The Bib Stillwell Spe­cial

Australian Muscle Car - - Muscle Maniac -

Our

cover story last is­sue on the limited edi­tions sold by the Big Three mus­cle car man­u­fac­tur­ers leads us onto the spe­cials also pro­duced by some of the ma­jor new car deal­er­ships. Brab­ham Ford and McLeod Ford are the best known of th­ese, but here’s an­other.

AMC reader Shaun has writ­ten in to tell about the Fair­mont XA GS Stillwell Spe­cial he picked up in 2007. It has full books, has done 86,000 orig­i­nal miles, and was last reg­is­tered in 1986 by the sec­ond own­ers. It has been shed­ded since and is cur­rently await­ing restora­tion.

Th­ese cars were mar­keted by B. S. Stillwell Ford in Mel­bourne but this par­tic­u­lar one was sold through its Ade­laide fran­chise in Franklin Street. The BSS on the badge stands ei­ther for Bib Stillwell Spe­cial, or for Ber­mar Sel­lars Stillwell, Bib’s full name. He was one of the na­tion’s top open-wheeler and sports car driv­ers be­fore re­tir­ing in 1965, af­ter win­ning his fourth con­sec­u­tive Aus­tralian Driv­ers Cham­pi­onship.

This model is a Cop­per Bronze Fair­mont with a 302 V8, black in­te­rior, full GS in­stru­men­ta­tion, T-bar Crui­so­matic, fac­tory sun­roof, Su­per Fringe ra­dio with front and rear cen­tre speak­ers with fader knob and sports road wheels in­clud­ing the spare (still with fac­tory Goodyear fit­ted), heavy­duty sports sus­pen­sion pack and heavy-duty bat­tery with sports ex­haust op­tion.

It has been fit­ted with a stain­less twin ex­haust and no cross­over pipe, with two res­onators mounted un­der the pas­sen­ger floor­wells, run­ning back to twin exit pipes. As Shaun says, it makes a nice bur­ble.

Shaun thinks the boot black­outs and trick ex­haust may have been done in Ade­laide, but ev­ery­thing else is as per the build-sheet. It was built in May, 1972 but wasn’t sold in Ade­laide un­til Oc­to­ber that year.

He’s never seen an­other BSS be­fore, and has only seen four cars listed on the net. The XA GS stripe is very un­der­stated which may ex­plain why so few have sur­vived.

As usual, it comes with a fas­ci­nat­ing prove­nance.

Mirac­u­lously, the car came with the orig­i­nal books with the first owner’s de­tails listed and a build-sheet taped on the glove box. He tried White Pages, got an an­swer­ing ma­chine, ex­plained who he was and asked if he would call him back. He did and it was the right per­son, who was more than happy to talk.

Mark, the orig­i­nal owner, ex­plained that he had gone into Stillwell’s in Ade­laide to look at Fal­con GTs but one of the sales guys he knew there told him to come out the back and look at the car they were un­load­ing from the trans­porter.

Mark still re­mem­bers see­ing the ship­ping wax on it, and how strik­ing the car looked, even in pre-de­liv­ery form. It still looks pretty good.

Mark told him that it al­ways used to turn heads when he drove it around Ade­laide. He re­calls he paid around $4500 for it in 1972. The lower in­sur­ance costs of a GS ver­sus the GT were a key fac­tor in his de­ci­sion.

Shaun spot­ted the car in 2006 sit­ting on an empty house block in the re­gional town where he lived. He’d never seen an XA GS be­fore but the BSS badge on the boot lid caught his eye, along with the black­out boot sec­tion and tail­lights and the twin pipes. He re­alised this was not your av­er­age Fair­mont.

He knocked on a cou­ple of doors and even­tu­ally found the daugh­ter of the owner and got the usual “maybe it’s for sale” story. A year later he got a call from the owner’s son. They had re­ceived an of­fer and wanted to sell but would give him first dibs. The other per­son had of­fered $600, so Shaun of­fered $700 and they agreed.

Yes, $700!

Bib Stillwell, here with Jack Brab­ham at Bathurst’s Easter 1969 meet­ing, tried his hand at dealer spe­cials

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