Elsewhere in this edition you’ll find a story on early Holden Dealer Team livery concepts that didn’t make it onto the grid. These came courtesy of former GM-H stylist Paul Beranger, who was kind enough to share his recollections and imagery with AMC. While interviewing Beranger, we learned of his Series Production race starts in 1972 aboard a LJ Torana GTR XU-1. This included the opening two rounds of that year’s Manufacturers Championship, August’s Chesterfield 250 in Adelaide and the Sandown 250. Neither bigtime outing yielded a result, with a blown tyre at Sandown sending the Torana into the fence, ending Beranger’s day prematurely.
The Hardie-Ferodo 500 entry list shows he and co-driver George Reynolds as reserves for the big race, but the battered Torana never made it to Mount Panorama.
By Paul’s own admission, he wasn’t a frontrunner. However, as the photos on this page show, he did pedal one striking-looking machine. It was surely the only brown Torana to race against the big names of the time.
“Every year, in Holden styling, we used to do new colour reviews, where we would paint up cars in all these potential new colours,” he explains. “In those days you had company cars that could be ordered in any of these evaluation colours. So I ordered mine in Nutmeg, which did become a production colour, but with a one-off brown interior. I’m interested to know if the car still exists? I believe it went to Sydney after I sold it in 1973. It had a brown interior with the houndstooth fabric insert.”
Paul Beranger still possesses paperwork that displays the engine number JP103031. So does his old Nutmeg-coloured XU-1 live on today?
Waddayaknow? Drop us a line at AMC, we’d love to help Paul out with his MIA search.
Cortina in the big arena
issue we relaunched this page as Waddayaknow? – a quest for more information on pertinent or quirky cars from our muscle car or touring car history. Our first subject was definitely of the quirky variety, the 2.0-litre TC Cortina L driven by Geoff Westbury and Jim Sullivan to 35th outright in the 1971 Hardie-Ferodo 500. This Novocastrian-flavoured MkIII Cortina covered 110 of the 130 laps, finishing eighth in Class C, for cars priced $2501– $3150.
We had two key questions: does the only TC Cortina to contest the Great Race live on today; and why did the team enter a car that was never going to trouble the fastest cars in its class?
While the TC remains ‘at large’, we have been in touch with driver Jim Sullivan – thanks to AMC reader Hal Maloney’s diligence – who filled in plenty of the blanks.
“It was bog standard, but pretty well prepared,” Jim explained. “I remember the dealer, Klosters, ran an ad around the fact the bonnet wasn’t opened during the race. Klosters made some capital on the fault-free run and had it on the showroom floor for a while.
“My memory of it was just locking into a groove – the lap charts showed one run of 15 laps identical to the tenth, the old standard for hand timing.
“Geoff Westbury, who passed away a few years ago, organised the car. I just turned up to drive. I can’t remember how he put the Cortina deal together. Geoff was a muso and later an airline pilot and had always been involved with club motorsport.
“As for why he chose the Cortina, which was obviously slower than some of the other class cars, I guess it was just for the opportunity to have a sponsored drive at Bathurst.” Jim says Geoff was mostly happy to watch. “I ended up driving the whole day minus about
Well, waddayaknow about this unique XU-1? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org 30 minutes! The rear-view mirror got more than a glance, but that was pretty much the case for all the various class cars in those races. There was fair speed differential on the straight [to the GT-HO Phase IIIs]. Skyline to Forrest’s Elbow was a good leveller though – the Cortina was quicker downhill than some of the bigger beasts of the day.”
Jim says he’s resisted the temptation “to get involved with race cars in later years – I know I would end up spending silly money chasing that second a lap!”
The pinnacle of his racing career was in a stint in European F3.
As NBN Television’s long-time news director, he’s now retired to the NSW North Coast, where drives big red trucks – for the Rural Fire Service.
We haven’t given up looking for his Bathurst 1971 ride though.