Dick Johnson’s Greens’-Tuf Mustang is set to return to Australian motorsport this Queen’s Birthday long weekend at Sydney Retro Racefest.
The car was formerly owned by Bill Pye, who entered it in 2015’s Sydney Retro Speedfest before his tragic passing later that year. It has since been purchased by well-known Heritage Touring Cars racer Terry Lawlor, who added it to his collection of classic Mustangs after selling his ex-Bond Caltex Sierra.
Lawlor will race the car for the first time at Sydney Retro Racefest.
“The car is well sorted and very quick, and we hope to be able to mix it with many of the Sierras, as well as with the BMWs and the like.”
The Mustang is one of Australia’s great touring cars, although its competition life started a long way from here. It was built by European team Zakspeed and raced by Klaus Ludwig in Europe. During that time, the wizards at Zakspeed developed it into a particularly sweet handling and powerful machine. Touring car legend Dick Johnson brought it into Australia in 1984 alongside a sister car.
With 1984 being the final year of Group C competition, the James Hardie 1000 saw some Group A cars run in their own class alongside the Group C cars. Johnson entered the Mustang into the race as a backup to his Greens’-Tuf Falcon and it qualified 48th, although it would not be needed come race day.
In 1985, with the change in regulations from Group C to Group A, the reigning champion hopped out of his Greens’- Tuf Falcon into the Mustang GT. The pair would claim eight podiums in 1985 and finish their debut season second in the drivers’ championship behind Jim Richards driving a works BMW 635.
The car would then be used as a Dick Johnson Racing team spare, with Johnson moving to the second of the two Zakspeed Mustangs. It did see some competition in 1986, entering Australian and New Zealand endurance rounds, and gained some fame when Allan Moffat drove it for a television feature testing top Group A cars.
Its globe-trotting career would then take it to New Zealand, where it raced in the Nissan-Mobil 500 series painted in JPS’ black and gold livery. It saw competition on the streets of Wellington and Pokehoke before returning to Australia and sitting out the remainder of the 1986 season.
It would then be sold to Robbie Ker, who, with Johnson as a co-driver, raced it in the Wellington Nissan-Mobil 500. Unfortunately it saw heavy damage during an accident in practice and did not race.
After Wellington, Ker continued to race the car in New Zealand, giving it bigger wheels and tyres, and flaring its guards to suit. It then passed through several hands before Australian muscle car racer Ross Donnelley purchased it in 2006. Donnelley treated it to a full restoration, by Ken Hopper, bringing it to immaculate period condition as it was raced by Johnson in 1985.
It saw its return to the track in 2008 at a Muscle Car Masters round in Sydney, after which it was sold to Bill Pye, who raced it in Heritage Touring Cars until his passing.
Now in the hands of the extremely experienced and quick Terry Lawlor, we expect it to be very fast indeed, and to give its Group A contemporaries a great run during the motorsport-packed Sydney Retro Racefest weekend.
Its return to racing will take place at Sydney Retro Racefest over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend on the 11th and 12th of June, 2016.
The event, headlined by the Group C and A Australian touring cars of the Heritage Touring Cars series, is set to be an absolute stunner. It will see a huge collection of historic racing and sports cars, everything from Formula 1 to Groups C & A, classic sportscars and more, duking it out through a packed two day racing schedule.
Spectator passes will be available at the track on both days. Adult tickets are $20.00 for Saturday, $30 for Sunday and $40 for a two-day pass. Concession passes are $15.00 for Saturday, $20 for Sunday and $30 for a two-day pass. Entry for kids under 12 is free.
For more information stay tuned to www.hsrca.com.
Sydney Retro Racefest is proudly presented by Mercedes-Benz Parramatta and powered by myplates.com.au.