Home' Supercar Xtra : Oct Nov 2014 Issue 83 Contents 49
HDT’s dominance of the 1984 race was remarkable,
given the fastest 10 cars after official practice were
covered by just over two seconds. Six different manu-
facturers (Holden, Ford, Nissan, Mazda, BMW and
Jaguar) took part in the top 10 qualifying Shootout.
Although Brock was just pipped for pole by George
Fury’s turbocharged Nissan Bluebird, the King of the
Mountain surged into the lead at the start of the race
as many rivals dropped out of contention with either
crash damage or mechanical failures. It was Brock’s
eighth Bathurst win.
HDT’s emphatic Mountain victory came in the final
year of Australia’s home-grown Group C touring car
rules, which were replaced with international Group A
regs in 1985.
Many local teams and fans were sad to see the
demise of the ‘big banger’ Group C class as the unique
Australian category had produced some of the fastest
and most exciting racing sedans since its inception in
HDT was determined to give Group C a memora-
ble curtain call, though, by building two brand-new
Commodores, which would have a racing life of only a
few months and compete in just three events.
Brock’s #05 car achieved a perfect score, winning not
only the 1984 Bathurst 1000 but also the Sandown
500km and Surfers Paradise 300km endurance races,
while Harvey’s #25 car finished third, second and sixth
in the same trifecta.
The most memorable visual feature of these cars
was undoubtedly the red and white Marlboro livery, in
which the red sections featured a special day-glo paint
that glowed brightly when exposed to the sun’s rays. It
Brock was inspired to use this special paint after
competing in an international sports car race at
Silverstone earlier in the year. Inspired by the dazzling
effect he saw on some rival cars, he took a sample back
to Australia and insisted it be used on the last of the
Group C Commodores.
hOw They were BuiLT
Compared to today’s purpose-built V8 Supercars with
their tubular steel space-frame chassis, transaxles and
pure-bred competition components, Group C cars
were effectively hotted-up road cars that were rela-
tively cheap to build and race.
Underneath their huge fiberglass front and rear spoil-
ers, wheel-arch flares, fat tyres and barking exhausts
were body shells and mechanicals which never strayed
far from their road-car origins.
So what made HDT’s 1984 Bathurst VK Commodores
so special? Put simply, they were the ultimate refine-
ment of the breed; a process that started with the
original VB model in 1980 and continued through VC
and VH models. By the time they got to VK, this refine-
ment had been perfected.
They were the lightest, simplest, strongest and
fastest, built under the supervision of workshop
manager Larry Perkins, who was renowned for his
frugal efficiency as a constructor.
By comparison to today’s V8 Supercars, HDT’s final
Group C warriors were built for a fraction of the cost.
Most components used were then-current Holden
production-line parts supplied free by GM-H, with
the more specialised racing hardware purchased from
Harrop Engineering and other local suppliers.
Proof of HDT’s efficiency was that it did not start
building its two 1984 Bathurst cars until the squad
returned from competing in the Le Mans 24 Hour
sports car race in a Porsche 956 in late June.
With a build time of about eight weeks, the HDT
mechanics led by Perkins included Neil Burns, Marty
Watt, Graham Brown, Andy Bartley and future Holden
Racing Team manager Jeff Grech. The two cars were
completed on time and on budget.
GM-H’s production line process for Commodore
body shells earmarked for competition use was well
established by 1984 under production manager Mike
Prowse. To make building race cars easier and faster,
HDT and other Holden teams would walk each body
shell down the line to ensure they got what they
needed as a starting point.
Perkins had already organised HDT’s new VK shells
earlier in the year, which came from the factory as
clean skins devoid of any joint sealer and sound dead-
ener plus any brackets, internal panels or components
not needed for racing.
They were also treated to double the standard
number of spot welds to increase chassis strength and
rigidity. Blind nuts used for bolting in the aluminium
Scan to watch the famed
1984 Holden VK Com-
modore in action at Mount
above: The start and finish
of the 1984 James hardie
Bathurst 1000, dominated
by the holden dealer
Team’s VK Commodores.
V8X83 p48-52 Big Bangers.indd 49
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