Henry Leslie Firth was clever and versatile.
If McLaren’s Ron Dennis and Triple Eight’s Roland Dane ever saw Harry’s workshop it’s for certain they would have been determined to never, ever have a place like that!
But Harry was at least as clever and successful as they – and very versatile – as a driver, mechanic and team manager.
Harry won major races and rallies, sometimes in the same year. He helped manufacturers develop cars to meet regulations and, sometimes, to get around them.
He ran teams and picked out and developed some of Australia’s best drivers, including Colin Bond and Peter Brock.
Harry gained the epithet ‘The Old Fox’ from the way he spoke: not much and not often, through pursed lips, as if every word cost money.
Harry had many successes with Ford, including Bathurst wins for the Cortina GT500 he developed and as a Falcon GT driver. Ultimately he was let go for being ‘too old’.
So, inspired by the desire for a bit of revenge, it was off to Holden where victories in races long and short, rallycross and rallies came frequently.
The Old Fox, aged 96 when he died two years ago, is now a member of the Australian Motor Sport Hall of Fame.