Home' Army News : February 4th 2010 Contents COMBINED PROPERTY RENT
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ALARGE crowd of eager,
sweating autophiles, hard-
ly able to contain twitch-
ing camera shutter button
fingers, waits in 36C heat for the
covers to come off.
They are keen to see Armygeddon's
high-powered replacement unveiled to
the revhead public at the Summernats
car show in Canberra.
When the modified 1978 Ford LTD
staff car is revealed, the first thing that
attracts admiring looks is the huge
The chromed Ford V8 pumps out
an unbelievable 525kW of power.
When it is fired up it sends a rumble
though chests and, if listened to for
any length of time, would induce hear-
The vehicle's next most striking
feature is its paint job; the organic
green paint scheme with a rising sun
blended into the rear panels looks
The paint work alone would turn
heads anywhere, even if the car was
under tow and didn't have an engine.
The specially made chrome, five-
spoke, 18-inch wheels boast a rising
sun badge and the words Team Army.
The car can carry a driver and three
lucky passengers. Rear passengers
enter through modified doors and are
seated in green-and-black racing seats,
complete with harnesses.
Absent is a stereo for obvious rea-
sons, as the only soundtrack to be
heard is the one thumping through the
front fire wall.
The dash accommodates 12 gauges
set into carbon fibre, with a silver steel
finish. The RPM gauge would not be
out of place in an Abrams tank. The
steering wheel and centrally mounted
gear stick are both finished in silver.
Designed to perform burnouts,
cruise around motorsport and recruit-
ing events, and to attract trade trainees
to the Army, the $240,000 LTD took
18 months to build.
Trainee mechanics at the Army
School of Electrical and Mechanical
Engineers at Albury-Wodonga worked
on the initiative, known as Project
Cfn Jason Ralph put in more than
200 hours to get the vehicle ready for
"It gives us the opportunity to work
on a car which is completely different
to anything we have in the Army," he
says. "We learn skills working on this
vehicle which allows us to fix prob-
lems on other vehicles."
He describes the new vehicle as
"You look around here (at
Summernats) and there is not another
car of that same type built to that high
Even Summernats founder Chic
Henry was impressed. "He came up
and said, 'You guys have really hit the
nail on the head with this car'," Cfn
Ralph says. "I feel proud I've had a
hand in creating it."
For the knockers who contend
Armygeddon and Project Digger are
a waste of money, Cfn Ralph is proof
the Team Army concept works.
"Armygeddon was one of the rea-
sons I joined the Army. I saw it at
Queensland raceway a couple of years
ago," he says. "I thought these guys
get to do a pretty awesome job and
they love what they are doing so much
and give up their own time to help put
together and maintain a car."
Team Army boss Lt-Col Tom
Regener says Team Army and Project
Digger was money well spent. "The
project aligns with the Government's
new Kickstart initiative to combat skill
shortages in technical trades," he says.
"It costs around $120,000 a year
to operate the team and fits in with
the Kickstart program to invest $100
million to support 21,000 young
Australians to enter trades."
The Project Digger vehicle will be
officially named soon and is due to
appear at Top Gear Live in Sydney this
month, Clipsal 500 in Adelaide and the
F1 Grand Prix in Melbourne in March,
and the Careers Expo in Melbourne in
Slick look: An impressive rendering of the rising sun badge adorns the side of the 1978 Ford LTD
staff car, while a more traditional image of the badge is cast in the wheels (above). Team Army
members (below) are justifiably proud of their handiwork.
Photos by Sgt Andrew Hetherington
Army's latest recruiting
attraction dazzles car
buffs at Summernats,
reports Sgt Andrew
Army February 4, 2010
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