Brianna Barker’s 1971 AMC Hornet

Queenslander Brianna Barker grew up in a family that was mad-keen on motorsports and the American Motors Corporation (better known as Rambler in Australia)


Brianna’s daily driver is a Mitsubishi Lancer, which she also races on occasion, but she’s been thrown the keys to something much cooler – and a hell of a lot quicker.

This article was first published in the October 2020 issue of Street Machine

Tell us about the car.

It’s a 1971 AMC Hornet, and it’s actually my dad’s. It was just sitting there and we thought, “Why not take it out again?” I don’t remember how it came about that I would race it; I was just always so interested in it. My first race was Mopar Sunday 2019. When Dad stopped racing it, we would take it out every Sunday and just cruise around to keep it going.

How long has your dad owned the car?

Since he was 15. It was his first car and he purchased it from Warham Williams Motors in Archerfield. He remembers being on his way to the Brisbane Markets at Rocklea on a Saturday morning and spotting the Hornet – it was love at first sight. He went home, told Poppa and took him down to see it. The next thing they knew, they owned an AMC Hornet! He worked at the local fruit shop and saved up enough money to buy half, and my grandparents loaned him the other half, which he paid back in nine months at 15 years old. The car cost $4000 on 2 February 1988.

Did he used to race it much?

Dad used to do the Street Series at Willowbank, which was the local track championship, and Mopar Sunday as well. He won several rounds in Quick Eliminator at the Street Series and made the top eight in the Hornet. However, we have now moved on to race Super Street and also compete in the 400 Thunder National Sportsman Series. A bucket-list item for me is to race at the Winternationals, and I’d also like to travel to Sydney and race there.

So who’s got the best ET?

Dad has, but I haven’t had a chance to run it in the cooler weather yet. My PB in the Hornet is [email protected], which I ran in July 2019 at Mopar Sunday. My dad’s PB is a 12.32, which I am out to beat!

Tell us a bit about the combo in the car.

It’s an AMC 360 with cast-iron heads, an Edelbrock Torker manifold, 750cfm Edelbrock carb and a hydraulic cam with .484 and .512 lift. The transmission is a 727 Torqueflite [which AMC used from the factory], and the diff is an AMC 20 with 4.10 gears and standard two-piece axles. So it’s mostly stock, with just a few mods here and there. I think people like that it’s an AMC with an AMC motor – they expect a Ford or something.

Any plans to make it faster?

Another bucket-list item for me is to rebuild the engine with my dad and my poppa. We are planning to do this when we do a refresh of the engine and put a new cam in, hopefully next year. We hope to get the car running in the high 11s. We also have CalTracs sitting in the shed waiting to be fitted, too. The dream is to import a Dodge Hellcat Drag Pak from America when we have the money.

And your family’s history with AMC goes back to your grandfather?

Yeah, my poppa used to run Jeep Spares in Sunnybank, and has always been around the Jeep industry. Jeep was part of AMC, so I think that’s where the connection was made. He also used to do off-road racing in his Wagoneer, so motorsport has always been in our family one way or another!

Tell us a bit about the family business, StyroMAX Fibreglass Composite Panels.

I work there and look after the electric fan sales – the same ones I run in the Hornet. We actually make these fans in-house at our factory in Darra. The fact that they are Australian-made and competitively priced is always a massive hit! They come in 10, 12 and 14-inch diameters and either 12 or 24 volts.

You’ve also become a bit of a social media influencer, it seems?

I’m very proud to support and be an influencer for an American brand known as Redline Ace. They have the ‘GRL PWR’ shirt range, which I wear every time I race. This has been worn by famous American female drag racers such as Megan Meyer and Ashley Sanford. I was Redline Ace’s first international sale, and from then it’s grown so much. I can’t thank Ben from Redline Ace enough for his support and wisdom throughout the years. Another brand I recently got involved with is Chicks On Slicks, who do a lot of promotion on their Instagram page of girls in drag racing. Payton, who runs the page, is a drag racer herself, and she’s the sweetest. I love expressing such a powerful message that girls can race too, and I’d love to inspire young girls to get involved in the sport if they want to.

Girls — wanna be famous? Send pics, car details and contact details to: Iron Maiden, Street Machine, Locked Bag 12, Oakleigh, Vic 3166. Or email: [email protected].