Out to pas­ture

Australian Muscle Car - - Bathurst Muscle -

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 arnoldcd@big­pond.net.au

We are es­pe­cially keen to find an im­age of the dam­aged car af­ter it hit the horse.

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