Ican clearly remember the day I decided motor racing was going to be my life,” Allan Moffat tells AMC. “I was sitting in a grandstand at the Indianapolis 500 in May of 1964, just a Joe Blow nobody, and Jimmy Clark was driving there for Lotus. The right rear tyre blew on his car, practically in front of where I was sitting, and I couldn’t get over what a fantastic technician he was to keep it under control, drift it down and bring it safely to a stop.
“I made up my mind, sitting there in the grandstand, that I was going to become involved in serious motor racing. Ultimately, the idea was to be driving. I just didn’t know how I was going to do it.”
He found a way, alright. And he kept finding ways when the sponsorship and factory race deals dried up, as they inevitably do in the motorsport game.
Moffat’s former team manager, Allan Horsley, says that three words describe him: “dedicated, dedicated and dedicated”. AMC adds three more: professional, hardnosed and skilled. The Canadian-born Moffat first came to Australia as a wee lad when his father’s employer, Massey-Ferguson, dispatched Moffat Snr and family down under.
Allan fell in love with the place, later recognising the opportunities the local racing scene presented. However, his racing education came back in North America, in no less a category than the Trans-American Sedan Championship. The legendary Trans-Am series!
What’s largely unknown is that Moffat won his second ever TransAm series start, at Bryar Motorsport Park, New Hampshire, in July 1966. He stepped up to a Mercury Cougar in 1967 – incurring the wrath of Mark Donohue – and then a Shelby-entered Mustang for the 1968 Daytona 24 Hours and Sebring 12-Hour events, paired with fellow ‘Aussie’ Horst Kwech.
Moffat’s works Trans-Am series efforts paved the way back to Australia with the legendary Coca-Cola Mustang for 1969. This, in turn, led him to the FoMoCo’s Series Production assaults which netted three victories in four years at Bathurst and Australian racing immortality.
His fourth and final Great Race victory was also the most dramatic, thanks to an ailing XC Falcon hardtop. In 2015 AMC will feature in detail Allan Moffat and Colin Bond’s 1-2 in the 1977 Hardie-Ferodo 1000. The stunning formation finish remains Ford’s finest Bathurst moment and is deserving of future standalone in-depth treatment – and certainly more space than we can allocate in this Muscle Man profile. Hence, we asked Allan to hold-off on Bathurst ’77 recollections for the time being.
Plenty of other Ford-flavoured campaigns for the legendary Aussie racing figure to reflect upon over the coming pages, though.
All up, ‘Moff’ won four Australian Touring Car Championships (1973, ’76, ’77 and ’83), two Australian Endurance Championships, six Sandown endurance races and titles in sports sedans and sports cars.
While it’s 50 years since he decided motor racing was going to be his life, it’s also 25 since he hung up his helmet. Moffat did so just days after notching up his half century and upon winning his final event as a professional racing driver. Poetic, really.