Graeme Cooper gets Australian Nationals win

Words by Gerald McDornan

Photos by Wayne Nugent and Gerald McDornan


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 Big Go held down under at Melbourne’s Calder Park Raceway.


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


He learned 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.

Graeme with his wife, Linda, after winning the Stock class at the 2007 U.S. Nationals, driving Norm Lapoint’s 1968 Chevelle station wagon.

VOLUME XIX,  NUMBER 3 - March  2017

Cooper launches at the Australian Nationals.


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 the Nationals almost 20 years ago driving for someone else, and I’d even won class at the U.S. Nationals in a borrowed car, 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 team from left: Ricky Glass, Rob Strah, James Strah, Graeme Cooper, his wife Linda, son-in-law Jason Gardner. In front is Graeme’s daughter Telisa Gardner.


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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