Stuffed! The #1 Falcon post-accident at Phillip Island in April 1996. Photo: Klynsmith

JOHN Bowe’s crash at the 1996 round of the Shell Australian Touring Car Championship was one of the biggest – if not the biggest – of his long career.

It wrote off his Shell-FAI Racing #1 Ford Falcon EF, the very same chassis (EB5) he and Dick Johnson had used to win the 1994 Tooheys 1000 at Bathurst.

He talks about that very special car in our new book – DJR The Cars, 1980-2019 – documenting the racing history of all of Dick Johnson Racing and DJR Team Penske’s race cars.

It’s limited to 3000 copies, all signed by Dick Johnson – and you can make sure you don’t miss out by ordering it here now. It’s available from mid-May. 

Bowe speaks of the shunt in the new book, the damage destroying the historically significant Falcon.

“Eyewitnesses said the car was 40 feet in the air at times, and it was barrel-rolling end to end, not side to side,” Bowe said.

“It was before seats had sides on them and pre-HANS device, so my head was like a rag doll, flopping around like when a dog grabs hold and shakes it.

“By Sunday night when I was driving back to Melbourne I couldn’t move my neck. It had totally seized up. I had very serious whiplash too which still manifests itself occasionally.

“I also had really bad bruising of my kidneys, so I had a bit of pain but I didn’t tell anybody much about it in case they stopped me racing.”

Now, a piece of the destroyed car has emerged on the memorabilia collector’s market.

The bonnet from the crashed car from Phillip Island 1996 has emerged for sale here via The Motorsport Trader Facebook page.

It’s clearly the correct bonnet as all of the marks and damage match period photos taken on the day of the crash – April 14, 1996.

It has been signed by John Bowe and Dick Johnson and has a price tag around the $6000 mark.

No doubt it would make quite the addition to the collection of any DJR, Ford or Aussie motorsport memorabilia collector.

With over 20 years in the Australian motorsport industry, Noonan is the head of V8 Sleuth. He’s held a range of roles including working in television with Seven and Ten, print media and public relations. With a specialty in Australian motorsport history, he’s known around racing paddocks as ’the Sleuth’ and started his motorsport media career in 1997.