SUPER SALOON BIG BANG Part 2

Super Saloons & the Silhouettes – Part 2: The 1984 Season

Part 1 of SUPER SALOON BIG BANG briefly looked at how the sport evolved in South East Asia. In Part 2 we look at the 1984 season, a Grand Prix season bereft of single-seaters, the first time since the very first race at the Batu Tiga circuit in August 1967.

1984 began with a new Malaysian Motor Sports Club (MMSC) committee, led by President Mohamed Shah bin Kadir. Vice President was Stephen Loh and the club’s General Secretary was Yoong Yin Fah. William Mei was Club Captain. Six events were scheduled for the 1984 season, all rally events. What interests us is SAMRA, the Shah Alam Motor Racing Association. SAMRA handled the Batu Tiga racing circuit events, the politics between the Automobile Association of Malaysian, the MMSC and SAMRA best left to the local experts to write about when they find the time is appropriate. The Shah Alam Racing Circuit’s first major event was the 4 March 1984 Shell Endurance – for motorcycles. Racers would have to wait till May for the Malaysian Grand Prix.  

Front row of the first Super Saloon race for the Malaysian Grand Prix, 5-6 May 1984.

So here’s what the year looked like for racing enthusiasts:  5-6 May – Malaysian Grand Prix; 12-13 May – Penang Circuit Races; 8 July – Indonesian ASEAN Circuit Races; 4-5 August – Rothmans Circuit Races Shah Alam; 18-19 August – Formula & Champion of Champions Merdeka Races – Ancol; 17-18 November – Macau Grand Prix; 1-2 December – Selangor Grand Prix. Add to this the new schedule for the 1985 season – the Malaysian Grand Prix was now set for 2-3 February 1985 and the Penang races were set for 9-10 February, ostensibly to avoid the clash with the start of the US, European and Japanese seasons. That meant at least seven race weekends, if one included Indonesia and Macau…more if Western Australia was included (for example the Wanneroo 300 km 125-lap Endurance in October 1984) for 1984 and a very short break over the new year before back to back races in Malaysia before the Chinese New Year holidays from 20 February.

FREE FOR ALL: From 1984 onwards, the craze of no-holds-barred-anything-goes Super Saloon racing took over as the main draw card at the Shah Alam and Penang circuit races. To be sure, as local distributors and manufacturers found racing a splendid platform to advertise their products, the Super Saloons had been rapidly gaining ground on the once dominant Formula cars for nearly a decade.

The maxim “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” that worked so well in the American saloon car racing scene was applicable to the Asian markets as well. From just having battles between Alfa Romeo, Datsun and Mazda in the late 1960s and early 1970s, saloon car racing evolved into Super Saloons and the ultimate of all Super Saloons, the outrageous-looking Silhouettes. This was truly the golden age of the Super Saloons, the best damn racing East of the Suez. How long could the good times last?

GLAMOUR STUCK: Had the glamour of international racers for the Grand Prix somewhat faded come May in Malaysia? Or was it a case of too many more important races in Europe and Japan that prevented big names from accepting invitations to the East. There were no entries from Hong Kong’s privateers – Herbert Adamczyk’s German Motors and Peter Chow’s Chowini Racing were absent. Whether or not this was due to the uncertainty surrounding Sino-British negotiations over Hong Kong’s future in 1997 or the devaluation of free-floating Hong Kong dollar (September 1983) or the peg to the US dollar in October 1983 is not within the scope of this article.

Newman Coming! From the Malay Mail of 16 March 1984.

However, there was talk that famed actor and racer Paul Newman would race a Bob Sharp Racing Nissan, possibly the R30 Silvia Skyline Turbo. Rothman’s Team Manager Albert Anthony was looking to add a bit more glam to his Porsche entry list as well, with talk that Jacky Ickx, Vern Schuppan or Derek Bell might attend. A similarly audacious rumour had spread ahead of the Sultan’s Invitational Grand Prix at Shah Alam back in October 1981 – that Lancia agents Delta Motors were looking to enter a 485 hp Lancia Montecarlo Turbo. Talk, they say, is cheap and motoring journalists are always hungry for a good story. No Lancia Montecarlo in 1981, no Paul Newman, Jacky Ickx, Vern Schuppan or Derek Bell in 1984. And no Nelson Piquet racing the BMW M1 in place of Hans-Joachim Stuck for the last race of the 1984 Malaysian season either.

BMW Concessionaires’ Eddie Koay revealed that the Gp4 M1 had been sold and the replacement car had yet to be prepared for the Malaysia Grand Prix. BMW were still well represented – Ian Grey now had a 1.4-litre Gp5 Schnitzer Turbo 320i engine installed in his ex-Stuck BMW, no longer in the JPS black/gold livery but painted in Akai red livery. Kenny Lee’s 535i, also in Akai livery, was now lumped into the Super Saloons race, a casualty of changes to the regulation for the Limited Formula races.

As Ian pointed out in his handwritten notes, “Malaysia has of 1984 dropped the formula type single seater cars for the premier class and have adopted the Super Saloon because of greater interest by the public and the competitiveness of the class. The BMW is of this class. A new highly developed turbocharged engine is being installed making it the most powerful in the region. Top drivers and cars can be expected this year from all parts of the world and publicity the highest ever.”

A new turbocharged motor, a new front spoiler, new wheels and a fresh coat of red and Ian Grey’s JPS-BMW had been transformed into a new car.

Had the Grand Prix lost a bit of its shine without the Porsches from Hong Kong, the twin turbo 935 RSR from Australia and the German works drivers for BMW? The Toyota presence had Borneo Motors support – it was important for the local agencies like Borneo Motors, UMW and Nissan to have a presence in the support races. After all, both Nissan and Toyota controlled nearly 50% of the Malaysian passenger car market. The two top sellers were Nissan’s Sunny and Toyota’s Corolla 1.3 LE. Tachi races a Corolla, I too want a Corolla, don’t matter if it’s the entry level version. The aftermarket spoilers and wider wheels can come later.  

Kiyoshi Misaki’s TA64 Toyota Celica Twin Cam at the entrance to the Shah Alam circuit.

In 1984 the Shah Alam Circuit still had its long Shell Straight which greatly benefitting the powerful turbos that were expected to show up. 1000bhp around Penang might be a bit of a hairy ride but around the 3.38 km Shah Alam track it was a big plus. The Shah Alam circuit would have a major revision the following year, the Shell Straight reduced by a third, an additional curve added and an overall increase in length to 3.693km. But for 1984, it was business as usual.

And the Super Saloon rules? What rules? The regulations for Super Saloons simply read: “Saloon cars with closed body accommodating two passengers. Apart from this, any modifications would be permitted, provided the cars maintained a saloon car body silhouette.” In other words, the Can-Am of saloon car racing. This was effectively open-cheque-book racing and should have been a race engineer’s dream come true, but South East Asia did not have the sort of cottage industry of race car builders that existed in Australia, NZ, Britain, Europe and the US, nor the prize money to lure the big game hunters over. Still, there were flashes of brilliance that emerged from little garages in Kuala Lumpur; from those enthusiastic petrol heads from Manila; and from Hong Kong’s wealthy enthusiasts.  

BACK-TO-BACK SWAPS: As photographs of the May 1984 Malaysian Grand Prix attest, there were battles up and down the gird. It was always going to be difficult to pick a winner because racing in those tropical conditions made outcomes totally unpredictable. The better-funded teams not only had better prepared cars and bigger tyre budgets, but world class drivers.

Ian Grey’s repainted BMW, still a wolf in wolf’s clothing.

But this was an altogether new season, with new acquisitions for a few owners, or so it seemed. Ian Grey, now 44, had his Schnitzer Gp5 turbo 1428cc E21 BMW M12 320i and with it came full support from Eddie Koay’s Team BMW. Reports suggested that his JPS-livery BMW 320 had been replaced by a new Gp5 Schnitzer BWM 320i (Source: NST, 6 May 1984) but press reports are notoriously unreliable and race drivers often like to spin a good story.

Ian Grey’s stock had already moved with him to Perth earlier (including the Gp2 Zakspeed Escort) where he would spend more time racing in the coming years. So was the new Schnitzer BMW one of the two Gp5 cars brought in by Hong Kong’s Herb Adamczyk earlier? Adamczyk indicated to this writer that it wasn’t the case. In any case, neither of the Sime Darby Gp5 entered for the 1981 Asian racing season cars looked like Ian Grey’s Schnitzer Turbo. Unless Grey had swapped engines, front spoiler, wheels and car colour, he now had two BMWs (and a Volvo sedan to trailer his race cars). A close study of available photographs revealed that the red Schnitzer 1.4-litre turbo was indeed the same car that Han-Joachim Stuck raced (and won) in the Guia 100 in Macau in 1980. All the rivets were in identical positions, the only differences being the front spoiler, wheels and exhaust exit position on the sills, oh, and the new paint job, its third in four years. Grey’s handwritten notes confirmed that the chassis remained the same one.   

Grey faced formidable competition. There was another BMW (also at the end of its production car cycle) on the grid that afternoon. Saloon car specialist William Mei had Kenny Lee’s 230bhp JPS-BMW 535i, a car that was first run in 1982 but was now no longer eligible for the Limited Saloons class (capacity limited). Eddie Koay, race manager for the local BMW team, already knew that the 535i was uncompetitive but he wasn’t able to do much because of industrial strikes in West Germany at the time. It too was painted in Akai red livery.

Malaysian Grand Prix 5-6 May 1984. Kiyoshi Misaki (TA64 Celica) on pole. Ian Grey #9 – Schnitzer BMW 1.4 Turbo (#9); Billy Mei – #10 BMW 535i; Dick Ward  #100 – Mazda Rothmans Special; Louie Camus #61 – Celica-Elfin. The yellow car on the left is the Davrian Imp.  

The Japanese touted their TA64 Toyota Celica and Toyota works driver Kiyoshi Misaki, yet another intrepid racer who had been racing in the Far East since the late 1960s, had a TOM’s Celica with a “just under 500bhp” turbocharged engine. West Australian Dick Ward, already a household name in Malaysia, had his rotary howler, the 300bhp spaceframe ‘Rothmans Special’ Mazda RX7.

From Manila came Louie Camus in the hot Manila-built Toyota Celica-Elfin 622, powered by a Toyota 2TG 2-litre. It looked the part, its underpinnings coming from an Elfin 622 that already had racing history in the Formula Atlantic series in Malaysia and the Philippines. The Malaysians arrived with an assortment of cars, many on shoestring budgets: Zul Hassan had a Toyota Levin. Tunku Kamil Ikram had the ex-Andy Bryson Davrian Imp which he and Pardaman Singh both raced, while Bryson had a freshly-painted Rothmans-sponsored Sunbeam Stiletto, badge engineering at its very best.

Tunku Kamil’s Davrian Imp.

The rear-engined Davrian Imp and Sunbeam Stiletto might have looked odd to many, but for the ultimate-looking silhouette and for pure audaciousness, the Elfin-spaceframe Celica from Manila was the bees’ knees of Asian-built racing silhouettes. These cars represented total freedom of expression and engineering. Ian Grey’s revitalised Schnitzer Turbo, on the other hand, was always going to be hot favourite when the big guns in their 935 RSRs and M1s weren’t in top form. 

Dick Ward’s Rothmans Special was a thinly disguised Mazda RX7.

TURBO TIME: The Super Saloons were in Race 8 and it was an incident-packed weekend. Dick Ward’s new Rotary motor blew up in practice so in went in his spare (used) motor. Kiyoshi Misaki’s TOM’S Celica 2000 Turbo was finding the heat not to its liking but team manager Mike Jean was ready with multiple radiators, should the need arise (the need arose). William Mei, Zul Hassan and Louie Camus were licking their lips for a good podium fight if anything went wrong for the favourites. The cars lined up for Race 8 with Misaki on pole, followed by Grey, Mei, Ward, Camus, Zul, Tunku Kamil with Hong Kong’s C.F. Lo, Chartered Accountant Arsam Damis, Ron Brown and Andy Bryson at the back. Hardly a large grid of Super Saloons, now with the sub-1301cc class consolidated with the bigger cars for obvious reasons. The grandstands were full.

Grey, who already had enormous experience competing in single-seaters, sports cars and saloons in Malaysia and Macau, had already bagged three Selangor Grand Prix victories in Super Saloons in previous years and Shah Alam was his home circuit. However, his trophy cabinet was still lacking the illusive Malaysian Grand Prix and Penang Grand Prix trophies. Was this going to be his race? Would the 1.4-litre Schnitzer Turbo do what his Atmo 320i hadn’t been able to achieve.

BIGGEST WIN: Sometimes in motor racing you have to take what you can get and Grey, probably the oldest racer on the grid that day, grabbed it, first when Kiyoshi Misaki’s Group B Celica dropped out with a burnt valve, and once more when Dick Ward’s Rotary lost oil pressure and stopped at Lucas Loop, the front of the car looking decidedly second hand. Then William Mei stopped near the end of the race. Grey romped home victor, Zul Hassan inherited second in his Toyota Levin and Louie Camus completed the podium with a fine third. Round One to the local boys, for a change.

The top three after Race 8 of the Malaysian Grand Prix – Ian, Zul and Louie.

RESULTS of RACE 8 after 15 Laps with fastest times

1 – Ian Grey #9 – BMW 320i Turbo 1:27.7

2 – Zul Hassan #55 – Toyota Levin 1595cc 1:38.2

3 – Luis Camus #16 – Toyota Celica-Elfin 1600cc 1:37.7

4 – William Mei #10 – BMW 535i 3500cc 1:34.2

5 – C.F. Lo #2 – Toyota 1588cc – 1:44.0

6 – Arsam Damis #49 – Toyota 1600 – 1:43.2

Assessing the damage after Race 8 for Super Saloons – Malaysian Grand Prix 5-6 May 1984.

Race 16 for the Super Saloons saw Dick Ward back on the grid but Kiyoshi Misaki and his Group B Celica Turbo, even with prescribed third radiator (but still without the correct gearing) wasn’t ready. Both George Stacey and Mike Jean must have been working flat out on the Mazda and Toyota respectively, but Jean wasn’t able to procure the necessary spares so Misaki didn’t start the race. Having DNF-ed in Race 8, Dick Ward had to start at the back and literally drove over the backmarkers. The RX7 was just too good for everyone – by lap 5 he was in the lead! Grey finished second, and William Mei finished third. Zul Hassan’s engine needed rebuilding after throwing a rod after Race 8 so didn’t feature in Race 16.

RESULTS of RACE 16 after 15 Laps with fastest times

1 – Dick Ward #100 – Mazda RX7 2620cc – 1:26.4

2 – Ian Grey #9 – BMW 320i Turbo 1:29.8

3 – William Mei #10 – BMW 535i 3500cc 1:31.7

4 – Tunku Kamil Ikram #56 – Davrian Imp 998cc 1:40.0

5 – Ron Brown #97 – Toyota Starlet 1300 1:41.2

In the 1300cc and Under race, Alex Ritchie won in a Toyota Starlet with Derrick Nunis second in a Mini Cooper S and Tunku Kamil Ikram third in his Daviran Imp.

Following the Malaysian Grand Prix, everyone packed up and headed north to Penang for what was no longer an international Grand Prix. State Executive Councillor Mohamad Zain Haji Omar told the media that they had two plans – the immediate one was to install removable Armco barriers to conform to FIA rules. The cost would amount to RM$600,000 in order to maintain the Grand Prix status of the Penang street races. The second plan was for the creation of a new permanent racing circuit, the state government contributing to the project with land while the construction of the track and ancillaries would have to be borne by the PMSC. The more immediate issue was safety, an issue that would raise its head following a motorcycle incident during the weekend.

Arsam Damis lines up alongside Ron Brown for the Penang Super Saloon Race.
Eddie Koay stands guard by his BMW 535i.

Ian Grey had other plans for the weekend, like adding a win to ten years of trying in Penang. And that’s exactly what he did, once Nobuhide Tachi dropped out after leading the first two laps, and Dick Ward struggled to the finish after clipping sandbags with just two laps remaining.

Tachi leading in the initial stages of the 20 lap race. Dick Ward stays close behind, followed by Ian Grey in the Schnitzer Turbo.

Super Saloons 1301cc and Over 20 Lap race

1 – Ian Grey – BMW 1.4-l turbo 320i

2 – Dick Ward – Mazda RX7

3 – William Mei – BMW 535i

Super Saloons 1300cc and Under

1 – Ron Brown – Toyota Starlet

2 – Tunku Kamil – Davrian Imp

3 – Zul Hassan – Datsun Cherry 120A Coupe

No sooner that the roads around the Esplanade re-opened, the Malaysian media came out with guns blazing. Robert Rowlands, Editor of Asian Auto, was scathing in his editorial and swore never to attend another Penang Circuit Race. He, as well as the local press, were also aghast at the way the race was run (see Editorial, Asian Auto, June 1984). Even BMW and Toyota threatened to boycott the 1985 meet unless the organisers gave assurances that crowd control would be improved. 50,000 spectators came down to the Esplanade to watch the races during the weekend so this was no small matter to handle. When fences start to come crashing down and spectators start spilling into the paddock, it would only be a matter of time before someone got hurt.

In early July many of the regulars from the Asian racing circuit headed down to Jakarta’s Ancol circuit for the Indonesian ASEAN Circuit Races on 7-8 July 1984. As single-seater racing replaced the previous year’s Group C class, the details of this event are outside the scope of this article.

The man in charge – Jeff Amin.

BACK HOME: The next big race on the calendar was the Rothmans Circuit Race at Shah Alam over the 4-5 August 1984 weekend, the second edition of this event but with the “ASEAN” dropped because, as SAMRA’s Manager Jeff Amin intimated, “We don’t want to get caught like the Penang GP which was a national invitation meet but assumed international status with the presence of foreign entries.” An ASEAN race almost certainly would have killed off the Super Saloon event without international drivers. Indonesia, however, was all for calling theirs an ASEAN Circuit Race. So instead of the August event at Shah Alam being referred to as the Rothmans ASEAN Circuit Race, it was rebranded as a Rothmans International meeting.

Dick Ward was a rather late entry with his RX7 and Ian Grey knew it wasn’t going to be a stroll around Shah Alam for him. Worse still, the Super Saloons were about to be swallowed by the interest surrounding the Saloons Limited Formula race as the rivalry between Kenny Lee and Kan Chee Hong caught the attention of the public. Lee had BMW backing while Kan had his Mazda RX3. This was also seen as a BMW Concessionaires versus Rothmans Malaysia battle.

The battle between Ward and Grey ended on lap four into the corner of Matex Hill when both cars hit James Wong’s oil spill and slid off. Grey’s was able to get his going but Ward piled into the front of Wong’s Toyota, couldn’t restart and was unable to continue. Those who watched from Matex Hill would have seen the Australian waving a caution flag to warn oncoming cars of the danger. It was really a cruise for Grey for the remaining of the 15 laps with workshop owner Kan Chee Hong, a last minute entry for Team Rothmans, second in his Rothmans-livery Mazda RX3, the arrival of his new RX7 having been delayed. Singapore-based Ron Brown brought his 160 hp Toyota Starlet home in third place. Meanwhile, Andy Bryson finally got his Rothmans Sunbeam Stiletto sorted and won the 1300cc and Under race with Chris Chhze second in a Mini Cooper and Zul Hassan third in what he listed as a Proton Garang, his Nissan Cherry 120A Coupe on steroids. Zul was ahead of the curve because the Proton name would only see daylight with the official launch of the Proton Saga on 9 July 1985!

An Elfin 622 single-seater in frock. Parked in the paddock garage for the Rothmans Circuit Races, August 1984.

NEW VENTURES: The regional racers were keen to explore new circuits outside of Shah Alam and Penang and when the invitations for the Hengky Iriawan and Saksono Memorial Cup Merdeka Race at Ancol in Jakarta was announced, the Filipinos were the first to raise their hands. The circuit was part of the Ancol Dreamland Recreational Park which housed swimming pools, a golf course, two hotels, the famous Art Market, and the race circuit.

The organisers called it the Formula and Champion of Champions races, scheduled for 18-19 August 1984 at the Ancol circuit, two weeks following the Rothmans Circuit Race at Shah Alam on 4-5 August. Once again, the details are beyond the scope of this basic feature on the 1984 Malaysian season, suffice it to say that in the Formula 4 race, Indonesian Chandra Alim won ahead of Pocholo Ramirez. In the Champion of Champions race, Louie Camus won, beating Chandra Alim and Pocholo Ramirez. One wonders why Van Vreden’s Cosworth-powered Honda Super Saloon never made it out to Malaysia to race.

Indonesia was starting to show up on the regional racing calendar and it was only a year earlier that a race circuit in the Nongsa area of Batam Island was mooted. The project was the brainchild of Soedarsono Darmosoewito, Chief Executive Director of Pulau Batam Industrial Estate. At the time, the Batam Motor Club’s activities were limited to motorcross events. Nothing came of this.

As there was no major race meeting in Malaysia until the end-of-year Selangor Grand Prix, Harvey Yap and Ian Grey headed over to Perth in October to race in the Wanneroo 300 km 125 lap Endurance on 21 October. The pair had a BMW and it was going to be Harvey Yap’s Aussie debut but ther #29 car DNF-ed after 80 laps. In the very same race were some familiar names – Dick Ward, Brian Smith, Les Verco, Trevor Hine, Jim Anderson, Mike Mettam, Barry Evans, Murray Chapman and Mike Barnes, names that appeared on the grid in Selangor in 1983 and a few who would appear in Selangor in December 1984.

LAST FLING: The Malay Mail’s 30 October 1984 edition ran a story on the Selangor Grand Prix with headline “GERMAN ACES ARE COMING – They add good news to the ‘Last’ event.” The story mentioned a team of Australian drivers and eight riders from West Germany. Once more SAMRA’s manager Jeff Amin was doing the legwork, travelling to Perth and to West Germany to secure top level entries with the backing of the Malaysian arm of Rothmans. This event was now scheduled for 1-2 December, primarily to lure Macau Grand Prix entries over to Malaysia as the dates in 1983 were a week apart. Little did Amin and his crew at SAMRA realise that the 1983 Macau Guia just about matched the introduction of Formula 3 to the Macau weekend. Suddenly there were a whole bunch of European Touring Cars in the Guia race that year, and this continued with the 1984 Guia race with the arrival of Tom Walkinshaw’s Jaguar XKSs. This being during the European winter, a detour to Malaysia after Macau was a logical step. But could SAMRA pull it off? Perhaps there wasn’t much left in the teams for another gruelling race in the tropics when everyone wanted to head home for Christmas and a break before the following year’s season.  

The M1’s last fling in Malaysia before the rule changes outlawed the car in the Super Saloons races.

The ringmeister returned to Shah Alam in December 1984 to defend his Selangor Grand Prix title from the previous year. It was another convincing two-heat victory for the No.8 JPS-livery BMW M1, now with Group 5/B wider rear-wheel arches but still with the 3.5-litre normally aspirated motor. Because the M1 had been designed with motor sports in mind, its performance ranged from 280 hp for the road going car, to 470 hp in Gp4 state of tune, and finally, 850 hp for the Gp5 turbo state of tune. It was said that on a good day, the Gp5 turbo put out 1000 hp. Even with just 453 cars built (54 of them Procars), this author hasn’t ventured into the depths of chassis number identification. Suffice it to say, the 1983 car that raced in Malaysia was a Gp4 car with 470 hp on tap while the 1984 car, an entirely different car, was a Gp5 car.   

The Selangor Grand Prix always had a very strong international grid of Super Saloons and having a 25 car grid must have been one of the best ever seen in Malaysia, even if 11 of the cars were from Australia. The grid for the 15 lap Race 7 for Super Saloons consisted of the following: Hoshino, Stuck, Jim Anderson (Holden Monaro 5.7-litre), Ward, Grey, Peter Finch (Chrysler), Brian Smith (Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV 5.8-litre Chevy V8), Mike Mettam (Gp2 Zakspeed Escort Rotary), Michael Michael (BMW 635CSi), Barry Evans (Holden Torana), Bruce Peacock (Volvo 242 GT Turbo), William Mei (BMW 535i), Louie Camus (Celica-Elfin) and Mike Barnes (Holden Torana). In the smaller engine class were Zul Hassan (Toyota Levin), Tunku Kamil Ikram (Davrian Imp), Trevor Hine (Lotus Elan BDG), Andy Bryson (Sunbeam Stiletto) and Ron Brown (Toyota Starlet) etc. In fact, Bruce Peacock advertised the spaceframe Volvo 242 GT for sale in a small advert in Singapore’s Straits Times on 12 November, price on application.

RACE DAY: Kaoru Hoshino’s works Group B Celica Turbo snatched pole ahead of Dick Ward and Hans-Joachim Stuck, proving that the experimental engine was capable of taking on the Europeans. While Stuck shot off into the lead Hoshino stayed ahead of Dick Ward for the first 10 laps before succumbing to electrical gremlins, leaving third to Ian Grey. Ward, who crashed in earlier practice when he had a tyre blowout entering Lucas Loop, had spent the entire night rebuilding the front end of the RX7. Stuck of course finished ahead of everyone. He repeated his last fling in the second race, with Grey and Perth engine builder Trevor Hine (Lotus Elan BDG) in second and third, the giant-killing yellow Elan S1 with 1975cc Cosworth BDG power surprising everyone at Shah Alam.

It wasn’t a weekend without incident. Two cars were written off during the weekend. On Saturday, Zul Hassan had a fuel leak and his Toyota Corolla proceeded to catch fire and burst into flames. Ron Brown, who ran high performance tuning kit company Power-Plus Auto Spares in Singapore, lost his Toyota Starlet to a fuel leak on the second lap of Sunday’s race and it too burnt to the ground. Both drivers put the blame squarely on the shoulders of inefficient fire-fighting efforts and poor equipment.

Super Saloons Race 7 (23 cars)

1 – Hans-Joachim Stuck – #8 BMW M1 [raced with rain tyres]

2 – Dick Ward – #3 Mazda RX7

3 – Ian Grey – #9 BMW 320i Turbo

4 – Trevor Hine – Lotus Elan Twin Cam

Now lap record set by Stuck at 1:23.9

Super Saloons second race

1 – Hans-Joachim Stuck – #8 BMW M1

2 – Ian Grey – #9 BMW 320i Turbo

3 – Trevor Hine – Lotus Elan Twin Cam

New lap record set by Stuck at 1:22.4

Dick Ward DNF-ed after his gear linkage broke on the 4th lap while in second place.

POSTSCRIPT: The rules, announced earlier in the year, would be altered for the 1985 season. The FIA’s Group A classification pretty much outlawed two-seaters from the Super Saloon series and while it was seen as a popular move amongst the local entrants and some teams, the M1 was affected by the new regulations. It had been a big draw card and SAMRA and Penang’s PMSC would have to dig deep to keep things exciting. But that’s another story.

COMING UP NEXT: While Parts 1 & 2 of SUPER SALOON BIG GANG deal with the 1983-1984 Malaysian Super Saloon seasons, a short piece on one particular 1985 Malaysian race might be appropriate – not the Malaysian or Selangor Grand Prix races but something very special – the World Endurance Championship race, referred to simply as The Selangor 800 km. Stay tuned for this feature in the next edition of Rewind Media’s FRIDAY FEATURE FIX.

With much appreciation to the late Louie Camus, to Zul Hassan and to Herbert Adamczyk for background to the races and for use of their photographs.

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