Too far away
A moment’s silence please for the 1970s Bathurst campaigns that failed to make the grid.
pause to remember the teams that hit the track for practice, but ended up hitting the highway out of Bathurst before Sunday’s race.
This leftfield Whaddayaknow topic stems from viewing Autopics’ recently released slideshow DVD, Bathurst: The Great Race – 1970 to 1979 which displays stills of every car that raced in the Bathurst 500/1000 in the 1970s. And even some that didn’t!
Over 600 vehicles feature, many of which we’ve never seen photos of before.
Not only does this slideshow DVD display images of the cars that started the race, but also many of those that practised and for one reason for another failed to grid-up on Sunday. Some crashed in the lead-up and could not be repaired in time, while others suffered insurmountable mechanical woes that left hapless crews tearing their hair out.
Other crews, including some from interstate, made the trek to the NSW Central West as reserves for the race, hoping those with a guaranteed start would withdrawn before the field lined-up. For instance, there were no fewer than 10 reserves for the 1970 Hardie-Ferodo 500, with just three reserves promoted come raceday.
Among the seven teams sent packing in 1970 was the Bob Rollington Ford-backed XW GT-HO Phase II driven by Victorian Murray Carter.
“They accepted the entry, but I was a reserve and never got a start,” Carter, who was to become a Bathurst stalwart in Fords, told AMC for his profile in issue #23.
So that’s the #70E XW with hot-pink strips on its nose accounted for, but what of some other muscle cars we’ve spotted for the first time that didn’t get a guernsey?
Turning our attention to 1971, Autopics has colour shots (as seen above) of the #18 LC Torana GTR of Warren Gracie and Ron Gillard from the Saturday. These photos suggest the bottle green machine ran with a vinyl roof! This alone piques our interest in learning why the Waterloo High Performance Tuning Centreprepared car, well, met its Waterloo?
Mystery also surrounds the Trevor Meehan/ Frank Radisich XY Falcon GT-HO Phase III which qualified an impressive eighth fastest in 1972. Maybe it succumbed to the spots on its front bumper? (That’s an attempt at humour; don’t bother writing in to complain.) All we know is that this dark-coloured Phase III went MIA for Sunday’s race.
The 1973 image of the Grape Escape Wine Bar-sponsored Torana XU-1 in the pits probably goes a long way to explaining why John Duggan and Gordon Rich failed to come under starters orders the following day.
And check out the JBL Loud Speakers Torana A9X sedan of Ross Bond/Russ McRae with its equally loud livery. This is one previously unseen car that we did have a lead on, as we spoke to Russ McRae for our story on his brother’s big crash during the 1974 race.
He says that the Torana, which was part of a two-car team entered by Bob Forbes, suffered a number of problems in practice that greatly restricted the number of laps the pair could turn and they failed to qualify.
But what of the others? Whaddayaknow? Our journalistic radar tells us there are some good stories to tell. Perhaps one or more of these cars survives today? Contact this page via amceditorial.com.au