BEHIND THE doors of a nondescript industrial shed close to Brisbane airport you could expect to find a number of things, but not this.
The collection began as one room that became increasingly full of diecast model cars, motorbikes, race cars and assorted race memorabilia collected by the dealer principal of the iconic Bryan Byrt Ford in Brisbane.
But don’t let the affiliation fool you, there are plenty of Red Lion model cars in the glass cabinets, but most are race cars, unlike the cache of 1:18 scale XW, XY GTHOs and XAXC hardtops in street trim.
From the smashed-in door panels of Steven Johnsons’ only round winning car to an XC bonnet immortalising the Moffat-Bond Bathurst finish in 1977 to Jim Richards’ 2004 Bathurst bonnet/kangaroo incident, these walls speak of the thrill, hard work and cost that goes into racing.
Old fuel bowsers grab your attention with each one immaculately restored and interspersed with more racing memorabilia, life-size cardboard cut-outs of racing drivers and even a retro petrol station and barber shop with period bowsers, oil bottles and neon lights giving off a very ’50s rock-n-roll vibe.
Being involved with motorsport, and in particular Dick Johnson, over the years,
the owner of this collection was able to acquire some staggeringly desirable Group C race cars which truly make this collection unique and are the heart of this display.
Iconic Bryan Byrt Ford livery sets this XC hardtop apart from rivals of the time while the extensive list of drivers who have had time behind the wheel make this car something really special. Jim Richards received this car as a rolling chassis from Ford to build into his 1977 car which he did, running in Melfords livery, most notably to third place at the final round of the ATCC at Phillip Island.
The ‘reverse Cobra’ scheme with number 32 now seen on the car is as the car raced at Bathurst in 1978 with John French and Warwick Brown.
Believed to be a Ford lightweight shell, this car is said to be the third Moffat team car as evidenced in publications of the day and information that has been unearthed over the intervening years. Moffat eventually deemed the exercise too expensive and sold the car off to Norm Smith Racing who had Garry Willmington shake it down prior to Bathurst 1978.
Now wearing its Bathurst 1979 Everlast livery, it represents the car Bill O’Brien and Ray Winter completed 65 laps in before the engine died.
After taking the Australian Touring Car Championship in 1979 in the Ron Hodgson/ Channel Seven LX A9X Torana, Bob Morris stepped into the new VB Commodore for the 1980 ATCC but after a year of mixed results with the VB – a win in the final round at Oran Park the only bright point in a long season of retirements – Morris cut his ties with Holden for the 1980 endurance races at Sandown and Bathurst.
He then partnered with Bill O’Brien in O’Brien’s XD Falcon for the Hang Ten 400 at Sandown where the pair retired after 31 laps. O’Brien continued to campaign the car until the end of Group C in 1984 with mid-field Bathurst results and some points wins in the ATCC during 1982 and 1983.
Complete with stone chips from its last race at Bathurst in 1984, this XE Falcon has to be the most original Group C race car in Australia and one which heralded the end of an era for both Australian motorsport and for Ford’s iconic 351ci Cleveland V8.
Joe Moore campaigned the car between 1982 and 1984 in championship series and achieved point-winning positions in the 1984 ATCC.
Lloyds Auctions on the Gold Coast is offering this incredible collection for auction unreserved on July 29.