Some of the finest examples of American and Australian muscle cars from the halcyon days of the 1960s and ‘70s will face off in the Rare Spares Muscle Car Marvel – the ultimate display of classic performance at Meguiar’s MotorEx 12 at Sydney’s Olympic Park on July 21-22. The huge muscle car display at Australia’s greatest annual celebration of custom, performance and collectable cars will be a real highlight for racing great and MotorEx special guest, John Bowe.
The former Australian Touring Car Champion and Bathurst 1000 winner is reigning champion of the popular Touring Car Masters series for classic muscle cars, after wrapping up his first title last year at Olympic Park in his 1969 Ford Mustang fastback. The Muscle Car Marvel display at MotorEx is one of the best you’ll see anywhere,” Bowe said. “The quality of the cars is amazing and you can really appreciate the contrasts between the Australian and American cars when you see them displayed together like this.
“The really big V8 engine options available in American muscle cars of that era, which often exceeded 7.0 litres in capacity, were mainly because the prime focus in the US was on drag racing and straight line speed.
“By comparison, Australian muscle car designers were more concerned with handling, agility and ruggedness, but that wasn’t only because of the Bathurst 500 each year. Our roads were appalling and these cars often had to cover huge interstate distances in all kinds of weather.
“A display of so many examples of these great Australian and American factory muscle cars in one place at MotorEx is a real must-see for me and I’m sure any car enthusiast,” he concluded. Participating car clubs will compete for the perpetual Rare Spares Muscle Car Marvel Best Club trophy, awarded to the display judged to have the best quality of cars and best overall impact.
The winning club will not only hold the coveted Best Club trophy for a year, but also receive free entry for up to six cars at next year’s MotorEx and a cash component of $1000. The Rare Spares Muscle Car Marvel is defined by two categories – Factory Muscle and Modified Muscle. Factory Muscle is for cars built to a high performance specification by the original manufacturer. Some of these cars were produced in an even higher state of tune and in small numbers, purely to meet minimum build requirements to be approved (or homologated) for competition use.
At MotorEx, these factory muscle cars are either restored or maintained to original specifications, right down to their skinny tyres. Many look like they’ve just been driven straight off the showroom floor. Modified Muscle is for a similar breed of muscle cars, but which have been modified from their original factory specs. These modifications include aftermarket performance upgrades of engine, chassis, brakes, wheels and tyres etc.
In Australian muscle car folklore, the Bathurst ‘homologation specials’ as they’ve become known were produced by Ford, Holden and Chrysler in the 1960s and ‘70s to compete in the annual 500-mile (1000 kms from 1973) endurance race at Mount Panorama.
They include the now legendary Ford Falcon GT/GT-HO and Holden’s Monaro GTS, Torana GTR XU-1, L34 and A9X. The legacy of Chrysler Australia also lives on with the hot 4BBL Pacers and R/T E38 and E49 Six Pack Hemi Chargers.
During this era, Detroit’s big three car manufacturers were also pushing the limits of factory performance, safety and government tolerance in their quest to be kings of the showroom muscle car war. These included cars like Ford’s Mustang, Fairlane and Torino, GM’s Chevrolet Camaro, Corvette and Impala, Pontiac GTO and Firebird and Chrysler’s iconic Dodge Charger, Challenger and Plymouth’s Barracuda. Many of these cars will be on display at MotorEx 12. Rare Spares General Manager, David Rayner OAM, said sponsorship of the Muscle Car Marvel was a good fit for the widely respected home-grown brand of restoration parts and accessories.
“A lot of exhibitors at MotorEx use Rare Spares products on their cars, so there’s no better way to showcase what we do than to back the best indoor display of muscle cars in Australia,” he said.
“MotorEx is an exciting opportunity for Rare Spares, and we plan to add even more excitement during the event, with a very special announcement to be made that will have far-reaching implications for the local car industry.”