There’s never been a Bathurst classic anything like the ’79 Great Race – and that’s why Australian Muscle Car magazine has dedicated 50 pages of its latest issue to that year’s Hardie-Ferodo 1000. Over 90 percent of the 100+ images that colour these pages have never previously been published.
The Holden Dealer Team’s decimation of the field is unprecedented in the Bathurst 1000’s long history. The Peter Brock and Jim Richards-driven #05 Torana A9X won the race by an astounding six laps. Six!
To put that winning margin into perspective, no other winning car has put more than two laps on the field in the 60-year history of the annual Mount Panorama endurance race.
So the 1979 Hardie-Ferodo is truly an aberration of Bathurst history. The September/October 2019 edition of AMC puts the spotlight on that particular race 40 years on and it makes for a fascinating exercise. There are firsts, lasts, oddball entries, a stellar cast of internationals, giant-killers, new technological developments… and the truly limp-wristed efforts of the various Ford teams in that year’s race. Oh, and it’s not every year you have the son of a feisty female British Prime Minister in the field!
AMC begins its celebratory coverage of the 1979 Hardie-Ferodo 1000 with the extended recollections of key members of the victorious HDT – the team manager, the co-driver, the engine builder and wide-eyed new recruit. All have great tales to tell via the colourful recollections and insights.
But it’s not just the winners that we celebrate in issue #111 of AMC. We also present the story of that year’s giant-killing privateer performers, who were recently reunited with the newly-restored Torana that took them to a surprise podium finish. Not many racing reunions are 40 years in the making, but then very few privateer efforts jagged results as juicy as Ralph Radburn and John Smith’s third place.
We also detail Garry Rogers’ first big result on the mountain – as a driver. And examine why the Ford attack was so pathetic. If you think that sounds harsh wait till you read the story of Ford’s worst ever year on the Mountain.
Beyond our Bathurst ’79 anniversary coverage, we present a more positive Falcon story, one of a V8 Ford that has endured. This car is one of the three works Falcon XT GTs that finished top 10 in the 1968 London to Sydney Marathon. It’s been out of public view for so long that most Ford and rally enthusiasts assumed it no longer existed – so it created quite a stir when it unexpectedly surfaced at the Falcon GT Nationals in Adelaide earlier this year.
No Muscle Man profile this issue. Instead, we feature a Muscle Woman. Sue Ransom is Australian motorsport’s most versatile female driver ever – and she might just be our most versatile full stop. In a career that began in rallying, Ransom transitioned to tarmac and made five Great Race starts before embarking on a career as a professional Top Fuel and Jet Funny Car driver in the United States. In between she worked as a motoring journalist and in public relations at Ford, Mazda and marketing manager at CAMS – and she also played an instrumental role in the creation of the icon ABC TV motoring programme, Torque.
All that and a whole lot more in issue #111 of Australian Muscle Car magazine, on sale from September 5 to October 23.