When liveries go wrong
first shakedown test of the first HDT Big Banger VK Commodore at Calder went wrong – and not for the mechanical reasons something usually goes wrong at a first test. Ex-HDT mechanic Jeff Grech takes up the story. “We had a little bit of a hiccup because Phillip Morris wanted the Formula 1 day-glo Marlboro livery,” he recalls.
“We got it out and HDT down in Levison Street (the road car division in North Melbourne) had a spray booth and they painted it and went out to Calder on the Wednesday to give it a shakedown and the whole day-glo section on the front peeled off like plastic! It was because we didn’t have the right primer or something, I can’t remember exactly why, but it was a hurried re-paint.
“When all of the orange peeled off it, the sign guy ‘Barnesy’, who was a commercial signwriter, he was there until 3am in the morning fixing it.
“We did the press photo shoot – the one of the car in the studio that is on all of the Big Banger posters of that year and the shots in the various magazines of the time – and the car didn’t have an engine in it then.
“The signage wasn’t stickers back in those days. ‘Barnesy’ hand-painted both cars. He got the ‘O’ wrong on the flare in the Marlboro sign (for the shoot, visible in the press photos) but we had to take the photo as it was in the studio so he then got a projector and had to correct it.
“There will be differences in exact positioning of logos and signage on the two cars because they were hand-painted.”