purchased both of the ex-JPS/Brock/ Doulman-Cotter BMW M3s early in the Super Touring era, when he raced with Justin Matthews and Paul Nelson. The latter was Faber Castell Australia’s managing director and their arrangement gave Holden a real shot in the arm. Nelson was only interested in running NSW rounds, so he came to an agreement that Holden would race at the interstate rounds in lieu of preparation costs.
The mutually beneficial arrangement would net consecutive top 10 finishes in the two Super Touring Bathurst 1000s: seventh in 1997 and ninth in 1998.
These races would be the last Bathurst 1000 starts for Holden, though he would make one final start in the 2010 Bathurst 12 Hour, finishing 22nd in a diminutive Toyota Yaris with Matthews and Craig Bradshaw. This was 50 years after his first endurance finish in the 1960 Armstrong 500 driving a Peugeot 403.
Bob’s association with Matthews continues with the pair’s involvement in the Heritage Touring Cars category at events like the Muscle Car Masters.
Bob Holden Q&A
AMC: You have predominately raced with the ‘unlucky’ #13. Why is that? Bob Holden: I always made numbers myself and kept them on the car. The police didn’t like it! I got sick of changing number every week, so I thought I’d get the number nobody wants.
AMC: I understand Rauno Aaltonen wasn’t impressed when he saw #13 on the Cooper S you shared at Bathurst in 1966. BH: I think his words were; ‘I think I go home.’ I convinced him it was a good omen and of course it was.
AMC: You’ve raced everything including single seaters. You even competed in the 1973 Formula 2 Championship in a Brabham BT6. How did that come about? BH: It was a customer’s car. It had a Datsun engine in it but I replaced it with a Lotus Twin Cam. He couldn’t drive it, so I did!
AMC: You moved to a property just outside of Taree in 1993. Tell us about the big shed that was built to house your workshop? BH: Peter Brock organised the shed for me from one of his sponsors Tru-Steel.
AMC: What do you think of the Heritage Touring Car (Group C and A) scene today? BH: I think it is the best class out there. Only problem is that there is too much money involved today. Not so much for our ‘shopping trolleys’ down the back. It’s good fun and good people.
AMC: I understand that Justin Matthews and Greg Keam, who own a couple of your old cars, help you out these days. BH: Without their help I simply wouldn’t be able to get to the race meetings these days. I hope to keep racing for as long as I can. It’s like racing with family. We do the best we can with what we’ve got.
Top: Bob finished in the top 10 in the Super Tourer 1000s when he was in his mid-60s. Below: There’s a story behind his signature #13, inclusive of his time in F2 (here in 1973).