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Wednesday, May 22, 2024


THE Holden Torana that Peter Brock raced in his comeback to the Holden Dealer Team is up for sale.

Brock rejoined the factory Holden squad in 1978, ending a three-year stint as a privateer.

The year marked a fresh start for the HDT: foundation team boss Harry Firth had retired, replaced by the former chief of Bob Jane’s racing team, John Sheppard.

He inherited a team that had gone winless in the major races of 1977, although Holden’s prospects had received a boost with the arrival of the A9X upgrade package.

While many Holden teams switched to the hatchback version of the Torana, the HDT hedged its bets and ran one new A9X hatch and a new A9X four-door for Firth’s final races running the operation.

A photo of the HDT’s four-door A9X at the 1977 Hardie-Ferodo 1000 at Bathurst appears in our book Racing the Lion: An Illustrated History of Holden in Australian Motorsport.

The hardcover collector’s book is currently on sale in the V8 Sleuth Bookshopclick HERE to secure your copy!

The HDT’s first races under Sheppard were a pair of sprints at Sandown on the support card of the annual Formula 5000 summer series round, where established HDT pilot John Harvey raced the hatchback while the team’s new pilot happily took the less-fancied four-door.

“He arrived out of the blue at our workshop in South Melbourne, we had the four-door (Torana A9X) that he was going to run at Sandown,” Sheppard told FOX SPORTS in 2016.

“I said, ‘try it on Peter’. He got in it, and I asked him what he wanted us to do.

“He said: ‘I don’t want you to do anything’.”

Brock romped to victory in both sprints, holding off Bob Morris by a tenth of a second in the eight-lap preliminary, then fighting off Ian Geoghegan in the 15-lap main event.

“When that race started, Geoghegan was in Bob Jane’s Torana and he passed Brock,” Sheppard recalled.

“I thought ‘oh, this is just what I don’t want to hear about … then (HDT mechanic) Bruce Nowacki said to me ‘nah, don’t worry about it, Brock’ll pass him again in a minute.’ I thought ‘oh yeah …’

“I knew (Geoghegan) but I didn’t know a lot about Brock as far as his driving ability. But very quickly he passed him again.”

Brock salutes the crowd at Dandenong Rd Corner after his comeback victory for the HDT. Pic: an1images.com / Ian Smith

The car that Brock raced to victory that day is one of a handful of HDT-built A9X Toranas that he drove, but this was the only four-door version.

It was briefly raced by Harvey during the 1978 Australian Touring Car Championship, and returned to the racetrack in Heritage Touring Car events after being restored to the livery it carried for Brock’s return at Sandown.

The car is listed on Gumtree for $450,000.

This is the second Holden Dealer Team A9X Torana to come up for sale in the past 12 months.

The sister car from Bathurst 1977 – the same car Harvey raced at the Sandown F5000 meeting – sold at auction for $978,250 (including 7.5% buyer’s premium) in November last year.

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