BATHURST 1977

Un­sung he­roes, se­cret tweaks & Mof­fat's cheek

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1-2, thank you

It was un­ques­tion­ably Ford’s finest hour at Bathurst. And ar­guably the defin­ing im­age of the com­pany’s 90-year history in Aus­tralia. Ford fans will for­ever re­mem­ber the two Fal­cons cross­ing the fin­ish­ing line to­gether, just cen­time­tres apart, on Sun­day Oc­to­ber 2, 1977 to win the Hardie-Ferodo 1000.

On the flip­side, they are the ma­chines that Holden fans still see in their deep­est and dark­est of automotive night­mares.

Close your eyes and you can hear their 351 cu­bic-inch Cleve­land V8 pow­er­plants rum­bling around Mount Panorama, hav­ing left the To­ranas in their tyre tracks.

Open your eyes and you can in­stantly recog­nise the sim­ple white Mof­fat Ford Deal­ers livery with red and blue stripes run­ning from nose to tail. Just one flash and any mus­cle car fa­natic or Aus­tralian race fan in­stantly knows what they are look­ing at.

These are two of the most recog­nis­able cars in lo­cal tin-top rac­ing history. The Seven Sport vi­sion of the #1 car – driven by team owner/driver Allan Mof­fat – and the #2 car, pi­loted by the tal­ented Colin Bond – side-by-side down Con­rod Straight on the 163rd and fi­nal lap has been re­played more times than per­haps any other piece of ‘Great Race’ his­toric footage.

Mof­fat’s car, wounded and limp­ing with a brake prob­lem – af­ter fac­tory Porsche Le Mans ace Jacky Ickx had worked them hard dur­ing his stint – crossed the line first, with team­mate Bond

play­ing the part of the loyal back-up and cross­ing in sec­ond place.

“Had there been a Holden on the hori­zon, if it even looked like we were be­ing threat­ened, he would have gone through into the lead so fast with my bless­ings it didn’t mat­ter, but by that stage I’d had a few wins un­der my belt, I knew the sig­nif­i­cance of win­ning, I also knew the hor­ror of los­ing and wasn’t in­clined to change the way we fin­ished,” Mof­fat told AMC.

“The front brakes went me­tal to me­tal and the pis­tons started to melt, and popped some­thing out. The pis­tons had gone out so far that the hy­draulic seal jumped out of the caliper and as such all the brake fluid poured out and the smoke I saw was all the brake fluid on the hot ro­tor. It only took three or four brake ap­pli­ca­tions and the brake fluid reser­voir was empty.”

These were the cars that grabbed a hold of Aus­tralian tour­ing car rac­ing in 1977 by the throat – and squeezed the life out of it.

If any­thing, they ac­tu­ally did too good a job in achiev­ing the win­ning ob­jec­tive, spark­ing archri­vals Hold­ens into life to bol­ster their To­rana pro­gram for the fol­low­ing sea­son and thus take away the joy­ful days of blue oval fans for the years to fol­low.

Head­ing it all was none other than Mof­fat. Then a three-time Bathurst vic­tor, he’d en­dured the tough times af­ter the with­drawal of Ford as a fac­tory en­trant at the end of 1973. Forced to push on with­out the back­ing of Broad­mead­ows, the fol­low­ing years were lean as the horde of To­rana L34s out-num­bered and out­raced the al­most ab­sent blue oval run­ners.

But the tide was be­gin­ning to turn in 1976, and the path­way to what ul­ti­mately be­came the first form fin­ish 1-2 in Bathurst history ac­tu­ally be­gan in ter­ri­ble cir­cum­stances over twelve months be­fore­hand.

Forced to re­place his rac­ing XA GT Fal­con and trans­porter, af­ter they were burnt out in a fire on their way to the Ade­laide In­ter­na­tional Race­way round in mid-1976, Mof­fat be­gan a pro­ject known as ‘Pro­ject Phoenix’.

From the ashes of his de­stroyed car came another car, (its build out­lined in AMC #26) and this one ar­rived in a strik­ing yet sim­ple white livery with ‘Mof­fat Ford Deal­ers’ painted down its flanks and back­ing from head of­fice and its dealer net­work.

Then the next piece of the puz­zle came to­gether with the sign­ing of Colin Bond for 1977,

swap­ping from Holden to Ford af­ter eight years with Harry Firth’s Holden Dealer Team squad.

Add to that the pro­cure­ment of Amer­i­can Car­roll Smith as team man­ager – a then 44-year-old New Yorker who had racked up plenty of ex­pe­ri­ence with Shelby Rac­ing in Ford’s US rac­ing pro­gram in the 1960s – and the two-car Mof­fat Ford Deal­ers Team looked a win­ner on pa­per. This was the be­gin­ning of the road to Bathurst dom­i­na­tion.

Much has been writ­ten about the 1977 Great Race over the years, with the driv­ers’ mem­o­ries cov­ered ex­ten­sively. There­fore we’ve en­deav­oured to pro­vide fresh in­sights into the MFDT cam­paign, in­clud­ing the driv­ing forces be­hind Ford’s fund­ing, Smith’s con­tri­bu­tion and the life sto­ries of the two fa­mous chas­sis. Thank­fully both cars live on to­day en­sur­ing, as the cur­tain comes down on al­most a cen­tury of Ford’s man­u­fac­tur­ing in this coun­try, mem­o­ries of the com­pany’s finest hour will en­dure.

Oc­to­ber 2, 1977

The 1977 Hardie-Ferodo 1000 stands out as one where the re­sult for the first two cars was nu­mer­i­cally per­fect.

The two Mof­fat Fal­cons were the only cars on the lead lap at the end of the 163-lap race, with the #1 Allan Mof­fat/Jacky Ickx car com­ing home vic­to­ri­ous af­ter start­ing third on the grid.

The sec­ond-placed Colin Bond/Alan Hamil­ton car started on the front row be­side Peter Brock’s pole-sit­ting Bill Pat­ter­son Rac­ing To­rana A9X and fin­ished in the same po­si­tion.

It took only six laps for the two Fords to run 1-2 in the race’s early stages and they were able to con­trol the pace af­ter the new A9Xs of Brock, Allan Grice and com­pany had set a crack­ing pace be­fore prob­lems with the-then two-race­old cars emerged. Both Mof­fat and Bond drove dou­ble stints (the for­mer cop­ping a rather nasty blis­tered hand), be­fore hand­ing over to their re­spec­tive co-driv­ers, who each ran a stint.

Bel­gian, Ickx, a Le Mans 24 Hour win­ner and more used to pre­cise F1 and sportscar Right: Jacky Ickx ar­rived in Bathurst fresh from his third con­sec­u­tive 24 Hours of Le Mans vic­tory and with eight F1 GP vic­to­ries un­der his belt. Bot­tom left: Colin Bond’s co-driver Alan Hamil­ton was Mof­fat’s part­ner for the 1969 race. ma­chin­ery, had given the brakes in the lead car a fair can­ing, forc­ing Mof­fat to limp home in the lat­ter stages as they cried enough. But no one other than Bond was a threat and the #2 pi­lot played the last part of the race with a straight bat, cross­ing the line along­side team owner Mof­fat for a mem­o­rable fin­ish.

In fact, 1977 was the first year that crossen­ter­ing within teams was per­mit­ted by the rule­book and, while the co-driv­ers cir­cu­lated, Mof­fat had of­fered Bond the chance to take over one another’s cars for the fi­nal stint. This would en­sure each would be vic­to­ri­ous, re­gard­less of which car crossed the line first.

How­ever, 1969 win­ner Bond elected to stick with his own mount and it would be another six years, 1983, be­fore the first three-man team (Peter Brock/Larry Perkins/John Har­vey) would be crowned Bathurst vic­tors af­ter tak­ing ad­van­tage of the cross-en­ter­ing rule.

Orig­i­nally, Mof­fat had en­vis­aged Bond would be his Bathurst co-driver from the start, how­ever Ford Mo­tor Com­pany man­age­ment dic­tated each pi­lot their own car with a co-driver, rob­bing Bathurst of a dream-team line-up.

This sce­nario would have robbed the team of the chance to have two cars in a po­si­tion from which they could fin­ish un­chal­lenged in first and sec­ond. Ford’s ‘split de­ci­sion’ was vin­di­cated.

“I fully ex­pected he and I would drive the same car at Bathurst, but Ford man­age­ment wouldn’t have a bar of it,” Mof­fat told AMC.

“They wanted him in another car and their ex­act words I think were they didn’t care who we had as co-driv­ers, and that’s why I chose Jacky.”

Bathurst bon­net bar­ney

Ford in­tro­duced its XC Fal­con range in July 1976. Con­spic­u­ous by its ab­sence was a GT model, upon which Ford’s tour­ing car con­tenders had been based since 1973, the first year of the Im­proved Pro­duc­tion Tour­ing Car rules.

The Con­fed­er­a­tion of Aus­tralian Mo­tor Sport (CAMS) of­fi­cially recog­nised the tran­si­tion from XB to XC as be­ing valid from July 1, 1977, some twelve months af­ter the XC range’s launch. The change of model was lim­ited to body and trim vari­a­tions. The pre­vi­ous ‘GT’ model des­ig­na­tion was also re­placed by ‘500 GS’ in CAMS’ recog­ni­tion doc­u­ments.

It takes a leap of faith to as­so­ciate the largely for­got­ten XC 500 sedan (with GS Rally Pack) or the GS coupe, with Ford’s front­line tour­ing car fighter, but such were the va­garies of Group C ho­molo­ga­tion at the time.

Cos­metic up­grades would not have been enough to stay one step ahead of the new To­rana A9X. Lessons learned dur­ing three and a half sea­sons of rac­ing the XB were in­cor­po­rated in Ford’s re­quest for an ‘Evo­lu­tion’ of the new XC Fal­con 500 GS, mostly up­grades de­signed to en­hance race dura­bil­ity.

The XC Fal­con GS Evo­lu­tion pack­age, which was “now fit­ted as stan­dard equip­ment to Hard­top Model Fal­con 500 GS” in­cluded: new front and rear spoil­ers; spring tower base and re­in­force­ment bracket; steer­ing idler arm sup­port bracket; twin row wa­ter pump and crankshaft pul­leys; and trans­mis­sion oil cooler in­cor­po­rat­ing elec­tric pump, lines and cooler.

Changes al­low­ing ex­tra wheel and tyre clear­ance – and greater de­grees of neg­a­tive cam­ber – were also of­fi­cially in place for the XC 500 GS Evo­lu­tion hard­top’s de­but at Sandown’s HangTen 400 in Septem­ber 1977. Mof­fat missed qual­i­fy­ing af­ter an en­gine fail­ure in prac­tice and started off the rear of the grid, ris­ing to third by race end, al­beit two laps be­hind win­ner Peter Brock and his brand new A9X. Bond was fifth.

This re­sult stung Ford into lodg­ing an amended set of ho­molo­ga­tion pa­pers re­quest­ing another ‘Evo­lu­tion’ of the Fal­con Hard­top 500 GS. In the doc­u­ment, it was claimed that “the fol­low­ing items are now fit­ted as stan­dard equip­ment to Fal­con GS Hard­top sedans with ef­fect from 1st Oc­to­ber .” These ‘Bathurst’ evo­lu­tion items in­cluded: a hood scoop (re­verse fac­ing or cowl in­duc­tion like the A9X), a ther­matic twin-fan kit and air-duct­ing to the front brakes, in­clu­sive of duct and flex­i­ble tube.

Lead­ing Ford teams ar­rived at Bathurst with these items fit­ted, but af­ter a size­able bar­ney, scru­ti­neers dug their heels in and de­manded that they were re­moved. The spe­cific rea­son is un­clear – Group C ho­molo­ga­tion was al­ways as murky as the Yarra River that flowed just a few blocks from the MFDT’s Malvern Road work­shop.

In a pe­riod mag­a­zine ar­ti­cle, en­gine builder Peter Mol­loy main­tained that the hood scoops were good for 25bhp.

To­day, the bon­net of the #1 car in the Na­tional Mo­tor Rac­ing Mu­seum bears the wit­ness marks of the patch job from hav­ing to re­move the scoop be­fore race­day.

The sec­ond evo­lu­tion was made valid from Oc­to­ber 17, 1977, al­low­ing Ford teams to use the new equip­ment to good ef­fect in the re­main­ing rounds of the ATCC.

The heart of the mat­ter

So much of the tech­ni­cal story of the Mof­fat Ford Deal­ers Fal­cons of the 1970s re­volves around the 351 cu­bic inch Cleve­land en­gines that pow­ered the roar­ing Fords.

Allan Mof­fat had en­gaged Syd­ney en­gine builder Peter Mol­loy to look af­ter the pow­er­plants in his hard­tops, with the mo­tors pre­pared ‘up north’ and trans­ported in crates down to Mof­fat’s Mel­bourne base or, some­times if need be, di­rectly to the race track.

Mol­loy’s team of tech­ni­cians also pre­pared en­gines for Dick John­son’s Bryan Byrt Ford Hard­top at the time.

This ap­proach – of out-sourc­ing en­gine prepa­ra­tion – is com­pletely nor­mal in the mod­ern era of V8 Su­per­cars. (For in­stance, Red Bull Rac­ing Aus­tralia cur­rently source their mo­tors from KRE En­gines and pre­vi­ously, in their Ford days, from Stone Broth­ers Rac­ing.). But back in 1976/1977 it was some­thing quite dif­fer­ent to ‘the norm’.

“There were some ter­ri­ble, in­trin­sic prob­lems with the Fal­con, with the Ford sumps we had to run,” re­called Mof­fat to Wheels mag­a­zine in a 1994 ar­ti­cle.

“When we ac­cel­er­ated out of the corners, all the oil would go to the back and blow the en­gines. We tried ev­ery­thing known to man and truly, the 1-2 fin­ish in ’77 was the even­tual re­ward for the energy and ef­fort that had gone into it.”

Brad King was a young ap­pren­tice with Peter Mol­loy in 1977. His son these days races For­mula Ford but back then he was a wide-eyed kid stoked with be­ing part of the team – even if it meant a very, very late Satur­day night pre­par­ing for the big race.

“Af­ter a very suc­cess­ful prac­tice and do­ing the fi­nal prepa­ra­tion on Mof­fat’s en­gines, I was given the task of build­ing up two com­plete sets of rocker arms to last the 1000 kilo­me­tre race the next day,” he re­calls.

“That was 32 in­di­vid­ual arms, 16 for Mof­fat’s car and 16 for Bondy’s. Back then we used pro­duc­tion-based ho­molo­gated parts and the 525 horse­power 351 Cleve­lands had pushed those ex­act same rock­ers as used in GT-HO Phase IIs to their very limit. The Phase II Cleve­lands only made 330 to 345 horse­power at best in 1970.

“So, seven years later with another 200odd horse­power run­ning through the same com­po­nent, they were over­heat­ing and the half -moon skid ful­crum turns blue and welds it­self to the rocker arm which then fails. It all col­lapses apart and then the pushrod is thrown out fol­lowed by the solid lifter, which re­sults in an in­stant loss of oil pres­sure and I need say no more!

“Ford de­liv­ered two large pack­ing crates – one full of hun­dreds of rocker arms, the other full of rocker ful­crums. I sat down with a tube of Bear­ing Blue, a fine ma­chin­ing paste, and pro­ceeded to mate up a rocker arm assem­bly. I then had to hand air­grind oil­ways on each ful­crum and pol­ish them to re­duce as much slid­ing fric­tion as pos­si­ble.

“Af­ter six hours I had fin­ished and fit­ted them to the Fal­cons – it was 4.00am on the Sun­day!”

King later left Mol­loy’s em­ploy­ment but re­con­nected with Mof­fat in 1979 when the by-then pri­va­teer ran in Fed­er­a­tion In­sur­ance colours.

“We were lob­by­ing Ford in 1977 hard for more im­prove­ments be­cause we knew what was com­ing (from Holden),” he re­calls.

“We needed bet­ter rock­ers, bet­ter con­rods, so it could be revved harder; but Ford was not keen on it. Mof­fat was left on the same amount of money. We pressed the en­gines harder try­ing to be more com­pet­i­tive.”

Of course, more revs a minute meant more strain on the pow­er­plants. And the in­crease in cor­ner­ing speed, from the im­prove­ment in tyre tech­nol­ogy, also meant that oil surg­ing was a ma­jor, on­go­ing night­mare.

“In 1979 they were surg­ing quite badly,” re­calls King.

“We did dif­fer­ent sumps, we went out of our minds try­ing to get them to stop surg­ing. There was huge lob­by­ing in that era for dry-sump­ing and roller rock­ers to be let in.”

Left: What a way to spend a public hol­i­day Mon­day! Peter Mol­loy and his ap­pren­tice, Brad King, at post-race scru­ti­neer­ing. Right: The non race-spec en­gine bay in the win­ning ma­chine to­day. Be­low right: Ford Aus­tralia’s sales and mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor Max Grans­den spent the week­end with the MFDT.

A read through Car­roll Smith’s notes postBathurst 1977 shows that the Ford team re­ally didn’t see it­self pre-race as a steam­roller of bril­liance that day at Mount Panorama – in his mind the op­po­si­tion steam­rolled them­selves. And it’s not hard ei­ther to spot his mil­i­tary back­ground in his tone and style of writ­ing.

“While no real op­po­si­tion was ex­pe­ri­enced, this is more due to stu­pid­ity and mis­man­age­ment on the part of Brock and HDT than bril­liance on our part, and it must be re­alised that MFDT will be in big trou­ble in 1978 un­less ma­jor im­prove­ments are made to the Fal­cons,” he wrote.

Smith out­lined seven key ar­eas for fu­ture im­prove­ments: en­gine out­put and re­li­a­bil­ity, re­duc­tion in ro­tat­ing in­er­tia, re­duc­tion of un­sprung weight, re­duc­tion and re­dis­tri­bu­tion of ve­hi­cle weight, in­crease in chas­sis tor­sional rigid­ity, im­proved driv­abil­ity/road hold­ing and in­creased brak­ing ca­pac­ity.

It was all spelt out for Ford as to what they had to do to re­main on top of Aus­tralian tour­ing car rac­ing – but they didn’t stump up the bucks to sup­port it.

Mof­fat had asked for an in­crease in fund­ing, though the suits at Ford merely thought he was play­ing up the prob­lem to squeeze more fund­ing out their door to line his own pock­ets.

He was try­ing to fur­nish the re­sults sheet with some more Ford suc­cess, and knew what was com­ing from the other side once the A9X was fully de­vel­oped, but in­stead found him­self with a sim­i­lar bud­get to the year be­fore. And that was that. “Two days af­ter the 1977 Bathurst race, I was in Max Grans­den’s of­fice and even though we may have still been bask­ing in the glory of the Bathurst 1-2, I said to him that we needed to get se­ri­ous about next year,” Mof­fat told AMC.

“In Max’s mind and in the minds of a lot of other peo­ple on the third floor we’d had an easy win and we had such an ar­se­nal they thought ‘great, the same amount of money for 1978 will be fine’.

“I can re­mem­ber leav­ing the room and say­ing ‘this is go­ing to be a dis­as­ter, Max. We’re go­ing to get blown off the face of the map be­cause Holden are mad as hell and when they get mad they spend money.’”

Nat­u­rally there are also all sorts of sto­ries that abound about those hard­tops and how the speed – and re­li­a­bil­ity – was ex­tracted from them at a va­ri­ety of tracks around the coun­try.

There are tales of a big-block 390-cu­bic-inch alu­minum en­gine that was run at in­fre­quent events, some sug­gest­ing it was even on board at Sandown in early 1977 for Bond’s de­but in the new car in a non-cham­pi­onship event where scru­ti­neer­ing was lax.

Af­ter all, there were plenty of Ford ex­ec­u­tives on hand to see their new man in ac­tion, and a check of the tape shows that he re­ally did romp away from the field…

There are sto­ries of spe­cially ‘fudged’ tyre mark­ings on the Goodyear tyres – the fact they had mark­ings on them of 15-inches, al­legedly, hid the fact they were big­ger, so the story goes.

There’s chat about light­ened pan­els (Car­roll Smith’s notes for im­prove­ments post-1977 re­fer to max­i­mum use of al­loy hid­den pan­els!) and all sorts of other weird, wacky and un­sub­stan­ti­ated claims.

Get­ting any­body to talk on the record about any of it?

Good luck…

Singing Car­roll’s praises

Amer­i­can

Car­roll Smith, af­ter a stint in the Navy, raced for­mula cars in Europe in the early 1960s be­fore com­ing to the con­clu­sion that his abil­i­ties lay in the prepa­ra­tion and en­gi­neer­ing of race­cars rather than driv­ing them. Upon re­turn­ing to the United States he was en­listed by his name­sake, Car­roll Shelby, and over­saw the prepa­ra­tion of the Ford GT40s that won the 1966 and 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans.

When FIA rule changes caused the can­cel­la­tion of the GT40 pro­gram, he moved to Tony Adamow­icz’s 1969 For­mula A (aka F5000) cham­pi­onship-win­ning team and es­tab­lished his rac­ing con­sul­tancy busi­ness, in­volv­ing a se­ries of short-term projects – in­clud­ing for Team Matich here in Aus­tralia – and the writ­ing of race en­gi­neer­ing books.

So how did Smith come to work for Mof­fat for sea­son 1977?

“I had known Allan for many years and then some­one sent him my book,” Smith told Che­quered Flag mag­a­zine in 1977. “That’s when he con­tacted me and asked me if I would run the team. Pre­vi­ously I had been here with Matich and I also thought it would be good for my fam­ily.”

He says in that in­ter­view that his brief was to “pre­pare two cars that wouldn’t break and would han­dle. I also had to get a crew to­gether. The ones I se­lected were young and had never seen a mo­tor race. They’re now the best team I’ve ever worked with. For­tu­nately I didn’t have to worry about the driv­ers – they’re the best two in the coun­try.

“We have had fan­tas­tic sup­port from Ford En­gi­neer­ing in Gee­long and I’ll miss that when I go back home. It’s ten times bet­ter than any fac­tory sup­port I have had be­fore.”

As to his boss, he said, “We oc­ca­sion­ally had a frank dis­cus­sion from which nei­ther of us would back down. But gen­er­ally things went very, very smoothly – I ig­nored his tem­per tantrums and he ig­nored my slow plod­ding.”

Che­quered Flag asked him why he was head­ing home af­ter just one sea­son?

“My wife, who has a doc­tor­ate, could only get a 12-month leave of ab­sence from lec­tur­ing, so we’ll go back and I’ll run some­one else’s team. I’ve had sev­eral of­fers but I won’t make up my mind un­til I get home. I don’t re­ally mind where I am as long as it’s with rac­ing peo­ple. It’s the men that make rac­ing.”

One of those he be­friended at MFDT was his right-hand man Dale Sud­holz, who worked for the team for the first six months of 1977.

The pair re­mained good friends and in reg­u­lar con­tact un­til Smith’s pass­ing from pan­cre­atic can­cer in 2003. Not long af­ter this, Sud­holz was sur­prised to re­ceive a box from Smith’s fam­ily in the US which con­tained Car­roll’s mem­o­ra­bilia

and files from his year in Aus­tralia. Among them were co­pi­ous notes and his over­alls from race­day at Bathurst in 1977. Need­less to say, they of­fer an in­cred­i­ble in­sight to­day into Smith’s ap­proach and we are in­debted to Sud­holz for pro­vid­ing them – and his many other in­sights – for this story.

“Car­roll was here for one thing: to win Bathurst,” for­mer MFDT me­chanic Sud­holz says to­day. “He was a master at car prepa­ra­tion and de­vel­op­ing the sys­tems and peo­ple around him. I con­sider my­self very lucky to have worked with him for that six months.

“He had a pol­icy of teach­ing new dogs new tricks. He didn’t want ex-Ford rac­ing peo­ple; he wanted young ca­pa­ble race me­chan­ics or me­chan­ics new to motorsport in the team. He didn’t want peo­ple with pre­con­ceived ideas – or even bad habits.

“[Team me­chanic] An­drew Bart­ley had just fin­ished his ap­pren­tice­ship and it was his first rac­ing job – the first of many. I was new to rac­ing too, com­ing from Stillwell Ford’s ser­vice depart­ment.

“It was a great era and Car­roll was the man who pulled it all to­gether. We re­mained friends to his dy­ing day. Car­roll was groom­ing me to take over his job at the end of 1977 – that’s where it was head­ing.”

But it wasn’t to be, with Sud­holz leav­ing mid-year. Still, he has clear mem­o­ries of Smith’s modus operandi.

“I re­call him sit­ting down at lunchtime with the CAMS man­ual in one hand and a mug of this thick, black cof­fee in the other. And he would read the man­ual and ask me, ‘Dale, what does this mean in the Aussie lan­guage. So I would try and in­ter­pret for him and we’d have a laugh at the dif­fer­ences be­tween here and the States. One of the things that tick­led Car­roll Smith’s fancy about the rules in Aus­tralia was that, in the States the rule­books said what you could do and that was it. In Aus­tralia they told you what you couldn’t do – and ev­ery­thing else was open to sub­jec­tive­ness.

“One of the things that Car­roll got right into was the rul­ing about the roll-cage not adding struc­tural strength to the ve­hi­cle. But the method of at­tach­ment was free, which meant you could drill as many holes in the cage as you liked and bolt it to as many pan­els as you wished in­side the ve­hi­cle!”

Need­less to say, Smith opted to build car #2 with lots of at­tach­ment points!

Not that the de­sign of the roll-cage it­self had changed from when hard­tops had first hit the track.

“That rollcage de­sign dates back to the XA days and Allan’s win in 1973. Allan al­ways said that it was the roll-cage that saved him when he had that bar­rel-rolling ac­ci­dent at Phillip Is­land in the 500 that wrote off the Bathurst win­ner. So, there’s a head­line for AMC – you could say that the 1977 1-2 cars had a cage de­sign that saved Allan Mof­fat.

“It was a de­sign done in-house through Ford’s spe­cial ve­hi­cles depart­ment. The hoop is be­hind the driver’s head and ac­tu­ally goes through the seat and picks up the tops of the wheel arches, putting some strength into that area, and goes right down to just above where the rear spring hang­ers are. Now, the only cars with a cage built up like that are the two MFDT cars, the car we built up that be­came Bill O’Brien’s XC Fal­con and the Rusty French hard­top that I built when I left Mof­fat’s team in mid-1977.”

Was MFDT re­ally a dealer team?

Through­out

the 1970s ‘Holden Dealer Team’ was some­thing of a mis­nomer. The glam­our To­rana squad op­er­ated by Harry Firth and, later, John Shep­pard, was a fac­to­ry­funded op­er­a­tion given the deal­er­flavoured moniker as part of Holden’s ef­forts to deftly dodge their Detroit mas­ters’ dic­tum of ‘no mo­tor rac­ing’. It wasn’t un­til Holden pulled its fi­nan­cial sup­port at the con­clu­sion of the 1979 sea­son that the HDT be­came a gen­uine ‘dealer team’ with a group of fran­chisees di­rectly back­ing the reborn Com­modore-era HDT owned by Peter Brock. This was in re­turn for the rights to sell the Brock road cars.

But what of the Mof­fat Ford Dealer Team? Gen­uine dealer-backed squad? Or a nice sound­ing name for an out­fit that was ac­tu­ally funded by Broad­mead­ows and Allan Mof­fat’s other spon­sors?

When we asked Mof­fat if Ford deal­ers con­trib­uted to a fund or whether his squad was just a dealer team in name, his an­swer was char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally cryptic. But it serves to iden­tify one of the two key fig­ures within Ford who would give blue-bloods a com­pet­i­tive two-car squad to cheer for in 1977.

“The deal­ers wouldn’t pay off their own bat,” Mof­fat replied. “Max Grans­den was af­fa­ble enough. He said, ‘you leave the team’s fi­nances to me. I know how to get the money out of the deal­ers... you will get twenty grand per month.’”

Max Grans­den was Ford Aus­tralia’s sales and mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor of the day and Mof­fat’s big­gest sup­porter within Broad­meadow’s se­nior man­age­ment – which was oth­er­wise luke­warm to rac­ing.

The other blue oval heavy­hit­ter who de­serves recog­ni­tion for cre­at­ing the fi­nan­cial plat­form which led to Ford’s great­est rac­ing mo­ment, was ex-open-wheel racer, Bib Stillwell.

The four-time Aus­tralian Driv­ers Cham­pion cre­ated a sen­sa­tion when he trans­ferred his big Mel­bourne deal­er­ship from Holden to Ford in the 1960s. For­mer Ford Aus­tralia pres­i­dent, Ge­off Po­lites, later de­scribed the switch as “one of the ma­jor oc­cur­rences in Ford re­de­vel­op­ing its dealer net­work and build­ing the Fal­con as a ma­jor prod­uct line in the Aus­tralian mar­ket.”

Stillwell’s in­flu­ence grew fur­ther when he be­came chair­man of Ford’s Na­tional Dealer Coun­cil, a po­si­tion he held in 1976.

It was Stillwell who prompted Grans­den to for­malise an ar­range­ment that would put Ford back in the win­ner’s cir­cle in tour­ing car rac­ing.

So says Dale Sud­holz, who worked for Stillwell Ford un­til Jan­uary 1977, when he moved to the MFDT as crew chief un­der team man­ager Car­roll Smith for the first six months of sea­son ’77. Sud­holz left the team prior to the en­durance races, sub­se­quently build­ing an XC hard­top for pri­va­teer Rusty French and then be­com­ing a Ford dealer him­self in re­gional Vic­to­ria, from 1980. While his deal­er­ship in Heath­cote was tiny by com­par­i­son to the likes of Stillwell’s, Sud­holz (pic­tured with wheel) did serve on dealer bod­ies as a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of coun­try fran­chises. This se­quence of roles gives him a unique knowl­edge of how the MFDT came about, was fi­nanced and op­er­ated.

“Bib Stillwell was the chair­man of Ford’s na­tional dealer body at the time, 1976,” Sud­holz con­firms. “Within that was the FDAF – the Ford Dealer Advertising Fund – where ev­ery car that got whole­saled to the dealer by re­gion saw an amount of money go into the fund. I was on that com­mit­tee for al­most 20 years, from 1980. We would gen­er­ate quite a bit of money for var­i­ous pur­poses, such as re­tail advertising.

“Bib, be­ing an ex-racer him­self and run­ning his own race team at the time, said to Max Grans­den, ‘We re­ally need to be do­ing some­thing in re­sponse to the whole Holden Dealer Team struc­ture – we need a works team. I un­der­stand that the Fo­MoCo doesn’t want to be in­volved di­rectly, but let’s have our own dealer team like Holden do.’ So what was formed out of that was

the Mof­fat Ford Dealer Team for Sandown in 1976.

“Just prior to this, Car­roll Smith had been in Aus­tralia. He had a meet­ing with Max Grans­den; Colin Bond was in the of­fice, Bib Stillwell as well. That’s where the Mof­fat Ford Dealer Team was born,” Sud­holz re­veals.

“Each car that rolled out of the fac­tory gen­er­ated an amount that went into an ac­count, and Ford matched that money dol­lar for dol­lar.

“Max would come to the races and phys­i­cally have a cheque in his pocket to hand over when the cars were at the track and ready to race. But the whole sys­tem needed to work – cars whole­saled – for money to trickle into an ac­count for that cheque to be drawn.”

The MFDT, de­spite the in­jec­tion of reg­u­lar pay­ments from Ford, was fac­ing a bud­get short­fall mid-1977 as the team tran­si­tioned to the XC model. This led to Sud­holz leav­ing the team mid-sea­son and Mof­fat se­cur­ing Camel Fil­ters spon­sor­ship. Ford was less than thrilled when cig­a­rette brand­ing was added to the cars. Other deal­ers fur­ther kicked the tin to en­sure the team car­ried on.

“Some other deal­ers gave Mof­fat a lit­tle ex­tra in the sec­ond half of the year and it was via their parts ac­counts from Ford,” Sud­holz added.

Given Bib Stillwell’s role in the Mof­fat Ford Dealer Team’s es­tab­lish­ment, it was ironic that his deal­er­ship’s ser­vice depart­ment lost one of its key per­son­nel to the race team.

“I went with Bib’s bless­ing to chase my de­sire of work­ing for a ma­jor rac­ing team,” Sud­holz laughs to­day, “which was im­por­tant as, when I left, there was ev­ery chance I would need to go back to him ask­ing for a job!”

The rac­ing life of car #1

The

car that would ul­ti­mately claim Ford’s most fa­mous Bathurst win – and have a hand in two ATCC ti­tles – was ac­tu­ally born out of a to­tal dis­as­ter the pre­vi­ous sea­son. Af­ter the with­drawal of the Ford fac­tory from rac­ing, the XA GT Fal­con raced by Fred Gib­son was given to Mof­fat to race over the fol­low­ing sea­sons. But it was com­pletely de­stroyed in a trans­porter fire while en route to the Ade­laide tour­ing car round in 1976, forc­ing Mof­fat to bor­rwo John Goss’ car to keep him in the ti­tle hunt.

That led to ‘Pro­ject Phoenix’ and from the ashes rose a new XB GT (its build out­lined in AMC #26) that Mof­fat de­buted in Mof­fat Ford Deal­ers colours at the Hang Ten 400 at Sandown and which had been built at his fa­mous Malvern, Mel­bourne, work­shop.

He fin­ished sec­ond on de­but to Peter Brock and even had a very spe­cial guest for a hot lap pre-race – none other than Prime Min­is­ter, Mal­colm Fraser!

Aussie in­ter­na­tional, Vern Schup­pan, signed up to drive at Bathurst and the new car claimed pole, but en­gine dra­mas side­lined them when the crankshaft pul­ley broke, thus giv­ing the wa­ter pump no drive and cook­ing the mo­tor.

It was later re­vealed that the failed pul­ley was one of the items sal­vaged from the Ade­laide fire, which some­how ended up fit­ted to the Bathurst race en­gine.

Mof­fat fin­ished off 1976 on a high – cham­pion in a year where the en­durance races counted to­wards the ATCC.

The history books show he was on fire in early ‘77, rack­ing up five straight round wins in the first five rounds of the sea­son at Sym­mons Plains, Calder, Oran Park, Ama­roo and Sandown.

It’s largely over­looked to­day that Kawasaki mo­tor­cy­cle ace Gregg Hans­ford, still rac­ing bikes in 1977 but ey­ing a move onto four wheels, tested at Oran Park early in the year.

While he would later drive with Mof­fat in Maz­das and Sier­ras, Hans­ford would never get to race a Mof­fat Fal­con at the high­est level. He did turn laps at Lakeside in unof­fi­cial prac­tice at the ’77 ATCC round.

The two cars un­der­went an up­date af­ter the sprint races to bring them into line with the show­room equiv­a­lent, the XC model.

Again the en­durance races counted to­wards the ATCC (and again Bathurst was not part of the ti­tle chase), so the #1 car ap­peared as an XC at Sandown where it started from the back of the grid af­ter en­gine prob­lems and fin­ished third.

Its vic­tory at Bathurst fol­lowed and then fur­ther ATCC/en­duro wins in Ade­laide, and at Surfers Par­adise, be­fore the car again sat out the fi­nale at Phillip Is­land given Mof­fat had al­ready clinched his sec­ond straight crown. In fact, Mof­fat wrapped up the ti­tle ear­lier in the se­ries than any other driver in ATCC history.

The Bathurst win­ner made one more ap­pear­ance in De­cem­ber ’77 at the Win­field 25s tour­ing car event at Baskerville in Tas­ma­nia, where Colin Bond drove Mof­fat’s car in the three­r­ace sprint event as the boss had en­dured a tough, long sea­son.

Mof­fat again ran the car in 1978 to de­fend his crown, but it soon be­came clear the lack of a fund­ing in­crease from Ford and the rise of the A9X To­ranas would be a hill too high to climb.

En­gine fail­ures wiped the #1 Ford out of the first two ATCC rounds and his de­ci­sion to fit roller rock­ers – not per­mit­ted un­der the rules – saw him robbed of vic­tory from the Sandown round and sus­pended for six weeks as en­gines be­came the fo­cal point for the Fords for the year.

The car that had dom­i­nated the pre­vi­ous year could only muster a sin­gle win in the 1978 ATCC at Lakeside be­fore it be­came a Cobra in time for the en­durance races.

Above left: The Bathurst win­ner comes to life in mid 1976 in Mof­fat’s fa­mous Malvern Road work­shop. This page: It’s re­mark­able that it sur­vives to­day given it was Mof­fat’s ride for over three years and four con­sec­u­tive Bathurst as­saults. It clocked up 467 rac­ing laps on the moun­tain.

Gear­box prob­lems took it out at Sandown, while a pit fire and low oil pres­sure put Mof­fat and Jacky Ickx out at Bathurst.

Just a week later it be­came a drag racer, as Mof­fat took the #1 car to Heath­cote Park in Vic­to­ria and punched out a 13.3-sec­ond pass on the quar­ter mile. Imag­ine a mod­ern V8 Su­per­car team pop­ping into the drags on their week­end off be­tween Bathurst and the Gold Coast these days!

Another en­gine fail­ure elim­i­nated the #1 Cobra in Ade­laide and a sev­enth place at Surfers Par­adise’s en­duro rounded out a mis­er­able year.

With Ford fund­ing gone, the XC Ford was re­painted black with Camel back­ing and Mof­fat again en­dured noth­ing but en­gine-re­lated mis­ery in 1979. The Ford badge even dis­ap­peared from the front of the re-num­bered #25 Fal­con, re­placed with one that said ‘Allan Mof­fat Spe­cial’. Mof­fat only ap­peared in four ATCC rounds in ’79, a soli­tary fifth place at Sandown his best show­ing.

The big black Ford re­turned for the en­durance races, but again en­gine prob­lems wiped it out at Sandown and Bathurst, where John Fitz­patrick was co-driver.

The Sandown Race­way blow-up re­port­edly saw a rod fly so cleanly out of the side of the block that it hit the guardrail!

The ex­pi­ra­tion at Mount Panorama would be the fi­nal time the ’77 Bathurst win­ner would race and Mof­fat placed all of his cars for sale at the end of that sea­son, with an ask­ing price of $30,000 on the Fed­er­a­tion XC.

The ‘after­life’ of car #1

Allan

Mof­fat didn’t find a buyer for the Bathurst 1977 win­ner at the con­clu­sion of the 1979 sea­son. So when he put to­gether a deal to run a new XD model in 1980 in the lead-up to Bathurst, the en­gine, gear­box, clutch, rear axle assem­bly and sus­pen­sion were all trans­planted from the idle two-door.

The body shell was stored at pri­va­teer racer War­ren Cullen’s wreck­ing yard in Mel­bourne for a time be­fore Mof­fat do­nated it to what is now the Na­tional Mo­tor Rac­ing Mu­seum at Mount Panorama in 1984.

Terry Mor­gan, now the Bathurst Re­gional Coun­cil work­shop man­ager who main­tains the cars for the NMRM, vividly re­mem­bers when the 1977 race-win­ning Fal­con ar­rived at its new home in the 1980s.

“It ar­rived here in Camel and Fed­er­a­tion black, red and yel­low colours and had been sit­ting here in Bathurst for quite a while in a lo­cal truck and trac­tors yard,” he says.

“We had the car painted in the Mof­fat Ford Deal­ers colours by the lo­cal TAFE. The in­te­rior and the seats were in it but the back axle was gone. It had a stan­dard diff in it and a stan­dard Fal­con front end.

“It sat here for a while be­fore the late Peter Gan­non, our city engi­neer, sat down with Mof­fat. Mof­fat wouldn’t talk to any­one other than Peter. We gave Peter a list of ques­tions that he put to Allan and he came back with a list of what we re­quired to put it back into race trim, right down to the cor­rect steer­ing box ra­tio, nar­row springs in the rear, etc.

“Mof­fat ac­tu­ally supplied some of that stuff and we later sold the sur­plus to the bloke in Ade­laide who was putting the #2 car back to­gether.

“There wasn’t a lot of gear in it, so we had to go shop­ping. We got BBS wheels from Mof­fat but they were only fronts. The rear wheels had Amer­i­can Lin­coln studs and they were a lot big­ger on the rear axle, so we had one set of wheels and two that wouldn’t fit the diff we had tracked down for the car!

“So we got a set of wheels off John English, who had bought the yel­low XD off Mof­fat af­ter he’d fin­ished with it. We told John we needed the hub cen­tres for the axle – he said he had two cen­tres but they were cof­fee ta­bles in his beer gar­den mounted on a bit of pipe! So he said he’d send them down and they are now on the car.

“The en­gine also came from John out of the XD. The con­fig­u­ra­tion is not ’77-spec, it’s more 1980 spec with roller rock­ers that weren’t al­lowed in 1977. We’ve never stripped the en­gine, it came with all the bits ready to go, but we had to track down a carby.”

Un­like other his­toric race­cars, the 1977 Bathurst win­ner most cer­tainly is not fully orig­i­nal.

“Other than the shell there wouldn’t be a lot of orig­i­nal parts to that car [as it raced at Bathurst 1977],” Mor­gan tells AMC. “There’s never been any ques­tion about that. Mof­fat gave us the rem­nants of the ’77 win­ner and we’ve re­built it back to where it is now.

“It’s another ma­chine that if we could ever have the bud­get to do it again, we’d do it bet­ter, strip the in­te­rior and paint it. It had been through a num­ber of con­fig­u­ra­tions in its life.

“The en­gine bay is not ac­cu­rate, we sprayed it be­cause it looked a bit tired. It should be black but we sprayed it white, more for looks given it’s now sit­ting in a mu­seum.

“It had a Momo four-spoke steer­ing wheel on it, which was wrong and Mof­fat picked it. We

knew it was sup­posed to be a three-spoke but we couldn’t get one.

“We went back to John English and he said he had the one off the ’77 car in a Ford pickup! So we swapped him for a stan­dard pickup wheel and he sent the orig­i­nal to us. It’s had another leather cover hand-stitched over it by a lo­cal up­hol­sterer.

“The history of the car is in the shell re­ally. It’s never been rep­re­sented as the car that won Bathurst as it came off the track.

“It was a bit of a sick and tired old car by the time it ended its race ca­reer. But there’s Mof­fat DNA ev­ery­where through­out the car and John English was re­ally good in help­ing us it get to where it is now.

“All in all, we’re very happy with the old beast. It’s a great at­trac­tion to the mu­seum.”

On-track ap­pear­ances for the #1 Fal­con are rare and few and far be­tween, though Mof­fat did slip be­hind the wheel of his old racer at Bathurst in 2002 and on the Gold Coast, as part of the Le­gends demon­stra­tion at the V8 Su­per­cars event there, in 2010.

Ear­lier that year the car had trav­elled to the United King­dom and ran at the fa­mous Good­wood Fes­ti­val of Speed, as part of a cel­e­bra­tion of Bathurst-win­ning cars.

It re­mains at the NMRM, where AMC was able to pho­to­graph it, and is owned by the Bathurst Re­gional Coun­cil.

The life of car #2

Com­pleted

in early 1977, the Fal­con XB GT that would even­tu­ally be­come an XC and play a cru­cial part in the Bathurst 1-2 was built as a vir­tu­ally iden­ti­cal sis­ter car to the 1976 cham­pi­onship vic­tor.

It was given its first shakedown at the You Yangs Ford test and prov­ing ground early in 1977, with Bond putting the car through its paces, in­clud­ing laps through makeshift chi­canes at the 4.9-kilo­me­tre bowl with its two long straights and high banked turns.

Af­ter sam­pling both the new and ex­ist­ing car, Bond elected to opt for the brand new Ford for his de­but with the MFDT at Sandown’s Roth­mans South Pa­cific event in Fe­bru­ary. He promptly qual­i­fied on pole (car­ry­ing the #9) and won both races in a per­fect de­but with his new team.

Bond and his now-num­ber #2 XB GT fin­ished run­ner-up to Mof­fat in four of the first five ATCC rounds in 1977, un­der­lin­ing that the Holden teams were sim­ply no match for the roar­ing Fords.

The ATCC did not have a round in Western Aus­tralia that year, but the Bond #2 car did make a trip west mid­way through that sea­son.

With his own #1 car dis­as­sem­bled, given it was sub­ject to protests and tech­ni­cal checks by CAMS, the Bond car be­came #1 and Mof­fat raced it in the Kar­quip Mas­ters 300 at Wan­neroo in May. Run in five equal parts of 30 min­utes (thereby avoid­ing mid-race re­fu­el­ing), the event was unique in that street tyres were com­pul­sory! Mof­fat fin­ished fourth over­all on com­bined re­sults with no less than six spins in the fi­nal leg!

Bond got his car back in time for the ATCC’s sixth round AIR and he used it to good ef­fect, win­ning the round.

Just as he’d sam­pled the Mof­fat #1 car, bike ace Gregg Hans­ford drove Bond’s car on a few oc­ca­sions as he col­lected sig­na­tures on his car rac­ing li­cence. This in­cluded a pre­lim­i­nary Sports Sedan race on the Satur­day of a 2+4 meet­ing at Sandown that fea­tured the Aus­tralian

Sports Sedan Cham­pi­onship. An ap­pear­ance at a Calder Park club race se­ries event (where it sported #98) gave him his first win, though it wasn’t much of a chal­lenge in a field of over-twolitre Sports Sedans nowhere near the level of the Mof­fat Fal­con.

Re­ports of the time sug­gested a Mount Panorama co-drive in the sec­ond car was out of the ques­tion due to a clash with an Aus­tralian road rac­ing mo­tor­cy­cle round in Perth on the same day as Bathurst.

Bond drove the #2 Fal­con for the re­main­der of the 1977 ATCC and it was con­verted to XC spec­i­fi­ca­tion in time for Sandown, where Bond fin­ished fifth.

He was run­ner-up at the AIR en­duro which fol­lowed the fa­mous 1-2 fin­ish at Bathurst, be­fore en­gine prob­lems left the #2 Ford a non-fin­isher at Surfers Par­adise.

Bond could have very well won the fi­nale at Phillip Is­land while run­ning as the sole MFDT en­try, but a front tyre fail­ure two laps from the end forced him to set­tle for fifth.

Bond re­turned to drive the #2 Fal­con in 1978, but the ATCC was mis­er­able for both of the MFDT cars, though there was some con­so­la­tion for the 1969 Bathurst win­ner as he won the fi­nal ATCC round in Ade­laide. He also took the #2 Fal­con to a win in the non-cham­pi­onship Bet­ter Brakes 10,000 event at Ama­roo where ev­ery­one who mat­tered, bar the Holden Dealer Team, was present.

The car sat out the first Man­u­fac­tur­ers Cham­pi­onship round at Oran Park given Bond was com­pet­ing in the Bega Rally, and it be­came a Cobra in time for the Sandown en­durance race.

But the change of colours wasn’t enough for Bond not to re­tire from the Sandown en­duro, with wheel-bear­ing fail­ure, and Bathurst (with Fred Gib­son co-driv­ing) with gear­box prob­lems that led to them be­ing so far be­hind, team boss Mof­fat elected to with­draw the car rather than watch it cir­cu­late many laps off the lead­ing Peter Brock To­rana A9X.

The #2 Fal­con would claim one more win be­fore the end of its rac­ing days as Bond won the Roth­mans 250 in Ade­laide, de­spite an off-song en­gine and worn Goodyears.

It was per­haps apt that its fi­nal race in the Surfers Par­adise en­duro would see it re­tire with a blown en­gine, sum­ming up the team’s sea­son.

The ‘after­life’ of car #2

The Bathurst 1977 run­ner-up sat on the side­lines in 1979 and was ad­ver­tised for sale at year’s end for $20,000.

A few years later it was sold with race run­ning equip­ment re­moved and stan­dard road gear in its place.

How many own­ers it had af­ter that is a lit­tle hazy, but it ended up the hands of sports car col­lec­tor and his­to­rian, the late John Blan­den, in South Aus­tralia. Af­ter he passed away, it was placed up for auc­tion and was ac­quired by the Bow­den fam­ily in May 2004.

It has since been re­stored to its 1977 livery and specs.

If you look closely at the #2 car as it now sits in the Bow­den’s col­lec­tion on the Sun­shine Coast, you can still see rem­nants of its time as a Cobra.

“The first, or per­haps sec­ond, owner af­ter Mof­fat was a panel beater and he re-sprayed the car, but to his credit he was ei­ther a bit tight or look­ing far into the fu­ture and he didn’t go back to bare me­tal,” says Chris Bow­den to­day. “You can still see the Cobra scheme un­der the paint when you look into the light at the right an­gle.”

Bow­den con­firms that the 1977 Bathurst run­ner-up in­deed was full of road car gear af­ter its rac­ing life, but re­tained some of its rac­ing her­itage up front.

“Blan­den bought it pretty much as it was when we bought it, with road gear in it, but quite sur­pris­ingly it al­ways had the cor­rect front end in it,” he says.

“Lit­er­ally the driv­e­line was re­moved, en­gine, gear­box, full-floater diff. It had a stan­dard 351 in it, a top loader and nine-inch but it was all street stuff, noth­ing racy.”

The pro­ject of re­turn­ing the #2 Fal­con to 1977 was helped largely by for­mer Mof­fat me­chanic, Dale Sud­holz. Some of Car­roll Smith’s orig­i­nal notes, that the late Amer­i­can’s fam­ily had passed on to Sud­holz af­ter his death in 2003, proved in­valu­able.

“Car­roll Smith was clearly a prodi­gious note taker, his hand­writ­ten notes on those cars had all sorts of in­for­ma­tion that was cru­cial,” says Bow­den. “Spring rates, sway bars, tyre pres­sures, ev­ery­thing, the whole en­chi­lada!

“We had been all guns blaz­ing at restor­ing the car, then we spoke to Dale and he told us about these notes so we waited to re­ceive those so we could move for­ward with great ac­cu­racy. They listed com­pres­sion ra­tios, in­let man­i­folds, even the part num­bers for the top loader! It was amaz­ing the lev­els he went to in record­ing his notes,” he tells AMC.

“We pulled it apart and built it back up again ex­actly to the spec Mof­fat and Smith had her on the start­line for Bathurst 1977.

“It was a good feel­ing not to have to ‘wing’ any parts of history. Oc­ca­sion­ally you have to take a leap of faith on cars when you don’t have all of the in­for­ma­tion avail­able, but that car ended up be­ing like a big Me­canno set – all the in­struc­tions were there so it wasn’t as hard as it could have been.”

The en­gine bolted into the #2 Fal­con is a four-bolt 351ci motorsport block that David Bow­den had spare.

“Find­ing one of them would have oth­er­wise been dif­fi­cult, so that was a bit of a bless­ing,” says Bow­den Jnr. “We had the 4V heads, the cor­rect long-tailed close-ra­tio top-loader, all those types of Ford per­for­mance parts that had dried up, we had them in mul­ti­ples.

“We had the John Goss coupe from 1979 as a bit of a tem­plate for the tricky ar­eas. Those cars had a very nar­row leaf spring so they could fit the mas­sive rear tyres, so we took them to Mark King of King Springs and he did an ab­so­lute replica of the rear springs.”

Bond drove it at the Le­gends event as part of the 2010 V8 Su­per­cars event on the Gold Coast. But just to put a dif­fer­ent spin on history, that time it was Bond who flashed past Mof­fat and took the che­quered flag first for a 2-1, rather than a 1-2!

The last word

AMC

has had the plea­sure of in­ter­view­ing Allan Mof­fat about his most fa­mous Bathurst vic­tory on sev­eral oc­ca­sions, in­clud­ing for the first is­sue of this mag­a­zine, in 2001. This was when he ex­plained how he drove the first stint of the race with his har­ness un­done. Grip­ping the steer­ing wheel tighter than nor­mal led to blis­ters on his hand. He was asked about the fa­mous im­age of the cars side by side on Con­rod Straight, and why he be­lieved it has struck such a chord for Ford en­thu­si­asts.

“It was one of those things. The fact we had those big num­bers on the roof and the ‘1-2’ were just mil­lime­tres apart on Con­rod. The fact that it has been used a num­ber of times and cer­tainly the Ford Mo­tor Com­pany has used it in their own in­ter­nal pro­mo­tions.”

Fast for­ward now to a chat we had late last year, just me­tres away from car #1 in the Na­tional Mo­tor Rac­ing Mu­seum – and 50 me­tres from Con­rod Straight. Again, we re­turned to the topic of the en­dur­ing im­age.

“It’s part of the mem­o­ra­bilia that’s in the work­shop that I’ve gone to ev­ery day all my adult life,” he said, as a tear came to his eye.

Although re­la­tions be­tween Bond and Mof­fat were strained for many years due to a dis­pute, set­tled out of court, over Bathurst 1977 prize­money – Bond in AMC #46: “We agreed we wouldn’t dis­cuss it pub­licly” – it’s clearly wa­ter un­der the bridge now for both men.

“On the very last lap Colin drew along­side and put his nose in front at the end of Con­rod,” Mof­fat smiles. “At that point I sent a tele­pathic mes­sage to him say­ing, ‘Colin, re­mem­ber who is pay­ing the cheque…’

“He was a fan­tas­tic as­set to the team. Colin’s con­tri­bu­tion was ab­so­lutely su­perb. He was al­ways so pleas­ant to be around. He was a true team­mate.”

Above: Car­roll Smith (far right) and crew wait for the two cars to ap­pear around Mur­ray’s Cor­ner. The pitcrew in­cluded Colin Rus­sell (hold­ing wheel), plus fu­ture Den­car part­ners Ge­orge Smith (partly ob­scured by Rus­sell) and De­nis Wat­son (no cap). Left: The win­ning Fal­con lives on at the NMRM. Be­low: We long for the days when the field stretched around Mur­ray’s Cor­ner, as it did in ’77.

Above and top right: Car­roll Smith was the com­mon de­nom­i­na­tor in Ford’s great­est mo­tor­sport­ing mo­ment do­mes­ti­cally (Bathurst) and in­ter­na­tion­ally (Le Mans 1966). In both cases the win­ning team fin­ished 1-2.

Above: The roll-cage de­sign, specif­i­cally the hoop be­hind the driver, might look dated by to­day’s stan­dards, but it was ‘crash-proven’ by Mof­fat.

Above left: Bib Stillwell was the driv­ing force be­hind Ford’s MFDT fund­ing. Inset right: Mof­fat says one con­di­tion of the Ford’s for­malised back­ing was for him to sell the DeKon Chevro­let Monza in which he was con­test­ing the 1976 Aus­tralian Sports Sedan Cham­pi­onship.

Its digs at Bathurst have im­proved over the years, where BRC’s gu­rus worked hard to sourced com­po­nents. As an aside, one of the cars in this shot will fea­ture on AMC’s cover next is­sue.

Top left: Car­roll Smith and his right-hand man Dale Sud­holz in Fe­bru­ary 1977, with the new sea­son fast ap­proach­ing and a sec­ond car to com­plete.

Above: Birds of a feather flock to­gether once or twice a decade in their re­tire­ment. This is race week­end in 2002, when Ford cel­e­brated the 25th an­niver­sary of its big­gest Moun­tain mo­ment.

Above: Mof­fat turned a lap in the old girl on the morn­ing of the 2002 race. He and Bond were part of Ford’s BA V8 Su­per­car launch. Be­low: Mof­fat’s most re­cent trip to Bathurst was for the Aussie Mus­cle Car Run.

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