Falcon hardtop’s seven seasons as Ford’s frontline touring car fighter are well documented. Three Bathurst 1000 wins (1973, ’74 and ’77) and back-to-back ATCC titles (’76 and ’77) means the big birds are as familiar as Allan Moffat’s Canadian accent. But what of the Fairmont hardtop’s time in Group C racing?
You’re excused if you’ve overlooked the Fairmont hardtop’s only touring car start, in the 1977 HangTen 400 at Sandown, the XC model’s racing debut. AMC most certainly had – until we spotted the image above at autopics.com.au
The rectangular headlights on the meanlooking Rusty French/Leo Leonard car that weekend, September 10-11, 1977, had us doing a double-take.
We didn’t have to go far for an explanation. The French XC was built for Rusty French’s Morley Ford-backed squad by Dale Sudholz after he left the Moffat Ford Dealers Team, the focus of issue #83’s cover story. Just as he helped fill in some gaps in that Bathurst 1977 1-2 story, Sudholz explained why the black beast debuted looking like a Fairmont hardtop.
Unsurprisingly, the vagaries of Group C homologation coupled with confusion over what XC model would race following the GT’s demise contributed to this one-off appearance. As did one