THE engineering force behind two memorable Australian performance car projects of the 1980s, the low-volume mid-engined Giocattolo Group B road rocket and the Le Mans-style Pantera race car, is set to reveal his magnum opus, a high tech, purpose-built track machine called Aero Supercar.
Ex-McLaren Formula One and Can-Am engineer Barry Lock’s Aero will be publicly unveiled at the Caloundra Supercar Event, a celebration of supercars past, present and future on August 12 and 13.
The significance of the Caloundra Events Centre venue for the unveiling is simple – this same place hosted the launch to the public of the Giocattolo, a joint effort by Lock and his long-time friend and backer, the visionary entrepreneur and enthusiast Paul Halstead, 30 years ago. The Aero, though, is all Lock’s own project, though Halstead remains an ardent supporter.
Lock has been developing the Aero, a closed two-door DTM-influenced racer with the objective to produce it in volume to compete in a range of classes locally and internationally. It qualifies as a category 2a sports car, but Lock says that ideally he’d like to see the Aero in a series or class of its own, giving manufacturers (such as the Lexus mock-up, pictured) a chance to showcase their technologies.
Lock has stuck firmly to his own guidelines including affordable purchase price, low running costs, high performance and unimpeachable safety. Its price should settle at around $250,000, plus engine, which is cheaper than the cost of competing in any of Australia's premier categories.
The chassis is modular with a carbon, steel and aluminium tub and is intended to take a range of engines including V8, turbo fours and sixes mated to a Holinger gearbox. It’s a full aero design with diffusers front and rear linked by a carbon undertray. The weight is just below 900kg so with 500 horsepower and serious downforce it will be very quick, running on 18x10-inch wheels.
History will not be forgotten in the fanfare of the launch of Lock’s Aero. In what will be the biggest ever reunion of Giocattolos, up to 10 of the 220kW Holden V8-powered machines he built for Halstead will be on show at the Saturday evening’s event cocktail party and dinner.
Other cars relevant to Lock’s career will be on show too, including a 1971 McLaren M8E Can-Am car and the racing Pantera along with drivers Kevin Bartlett, Bap Romano and others.
The next morning, after a Cars and Coffee gathering, the Giocattolos and other pertinent machines will be driven to Brisbane’s Lakeside Raceway for display at the biggest meeting on its calendar, the Lakeside Classic, while Group A and C touring cars will be reprising the soundtrack of the 1980s.
Back in the early 1980s, Halstead had commissioned Lock to build his sleek, wild-looking Pantera track car for GT/sports sedan racing (with Bartlett driving) when the Giocattolo project popped into his fertile mind.
Even at around $90,000 back then, there was a lot of car for the money, with Kevlar and carbonfibre, leather Recaro seats, bespoke instruments, a premium sound system, and even a bottle of Bundy rum in the tool kit.
Only 15 Giocattolo Group Bs were made in that modest little factory in a Caloundra industrial area. It is believed that 13 or 14 survive. One, sadly, was destroyed in a fatal drag racing crash at Eastern Creek in 2001.
Halstead was forced to shut up shop and park his vision for an Aussie luxury supercar after government funding for a low volume-manufacturing scheme was pulled in 1989. The two men still collaborate on other engineering projects built under the HAL (Halstead and Lock) banner.
All proceeds of the Caloundra Supercar Event will go to the Inclusive Kids Community Fun charity supporting disadvantaged children on the Sunshine Coast. Tickets to the cocktail dinner are available at a cost of $100 from 07 5438 3000.
For more details, visit the Giocattolo Facebook Page