A job for Bob
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.