New Zealand Classic Car

Ex–bob Morris 1979 Atcc-winning Torana heads Mossgreen Australia auction


Vehicles quite regularly sell at auction for silly money, but it’s not every day you are presented with the opportunit­y to own a small chunk of history in the form of a 1979 Australian Touring Car Championsh­ip– winning Holden Torana A9X — estimated at A$850,000 to A$1,050,000. The former Bob Morris car is to be offered at auction for the first time, and will head to Mossgreen’s premier multi-million-dollar Sydney auction of rare collectors motor cars on May 28.

Australian racing legend, Bob Morris, took the Torana to victory over Peter Brock in 1979, in the era when the Holden Torana was the fastest street car available in Australia. Nowhere did these care demonstrat­e their speed more than on the track, though, and the model was campaigned for three years by the Ron Hodgson Team in the Australian Touring Car Championsh­ip.

The car initially placed second under the guidance of Morris, only being beaten by Peter Brock himself. But in 1979 the Torana battled to victory, winning first place for Morris and creating Australian motor sport history as the first time an underdog — a private team — had beaten the factory teams.

James Nicholls, Mossgreen collectors’ cars specialist, said: “This is a classic tale of grit and dogged determinat­ion winning out, as the first time in Australian Touring Car history a private team beat the factory specialist­s.

“Still in running order, this rare Torana is highly original, and still showcases the livery it wore in 1979. An exceptiona­l race car, it is regarded with special affection by Australian motor sports enthusiast­s, and is of particular significan­ce to the Holden brand and its list of Australian automotive sporting achievemen­ts.”

The current owner purchased the Torana not long after its win in ’79, and raced the car to a fifth place in the five-lap Street Cars race, and fourth place in the second event, the Twin State Challenge, at Wanneroo on July 6, 1980. The car’s final race was September the same year, after which it was placed in the York Motor Museum — still unaltered from its 1970s heyday.

Also featured in the auction are favourite designs from across the decades, from an Edwardian-era 1913 Model T Ford, estimated at A$32,000 to A$38,000, to a 1964 Aston Martin DB5, estimated at A$1,500,000 to A$1,600,000, a rare New South Wales registrati­on, number, 36, estimated at A$400,000 to A$440,000.

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