WHAT HAPPENED TO MOFFAT’S 1973 BATHURST-WINNING FALCON?

Moffat at the wheel of the #9 Falcon at the pre-Bathurst race, the Sandown 250. He failed to finish. Photo: an1images.com / Ian Smith

ALLAN Moffat’s four wins in The Great Race at Bathurst are celebrated achievements in an amazing career.

His first victory came in just his second start in the race in 1970 and he followed up in 1971, 1973 and the famous 1-2 form finish of 1977.

The question has been asked of us here by one of our readers, just what happened to Moffat’s ’73 Bathurst-winning Falcon XA GT, the last Ford Motor Company-entered car to win The Great Race?

Sadly, it’s a car that no longer exists, one of many Bathurst winners to go to ‘race car heaven’.

This car, plus photos of each and every other Ford to compete in ‘The Great Race’ at Bathurst from 1963 to 2018 (over 700 photos!) is included in our ‘Ford at Bathurst’ hardcover, 360 page book, available here in our V8 Sleuth Bookshop – and we won’t charge for the postage of this book when purchased on its own!

The #9 Falcon had started its life in the opening round of the ManChamp series at Adelaide International Raceway as Moffat’s #9 Falcon and he also drove it in the Sandown 250.

The next race at Bathurst was different in two distinct ways though to previous years.

Firstly the race had been expanded from 500 miles to 1000 kilometres (from 130 to 163 laps) and, as a result of the distance change, it was no longer permitted for drivers to race solo without a co-driver.

As the history books show, Moffat survived a lurid spin at Griffins Bend (turn two) and was able to win alongside Ian Geoghegan after taking advantage of Brock’s co-driver Doug Chivas running out of fuel and being forced to push the Torana into pit lane.

He and Geoghegan claimed what turned out to be the last Bathurst win for the Ford Motor Company, however there was no problem as to what to do with the winning car when the manufacturer withdrew from the sport at the end of 1973 and disbanded its team – the blue and white XA GT didn’t quite make it that far!

It did manage to compete at Surfers Paradise in the Chesterfield 300 (ManChamp Round 4) but ended up being damaged in a start line incident when it coughed on the line and was collected by Lakis Manticas’ Fiat. Moffat eventually got going but engine failure took him out of the running.

Allan Moffat at the wheel of the Bathurst-winning #9 Falcon at Phillip Island, prior to its serious accident. Photo: an1images.com / Ian Smith

But that was nothing compared to the accident it then had in the final ManChamp round at Phillip Island – which injured Moffat – and destroyed the Bathurst winner in just its fifth racing appearance.

A flat-spotted tyre (not changed during a pit stop a few laps later) blew through the fast turn-three left hander (thesedays named after MotoGP World Champ Casey Stoner) that sent Moffat veering off the track at an estimated 180 km/h and into a small earth bank.

The contact with the bank launched the big Ford into a series of end for end rolls finished off with a few barrel rolls just for good measure before coming to rest just short of a storage dam.

Moffat emerged dazed and was taken away on a stretcher with a cracked sternum later discovered.

“The first time my head got banged against the roll cage I knew things were happening,” Moffat wrote in his Auto Action column post-accident.

“You kind of say to yourself it isn’t happening, but then when I started to go over I figured this was really serious, and when the windscreen shattered as the Falcon did its first nose dive, it seemed as though the whole world was coming in on me.”

The wreck was given to privateer Murray Carter to salvage what mechanical components were still useable before the Melbourne-based driver scrapped the stripped body shell.

At the time there was never any real ‘historical’ consideration given to retaining or safekeeping such cars – even if they were damaged – and sadly this is one that fell victim to that.

With over 20 years in the Australian motorsport industry, Noonan is the head of V8 Sleuth. He’s held a range of roles including working in television with Seven and Ten, print media and public relations. With a specialty in Australian motorsport history, he’s known around racing paddocks as ’the Sleuth’ and started his motorsport media career in 1997.