Remembering Brock: The Road to Glory
By Jarah Weinreich
For many people, it is difficult to believe that almost a decade has passed since Peter Brock tragically lost his life. To mark this anniversary, the National Automobile Museum of Tasmania is hosting Remembering Brock The Road to Glory, a celebration of the life of one of Australia's most loved motorsport heroes and of the unique vehicles that shaped his career.
Peter Brock was born in 1945 at Hurstbridge in Victoria. From an early age, he showed great talent behind the wheel. Brock's first car was a 1929 Austin 7, the body of which he promptly removed with an axe. The young Brock then refined his skill, powering the car around the family property. Incredibly, the original vehicle survived. It has since been faithfully refurbished to its condition at the time the Brock family owned it, and is now featured in the display.
It was while stationed at the Kapooka Army Barracks that Peter Brock got his first real taste of motorsport. Having watched events at Bathurst, Warwick Farm and Sandown Park, he quickly decided that he wanted to be on the other side of the guardrail, and set to work building a race car based on the humble Austin A30. Fitted with a 6-cylinder Holden engine and featuring a number of improvised modifications, Brock competed in the Austin in the late 1960s, eventually attracting the attention of the Holden Dealer Team boss Harry Firth. The original vehicle was later destroyed, but a unique replica, built with input from Brock himself, is on display.
Brock's humble beginnings with the Austin kick-started a career that turned him into a household name. He won the Bathurst 1000 race nine times, the Sandown 500 event nine times, and was Australian Touring Car Champion three times.
The 1974 Holden Torana L34 that Brock put on pole position at Bathurst in 1974 also forms part of the exhibit. This car was campaigned by the Holden Dealer Team from 1974 - 1977.
After 1980, Brock's business activities centred on the development of the Holden Dealer team and the newly established special vehicles division which, under Brock's leadership, developed high performance road-going Commodores. These vehicles were built in VC, VH, VK and VL Commodore models, and featured various performance and handling upgrades as selected by the prospective buyer. The display features three excellent examples of these highly sought after Commodores.
Also on display is the 1991 VN Mobil Commodore campaigned by Brock in the Australian Touring Car Championship, Sandown 500, and Bathurst 1000.
The 1953 Holden 48-215 is a unique piece of Australian motorsport history, it being the final Holden that Peter Brock drove before his death. It was built for Brock's entry at the 2006 Goodwood Revival in the UK, and his performance in the car saw him awarded the prestigious 'Spirit of Goodwood' trophy.
Tragically, Brock was killed a mere week after the Goodwood event while competing in a tarmac rally event in Western Australia.
Adored by legions of fans, Peter Brock's impact on Australian motorsport cannot be underestimated. The National Automobile Museum of Tasmania's Remembering Brock The Road to Glory celebrates the life and the enduring impact of a cultural icon.