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Moffat Mustang crew reunited at Sandown

SIX members of Allan Moffat’s race team from the glorious Mustang days were reunited on the weekend and, for many of them, it was the first time they’d seen each other for half a century.

The event took place at the Sandown Park Hotel, just across the road from where the Coca-Cola Mustang made its racing debut at 1.15pm on May 4, 1969 – the gathering coming exactly 55 years to the minute of that historic first race start.

The six crew members were all valuable contributors to the recently released book – the 432-page opus ‘THE BOSS: The Inside Story of Allan Moffat and his Trans-Am Mustang’ written and researched by David Hassall, who arranged the Sandown catch up on the weekend.

The high-quality book is available to order here from the V8 Sleuth Superstore.

The six who gathered with Hassall were Peter Thorn (panel guru 1969-75), Barry Nelson (mechanic in 1969 and 1971) and Ray Cutchie (mechanic from 1972-75), John Myers (mechanic 1969-70), Don Gibb (who brokered the Coke deal for Moffat in 1969) and Lou Mallia (mechanic 1972-73).

“This get together was a small way of thanking them for their help,” Hassall said this week.

“I was inspired to get them together when I learned during our various interviews they hadn’t seen each other since those glorious days.

“As you can see from the casual photo, there was no shortage of friendly chat, tall tales of racing in a different era, and catching up on everything that’s happened since. It was a privilege for me to host them and see that their fellowship has endured despite their lives taking different paths.

No doubt there were plenty of tall tales told over a few ales at the Sandown Park Hotel! Photo: Stephen Stockdale.

“Peter and Barry have known each other since they were nine years old and worked for Moffat in America prior to the Mustang. They went to Glenroy Tech together and were a year behind Lou, who became Norm Beechey’s 1970 ATCC-winning chief mechanic before joining Moffat, though Lou only learnt that when I interviewed him for the book! Who would have thought three students in a little Melbourne suburban school would go on to become motor sport icons?

“Ray was so keen not to miss the reunion that he checked himself out of hospital two days earlier after undergoing back surgery.

“John and Don have had little to do with the sport since the 1970s. John was a quiet achiever who somehow prepared and transported the Mustang solo for a whole year, while Don has been a road safety campaigner responsible for the promotion of seatbelts and .05. Amazing people.”

Allan Moffat aboard his famous Coca-Cola Mustang. Photo: Supplied.
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