It gladdened the heart when Holden released the Craig Lowndes signature edition VF Commodore last year. Why so? Well, Australia’s rich heritage of homegrown high-performance has long seen motor racing used to help move metal. And while the ‘win on Sunday, sell on Monday’ mantra may have become clichéd and irrelevant, the use of a famous name on a current model was almost a throwback to a bygone era.
It’s surprising that more famous drivers haven’t had their signatures slapped onto a sporty – or sporty-looking – car over the years. After all, we live in a celebrity-obsessed society.
Over the coming pages we feature six ‘star cars’ of the last 50 years. AMC’s six-pack runs to the HB Jack Brabham Torana, the Stirling Moss VG Valiant Pacer, 1983’s Dick Johnson Grand Prix Turbo XE Falcon, Peter Brock’s VK ‘Blue Meanie’ Commodore, his EA Falcon and the Wayne Gardner Racing-badged Commodore of the mid to late 1990s.
Just two of these were directly offered by car manufacturers, although another had the blessing of the parent company. Meantime, the other three were very much ‘outside’ offerings by companies involved in racing who had spotted a niche.
Following our six in-depth features we present a ‘Not Forgetting’ spread of locally-manufactured cars previously covered in the pages of AMC, but deserving of a little more recognition. Then there were fully-imported cars locally-flavoured with the name of a domestic star.
Read on to find out more, as we myth-bust many of the misconceptions surrounding these star cars. And find out which star driver never even drove the car which bears his name. Move over, Who magazine!
For 50 years racedriver signature edition specials have helped sprinkle stardust over model ranges and generate showroom traffic.