The last locally built Australian GP winner to appear at Bathurst 1000

John Goss is the only driver to win both the Australian Grand Prix and the Bathurst 1000. Pic: / Ian Smith

THE last locally designed and built car to win the Australian Grand Prix is the latest machine to join a special display marking Repco’s 100th anniversary at this year’s Repco Bathurst 1000.

John Goss holds a unique place in Australian motorsport history as the only driver to win both the Bathurst 1000 and the Australian Grand Prix, claiming the 1976 edition of the race at Sandown aboard a Matich A53 powered by a Repco-Holden V8 engine.

The Australian-designed and built Matich chassis is the most recent locally-developed car to win the Australian Grand Prix with all subsequent races won by cars designed and built overseas; a trait that will continue with the Grand Prix forming part of the Formula 1 World Championship.

The Formula 5000 that Goss piloted to victory will form part of the ‘Repco in Motorsport’ exhibition at the National Motor Racing Museum as the company continues to celebrate its 100th anniversary.

Matich at the wheel of an A50 at Calder. Pic: / Terry Russell

Australia’s adoption of F5000 as the nation’s top open-wheeler class in the 1970s led many racers to use chassis built overseas, but Sydneysider Frank Matich opted to make his own bespoke machines bearing his own name.

They were an instant success: Matich piloted his first F5000 design, the A50, to victory in the 1971 Australian Grand Prix and 1972 Australian Drivers’ Championship.

Fittingly, the Australian-designed and built cars were powered by Holden V8 engines developed for F5000 by Repco.

The locally sourced units proved successful against the more popular Chevrolet V8 engines, winning the ADC and the Australian GP three times each.

Goss on his way to victory in the 1976 Australian Grand Prix at Sandown. Pic: / Ian Smith

The last of the Australian GP victories was achieved by the car that will feature in the exhibition, the final evolution of Matich’s F5000 chassis, the A53.

Originally built as an A51-model and raced by Matich in the United States in 1973, the car was upgraded by Goss and raced to a popular AGP victory in 1976.

The car has also been raced across its life by Le Mans 24 Hours legend Henri Pescarolo, the most recent woman to achieve a point-scoring finish in a Formula 1 Grand Prix Lella Lombardi, and touring car legend Jim Richards.

Henri Pescarolo at the wheel of the Matich at Calder in 1977. Pic: / Ian Smith

The car continued to be raced into the 1980s and has taken on a new life with the emergence of historic F5000 racing.

The car is the fourth to be announced for the ‘Repco in Motorsport’ exhibition, joining Sir Jack Brabham’s 1966 Formula 1 World Championship-winning Brabham BT19, a restored Chevrolet Monte Carlo NASCAR that raced to victory in Repco colours, and a Holden Dealer Team Torana Sports Sedan.

More cars will be revealed in the lead up to this year’s Repco Bathurst 1000, held on October 6-9, 2022.

V8 Sleuth strives to both preserve and celebrate Australian motorsport’s rich history, from tracking and tracing the race-by-race histories and changing ownership of individual cars, to capturing and retelling the stories of the people who made our sport what it is today.