A job for Bob

Australian Muscle Car - - Muscle Man -

Shep­pard left Beechey af­ter only six months, and was soon work­ing just around the cor­ner in Brunswick for Norm’s old friend and ri­val, Bob Jane, though ini­tially not in the race team. “I’d had enough of this rac­ing busi­ness,” Shep­pard says. He was ap­pointed as gen­eral ser­vice man­ager over­look­ing Bob’s var­i­ous car deal­er­ships.

Af­ter about six months, though, Jane ap­proached him to talk about the rac­ing team, which was run by John Sawyer. Shep­pard didn’t like Sawyer.

“Bob came in and said, ‘What’s wrong with my rac­ing di­vi­sion?’ I said, ‘You know what’s wrong with your rac­ing di­vi­sion.’ He said, ‘Yeah, I do, but I want you to tell me.’ And I told him, so he changed some staff around and gave me the job. I wasn’t too keen, but it was a good job be­cause he used to leave me alone.”

When he took over the Jane team in May 1970, he cut the staff from six to two – him­self and Pat Pur­cell, who he brought down from Geoghe­gans.

They ti­died up Bob’s Chev Ca­maro ZL-1, made a new gear­box to stop it break­ing down, and tted the stan­dard 7.0-litre big­block al­loy en­gine out of Bob’s sec­ond ZL-1, which he’d been us­ing as a drag car.

“GM said, what­ever you do, don’t hot the en­gine up, yet for some rea­son they’d got into the cylin­der heads and ported them and all that, and it just didn’t have any grunt left. The other en­gine hadn’t been modi ed, and it had so much more torque.”

It be­came re­li­able and won the 1971 ATCC then did it again the fol­low­ing year, even though it was now forced to use a smaller 350 cu­bic-inch (5.7-litre) en­gine, again beat­ing Allan Mof­fat’s Boss 302 Mus­tang.

“When we went back to a 350, Mof­fat was tear­ing his hair out. He knew why he couldn’t beat it with a 427, but he couldn’t gure out In his time with Bob Jane, Shep­pard built both the fa­mous Jane HQ Monaro and the Repco V8-pow­ered XU-1 Sports Sedan. He also over­saw Jane’s Ca­maro, which won the ATCC in both 5.7 and 7-litre guises, Jane’s Se­ries Pro­duc­tion ef­fort and John Har­vey’s McLaren sports car.

why he couldn’t beat it with a 350… but we were run­ning the 427 to 7000 revs, whereas the 350 we were run­ning to 8500 revs.”

Jane team driver John Har­vey had sim­i­lar suc­cess with the beau­ti­ful McLaren-Repco V8 M6B sports car, win­ning na­tional ti­tles in both years. He also raced the team’s lat­est weapon, a Repco V8-pow­ered LC To­rana XU-1 Sports Sedan, win­ning se­ries at Oran Park and Calder.

Jane had wanted to keep the project se­cret, so he got Shep­pard to build the car – and its quad-cam 4.4-litre V8 race en­gine, which came from Repco in bits – at his home in Strath­more. Shep­pard cre­ated the car mainly af­ter hours, and it was a win­ner from the out­set.

He also built the team’s HQ Monaro, which started out as a tour­ing car to re­place the Ca­maro but was soon turned into a Sports Sedan. “Harv [Sheppo never called him Harves] loved driv­ing the Monaro be­cause you touched the throt­tle and all hell would break loose, and Bob didn’t like it be­cause you couldn’t feather the throt­tle.” So Bob raced the To­rana and Harv raced the Monaro.

u a . m o c s. ic p o t u A / d l e i N ff e J

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