Mus­cle Mail

Australian Muscle Car - - Immortal Muscle - BROCKY: THE FI­NAL WORD Yours sin­cerely, Peter Brock, VIC

t has come to my no­tice that there is some con­tro­versy sur­round­ing the his­tory and authenticity of the two fluro (day glo) 1984 HDT Com­modores – No.05 and No.25 re­spec­tively (AMC Is­sue 18). Firstly, the truth about 05. As is well known, In­ter­na­tional Group A reg­u­la­tions were due to be in­tro­duced start­ing Jan­uary 1985 and new ma­chin­ery was re­quired. The decision was made to con­struct brand new cars to meet those reg­u­la­tions, so the two (Group C) VKs were no longer re­quired by HDT after the 1984 en­durance rac­ing sea­son. Now, dur­ing the 1980s I’d be­come pretty matey with John Far­rell from Perth, who was in the boat build­ing business. We ran a few races at Wanneroo and also caught a few big fish to­gether dur­ing treks up to the Abrol­hos Is­lands and Ex­mouth. He loved the cars we had built in 1984 and wanted 05 for some lo­cal WA race se­ries. Since those Group C cars would be ob­so­lete in a few months, we did a deal. I think we may have turned a small profit, a some­what un­usual oc­cur­rence, when Far­rell coughed up $45k or so for his limited foray in this car. Dur­ing his de­but race week­end, as part of the deal, I was on hand to en­sure that 05 was all that he thought it should be. Co­in­ci­dently, I watched the races in company with John Cle­land’s fa­ther Jim, a rather dour Scot with a par­tial­ity for a wee drop. Cle­land, a large Scot­tish GM dealer, was en­am­oured with this car and wanted it, come hell or high wa­ter. We three (Far­rell, Cle­land and Brock) struck a deal, where Far­rell sold the car (to Cle­land) after that meet­ing and 05 was dis­patched to the UK where the car be­came a quasi ‘works’ en­try for the Bri­tish Thun­der Sa­loon Cham­pi­onship. John Cle­land won the cham­pi­onship in it for the next two years in a row and from there it went into var­i­ous other lev­els of com­pe­ti­tion through­out the re­gion (that’s the sub­ject of another story, I’m sure). I next saw the car when Holden

High Per­for­mance and Mo­tor­sport

Di­rec­tor, Ray Bor­rett, called me to an outer

London enthusiast’s res­i­dence where

he showed me the then par­tially re­stored 05

car. This was prob­a­bly about five or six years

ago, maybe a lit­tle longer, so the car had re­turned

on the radar screen. I let my mate Peter

Cham­pion know about it and the rest is his­tory. Now a lit­tle bit of his­tory on car

No.25. There had been some con­jec­ture

re­gard­ing the rel­e­vant le­git­i­macy of the

two team cars dur­ing the years since 05’s sale,

how­ever I al­ways made it clear that the

orig­i­nal 05 car was in Europe, that it had quite

a suc­cess­ful race ca­reer and fur­ther, that it

was the real deal. How­ever, this of­ten fell upon

deaf ears. Just to make it clear, the not quite

com­plete car on show at the Bathurst Mu­seum (Na­tional Mo­tor Rac­ing Mu­seum)

was do­nated to them by my or­ga­ni­za­tion,

in con­junc­tion with Holden Ltd, to

sat­isfy a re­quest they made for one of

our Group C cars. I was per­son­ally in­volved

in the whole is­sue. Ob­vi­ously, they were keen

to get one of our cars and it was a coup

for them to get one of the fa­mous “Last of the

Big Bangers” – a term coined by Holden Mo­tor

Sport spin doc­tor Plas­tic (a.k.a. Tim

Pem­ber­ton). It was con­sid­ered to be a prime

ex­am­ple of the end of the Group C era. Car 25 was pretty much iden­ti­cal

to the 05 ma­chine. I was aware the

05 car was de­sir­able and con­se­quently more

valu­able on two counts. Firstly it was 05

and se­condly it had won a few races - my mate

John Far­rell wanted it based on those

facts. How­ever, we also had a re­quest

from the Bathurst Mu­seum and so two

par­ties needed to be sat­is­fied. As a com­pro­mise we (my­self

and John Har­vey, if mem­ory serves) al­lowed

the not com­plete but orig­i­nal 25, which

had fea­tured in a rather mem­o­rable 1-2 Bathurst

fin­ish, to be dis­played in the mu­seum as

05 on the pro­viso that it was never to be

pur­ported to be the race win­ner. Far­rell was

to get the real 05 and go rac­ing. As with

many or­ga­ni­za­tions there are al­ways staff changes over time, facts be­come blurred and, in the end, they be­come stated as his­tor­i­cal facts. Then new em­ploy­ees tak­ing up po­si­tions in the or­ga­ni­za­tion know no dif­fer­ent and so the story is per­pet­u­ated. So, like it or not, th­ese are the facts. Peter Cham­pion has the real 05 car. No contest. It is a beau­ti­ful re­stored ex­am­ple of a won­der­ful part of our rich mo­tor sport her­itage. Bathurst mu­seum has the car Holden and I do­nated to them - car 25. After the mu­seum had re­ceived the car and had a think about it, they con­tacted me to as­sist them to lo­cate com­po­nents so that it was more com­plete and to be more gen­uinely rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the “Last of the Big Bangers” and the hal­cyon Group C days. This will put the mat­ter to rest. The facts are ir­refutable. There is no de­bate on the le­git­i­macy of all that is stated above. As a foot­note, I am em­bark­ing on a jour­ney to the UK to race Peter Cham­pion’s 05 1984 HDT car at the Good­wood Fes­ti­val of Speed, cel­e­brat­ing this year tour­ing car rac­ing world wide and its her­itage. It was quite an hon­our when Lord March in­vited me and in­di­cated that this fab­u­lous gen­uine ex­am­ple was to rep­re­sent this part of the world. The ques­tion should be asked: “Would I drive a car that was not the real deal?” Of course not. And what is more, I’ll give it plenty to show the rest of the world what a great, healthy and vi­brant rac­ing her­itage we have. Thanks for clear­ing that up, Brocky. We con­tacted the Na­tional Mo­tor Rac­ing Mu­seum at Bathurst for a right of re­ply, but Bathurst Re­gional Coun­cil chose not to re­spond to Peter’s signed state­ment. Fact is, ev­ery­one in­volved is tired of this whole silly 05/25 de­bate. As far as we’re con­cerned, they’re both great cars and we should all be very grate­ful that they have both sur­vived and ap­pre­ci­ate what they have both con­trib­uted to Aus­tralia’s rich mo­tor sport his­tory.

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