The resurfacing of a Starlight Blue XW Falcon GT-HO, originally delivered to McLeod Ford in 1969, has also unearthed how the dealership and John Goss got together for Bathurst that year. That first attempt may have ended in an earth bank, but it would lead them to Bathurst success five years later.
969 was a momentous year when it came to Australia’s Great Race at Bathurst. Not only did Ford and Holden up the stakes with the heavy-hitting 351 Windsor XW Falcon GT-HO and HT Monaro GTS 350, but they also blooded exciting young talent like Allan Moffat and Peter Brock; drivers who would soon make Mount Panorama their own. Another unknown also made his Bathurst debut, but in a dealer-backed Falcon GT-HO. His name was John Goss and he would soon make his own mark on the Mountain.
The story of Goss’s first Bathurst 500 campaign started six months earlier, ironically at Bathurst’s Easter race meeting. Goss had recently moved to Sydney from Tasmania via Melbourne, bringing his self-built Tornado sports racing car. The neat Tornado was inspired by the brutish Chaparrals of the Can-Am era, though instead of a thundering big-block Chevy V8, it was powered by a tweaked Falcon 170ci six. The Tornado may not have bothered the top sports racers like Frank Matich, but Goss impressed fellow racer Denis Cribbin, who competed against him at Bathurst and other NSW tracks.
Cribbin was successfully racing an 1100cc Lotus 7 clubman at the NSW tracks. He won his class and set a new class record at Bathurst and was keen to race a standard production car there in October.
“I was working as an upholstery sales rep at the time and doing okay,” recalls Cribbin today. “My tow vehicle was an XR Falcon V8 and I traded it on a new XT GT from McLeod Ford. I got talking to Max (McLeod) about racing a Falcon GT at Bathurst. He asked who would I get to drive with me. I said there was this young Tasmanian bloke called John Goss who could drive. Anyway, Max ordered a new GT-HO for Bathurst and John scored himself a job with Max to prepare the car.”
“Denis and I had met socially on the fringe of the motor racing fraternity,” is how John Goss remembers it.
“Denis had suggested to me that one of the Ford dealers might be interested in racing. I had already spoken to two or three of them. I agreed with Denis to go and see Max McLeod and