Motor racing is a complex sport, especially at the professional level. The reasons manufacturers spend so much money risking their reputations on the track are many and varied. For some, just being involved in competition is itself enough: a chance to show off their products in a sporting light, and in a very public way, and to attach a sense of excitement and glamour to their brands.
But in the end it usually comes down to one simple thing: winning. And for Ford and Holden in the late 1960s and early ‘70s, winning was the primary objective of their not inconsiderable investments in Series Production car racing – especially when winning also meant defeat for your direct marketplace competitor. This was never truer than at Mount Panorama, Bathurst, every October. Bathurst was what it was all about. Winning at Bathurst was everything.
Which makes the 1970 season one of the most curious on record.
Holden was fresh from a second consecutive victory at Bathurst with its V8-powered Monaro. This was by any measure an exceptional achievement from a manufacturer with no previous experience in racing. Since joining the Series Production fray in 1968, Holden had achieved a 100 percent success rate at Bathurst against an arch enemy, Ford, which had won four of the ve Bathurst 500s held before Holden had fronted on the Mountain for the rst time with the HK Monaro GTS 327.
The 350 Chev-V8 powered HT Monaro had seen off the threat of the XW Falcon GT-HO in 1969 just as the HK model had trumped the Falcon XT GT the previous year. The Holden Dealer Team’s lead driver (and 1969 Bathurst co-winner) Colin Bond went on to win the Lakeside 1500 later that year and then the Surfers Paradise 12 Hour in early January. The following month Bond won again, this time defeating Allan Moffat’s works Falcon XW GT-HO in a 34-lap Series Production race at Warwick Farm.
That was Colin Bond’s last race win in a Holden Dealer Team Monaro. His next victory with the Holden Dealer Team would also be at Warwick Farm, seven months later, but at the wheel of a very different type of Holden.
The sweet sell of success... on-track glory for the Monaro was gold for Holden’s ad men. Harry Firth kept his cool at Ford but at Holden in 1970 his new Torana GTR XU-1 arguably wasn’t hot enough. Right: A fake-news front page to make even Donald Trump blush, but it mightn’t have been far from reality had Holden stuck with the Monaro for 1970.