THE PERKINS Engineering Commodore campaigned by Russell Ingall in the 2000 V8 Supercars Championship is going under the hammer.
Officially labelled PE 036, the car was dubbed the ‘Silver Bullet’ due to its paint scheme which, like Ingall’s silver 1999 livery, marked a departure from the traditional Castrol colours.
Ingall debuted the ‘Silver Bullet’ at the opening round of the 2000 championship at Phillip Island and raced it in all events bar the Queensland and Bathurst enduros, where he teamed with Larry Perkins.
Youngsters Luke Youlden and Christian Murchison took over PE 036 for the long-distance events, where it sported the black livery campaigned on Perkins’ own car.
Ingall’s last appearance in PE 036 came in the non-championship Gold Coast Indy support races held between the Queensland 500 and Bathurst 1000, where he took pole and a race win.
The Silver Bullet earlier took championship race victories in Ingall’s hands at Eastern Creek and Oran Park, the latter of which is depicted in our book Racing the Lion: An Illustrated History of Holden in Australian Motorsport, a 400-page hardcover book paying tribute to the marque’s rich competition history spanning over seven decades.
It’s now in stock in the V8 Sleuth Bookshop – click HERE to order!
PE 036’s main claim to fame though is not its results, but rather its rollcage design that features a diagonal rollbar across the inside of the windscreen.
Intended to increase the rigidity of the chassis, it was dubbed the ‘Larry Bar’ and after initial controversy was adopted by the entire V8 Supercars grid.
In addition to its primary function, the bar design provided added safety for drivers – notably protecting Craig Lowndes when a stray wheel hit the windscreen of his Falcon at Bathurst in 2005.
The ‘Larry Bar’ continued to feature in V8 Supercar rollcages until the implementation of the control Car of the Future chassis in 2013, which included the introduction of a stronger Perspex windscreen.
At the end of 2000 PE 036 was sold to Team Kiwi Racing, which campaigned it at various events over the next three seasons for drivers including Angus Fogg and Craig Baird.
The late Mark Porter co-drove with Baird in the Sandown and Bathurst enduros in 2003 and stepped into the car full-time in 2004, running in the Development Series and two main game sprint rounds.
Late in 2004, PE 036 was sold by Team Kiwi to Adelaide-based plumber Mark Papendell, who dabbled in the Development Series before eventually returning the car to its Ingall paint scheme.
PE 036 turned laps at the Adelaide Motorsport Festival in 2017 and was used by Kelly Racing for its Castrol throwback livery reveal at Bathurst in ‘19.
Previously offered for sale by Papendell for $500,000, an online auction for the car is set to end at 8:30pm AEDT on January 8, with the highest bid $200,000 at time of writing via auction website MECCANISTA.
UPDATE: The bidding jumped from $200,000 to $325,000 at 2.05pm today (Wednesday January 6).
PE 036 is one of over 50 Perkins chassis set to feature in our upcoming book documenting the history of all Perkins Engineering-built touring cars between 1986 and 2008.