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If not for Allan Moffat, the Falcon GT-HO would not command the same reverence that it does today. Moffat was ‘the man’ when it came to racing and winning in GT-HOs.
He helped steer the first GT-HO to a debut victory at the Sandown Three-Hour in 1969. He did it again the following year in the latest GT-HO Phase Two and three weeks later scored his first Bathurst 500 win.
In 1971 he returned with the definitive GT-HO – the ferocious Phase Three – and took his second Bathurst win in devastating style, demolishing Holden and Chrysler rivals to finish one lap clear of the field.
Moffat missed out on a third successive win the following year due to brake issues but still played a decisive role in winning the prized Manufacturers Championship for Ford. He also won the 1973 ATCC in a Phase Three. No other GT-HO driver came close.
However, the GT-HO era represents only one of many colourful chapters in a long and successful career. Born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Canada in 1939, Moffat moved to Australia in the early 1960s when his father, who worked for Massey Ferguson, was transferred here.
The young Moffat was mad about racing, splitting his time between Australia and the US as he tried to get a foot in either door. A key opportunity arose when he got a job as a helper for Team Lotus in the US, which led to him being able to purchase an ex-works Lotus Cortina which he raced with notable success in Australia and the US.
The highlight was a stunning outright victory over the Ford UK works team in a round of the 1966 Trans-Am series, which attracted the attention of two US automotive giants which would be pivotal in his career – Ford and Goodyear. This led to a role as development driver for Ford’s Kar Kraft special vehicles division, which involved plenty of track time sorting Mustangs for the Trans-Am series and the occasional race drive.
By 1969 Moffat was starting to go places in US racing, but he was smitten by his adopted Australian home and saw a bright future here as the nation’s first full-time professional touring car driver. He just needed the right tool for the job.
Through his excellent contacts at Ford, Moffat figured he could secure one of the ex-works 1968 Trans-Am Mustangs at mate’s rates. However, after a life-changing meeting with Ford racing boss Jacques Passino in Detroit, Moffat got a lot more than he’d bargained for – a brand new 1969 Boss 302 Trans-Am Mustang free of charge!
One of a small batch hand-built for the 1969 Trans-Am wars, Moffat’s state-of-the-art factory race car was destined for greatness. Although it never won the Australian Touring Car Championship, Moffat and his Coca-Cola (later Brut 33) backed Mustang brought a new level of excitement and professionalism to Australian motor sport. They won more than 100 races and set new lap records around the country in many exciting battles with Bob Jane, Norm Beechey and Pete Geoghegan.
After winning the 1973 Bathurst 1000 in a new XA Falcon GT Hardtop with Geoghegan, Ford Australia announced a shock withdrawal from direct involvement in motor sport. Without a Ford contract, Moffat was in demand for major overseas co-drives, resulting in an historic victory for BMW in the 1975 Sebring 12 Hour.
Back home Moffat won the 1976 Australian Sports Sedan Championship with the combination of an IMSA Chevrolet Monza and Ford Capri RS3100. With increasing 'back door' support from Ford he also starred in the ATCC, winning his second title in 1976 in an XB Falcon GT Hardtop outnumbered by dozens of Holden Toranas.
Ford officially returned in 1977, backing a two-car campaign spearheaded by Moffat and Ford convert Colin Bond. Together they blitzed the ATCC before orchestrating their famous and unprecedented 1-2 formation finish at Bathurst.
However, following a humiliating defeat for the XC Falcon Cobras the following year, Ford again withdrew. Moffat knew his future success relied on securing the support of a more committed car maker, so he signed with Mazda to spearhead its local assault with the rotary-powered RX-7 sports coupe.
In 1980, while waiting for the Mazda to be approved, he also won the Australian Sports Car Championship in a turbo Porsche 934 and co-drove a twin-turbo 935 in the Le Mans 24 Hour sports car race, only for the engine to expire when in fourth place.
CAMS’ acceptance of Mazda’s ‘sports car’ as a touring car for 1981 ensured the RX-7 was never far from controversy. Although Mazda never won Bathurst, Moffat masterfully drove the little Japanese giant killer to his fourth ATCC title in 1983 and won numerous big endurance events including the Sandown 400. He also co-drove RX-7s with distinction in the 1982 Daytona 24 Hour and Le Mans 24 Hour sports car races.
Australia’s switch to Group A touring car rules in 1985 resulted in a reluctant parting with Mazda, but he soon joined forces with long-time nemesis Peter Brock in a Holden Dealer Team VK Commodore. They co-drove in several European Touring Car Championship rounds in 1986 including the prestigious Spa 24 Hour race. Although finishing well down that year due to engine trouble, Moffat returned to Spa in 1987 with John Harvey in an ex-HDT VL Commodore and finished a fine fourth outright.
Moffat was back aboard a Ford at Bathurst in 1987, this time a European Ford Sierra RS500 supplied by the UK’s Andy Rouse which was an early retirement. However, he soon forged a new relationship with Swiss tuning ace Ruddi Eggenberger, which saw Moffat’s team campaign the imported turbocharged cars from 1988 to 1992. A fifth Bathurst win, however, continued to elude him.
It was also during the Sierra era that Moffat quietly hung up his helmet, after co-driving with German ace Klaus Niedzwiedz to win a 500km race at Japan’s Fuji Speedway in 1989. This was two days after Moffat’s 50th birthday. He always promised himself he’d quit race driving at 50, so to score his last career win aboard a Ford was a fitting way to end his career.
And what a magnificent career it was. Four-times Bathurst 500/1000 winner, four-times Australian Touring Car Champion, six-times Sandown 500 winner, Australian Sports Car Champion, Australian Sports Sedan Champion, Sebring 12 Hour outright winner, Daytona 24 Hour class winner and countless other successes. He was also awarded an OBE for services to motor sport, inducted into the V8 Supercar Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2018.
Allan resides in Melbourne with his long-time partner Sue McCure. His first wife, Pauline, has remarried and lives in the USA so he has two sons to different mums, Andrew (Pauline) and James (Sue).
Allan George Moffat OBE is a living motor sport treasure, a Ford and Mazda racing icon and one of Australia’s greatest racing drivers.