The Pistol On the Table


There is a principal of theatre that you may wish to observe; if there is a pistol on the table in Act One someone will be shot in Act Three. If it were not so they would not set that roscoe out on the stage. Likewise with the shrouded form you see in the heading photo -it was sitting at the entrance to Gillam Drive last Sunday as we walked in – I took a picture because I knew it was there for a purpose.

Halfway down the Drive, just next to the Rockabilly stage truck, I found it. An old-time rail dragster powered by a Ford flathead V-8 engine and featuring enough good things to drive the Royal Show fun fair.


Okay, to start there’s the good old rail frame, beloved of the 60’s. The pilot sits abaft the rear end and wonders what he did to deserve it. The differential reminds him of fun times at band camp…The front of the rail has a set of tyres and wheels that mean some kid is missing out on BMX this season. It is all horrible and wonderful and traditional at the same time.


Moving back from the front axle, we find the fuel tank. It is finished better than most of the furniture in my house. It probably costs more than most of the furniture in my house. If I could figure out a need for one I would sell the lounge suite for it.


Now the radiator…wait a minute…did I say radiator? Is this car going to be sitting at the lights on Leach Highway at 2:00 on a summer afternoon sandwiched between sheep trucks and Leeming Mercedes? A radiator? Well, I guess if you insist…I don’t remember those from the 60’s.



Here’s the engine at last. Perfectly normal stock flathead Ford V-8 with twin turbochargers and open pipes. Like they put in old Fords and stuff…This was probably one of those cars that Mums use to pick their kids up from soccer with.


The slicks are interesting – with the two vestigial tread grooves down them. I must do some research to see if this is a modern phenomenon. Love the Moon discs. And the whitewalls.



And finally – the little plastic mount on top of the roll bar. I know what that is for because I used to sell GoPro cameras in Camera Electronic – I thoroughly approve here – it is one of the few instances that I have seen where the action camera has some legitimate action to capture.

Photographic note: The yellow colour of the car seen at the start of the day under wraps is accurate – the washed-out yellow of the uncovered vehicle is due to the camera being overborne by the intense light of noontime. In future years for Gillam Road I shall revert to the Fujifilm X-10o with the leaf shutter that will allow synchronisation at all shutter speeds and no overexposure.

Note: Readers unfamiliar with drag racing cars may wonder what the little tube is in the last picture – the one sticking out from the back of the car behind the driver’s seat. This is a drain tube. In case the race becomes too exciting.

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