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Bathurst legends on the Block at MotorEx

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SYDNEY – June 27, 2013: Two famous Australian Group C Touring Cars are primed to take pole position at Shannons Sydney Custom & Collectable Auction at Meguiar’s MotorEx on Sunday, July 21.

The 1975 Ford XB GT Falcon Coupe that was raced by John Goss, Kevin Bartlett, Allan Moffat and Sir Jack Brabham in its era and the lone surviving and most successful of the Mazda RX-3s that competed in the mid-1970s, are both looking for new grid positions – either in private collections or in full-blown Group C Historic Racing, which is currently booming and attracting large grids in Australia.

Resplendent in its signature ‘75 Bathurst livery of Blaze Blue with white flanks, the Falcon Hardtop is a major part of Australia’s motorsport history.

Owned and raced by Bathurst winner John Goss from 1975 to the end of 1978 the XBGT Coupe ranks in the top echelon of all the Falcon Hardtops that ever raced and still survive.

Replacing the XAGT in which Goss and Bartlett won Bathurst in 1974, the special order XBGT was delete sound deadener and seam sealer to save extra weight was delivered to Goss via sponsor McLeod Ford just a few weeks prior to the 1975 ‘Great Race’. However its 351 engine ‘let go’ after just 10 laps and it retired.

More famous is what happened in June 1976. While Goss was in transit to Round 6 of the Australian Touring Car Championship in Adelaide, Allan Moffat’s transporter caught fire in the Adelaide Hills, burning it and his GT Falcon Hardtop to a cinder.

Goss generously loaned his freshly rebuilt Falcon, which Moffat promptly put second on the grid and won the round.

Moffat also used the Falcon in the following ATCC round at Queensland Lakeside Raceway, qualifying second on the grid, winning the first round and finishing second in the next, to come second overall to Colin Bond’s HDT L34 Torana.

These two results kept Moffat in contention for the touring car title, which he eventually won in his own ‘Project Phoenix’ XBGT.

For the 1977, new backing allowed Goss to expand into a two-car team, recruiting triple F1 world champion Sir Jack Brabham and his Le Man winning son Geoff to drive the XBGT. They were in the top five and could have troubled eventual winners Moffat and Ickx, but a rocker gave trouble and the Brabham team finally had to settle for 18th.

After Goss sold the Falcon in 1978, it passed through the hands of a number of racing drivers before being acquired by a Falcon Hardtop expert and restorer Kerry Turley, who painstakingly restored the car to its original specification and into what is unquestionably the finest Group C Falcon Hardtop available today.

Because of its racing significance, its celebrity deriver list and exceptional condition, Shannons are expecting bids in the $330,000-$360,000 range.

The other Group C racer in the auction from the same era with a significant Australian history is the Mazda RX-3 coupe raced by Sydney’s Don Holland and Japan’s Hiroshi Fushida to first in class and an outstanding fifth outright behind four V8 Torana L34s in the 1975 Bathurst 1000.

The RX-3 was campaigned successfully for a number of years and was sold, virtually unscathed, in the late 1970s.

Miraculously it passed through a number of hands for more than a decade and was even road registered with plans for an entry in Targa Tasmania without being tampered with mechanically or visually until it fell into the hands of its current owner, Sydney Mazda rotary enthusiast, Zyg Ryter, in the mid-1990s.

Respecting its rarity as the lone surviving original racing Group C RX-3 of its era, Ryter has since been carefully maintained, but never raced the RX-3

In mid-2012 the Mazda’s 1146cc 12A Twin Rotor Wankel engine has been rebuilt by rotary specialist Matt Russell Race Engines and according to Shannons, the RX-3 presents beautifully and sounds awesome.

Because of is exceptional and predominantly original condition, its history as a successful 1970s Group C touring car and its potential as a current Group C Historic racer, Shannons are expecting bids in the $80,000-$100,000 range at its MotorEx Auction.

Shannons National Auction Manager Christophe Boribon said the Group C cars would attract considerable interest from both collectors and potential Historic competitors alike.

“The resurgent interest in Group C & A racing that is now producing large grids of the actual cars that raced in the 1970s and 1980s has made these cars increasingly collectable and valuable,” he said.

“To find two in such excellent condition represents a rare opportunity.”