A thor­ough­bred is born

Australian Muscle Car - - Bathurst Muscle -

Bald­win Ford’s Bathurst weapon rolled down Ford’s Broad­mead­ows pro­duc­tion line in July 1971 bear­ing Ve­hi­cle Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Num­ber (VIN) JG33LS89735K.

It was one of a batch of four Phase IIIs ear­marked for dealer-en­tered race teams that came down the line to­gether, hence they had con­sec­u­tive VINs.

The Raw Or­ange ma­chine was the fourth in line of these four cars built specif­i­cally for Bathurst duty and sported the 3.25:1 rear-end and the open ra­tio spline box.

The first was the Hard­ing Ford-or­dered Ver­mil­lion Fire car with black trim, #59E, driven by Mur­ray Carter.

Next was a white car with sad­dle in­te­rior. It was set to race in the hands of Fin­nie Ford-backed David McKay, un­til one of the deal­er­ship’s best cus­tomers spotted it in the work­shop and de­cided he just had to have it. Fin­nie Ford obliged and a sec­ond ma­chine was or­dered for the race and was driven to a fine third place on Oc­to­ber 3.

Third was a Track Red ve­hi­cle ear­marked to be the car en­tered by McCluskey Ford, as #56E, for Ian Geoghegan/Brian Michel­more, which didn’t front for the race.

Our cover car was also spec­i­fied with an un­likely op­tion, a ra­dio and 8-track tape player, the Bathurst clas­sic’s only Phase III to do so.

The rea­son it was or­dered as such is un­clear, how­ever all nine (!) of the Phase IIIs or­dered by Bald­win Ford had ei­ther the Su­per Fringe ra­dio or the 8-track tape player fit­ted from fac­tory.

Closer to the race, the team re­ceived one of the spe­cial build ‘US QC en­gines’ that Ford Aus­tralia’s out­go­ing Spe­cial Ve­hi­cles Man­ager Al Turner had ini­ti­ated be­fore re­turn­ing to the United States.

Turner de­scribed these 2025 blueprinted units as en­abling “deal­ers to be more com­pet­i­tive than in the past at the Bathurst 500” by pro­vid­ing an en­gine “that would have greater dura­bil­ity than they are ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing them­selves.”

Each of the deal­ers en­tered for the 500 duly re­ceived an early Christ­mas present, as driver Damon Beck de­scribes.

“In the weeks prior to the event, Howard Mars­den sent Bald­win’s a Ford race-pre­pared en­gine with the in­struc­tion “use this” on the pack­ing slip. As we had good horse­power from the en­gine the

team had al­ready pre­pared, it was with some re­luc­tance that the new one was in­stalled. I’m glad we used it be­cause it was fault­less.”

The Bald­win racer was the 202nd of the 300odd Phase IIIs built and one of be­tween seven and 10 XY GT-HOs pro­duced in the fleet colour of Raw Or­ange.

Bald­win Ford or­dered and re­ceived at least one other Raw Or­ange GT-HO Phase III, which acted as a mo­bile spare parts bin over race weekend. AMC was un­able to con­firm re­ports of a third Phase III al­lo­cated to Bald­wins in the dis­tinc­tive colour to cap­i­talise on the dealer’s ex­pec­ta­tions of a pro­mo­tional bo­nanza from win­ning the race. How­ever, a third un­known ‘fleet­coloured’ Phase III was re­ceived by Bald­win Ford and it may well have been Raw Or­ange.

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