The top two-doors in Aussie touring car history

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 29/04/2018
  • By Mitchell Adam, Pics: AN1 Media

Next season, the Ford Mustang will become the first two-door car to race in the ATCC/Supercars Championship in 25 years.

But while a generation has now grown up with Australian touring car racing meaning four-door sedans, many of the category’s most iconic and successful vehicles have been two-doors.

As work ramps up on the new model, Supercars.com looks back at some of the two-door racers that made their mark.

Ford Mustang

Geoghegan-Calder-1970-Mustang

The nameplate on everybody’s lips already has plenty of success in the Australian Touring Car Championship.

With Norm Beechey’s 1965 title followed by four for Ian 'Pete' Geoghegan, the original generation Mustang swept five-straight ATCC crowns in the late 1960s.

The first four of those were contested over a single event, before Geoghegan took the maiden multi-race affair in 1969.

Moffat-May-1971-Calder-AN1

By then, Canadian hotshot Allan Moffat had turned his attention to Australia, with what became another iconic – albeit very different – Mustang, his 1969 Boss 302 in the red of Coca-Cola.

A title proved elusive for Moffat in the car in the early 1970s, and the production-based rules of what was then the Bathurst 500 mean the pre-72 ATCC Mustangs never contested the Great Race.

1985 Johnson Mustang Team

The Mustang nameplate returned to action briefly in the mid-1980s with Ford competitors including Dick Johnson.

It was the Ford of choice when Group A regulations replaced Group C, but soon cast aside for the Sierra.

Holden Monaro

Beechey-Surfers-1969-HMS-Press

Beechey became the first driver to win ATCC titles in two different brands in 1970, driving a Holden Monaro GTS 350.

The HT-generation Monaro ended the Mustang’s run of domination that started with Beechey himself in 1965.

In the process, Beechey also became Holden’s maiden Australian Touring Car Champion.

Holden’s first two Bathurst wins also came with the Monaro, with Bruce McPhee/Barry Mulholland in 1968 and Colin Bond/Tony Roberts one year later

Chevrolet Camaro

Jane-Calder-Camaro-71-AN1

Nearly a decade after winning his first two titles in a Jaguar, Bob Jane took his third and fourth in 1971 and ’72 in a Chevrolet Camaro.

He beat Moffat and Geoghegan in their Mustangs across seven rounds in 1971 and followed it up with his final championship the following year.

The 1972 season was the last of what was known as the Improved Production regulations, and the 7.0-litre Camaro puts Chevrolet in a rare group of non-Ford/Holden ATCC title winners.

Ford Falcon

Moffat-Sandown-400-1977-AN1

Two-door Falcons starred in the ATCC and at Bathurst in the mid-1970s, and Moffat was again leading the way for the Blue Oval.

They arrived after the pre-Bathurst 1972 ‘Supercar scare’ cut the GT-HO down in its prime and prompted a change in regulations.

The two-door Falcon era arrived in fine style, Moffat teaming with Geoghegan in 1973 aboard an XA model GT to win Bathurst, which was now being run to the same regulations as the ATCC and over 1000km.

In Ford’s XB GT Falcon and then the XC, Moffat took out the ATCC in 1976 and ’77.

He paired the latter with an iconic Bathurst victory, the factory Fords crossing the line in formation with team-mate Bond, a lap ahead of the field.

Holden Torana A9X

Brock-5-Calder-ATCC-1979-AN1

The two-door Torana followed the Monaro in competition for Holden, as Peter Brock rose to become a household name.

Brock’s first Bathurst victory came in a two-door LJ model Torana and, after a stint in four-door LH variants, Brock's 1978 and ’79 wins utilised the iconic LX A9X hatchback.

That 1979 victory with Jim Richards remains the stuff of legends, the pair winning by six laps and Brock setting a new lap record on the final tour of Mount Panorama.

With Brock in 1978 and Bob Morris in ’79, the A9X also won a pair of ATCC titles, before the introduction of the Commodore.

Earlier, Brock had switched from a two-door LJ to a four-door LH on the way to his first ATCC title in 1974.

Mazda RX-7

Moffat-Surfers-AEC-1984-AN1

Moffat was at it again late in the Group C era; not in a Ford, but rather a Mazda.

In 1983, he took an RX-7 to become the first driver to win the ATCC in a Japanese car; the only others coming with Nissan nearly a decade later.

While he couldn’t add to his Bathurst victory tally, Moffat took the rotary RX-7 to the Mount Panorama podium three times in four years.

BMW 635csi

85-ATCC-Calder-Richo-AN1

The Group A era was pretty much the domain of two-doors, including a fleet of European-derived vehicles that made their way to Australia.

In colours alone that are iconic, the black-and-gold of cigarette brand JPS, Jim Richards took two of the first three titles in BMWs run by the legendary Frank Gardner.

Richards’ maiden ATCC crown came in 1985 the shark-nosed 635csi – a model that started its life in Group C – winning seven of the 10 rounds, with a second coming in the E30 M3 in ’87.

Volvo 240T

Francevic-Winton-ATCC-86-AN1

Even before Scott McLaughlin gave it some jandal in Garry Rogers Motorsport’s Swedish Supercar, Volvo had tasted success in this corner of the world.

Robbie Francevic beat Nissan Skyline driver George Fury to the 1986 Australian Touring Car Championship, between Richards’ two crowns, in what was a short-lived program.

The two-door Volvo 240T was even John Bowe’s chariot for his Bathurst 1000 debut in 1985.

Bowe and Francevic failed to finish but it put the then-single-seater ace on course for a long and successful career in touring cars.

Ford Sierra RS500

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The Mustang didn’t offer Ford teams much joy early in the Group A era, but that all changed with the introduction of the Sierra RS500.

The fearsome, turbocharged machines made their debut in 1987, Johnson winning at Adelaide International Raceway, but really hit their straps the following season.

Johnson and Shell team-mate Bowe finished first and second in the championship, winning all bar one round, fifth-placed Tony Longhurst grabbing that to complete a Sierra sweep.

In the 1989 season, Johnson and Bowe were first and second again, winning all bar two events between them.

One of those, almost unthinkably, went to Brock in a Ford, following his Holden exit and brief BMW tenure.

Brock benefited from the disqualification of the Eggenberger Sierras to win Bathurst in 1987 in his Commodore, before Sierras took out the next two Great Races.

Nissan Skyline GT-R

Richards-Oran-ATCC-1992-AN1

Last but by no means least, Nissan’s all-conquering Skyline GT-R.

The two-door Skyline story started with the DR30, and the R31 that followed was used by Richards for the majority of his 1990 ATCC-winning season with Gibson Motorsport.

It was, though, the R32 – nicknamed Godzilla – that gave the rest of the field a bit of what-for.

Richards and Mark Skaife finished one-two in the championship in 1991 and ’92, taking a title each, and won Bathurst together in those last two years of the Group A era that was followed by Supercars.

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