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Graeme Whincup reunited with restored Chev Monza

An emotional reunion took place at the Sandown Historic event a couple of weekends ago as Graeme Whincup (yes, uncle of) was reunited with his Chev Monza he previously raced during the 1980s and early 1990s.

Built together with John Riordan in 1985, the Monza featured many innovations and was in the constant eye of the public as a mock up of Bob Jane’s similar model as driven by Peter Brock (Jane’s Monza was purchased by Bryan Thomson and raced, before being turned into a Toyota Supra during the late-1980s. Des Wall continued to race it very successfully and son David still owns it).

Restored by regular historic competitor Carey McMahon, the recently finished Monza needed a lot of work completed before it returned to the race track.

“We acquired and thought we’d do a restoration on the Monza,” McMahon explained.

“With any of these projects, when you pull them apart, you see all the details of the condition that each component is in.

“It’s only then you realise what works involved.”

McMahon went through the Monza with a fine-toothed comb to make sure every component was in top condition.

“We’ve reconditioned everything,” explained McMahon. “I mean went back to a completely bare shell and if we couldn’t pull it off the car like it was with the aluminium panels around the whole chassis we’ve polished.

“Everything that we were able to take off we’ve renewed; the engine is almost completely new because each part was worn out except for the heads and manifold. Everything below the heads is new.

“That was a big project.”

Reflecting on the engineering intricacies of the Monza, McMahon lauded the weight saving techniques used by Whincup and Riordan.

“Graeme really wanted to build a lightweight car,” McMahon said. “It weighs under 1000kg.

“The engineering they put into it, the bolts are all lightweight, the whole way they built it, it’s strong, but right on the limit.

“If you were building a car, you’d probably think it needs bolts that are bigger than what you need just to give a bit of confidence.

“There’s none of that.

“I love the engineering side, as it’s my profession, it’s my form of art to make something stronger, lighter, faster or functional.

“I really enjoy that side of it and that’s why I go to so much trouble.”

McMahon has raced the Monza in Queensland and took it down recently to Historic Sandown where Whincup was able to reunite and actually return behind the wheel, even if it was only to the dummy grid.

There’s also a chance his seven-time Repco Supercars Championship winning nephew could test the beast!