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Australia’s most famous car photo

3 years ago

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Mel Nichols | Journalist


24 August 2021

Fifty years ago (crikey: is it really that long?) my photographer friend Uwe Kuessner clambered into the back seat of the Ford Falcon GT-HO Phase III I was driving and shot this picture of its speedo reading 144mph.

The thin-rimmed wheel was steady in my hands. The hoary great 5.8-litre 351 Cleveland V8 raged against its rev limiter. The tachometer nudged 6600rpm and the speedo’s needle edged beyond 140, the last number on its dial, then held steady as Uwe snapped his shot. It would become the most famous car picture in Australian history.

It was early on a Sunday morning in August 1971. We were on the old Hume Highway, the 560-mile main road from Sydney to Melbourne, in the flat, wide country of northern Victoria where the two-laner speared straight for miles. There was no speed limit.

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