THE 27th running of the annual Chryslers On The Murray saw 835 entrants from across the country make the trek to Albury-Wodonga for three days of cruising, show ’n’ shine and the ever-popular swap meet.
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The weekend kicked off with some Friday fun and shenanigans at the Logic Centre DECA at Barnawatha, with time trials, laps of the track and even a few minor off-track excursions, all in the name of good fun.
Saturday’s itinerary included the first day of the show ’n’ shine, held at Gateway Lakes Park on the Lincoln Causeway, and a cruise to the Ettamogah Pub for a photoshoot for this year’s featured models, the VE, VF and VG Valiants.
Sunday saw the second day of the show ’n’ shine and the swap meet, with presentations for the event winners late in the afternoon.
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1. Angelo Furfaro from Melbourne took out Chrysler Of The Show with his twin-turbo Mopar R5P7-powered 1967 VC Valiant. A 727 Torqueflite transmission and a nine-inch diff get the power to the ground. The mini-tubbed, immaculately presented beast is painted in Porsche GT silver and drew crowds of onlookers all weekend.
2. Taking home the trophy for best VE Valiant and a top five overall placing was Loui Vassos’s 1967 VE Wayfarer ute. “I’ve owned the ute for 20 years and started building it 12 years ago,” said Loui, who hails from Salisbury, SA. Originally beige, most of the ute was painted in the shed at home; even the undercarriage is painted in the matching black.
“The Wayfarer began life powered by a slant-six with a three-speed column-shift manual, but now runs an alloy-headed 360ci package built by Nick and Brenton at THR Developments,” Loui said. “The engine was rebuilt in the last week before the show.”
Running a flat-tappet cam, 10:1 compression and an ICE Ignition system, the 360 is putting out 470hp through a 3000rpm billet-faced converter supplied by Bergamin Bros Racing and a 904 Torqueflite transmission with TCI internals.
Precision Differential & Gearbox Centre in South Australia built the BorgWarner diff using a Dana centre with 4.11:1 gears and billet 28-spline Currie axles.
3. Brad Keem drove his restored original 1971 VH Pacer over from Colac in Victoria’s south for COTM. “I’ve owned the Pacer for about 10 years and had it painted in the Vitamin C orange around six years ago, but didn’t have the time or space to build it while I was playing with my Charger, SLO265.” Brad explained.
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Brad’s Charger has been off the road for the past three years, so he decided to embark on a nut-and-bolt resto on the Pacer, including having his first go at painting and detailing the undercarriage. “It’s done as close as possible to how it would have left the factory, right down to the red oxide undercoat,” he said.
“It’s only had a couple of mods like the triple Webers and a four-speed gearbox, though it has a three-speed knob on the shifter to keep it looking original,” he continues. “The engine is a fairly mild 265 with a mild cam and the old head off SLO265 from when it was running nines on the quarter.”
4. Mick O’Halloran bought a wrecked BA Falcon ute for $900, pulled the Barra and auto transmission out and added an upsized and intercooled turbo, along with 1000cc injectors with upgraded valve springs, then fitted the whole lot into his VG. Mick is hoping for high 10s out of the Barra-powered Val.
Running on pump fuel, the Ford engine is pushing out a healthy 326rwkW (437hp) through the BTR4 auto to a shortened XH Falcon BorgWarner with 28-spline billet axles. Pulling the ute up is a set of UPC disc brakes.
5. Ari Droutsas from Thomastown in Melbourne has had his 1971 Pacer replica since he was 14 years old. The reconditioned motor runs triple Webers, with a BorgWarner four-speed sending the power through to the factory rear end. All the bodywork was done at home by Ari and his father Patrick.
6. Melbourne’s Milton Kioussis has owned his VG Pacer tribute for 20 years and has been coming to COTM for the past 15. Starting life as a VG 770 Regal, the coupe was previously running a supercharged 318, but now has a 408ci roller-cammed, alloy-headed aspirated Chrysler small-block on board, pushing out a very respectable 561hp on the engine dyno. The VG runs power steering, four-wheel disc brakes and a Ford nine-inch rear end.
7. Rick Taylor has owned his Mustard-coloured Plymouth Duster since he was 19. In the nine years since then, the coupe has seen plenty of changes and upgrades, including being converted to right-hand drive, fitted out with Ford Territory front disc brakes and the engine upgraded to a 408ci Chrysler small-block stroker motor.
8. Anton Polkamp drove his 1970 R/T Challenger down from Sydney, but that didn’t stop him from giving it plenty of curry out at the Logic Centre at the Friday time trials. Powered by 493ci big-block and backed by a Tremec six-speed manual, the R/T is putting out 700hp. Bringing all that power to a halt are Wilwood brakes with six-piston calipers on the front and four-piston rears.
9. Eric Campbell brought his whole family over from Coningham in Tasmania for COTM. “I’ve got a bit of a collection of Valiants; the years when the family comes over with me we bring a few of my cars over together,” Eric said. “I’ve owned this four-door Pacer for five years, but I’m still doing bits and pieces to it – whatever I can to put it back to pretty much factory condition. It was actually painted way back in 1993 and had a 265ci motor and five-speed put in it by a previous owner. All sorts of little things were wrong with it and basically it wasn’t finished off properly. It’s now got an original Pacer 245ci motor out of another VG Pacer, and I put a three-speed manual back in the car too.”
10. Russell Richardson, owner of Sydney’s Dominator Engines, put his 1968 Valiant through its paces at COTM. Under the hood is a Chrysler 360 stroked out to 408ci, putting out 475hp.
11. Dates for next year’s Chryslers On The Murray are 13-15 March, with the spotlight on US muscle cars, as well as the 50th anniversary of the Rambler Hornet and Gremlin. A must-attend event for any true Mopar fanatic.