CONTROVERSIAL CASTROL COMMODORE UNDER RESTORATION

The PE 029 chassis is being brought back to life. Pic: Supplied

ONE of Larry Perkins’ most controversial cars is being painstakingly brought back to life.

Built new in 1996, PE 029 was raced by Perkins as a VR model Commodore throughout that year’s Australian Touring Car Championship.

Following a CAMS decision to cut 125mm from the undertray of the VR Commodores ahead of the Sandown 500, Perkins reverted this car to the older VP model for Bathurst.

PE 029 raced as a VP at Bathurst in 1996. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander

While history shows the move didn’t score Perkins the win he was looking for, it was a classic example of outside the box thinking from ‘LP’ that ruffled plenty of feathers!

Perkins upgraded the car to a VS ahead of 1997 and it was used by Russell Ingall for the bulk of the following two seasons.

The car’s full history will be documented in our upcoming book, Perkins Engineering: The Cars, 1986-2008, which can be pre-ordered in the V8 Sleuth Bookshop.

The cover of the collector’s edition book

PE 029 passed through a number of hands before being bought in 2013 by former Alcair Racing owner John Alcorn.

Having originally purchased it to help restore another vehicle, Alcorn has recently turned his attention to returning PE 029 to its former glory.

Extensive chassis work and a trial fit-up of key components have already been completed, and the chassis has been painted ahead of the application of the famous Castrol ‘saw-tooth’ livery.  

A critical element of the car’s final look, the masking for the stripes will be undertaken by the same expert who recently did the two VPs under restoration at Perkins Engineering (PE 017 and 019).

Alcorn hopes to have his car finished towards the end of this year, having made a tough decision on how the car will be presented.

“I was originally going to put it back to a VP because it’s the only Supercar that went back in model,” Alcorn explained to V8 Sleuth.

“But with PE 017 and PE 019 being restored, I thought there are already a couple of VPs out there, but only one VR (PE 027), so that’s why I decided to go that way.”

PE 027 is Perkins Engineering’s most famous VR Commodore, having won Bathurst in 1995 in the hands of Perkins and co-driver Russell Ingall.