POLL: Australia’s most iconic two-door touring car
From 2019, the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship will welcome the Ford Mustang into its ranks, the first two-door racer in the top tier of touring car racing in the country for a generation.
With a nod to the sport’s past, Speedcafe.com has delved into the history books to pull out a selection of the most iconic and successful two-door racers seen in this country, and want to know what you think.
Of the cars we’ve picked out, which do you believe is the most iconic two-door touring car to have competed in Australia? Have your say by casting your vote in this week’s Pirtek Poll.
BMC Mini Cooper S, 1966 Bathurst 500 winner
An unlikely Bathurst winner, what the BMC Mini Cooper S lacked in outright speed it made up for in handling.
In the 1966 Gallaher 500, the precursor to the Bathurst 1000, Bob Holden and Rauno Aaltonen claimed victory, with another eight examples of the pocket rocket filling the event’s top nine positions.
The following year marked the arrival of the Holden Monaro, another two-door racer, as the Great Race began to take on the shape it’s had ever since.
Ford XC Falcon, 1977 Bathurst 1000 winner
It’s a key part of one of Australia’s most iconic motorsport images, as Allan Moffat and Colin Bond drive down Conrod Straight, door to door, at the culmination of the 1977 Bathurst 1000.
The Ford 1-2 came on the back off two wins for Holden with the LH Torana, the two-door Falcon a lap clear of Peter Janson and Larry Perkins in third place.
Victory in 1977 was Moffat’s fourth and final Bathurst 1000 success, which left him as the most winning driver in the Great Race at the time.
The event also marked the first time since growing into the 1000km classic that the race had been completed in under seven hours.
Holden Torana A9X, 1978 & 1979 Bathurst 1000 winner
Now a familiar sight among the Touring Car Masters field, the Holden Torana A9X made its name in the Australian Touring Car Championship courtesy of Peter Brock and the Holden Dealer Team.
Reeling from their Bathurst defeat in 1977, the Holden squad bounced back in 1978 with the 5.0-litre V8 variant of the LX Torana hatch.
But it was the following year that would see the car become etched into the history books, as Brock and co-driver Jim Richards won Bathurst by six laps.
Away from the Mountain, the Holden Torana A9X also won the Australian Touring Car Championships in both ’78 and ’79 before being replaced by the Commodore at the start of the 1980s.
BMW 635 CSi, 1985 Australian Touring Car Champion
Throughout the 1985 Australian Touring Car Championship, Jim Richards finished off the podium just once.
On only two other occasions did he not win during that 10-round campaign, driving the black BMW 635 CSi to championship success ahead of Dick Johnson (then in a Ford Mustang GT).
Richards campaigned a 635 as early as 1982, with the car also seeing outings in the Australian Endurance Championship, a series he won in 1985 and 1986 with the car.
There was to be no Bathurst victory for the 635 CSi, though BMW did win on the Mountain in 1997 with the four-door 320i.
Ford Sierra RS500, 1988 & 1989 Bathurst 1000 winner
During the height of the Group A era, Dick Johnson showed the world what an Australian could do in a touring car, taking on the best in Europe and emerging with his head held high.
Famed for their turbo-lag, Johnson has described the Sierra as one of the best handling cars he’s ever driven.
Johnson himself was an instrumental figure, developing the electronics side of the car in Queensland.
It proved a dominant car in the late 1980s, and remained in service into the 1990s before being eventually replaced by the Ford Falcon as Group A collapsed.
Nissan Skyline GT-R, 1991 & 1992 Bathurst 1000 winner
Few cars can boast the sort of cult following the Nissan Skyline GT-R has developed over the years.
Twice a winner of the Bathurst 1000 at the end of the Group A era, it also won the ATCC in 1991 and 1992 courtesy of Jim Richards and Mark Skaife.
In 1992 Skaife and Richards dominated the championship, with the Skyline finishing at least second in every race of the season.
Regulation changes for 1993 saw its demise, though not before Richards famously called the booing Bathurst fans ‘a pack of arseholes’ after rain shortened the race.