By Ge­orge

Australian Muscle Car - - Muscle Workhorse -

Ge­orge-Shep­heard’s two decades of Aus­tralian ral­ly­ing ex­pe­ri­ence helped him plot vic­tory. Ge­orge’s father Reg came to Aus­tralia with his fam­ily from the UK in 1949 as a Redex com­pany ex­ec­u­tive, spon­sor­ing the first great Round Aus­tralia Tri­als that be­came known as the Redex Tri­als in 1953, ’54 and ’55.

Ge­orge made his name nav­i­gat­ing in ral­lies, part­ner­ing his mate Colin Bond along with Andy Frankel in the 1964 Am­pol Round Aus­tralia where they won the un­der-25 prize in a sec­ond­hand VW 1200 Bee­tle. He went on to part­ner Gelig­nite Jack Mur­ray and Evan Green in the 1968 Lon­don-to-Syd­ney, al­most win­ning be­fore an axle broke on the works Austin.

Then he and Colin Bond teamed up through the 1970s to be­come a for­mi­da­ble team in the Aus­tralian Rally Cham­pi­onship, win­ning three na­tional ti­tles in 1971, ’72 and ’74 in To­rana XU-1s.

Ge­orge learned a lot from Harry Firth, his HDT boss in the early 1970s. When Holden was look­ing to tackle the 1979 Repco they turned to Ge­orge to mas­ter­mind the project.

The ‘Tan­gle Toothed Tac­ti­cian’ as one rally wag dubbed him ad­mits the choice of V8 panel vans as ser­vice ve­hi­cles was ac­tu­ally more good for­tune than plan­ning.

“That was what Holden had so that was what we had to use,” said Ge­orge. “They were fast and could carry a rea­son­able load so we were pretty for­tu­nate to have them, com­pared with what some of the other teams chose or had to use, they could cover ter­ri­tory pretty quickly and were bul­let proof,” says Ge­orge.

When Holden com­mit­ted to the project in late 1978 he went to work us­ing the Holden dealer net­work around the coun­try and in the most re­mote ar­eas in the coun­try.

“I con­tacted ev­ery Holden dealer in the bush and asked them if any­one had seen any Repco sur­vey cars go­ing through town and to let me know if they saw any cars. So pretty quickly I had a fair idea where the rally was go­ing which helped us plan our lo­gis­tics and that helped im­mensely,” Ge­orge told us.

Ge­orge reck­ons it was a team ef­fort, ev­ery team mem­ber played their part and re­ally the panel vans played their part as well, en­sur­ing they could keep up with the rally, be­liev­ing that a lot of peo­ple un­der­es­ti­mated the pace and na­ture of the Repco.

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