Thunder in the Air
The headline for this 1969 full page advertisement has real significance, given the prevailing direction of touring car racing in Australia at the time was racing along with increasing V8 powered pace.
The copy describes big horsepower and high speeds, and the big new noises in touring car racing. V8 power in the Improved Touring category was already well established by 1969, Norm Beechey had been crowned Australian Touring Car Champion driving a Ford Mustang in 1965 – with Mustangs winning each ensuring year, including 1969.
Prior to that first Mustang title, the Australian Touring Car Championship crown had been won by a serious of six cylinder powered Jaguars and a four cylinder Ford Cortina GT.
Likewise, the Series Production cars – such as those competing for outright honours in the Hardie Ferodo 500 – had changed tack, the essentially British four cylinder cars had become bit players in a race becoming the domain of the American V8 power of Ford and Holden.
It was a time when the purity of cars competing without sponsorship signage or decals was quickly becoming only a memory. Such pointed advertising only served to reinforce the increasing commercialism of the sport. The copy is also very descriptive and emotive – a far cry from the simple ‘uses and recommends’ style message of only a few years prior.
The ad is also significant in other ways. The 450bhp Monaro pictured and referred to in the copy was the first locally produced V8 powered car to contest the Australian Touring Car Championship. And, it pictures Norm Beechey’s ‘Shell’ sponsored Monaro leading Ian Geoghegan’s ‘Castrol’ sponsored Mustang.
Ironically, it was Ian Geoghegan driving his Castrol sponsored Mustang that clinched the 1969 Australian Touring Car crown.