122 Whad­daya­know?

Australian Muscle Car - - Contents -

The Miss­ing in Ac­tion name has gone MIA. Theme song: A cer­tain U2 song.

Miss­ing In Ac­tion is chang­ing. Truth be known, as time marches on, find­ing suit­able ve­hi­cles to search for is get­ting trick­ier and trick­ier. What’s more, ac­tu­ally find­ing those MIA cars is bear­ing less fruit. Nonethe­less, when­ever we ask read­ers to nom­i­nate their favourite sec­tions of the mag­a­zine, MIA is in­vari­ably in the top three re­sponses.

There­fore, from this edi­tion, AMC is broad­en­ing this page’s scope. After much de­lib­er­a­tion, the back page in your favourite mag­a­zine be­comes Wad­daya­know?

We’re not abandoning the MIA con­cept, just ex­pand­ing upon it. This is now a quest for in­for­ma­tion on per­ti­nent ve­hi­cles from our mus­cle car or tour­ing car his­tory. That mis­sion in­cludes the where­abouts of the rel­e­vant cars to­day.

The idea came to us when we posted some of Ian ‘Noddy’ Mad­den’s shots from the 1971 Hardie-Ferodo 500 on AMC’s Face­book page, specif­i­cally pics that we couldn’t man­age to squeeze into Punter Pics last is­sue, #75. One of Noddy’s images (pic­tured be­low), which showed a hum­ble class car ne­go­ti­at­ing For­rest’s El­bow, drew a big re­ac­tion.

Typ­i­cal was the com­ment left by reader Steve Amor, who wrote: “Miss­ing in Ac­tion sub­ject. Cortina @ Bathurst!? Never seen that.”

If ever there was a suit­able car for our first Wad­daya­know, it’s this one.

Okay, it’s no mus­cle car, so don’t bother writ­ing in to com­plain. How­ever, it is an Aussie-built ma­chine that con­tested our Great Race of which lit­tle is known. With the Aus­tralian au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try soon to pull down the shut­ters, there’s clearly a grow­ing in­ter­est in all lo­cally built or as­sem­bled cars. That in­cludes TC Corti­nas.

Of course, Mk I Corti­nas had a dis­tin­guished com­pe­ti­tion his­tory and scored three con­sec­u­tive wins in the Bathurst 500, from 1963 to 1965. The MkII ver­sion didn’t reach those lofty heights, yet still had a tin-top rac­ing pres­ence cour­tesy of Jim McKe­own. In con­trast, the Mk III, launched in Aus­tralian in Au­gust 1971, had a lower pro­file than Sal­man Rushdie (re­mem­ber him?).

Ge­off West­bury and Jim Sul­li­van did their bit, though, driv­ing a 2.0-litre L ver­sion at Bathurst that year in Class C, for cars priced $2501-$3150. The pair qual­i­fied 49th in the 60-car field and com­pleted 110 of the 130 laps, for 35th out­right. This equated to eighth in class, seven laps be­hind Gary Cooke’s pace-set­ting Mazda RX2, LC To­rana GTRs, Es­corts and a Mor­ris Cooper S.

As the pics on this page show, the Cortina car­ried the sig­nage of New­cas­tle busi­nesses (Ford dealer) Klosters, NBN 3 TV and ra­dio 2KO. Oddly, the crew added splashes of pink around the wind­screen for race day, de­spite it be­ing the only Cortina in the race!

Sul­li­van had a long ca­reer as a jour­nal­ist, and later news di­rec­tor at NBN, and con­trib­uted to Rac­ing Car News in this era.

Three years ear­lier, Sul­li­van drove another or­phan – a HK Kingswood – to 28th, while West­bury cam­paigned a Hill­man Ar­row in 1967 and Cortina 1600 in 1970.

Beyond that, de­tails of this Novo­cas­trian-backed Cortina ef­fort are thin on the ground. We’d love to know more.

So Wad­daya­know? And does this Cortina live on to­day?

Our jour­nal­is­tic radar is telling us there’s a story to be told about the only TC Cortina to grace the Great Race. We’d love to hear from driv­ers, crew, spon­sors, who­ever...

Well, wad­daya­know about this 1971 Bathurst Cortina? Drop us a line at am­ced­i­to­rial@chevron.com.au

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