Aussie drag racing legend, Graeme Cooper has put the final 'brick' in an impressive wall of trophies won with his famous 'Bricklayer' EH Holden Premier station wagon.
Cooper and the 'Brickie' took out the coveted gold Christmas Tree trophy in the Super Street class at the Australian Nationals at Calder Park.
While he had won a Nationals title before, winning Super Stock driving a Monaro for car owner Tony Busscher in 1998, it was Cooper's first 'Big Go' win in his much-loved wagon after almost 40 years of trying.
"The Brickie and I have won a lot of events and titles together, but the Australian Nationals always eluded us ... until now," Cooper said.
"I'd won the Nationals driving for someone else, and even won my class at the U.S. Nationals, but a Big Go title in my own car was missing, and it was the fire in the belly that kept me going.
"I'm rapt, it feels like we've now done it all. We'll keep racing, but we can relax and enjoy it all a bit more from now on."
As a 17-year-old apprentice bricklayer, Cooper bought the Holden as a pristine, one-owner car in June 1975, learning how to drive in it.
He began racing three years later, first with the original six-cylinder engine, recording a 16.8-second time at Heathcote Park Raceway.
The one-time sedate family wagon received a V8 in an engine transplant in 1980, with the times dropping to as quick as 10.0-seconds.
Cooper and the Bricklayer have won three Australian Super Sedan Championships, and 36 national and state title events, along with over 50 open events.
Cooper advertised his trade by having "Bricklayer" and his phone number sign written on its rear window.
"I didn't name the car, people called it the "Bricklayer" because of the sign writing so it's stayed on the car ever since," Cooper said.
The 58-year-old says the Holden is a much-loved family member.
"I had my first date with my wife Linda in it, she learned to drive in it too, and it was the wedding car for our daughter Telisa's wedding two years ago, so it's a very special part of our family."
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