Top 25 Brock pics
AMC presents 25 shots of Peter Brock and his racecars that you’ve probably never seen before.
25 shots of Peter Brock that you’ve probably never seen before. So go fill up the urn, grab a cuppa and check out shots of his Ford T-bird NASCAR, bucks night and Dicky Johnson kneeing the King in his crown jewels.
With this issue’s cover story theme being ‘Brock: the untold stories’, what better topic for our regular Top 25 section than ‘Brock: the unseen photos’? Our compilation here has been put together by long-time AMC contributor Aaron Noonan’s AN1 Media team mostly from the company’s own photo archives. Visit an1images.com AN1 Images has acquired a number of photographic collections in recent years, including Ian Smith’s Autopix archive and Graeme Neander’s Conventry collection. These contain many images that have not previously appeared in the pages of AMC. In fact, some may not have seen the light of day at all before.
On the grid
Astudy of concentration. Brock sits on the grid in preparation for the 1977 Australian Touring Car Championship’s finale. This was the November 20 Ready Plan Insurance Phillip Island 500K, a race from which his Torana A9X retired. Perhaps he is contemplating his finale points-paying drive with Bill Patterson Racing before heading back to the Holden Dealer Team for 1978.
Mum’s the word
Our man, complete with ever-present cup of tea, sits next to his mother, Ruth, in Calder Park’s grandstand watching the track’s 1975 ATCC round support races. His parents were familiar figures at Victorian race meetings as well as Mount Panorama through the 1970s and ’80s. Meanwhile, mid-1970s fashionista took inspiration for headwear from many sources, including, it seems, garden gnomes.
Always a magnet for the media, Brock receives the pole position winner’s cheque on the grid before the start of the 1989 Tooheys 1000 at Bathurst. NSW Premier Nick Greiner (far right) looks on wishing he was as popular as Peter Perfect. Not that Brock was particularly popular with Holden fans that year, as his Bathurst assault was aboard an #05 Ford Sierra. Lots of Brock fans refuse to acknowledge his Blue Oval dalliances.
Thunderbird on the Thunderdome
Few people remember Brock’s short lived NASCAR career. The #05 Mobil 1 Ford Thunderbird is seen here at the Calder Park Thunderdome in 1988. Brock also raced a 351-powered XF Falcon in the second-tier AUSCAR class on the Thuderdome. This was during the period when Brock enhanced roadgoing Ford Falcon B8s from the Austech Automotive Developments business in Melbourne.
Between HDT stints
Brock shares his Bill Patterson Racing Torana A9X hatchback with some interested young fans at a private practice day at Calder in 1977. This was a very busy time in Brock’s life, as he prepared for a three-car Torana attack on that year’s Bathurst 1000 after a mid-year trip to Europe to join Englishman Gerry Marshall for the Spa-Francorchamps 24 Hours. See our ‘Magnum Force’ story elsewhere in this issue.
Apublicity shot of Brock and controversial chiropractor Dr Eric Dowker, issued before the HDT VL Director’s ill-fated launch in February, 1987. Brock and Dowker were partners in Peri Integration, the company which developed and marketed the infamous Energy Polariser device. Read what Brock’s 1987 Bathurst co-driver David Parsons thought of the new-age approach in this edition’s Muscle Man profile.
In the early days of the Holden Dealer Team, Brock took on all forms of motorsport, including circuit racing, rallying, rallycross and hillclimbs. Brock is seen here in a HDT LC Torana GTR XU-1 at the Lakeland Hillclimb, near Lilydale in Melbourne’s east, in 1971. He won his class in six successive meetings at Lakeland over 1971 and ’72. Imagine a V8 Supercar star competing in four different disciplines today!
Quick Dick knees up
The first ATCC round of the new 5.0-litre V8 touring car category was at Amaroo Park in 1993. This new era began with a photo opportunity for Brock and Johnson and their new winged Commodore and Falcon on the grid. Johnson has some fun... and knees Brock in the plums! Their rivalry in the early 1980s breathed new life into touring car racing and they were still the star attractions until the mid 1990s.
King on the throne
where else would you expect the King to be, than posing on the throne in a light moment during the studio photo-shoot for his 1982 Sandown/ Bathurst campaign. We’re not quite sure what the PR operatives were thinking in snapping him on a dunny. It only made him the butt of jokes, despite him being flushed with success. Please excuse our potty mouths, as we’re sure we haven’t bowled you over with our toilet humour.
1979 ATCC decider decided
Abemused Brock looks on as Torana A9X rival Bob Morris (unseen, on the victory dais) is presented with the 1979 Australian Touring Car Championship trophy. No one expected Morris and the privateer Ron Hodgson team to beat the might of the Holden Dealer Team over a full championship, but Morris’s title, clinched in Adelaide, stands as one of the greatest achievements in the 57-year history of the series.
They don’t know what’s they’re in for
Brock with navigator Noel Richards and co-driver Matt Philip in the 1979 Repco Reliability Trial-winning VB Commodore. This is obviously very early in the event, probably the actual start in Melbourne, as they and their car look fresh. Brock wasn’t really expected to match it with the more experienced and specialist rally drivers. Our guest columnist, Ray Berghouse, followed their progress and recalls Brock’s drive well.
First overseas foray
Brock raced this LC Torana GTR XU-1 in the International Group 1 support race to the 1971 Macau Grand Prix. Harry Firth had organised the drive through the Hong Kong Holden agent. Yes, they sold Holdens in the Far East! Brock finished second to a works prepared Capri 2600 V6. This was his earliest foray racing overseas. Elsewhere in this edition you can read about his most epic offshore drive.
Hunting in South Africa
Brock checks out the race program for the Kyalami 1000. He flew to South Africa in late 1975 to take in the race and hunt down an ex-BMW Motorsport 3.0 CSL ‘Batmobile’ that was for sale. He duly purchased the BMW and raced it at Le Mans the following year, the first of his three attempts on the twice-round-the-clock marathon. Brock obviously still had international aspirations at this stage of his career.
Back in the fold
Brock, team manager John Sheppard and teammate John Harvey check out the engine bay of the HDT A9X Torana at Brock’s return drive for the team, in the Rothmans Series’ touring car support races at Sandown in February of 1978. This event is also notable for Brock’s victory in a four-door A9X, as opposed to the hatchback. This unique car lives on today and has competed in the Heritage Touring Cars class.
Now UC it
A late 1970s Holden publicity shot of Brock and his HDT Torana A9X hatchback and a UC hatch roadcar. There were no sports versions or V8 engine options for UC Torana/Sunbird range, so Holden milked the Brock/HDT association for all its worth. This was when Brock’s skills were at their peak. He was arguably the best thing Holden had going for it as the company began a period when it lost market share.
Le Mans here we come
Nice threads! The Le Mans BMW 3.0 CSL ‘Batmobile’ pulled down at the Team Brock workshops in Bundoora, Victoria in 1976. Brock, expatriate Aussie Brian Muir and Frenchman Jean-Claude Aubriet covered 156 laps at Le Mans in 1976 before mechanical gremlins could no longer be overcome. The Bill Patterson-owned BMW ultimately raced as #46 in the French classic. Love the giant cutaway on the wall.
Brock’s off-track excursion during the Phillip Island round of the 1975 Man Champ in the Bathurst-winning Gown-Hindhaugh Torana, which is featured elsewhere in this issue. He recovered to win the race by four laps and claim the final leg of the Sandown 400/Bathurst 1000/Phillip Island 500 ‘Grand Slam’. Mind you, an Escort RS2000 finished third outright in the Island encounter, so the field was a bit on the thin side.
Spa-ing down into Eau Rouge
We’ve included this classic angle of the HDT #5 Commodore heading into Eau Rouge (it’s the seventh dot) to complement the opener to our story on Brock’s 1977 Spa assault. Despite all of the Brock Commodore team’s success at home in enduros in the Eighties, the squad’s 1986 and 1987 Spa assaults returned little, aside from a King’s Cup team’s trophy. His VK was 22nd in 1986; while the ’87 VL DNFed.
Brock’s bucks night
Look out... it’s Brock’s bucks night! Famous for resting his elbow on the window-sill of his racecars, Brock was presented with this arm shield at his ‘bucks’ in 1974. It was presented by Howard Marsden and was made by Ford Special Vehicles. We can only imagine what else went on at a Brock bucks party! Actually, we don’t want to know. The (headless) bloke in the background is a bit over-dressed for a bucks night...
Fancy a ciggie, Brock?
Dick Johnson offers Brock a smoke, following their fierce battle at Sandown’s Australian Touring Car Championship opener in 1982. The race was won by Johnson, from his great rival. They were both part of Marlboro’s so-called ‘Team of Champions’ that year, waging a war for the hearts and lungs of racing fans against rival brands such as Peter Stuyvesant (Moffat’s Mazda) and John Player Special (BMW).
Brock in the one-make celebrity ’Camira Race’ supporting the Australian Grand Prix at Calder in 1982. The star-studded field featured international F1 drivers Alain Prost, Jacques Laffite and Nelson Piquet. One wonders what the latter pair thought of Holden’s 1.6-litre Camiras, as both had raced in the ultimate one-make series, in Europe: the BMW M1 Procar Championship with its 470bhp M1 supercars.
Another job for Brock
A rare shot of Brock posing with Bob Jane’s Chev Monza Sports Sedan at the 1982 Australian GT Championship’s Calder round. Brock raced this be-winged 6-litre behemoth with Jane’s trademark number 7 instead of his own 05. Brock had a handful of starts i n the car, most famously (or infamously) causing a giant prang off Adelaide International Raceway’s startline in 1983 when an axle broke.
The press launch of the new-look Mobil VL Commodore in early 1987. By this time he had been ex-communicated from Holden and the famous Holden Dealer Team name was no longer displayed on #05. The launch took place at The Dorchester, in Melbourne. David Parsons points to the C-pillar, while Brock is interviewed by Ken Sparkes, in (cue the voiceover) another presentation for Nine’s Wide World of Sports.
The strain of two weeks rallying over 20,000km with very little sleep clearly shows on Brock’s face as he crosses the finish line of the gruelling 1979 Repco Round Australia Reliability Trial. It would the last time competitors would be expected to push themselves to the point of exhaustion, as a more ‘PC’ era beckoned when doing stupid hours behind the wheel at high speed would no longer be socially acceptable.
Brock poses with #05 on Pit Straight at Mount Panorama in the lead up to the 1980 Hardie Ferodo 1000, most likely ahead of Saturday morning’s Hardies Heroes run-off. He would qualify third behind Kevin Bartlett and Dick Johnson. He won the race that year with Jim Richards, recording the Commodore’s maiden Bathurst win. News Limited went on a recent, but futile, quest to find this car - it’s long since ‘gone to God’.