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Armstrong 500 - Mount Panorama, Bathurst - 4th October, 1964

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Falcon XC Cobra
Bathurst 1964
Torana L34

GMH - Not Officially In Motorsport



The 179 EH came about thanks to Victorian Holden dealers Bill Patterson and Bib Stillwell, who reckoned that the Armstrong 500 would make a good competition debut for the EH. They obviously had friends at GMH's Fishermen's Bend plant, who understood that a competition version of the EH was necessary – and it would be preferable if it were to include such additions as disc brakes, a floor change four-speed box, bucket seats, larger fuel tank, etc. The 179 cu. in. engine had modifications including improved breathing and exhaust. But Holden were keen to stress that their decision to build the necessary number of cars to make them eligible for racing should not have been misconstrued as an official entry into motor sport.

As you would expect, nothing was further from the truth. At the time of the EH, GMH were duty bound, as were the entire GM global conglomerate, to abide by the agreement among American manufacturers (Ford excepted) not to support motor racing. At the time GM were far and away the world's biggest automotive corporation, and many considered that, had the organisation have backed motorsport, they would have steamrollered all opposition, and the sport would have suffered. So, while GMH were not officially into motorsport, they were following their successful pattern in the States, where you could buy a Chev or a Pontiac in various stages of tune (read racing trim) and with various extras. The EH 179M, judged historically, can be seen as nothing more than an attempt to gauge the extent of the growing market of pseudo-racers.

But such was the demand for the 179M that the General was soon to release the (officially designated) EH 225 M-S.4 with its 179 cu. in. engine. It was identical to the EH 225 M except for a rear axle ratio of 3.55:1, a PBR servo brake unit, small clutch changes which included a different lining, a slightly modified steering column gearshift mechanism, a .25in. increase in the tail shaft diameter, and a 12 gallon fuel tank which was been achieved by enlarging the lower half. Other changes included a modified carburettor, float chamber, larger clutch housing, which also made it necessary to revise the exhaust pipe attachment bracket, etc. Since the race rules permitted competition brake linings, the car was fitted with sintered iron linings on the front and Mintex on the rear. Sintered iron linings had already gained a good reputation, thanks to Norm Beechey's racing Impala, and many considered them as effective as discs.

A fire-extinguisher, a lap belt and a laminated screen are required for competition, were also fitted to the EH. Armstrong shocks were naturally a must for the race, and the Holden used competition Armstrongs all round with adjustable on the rear. Some 120 of these cars were produced and sold to the public for A£1160. There were some cases, it was alleged, of dealers selling these cars at inflated prices - and it was obvious that, with 600-odd dealers, GMH couldn't give one to each. This gave rise to the rumour that the cars were not available to the public and that the ARDC, the Armstrong 500 organisers, should have considered refusing their entry.

Apart from the 120 "produced and sold" cars, the factory produced for the Victorian dealers three cars to be driven by Bib Stillwell - John Youl, Bill Patterson-Doug Whiteford, Lex Davison-Brian Thompson, in the Armstrong 500, another one for Scuderia Veloce for the same race, and a couple for themselves as test cars. The handling of the 179M, aided by the shock absorbers, was quite remarkable - flat and firm, yet never uncomfortable. Shod with Goodyear G8 tyres, adhesion was good. Not only was the car a pleasure to handle, but it stopped wonderfully and kept on stopping without any fuss or roughness. In fact, being abusive to the brakes actually made them better, any uneven pulling disappearing the more agression was administered. The 179 didn't object to revs either, but it was unnecessary to go over 55-60 in second in any serious acceleration because the engine picked up magnificently in top.

It is disappointing then that, below, you will not see any S4 EH Holdens listed. Had they have raced, they would have wiped the floor. But GMH was unwilling to press the case for the cars inclusion, and the Armstrong 500 would remain another Cortina GT event. The Victorian S4 EH's were given over to the Police Forces in Victoria and South Australia when the ARDC originally banned the cars.

Number of Laps: 130


Total Race Time: N/A
Fastest lap: Geoghegan/Geoghegan, 3:21.3 (110.38 km/h)
Classes: Class A - Up to £900; Class B - £901 to £1000; Class C - £1001 to £1200; Class D - £1201 to £2000
Please Note: You can sort this listing by simply clicking on the column heading
DRIVER / CO DRIVER(S)
1
Bob Jane / George Reynolds
Cortina GT
C
130
2
Barry Seton / Herb Taylor
Cortina GT
C
130
3
Harry Firth / John Reaburn
Cortina GT
C
129
4
Bert Needham / Warren Weldon
D
128
5
Ron Hodgson / John French
Cortina GT
C
127
6
Leo Geoghegan / Ian Geoghegan
Cortina GT
C
127
7
Bruce McPhee / Barry Mulholland
Cortina GT
C
126
8
Fred Sutherland / Alan Mottram
D
126
9
Charlie Smith / Bruce Maher
Morris Cooper
B
124
10
Bill Buckle / Brian Foley
Citroen
D
124
11
Bill Burns / Brian Lawler
Ford Zephyr
D
123
12
Arthur Davis / Paul Mander
Triumph 2000
D
123
13
Bob Cook / Alwyn Rose
Valiant
D
123
14
Don Holland / Laurie Stewart
Morris Cooper
B
123
15
Barry Thiele / Ray Kaleda
Morris Cooper
B
121
16
Warren Blomfield / Jerry Trevor-Jones
Morris Cooper
B
120
17
Bill March / Jim White
Renault R8
B
120
18
John Connolly / Rex Emmett
Renault R8
B
120
19
Bob Holden / Ken Pascal
Renault R8
B
119
20
Bill Barnett / Don Johnston
Humber Vogue
D
119
21
Bill Gates / Brian Fleming
Renault R8
B
119
22
Peter Brown / Ray Gulson
Morris Cooper
B
118
23
Les Park / John Roxburgh
Renault R8
B
117
24
Lex Davison / Rocky Tresise
Triumph 2000
D
117
25
Tony Reynolds / Tony Allen
Triumph 2000
D
116
26
Jim Bonthorne / John Dando
Cortina 1500
B
116
27
Spencer Martin / Bill Brown
Vauxhall Viva
A
116
28
Brian Muir / Ron Clarke
Vauxhall Viva
A
115
29
Arnold Ahrenfeld / John Marchiori
Vauxhall Viva
A
114
30
Mike Martin / John Prisk
Morris Cooper
B
114
31
Mike Champion / Tony Simmons
Vauxhall Viva
A
114
32
Jack Gates / Mike Nedelko
Vauxhall Viva
A
114
33
George Murray / C. McLean
Vauxhall Viva
A
112
34
Alton Boddenberg / Digby Cooke
Simca
B
112
35
David Walker / Brian Milton
VW 1200
A
112
36
Peter Williamson / Midge Bosworth
Hillman Imp
A
112
37
Chris McSorley / Phil West
Hillman Imp
A
110
38
Lionel Ayers / Denis Geary
Hillman Imp
A
110
39
Bernie Haehnle / Neil McKay
VW 1200
A
110
40
Bill Ford / Barry Ferguson
VW 1200
A
109
41
Lorraine Hill / Brian Reed
Hillman Imp
A
108
42
Paul Bolton / John Schroder
Hillman Imp
A
107
43
Frank Hann / Graham Forrest
VW 1200
A
105
44
Max Stewart / Bob Salter
Triumph 2000
D
105
45
Matt Daddo / Keith Russell
Morris 850
A
104
46
Brian McGrath / David Burton
Renault R8
B
103
47
Lyndon McLeod / Lionel Williams
Holden Premier
D
95
DNF
Bob Skelton / Phil Ismay
Holden 179
D
DNF
DNF
Bryan Thomson / Bruce Wilson
NSU Prinz
A
DNF
DNF
Peter Cray / Phil Barnes
Morris 850
A
DNF
DNF
Bill Stanley / Steve Harvey
Morris 850
A
DNF
DNF
Eric Lane / Stan Pomroy
Morris 850
A
DNF
DNF
Lex Bailey / Bill Orr
Hillman Imp
A
DNF
DNF
Anthony Cooper / Joe Hills
Cortina GT
C
DNF
DNF
Ian Grant / W. Mitchell
Holden 179
C
DNF
DNF
Ralph Sach / Max Brunninghausen
Vauxhall Velox
D
DNF
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