88 V8 Sleuth

Australian Muscle Car - - Contents - WITH AARON NOO­NAN

Chan­nel Seven com­men­ta­tor and chas­sis his­to­rian Aaron Noo­nan re­ports on a rare pair of red Ford Sierra RS500s that are be­ing read­ied for the track again. No, th­ese Sier­ras didn’t orig­i­nate in Queens­land. Theme song: ‘Get back’ by The Bea­tles.

Last is­sue, Aus­tralian Mus­cle Car’s reg­u­lar ‘The Car’s That Won Bathurst’ se­ries fo­cused on the 1988 Tooheys 1000-win­ning Ford Sierra RS500 of Tony Longhurst and To­mas Mez­era, which is on dis­play at the Na­tional Mo­tor Rac­ing Mu­seum at Bathurst. I’ve now come across some great in­for­ma­tion about two more Group A Sier­ras that are be­ing re­stored with a view to re­turn­ing them to the track in the fu­ture.

It fur­ther un­der­lines the ris­ing ap­peal and in­ter­est in this era of rac­ing as wit­nessed by the cur­rent Her­itage Tour­ing Cars cat­e­gory that com­petes on the His­toric scene.

Re­mem­ber the OXO Sier­ras of 1987? Well, you will be see­ing them again soon.

It’s great to hear that two of the cars are in the hands of Syd­ney-based enthusiast Ben Teb­butt, who got in touch with the V8 Sleuth re­cently.

One of his cars is the OXO ma­chine raced dur­ing the 1987 sea­son by Don Smith. This car was driven by the late John Gid­dings and Bruce Ste­wart at Bathurst that sea­son (un­der the #34 rac­ing num­ber).

It be­came Colin Bond’s 1988 Cal­tex CXT car that won the AMSCAR Se­ries at Ama­roo and fin­ished third be­hind the dom­i­nant Shell duo of Dick John­son and John Bowe in the Aus­tralian Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship.

Teb­butt has been restor­ing this car for the best part of the last seven or so years and in­tends to race it in Her­itage Tour­ing Cars in its Bond 1988 Cal­tex liv­ery and spec.

The sec­ond car was the sis­ter car, raced as #35 in 1987 by An­drew Miedecke, that was rolled in prac­tice for the Cas­trol 500 at Sandown by co­driver and team owner Don Smith.

Side­lined from Group A rac­ing, it was re­paired and sold to Mike Cev­eri, who turned it into a wicked Sports Sedan with fat flared guards and a thump­ing V8 mo­tor!

Teb­butt pur­chased the car, less mo­tor and gear­box, and is work­ing on restor­ing it to orig­i­nal Group A spec­i­fi­ca­tions.

By the way, if you’re won­der­ing what­ever hap­pened to the third OXO car, it was built new for Bathurst 1987 and was the car that Miedecke was driv­ing when he du­elled in the open­ing stages of that year’s race with Steve Soper and Andy Rouse.

It had been built to re­place the rollover car and was raced by Miedecke in 1988 and early 1989, be­fore be­ing de­stroyed in the in­fa­mous Lakeside fire that sea­son.

“I’ve been rac­ing Minis in Group N for a few years and been re­search­ing the Sier­ras a lot,” Teb­butt told AMC.

“When they were rac­ing I was in my teens and re­ally sat up and took no­tice of mo­tor rac­ing then. It was just some­thing about those cars. You can’t re­ally help but be in awe of a four-cylin­der car be­ing that quick! They were my re­ally vivid mem­o­ries of watch­ing Bathurst.

“When Group A cars were be­com­ing His­toric I watched Bob Tweedie in his car and thought it would be great to find one. I didn’t have the bud­get for a turnkey car and later I heard about

an OXO car not far from me. I kept do­ing my home­work chas­ing up the his­to­ries and lin­eage.

“Then Les Swal­low put the Cal­tex car up for sale in Mel­bourne and I bought it – it was a time cap­sule! It had been in his shed for pretty much 20 years. I’m hop­ing to get it stick­ered up soon and glass back in it and we can get it out and run­ning.

“It’s been a slower restora­tion than planned, I’ve had it since about 2007 and been slowly restor­ing it but it’s painted now, which is one of the ma­jor humps.

“The other ‘rollover’ car I found in about 2008 after Don Smith had in­spected my Cal­tex car. I went and saw it at Mike Cev­eri’s and it wasn’t for sale. He was hop­ing his son Tom would drive it but that never hap­pened. So we stayed in touch and he put it up for sale about three or four years later.

“Orig­i­nally he wanted to sell it in Sports Sedan trim com­plete, but he later agreed to sep­a­rate items and I bought it as a body shell.”

We look for­ward to keep­ing tabs on their pro­gres­sion and see them back out on the cir­cuit some­time soon.

Fi­nally, if you like Sier­ras, you’re go­ing to love is­sue #77 of AMC. A nother car of ma­jor in­ter­est that Group C fans have of­ten asked us about at AMC is the exCraven Mild Com­modore that Al­lan Grice raced at Bathurst in 1980 with John Smith as co-driver.

Later raced by Neil Cun­ning­ham and Bernie Stack, the car is in the hands of His­toric ‘new­bie’ Gary Chick in New South Wales and is un­der­go­ing restora­tion back to how it ran at Bathurst some 34 years ago.

The car formed the ba­sis of one of our ‘Miss­ing In Ac­tion’ sto­ries some time ago, so a more in­depth story on it when its restora­tion is fin­ished is on the V8 Sleuth’s ‘to do’ list!

Are­cent trip in­ter­state gave your V8 Sleuth a chance to stop by and catch up with one of the leg­ends of Aussie tour­ing car rac­ing – Al­lan Grice. But there was a point for the catch up. The two-time Bathurst 1000 win­ner has asked yours truly to work on find­ing some suit­able homes for some very im­pres­sive rac­ing mem­o­ra­bilia from his fab­u­lous ca­reer.

A quick rum­mage through some of the items left me on a trip back through time!

There was his 1986 Bathurst-win­ning hel­met, a Holden Rac­ing Team race suit (which we think may be in­deed his 1990 win­ning flame­proofs!), another hel­met from his 1982 Bathurst pole­set­ting lap (in­clud­ing be­com­ing the first driver to achieve a lap av­er­age of 100 mph in a tour­ing car – and the trophy that went with it!) as well as all sorts of other very cool, spe­cial and sig­nif­i­cant mem­o­ra­bilia.

Heck, there was even Gricey’s Fosters hel­met and race­suit from rac­ing NASCAR over in the United States!

We’re work­ing our way through it slowly and will of­fer some very im­pres­sive stuff up in the weeks and months to come so keep an eye via my so­cial me­dia chan­nels and in the pages of good mag­a­zines such as this very one.

Gricey says he’s keen for the items to go to good homes with mo­tor­sport mem­o­ra­bilia col­lec­tors. He’s en­joyed a long ca­reer in the sport and would rather they found homes with pas­sion­ate and proud peo­ple.

Which makes me won­der – do you have a piece of Al­lan Grice rac­ing mem­o­ra­bilia? An old race suit? A hel­met? A piece of one of his old cars? I’d love to find out what is out there as I reckon Gricey’s place among the greats of the sport is of­ten un­der­stated.

I firmly reckon he should be the next bloke in­ducted into V8 Su­per­car’s Hall of Fame too. Ian

Ward took the great shots from our Shan­nons Leg­ends of Mo­tor­sport film­ing at Bow­den’s Own Car Col­lec­tion on the Sun­shine Coast that we pub­lished last edi­tion. Apolo­gies for leav­ing this credit out – nice snap­ping Ian!

As al­ways, I love hear­ing from AMC read­ers with ques­tions, in­for­ma­tion or feed­back, so shoot me a note to aaron@v8sleuth.com.au

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