The Swingin' Sixties to the Love Generation (1960-1979) | Shannons End of An Era | Part 2
Australia unshackles itself from a very British past and embraces a more American inspired way of life. It was the smaller, second family car which provided Australian women with a sense of independence and freedom to travel.
By now, the Big Three – Ford, Holden and Chrysler were all producing Australian made cars. The battleground that would exist for years, had begun as the competition for sales was fierce in the showrooms and on the race track.
Chrysler launches its first Valiant, the first Aussie Falcons roll out of Broadmeadows and we reveal a most dubious Henry Ford 2. watching the new Aussie made XP Falcons undertake a world first - a 70,000 mile Durability Test, aimed at clawing back some of Holden’s market dominance.
This was the time that racing drivers like Firth, Jane, Gibson, Geoghan and later Moffatt, Bond, Harvey and Brock, become household names, proving that a big win on Sunday, means big sales on Monday. Australians watch on television as the legend of Bathurst begins to take hold.
We see the early Japanese cars with smaller, more fuel-efficient engines quickly emerge, plus the BMC Mini and VW Beetle capture the hearts of Australia, much like they did all over the world.
In a contrast of size and power, the era of large powerful Australian sedans and sports coupes establish themselves and the Aussie ‘muscle car’ is born – the likes of Falcon GT-HO, Monaro GTS and Torana XU1 become the envy of Australian males. Chargers, Falcons and the HQ Kingswood fill Australian driveways, whilst Ford Fairlanes cruise business districts and our country back-roads. We revisit some of the classic advertising campaigns of yesteryear – who can forget Chrysler’s “Hey Charger” that had school kids on every street corner championing the Aussie coupe?
Plus, just what we all need, a big Aussie sedan with room to carry a 44 gallon drum in the boot - the Leyland P76.
The huge losses sustained by the P76 despite winner of the Wheels Car of the Year Award, will ultimately see Leyland Australia - makers of the Mini, Moke, Marina and Kimberley, leave our shores forever.
But as petrol prices continue to increase, the value proposition of smaller Japanese cars like the Toyota Corolla, Chrysler Galant and Datsun 1600 all start to fill the car parks of suburban malls and Australian new car buyers vote with their wallets.
These cars would later give rise to the likes of Chrysler’s Sigma, Toyota’s Corona and the Datsun Bluebird, whilst a wave of surf culture swept the nation with the Falcon Sundowner, Chrysler Drifter and Holden Sandman filling the carparks of our coastline, keeping fathers nervous as the bumper stickers suggested.
It was Allan Moffatt’s ‘side by side’ victory at Bathurst in 1977 that would give Ford their most famous 1-2 win of all, before Holden gambled on a new smaller sized family sedan called the Commodore.
Shannons End of Era. Celebrating Aussie Motoring History.