Life after Bathurst

Australian Muscle Car - - Factory Muscle -

Ford

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

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