THIS edition of RIP Racers features a car that gave a future Supercars team owner his first Bathurst start as a driver: Garry Rogers’ Holden Torana A9X.
This unique beast only lasted two racing seasons before it was involved in a mammoth shunt at Amaroo Park during an AMSCAR Series event in 1979 with Rogers at the wheel.
He lost control of the Torana at the infamous Stop Corner, slamming into the concrete wall side-on as he tried to wash off speed and leaving the A9X damaged beyond repair.
The Torana A9X has an entire chapter devoted to it in our 400 page book Racing the Lion: An Illustrated History of Holden in Australian Motorsport and you can get up to $20 off here if you bundle it up with another book from our range in the V8 Sleuth Bookshop!
The distinctive orange Torana first appeared was built for the late Bob Jane in 1977 sporting a striking livery with backing from 2UW, Kleber and the four-time Armstrong 500 winner’s tyre company, Bob Jane T-Marts.
It then made its first Bathurst 1000 appearance in the hands of Jane and Ian Geoghegan in the 1977 edition of the ‘Great Race’.
The pair qualified fifth in their only Bathurst start together, though the wheels quite literally fell off their campaign when the car lost a wheel only 35 laps into the race.
Geoghegan returned to the wheel of the Torana for the 1978 Australian Touring Car Championship and claimed victory at the Sandown round following the exclusion of initial winner Allan Moffat due to the infamous ‘roller rocker’ affair.
The car’s entry was then sold to Rogers in the lead up to Bathurst that year as a result of a rather unique incident that almost prevented the GRM team owner from racing at the Mountain.
A car salesman that worked for Rogers, John Andrew, had a disagreement with a gate attendant earlier in the ’78 season at Amaroo, sparking a response from the Australian Racing Drivers Club – the promoters of the big race at Bathurst.
“When I put my entry in for Bathurst, Ivan Stibbard, the manager of the ARDC rejected my entry saying that my nominated co-driver Darryl Wilcox did not have enough experience,” Rogers recalls.
“I was quite friendly with the girls in the office of the ARDC and they told me that my entry had been rejected because of John Andrew’s behaviour at Amaroo earlier in the year.
“I came up with the idea that if I bought somebody else’s entry and put a driver name change in as the event got closer that I could avoid Stibbard.”
The plan worked and Rogers lined up with Geoghegan for his first of 14 Bathurst 1000 starts, though the car only managed 29 laps this time with persistent engine problems putting them out early.
A sidenote in the car’s history came at Baskerville a few weeks later, where Rogers chauffered then-TV star and future Crocodile Dundee actor Paul Hogan aboard the Torana during the Winfield 25’s race event.
Rogers then purchased the car from Jane and raced it in ’79 until it met its demise at Amaroo Park in July.