His­toric last Holden-pow­ered Bathurst win­ner lives on

Australian Muscle Car - - News - - Aaron Noo­nan, V8 Sleuth

The last Holden-pow­ered Com­modore to win the Bathurst 1000 is slowly but surely be­ing brought back to life by Jack Perkins and his fa­mous fa­ther, Larry.

The 1993 Tooheys 1000-win­ning #11 Castrol Com­modore VP of Perkins and the late Gregg Hans­ford has been the fo­cus of a ma­jor restora­tion project for the fa­ther-and-son duo over re­cent months at their work­shop in Sun­shine in Mel­bourne’s west­ern sub­urbs.

“The car has been at the paint shop for the best part of two years from when it came back into our pos­ses­sion,” Jack Perkins told AMC.

“It’s been an enor­mous amount of work to get the body shell back into con­di­tion. We’ve cut out 32kg of bar work that had been added to the cage over the years that wasn’t there in 1993 – sill bars, a Larry bar (di­ag­o­nal wind­screen brace) – and we had to re­move them with­out dam­ag­ing the orig­i­nal bar work.

“The car had copped a can­ing for 15 or 20 years so we wanted to main­tain as much orig­i­nal DNA as pos­si­ble.”

The ’93 win­ner was as a VP Com­modore and raced by Perkins that sea­son be­fore con­tin­u­ing its rac­ing life in the hands of pri­va­teers in­clud­ing John Trim­ble and Mark Poole and, in more re­cent years, as a Sports Sedan in Vic­to­ria driven by Ian Cow­ley.

A ma­jor ‘box tick’ for the restora­tion is the fact the ac­tual Holden V8 en­gine used in the car on race day at Bathurst ’93 (fea­tur­ing its unique cylin­der head and block ho­molo­gated by Perkins to tackle the new Chev pow­er­plants of the time) has been re­united with the win­ning chas­sis.

“The car came with a Chevro­let in it and the pre­vi­ous owner had sourced a Perkins Holden en­gine but it wasn’t one this chas­sis had run.

“Our good friend and cus­tomer Dave Gard­ner had a few en­gines from an­other car pur­chase and one of those was the ’93 race en­gine. So thanks to him we were able to get that and now we have the match­ing car and en­gine com­bi­na­tion, which is very unique.”

Six-time Bathurst win­ner Perkins has been strip­ping the en­gine down him­self to see what’s in­side with a full re­build to ’93 specs to fol­low based on orig­i­nal build sheets re­tained from the pe­riod.

“We’ll make sure it’s nice and re­li­able so when we do take it for a drive we don’t get too stressed about it go­ing bang,” says Jack. “It’s got the orig­i­nal crank and Dad is pretty keen to re­build it per­son­ally.” The con­ver­sion of the car from VS back to VP speci cation has taken a huge amount of time. A donor VP Com­modore was sourced for parts that couldn’t be lo­cated via new-old GM stock.

Ad­vances in paint tech­nol­ogy in the 25 years since the car won Bathurst have also proven a hur­dle, though close con­nec­tion and help from PPG has paved the way for get­ting the cor­rect colour matches for the white, black, green and red liv­ery.

In a nice touch, Perkins Jnr has kept Ryan and Rhys Hans­ford – sons of the late Gregg – up­dated on the project.

“The day we got the car back I told them what was go­ing on and they were ex­cited,” Jack said. “When the car’s nished they’ll en­joy it as much as we do.

“Get­ting the car to the track is a long way away; we’ve been go­ing for two years with not a lot to show of it just yet.

“I’d like to have a drive my­self; it’s go­ing to be a cool piece of his­tory to have back to­gether.”

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