Cooper and the Bricklayer take out the Australian Nationals

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It may have taken them 38 years, but Aussie drag racing legend Graeme Cooper and his famous “Bricklayer” Holden station wagon have finally won the Australian Nationals.

Cooper and the “Brickie” took out the coveted gold Christmas Tree trophy in the Super Street class at the 51st annual Australian Nationals, held at Melbourne’s Calder Park Raceway recently.

Cooper bought the pristine, low mileage, one-owner 1963 EH Holden Premier wagon as a 17-year-old apprentice bricklayer in 1975.

He learnt to drive in it before beginning to race the wagon three years later – first with its original six-cylinder engine before switching to a small block Chev in 1980.

The car’s name came about when Cooper advertised his trade by having “Bricklayer” and his phone number sign written on its rear window, with race fans adopting the moniker.

Cooper and the “Brickie” had won 35 ANDRA national and state events and titles, along with three Australian Super Sedan Championships, but a win at the Nationals had always eluded them.

“I won Super Stock at the Nationals almost 20 years ago driving Tony Busscher’s Monaro, and I’d even won class at the U.S. Nationals in Norm LaPoint’s ’68 Chevelle station wagon, but a Big Go title in the ‘Brickie’ was missing, and it was the fire in the belly that’s kept me going,” Cooper said.

“I’m rapt now, it feels like we’ve now done it all in Australian drag racing.

“We’ll keep racing, but we can relax and enjoy it all a bit more from now on.”

The “Brickie” has a special place in the hearts of Cooper and his family; he took his wife Linda on their first date in it, she also learned to drive in the wagon, and Cooper used it as the wedding car for his daughter Telisa’s wedding two years ago.

“It’s a very special part of our family and we could never part with it,” Cooper said.

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