Wilson GMP&A A9X Torana restoration

25 August 2014 

Chris bowden and his team at Ecurie Investments have recently completed the restoration of a very special Australian race car. 

The Group C A9X hatch is the pinnacle of Australian Motorsport history. No other touring car has the charisma, excellent race record, provenance, reliability and user friendly handling charcteristics of the A9X. That's coming from a guy with a major Ford bend, who races a Group C Mazda RX-7! It took quite a while before the Commodores and Falcons, that came after the A9X, got down to similar lap times, but none of them have ever matched the charisma of these enigmatic coupes.

With only a relative handful of these GMP&A special shells built for racing purposes, most of the circa 33 are accounted for and treasured by their respective owners. To find a genuine GMP&A hatch nowadays isn't an easy thing. They are either restored and on the race track, or original and sitting on display in museums and collections.


This particular chassis has its GMP&A ID tag and VIN's intact and was raced by Brian and Graeme Wilson sporadically in the late 70's, when more freedoms were given for greater reliability, safety and handling. The car had a minor hit at its last race at A.I.R, evidence of which is still with the car today. It was then converted to a road car (Cage and dump pipes removed) and registered. It still wore the same registration plate from 1980, when the current owner purchased it (See pictures). After spending a lot of time and money on unearthing the cars history and preparing the shell for a complete restoration, an unfortunate change of circumstances has occurred. The car was subsequently given to us to lovingly finish the restoration to Group C specifications.  


We have built the car to a similar spec' of our 1978 and 1979 HDT GMP&A A9X Hatchback's, but without some of the "tricks" only the HDT cars recieved. Our first car as a restoration team was a Group C GMP&A Hatchback, we LOVE them and know them better than most. 


The car has been in our workshops the last 18 months, getting taken back to bare metal and restored to a level that befits a 1978 Group C A9X. IE, looks great, but not too over the top. We put the car on the rack, to ensure it is 100% straight, which it certainly is. Most of the cars undersides are 100% original, which is testimony to how well the car has survived the last 35 years. 


The 308 L34 is a period correct engine from the Wayne Negus HDT A9X Hatchback, it was pulled out when the owner wanted to build a more modern variant. It is fresh, Group C period correct with about 380 ? 390 HP and most important of all, a HDT A9X engine is a rather good addition to the car. 


The car has had an aluminium roll cage fitted, copied from our 1978 HDT 05 A9X and it matched the Wilson bolt holes perfectly. We have used the best aluminium you can buy, to ensure the rigidity of the car and for safety, in case of an unexpected roll ? over. It uses a period correct, close ratio, aluminium Super T-10 is from my family?s spares package.


All of the cars suspension and brakes have been overhauled. Every part is correct Group C, original to the car and very good gear for the period. Incidentally, the car was never parted out for a Commodore, as most often the case for an old racer. It has all been optimised, using the best in the trade, for a rapid and safe driving experience.

The racing livery has recently been be added by us, as when raced by the Wilson Brothers in 1978. It looks stunningly aggressive, with its pure colours, a few blackouts and the classic Group C stance of 15? x 10? Hotwires and a huge ?Drop-tank?.


This was a rare opportunity to buy a good, no bullshit, racing A9X hatchback. The last one on the open market was sold by Ecurie Investments over 4 years ago.


This A9X was quickly sold after its completion and we know the new owner will enjoy her immensely. If you are interested in finding a car like this, or restoring a period race car for competition, or show, please feel free to give me a call and we can talk. Have a look on my website at some of the other great race and road cars I currently have on offer at Ecurie Investments by clicking here.


Chris Bowden - 0438 269 938.