Meeting A Hero - GREENS' TUF
Alot of people ask me why I decided to build an XF Falcon race car, they seem confused as to why I would see this car as a starting point for a race car and I guess it all really comes down to one thing, Green's Tuf. its not always easy for non car people to understand how much cars can have an affect on us but the best way for me to explain seeing this car in the flesh the first time is imagine a basketball fan meeting Michael Jordan, well GREENS' TUF is my Michael Jordan.
Green's Tuf is a 1983 XE Falcon that was built and raced by one of Australia's most famous racing car drivers Dick Johnson and the car it self is equally as famous and actually might be the most famous race car in Australian history.
Unfortunately its famous for its moment in history during the Hardie's Hero's Top 10 shoot out for the 83 Bathurst race, coming into the last sector of Mount Panorama coming through Forrest's Elbow dick ran slightly wide clipping the arm-co, ever the race at heart Dick admittedly kept his foot planted hoping once the car had landed to keep going but at the end of the arm-co was a tyre bundle and that grabbed the front right wheel of the car and spat it into the tree's, the car was destroyed beyond recognition and how Dick managed to jump from the car unscathed is truly hard to believe.
As we had already been shown by Dick and his team they where not the type to give up and immediately begun sourcing another car in the effort to take what ever was salvageable from the original Green's Tuf car and turn into a competitive car for the following days race, They made a deal with the owners of the Channel 7 car and worked through the night to turn the car into what you see hear today!
Even though this car was raced 7 years before my making I still had such a connection to it, To me nothing comes even remotely close to the epicness of this car, the big flares and Le-mans Prototype wheels just speak to me in a way no other car ever has, just as much as I grow idolising drivers like Michael Schumacher, Dick Johnson and Craig Lowndes the cars to me where just as much heroes and this car to me is the true hero car.
For 28 years I've spent countless hours looking at magazines, photos online and watching YouTube clips of Green's Tuf I've probably seen all the videos a 100 times over but despite that I'd never actually seen it in the flesh, I missed to opportunity a couple weeks ago when it was at Phillip Island for the historic's round, so once I seen from a photo on Facebook that it was at Motor Ex I knew i wasn't going to miss out on this opportunity again.
Seeing the car for the first time in the flesh I was a bit speechless to be honest and it took me about 20 minutes to really take it in before my brain started working again, I was so in awe of what was in front of me.
The big back wheels are what you notice first, the fitment and overall size is something that you need to see in person to get the true impact of, Dick purchased the wheels from Germany and they are believed to have been originally off a 80's Porsche Leman's Prototype, but you'd never know as they look so at home tucked hard up against the group-c flares.
The owners of the car have quite the collection of cars but none better to me then this, I have to say a massive thanks to them for showing me around the car and even letting me have a sit in the beast, sitting in the sheep skin racing buckets and holding onto that wheel made me feel like such a kid, once again I was back in my youth day dreaming of throwing this car around the track just like Dick did, it truly is something ill never forget and maybe the only thing that will come close to topping it will be finally driving my own XF race car for the first time.
The guys over at Muscle Car Memorabilia own the car and have a few other amazing cars in there collection, they also produce amazing some amazing quality prints of the cars in there collection, a few pieces we will have to have in the LLR head quarters one day, so head on over and check out there site and social media.