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20 September 2021 | General

TCM Dream Machines

WHEN a minor change to the Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters Technical Regulations was made a few years ago it ushered in a new era for the series.

The addition of cars built up to and including 1980 opened the series up to what is broadly considered the ‘next generation’ of Australian Touring Cars from the popular Group C era.

As such the VB/C Holden Commodore and XD Ford Falcon now compete alongside the existing Camaro, Mustang, Torana, Falcon and other models that have been mainstays in the category for years and, based on our recent ‘fan favourite’ polls, are hugely popular among TCM fans with the Team Johnson Falcon taking top spot.

Which begs the question – what should be next?

While the category will firmly retain its roots as being the home to classic muscle cars from the 1960s and 1970s – and the technical regulations ensure that they will remain just as competitive as they are now – there remain several cars from the late 1970s that would very much be TCM worthy but have not yet raced.

So, just for fun, listed below are a few hypotheticals. We’ll state clearly that at this point, as far as we know, there are no plans for any of these models to be built let alone raced in TCM – but we can only dream!

Let us know what you would build to take on the TCM establishment if you had the chance by visiting our social media channels now!

JAGUAR XJS

BUILT for more than 20 years, Jaguar’s XJS Coupe’ would fit the TCM mould perfectly, with five years of models available under the current regulations given the car was first produced in 1975.

What’s more, the XJS has a remarkable racing history in Australia, first appearing in Group C form at Mount Panorama (and causing the famous 1984 start line crash as Tom Walkinshaw’s clutch failed at the start of the Great Race) before winning the race in 1985 thanks to the might of the JRA-backed Tom Walkinshaw Racing squad.

In the United States, XJS drivers were winners in TransAm competition in the late 1970s – both running Production-based vehicles and later, specialised tube-framed cars.

There’s never been a V12 TCM car but the size, shape and performance potential of the XJS body means it would absolutely be competitive should you extract the right horsepower and do it reliably.

But having a shriek of the Jag V12 up against the Ford and Chevrolet V8’s? Yes please.

BMW 635CSi 

ANOTHER two-door coupe’ first seen in the late 1970s that became famous in Australia in the early 80s, the German thoroughbred was one of the most popular Touring Cars from of the era in Australia.

Fettled by the legendary Frank Gardner and first seen in 1981 in the hands of Allan Grice, the car was the six-cylinder rival to the big V8’s and turbo fours and rotaries of the day. Though it never saw much success in Group C form, the Group A variant was remarkably successful in the hands of Jim Richards – who would later go on to win two TCM titles – that saw him deliver BMW the 1985 Australian Touring Car Championship.

Fast, light and with the howling BMW six in front, the car would make quite the TCM impact.

Cam Tilley will tell you that getting a six-cylinder powered car competitive against the V8’s is a big task – and it surely  is – but a 653CSi painted gloss black with, perhaps, a hint of gold on the sides would add heaps to the TCM grid..

MAZDA RX-7

THIS one would polarise TCM fans about as much as Allan Moffat did when he rolled his first Wankel Rotary RX-7 out in the 1982 ATCC.

The RX7 was often decried by fans as being a sports car and not a touring car – though TCM’s history includes race wins from Porsche’s, so it’s hard to argue that the Japanese car wouldn’t fit.

First built in 1978, the RX-7 technically fits the TCM regulations but as yet no one has ever tried to build a rotary TCM car, let alone race one, so how it would match up would be anyone’s guess.

But it would certainly sound dramatic and the light weight, high-revving nature would see it very competitive – like the Porsche’s – on the shorter, more technical circuits.

Any fans of Japanese cars keen for some TCM-spec rotary action?

DATSUN 240Z

SPEAKING of Japan, how about the mighty Datsun 240/260/280Z? The first of the famous ‘Z’ cars is one of the most iconic sports cars ever made and with six-cylinder power would fit right into the TCM field all going well.

Hugely successful in SCCA racing in the United States, you’ll often see the Datto’s at the pointy-end of Group S Historic Sports Car fields here in Australia, racing competitively against cars with plenty more grunt.

A TCM-spec Z-car in the famous Red, White and Blue SCCA livery from the 1970s? Yes please!

NISSAN BLUEBIRD

THE 910-model Datsun / Nissan Bluebird holds an important piece of Australian Motorsport history thanks to George Fury’s remarkable pole position lap for the 1984 Bathurst 1000, where the factory Nissan team wound up the Boost and let it rip for the fastest ever Group C lap of the big hill.

Like the rotaries, V12s and Sixes listed above, a turbocharged four-pot car is unprecedented in TCM history but in every other regard the big, boxy Nissan fits the bill.

What’s more, there’s a lot more knowledge and information about how to keep potentially unhinged – and unreliable – turbocharged cars on track these days so the days of their famed unreliability could also be a thing of the past.

What say you? A turbo terror in TCM?