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Big Block 'Beasts' to Cross the Block at Shannons

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MELBOURNE – Nov 20, 2012: A herd of bellowing, big block ‘beasts’ will be crossing the auction block at Shannons Melbourne Summer Classic Vehicle Auction on Monday, November 26.

Heading the stampede are monsters – a 429-cid-engined Robnell Cobra S/C once driven by World F1 Champion Mika Hakkinen, a low kilometre V10-engined Dodge Viper RT/10 Roadster and a thundering 1970 Ford Mustang Mach I 428-cid Fastback.

The muscular ‘feel-good’ Robnell, which has been powered from new by the same 331kW/691Nm Motec fuel-injected, all-aluminium 429-cidFord big-block V8 custom-built for the car by American Ford V8 specialist Alan Root, was the company’s demonstrator vehicle in the 1990s.

Dual World F1 Champion-to-be Mika Hakkinen and his then-Lotus F1 teammate Johnny Herbert, both drove the Robnell at the Geelong Speed Trials during this period, with Hakkinen delighting the crowd by lighting up the car’s tyres for the full 400 metres of the waterfront sprint course on his way to a low 12-second pass.

Featuring independent rear suspension, a four-speed 31-spline Top Loader gearbox and a 3.25:1 differential, the Robnell was built in Melbourne around a steel space frame instead of the original AC Cobra’s crude ladder chassis, is also fitted with Koni adjustable shock absorbers and disc brakes all round.

The bodywork, which is a mix of Kevlar and fibreglass, closely follows the lines of the aggressive 427 Cobra and remains in excellent condition, as does the car’s leather upholstery, soft top and side windows.

Shannons expect it to sell in the $100,000-$120,000 range, but the smile it will put on its new owner’s face will be priceless!

Another ‘beast’ offering a surfeit of ‘kicks per kilometres’ in the auction is a rare 1993 Dodge Viper RT/10 Roadster whose right-hand drive conversion was carried out by Viperformance, the company that Chrysler eventually appointed to handle all new Viper RHD conversions in Australia.

Showing just 28,650km (believed genuine) on its odometer, the Viper features full leather trim, air conditioning, Viper GTS alloy wheels and a short-shift kit for its six-speed manual gearbox.

Stored and used sparingly since 2004 by the original owner's son, it presents in excellent condition today, with Shannons quoting a guiding range of $88,000-$100,000.

Another big block ‘beast’ in the Melbourne auction is a left hand drive 1970 Ford Mustang Mach I 428 Fastback that has recently come out of long-term ownership by an American enthusiast.

Featuring a rebuilt Cobra Jet seven-litre V8 engine with forged pistons mated to a three-speed C6 automatic transmission, the Mustang has been compressively refreshed mechanically in recent years and comes with a Deluxe Marti Report.

Well-presented, both inside and out, Shannons expect this very ultimate Mach I to sell in the $52,000-$58,000 range.

An alternative in the auction for Mustang enthusiasts is a left hand drive 1968 'Shelby GT500' Replica Fastback in very nice condition that is expected to sell for $55,000-$70,000 – around half the price of a genuine Shelby.

Other ‘beasts’ in the auction include:

  • an ex-Ford executive 1974 Ford Falcon XB 351 GT Sedan with three-speed automatic transmission in good, but unrestored condition ($40,000-$45,000)
  • a 1967 left hand drive, mechanically-updated Chevrolet Camaro Coupe with automatic transmission that was restored in 2003 ($30,000 - $36,000)
  • a 1985 Holden VK HDT Commodore SS four speed manual sedan (build number 1671) that has covered an indicated 150,000km from new, presented in original condition ($23,000-$28,000)
  • a right hand drive 1968 AMC Javelin SST 'Custom' Coupe fitted with Ford BA Falcon six-cylinder running gear ($16,000 - $22,000).

    The auction will also see a number of classic motorcycles – including two very desirable Ducatis – go under the hammer, along with a range of Heritage black and white numberplates, headed by the Victorian triple-digit ‘385’.