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Author Topic: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds  (Read 30252 times)
Steve Holmes
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« Reply #150 on: September 09, 2014, 11:05:53 PM »

The Australian Muscle Car Masters took place on the weekend at Sydney Motorsport Park. This is really the biggest muscle car event in Australasia, and includes both historic racing and car shows. I didn't attend, but Dale Mathers did, and he snapped a few pics while he was there. The event was a little smaller this year than in previous years, but there were still some neat historic old cars taking part in the racing, including the old Bryan Thomson 427 big block Camaro.

Peter Sportelli has owned the Camaro for many years, and he had Glenn Seton drive it at the MCM. Seton was a top Australian touring car driver from the mid 1980s through to the mid 2000s.





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Steve Holmes
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« Reply #151 on: September 09, 2014, 11:19:30 PM »

The Wall family own a significant collection of historic Australian racing cars from the 1960s through 1980s, including the Pete Geoghegan 1967 Mustang GTA which Geoghegan used to win the Australian Touring Car Championship in 1967, 1968, and 1969.

They also own the Bob Jane HQ Monaro. The Holden Monaro is a sporty Australian built car. The first generation Monaros first appeared in 1968. The second generation Monaros first appeared in 1971, which is what the HQ is. They're much like a Camaro, with a separate body and sub-frame, and the top performing motor was a 350ci small block Chevy. They're about the same size, though styling is a little more taken from the GTO. And rear suspension is coil spring.

Bob Jane owned a large Holden dealership with his brother at the time the HQ model was released. He employed John Shepperd to build this car as the replacement for his ZL/1 '69 Camaro.

The Bob Jane Monaro featured a small block Chevy, topped with mechanical fuel-injection, some of which was made by Lucas, and some made from scratch by Shepperd. It also ran a dry-sump, magnesium Minilite wheels etc. It was a big dollar car for the time, and very fast.

Jane raced it until 1978, then it went through numerous owners, until Des Wall purchased it and restored it in the late 2000s. This was the first time it has raced since its restoration.

Note in the engine shot the distributor has been moved to the front of the motor. Shepperd had moved the motor back within the engine bay slightly, and down within the sub-frame for better weight distribution. And there was no room for the distributor in its standard location.  



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Steve Holmes
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« Reply #152 on: September 09, 2014, 11:32:44 PM »

Here is a pic of the Bob Jane HQ Monaro from 1972, in its second race. It was driven by John Harvey, while the bugs were ironed out, while Jane himself continued to drive the Camaro. Jane can be seen in the background with Allan Moffat's Kar-Kraft Mustang just in behind.

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Jon Mello
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« Reply #153 on: September 10, 2014, 10:02:53 PM »

Thanks for posting those, Steve. The Monaro is interesting. The roofline and side windows reminds me a little bit of one of the '69 Camaro styling proposals that GM did before they settled on the final design, but it does have a little touch of Pontiac GTO-ness to it as well.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #154 on: September 11, 2014, 08:06:31 PM »

Nice work Steve I am really impressed with the build quality the cars and one can only imagine what a nightmare it must be acquiring parts from the other side world to keep them running.

AL
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Steve Holmes
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« Reply #155 on: September 18, 2014, 04:24:57 PM »

Thanks for posting those, Steve. The Monaro is interesting. The roofline and side windows reminds me a little bit of one of the '69 Camaro styling proposals that GM did before they settled on the final design, but it does have a little touch of Pontiac GTO-ness to it as well.

Thats an interesting image Jon, and yes, the family resemblance can clearly be seen. Holden was/is the Australian branch of General-Motors, and as such, it was common to have several American GM designers based in Australia at any one time, and likewise Europe, which is one of the reasons there are clear design links between GM cars the world over. Same was true of Ford.

In the case of the HQ Monaro, the design team was led by two American designers, Joe Schemansky and John Schinella. Furthermore, GM in the US would also send young designers abroad to gain experience.

The biggest challenge designers had in creating Australian coupes, was that, being a small domestic market, the same platform and the majority of the sheetmetal had to be shared with the equivalent four door sedan. So the HQ Monaro is a 2-door coupe version of the HQ 4-door sedan. Everything from the firewall forward, and the bottom tip of the rear windscreen back, are exactly the same. Only the centre sections are different.
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Steve Holmes
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« Reply #156 on: September 18, 2014, 04:32:32 PM »

Nice work Steve I am really impressed with the build quality the cars and one can only imagine what a nightmare it must be acquiring parts from the other side world to keep them running.

AL

Actually Al, believe it or not, its easier to race an American car in Australia or New Zealand than an Australian car! Everything is reproduced, and parts are cheap and plentiful.

The Australian cars, on the other hand, were really only produced in relatively small numbers by comparison, and survival rates are quite low. There is a slowly growing reproduction market, but repro parts are very expensive by comparison. And some parts are not being reproduced at all. Mechanically, the Aussie stuff is easy, as it is mostly American anyway, its the sheetmetal, trim and interior parts that are the challenge.

For example, in New Zealand a second-hand rear bumper in average condition with small dents and surface rust for an HQ Monaro costs about the same as a brand new rear bumper for a 67/68 Camaro, landed in NZ. Rear HQ bumpers are now being reproduced, but cost approx three times the equivalent new rear Camaro bumper.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #157 on: September 18, 2014, 10:44:17 PM »

Nice info, Steve. Thanks for that.
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Jon Mello
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Steve Holmes
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« Reply #158 on: September 22, 2014, 04:09:58 PM »

Thanks Jon. I believe John Schinella was one of the key GM designers involved in penning the first gen Camaro, and he also spent time working under John DeLorean at Pontiac. These family traits are then passed to the Aussie cars when these designers are assigned to do a spell at Holden. Kinda neat how it all ties in.
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Steve Holmes
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« Reply #159 on: September 25, 2014, 09:04:36 PM »

Here is a piece of tv coverage, filmed by SKY TV, of our New Zealand Historic Muscle Cars group which was created to celebrate the big-bore sedans from our motorsport past. This was filmed at our opening 2014/15 season event, at Hampton Downs, south of Auckland, a couple of weeks ago. The weather was miserable, and several guys didn't show up for various reasons. The woman with the orange Valiant and the guy with the white Cortina aren't part of HMC, but were included in the video anyway.

Several HMC cars are former SCCA A/Sedans, imported to NZ specifically for this group.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTx6f9b-4wc&feature=youtu.be
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #160 on: September 25, 2014, 10:46:44 PM »

Steve, yes I remember John Schinella's name in conjunction with Camaro design and he had quite a nice career at GM.

The video is a nice bit of promotion for your group. Nice to get yourself on TV and spread the word about what you guys are doing.
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Jon Mello
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