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THE running gear from an ex-Mark Skaife/Gibson Motorsport Commodore stolen in England is back home in Australia and will be used to bring to life a unique Commodore chassis that never had the chance to race in Group A or V8 Supercars.

The stolen car, raced by Skaife in Winfield colours in 1995 and in various liveries in 1996 and 1997, became a Wynn’s/Gibson car in 1998 and was driven to seventh place at Bathurst that year by Darren Hossack and Darren Pate.

It was sold to England after that race where it met an unusual end.

SATURDAY SLEUTHING: The stolen Skaife Commodore

Now Adelaide-based Simon Pfitzner is using the left over running gear to put together a car as close as is possible to the stolen GMS 004 chassis using the original running gear and another Dencar-built Commodore racing body shell that is of similar period to the original car.

The two Darrens – Hossack and Pate – raced GMS 004 at Bathurst in 1998. That was its last race on Aussie soil before it was sold off to England. Photo: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith.

“I ran the machine shop for Gibson Motorsport and the stolen car was Darren Hossack’s Wynns car,” Pfitzner told v8sleuth.com.au this week.

“Ric Wood from England had done a deal to buy GMS 003 after Bathurst, however 003 was crashed with Simon Wills and Alan Heath at Forrest’s Elbow and Ric then took 004 instead.

“He bought the car minus engine and gearbox and used the car for some years and then decided to give it a rebuild. The car was stripped to a bare shell and put on his truck to take to the paint shop in the morning. That night someone broke in and stole the truck!”

The GMS 004 chassis was never recovered, though Pfitzner has since purchased everything that was unbolted before the chassis was stolen and has also acquired an ex-GMS engine and gearbox.  

Dencar 07 at Calder in 1995 at a HSV Owners Club Sprint. This event was the day after the Peter Brock Classic. Photo: an1images.com / Aaron Noonan.

“Strangely enough, a guy who works for us (Pfitzner runs South Australian-based gearbox company Pfitzner Performance Gearboxes) in the UK is good mates with Ric Wood. We got chatting away and that’s how it all started to come together, and I did a deal with him for all of the parts.”

The Dencar-built chassis he is using for the project (Dencar 07) was originally built as a Group A-specification VN Commodore in the early 1990s for private customer Andrew Avent. 

Despite being built to the specification that would have permitted it to compete in the Australian Touring Car Championship and other races of the era, it never competed in period Group A touring car racing and was used for club days and sprints in its original owner’s hands and briefly in Sports Sedans in the early 2000s by subsequent owner Milton Seferis.

“The plan is to use that shell to recreate the 004 car,” says Pfitzner.

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“I was going to get Marty Brant (ex-Gibson Motorsport) to prepare another shell to give it as much originality as possible from a GMS perspective. He said those cars were made from Dencar shells and I came across 07 and I bought it as a rolling shell so it was probably the best way to put all of the parts to use.

“I’m certainly not going to be passing off this car as GMS 004. It has the running gear from the original car and the shell is of the same constructor and similar era, but I would deem this car a recreation rather than a restoration. 

“I’ve got a couple of cars I need to rebuild before I get onto the Commodore, but I am really hoping to get onto it next year.”

ORDER HERE: Mark Skaife’s new illustrated autobiography is out now, grab your copy from the V8 Sleuth Online Bookshop here.

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