McPhee’s daughter and his race mechanic help shed new light on the 1968 Bathurst winner.
The bloke who broke Holden’s Bathurst duck is little known outside racing circles and AMC’s readership. Yet there’s so much more to Bruce McPhee’s story and victory than what’s been previously told. With the help of Bruce’s daughter Anne and race mechanic Mark Levenspiel – and previously unseen photographs – we shed new light on the McPhee team’s landmark 1968 Bathurst win and the man himself.
Before Brock, Firth and the Holden Dealer Team there was Bruce McPhee. It might come as a shock to some Holden enthusiasts, especially those blinded by devotion to racing rock star Brock, but the marque’s long history of success on the Mountain began with a character far removed from HDT fold – in more ways than one. The fact Bruce McPhee was not based in the motor racing epicentre of Melbourne, nor the big smoke of Sydney, but in regional NSW meant he was largely off the radar. McPhee was entrenched on his beloved Central Coast, out of sight and out of mind of ‘the establishment’. Even after he won the 1968 Hardie-Ferodo 500 there was no support from GM-H. Nor, as the years passed, was he widely known outside his own stomping ground. Yet in the Wyong district today, his family, friends and car enthusiasts remain ercely proud of their man’s achievements.
Some say he was as wily as Firth, albeit more modest, as blowing his own trumpet was de nitely not his go.
So we’ll blow it for him, as be ts someone who was the rst to win Bathurst in a Holden. It’s a feat that’s largely been lost in the sands of time and in the shadow of higher pro le entities.
McPhee won the October classic in very special circumstances, as have been told in the pages of AMC over the years, most extensively in issue #17, when he was interviewed at length on many technical aspects of the car’s preparation. Albeit not from the perspectives we present this issue.
Thanks to previously unseen and published images from the Chevron archive – which only recently resurfaced after being separated from the main photo les – and tapping the recollections of the privateer team’s crew members, we are able to shed new light on the privateer who laid the platform for the more famous Holden gures over the ensuing 50 years.