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My replica Brock VK Commodore

Chris Williams with his replica of the VK Commodore that Brock drove.

Chris Williams, 59, has built a replica of the VK Commodore that Brock drove to Bathurst glory in 1984 with co-driver Larry Perkins, even though Williams wasn't in the country at the time.

Williams, was still living in England in the 1980s. He migrated to Australia about 20 years ago, but spent his early days as a fabricator for the F1 Arrows team with Frank Wiliams and then the Le Mans-winning JW Automotive, working on Ford GT40s and Porsche 917s.

On arriving in Australia, he was taken by the legend of Brock in his '80s hey day and the unrestricted Group C V8 muscle cars.

"I never saw Peter Brock race, but I've seen the videos and photos," he says.

"It (VK Commodore) was the best-looking car and the most memorable because it was the start of modern colour schemes and the end of the big banger (Group C) era," Williams says.

Williams bought the car for $6000 in 2007 when it was a black show car. He has since spent about $50,000 turning it into a replica that he races, shows and hires for promotional events.

Williams says he's had three offers of more than $100,000 for the car, plus a buyer who wants him to make one. However, it's only insured for $50,000 because of the high risk of racing.

"Everything has a price, but it's not for sale really. I want to use it for a few years first," he says.

"I've also put in 1600 hours getting it to this level."

Williams has been racing for five years and won a few trophies. He converted the VK from black to HDT livery in the past 18 months by popular demand.

"People want to see the car racing on the track," he says. "Racing is the best way to spend my money.”

"It's like you seem quite sensible until you get your helmet on and get on the starting line, then you just see red."

Incidentally, his gold helmet is festooned with the signatures of racing greats such as Dick and Steven Johnson, Harry Firth, Mark Skaife, Kevin Bartlett, Greg Murphy and Jim Richards, but not Peter Brock.

His fluro orange replica has all the original sponsor signage, including cigarette advertising which Williams believes will not be a problem, even on Victorian tracks, because it's a replica historic car. Modifications to the 308 V8 engine are few: hot cams, K&N air filter, high-tension leads and handmade stainless steel manifold and side exhaust that rumbles with Group C memories.

Williams hasn't had the engine dynoed, but says he's reached a top speed of 240km/h. In the back is a proper stainless steel racing tank, while in the cabin are two Sparco seats and Sabelt five-point harnesses.

"I must have rocks in my head; being a perfectionist and wanting to do it right the project turned into a monster," he says.

 

Williams literally had to re-invent the wheel to get the car right. The original 17 x 10 Momo wheels are no longer available, so he had to hand-make the billet aluminium wheels from a 1/18 scale model using a vernier gauge.

The car is not quite CAMS spec, but compliant for AAA racing in the Shannons muscle car series. Williams says he goes through a set of 625/265 R17 Dunlop slicks in a race weekend at a cost of $2300. He estimates a racing series would cost up to $50,000.

However, he hopes to do a full season in the VK including Phillip Island, Eastern Creek, Queensland Raceway and Bathurst where it will no doubt stir some deep emotions.

AT A GLANCE

Year: 1984
Price New: $11,000
Price Now: >$100,000
Engine: 308 5-litre V8
Body: 4-door sedan race car
Trans: T21 5-speed manual
Did you know: Peter Brock has won nine Bathurst titles, 10 if you include the 24-hour race.

RACING RECORD

The King of the Mountain was on a roll in 1984.

Peter Brock's win in the Bathurst 1000 that year was his third in a row and his sixth in just seven years.

The Holden Dealer Team claimed a 1-2 finish with John Harvey and David Parsons behind Brock and Larry Perkins.

The race was known as The Last of the Big Bangers because the Group C touring car category was ending because the cars had become too expensive and powerful.

It was replaced by the international Group A formula.

However, the Group A-spec VK Commodore won again in 1986 with Allan Grice and Graeme Bailey at the wheel.

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