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Targa veteran, Queenslander Graham Copeland, will again be out there taking on the elements in the Vintage Rallye at this year’s Targa Tasmania, but he’ll be completing the journey in a “new” car.

New to Targa, that is. He’ll be behind the wheel of a Ford 1934 Indy car special, making its debut in Targa.

He’ll be joined by co-driver Josh Herbert and will lead the field off everyday as the official “flag car”.

The beautiful 1934 Ford is owned by Copeland’s friend, Rod McMullin.

“Rod always wanted to take his 'Ford' to Targa as he's heard all my stories on the event, but he’s had some health issues that prevent him from competing at the moment so he rang me and asked if I would run his 1934 Ford Indy special,” Copeland said.

“I have watched this car for years and I jumped at the opportunity.”

Copland says driving a vintage car in an event like Targa Tasmania provides plenty of thrills.

“They really are seat of the pants driving, with their drum brakes, basic side valve motors, three-speed non-synchro gearboxes and leaf springs. They can really test your resolve!”

Getting the car up to modern Targa event has kept Copeland busy.

“It's been interesting getting Rod's Group K car to Targa spec's with a new cage, lights, bigger fuel tanks.”

With the hard work behind him, Copeland is now looking forward to the event, which gets underway in George Town on Tuesday May 6.

“What am I looking forward to most at this event is starting, surviving and finishing,” Copeland quipped.

“When you drive a car that is made from parts that were manufactured before most of our parents were born, it's just awesome if all the bits stay where they were meant to stay and do what they were made to do!”

Even if the car stays together as planned, the event poses more challenges to a Vintage car than most others in the field.
 
“The hardest part of Targa for the vintage guys is the weather - that is the biggest issue.

“There are not too many Vintage cars with a roof or a heater or even a proper windscreen. Our roof/windscreen is usually a full-faced helmet, so when you hear the other crews complain about the wet and slippery roads, the roads are the easy bit.

“We freeze our you know whats off, get soaking wet, get blown all over the place and generally can't see.

“We usually have a choice of four wheel drive tyres or light truck tyres because they are the only ones that fit our old rims. Other than those few issues it's a piece of cake.”
 
Despite the hardships, Copeland just keeps coming back.

“Targa is my annual sabbatical. I have met and made so many great friends at Targa, and they can come from classic, modern or vintage, it doesn't matter.

“Also my family comes down every year with me so it's sort of a family holiday.”

“The best part that I look forward to is at the close of play at the bar when everyone finds out that the 'Older I get, the better I was'.”

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