Graeme ‘Mort’ Brown
‘Mort’ Brown was part of the Holden Dealer Team when the Big Bangers were built and raced. He later ran Brock’s race operations in the Mobil-era post-HDT prior to working for Bridgestone Motorsport.
He is adamant the 1984 Bathurst-winning car went to Perth and later England.
“I know exactly that was the car,” he told AMC.
“I never, ever wanted it to go to John Farrell. He and Brock were tied up with deals on boats.
“Farrell got the real car. It was crap. I can remember seeing him driving it around Wanneroo and I’m thinking ‘this is not right’. It was the same as when Brock sold the A9X.
“Like with all of those deals on old race cars, nothing was ever done on paper. That’s where it becomes even harder to verify what went on.
“I’ve got some good photos of when we did the actual designing of those cars and stuff like that, but nothing that would stand out and shut up all the people who say he [Peter Champion] hasn’t got the right car.”
Brown was responsible for delivering one of the 1984 VKs to Bathurst council and drove the other to Perth in 1985 in the HDT transporter to the Wanneroo ATCC meeting.
He also confirmed to AMC that there were indeed two brand new VK Commodore ‘Big Bangers’ built.
“(The) bottom line is I know what I delivered to the Bathurst Museum,” he says. “I also negotiated after I delivered it to the fellow in charge of the rebuild of it.
“My recollection is we had to give the Museum an 05 Commodore. We were asked by Holden through the Museum that they wanted the winning car from 1984. And we couldn’t give it to them so we have them the car that looked the same.
“Because no one was prepared to pay any money, we couldn’t build a complete car, so we had to give them what we had. That was the plan – give them the shell and what parts we had and it was a job for their apprentices to put together and put in the Museum.
“It was missing a lot of stuff. I had to on-send a few parts years later. I got Ron Harrop to make up a set of brakes for them. So the car in the museum had brand new, never used brakes on it.
“It’s stretching my memory to remember all this stuff, but that stood out. It was basically delivered to them almost as a shell.
“I also know what I delivered to John Farrell in Perth. It was the real deal. John wasn’t Fangio and I felt sick to see him driving it around the racetrack.
“On the day we took it there he drove it on the track that day. I’m not 100 percent on what number was on it (when delivered) but I know what I delivered.
“I recall he didn’t do much racing with it and it was on-sold to England. The next thing I had heard that someone had seen it in England with a 350 Chev and John Cleland was racing it as a Super Saloon.
“The next time I heard of it was when Brock came to me and he said he’d found the 1984 car in England and it was coming back (to Australia). By then it was the 1990s and I was working for Bridgestone. Brock hounded me a few times to have a look at it, which I never did I must admit. “The fellow put in charge of it did a great job of restoring it and Brock came and got me to have a look at it when it was on display at Sandown.
“I was taking Brock’s word for it. I knew the car was in England so I didn’t question any of that.
“If I could have got hold of my old records, I could have proven which was what of just about any of the cars. But I’m not privy to those now. When we closed the team down I handed records over to storage but I wouldn’t have a clue where they ended up. They included hand-written lap charts from the 1970s through to 1990. “That’s my recollection. I’ve got no paperwork to support that though. “But 100 percent, the real car went to England. I guarantee it. But as far as I am concerned, none of them are original anymore. They’ve been crashed, bashed, with panels replaced, etc.
“In a way, Peter Champion hasn’t got the real car either because it was so bastardised. It came back a body shell and had to be rebuilt.
“The ‘real’ car I remember, won the race and I delivered it to Farrell.”