Many of you will have read of plans in the media in recent months to commemorate Peter Brock at this year’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama. It’s difficult to believe that it’s a full 10 years this September 8 since the icon of our sport sadly left us.
Looking ahead to this year’s race for The Peter Brock Trophy, the thought of the reported plans of having Brock’s Bathurst-winning cars on site driven by various current and former stars to celebrate his life and achievements is indeed great.
Many of you may have read a piece in the Sydney papers in mid-May that focused on the search for the 1980-winning Brock/Richards VC Commodore in a bid to have it located for this October.
It gained plenty of great headlines and valuable exposure, but I hate to be a party pooper – it’s widely known that this car spent time with privateer Jim Keogh and later was converted into an AUSCAR.
An accident at Calder Park in a Sportsman race totaled it in the early to mid 1990s and it was re-shelled, so unless that damaged bodyshell somehow re-appears and a lot of money is spent on it, we’ll have to come up with a replica or similar to fill its place.
There are plenty of other Brock cars out there that are currently undergoing restoration and, while they aren’t Bathurst-winning cars, they all form part of his special connection to our cherished 1000-kilometre classic.
The 1986 Mobil HDT Commodore VK he shared with Allan Moffat, advertised in the pages of this magazine last year, is undergoing a resto back to its VK specification and ’86 Bathurst appearance in Melbourne, the same city where his ‘Beth’ HRT Commodore from the 1994 race is also being returned to past glories. And the turbo Ford Sierra RS500 – the same Dencar-built chassis that Brock used to take his record sixth Bathurst pole in 1989 and finished fourth in 1990 – is now in the hands of his former co-driver Andrew Miedecke and is also well down the track to being returned to its glory days.
Stories of ‘I’ve got a Brock racecar’ are plentiful and many across the desk and email box of the V8 Sleuth offices, but there are plenty of them out there that will make a real impression when they are again revealed to the public in the fullness of time.
Researching our feature last issue on Tony Sawford’s Craven Mild/Allan Grice A9X Torana got my brain ticking. We’ve established that his car was one of two privateer cars purchased by Grice’s team to arm itself up for the 1979 endurance races and used as the #16 T-car at Bathurst that year.
It was previously the Bonds Gotcha car with the other car formerly the Bob Forbes blue A9X raced by Forbes and Kevin Bartlett at Bathurst in 1977.
Our homework all points to the fact the exForbes car was Grice’s #6 entry for Bathurst in ’79 and was converted to LX SS specification for 1980 to be used in the Australian Touring Car Championship in a two-car Craven Mild team alongside Bob Morris in a Commodore. The poor old Grice Torana copped a whack in the Calder round (the damage is shown in the file images here on these pages) but this was nothing compared to a much more serious accident at Oran Park that destroyed this historically significant car.
It’s historically significant given it was the last Torana to win an ATCC race – in Grice’s hands at Wanneroo in 1980.
In fact, he still has the trophy from this event – available for a price to a good home via V8 Sleuth. Plug, plug…
I’ve heard all sorts of stories about the alleged truth over this last ATCC-winning Torana. There are reports of multiple parties claiming to have the shell but I’ve never seen or heard anything publically substantial in the way of proof or storyline to back up any of these claims.
Everything points to this car being long gone to touring car heaven, or so far gone that whatever remains of it can’t really be constituted as ‘the car’.
Given it’s the last Torana to claim an ATCC race win (and actually also the first to carry McDonald’s sponsorship in Australia with Forbes at the 1977 Hardie-Ferodo 1000!), I reckon telling the story of what happened to this machine is one that needs to be done in the pages of AMC.
Do you have any pieces of the puzzle that may help with providing first-hand account, photo proof or similar that can bring the tale of the Craven Mild Torana together? I’d love to hear from you.
It’s becoming a yearly question I field about this time of year: ‘what Seven Sport Magic Moments of Motorsport DVDs do you have coming up for release this year Sleuth?’ So here are the answers!
Continuing our theme of releasing full Bathurst races, we have the 1981 and 1982 James Hardie 1000s. These are the full race day telecasts from these two classic races.
We’ve also decided to celebrate Calder Park in Melbourne with a ‘Calder Classics’ release taking in the 1986, 1987 and 1996 Australian Touring Car Championship rounds from the venue – as well as a bonus NASCAR race from the Thunderdome!
Group A Classics Volumes 1 and 2 were big hits, so we’ve opted to release Volume 3, with some great races from Winton, Mallala, Amaroo Park and even one of the old Wellington 500 street races.
We’ll celebrate Craig Lowndes’ early career, too, with a release of three rounds from his dominant 1996 ATCC-winning season plus a few gems from the vault of a much younger chap racing in Formula Ford. Speaking
of old motor racing gems, those that follow V8 Sleuth on Facebook may have seen a piece of gold I posted about recently.
We have managed to salvage from some very old format tapes a selection of Amaroo Park motor racing from the late 1970s and early 1980s – it’s material that not even Seven Sport has in its impressive archives.
Some of the tapes are sadly beyond saving, but others have survived the ravages of time (and perhaps some less-than-ideal storage facilities!) quite well.
You can imagine I was like a giddy schoolboy when I found the final race from the 1978 Better Brakes 10,000 event at Amaroo Park won by Colin Bond after his teammate Allan Moffat and Bob Morris came together up over Bitupave Hill on the opening lap!
Given these tapes aren’t 100 percent TV broadcast quality, what we do with the vision is up in the air. Maybe they may make some nice bonus extras or a release on their own in our Seven Sport Magic Moments series – only time will tell.
These tapes are the old Umatic format ones used regularly by TV stations in the 1970s and early ‘80s and finding a player for them isn’t easy. But your V8 Sleuth has got his hands on one, so if you have tapes of the format sitting in your cupboard, get in touch, I want to know about them!
As always, I love hearing from AMC readers with questions, information or feedback. If you’ve got an interesting car or interesting stories, shoot me an email to email@example.com or call my office on 03 9585 1981.