Life after Bathurst
and Nissan racing legend, Fred Gibson, bought the GT from Ford after the 1968 Hardie-Ferodo 500. Post-race it was stored in a lock-up at the Bathurst showgrounds.
“I rebuilt the engine and intended to use it as a road car, but I had a Falcon ute for running around with for work,” remembers Gibson. “So the GT sat around the Road & Track workshop [in Randwick] not getting used. A customer kept pestering me to sell it to him. So eventually I did.”
Before offloading it, Gibson had the GT logbooked – it had run with a CAMS certificate at Bathurst ’68 – and entered it in the big Tasman Series meeting at Warwick Farm in February 1969. This is fondly remembered by racing enthusiasts as the infamous “big wet.”
In very soggy conditions, Gibson finished fourth in the 10 lap 2UE Trophy for Series Production cars.
In March 1969 an accountant named Bob Scott bought the GT from Gibson for $3500 and registered it in NSW, with AHX808 plates. Scott, a member of the ANZ Bank Car Club (!), entered the GT in club events including the Amaroo hillclimb and Castlereagh sprints, but it was no match for the 327-engined Holden Monaros.
It was stolen within six months of Scott taking ownership of the car. The burnt-out wreck was discovered in Glen Alpine, near Campbelltown, on Sydney’s south-western outskirts.
Stuart Ballinger, from Wyong on NSW’s Central Coast, bought the once proud, but now sad, GT shell in 1970.
“I bought it from a guy in Western Sydney for $450,” recalls Ballinger today. “It was quite rusty from sitting outside for several months. It had no engine or gearbox, but I knew it was a GT by the melted GT steering wheel and nine-inch diff. I sandblasted the body, replaced the rusty turret and painted it Candy Apple Red, just like my XT GT road car that I bought new and still own.
“It took me three years to build up. I flared the guards, cut a lot of metal out of it, fitted a roll cage and put wider wheels on it. I installed a mild Windsor 302 that I got from a wrecker. It was a low budget effort; I remember that I had to borrow a carburettor for it initially,” he laughs.
Ballinger logged his XT GT sports sedan in late 1973.
“I remember doing my observed competition licence test at Amaroo Park and the Lexan rear window blew out! Would you believe Fred Gibson was the licence observer that day...”
Of course, the now AMC columnist had no idea the car was his old ride.
Ballinger raced his XT GT in Division 2 sports sedan races for three years, albeit with little success.
“I did all the work on it myself, but it really needed more development,” says Ballinger.” Then family came along and I couldn’t afford to race any more.”
It appears that the GT sat in Ballinger’s shed unused for five years before being sold to Alan Broome in 1981. Broome, from Sydney’s Lugarno, takes up the story.
“I had been building and racing sports sedans for a long time. I helped build several cars for (well-known racer and preparer) Barry Sharp as well as assisting Rod Stevens with his touring cars. The XT was a bit of a whim on my part, an impulse buy if you like. I was used to racing small sports sedans like Mazda RX3s.
“The Falcon was big and somewhat