Mis­sion brown

Australian Muscle Car - - Waddayaknow? -

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

Last

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 am­ced­i­to­rial@chevron.com.au 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.

Jim Sul­li­van

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