Monday 20 February 2012

Dick Johnson's Tru Blu

It's been 31 years since Dick Johnson won both the Australian Touring Car Championship and the James Hardie 1000 at Bathurst in his venerable Tru Blu XD Falcon and what better way to celebrate this oddly numbered milestone than giving the old Falcon a makeover.

The car's current care taker, the Bowden Family of Queensland, have just completed a sympathetic rebuild, consisting of a full engine tear down and most recently, a return to the livery that the car raced in at the 1981 race at Mt Panorama.

It is interesting to note that the livery in the below photo, which I took at Lakeside last year, is actually a reproduction in itself, with Dick having sold the car after the 1981 to fund the purchase of his new racecar, the Red Roo XE, which later became the infamous GreensTuf Falcon.

Local Brisbane privateer, Alf Grant, raced the car for a while in a slightly modified, but no less recognisable, Tru Blu livery. Luckily, Dick had the foresight to buy the car back from Alf before it was turned into a sports sedan, which was the trend for race cars of that era.

Below, you can see Alf about to be rounded up by Dick in his GreensTuf Falcon. I guess these two cars can be called sister cars.

Once the car was back in Dick's possession, he gave it a quick coat of paint to make it look like how the car ran it's last race in 1981, which was at Lakeside, where he clinched the ATCC by literally a nose hair over the heavily funded and relentless Holden Dealer Team Commodore of Peter Brock.

Whilst the ATCC win was a huge achievement, most regard the Bathurst win an even bigger one, as the year before Dick had encountered the famous rock and the even more famous outpouring of money and support from the Australian punters, so obviously, this was the best way to repay all those loyal fans for their support.

So, enjoy your freshly darned suit Mr Tru Blu and here's to the next 31 years!

Pic courtesy of Bowden's Own

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