Row over $2 million Brock Holden
A DECADES-LONG controversy is set to reignite when a Holden Commodore racing car goes under the hammer before this year's Bathurst 1000.
Auctioneers claim the car was driven to victory by racing legend Peter Brock in 1984 and expect it to fetch more than $2 million.
If it does, it will smash the record for the highest price paid for an Australian-made car, set recently at $1 million for a Ford Falcon GTHO.
But many motorsport experts are adamant the car, which wears the famous Brock 05 number on its doors, is actually the number 25 car driven by John Harvey, which finished second in the race.
A 2014 investigation by Australian Muscle Car magazine interviewed former Brock team members and race drivers but the outcome was inconclusive.
Former Holden motorsport insiders told News Corp Australia the real Brock 05 car, which wore 'day-glo' orange paintwork and was named the "Big Banger", resides in the Bathurst museum.
A spokesman for the museum said it was not prepared to comment on the provenance of either car.
Log books for both cars have disappeared, so there is no definitive way of telling them apart.
Former Holden mechanic Jeff Grech told the magazine he stamped a B and an S on each car - B for Brock and S for "slug" Harvey. But neither mark has been found.
The VK Commodore is one of 30 cars raced by Brock to be auctioned in Bathurst on October 6, the weekend of the "Great Race". The cars were sold by collector Peter Champion early this year as a "job lot" to an anonymous buyer, who has put them under the hammer with Lloyds Auctions.
Champion told Australian Muscle Car magazine in 2014 that Brock told him the car he bought was the real deal.
"Peter Brock personally inspected this vehicle for myself when it was in England. He confirmed … that it was indeed the 05 car," he told the magazine.
In a letter republished by the magazine Brock said: "Peter Champion has the real 05 car. No contest. It is a beautiful restored example of a wonderful part of our rich motorsport heritage. Bathurst museum has the car Holden and I donated to them - car 25," he says.
Lloyds Auctions head auctioneer Bill Freeman says all bidders will be made aware of the controversy surrounding the two cars.
"In the end every bidder will be made aware of all the facts, including new information we will release closer to the sale," he said. "At the end of the day, both cars are very important."
He said Brock himself had personally vouched for the authenticity of the car going under the hammer.
"Nobody contested his claim until he passed away, which I think is an interesting point," he said.
He said interest in the car was overwhelming. "We've had thousands of inquires every day since the collection has been announced, including inquiries from overseas," Freeman says.
"We expect it to sell in excess of $2 million which will break all Australian records. Cars of this calibre are hard to find and with its substantial motorsport and celebrity heritage."
Champion says the "Big Banger" buyer will own a slice of motorsport history.
"This car has a lot of great history and even better stories that come along with it. This is not just an ordinary car - it's a very special piece of history."
With Craig Duff