fun making it yourself!

 

 

Who doesn’t love BBQ? The only thing we could think that would make it better is being able to stare at your favourite classic whilst cooking away. Take this incredible HDT Torana for example, our personal favourite and definitely a good way to forget the salad.

 

 


It’s not an uncommon sight to see old Chevrolets rear cuts turned into bench seats at American Diners, especially considering their size and comfort from factory!


Man Cave’s all over the country are hiding some of the wildest and most unique creations. If you or someone you know has created a unique piece of automotive art, feel free to post it in the comments section on our Facebook page!

Jason Bright – A look at one of motorsports most familiar faces

5. July 2016 14:19 by Rare Spares in General, Rare Spares  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

Australian Motorsport has many characters and one of the most well-known names in the scene would be Jason Bright. Born in Moe in regional Victoria, Bright’s fondness for competitive racing started at a young age. Beginning his motor racing career in 1988, the then 15 year old Bright took the title of the Junior Club Championship in Gippsland. The fast learner went on to win the Senior Championship at the club a year later, showing that he was as eager as anyone to cut his teeth into the world of professional motorsport.

Bright’s success in karting led to him competing in the Victorian Formula Ford Championship and then moved into the Australian category in 1993. After successfully winning the Australian Formula Ford Championship in 1995, Bright finished runner-up in the Australian Drivers Championship in 1996 however managed to snag two wins in the US Formula Ford 2000 in the same year and was awarded Rookie of the year.

The progressive driver made his debut into V8 Supercars a year later at the fast and tight Symmons Planes Raceway. His on track performance was noticed and he was soon indoctrinated by Stone Brothers Racing after becoming a full time touring car driver. Bright promptly won the Bathurst Classic (one of his favourite personal achievements) in 1998 before departing Australia with his eyes set on a Champ/ Indy car racing title in 2000.

After coming in sixth in the Indy Lights Series in America, Bright returned home and signed on with the Holden Racing Team in 2001, coming in third for the season. Bright later established Britek Motorsport in 2005 whilst driving for Ford Performance Racing and unfortunately experienced difficulty propelling the marque to success with limited placings in the V8 Supercar series.

Although Bright joined his own team in 2007, the dissolution of Britek Motorsport eventually led to him joining the Brad Jones Racing (BJR) team in 2010. Since then, the competitive driver has managed to claim many podium finishes over the years as well as the memorable JR Trophy at Pukekohe in 2013.

Bright is still racing for BJR in this season of the V8 Supercar series and it’s clear to see how he has become such a highly regarded competitor.

“I’ll keep racing competitively as long as I continue to enjoy it; I’m not ready to hang up my helmet just yet!"

Not short on racing experience, with a string of international and local victories under his belt, Rare Spares are proud to support such a talented motorsport veteran.

 

Reflecting on a Legend – The Story of the Rare Spares Ambassador

30. June 2016 10:56 by Rare Spares in General, Rare Spares  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

John Bowe is one of Australia’s most highly respected motorsport icons with an incredibly successful career that spans over four decades. The living legend carved his own path being the only driver in Australian motorsport history to win an incredible six National Championships in four categories.

JB started his journey in 1971 debuting in Formula Vee and taking out the Tasmanian title at the early age of 16. Winning the Formula Ford crown a year later showed that the young gun had what it took and his motorsport journey began. JB’s career stepped up significantly in speed when he joined the ranks of the Formula 5000 category, breaking through in 1984 to claim his first Australian Drivers Championship and showed the ADC was no fluke, taking the title for a second time a year later. 

Bowe received the coveted CAMS Gold Star in 1984 and 1985 and it propelled him into the sphere of the Touring Car world. He made his Touring Car debut in the Mark Petch Motorsport 240 Turbo during 1985, becoming a full time Volvo driver for the 1986 season. In 1987 JB took on the endurance season as co-driver to Glenn Seton with the Nissan Motorsport team. 1988 would prove pivotal for JB, joining the Dick Johnson Racing Team (DJR) in the nimble, high power turbo Ford Sierra RS500 starting his long term association with the blue oval. Racing in the Touring Car Championship and continuing victories with DJR, JB’s legendary status was beginning to take place.

Fast forward a couple of years and the team landed their first Sandown 500 win. It wasn’t until shortly after in 1994 that JB and Dick Johnson held off five pursuing Holdens late in the race to take the win in one of the most intense Bathurst 1000’s ever, a moment that is still etched in every motorsport fanatic’s brain.

With many successful moments, JB eventually left DJR in 1999, and after spending time with PAE Motorsport, went on to join Brad Jones Racing in 2002 and transformed the team soon after. His final season was in 2007 racing for Paul Cruickshank Racing. Upon retiring from full time racing, he had 213 Championship race starts, a record that still stands today. Completing 22 seasons with the level of success the JB had is feat that will never be forgotten.

Bowe was inducted into the V8 Supercars hall of fame in 2009 for his incredible achievements in the sport. JB has continued his love affair with the world of motorsport, racing for various teams and working with Ford as their factory test driver. JB hasn’t shied away from the limelight with an impressive 80 Touring Car Masters races under his belt he has won three TCM titles in his own 1969 Ford Mustang “Sally” Trans Am, and his last in a Holden Torana SL/R 5000.

“I wanted to drive something that was Australian, and honestly I’ve always had a soft spot for the Torana since I was a kid,” explained John.

Although we have touched on a brief history of JB, we cannot go without mentioning his passion and enthusiasm for the world of motorsport, continually motivating newcomers and mentoring many current and future champions.

“I am leaning more towards the historic scene nowadays, but honestly, I love motorsport and I will continue to be involved in one way or another for as long as I can,” mentioned John.

JB’s love for the automotive world has never been a secret and we at Rare Spares are proud to have John Bowe as our Ambassador for the past ten years.

“I am a car enthusiast through and through, and we all share a common bond, without Rare Spares, three quarters of Aussie classics on the road wouldn’t be on there,” he added.

We are certain that the next ten years will be just as exciting and in the famous words of Mark Skaife “Bowe can drive anything”, and we are sure he will continue to do so for many years to come.