In our car collection there are some amazingly iconic cars that have great significance due to the huge feats their drivers performed with them back in their raing days. Without the drivers these cars would be like most other cars from the era, still great, but not in the legendary iconic catagory as they now sit.
TWO LIVING LEGENDS
Two of the biggest names in Australian racing are Allan Moffat and Dick Johnson. Moffat started his professional race career in a Lotus Cortina before heading back to the USA and returning with the immortal 69 Trans Am Mustang. In the 70’s Moffat was the hero of Ford fans winning multiple races in numerous vehicles finally leaving for great success with Mazda in 1981, thus handing the title of the Ford hero to Qld’s favourite son Dick Johnson. Dick’s exploits in his range of Falcons, Tru Blu, Red Roo, Greens Tuf , the same livery Mustang, then the fastest Sierras in the world, before the current V8 Supercar team, all enamoured him with the fans for both his low points and victories against all odds..
Both names are synonymous and without doubt the main reason why Ford Australia has such a great racing heritage. A large proportion of our collection is of the cars these two legends have driven, so the chance to get them in our shed, together, to talk about the cars and their racing days with them was as good as it could get for us!
Channel 7’s V8Xtra program organised the whole day, with the crew for the shoot arriving early, setting up around the cars we had organised for this full day private event. Once the presenter, Neil Crompton and the shows director arrived, they were a little bit overwhelmed by all the cars we had here, so some quick script changes were made! Crompton has raced a few of the cars we have, but the one he remembers best was the 1987 Brock VL Commodore. He raced it a couple of times before Bathurst, but could not get his licence up to spec for the big race that year. So he missed out being one of the drivers that won ( Be sure to bring this sore point up any chance you meet him!). Looking over the car, he said he got “shivers” seeing her again, just how he raced it almost 24 years ago.
the crew were all set-up and Moffat and then Dick arrived right on time and the fun was to begin. Impossible to let you know everything that happened and was spoken about (the amount of information we got from the day overloaded even us!) but for me, here are some of the highlights from the day.
The healthy respect the two have for each other is quite obvious, they have fun digs at each other over different parts of their racing days which was quite fun to hear. Things like the remarks about Moffat’s Bathurst weekend disaster in 1980 when running the Federation XD, as Moffat looked over it and Dick standing proudly on the opposite side with his Tru Blu machine.
Moffat excitedly asking Dick about driving his Moffstang at Longford this year, with Dick mentioning he barely fitted in the seat and how great she sounded as he held on for the ride down the mile long straight.
We are now in possession of the very last Coke Zero Moffat will ever taste, after Dick gave him all the horror stories of the diet drinks ingredients. It will only be the full strength red Coke for him now.
It was something to see how both drivers affectionately touched their different race machines, as they spoke about them on and off Camera. Both of these guys have real love affairs with the different cars from their careers.
THE RACE OF HIS LIFE
Talking to them both separately during the day really showed me how much they do care for their old racers. Dick’s tales of winning the 1981 ATCC at Lakeside, how hard he needed to drive Tru Blu, as the sway bar came loose on lap 2 and having the mighty “ding dong” battle with Brock. He was to win the race of his life. Then looking over and touching Greens Tuf, saying how great it was to drive compared to any other Falcon he had raced. This is why he kept her as she finished doing battle, and put her away in the shed, preserving her as a living testament to his campaign in that last year of the Group C beasts.
Moffat of course is the same with his much lorded Mustang, he was caught many times in the day, between the shoots, just standing about 5 meters away from her at different angles. Mesmerised as a school kid does the first time they see a spectacular car. He stood their quietly admiring her beauty, no doubt remembering all they had been through together. He later brought out some fine stories from different races, like it's first at in Calder 1969, where he was quite upset after Beechey brake tested him in the warm up lap, marking his brand new Mustang. How he felt compelled to return the favour on the first corner, broad siding Beechey, putting him out of the race! His admiration and respect for this one mighty machine cannot never be questioned, this bond goes far deeper than that of just being a driver of a race car.
Moffat also had great affection for the GTHO Phase 3 he won his first championship with in 1973 and the Bond Hardtop from 1977, as he spoke about them to Crompton and Dick on Camera. But nothing could drag his gaze from the Mustang.
Both drivers at the end of the interviews were asked what were their favourite ever race cars, Moffat is of course 100% the Mustang, something we could never doubt. But with Dick I was never too sure, he has so many great cars and I have heard him say a few favourites over the years. Between Tru Blu, Greens Tuf and the last Sierra he raced it is a hard choice..
He remarked to Crompton that it was always the car that won the last race, with a laugh. But then, some deeper thought brought out the answer of Tru Blu, which for those who know the story of how his team came to come back to be on top after the 1980 "rock" crash in Tru Blu #1, and having Tru Blu #2 created to give him a Bathurst and two championships, you can understand why this is his favourite (It’s always been my favourite as well Dick).
Neil Crompton did an amazing job; in fact he blew us all away how he ran through the cars here, knowing the important parts of their history, with no prompting from us. Super professional, he made the shoot great to watch as he spoke about the races, cars and drivers, pulling them all together creating a show which should be quite special for the fans. We have been told that this edition of V8Xtra will be airing on Channel 7, this July the 30th, so put it in your diary. There is some talk of more shows being shot here, even with a live audience.. So keep an eye on our monthly newsletters and facebook page if this eventuates.
Both Dick and Allan are true gentlemen and it was an absolute pleasure to have them both here on the same day. It is something our family will remember quite fondly for many years to come.
To see more images from this day check our facebook album by clicking here
Love your car,