Holden Dealer TeamThis article is about the team started in 1969. For the 1968 team run by the Scuderia Veloce team, see Holden Dealer Racing Team.
In 1969 Harry Firth was considered by those at Ford to be 'too old' and was replaced as Ford Works Team boss by American Al Turner. Within a short time he had crossed over to General Motors Holden (GMH) to become manager of the new Holden Dealer Team, which despite the "Dealer" name was actually a full works team backed by Holden and set up by GMH executive John Bagshaw. Because of General Motors world wide factory ban on motorsport at the time (dating back to the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans disaster that killed 80 people), the team's cash flow from Holden had to come through the 'back door' to avoid alerting GM headquarters in Detroit. Ironically, the HDT operated out of Firth’s Auburn workshop, the same that had once housed the Ford Works Team.
That year Firth was instrumental in launching the professional careers of two soon to be famous drivers – talented up and coming rally driver Colin Bond and young tearaway Peter Brock whose feats in an Austin A30 had brought him to Firth’s attention. Bond and Tony Roberts won the 1969 Hardie-Ferodo 500 for the HDT in a Holden Monaro GTS350, with Des West and Brock finishing third in a similar car.
Over the next eight years the Holden Dealer Team under Firth achieved many notable race and rally victories and championship wins. Included among these are:
- 1970 Southern Cross Rally - Barry Ferguson / Dave Johnson in a Holden LC Torana GTR XU-1.
- 1971 South Pacific Touring Series - Colin Bond in an LC Torana GTR XU-1.
- 1971 Southern Cross Rally - Colin Bond / George Shepheard in an LC Torana GTR XU-1.
- 1971, 1972 and 1974 Australian Rally Championship wins by Colin Bond in an LC Torana GTR XU-1 (`71) and a Holden LJ Torana GTR XU-1 (`72 & `74).
- 1971 Autolite Rallycross series - Peter Brock in an LC Torana GTR XU-1 nicknamed "The Beast".
- 1971 Sandown 250 - Colin Bond in an LC Torana GTR XU-1.
- 1972 Hardie-Ferodo 500 with Peter Brock driving an LJ Torana GTR XU-1. It was the first of Brock's record 9 wins in the Bathurst 500 / 1000.
- 1973 and 1974 South Pacific Touring Series - Peter Brock in an LJ Torana GTR XU-1.
- 1973 Sandown 250 - Peter Brock in an LJ Torana GTR XU-1.
- 1974 Australian Touring Car Championship - Peter Brock driving both an XU-1 Torana and the new, V8 Torana SL/R 5000.
- 1975 Australian Touring Car Championship - Colin Bond driving an L34 Torana V8.
- Holden Dealer Team drivers secured the Australian Manufacturers' Championship for GMH in 1971, 1973 and 1974.
At the end of, 1977 Harry Firth retired as manager of the Holden team but continued his involvement in motor racing as National Chief Scrutineer in 1979-1981.
Read more about this topic: Harry Firth
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... This article is about the team started in 1969 ... For the 1968 team run by the Scuderia Veloce team, see Holden Dealer Racing Team. 1969 Harry Firth was considered by those at Ford to be 'too old' and was replaced as Ford Works Team boss by American Al Turner ...
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