October 02, 2018
This weekend will see the running of the 58th Bathurst 1000 race at Mount Panorama, arguably the top motorsport event of the Southern Hemisphere, although Formula One fans might disagree.
Originally a 500 mile event raced with a single driver, rudimentary fuel stops, an absence of quality safety railings and a rare kangaroo appearance on track, it has over time grown into a 1000km, two mandatory driver event, with a rare kangaroo appearance on track.
While other manufacturers were successful, it became a war of two sides: General Motors Holden versus Ford Australia, with special production cars to ensure race track success. In that respect it was equally as impactful as Formula One on the local car sales market with track success equaling sales success.
There have been many legends created over the years, special driver talent has emerged, and some incidences that could only happen in Australia such as Allan Moffat’s race lead in the 1971 race almost coming undone due to a beer carton getting stuck in his front grill.
With the V8 Supercar era, and now the demise of Ford and Holden assembling cars in Australia, the great race has lost some of its magic but the closeness of the teams ensures that drama can still take hold on the big day.
To reflect on the glory of this great race, we have developed a limited edition run of designs inspired by some of the great Bathurst race cars
First up Holden – 32 Wins
Holden didn’t win at Bathurst until their sixth attempt, with a 327 HK Monaro in 1968. The first design created is inspired by the very first Holden dealer Team 350 Monaro. The most successful driver at Bathurst was the late Peter Brock, who dominated for a period in the late 1970’s, and if it wasn’t for Dick Johnson winning in 1981, Peter would have recorded six wins in a row. His ‘last of the big banger’ cars is the inspiration behind the Commodore shirt pictured here.
The mighty Ford Cortina Mk 1 was the first winner of the great race, winning in 1963 and 1964. However it is the Ford Falcon that is most associated with Ford at this event – an Australian derivative of the US Falcon that developed it’s own Aussie identity and specifications over time.
Perhaps most famous for their 1977 1-2 formation finish which imitated how Ford finished their first ever win at Le Mans in 1966, it certainly polarized opinion, or set the tone for battle. Holden got their revenge the following season at Sandown and finished 1-2 in the presence of Edsel Ford. Ford did subsequently withdraw from motor racing for a period, meaning that privateers like Dick Johnson had tough work on their hands, but his tru-blu Falcon and tuf-green mustangs had great crowd support.
Others – 4 wins
Vauxhall were the first winners of the 500 race event, however it was held at Phillip Island. Since it has moved to Bathurst in 1963, other manufacturers have won only in 1966 (Mini Cooper), 1985 (Jaguar) 1991 and 1992 (Nissan GT-R). Technically there were other winners in 1997 (BMW) and 1998 (Volvo) when V8 Supercars and the organisers raced two different events weeks apart, but we won’t count those here.
Chrysler Australia were the third big car manufacturer in Australia but didn’t have much race success, partially due to Ford and Holden uniting enough to ensure the rules didn’t suit Chrysler, while across in New Zealand the Chrysler Valiant Charger dominated races.
Tom Walkinshaw prepared Jaguars won in 1985 and subsequently he developed a special relationship with Holden when they split with Peter Brock, but I don’t have enough space in this newsletter for that story. And speaking of dominance, the Gibson Motorsport Nissan GT-R’s were delivering well over 600hp through four wheel drive, and were so fast the rules got changed and the V8 Supercar era emerged.
Holden are the most successful winner at Bathurst and have won fourteen of the last nineteen races. Will they win again this weekend?
I hope you enjoy these special designs and unfortunately there’s no way any order you put in can be delivered before the big race!
May 01, 2020
I hope that everyone is doing ok with their health as we endure this period of lockdown.
In this newsletter we feature updated designs for Michael Schumacher, Damon Hill and the Mclaren trio of Lauda, Senna and Prost.
September 02, 2019