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Tuesday, May 21, 2024


THE 2019 Superloop Adelaide 500 marked the first Supercars championship race start for the Ford Mustang in almost three decades.

Prior to that, Lawrie Nelson held the honour of being the last driver to fielding a Mustang at a championship event at the Phillip Island round of the 1990 Australian Touring Car Championship.

But, in the intervening years, the fate of the Mustang at that event had been something of a mystery.

FOR SALE: Lawrie Nelson’s Capri Components Ford Mustang Group A

Period sources conflict over whether or not Nelson and his Mustang actually did start the race. Most recorded the #29 Ford as a DNS (Did Not Start) while others listed it having started the race but retired with zero laps.

Fortunately, despite the passage of almost three decades, the driver himself was able to confirm what had really happened.

“As we did the warm-up laps it was alright,” Nelson told V8 Sleuth for a feature prepared for Australian Muscle Car Magazine that appeared in Issue 107.

“But as we rolled down slowly to our position on the grid she developed a nasty overhead rattle, so we just pulled off.”

The Channel 7 vision of the race clearly shows Nelson’s Mustang in its 29th grid position moments before the lights go green, but it next appears parked on the grass verge on the outside of the main straight as the leaders complete the opening lap.

With the television coverage proving that Nelson had come under the starter’s orders, we updated our AN1 Data records for that race: Nelson’s Mustang is now listed as having started the race, albeit not finishing it and failing to complete a single lap due to engine problems, while Nelson could be awarded an additional championship race start that brought his career tally to 70.

Had the reverse case been true and the Mustang been proven to have been a non-starter, then the car’s final championship start would have been the final round of the 1989 ATCC at Oran Park.

Nelson’s Mustang enjoyed a long competition life after its final championship race appearance, taking in the final Group A touring car race on Australian soil in 1992 before embarking on a very competitive career in historic Group A competition in the 2000s.

The car is available for sale via the V8 Sleuth Showroom.

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