You raced what?
STORY: Andrew Frood
IMAGES: Autopics, AN1 Media Archive (Dale Rodgers)
IT’S Friday and we were feeling a little silly in the V8 Sleuth office.
The topic of conversation turned to weird race cars – the racing misfits – cars that looked a little out of place in the category they were racing in.
Now don’t take this the wrong way, we love all race cars – just some are a little more obscure than others, but good on these drivers and teams for taking the path less travelled.
After much intense research and more than a little bit of giggling we came up with our list of the Top 5 Racing Misfits.
1. 1995 Australian 2 Litre Super Touring Championship – Volvo 850 Wagon
If Volvo were looking for a clever way to sell the performance of their wagons, they certainly found it with the TWR built 850 wagon that ran in the British Touring Car championship in 1994 and Australian Super Touring Championship in 1995.
Raced locally by Tony Scott, the big ‘estate’ was no slouch but couldn’t match the performance of the category-dominating Audi A4 and BMW 3 series – yet try loading a washing machine into the back of either of those!
2. 1973/74 Bathurst 1000 – Holden HQ Monaro GTS 350 Sedan
While the Holden Monaro has a great racing heritage, only Ron Dickson continued to race the big Aussie V8 once the more nimble ‘tuned for racing’ Torana came along.
A rare sight in Australian touring car racing, Dickson raced the HQ in 1973 and 1974 including two outings at Bathurst.
3. 1985 Sandown ATCC – BMW 323i
It’s a great motor racing trivia question. Do you recall the stock standard BMW 323i road-car that ran in the Sandown round of the ATCC in 1985?
The metallic green Beamer raced by Ian Thomson sported a roll cage and race number and not much else. It may have even run registration plates during practice!
Thomson was a full 30 seconds a lap slower that the front-runners and likely spent more time looking rearward than forward during the race!
4. 1979 Bathurst 1000 – Volvo 242GT
While we’re on the topic of road cars, do you remember the Volvo 242GT that ran in the 1979 Bathurst 1000?
Entered by Spencer Martin and DavidMcKay the big silver coupe wore rego-plates for the entire race and finished in a respectable 20thposition, 34 laps down on the winning Brock/Richards Torana A9X, and reportedly drove home after the race!
The 242GT is forever immortalized in the Channel 7 coverage of the 79 race, when RACECAM pioneer Peter Williamson came across the big Swede on top of the Mountain declaring, “There’s that rotten Volvo, holding everybody up, what a joke!”
5. 2008 Bathurst 12 Hour – Holden VE Commodore Sportwagon
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – with that in mind Holden entered an SS version of their then new VE Commodore Sportwagon in the 2008 Bathurst 12 Hour to demonstrate the performance cred of their new family hauler.
Complete with a trio of Holden Supercar pilots including Cam McConville, Nathan Pretty and Shane Price, the wagon faired well until its brakes cried enough in the final hours of the race, clouting the wall and ending its race.
Have you come across an obscure race car that didn’t make our list?