Arguably the best race car driver this country
has ever produced, or will ever see. His record
of achievements is stellar, his personality was
vibrant, simply put, a legend. Brock started out
Austin 7, a car he had purchased for the princely
sum of £5, into a specilaist dirt racer.
The car was devoid
of both brakes
and bodywork, the latter courtesy
of careful craftsmanship delivered via his fathers
axe. Without brakes
Brock would instead be forced to “slide” the
car and anticipate each and every corner with pinpoint
Then came his mothers Vauxhall Viva
, a car he convinced his parents to buy after watching Spencer Martin drive one in the 1964 Armstrong 500
. The Viva ran first in its class (Class A to £900), and Brock later retold how he drove the car pretty hard, even managing to "get it up in the air a few times". He also claimed it had the wood on the Morris 850
and Mini Deluxe.
But Brock was also quick to point out that the Viva was far from perfect. "It had a strange rear axle. You tramped the boot and the arse would lift up, you know. That was a strange one".
His first trip to the Mount would be in 1969 in the Bathurst 500
, and a year later he would
become Rallycross champion.
Under Harry Firth
, Brock also got to play with some pretty keen machinery, particularly the developmental Torana's. It was on the Alpine Rally roads in 1969 that he got his first taste of a six-cylinder Torana - "KLD-158". It was an early production LC GTR
, and Firth asked Brock to take it for a spin and provide feedback on what was needed to make it a goer. Brock's solution - ditch the 161 and install a worked 186 complete with triple SU's, bigger valves
, cam, exhaust
Brock also knew some of the shortfalls of the engine, particularly the problem when over-revving which would cause the harmonic balancer to part company with the car. His second XU-1 was fitted with a protector plate as Brock had lost one such harmonic balancer halfway down the straight at Bathurst during an Easter race meet. He was also dissatisfied with the suspension tune
, his time spent racing an Austin A30 fitted with a Holden 179 engine had left him wondering what it was that had made the car handle the way it did. "I came back from the drive and I just had this bee in my bonnet about the amount of camber change, and I reckoned the Torana didn't have enough so I started studying the A30 to find out why it handled the way it did" he later recounted.
The GTR then underwent further development at Firth's garage in Queens Avenue, Auburn. The result was the wonderful and now highly collectable LC GTR XU-1
, although Brock maintained that "KLD-158" was always a GTR Torana
Three years later, in 1972
he would win Bathurst while at the helm of a LJ GTR XU-1
- he putting in an almost perfect performance.
Between 1972 and 1987 he would rack up no less than
9 Mount Panorama victories, a feat that has never been
equaled. Commentators were forced to find superlatives
to describe his dominance, and the titles “Peter
Perfect” and “King
of the Mountain” were right on the money.
An Unparalleled Victory
1981 Marlboro HDT Bathurst Promo
Arguably his best performance on “The Mount” was
when he claimed victory by a whopping six
laps, a record that (due to changes in race regulations
introduced in the 1990's) will never be broken, and
he even went on to break the circuit lap record on
his final lap!
In his 32 starts at Bathurst he claimed
pole position a record six times, wins in the Sandown
500 nine times (including seven successive victories),
and won a total of 37 races during his career in
the Australian Touring Car and V8 Supercar championships – a
record only equalled by Mark Skaife in 2006.
He was always at the peak of his craft, and never more so
than as lead driver for the Holden
There he worked in
partnership with full factory approval and assistance
to manufacture high performance modifications to
the Commodores under existing CAMS Group C regulations
from 1980 to 1988.
Some iterations were HDT homologation
specials, all were special and are now highly collectable.
Brock only twice ventured outside Australia to race,
both times in the Le Mans 24 hour.
The first was
in 1976 driving a BMW 3.0 CSL
, then in 1984 driving
a Bob Jane T-Marts sponsored Porsche 956 with Larry
In the latter event, the pair would be running
as high as 5th place, however the attempt would end
prematurely with Perkins crashing mid-race.
notable was his 1979 victory in the Repco Round Australia
Trial, an event based on the original Redex Reliability
held between 1953
. It was a great
victory, but given the backup of the HDT support
crew, many believed his win somewhat predictable.
a tireless worker for automobile
cars would proudly wear the “05” number,
promoting the 0.05% blood alcohol limit in Victoria.
That number adorned his race cars right to the end.