Out to pasture
The Baldwin racecar was advertised for sale in 1972 – including in the July edition of Modern Motor (pictured) – with Baldwin hoping someone would buy it to take to Bathurst ‘72, but the car remained unsold.
Selling a car that had obviously been raced reduced its value as a road car significantly, illustrated by the fact it was ultimately purchased by one of the dealership’s mechanics, Kerry King, in his mother’s name!
Kerry and his brother Wally King – as opposed to King Wally, which will mean something to Queensland and NSW readers – were well known Northern Beaches petrol heads.
The Kings had it for three years, during which time it copped some damage, before selling it to a guy in Western Sydney, who, appropriately enough, planned to tow a horse float with it. However, this second private owner sold it before a towbar was fitted and the car went to Victoria, where it was registered with IHJ 698 plates. Its history can next be traced to a caryard (owned by Keith Goodman) on Parramatta Road in 1978. This period of the car’s history is largely unknown, although one Phase III historian we spoke to believes it was stolen and recovered around this time. It’s also when much of the evidence of its race history was lost, along with its shaker, wheels, console, rear boot lid and spoiler. Thankfully the Bathurst engine was not removed.
The trail reappears at Eastern Creek (before the circuit was built), with Lloyd Hutchens’ ownership in the early 1980s, when it received the coat of paint the car now wears. It was sold in 1984 to Peter Macrae, who owned it for the next 20 years. For much of this time it was in storage in Sydney, ArmIdale and Cootamundra.
Enter current owner David Arnold. When he bought the car – viewing it in a hanger at Cootamundra airport, in southern NSW – he was unaware of its first life as a racecar.
“I purchased it in 2004, with 45,000 miles on the clock,” David Arnold says. “It needed only minor work to bring it back to top condition, really mostly brakes, exhaust, tyres and cleaning. This is when the race history was rediscovered by finding rollbar holes in the floor.”
David was unaware of its race history, but soon noted rollcage footings and other indicators of a past life beyond normal street use.
The next 12 months saw him burn the midnight oil in unlocking its past. This included obtaining a copy of the application form for car’s logbook tracking down former Baldwin Ford dealership staff and race team crew.
David subsequently confirmed that the engine in the car today is the actual race engine – i.e. the
Above right: The QC race engine survived and stayed in the car, possibly because it was not ‘matching numbers’ and therefore, at one stage, deemed unattractive to purists. Right: Damon Beck was reunited with the car at the 2005 Masters. Below right: Lucky duck owner David Arnold. A big thank you to him for his assistance with this story. Below left: David first saw the car in a hanger at Cootamundra airport. Bottom: Before the car was returned to its #61 ‘persona’ with stickers and roll cage. special QC motor supplied by Ford. That engine is inscribed with the original engine’s number...
The ‘amateur’ inscription serves to highlight the changing of the tide regarding attitudes towards former racecars of the muscle car era. Who in their right mind would knowingly inscribe a QC engine?
“At first, I thought ‘what sort of a bitza car have I bought?’ But now, knowing the full story, I feel so fortunate to own a piece of Bathurst history with the engine it had that day. If only this car could talk, as the story around blows my mind. AMC agrees 100 percent, David! “There’s evidence of the damage caused when [the replacement body] came off the trailer and went into the ditch on the Hume Highway. And you can see the tyre scuff marks inside the right-hand side guards, which was the side that did most of the hard work at Bathurst.”
David stickered up the car in time for the inaugural Muscle Car Masters at Eastern Creek in 2005, where it was reunited with Damon Beck for some slow laps on that soggy day.
David has pieced together its history, except for the late 1970s.
“The period from 1975 to 1979 is the only time I cannot find any info on its owners or whereabouts. All I know is it was rego’d with Victorian number IHJ-698. Might have been in the Canberra area during this period.”
If anyone has any stories, information, documents or private photos pertaining to this car David would love to hear from you. Contact him via email@example.com
We are especially keen to find an image of the damaged car after it hit the horse.