August 22, 2007

Horse 798 - Pure Bonkers

This week 30 years ago marks in my opinion the high water mark of Australian automotive history. The Holden Commodore was still about 9 months away with experimental Vauxhall Viceroys in development and the Torana was almost on its way out, and boy did Holden give the Torrie a send off.

Styled loosely on the Opel Manta the Torana A9X bristled with things that did not belong on a motor car: flared and bolted on guards, a dropped fuel tank, duck tail and that reverse bonnet scoop. This was a car will attitude, and just to make sure that it lived up to the looks, they shoehorned a 315bhp 5.0L V8 under the bonnet. Who cared if you couldn't get at some of the spark plugs without difficulty? Most people would only be seeing a pair of red lights and a number 11 on the pavement anyway.

To be honest, I didn't really like Brock because he drove a Holden, but his record of 10 Bathursts (you have to include the 24hr, it made 1000km look tame) and the
fact that he drove so well for so long is hard to ignore.
Even I have to admit that Brock in an A9X must have sent fear and terror into the chasing pack. It showed as well. Brock took both Bathurst and Sandown in 1978 and 1979 in the A9X. Although he did repeat the trick in 1980, the Commodore just looked... civilised.

OK, so Ford have swelled their prices and the Commodore has steadily grown now to the point where it's bigger than the old Statesman so I don't think either of them have any claim to being anything other than big saloons. Toyota only produce boring motor cars and Mitsubishi... just what is a 380 for anyway?

No the A9X is/was the last truly bonkers car to be made in Australia - nothing since even holds a candle to it. Even if they did, it would be blown out in the whoosh.

No comments: