Allan Moffat and the GT Falcon

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Allan Moffat and the GT Falcon
Allan Moffat

Allan Moffat

Allan Moffat’s and the GT Falcon, the two names are virtually synonymous. Together, man and machine would rise to prominence in the late 1960s and swiftly became a near invincible team on Australian motor racing tracks.

Moffat won at Mount Panorama – the pinnacle of the Australian racing scene - four times, and always in a Ford. Since 1969 he was considered one of the most consistent drivers, particularly from the Ford camp, and he remained a top-earner in Australian motor sport.

But his seeming string of luck was no accident, the steely-eyed Canadian-Australian was always a total professional who approached his sport with a dedication that had never been seen before in Australia. Racing was his business in every sense of the word, and every race he entered he was determined to win.

During the mid 1970’s Moffat’s race team employed a full-time staff of seven to prepare and operate his cars, and in 1976 he obtained the services of US specialist Carrol Smith, a racing specialist without peer. The subsequent 1977 Bathurst win would prove Moffat’s faith in Smith to be well founded.

The annual bill for the operation - full-time salaries, car building costs, tyres, moving costs, hotel bills and fares - was reported at the time to be something like $250,000 – a figure that may not sound like too much by today’s standards, but back then it was huge.

Moffat, a shrewd businessman, raised this enormous amount of money by obtaining sponsors with Ford, obviously the main contributors. Others included Faberge, the Brut 33 cosmetics people, to Camel cigarettes. But the pressure was always on, Moffat knew that to keep the sponsorship, he had to keep winning.

Prize money helped, so Bathurst, with its $25,000 for first place, by far the largest purse on offer on Australian circuits, was always the magnet. In a good year it was possible, provided you were consistent and, in that meant winning, it was possible to pick up around $50,000 in prize money. A sizeable chunk of what Moffat needed to run his operation, but well short of the running costs.

Canadian-born, Moffat came to Australia at 20, and began racing a TR3 at 22, with little success. He returned to Canada in 1963 and sold pots and pans to earn a living while he worked unpaid as a mechanic with Team Lotus. At the end of five month's he was able to buy one of the team's unwanted Lotus Cortina’s for $4500 - borrowed from his father - and shipped it to Australia. He raced it all over the country, gaining experience wherever he could, then returned to the US where his new expertise gained him a driver's seat in a Ford works team.

In 1969 he returned to Australia - where he always reckoned the touring car racing is the best in the world - and set about building the best team of cars and men the local circuits had seen. The rise of the Falcon GT ensured that the machinery was there - but it took the sheer determination and slogging hard work, over many thousands of hours patiently building and rebuilding, to achieve the results that look so simple when read in lists of race data as published on the Unique Cars and Parts web site, among others.

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