1975 Hardie-Ferodo 1000

Australian Muscle Car - - Cars That Won Bathurst -

TThe car that went on to claim vic­tory at Bathurst in 1975 didn’t show signs of be­ing a Moun­tain beater ear­lier in the year. Peter Brock’s ’75 ATCC cam­paign was a tough one, high­lighted by run­nerup re­sults at Calder, Surfers Par­adise and the Lake­side fi­nal round, though re­tire­ments in the other four rounds meant he fin­ished only sev­enth in the pointscore. But vic­to­ries in the Sandown, Bathurst and Phillip Is­land endurance races meant the year fin­ished with a flurry of sil­ver­ware.

The 1975 Sandown 250 was Brock’s first big win in a car bear­ing his sig­na­ture #05, ac­tu­ally #.05. Three weeks later at Bathurst, the car re­verted to #5.

The 1975 Hardie-Ferodo 1000, com­pared to the two 1000s which fol­lowed, was a largely straight­for­ward af­fair for the win­ning team.

The pole-sit­ting Colin Bond/John Walker To­rana – the Holden Dealer Team sole en­try that year – was de­layed by a bro­ken axle and fin­ished third. The lead­ing Fal­con, of Al­lan Mof­fat and Ian Geoghe­gan, which also started from the front row, suc­cumbed to sus­pen­sion fail­ure. This left the Bob Mor­ris/Frank Gard­ner To­rana as Brock and Brian Samp­son’s main chal­lenger, al­beit two laps be­hind the win­ning machine at the end.

HDT boss Harry Firth, not known for lib­er­ally dish­ing out praise, cred­ited Brock’s new-found abil­ity to nurse the no­to­ri­ously frag­ile V8 To­rana as the ma­jor rea­son for the pri­va­teer Gown Hind­haugh team’s vic­tory.

“Brock drove better in this race than ever be­fore and seems to have got with it on pre­serv­ing the ma­chin­ery.”

Of course, it wasn’t just Brock who de­serves credit. Co-driver Samp­son, an ac­com­plished open­wheel racer and peren­nial Bathurst com­peti­tor, played a vi­tal role in keep­ing the car cir­cu­lat­ing.

“I saw my role as a co-driver to look after the car and hand it back to Peter in good shape,” Samp­son told Fair­fax Me­dia last year ahead of the 40th an­niver­sary of their feat.

Samp­son, 81, be­lieves the de­ci­sive fac­tor in the vic­tory was Brock’s abil­ity to coax both speed and re­li­a­bil­ity out of a car in an era when rac­ing tour­ing cars were far from bullet-proof.

“From the driv­ing sense, he car­ried the team, ab­so­lutely. Not that I was use­less, but he was The Man.”

Brock had walked out on the HDT at the end of 1974 and fell in with the small, in­de­pen­dent, one-car pri­va­teer team run on the com­par­a­tive smell of an oily rag. Norm Gown and Bruce Hind­haugh, who funded their rac­ing through their en­gine re­con­di­tion­ing busi­ness, were bat­tlers and, de­spite dom­i­nat­ing the en­duro events, it came as no sur­prise when the su­per­star driver departed to his own Team Brock for 1976.

Hind­haugh and Gown re­tained the L34, the for­mer joined by Garth Wigston at Bathurst. Cam drive prob­lems put them out after 56 laps.

Other big names also pi­loted the G-H L34 dur­ing ‘76 in­clud­ing Frank Gard­ner (who fin­ished third in the Sandown ATCC round) and Colin Bond, who bor­rowed the car for the sec­ond heat in the Ama­roo ATCC round after his own HDT unit was smashed in a first lap pile-up trig­gered by contact with Al­lan Grice.

The car was taken to Tas­ma­nia to race at Baskerville at the end of 1976 with Hind­haugh at the helm, and a deal was done with lo­cal Roger Stan­ley for the L34 to stay on in the Ap­ple Isle.

He did take it back to the main­land to race in 1977, com­pet­ing in three ATCC rounds at Calder, Sandown and Ade­laide.

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