Star Letter: Aussies in Charge

Published: 11:14AM Aug 19th, 2010
By: Web Editor

Just a quick note to say it's great to see a feature on the Aussie Charger; many thanks for giving this often dismissed car some exposure and not polluting the article with right-hand drive Barracuda references.

Star Letter: Aussies in Charge

In six-cylinder form, they handle well and unlike some of the bigger US cars can be driven daily, will maintain a solid 90mph at approx 3000rpm if you want to risk it, fit in standard garage (just) and can be parked at Tesco with little problem. They are a great first Mopar as well, because here they are relatively cheap because the UK-based US car-buying public don’t like right-hand drive very much.

A couple of comments on the article: the Hemi six is an inline upright six-cylinder, not a Slant six; it has more in common with the LA318 (pistons valves lifters etc) than the slant and has a head with combustion chambers similar to the 318 Poly. It was designed as a replacement for the slant 6, and had to be able to, in standard form, lug around a large 1.5-tonne plus fully loaded family car and, in race form, as stated in the article, hold its own against the opposition’s small block V8s.

The article appeared to be for an audience who already knew who CAMS are/were, who had prior experience of Australian production saloon car racing and the drivers, or indeed had some understanding of Chrysler Australia’s confusing Model and option code designation. I fear you may have lost a good few readers part way through the first page. You also made little or no mention of the Weber Carbs, the trips to Italy with cars to get them tuned and so on.

It would have been nice to see a feature or three-part feature on muscle cars from down under, or muscle cars of American origin; ie background on each of the big three in Australia, their horsepower war based on endurance rather than drag racing, and then follow it up with a feature on a good example of their best attempts. It’s more or less on target for an American car magazine as all of them were designed to some extent in the US and were built using some US parts. Us owners go to the same advertisers for our spares.

FORD XT-XY Falcon/ Fairlane is a US four-door Falcon body; the Ford XA XB XC two-door bodies and the Chrysler Charger both had final styling done in the same US design studio. The VE VF and VG valiant were all 68 Dodge Dart based. The US link is strong. I’m sure the gentlemen at Australian Muscle Car magazine could turn you up a few cars to feature. Many thanks for an excellent magazine....keep putting Mopars on the cover.

David Gray
Via e-mail

Thanks for your comments David. The feature, which was longer than we usually run in Classic American, did perhaps presuppose a little foreknowledge of Australian cars and racing. However, to have been even more comprehensive would have made the feature even bigger and risked losing even more readers’ attention. Hopefully it will have piqued a few readers' interest in these wonderful Antipodean cars which cross that Aussie-Kiwi-American muscle car divide.

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