Too far away

Australian Muscle Car - - Whadday A Know -

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 am­ced­i­to­

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