Back in the day
1968 Hardie-Ferodo 500
Mount Panorama was a very different kind of place half a century ago.
Fifty years is quite a long time when you think about it. These shots from the ’68 Great Race offer us a graphic illustration of how much things have changed at Mount Panorama in half a century – the venue itself as much as the machinery. It’s also a reminder that in year one of the battle at Bathurst between Ford and Holden, it wasn’t strictly an exclusive V8 ght between the two – Warren Weldon had decided to give it one last go in his ’65 model Studebaker Lark (and there was also a V8 Valiant VE that year, for Clyde Hodgins and Stan Pomroy).
While Weldon quali ed the big American car a decent 13th, time had moved on – in this magni cent shot (above) at Skyline, the old Lark looks almost as though it’s from an entirely different (earlier) era from the GTS 327 ahead of it (and in many ways it was).
The vista at Skyline in 1968 certainly does represent a different era from the circuit we know in 2018 – post-and-wire farm-style fencing where today there are concrete walls, earth banks and wooden railway sleeper ‘safety fences’ where there are now gravel-trap runoff areas, unprotected telegraph poles and wires, and the odd tree growing literally on the edge of the track…
Almost paradoxically, at a time when the cars were heavy, under-tyred, under-braked V8 monsters with none of the safety features you see in today’s Supercars (and liable at any moment to break under the strain of the punishing mountain circuit), never were there so many solid trackside objects to hit or smash through. Not to mention an unwalled Mountain cliff-edge to crash over...