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ShannonS SportS and Muscle car spectacular

the GermanS

Words Ben Dillon Photos nathan Duff

Mullets and muscle cars mixed with sleek Teutonic sixes in an event that proved warring factions can sometimes get along

are coMing!


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Queensland Raceway was abuzz with the sound of music on the weekend of June 26-27. Fortunately for the assembled crowd, the line-up was filled with screaming V8s, sixes and fours rather than the muted tones of jazz or the sickly ear-candy of pop music.

This years Shannons Sports and Muscle Car Spectacular was a festival of extreme machines coming together in the tarmac moshpit better known as Queensland Raceway. From the Trans Am racers to the Group N Historic Touring Cars and the Muscle Car Sprint classes, there was enough energy to make an AC/DC concert look like a Tupperware party. Acca Dacca also had nothing on the volume of some of the cars as they passed by. The ear-piercing note of one particular Porsche 911 had more than a few spectators wincing in pain as it screeched past. The age-old pub/class argument of American/ Australian cubic-inch aggression versus German efficiency often results in bloodied noses, but today the assembled crowds passion for the cars was the same, regardless of the underlying mechanical theory. The 911s howled down the main straight in excess of 250km/h, leaving in their wake a momentary absence of sound soon filled by the contrasting burble of the Trans Am series cars

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ShannonS SportS and Muscle car spectacular

in the pits waiting for their turn to take to the stage. If ever a festival encouraged peace between automotive beliefs, this was it. The headline act was a collection of Porsches brought out from the Porsche Museum in Zuffenhausen, along with Klaus Bischof, Porsche race-engineer turned curator of the rolling museum. The three Porches drew punters like a pub with free beer whether the cars were stationary or screaming down the main straight. The two big bangers were the road-going version of the 911 GT1 that was victorious in the 1998 Le Mans 24 Hour and the 935, replete in Martini colours, that took the 1976 FIA Group 5 Special Production with famed F1 drivers Jacky Ickx and Jochen Maas at the wheel. The GT1 wasnt competing, but to see this 700hp street-registered (in Germany) monster take to the track at all was an act of great courage from Porsche, and one that motoring enthusiasts will remember for quite a while. The 935 was there for a few quick laps though, and when it took to the track with Bischof at the wheel all were treated to a rare experience the sight and sound of an all-time great Porsche. This car was a very close relative to the most famous road-based Porsche of all time, the 935/78 Moby Dick. Indeed, this particular 935 is very close to Bischof, as he worked on it as a race mechanic. It also helped cement the success of the brand. The third Porsche on loan from the museum was a 1963 356 B-based Carrera GS/GT, which

Bischof used in this years Targa Tasmania. Out on the track, the 365B Carrera made all the right noises and turned quite a few heads with its ability to keep on the coat-tails of the more muscular Germans, despite the lower power output and the fact it was worth a cool $1 million. The price tag didnt seem to bother driver Warwick McKensie he kept his foot flat to the boards in the little Porsche all the way around Queensland Raceway. While the Porsches were the top act, the support acts were just as popular with punters. The pit area carpark was rev-head nirvana, with an incredible diversity of cars taking up every inch of available tarmac in the Shannons Show and Shine event. The depth of variety was staggering. There was a swathe of V8 Falcons ranging from XR to XC a green Superbird was a stand-out as well as American muscle, more Holdens than you could poke a stick at, and even some more modern machinery such as a brand-spanking new ZR-1 Corvette and an incredibly sinister matte-black Lamborghini Murcielago LP 670-4 SV. While the majority of cars on show were Aussie and Yank muscle, odd contrasts existed everywhere. Where else would you see an original 1960s Lotus Elan sitting right next to an imperious Ford Galaxie from the same era that looks big enough to eat it? A call from the stewards soon saw the carpark erupt into an explosion of sound as the Show and Shine spectators cars were ushered into pit lane for a demonstration lap of the circuit.

GOING TOPLESS Porsche GT1 draws a crowd 935 goes looking for worms.

Where else would you see an original 1960s lotus elan parked next to a Ford galaxie?


australian classic car

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ShannonS SportS and Muscle car spectacular

If disbelievers still insisted after the Show and Shine that muscle cars dont rule, the Trans Am racers formed up on the grid to erase any doubt. This class brought together classic sledgehammers like the Mustang and Camaro in an old-school battle where cubic-inches and big carbs reigned. Seriously, if you want to convert someone to the bent-eight religion, just get the heretic up close to a Trans Am race car. Even the most stoic believer in the merits of technical progress will get a shiver down his/her spine upon hearing the melodious push-rod symphony. Highlight of the day was the race between a pocket-bike, the Shannons Goggomobile Dart, and Jim Richards in his 1964 Ford Falcon Sprint.

men anD their machineS

WayNE Park
POrSchE 956c Former V8 Supercar driver Wayne Park was there to pilot one of the most exciting cars in the paddock: the 956 Porsche that Vern Schuppan drove to victory in the 1983 Japanese National Sports Car Championship. In period ISEKI (tractors and farm equipment) livery, the 956 looked silky smooth as it traced the racing line around the track, cornering flatly and blaring down the straight with unassuming ease.

1966 FOrd MuSTaNG Classic Mustangs dont get much better than Phil Ross 1966 example. Phil has owned the car for 12 years and regularly competes in events like this, as well as helping to organise them. Headline figures for the 289ci V8 Stang are 420hp at the flywheel run through a four-speed Toploader gearbox. This was definitely one classic that drove as beautifully as it looked.

Jim richards, in his Falcon, gave the pocket-bike a massive two-minute, 20-second start!

harrISON cOBra rEPLIca With almost 900hp available at the wheels, Joe Bauers Cobra replica was one of the toughest cars in the field. Motivated by a supercharged Holden LS1 V8, stroked to 393ci, it certainly made all the right noises and spat flame like its serpent namesake spits venom. Joes Cobra does tend to kill windscreens, though. Just driving on the highway in third gear, I hit the throttle and the screen cracked. It just has too much torque, said Joe.

Suffice to say a handicap was given to the pocket-bike and Goggomobile; Jims Falcon sounded every inch the angry V8 as it roared away from the line two minutes and 20 seconds after the pocket-bike had left the start/finish line. As the Ford thundered around the circuit, eyes strained to catch sight of either the pocketbike or Goggomobile. On the wide expanse of Queensland Raceway, both looked like mosquitoes being hunted down by a roaring lion. Amazingly, all three vehicles exited the last corner onto the main straight at the same time, though the corner seemed to last a lot longer for some. Bringing rev-heads together under any sort of communal banner is a tough job. About the only thing most of us agree on is that the vehicle needs four wheels (and even then there are often murmurings of dissent). The fact the Shannons Sports & Muscle Car Spectacular brought such an exciting array of cars and people to one venue was a huge plus for anyone with even a little petrol in their veins. All that was needed to make this event truly rock-tastic was for some bands to turn up and start jamming. Wonder if Shannons would spring for AC/DC to play at next years event?

JIM rIchardS
1964 FOrd SPrINT Racing legend Jim Richards was at the event, driving his 1964 Ford Falcon Sprint. Jim told us that it pumped out approximately 535hp. It certainly sounded the part as the pocket-bike/Goggomobile challenge demonstrated. With historic racing becoming increasingly popular, it is great to see legends like Jim joining the fray and giving the sport a boost in profile.

drB GT40 Todds GT40 was a real stand-out, both for the sound it made and the way he drove it. Throughout the weekend Todd was consistently at the pointy end of the field in the GT40 & Cobra Challenge class, showing the punters what these cars are famous for. The DRB cornered flatter than a pancake, with just a hint of oversteer on the exit when Todds right foot hit the loud pedal. In its unique orange and blue colouring, along with a worked Cleveland V8, it was one car you couldnt miss seeing or hearing.


australian classic car