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ED: Last issue’s Muscle Man profile on Bob Forbes’ driving career included the anecdote from Bathurst 1971 when his Charger survived a bizarre shunt on Mountain Straight that left the Selke-backed car with a heavily stoved in driver’s door. “One lap going up Mountain Straight, two cars ahead of me came together,” Forbes described. “They hit each other, and one of them, I think it was Scott McNaughton’s Torana, [shot off to the right] and went off through the barbed wire fence and kept on going. There was a westerly wind blowing that day, very dry, and all the dust came back onto the track. So I couldn’t see anything. Anyway, unbeknownst to me, McNaughton’s car spun back onto the track. So all of a sudden, out of nowhere in the dust, he’s come straight into the side of my door!” Peter Wherrett wrote Racing Car News that the Torana had hit a man and his son, ‘but luckily with only slight injuries’. It was a tale that filled in a gap or two for McNaughton, who, after reading Forbes’ recollections, sent us his own.
Bathurst barbed wire incident
the Bathurst 1971 incident, Peter Wherrett’s account is correct as I recollect. After I got tangled up with another car I got in the dirt on the left side of the track and then speared across to the right into someone’s frontyard on Mountain Straight.
I am fairly sure an adult male hit the windscreen and went right over the car. He had been wearing a heavy tweed jacket and the material left an imprint in the paintwork on the roof and boot. A young lad went under the car or my front wheel; I was told he had his ankle broken.
The XU-1 continued through another fence and back across the track and through the fence just past the paddock entrance. I understand I dragged fencing wire onto the track with very unpleasant problems for those who ran over it.
Until reading the story I did not realise I had collided with Bob Forbes on my way back onto the track. But that explains damage to left-front corner of my car. That said, damage was mostly superficial and someone else must have been involved given how heavily stoved in the Charger’s door appears. Going through the barb wire without a windscreen tore a lot of plastic off my XU-1’s dashboard. My crew wanted to replace the windscreen and continue to give Graham Harvey, from NZ, a drive in the race. However, not knowing the extent of injuries we decided to put the car away. I hope this fills in some gaps, as it has for me! Scott McNaughton Email
Sandown fence incident
Your issue #95 article on Bob Forbes brought back some repressed memories of past sins that I had hoped were forgotten. Your story recounted Bob’s memory of Wayne Negus’ crash through the fence at Sandown being attributable to my recommendation of Ferodo 2444F pads for the 1975 Sandown 400. But Bob’s version tells only half the story. It’s true that we choose 2444F over 1103 on the recommendation of PBR’s Eddy ‘type of thing’ Munnerley, who knew about such things. But I also made a set of wheel fans to cool the front brakes in the hope of them lasting the distance. However, the real problem was that after practice, I changed the rear brake shoes as a precaution and in my haste, mis-positioned the handbrake strut between the two right rear brake shoes. This mistake caused the shoes to not release properly, wearing out the linings and allowing the wheel cylinder pistons to pop out and the loss of all rear brakes. To add to the confusion, when Wayne pulled in to report the rear brake failure, we tried to block off the rear brake pipe, which of course, accomplished nothing.
Wayne’s ultimate attack on the fence was due to the front brake pads wearing out and popping the front caliper piston as Bob recalls, but the real cause of the failure was no rear brakes for most of the race, coupled with the pad selection, causing the front brake failure. Sorry Bob!
Thanks for your magazine that allows old codgers to relive the highs and lows of the wonderful baby boomer experience. Warren Mills Docklands VIC
KB’s son’s feedback
Forbes’ story is long overdue. I have had the pleasure of knowing the Forbes family for nearly 40 years – great people to spend time with. Bob is one of the nicest people I have met in Australian motorsport. He is unassuming, approachable and very much underrated as a driver. The attributes for his success in business away from the track could be seen in his ability to pull together well-organised privateer teams to attack the Mountain in the 1970s and later on towards the end of the Group A era and into the early years of V8s.
Thanks to AMC for taking the time to tell Bob’s story. He’s someone I always enjoy having a chat with. Greg Bartlett Via Facebook
Can-Am feature ( AMC #95) was another gem. During the 1960s and ’70s I followed the Can-Am series via the US publication Sports Car Graphic. My interest back then centred on the exploits of the Chaparral cars. I was fascinated by their ground-breaking engineering innovations. They were the first, in 1966, to introduce rear sidemounted radiators to modern racing cars, years before F1. Jim Hall’s attraction to aerodynamic solutions to better car performance certainly created some weird and wonderful racing cars. Unfortunately, they were not as reliable as the McLarens. They still get my vote as the most interesting of the Can-Am cars.
One of the big attractions for the European drivers was the huge prizemoney on offer in the Can-Am. One race’s purse was probably more that they could earn in a year of F1. Howard Smith West Pennant Hills, NSW
enjoyed issue #95, especially the story outlining the history of Tickford. I noted with interest that you recently did an article on the EB GT and its significance now the market is identifying.
I was wondering if you have ever done an article on the FTE T3 (TE50/TS50 and TL50). This issue’s article I don’t think really nailed the importance of this very limited run car. Your data I don’t think was correct on its 0-100km/h or 400m times. I understand the TE50 was tested at 6.0 seconds for 0-100km/h and 14.1 for 400m and the TE50 was the fastest version due to its slightly lower weight than the TS50 which was Fairmont based. The TE50 was XR8 based.
The TE50/TS50 is significant in a number of ways: - Only 256 built, numbered and signed; - Last of the Windsor motor blocks built; - The only 347ci (5.6-litre) Windsor produced and unique to Australia (blueprinted/balanced/ handmade, etc), unique throttle body, intake, exhaust and most of the motor was high end Yella Terra and upmarket parts; - Last of the Tickfords and FTE; - Fastest factory pushrod V8 produced (including the Phase III);
- Lowest ride height of any Ford (it broke their rules) and the wildest bodykit;
- First FTE to beat the HSV product in both ride/ handling/power and in a straightline;
- It’s the ultimate Windsor swansong and Tickford weapon, was a better and quicker car than the BA/BF GT that followed it;
- The fastest/best/most rarest V8 Ford produced that was not badged a GT, but probably should have been;
- It was the first Ford to have Brembos as an option.
Herrod had an aftermarket option that pushed the power to 300kW and also numbered and badged. There is a FTE club and website with a register of the vehicles that remain.
I own one so I’m perhaps biased but would say that this car ticks many boxes for what older cars have now become very desirable and expensive and if a EB GT in good condition is worth $30$40K, then the T3 is set to become a desirable option car, etc.
If you haven’t done an article on the T3 would love to see one as this car in its own way was very much a landmark vehicle and one in now very limited numbers. Scott J Price Email ED: Scott, issue #53 contained a ‘Buyers Guide’ article on the 2001-2003 T3 range. Coincidently, the very first issue of AMC had a two-page news story on the range’s release.
I was reading the article on the Tickford Fords and a couple things stood out. In the 10 notable Tickford-tickled Fords it lists the ‘EA Falcon S XR6’ and ‘EA Falcon S XR8’. Also quoted was a test time against the ‘Holden SS V6’?
As I understand, and I’m happy to be corrected, the XR6 didn’t arrive until September 1992, with the 4.0 engine, and more so the XR8 didn’t arrive until the V8 came back, also in 1992, both in the EBII upgrade.
An article in Wheels magazine of the time also lists an SS 6 cylinder Falcon and SS V6 Commodore both of which were almost secret squirrel orders to be used exclusively as production car racers. Shaun Dunford Mount Gambier, SA ED: Shaun, it was very sloppy on our behalf to list the EB models as EAs. No excuses. That was a bad miss and hurts when we put so much effort into bringing each issue of AMC to life. No such typo with the Holden SS V6, which was a very low-run model that did indeed enable the six-cylinder Commodores to compete with the equally secret squirrel six-cylinder Falcon SS. This story was told in AMC #66.
on the excellent article by guest columnist Mark Mathot in AMC #94. He hit the nail right on the head regarding V8 Supercars treatment of track spectators.
I am 70 and can fondly remember sitting on the grass at Oran Park’s BP corner. What a view. Not like Eastern Creek where it costs an extra $20 to go on top of the Pit Roof Top. Also the biggest transporters in the car park were owned by V8 Supercars and the staff strutting around like used car salesmen in their tight slacks and white shirts. The final blow came when V8 Supercars SOLD the TV rights to 10/Foxtel.
Don’t the management understand that they are pricing a normal person out of enjoying their motorsport. Fans who would normally go to the track to see their favourite drivers and purchase merchandise are missing out.
Finally I can remember going to Catalina squashed with the tools in the boot of a Morris Oxford to save the price of entry. John Cullen Email
1939 Mercury relic
Regarding issue #95’s Out of Action, I’m just letting you know that the car Jeremy found near Launceston, is a 1939 Mercury sedan, or what’s left of one... Sob! 1939 was the first year for upmarket Mercury and it had a larger flathead than the Fords, and similar, but more rounded styling than the Fords of 1939. Phil Minns Email
Copper in a Cooper
your article late last year on NSW Police Cooper Minis, I was on the receiving end of a chase by an enthusiastic copper in a Cooper S from Grafton.
My MGB was standard except for a drainpipe exhaust bellowing away as I headed north out of town about 6am. Realising a Mini was following closely, it was pedal to the metal. In those carefree days I had not been passed for many thousands of kays and was not about to let some chump in a beige Mini do so. Flat out motoring followed with the MG drawing away when the road was clear and the mini closing up a bit with momentary traffic delays.
The surprising thing was how many locals came out onto their verandas or front yards to see us go by. What a keen crowd I thought, they enjoy a bit of high speed motoring, and I returned a wave here and there as I powered on.
Eventually, I had to pull in behind a gravel truck as it ground its way slowly up a hill. Idling along I was surprised to hear a police siren in the distance, and after a minute or so the Mini arrived. The NSW Police were using Coopers. Who knew?
Unlike the locals, I had not heard the siren over the noise of my exhaust and I pulled over at once. Explaining my side of the story, the officer remarked that I seemed to know what I was doing so wouldn’t book me for speeding, or dangerous driving or excess noise. But he said, I’ve got to ticket you for something, I’ll put you down for not using your indicator when passing. Pointing to a nearby mileage post he said, “I’ve been chasing you for 20 kays and I wasn’t catching you; it’s been an interesting start to the day.”
Disgraceful behaviour? Politicly incorrect? You bet!
Now I’m a model citizen on the road. Those days are gone but not forgotten and not to be recommended. Fun though! Rob Switzer Email
TheRon Krause Sports Sedan that made issue #94’s Top 25 Weird & Wonderful Sports Sedans feature was powered by a V6 Chev while Ron raced it and not a modified 3.8-litre donk from the VN-VR series of Commodores as we stated. Also the Devil cursed our Bedevilled Commodore feature in that issue by slipping a pic of the wrong #05 Commodore on page 50. Cheeky bugger. Meantime, we can’t blame the devil for the errors in last issue’s Sacred Sites story, as picked up by eagle-eyed reader David Stewart. Bob Jane won the first Calder ATCC race in the blue 1968 302ci ex-Trans-Am Mustang, not the orange 1967 289 model, while his Camaro was running the 350 engine in ’72 and not the 427ci donk. Finally, Moffat won in ’73 in an XY Falcon and not the Mustang that the article incorrectly stated. Apologies.