Peter Brock's 1979 HDT A9X Torana
Peter Brock's 1979 HDT A9X Torana
One of the most significant cars in our collection, Peter Brock's 1979 Bathurst winning A9X is a true legend of Australian motorsport.
After Brocky and the Marlboro Holden Dealer Team (HDT), won both the 1978 Australian Touring Car Championship (ATCC) and Bathurst 1000, work commenced on building a fresh A9-X Torana in late 1978. Completed in January and log booked for competition on the 31/1/1979, the A9X Torana you see before you was the very last one built by HDT, utilising everything learnt to make these potent packages go fast.
Brock came second in the 1979 ATCC to a very deserved Bob Morris, in the Ron Hodgson A9X. Of the eight rounds that made up the ATCC, Brock started on pole seven times, got three 1st positions, one 2nd, two 3rd, two 5th, set three lap records and shared equal quickest with Bob Morris at Adelaide.
With Brock and the HDT squad still hurting by the most narrow of defeats for the ATCC crown. They got down to business, rebuilding the A9X like new in preparation for the two big ones of the Australian Racing Calendar; Sandown and Bathurst. At Sandown, Brock took pole and led for most of the race, after 129 gruelling laps, the HDT cars of Brock and Harvey crossed the line in a one-two formation, sending out a warning shot to anyone who wanted to win at Mt Panorama.
Then came the epic Bathurst 1000 race, that was to be like no other.
Brock grabbed pole by nearly two seconds, with co-driver Jim Richards he led from start to finish, not even being passed in the pit stops! They ran the race like a sprint event, not backing off till after he crossed the line some six laps ahead of their nearest competitor, setting the lap record on the last lap as the Holden fanatics cheered over the top of the Mountain. It was The Bathurst 1000 and Peter Brock’s most commanding victory.
Here are the very last few laps from Bathurst 1979, note the amount of slower cars he passed on that last lap!
Not wasting one second of time powering through the dipper.
The deserved winners for 1979.
A Last Fast Run
Brock bought HDT from team boss John Sheppard in 1980 and with the deal requested getting the A9X as part of the sale. He then ran the A9X's very last hurrah was a high speed run by Brock and HDT team member Mort Brown. The Torana was fitted with the tallest gearing they had and run at full speed around the Holden proving grounds high speed bowl, reaching speeds close to 300km/h.
The car remained in the ownership of Peter Brock until 1993, when it was acquired by a Melbourne enthusiast, Milton Seferis for a meagre $26 000... In 1996 he sold it to our family. The car has amazingly never been restored, still wearing the marks and battle scars of the end of the 1979 season.
The Final Lap
At The Bathurst 2004 race, the A9X participated in the Holden Speed Comparison with Brock at the wheel. HRT had also paired Brock in the one of their V8 Supercar Commodores with Jason Plato, but the V8 Supercar was written off in a spectacular hit from John Cleland who then rolled over and the 05 going into the sandtrap to retire before Brock began his driving stint in the car.
The footage of Brock driving the HDT A9X that morning was to be the last time we would ever see him do a racing lap around his favourite circuit.... In what he said was his all time favourite car.
After watching this you need to note that we messed up in our preparation for this event...by not changing the rear diff ratio to one more suitable for Bathurst, which you can see when Skaife passes Brock down Conrod, you can hear the Old Torana hit 7000rpm well before the top of the first hump... But Brock did not let his ego take control, watch him monitor and hold the A9X at 7000 rpm, keeping the orginal bathurst winning engine intact. Thank you Brocky.
The A9X still resides in the Bowden collection with its HDT team-mate, the 1978 Bathurst winning, Holden A9X “05” Torana.
This beautiful survivor exudes spirit and is the reason we started making car care products based solely around vehicle preservation.
For just a little bit more, here is the HDT film on Bathurst 1979.... A great year for the HDT and "King of the Mountain" Brock. RIP Legend.