Project Pro-Duct

Australian Muscle Car - - Man -

Anew decade saw yet an­other new di­rec­tion for su­per-sub Ste­wart, the be­gin­ning of a long stand­ing re­la­tion­ship with wealthy Syd­ney pri­va­teer Bob Pear­son and his Pro-Duct Air Con­di­tion­ing VL ‘Walkin­shaw’ Com­modore.

In 1990 a bro­ken clutch ca­ble cost the Pro-Duct Com­modore a po­ten­tial top 10 Bathurst re­sult. They nished 15th on 147 laps. In 1991 Pear­son crashed on top of the moun­tain af­ter 46 laps.

Pear­son missed 1992 while a new Perkins En­gi­neer­ing VP Com­modore (PE016) was built up. This beau­ti­ful black Com­modore had its nest mo­ment in 1993 when Pear­son/Ste­wart nished a strong 10th over­all. Ste­wart re­mem­bers the Com­modore run­ning strongly all day.

Busi­ness com­mit­ments pre­cluded Pear­son from run­ning at Bathurst in 1994 and the vet­er­ans had an early shower in the 1995 Tooheys 1000, when their en­gine suc­cumbed to bro­ken valve springs, a com­mon af­flic­tion for Perkins En­gi­neer­ing cus­tomer cars that year.

An­other year was missed be­fore Pear­son re­turned in 1997 with a new VR Com­modore and a new co-driver. Ste­wart re­mem­bers what tran­spired.

“Al­lan McCarthy bought the drive with Bob (Pear­son) for Bathurst. Bob wasn’t con­vinced that McCarthy would be able to qual­ify so he asked me to run with him. I prac­tised and quali ed the car but it only last 43 laps in the race and I didn’t get a drive.”

So Ste­wart’s 27th and last Bathurst 1000 start turned out to be a non-event.

When you’ve done so many laps of Mount Panorama, it stands to rea­son that Ste­wart would get an op­por­tu­nity to do many more in Bathurst 12 Hours (and 24 Hour) over the years. His best re­sult was in the in­au­gu­ral 12 Hour in ‘91. Teamed with Colin Bond and John Smith in a Cal­tex spon­sored Toy­ota MR2 he nished sixth out­right.

With Bob Pear­son’s Pro-Duct team, Ste­wart com­peted in the 2002 twice-round-the-clock event in a Mazda RX7 Twin Turbo, be­fore run­ning the 2007 and 2009 12 Hours in Mit­subishi Lancer EVOs. Bruce has also con­tested pro­duc­tion car races as re­cently as 2015, where he broke the lap record at Syd­ney Mo­tor­sport Park in a Lancer EVO X!

Not a bad way to cel­e­brate 50 years of en­duro rac­ing. Not that his rac­ing has stopped there. Rac­ing has al­ways been a fam­ily af­fair for the Ste­warts, with son Dar­ren rac­ing sports sedans.

“We’ve com­peted in Group N with an EH Holden and a To­rana XU1, which we still have and both race. We’ve also shared a Nis­san Pul­sar in the Four Hour Cheap Car Chal­lenge at the Maru­lan Driver Train­ing Cen­tre for a bit of fun.

“I’m not think­ing of hang­ing up my hel­met any time soon.”

1993 Ste­wart teamed up with Bob Pear­son in the 1990s, mak­ing his last ap­pear­ance in the Great Race in 1997. But that was far from his last Bathurst start, as Ste­wart joined Pear­son in the lat­ter’s Bathurst 12 and 24 Hour cam­paigns. At 78, su­per­sub...

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