Holden VK Calais

Driven by Graham Collins, Robert Harvey and Don Ogilvie

Car no.
Graham Collins, Robert Harvey, Don Ogilvie
Holden VK Calais
MUN494 (NSW)
5 – 33h 33m 44s

Friends Graham Collins, Robert Harvey and Don Ogilvie entered the race in a Holden VK Calais that Graham rented from Adelaide. They were all from the Broken Hill, NSW area.

The Calais was the most luxurious version of the VK Commodore range, and this particular car had the optional 5.0-litre V8 with automatic transmission. It was brand new and had travelled only about 20 km.

They made some modifications to the car including replacing the distributor and changes to the carburettor, and ran the car on a dynamometer. The car was more powerful, used less fuel and the rev limiter had been removed.

Unlike most other teams, they did not have CB radio, a scanner or a radar detector.

The team started the race near the end of the group.

All three drivers had experience in rallying across the country, and knew much of the route very well. They avoided the main roads where possible, thereby avoiding the police attention that most of the other teams received. With their knowledge of the route they knew where to go fast and where to be careful.

Don Ogilvie says that they most travelled a little above the speed limit and drove sensibly around towns. He says that they saw other teams during the race and there was overtaking between teams. Don recalls that they encountered the supercharged Fairlane on a few occasions, which he says was fast in a straight line but they were faster through corners.

Robert Harvey was charged in Western Australia after the car was observed by police travelling at possibly around 160 to 170 km/h (one team said this may have been 240 km/h). There was some confusion by the police about who was driving, and also because the car was rented, but they took Robert to Norseman. They lost about five hours as a result.

They had arranged for a friend in Western Australia to help them get to Perth using back roads. They used a different route than the other teams, which took them through the forests, apparently with the police following.

The team finished in fifth position, just over an hour slower than the winners despite the lost time in Norseman.

After the race they returned the very well used rental car back to Adelaide, complete with the extra fuel tank and changes they had made to the engine.

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