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My Brock HDT Commodore

Jim Middleton says his Commodore was driven by a Holden company executive before Brock's team modified it as a prototype.

It is widely accepted that all 1980 limited-edition Brock HDT Commodores only came in white, red or black.  But Jim's is green, two-tone green in fact, which he says is authentic and has a fascinating history.

And he should know as he took delivery of it originally from Peter Brock's team, sold it and then bought it back again.  Peter Brock went into the special vehicle business in 1979 after Holden pulled out of motorsport and left him to run his own team. Brock signed up Holden dealers around the country for whom he would create a limited edition performance version of the VC Commodore.

In turn the dealer support helped fund his racing operations.  Middleton says: "The first 500 cars were red, white or black. But there were also two prototypes, a blue one and a green one."

The prototypes, a blue manual and a green auto, were the earlier VB model.  "My car is number one. They didn't have a builder's plate on the engine. They were numbered on the steering wheel. Mine is numbered 001 on the steering wheel."

It had started life as a light green 4.2-litre VB SL Commodore built in May 1979. Middleton says it was originally driven by a Holden company executive before Brock's team acquired it and modified it as a prototype.

"The car came to Brock from General Motors. It was John Harvey's (Brock's track teammate) drive-vehicle at the time."  The 5-litre V8 HDT Commodores received larger valves, had modified distributors and carburettors, suspension work, a body kit that included a rear spoiler and front air dam plus special Irmscher wheels from Germany and special paintwork among other changes.

In this configuration they achieved a 0-100km/h time of 8.4seconds with the engines puitting out 160kW and 450Nm of torque.  They sold for $20,000 ($200 less for a manual) and were quickly snapped up by eager punters. Middleton says the cars now fetch about $70,000-$80,000 and says his rare protototype could be worth up to $150,000.

Middleton worked for Holden dealer Les Vagg at Pennant Hills in Sydney, one of the HDT dealers.  He says that in 1982 Brock and Harvey came to the dealer on their way to a race at Amaroo Park where they arranged for the dealer to sell the green prototype as they no longer needed it. By then Brock's team was making the next of their limited editions, the VH Commodore.

"I sold it that weekend to a mate of mine's dad. I bought it back off him in August 1993."  Middleton says the car had done over 100,000 kilometres by then and needed work.

"It's been the world's slowest restoration program," he says of a job that he only completed this year.  "I wasn't in a great hurry. I knew I had the first car.  It had minor damage from car parks. It really needed pulling apart and putting back together."

Middleton then installed new panels, new door shells, new guards and a new bonnet and the engine and transmission were refreshed.  He took it to this year's Muscle Car Masters event at Eastern Creek where Harvey spotted it and drove it in a parade.

"He instantly recognised it," says Middleton.  This weekend about 70 HDT owners from around the country will be in Albury to celebrate the cars' 30th anniversary at a gathering to be known as Brocks on the Border.

Middleton says about half of the original 500 road cars still exist.  A further 12 were built as racecars for a one-off race at Calder as a support event to the 1980 Australian Grand Prix. Some of them also still exist.

Middleton says he will probably sell the car that has hardly been driven of late.  "It's lucky to have done 300 to 400km in 17 years."

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