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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 10-06-2016, 10:21 PM
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Default Cobra Nats 2017!

Thanks to the encouragement of Modena Ive begun a post for Nats 2017. From what Ive read on the forum and in talking to friends, despite the weather, for those newbies and regulars who attended it was (as usual) a great event. It cant be understated how much effort the NSW club puts into making this event happen and I reckon the trophies should really go to those marshals and helpers who freeze their rings off all day to let us play and make us happy.

Ive attended the Nats since 06. Many have attended since its inception long before that. Some years the weathers good and others not, but essentially the idea of a "national" event for us cobra tragics is awesome. I can remember in 06 or 07 we had 100+ cars/entries. It was hectic but what an atmosphere and so many cars to look at. Before 06 I understand the S&S was held in the main street of Goulburn central.

We did experience a huge drop in attendees brought about by the GFC but now with what AP and Superformance and other manufactures are producing it'd be nice to say that the cobra/gt40 scene in Oz is really healthy??? And yet Nats 2016, despite the thankless efforts of everyone who put on this show together we only got 45+ cars.

It may even be a reflection of whats happening in the respective state based clubs. I know once we lose WP for that long weekend we'd never get it back. The Qlds travel the furthest I guess and we may have the most organised racy group but even for us you could say our regular numbers were 1/2d. No Yve, Chunky, Towy, BDM, Scotty, Mario etc etc?? Many owners may not want to track their cars and I see no problem with that either. Im just wondering, with 12 months to go, what suggestions and extensions of help people may offer to help the NSW club next year??

Here's a few suggestions (helped by a few QLDers who Ive been chatting to) have thought to generate some positive conversation.
- Make the event bi annual? (Would make a yearly booking hard to keep)
- Join in with other clubs like Jag, Ferrari, Corvette or similar 60's/70's competitive marque club and share the event, its costs and its benefits.
- Change venues? Often discussed but may not create numbers and may decrease numbers?
- Change formats?
- Make it a 2 day rather than 3 day event?

The other thing of interest is many regulars have moved on. Stef Greco, Phil M, Scotty H the list goes on. They are all still Cobraphiles but not active in the overall community as such. And its only the new guys coming on board through new cars sales/builds or pre-loved that are going to keep this National event going. Not taking anything away from what's been done but I'd love to see some new people pitching in to help the regular people who organise stuff to not only lend a hand but also a new vision and energy into what we do.

This is in no way a criticism of what's being done. If it wasn't for the likes of the NSW nats committee, Madura, AP, Superformance and Co we simply wouldn't have an event. I just know that generally everyone loves the cobras and we need to help those involved make the event better both in attendance and financially. Sometimes club members are like herding cats and I get that. I'm just launching this topic to get some positive ideas as well as generate some stimulus and help for whatever is planned for 2017.

Bring on your thoughts.....

Spookypt
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Old 10-07-2016, 12:29 AM
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Firstly....huge kudos to the NSW Club for hosting the Nationals every year....a VERY difficult task, performed by a great group of hard working members.

In saying that...we also understand that some changes are inevitable to give the Nationals their best chance to be an ongoing event.

I've spoken to a few of the NSW committee and arranged to pool some of the best suggestions/ ideas from our club and do what we can to help.

Off the top of my head....
I think we could consider the following observations /ideas when plans are made for the Nationals.
(and please understand that these are just MY thoughts / ideas..so not necessarily the best and brightest.....I'm sure not all will agree.. But i hope it opens discussion)

I think we should do whatever we can to keep control of the three day booking of Wakefield Park....but sub let the Sunday to another club,organization for their own event.
Perhaps HSV vs. FPV Track day......Or any other large car club?

The Sunday should be very desireable and should "sell" for quite a good fee...because the next day being a Public Holiday, makes it ideal for any large car club to use it as their annual special event/Nationals etc.
This would erode a big piece of the $40,000 it currently costs to hire the place for three days.
This would mean then ,that all track events would be compressed into the Friday/Saturday .
I.e. Practice day Friday....and with some adjustments to the organising of the track events...all competition on the Saturday.

A few simple changes to get the most out of a FULL day on the Saturday , would see all of the events covered in the one day.
Plenty of time if we use it constantly through the day
With a few more volunteers for the track marshals there would be no need to stop for a "lunch hour ++".... Two "shifts" of helpers out on the track would be best...or deliver drinks and Sandwiches/ coffee to those who are happy to stay out there.

The track is costing approx $2,000 for every "useable" hour, so making the most of the Friday and Saturday would get everything done...and let someone else pick up the tab for the Sunday....saving maybe $12,000 .
Of course, this would also mean that the entry cost per car could be substantially reduced, but with this reduction, and some of the following additions, the numbers of entrants would be much higher.

As much fun as all the track events are....from talking to everyone over the weekend, there was also keen interest in the idea of doing all the track stuff on the Friday and Saturday, and then using the Sunday for other Cobra activities....

A "Show and Shine" for perhaps a full 3 hours Sunday morning.... held in town,to combine with the markets and annual carnival held in Goulburn on that long weekend.....with a "top 10" cars chosen at the show and shine,with the top 3 , including the overall winner announced at the presentation ceremony that night.
The Show and Shine could be followed by a 200-300 Klm scenic organised run through the beautiful local countryside....including a burger/ sausage sizzle arranged with the local lions/rotary club....and back to town for the presentation dinner.

With the Friday and Saturday at Wakefield park....given enough lead time...these two days could also have a number of additional things arranged.
A Dyno ???.... Great fun, and very interesting as a spectator sport.
Product displays ?... Tyres? Mags? Performance parts?
Promotional girls ?? Just sayin'

Other money making ideas ?
Given enough lead time...there could be a big increase in donated prizes for the major raffle.
A list of good quality prizes
( some donated by those businesses that we invite to set up displays at the track ?)
Would generate a lot more ticket sales.
Excellent support by the Baume and Mercier group this year really helped with raising valuable funds.

Most importantly....next years Nats should be planned out ASAP ....it's too hard to change anything in the last few weeks or a month before the event.

I'm doing this on my iPad at the local coffee shop, so I might wait until I get in front of a computer to write down some more ideas.....but hope that some of this might be of interest.

Again....these are just some random ideas, which might be of some use.

Cheers,
Warren
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Last edited by Wazza; 10-07-2016 at 03:17 AM..
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Old 10-07-2016, 01:15 AM
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Thanks spook.

As a newbie myself I certainly appreciate the organising such an event takes, and sincerely hope it continues into the future.

I do think there is some renewed interest in cobra builds and acquisitions, and fully expect this will translate to higher attendance over coming years.

Some random thoughts...
  • In Victoria, as elsewhere, there is an increased proportion of cruising interest over racing, and that reflects on these events unfortunately, just as it does Shelbyfest for example. I know it's been tried before, however perhaps the time is now right to retry incorporating some cruising-type events over the weekend; this might increase overall participation, and will contribute spectators to the race events.

  • Speaking of the spectators, perhaps more activities to involve them might drive up attendance. Track time is limited, so perhaps 'joy' rides off track might be in order. (This could work in well with the 'cruising cars' from the previous point attending providing the rides .) I know we can't expect the spectators to entirely fund the racing population, however they can supplement it. Also, with greater audiences come a greater overall interest, and that would increase future competitor numbers hopefully.

  • It is a big expedition from Qld, SA and Victoria to attend (forget WA - you're special albanycobra!). I drove on my own both ways for 8 hours towing my cobra up and back. An empty car that could seat 7 comfortably! It occurs to me the interstate clubs could think of ways to drive attendance somehow and use up that 'spare space'. Maybe this space, and the promise of a few rides in some cobras, could be used to encourage club membership or existing new member involvement (those who haven't built or bought yet). Maybe club funds could supplement those drivers offering members a lift? Etc. (Not that we do this for money! Just brainstorming, don't shoot me....)

  • The fantastic Baume and Mercer watch raffled this year was a huge hit. Interest reached beyond the core attendees, which was marvellous for spreading the revenue pool but also awareness of the event I think. More of this would be good!

  • I love Matt's idea of having replica or vintage Ferraris join in - wouldn't THAT be a treat, and ironic given the history!

Finally, I've booked my accomodation and lodged my holiday request at work for next year already. I'll be there! Bring on Cobra Nats 2017!
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Old 10-07-2016, 03:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spookypt View Post
...
- Join in with other clubs like Jag, Ferrari, Corvette or similar 60's/70's competitive marque club and share the event, its costs and its benefits...
In America they often use the term 'Hand Crafted Automobiles' (HCAs), which I assume means all kit cars and one-offs. I'm on the 'Clubbies' site as well and see them falling into this broader-generic category, unfortunately I can't think of any other group. I don't know a forum where the one-off folks hang out but I would assume they would probably be more S&S orientated.

Based on the interest shown in my GTO build I think a HCA concept might be worth some thought.
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Old 10-07-2016, 03:47 AM
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Clubbies Cobra's and GT40s should all hold their Nats together?? And maybe hold in it Vic or SA so WA people can attend.....just some thoughts.
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Old 10-07-2016, 05:23 AM
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The current location of Goulburn while being cold and miserable one minute and scortching the next is a very good central location for this event.

There would be many clubs that would kill for access to Wakefeild on the Oct long weekend, so if it the event was moved for a year the booking for the track would be lost and would not be returned.

I do agree with the idea of some cruising events, it is loads of fun getting out on the road with other Cobras, it is something I am planning on doing a lot more of with the Daytona.

Having more vendors showing their wares is a great idea but I don't think there would be enough sales to warrant setting up an outlet for a weekend.

I genuinely hope the event continues and have no problem with the program being changed or others being invited if it means it can survive.

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Old 10-07-2016, 06:06 PM
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I agree with what the others have written. Combining the event with another club would increase numbers and add to the variety.

I really like the cruise idea. Must admit I was thinking about this during the Nationals. My son really wanted to go in the Cobra with me and we would have driven it to the dinners (when the weather was cooperating) but the track gates closed at 6pm so I wouldn't have been able to garage the car for the night. Also, being under 16, he was not allowed on the track which was a bit of a bummer. He'll have to wait until the 30th Nationals for his chance!

Are the Nationals promoted in the Golbourn area? Do the residents know much about it? If it were, that would bring more foot traffic during the event.

A large screen TV in the pits with live streaming of the drivers would be great. Would help to involve the spectators. I noticed that someone had a drone. Footage from above of the cars competing would be great to see.

Re the vendors, let them come for free if they want. There is room for them, and that would add to the weekend. Maybe they can have a carnival area for kids with jumping castle/ball pit etc. Those artists who do cariactures would also be great to have. Perhaps a portrait of owner with car could be a door prize?

All in all however, my son and I had a great time. Even if nothing changed, we'd still be happy with that.
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Old 10-07-2016, 06:59 PM
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I would love to see the Cobras keep the Nationals for mostly just the Cobras and the usual few "others" that usually belong to people linked to the Cobra fraternity.

I.e. two days, Friday and Saturday at Wakefield Park, kept for the Cobra Nationals...and let the Sunday be used and paid for by another club.

What I'm saying is that rather than trying to "get the numbers up" for the Friday and Saturday at Wakefield park, by including other clubs/car types....
I'd LOVE to see us get the numbers up by getting more Cobras.

All we need is for as many of the Cobras out there,to get along to the Nationals...
we always had over 100 get there , and I'm confident that if we make the event really attractive "they will come"

The Cobras would then gather on the Sunday, and perhaps have other clubs be part of that day, and take part in the show and shine/street parade/200 Klm. run/ lunch.

I'm not optimistic about mixing Ferrari / Porsche clubs with the Cobra Nationals on the Friday Saturday....

LOVE those cars....but my experience over the years has been that these Marquee clubs are not impressed by our "replicas", and tend to keep to themselves.

But the Sunday could be like the Cooma "Surf to Summit" that I'm taking part in during November.... Like 150 mixed cars all enjoying a show and shine/ street parade/beautiful drive/ lunch.

Looking forward to an invigorated and refreshed Nationals ....very keen.

Some quick mathematical calculations/ estimates show how "selling" the Sunday , and charging the Natinals entrants less for doing the same amount of track time compressed into the two days, could really make a difference.

If we could expect the numbers to get back to what they were only a few years ago, by making the whole event more interesting,and much better value for money ,could see something like the following.

Currently 50? entrants paying $550 ? =$27,500 with a track costing $40,000 = behind by $12,500

Maybe 110 entrants paying $395 ?? =$43,450 with a track cost @ $30,000 = in front by $13,450

That's an approximate "swing" of $26,000 !!

That $13,000 surplus could be used to make the whole weekend much better....we could afford to throw a fair bit back into things like maybe a lunch included in the Sunday run, and this then would justify a reasonable "entry fee" for any other clubs/ cars to take part in the day.

We'd still get the money from major and minor sponsors etc., and you can see how much easier it would be for the NSW club to make a bit of a profit,rather than scratching to cover costs every year.

That would be great.

Again,
Not accurate figures....but it gives you the broad idea.

Cheers,
Warren
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Old 10-07-2016, 08:46 PM
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Inviting other clubs is a good idea.

Wouldn't it be great to create our own version of something like the Goodwood Revival and see our Cobras sharing the track with the likes of; Ferraris, Lotus, E types, GT 40's, Minis, MGA/MGB's, Can Am replicas, Lola replicas, Cooper Climaxs, Aston Martins, Austin Healey's , Alfa Romeos, Maseratis, Brabhams, McLarens!!

If that doesn't get crowds in and generate interest then nothing will......

My vote is for more clubs to be invited. This would make for a very interesting and special Sunday.

Also agree with making action more accessible to spectators via screens, etc. Spectators what to get close as they can to the action. This was very evident on Sat when the spectators wanted to watch the drags but couldn't get close to wall. Really could not see anything unless on wall. Combination of seating/stands and screens may help.

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Old 10-07-2016, 08:55 PM
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So not have a Cobra Nationals ??
Just make a track event that Cobras take part in?

Unless you mean that they take part in JUST the Sunday show and shine and the run/lunch etc.?

I recon that's ok.

That's the idea of that Sunday.... Get away from the track and if you want,get as many other cars involved,but on an organised run,rather than using the track.

Important to keep in mind.....
If you had that sort of gathering at Wakefield Park, the Cobra Club would be held responsible for anything that any of those other clubs/ cars did.

I was really just proposing that the Sunday would not be on Wakefield Park, but rather in town,starting with the 3 hour Show and Shine at the markets/ local annual fair etc., followed by a run over a few hours, with a stop for lunch....maybe provided by the Rotary club/ Lions club...prepaid by the Cobra club from the proceeds raised....something like that ??

The discussions I've had with the Cobra Car club of NSW was to see what we could do to make it a bigger better COBRA Nationals.

There's already a number of track events in Australia that are open to all cars...

I really think we should keep the idea of making our Cobra Nationals a celebration and a gathering of all things Cobra....and that would be the Friday and Saturday...and of course the Sunday would be mostly Cobra, but more about the getting together and driving the cars on the open road.

We have enough Cobras in the clubs to make this all happen.
Cheers,
Warren
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Last edited by Wazza; 10-08-2016 at 01:38 AM..
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Old 10-08-2016, 03:23 PM
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Im wondering if the Sunday is dropped from WP you may find WP management keen to take a better higher paying bid/offer from others as a full long weekend track event. They may say the cobra nats can be held on any Friday/Saturday combo during the year???

Remember to that all suggestions are good suggestions but they have to be supported by feet on the ground and if we don't support both in attendance and in running the event it's dead before its started.
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Old 10-08-2016, 06:59 PM
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Hi Guys, I will be watching this thread with strong interest to see some of the great ideas on offer.

Overall I'm quite happy with how the Nationals ran this year (sometimes under very challenging weather circumstances).

I'm very proud of our strong team (Race Committee) that organise all aspects of the event and also our volunteers that help the weekend run safely and smoothly.

The issue we seem to be having is the reducing entrant interest. Anything we do needs to spike entrant interest and motivate Cobra (Daytona/GT40 etc) owners to bring their car out of the garage, enter the event and come to the track.

This interest can be spiked in different ways:
Pricing
Track event choices
Changes in event formats
Addition of events/interests off the track

Keep in mind though, making massive changes to the event format/structure is a very risky strategy if we go in the wrong direction.
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Old 10-08-2016, 07:44 PM
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Was going through the pics on the "Cobra Nationals Memories" group of facebook and a couple of pics stood out:



Look at all these B club cars and not one of the original car\drivers in this pic were there this year.

From left to right: sold, slackarses, rebuild #27, Sold, Too far away and playing with coronas, sold and with a new driver this year (the missile lives on), RIP, and M.I.A. Shame guys, shame.

Maybe for many there is a couple of years once the car is first built that they want to track the car, but once that is out of the system they are happy just to be a more passive cobra owner. In NSW perhaps we are still feeling the aftereffects of the difficult rego system, and there were just not enough new cars being finished and drivers wanting to test her out on the track.

I have missed 2 nationals in the last 8 years. It is my favourite weekend of the year. We just need more people getting in and having a go and supporting the event.

Out driving yesterday saw an older cobra that I have never seen before. So perhaps there is a way of reaching out to those cobra owners out there who are not part of clubs in order to lift numbers.

I was also a little disappointed there was not one competing GT40 this year.

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Old 10-08-2016, 09:25 PM
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Good pics those. Bloody puddles is a common theme too lol. On those 40s obviously John was running his AP. Greg Q still has his 40 but hasn't done a Nats in a few years but the rest of those shown all have been sold and have new owners who aren't seemingly active in the scene.
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Old 10-08-2016, 10:13 PM
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And at that time they were all QLD cars too. No 40s in other states?
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Old 10-09-2016, 01:56 AM
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[quote=

Out driving yesterday saw an older cobra that I have never seen before. So perhaps there is a way of reaching out to those cobra owners out there who are not part of clubs in order to lift numbers.

[/QUOTE]
I am interested in this event but am not a member of a club
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Old 10-09-2016, 02:51 AM
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tch tch tch! the gulf GT40 car was from NSW
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Old 10-09-2016, 02:56 AM
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Great to see the positive input, my perception from the event was that the mood was a little 'flat' with a noticeable drop in entries.

A common issue with Club based activities is death by Committee.

Symptoms typically include no clear point of authority, lots of available ideas (from factions or otherwise), promoted without a common strategy or planning framework, which may be collected, ignored or more commonly deliberated and assessed over several meetings against a different set of unpublished priorities or strategies, inside the 'steering' Committee forums.

Lots of great ideas have already been put forward, all feasible in one form or another.. the underlying issue as pointed out by Wazza is in his second post is that the event is under financial pressure, this being the case it may slowly wither, become a bi-annual event or assumed under another banner (read loss of control) should the trend continue.

I am yet to meet a single person; owner, builder, racer, friend or spouse at the events I have been to that was not grounded, intelligent, successful and mostly, with a wealth of business experience in one industry or another. To coin a phrase, there is a lot of horsepower that could be harnessed.. !

Id assume for the most part that none of these successful businesses are run without a clear vision of what they do, the skills required, how they do it, their financial and operational goals and an clear order, delegation levels and process for decision making.

Now we put a selection of these clever, well meaning, successful people into a volunteer environment and one of the first things that happens is all the skills, decision rights and processes they use to successfully manage their business are tossed aside in the name of democracy and equality.. there is no clear leader and often, difficulty in formulating or implementing plans and the strategies required to move the organisation forward.

While I cast absolutely no judgement on any of the people involved in running the NSW Club or the Nats.. it is not a small undertaking by any stretch, and every thanks and congratulations should go to everyone involved.

If there was to be a revamp or refresh of the event (I have no information to form a view either way) then the expertise, experience and resources from and of the member Clubs involved must be able to be far better leveraged against a clearly articulated road map, process for management of suggestions, business goals and timeline, led by a single accountable point within the Community.

This being the case, the attention of those willing and able to contribute can be focused on a defined selection of issues or objectives, this process can be made transparent, providing the opportunity for refinement and assessment of the success of the progress.

If I was to move forward 5 years, a member funded staff of part and full time employees, operating with clear decision rights and accountability would be running a financially viable and growing Association model with the support and engagement of all member Clubs.

So rather than Nats 2017.. how about a plan and a process.. Nats to 2020.. ?

Here endeth my brain dump.. !

One burbon, one scotch and one beer please... !

Chris
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LS3 motor, TR6060 box with Falcon ABS, 17" Halibrand wheels, 3.55:1 Ford Racing IRS and Willwood brake upgrade

Last edited by SydneyChris; 10-09-2016 at 03:02 AM..
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Old 10-09-2016, 04:38 AM
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Other track days I have attended in the past (both in Australia and the US) have had no issue with passengers riding in the cars, as long as they signed the liability waiver and wore appropriate safety gear ...usually required long sleeves and an AS1698 (or equivalent) helmet.

Admittedly, it was kind of a 'them and us' approach this year because passengers weren't permitted. I think people were unnecessarily excluded as a result and that would have really added to the event. They did talk about letting passengers go out on the track at some point (believe it was the Sunday IIRC).

Out of interest, why didn't that happen?
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Old 10-09-2016, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs flatchat View Post
tch tch tch! the gulf GT40 car was from NSW
I stand corrected. Thought that was Tim T.
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