Allan Moffat leads Mustang celebrations
Allan Moffat and his legendary 1969 Coca-Cola, Ford Mustang TransAm, will head the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Pony car at the 26th Phillip Island Classic Festival of Motorsport in early March (5-8).
MOFFAT, AUSTRALIA’S first professional racing driver and his Mustang changed the face of Australian Touring Car racing when it burst onto the scene at Victoria’s Sandown Park circuit in April 1969, winning the Southern 60 Touring car series on debut.
Even today, Moffat’s beloved Mustang remains one of the most successful touring cars in Australian motorsport history, having won 101 of the 151 races contested between 1969 and 1974 and these days it is the centrepiece of the Bowden Collection in Queensland.
Australian enthusiasts had never seen anything like it when Moffat and the Mustang arrived. Not only did the TransAm make most earlier model Mustangs of the likes of Bob Jane, Ian ‘Pete’ Geoghegan, Bryan Thomson, Fred Gibson, Norm Beechey and Neil Allen obsolete, Moffat’s aggressive, no compromise driving style ruffled the feathers of the established stars.
Only six of the shark-nosed, forward rake, ground-scraping, Boss 302 V8 powered cars were produced by Kar-Craft in America.
Ironically, Moffat never won the Australian Touring Car Championship with the Mustang, despite four hard years of trying, however the car’s extraordinary success rate and countless unforgettable performances earned it a special place in Australian racing history that will be reprised at this year’s Phillip Island ‘Classic’.
Also supporting the Mustang theme at this year’s ‘Classic’ is the appointment of another former top Victorian Touring Car and Sports Sedan driver Bryan Thomson as ‘Patron’ of the 2015 meeting. Thomson in early 1967 became the first local driver to take a current Australian Touring car overseas, when he shipped the ex-Norm Beechey 1965 notchback Mustang to Britain for two seasons of intense circuit racing.
On his return to Australia in 1968, he imported a very early 1964/1965 Mustang from the United States, converted it to right hand drive and gave it to his wife Loel, who still has it today. Fresh from a recent recommissioning after many years in storage, it will be driven by Thomson in the Mustang Parade that will be one of the highlights of the meeting and will be amongst more than 100 Mustangs of all models competing or on display.
Four times Australian champion and dual Touring Car Masters winner John Bowe additionally will have his current 1969 model Mustang Fastback ‘Sally’ at the meeting for display and demonstration laps.
German historic racer Rhea Sauter is bringing her ‘Shelby’ Mustang tribute car to support the Mustang theme and is just one of 15 drivers from the US, the UK, Europe and New Zealand taking part.