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HK1837 Offline
#1 Posted : Saturday, 12 October 2019 11:14:58 AM(UTC)
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Where do these people get their info from?
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Dr Terry Offline
#2 Posted : Saturday, 12 October 2019 12:28:30 PM(UTC)
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To be fair they don't really count the David McKay lead HDRT. It wasn't counted as a 'Factory' team.

The HDT from Firth days onwards is/was regarded as a true 'Factory' team, even though it was at arms length.

Dr Terry
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HK1837 Offline
#3 Posted : Saturday, 12 October 2019 1:14:22 PM(UTC)
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Why is 1968 any different to 1969 though? One of the 1968 cars was actually the GMH development mule. In fact in 1968 all three cars were GMH prepared, whereas 1969 they were done further at arms length.

Both are on the surface “Dealer Teams”. Cars were “supplied” through GMH dealers.

And what about 1963? GMH had a factory team planned and ready for 1963 but had to change plans after the 1963 factory racing ban. They moved to the ATCC with Norm Beechey.

Edited by user Saturday, 12 October 2019 1:16:15 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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Dr Terry Offline
#4 Posted : Saturday, 12 October 2019 2:09:24 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: HK1837 Go to Quoted Post
Why is 1968 any different to 1969 though? One of the 1968 cars was actually the GMH development mule. In fact in 1968 all three cars were GMH prepared, whereas 1969 they were done further at arms length.

Both are on the surface “Dealer Teams”. Cars were “supplied” through GMH dealers.

And what about 1963? GMH had a factory team planned and ready for 1963 but had to change plans after the 1963 factory racing ban. They moved to the ATCC with Norm Beechey.


Yes, I agree but all of these teams were organised by individuals in some way or other. Beechey ran his thing & I believe Bill Paterson instigated the 1963 EH thing. But what they were trying to do was make it a genuine 'dealer' thing from 1969 onwards. Yes it was really Harry Firth, & yes it was financed thru the back door, but this was the 1st time the term Holden Dealer Team was used. David McKay was still Scuderia Veloce.

I always thought that the 1963 'change of mind' was because of the ARDC's attitude towards GM-H. They made it too difficult & GM-H said" bugger off" & left it to Ford.

Dr Terry
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HK1837 Offline
#5 Posted : Saturday, 12 October 2019 2:34:35 PM(UTC)
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Still 1969 was no different to 1968 in that regard. It was just different dealers to 1969. On paper the cars were supplied by Patterson Motors (23D), Sutton Motors (25D) and Midway Motors (24D) (these were as supplied, the wrong cars went back to the "supplying" dealers). The cars were totally prepared by GMH with David McKay the front and it was called HDRT. The engines were all blueprinted and dyno tested by GMH, pulled from regular production Dandenong engine allocation. All three cars worse consecutive rego plates, all regoed in Victoria on the same day. 1968 was actually more factory involvement than 1969. Holden Dealer (Racing) Team was used in 1968, it was only changed the next year to distinguish the change in operation.

1963 change was due to GM's stamp down on factory racing as far as I am aware. It was communicated to all GM divisions earlier in 1963. The link with Beechey was all part of the upcoming HK GTS327 (although it wasn't called that in 1963-4), the idea was to get him into and win the ATCC which he almost did in 1964 in an S5 EH. As we all know an S5 almost won in 1963 at Bathurst too but in the hands of a privateer.
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Warren Turnbull Offline
#6 Posted : Saturday, 12 October 2019 6:21:44 PM(UTC)
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The GM racing ban is interesting, as it was explained at a seminar that I attended here in Brisbane with a fellow Pontiac. The way it was explained there would be no reason for GMH to worry about it, as it was to do with US sales. As GMH was not recognised in the US then no problem. And GMH was heavily involved in motor racing unless rally is not considered motor racing.

As Terry said, I think it was more to do with the ARDC and Holden, the tension between the two is well documented
HK1837 Offline
#7 Posted : Saturday, 12 October 2019 7:11:40 PM(UTC)
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The GM racing ban is why the HDRT and later HDT existed.

Here is some background on the ban, it was based upon Antitrust

https://www.pontiacv8.co...amous-racing-ban-of-1963

Edited by user Saturday, 12 October 2019 7:35:41 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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Warren Turnbull Offline
#8 Posted : Saturday, 12 October 2019 10:53:59 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: HK1837 Go to Quoted Post
The GM racing ban is why the HDRT and later HDT existed.

Here is some background on the ban, it was based upon Antitrust

https://www.pontiacv8.co...amous-racing-ban-of-1963


I am not saying that there was not a ban, but the ban really did not apply to Australia. And Holden was very much involved in supporting and reporting rally results.

There have even been suggestions that the 81837 model was issued to "hide" the car. This is questionable as the 81837 model now appeared hundreds of times in the engineering report, if it was left as an option it would have only appeared a few times. (what ever the reason it must also apply to the Brabham, which was also given a separate model code in 1968).

My guess is GMH used dealer teams as the bosses were US origin and this happened a lot in the US.

Edited by user Sunday, 13 October 2019 6:07:05 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Monaro23D Offline
#9 Posted : Sunday, 13 October 2019 8:17:19 AM(UTC)
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The three HDRT cars were all registered in the name of General Motors and it was widely recognised, certainly by the motoring press, that this was a factory effort albeit via the back door.
For example Modern Motor in reporting the race state:
Most GMH effort went into the three "unofficial works" cars of the Holden Dealers Team (Italics by Modern Motor and the word Racing omitted from the team name)
GMH were in up to their eye balls with material support and extensive testing being conducted at Lang Lang both before and after the race, not just by engineers but team drivers.
Phil West in particular was pounding out laps to optimise brakes and suspension settings at Lang Lang before Bathurst. Interesting to know how similar the HDRT cars were to the Watson/Roberts car
given that they were employed at GMH.
Monaro HK 327 GTS
HK1837 Offline
#10 Posted : Sunday, 13 October 2019 9:13:51 AM(UTC)
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Agree. In reality 1968 was a higher level of GMH involvement than any other year up until probably the 90's.

Rallying was not considered to be "racing" and Rallying was how the XU1 was sold to the powers that be.

Joe Felice even talks about the whole thing in the attached interview. He even talks about the change to Harry Firth for 1969 as David McKay was hard to deal with.

https://www.tradeuniquec...0zxTb7l9YhOXYSJR8ICKd7c

The car that was officially second and crossed the line 2nd in 1968 (24D) was an ex-GMH on-line pilot, it is the car Phil West used for development to get the suspension etc correct at Lang Lang. Phil West told me a matter of weeks ago that 24D was "an insurance policy", it was the other two cars that they thought were the outright contenders. I think it was the only HDRT car to have a 3.36 rear axle too.

Warren, the ban applied worldwide to all GM operations. It was all tied up in concern about Antitrust, and as you say GM were worried about sales too as they had a lot more to lose than any other manufacturer. GMH were very worried about the GTS327 being seen as another GTO, but until really late it was never meant to be a race car to be raced in standard form, it should only ever have been given the standard GTS suspension. It was Ford's win at Bathurst 1967 that made them change their minds and race tune the car. Giving it its own model code rather than as option codes on an 0737 would have hidden it better, but it appears this was just a part of a bigger whole in early 1968 where the Brougham and the Kingswood ute were also given their own model codes.

Edited by user Sunday, 13 October 2019 9:21:09 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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Warren Turnbull Offline
#11 Posted : Sunday, 13 October 2019 11:27:58 AM(UTC)
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It is interesting when you talk to these people all these years later. There seems to be a "official statement" that they put forward.

I found this so much when I spoke to these guys back in the 90s when we wrote the Monaro Facts/Story.

They would tell you something, then you would say "but what about this" their response was that did not happen, then you would quote something from them and then they knew you had caught them out. A good example was the heads on the HT 350, Harry denied they had different heads, no such thing, all BS he told me, and was quite forceful about it. Then when I quoted the service letter he asked how I got it, then after a while he came clean.

So please excuse me if I do not believe what these guys are saying in general interviews. The journos interviewing them just accept they are being told the truth.

History is written by the winners, how they want to tell it. There are just too many inconsistencies and conflicting points in there for me to be 100% convinced either way at this point in time.

And it is good policy, especially for GMH, to use something like HDRT and HDT as then you do not have race teams etc on your payroll, which makes it difficult to get rid of if they are not performing.

There are also disadvantages in that you do not have as much control.

As for the "hiding the fact that they were going to make a GTO type vehicle". In 1967 GM corp put out a print advertisement, would upload but do not know how, of the GM muscle car lineup, it has the GTO, GS 400, 4-4-2 and SS396 all in the one advert. So its not like GM was upset with Pontiac for making the GTO and trying to get them to drop it. So they probably would have happy with GMH due to success of this image car in the US. So I am going to call BS on GMH did not want GM to know they were making a GTO type vehicle.

What GMH was more worried about was how the Australian press and public were going to receive it. There is a lot in the anticipated questions and official answers for the Monaro release that are an interesting read.
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#12 Posted : Sunday, 13 October 2019 1:33:33 PM(UTC)
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A very quick check and it was around 67 that the GTO, SS and 442 all got their own model numbers instead of an option pack. I guess Pontiac, Chevrolet and Oldsmobile did not want GM head office to know they were making these cars.
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#13 Posted : Sunday, 13 October 2019 7:29:02 PM(UTC)
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It is a simple fact Warren, 1968 was a as much factory involvement as 1969. HDRT and HDT existed due to GMH trying to make it appear that they were compliant. Whether you believe it or not is up to you. That link to Joe is just a recent conversation, it is not the only factual evidence.

Harry was actually telling you the truth in a way. There were no "different" heads, specification wise. The heads on the engines supplied by GM had 3927186 fuelies on them which are identical specification to the 3947041 heads and probably would have shared the same part number, Harry or someone close to him added the 186 casting number to the parts book simply to cover their arses. Whilst Alan Colvin (like much of the USA)is very much Flint-centric he does state that 186 and 041 are used interchangeably in 1969 and 1970. I don't know if the Flint blocks supplied to GMH for those cars were 618 or 386 cast as Flint used both for the first half of 1969 model year, I guess if they were 386 Harry probably would have added that casting number to the parts catalogue amendment too. 386 seems to be the Flint block for August-December 1968 and 618 after that until 010 becomes the norm. Basically the 186 heads are just the Flint version of the same thing (041) unless the 186 were off a higher performance engine then they were machined for bigger valves and screw in studs which Tonawanda never did. Same with the blocks the 618 and 388 were the same spec if both machined for 4 bolt mains, one is a Flint block the other Tonawanda. 327 Tonawanda HK heads and HK 307 heads are the same specification, one is Tonawanda the other cast at McKinnon. If a 1968 307 was built at Tonawanda it got the 290 heads that are on our 1968 327's. Same with 1968 fuelies, Flint used 291, Tonawanda used 040. They all used different casting numbers for the same basic specification bits until a certain time in 1969 model year when things were rationalised and they started to share casting numbers.

Edited by user Monday, 14 October 2019 5:56:40 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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HK1837 Offline
#14 Posted : Monday, 14 October 2019 9:48:05 AM(UTC)
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This is a really good historical article on what happened in the USA that led up to GM's Corporate ban, and then also shows how GM setup a "dealer" funded system where all factory race parts came through a sponsor dealer to each team. Slightly different to how GMH did it but happening around the same timeframe so won't be a co-incidence.

https://www.chevyhardcor...ng-on-off-and-on-again/

Here is another local article published not long after Harry Firth passed away that talks about the HDT's setup:

https://www.smh.com.au/s...ams-20140429-zr1ew.html



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Warren Turnbull Offline
#15 Posted : Monday, 14 October 2019 10:44:21 AM(UTC)
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Quote from article

Why did they make this decision?”

“By 1961 and 1962 GM was getting roughly 53% of the entire U.S. auto industry sales and the U.S. Justice Dept became interested. They were watching GM, and should GM get close to 60% they would consider breaking GM up. The precedent had already been set with Standard Oil years earlier, and their threat to GM had realism. GM thought that one of the ways they could cut that growth was to stop actively participating in motorsports and to cut their dollars there,” Wangers concluded."

Once again this does not effect Australia. And this is exactly what I said above.

GM may have been interested in this in 1958 when GMH had 51% share, but by 1967 that had dropped significantly. As it was believed that motor sport increased sales, then why not get involved to stop sales declining further?

And then this "By 1967 Trans Am racing was going in full bloom, and GM management was looking to find a way to develop and manage speed parts that would go out to the various teams."

So if GM ban was for US sales dominance and by 1967 were looking at getting back into it, then why the idea that Holden had to hide all this from GM?

I agree that GMH was heavily involved in motor sport from 1968 with the HK Monaro programme, I have never stated otherwise. Just this ban on motor sport, hiding the fact that they were involved from GM head office and hiding the fact they were making a "muscle car" are just a bit off, and your link does show that the ban was about US sales and that by 1967 they were trying to get back into it.

It made good sense to set up HDT and allow Harry to run it rather than giving Harry an employee number. It makes it easier to control expenditure and the ability to terminate if its not performing.

I am not saying that its not possible that GM told GMH in 1963 to stop involvement in all motor sport (except rally because that is not motor sport, apparently), but the evidence is there that GMH was not effected by this decision.

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#16 Posted : Monday, 14 October 2019 4:00:01 PM(UTC)
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GMH were part of GM Warren, and affected by the Corporate no racing ban. Whether or not it actually did apply to them is probably lost in history, but they certainly believed it. Why else would they set up a dealer team front in 1968 in basically the same way GM were doing something similar at roughly the same time? Everything was done in house, why else would it be hidden behind a smokescreen of a Dealer Team? Ford didn't have a ban worldwide, and they were blatant about the factory effort and the cars themselves.

Even though GMH was far from GM US, the people weren't. Bill Mitchell (GM had great interest in the Holden coupe, and the people here hands on involved in designing it were fresh out of GM US like Joe Schemansky, John Schinella, and Ted and Marg Schroeder. The HK was the first new Holden to be designed in the new state of the art Tech Centre and the hero coupe was big news not just here. This is 1964, not 1967. The same model-year John DeLorean and friends released the Pontiac GTO with an engine far larger than the Corporate governance for that vehicle size. GM's policy limited the Intermediate A-body size to 330ci which was a weight based cubic capacity limit. Pontiac whacked a 389ci engine into it. This was Pontiacs way of keeping their performance image after GM canned their "super duty" program for them.

The A-body intermediate is slightly bigger in wheelbase than a HK (115" vs HK's 11"). The 327 fitted nicely under 330ci plus it also sat just on the l0lb per cubic inch weight capacity limit. GMH wasn't trying to hide the car per-se, but not to draw unwanted attention to it that would see it canned. The engine was massive in size and power output compared to what was powering Holdens at the time (149 and big block 179), despite it being the lowest power 4BBL 327 available. The GTS327 was an image car, but also aimed at the ATCC where any big power 327 could be used. Plus any more power than what it got would not only cost far more as probably Muncies and definitely 12-bolts would be required, plus it'd again draw unwanted attention to its performance and away from its image. If I could post it up here I'd put up the road test on Dave Bennett's car with essentially an L76/79 327 in it, would have created headlines if GMH built the GTS327 with that engine!
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Warren Turnbull Offline
#17 Posted : Monday, 14 October 2019 5:56:10 PM(UTC)
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I get what you are saying Byron.

Attract undue attention??? GM placed an advert in 1967 about all their muscle cars, so why would Holden have to hide their muscle car from GM head office in 1968 (remember the GTS 327 did not get a separate model code until part way through 1968) when Chevrolet,Pontiac, Buick and Oldsmobile were being praised for theirs?

(advert reads: JUST BUILDING THEM ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH
For instance, when we first bolted a big-bore V-8 onto a small, well mannered chassis, we did not sit around on our trophies.
The SS396 now has "porcupine" heads with individual ported intake and exhaust valves.
GTO's new ram air package lets the engine breath cool outside air instead of heated inside air.
The thermostatically controlled air in take on 4-4-2 eliminates cold engine starts.
And the GS 400 has a totally new engine; lighter, yet stronger than the old one.
These and other advances aren't accidental. They come from things like 30,000,000 miles of test driving each year. Plus a lot of other testing that would probably bore you.
Until you get behind the wheel.
Look for the General Motors mark of excellence
Chevrolet . Pontiac . Oldsmobile . Buick . Cadillac)

This advertisement does not say to me "GM head office is upset about Muscle cars".

Yes the managers were US sourced and they would also know the reason, US sales. They would also know how GM felt about the GTO etc.

Like I said, the Q and A papers for the Monaro show that GMH was worried about press and public reaction to the GTS327.

And I agree it makes good sense to set up HDT, even if there is no ban. This is shown when GMH did not set up their own team when the ban was lifted. (1967 Chevrolet Performance was set up as a separate entity, and in 1970 GM returned to NASCAR racing, ban over.)

But if you are worried about public opinion, then HDT makes perfect sense.

Anyway you are convinced that GMH changed the model number to hide the GTS327 from GM in the US due to the international racing ban and dislike for muscle cars, and the formation of HDRT and HDT is a direct result of that. I see inconsistency in this and I am quite happy to keep these to myself from now on.
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#18 Posted : Tuesday, 15 October 2019 7:43:15 AM(UTC)
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Warren, 1964-1965. When the HK was in development and when the GTO was new. Not once it was all basically said and done. Once the car was signed off and in the schedule with parts on the way from the USA there was no need to worry as much. You keep using "hide", and have this fixation on model codes which really is not that relevent.

GM still had capacity limits in place in 1968, but they appear to have been raised after no big noise was made about the GTO. From memory it was 400ci for the F/X size and the platforms the 442 and GS400 were based upon.

I agree that GMH were very concerned about public and especially press reactions to the cars, this is why all road test big engined manual cars were carefully dissguised as to their performance. This carried on right up into HJ. A few escaped like Mel Nichols and a HG GTS350 and the first Press Test LH SLR5000. They were right too, Evan Green proved it for them. The big worry about negative press was worry about GM Corporate. They did not want the press reaction to be that they were building a factory race car, just like GM in the USA didn't want to be seen to be involved in factory support of racing. Yet out the back door they were supporting the Black Widow program. This is just like GMH supporting the HDRT and HDT out the back door. A big shell game.

I don't think there was any sense in the HDRT unless there was a racing ban and the desire to be seen to be abiding by it.

You are the one who mentioned changing the model number in this thread (post 8) and later mentions, not me. All I said (in post 10) was the following which is totally correct:

Giving it its own model code rather than as option codes on an 0737 would have hidden it better, but it appears this was just a part of a bigger whole in early 1968 where the Brougham and the Kingswood ute were also given their own model codes.

I never once mentioned muscle cars or GM disliking them or being upset about them, that again was you. GM was worried about the US Government and how they percieved GM, a worldwide monster Company. Racing support was to be hidden, the whole thing looks like a smokescreen. Even by 1970 the Nascar support was provided THROUGH INDIVIDUAL DEALERS, not direct GM to race team. This was setup through GM Performance parts via the dealers. They had even previously setup the COPO system so that engines bigger than 400ci could be ordered in Camaro etc so the aftermarket industry eg Yenko could obtain such stuff, but not via regular production.

Sure by 1969-1971 some of the factory cars had some pretty wicked performance even compared with the pre-ban monsters of 1962-3 like the Z11 Chevrolets, and made the GTO look tame. Cars like the LS6 Chevelles, LT1 Camaro and Ram air Pontiacs. But things had moved on a little, Kennedy was long gone, the world didn't end when the GTO appeared etc. GM still kept up the pretence of the ban though it was far more obvious what some of the cars were meant for (Z/28 Camaro for example, still given a misleading power output though).

I have not been inconsistent at all in this thread.
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Dr Terry Offline
#19 Posted : Tuesday, 15 October 2019 8:56:19 AM(UTC)
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Getting back to the original 1968 vs 1969 thing, I think the main difference was that David McKay (Scuderia Veloce) was Sydney based, while Harry was Melbourne based.

It has been suggested that McKay was difficult it get along with. GM-H probably figured that they had much more control with Harry's set-up just across town & they pulled all of the 'purse strings'.

Rightly or wrongly GM-H has perceived the HDT set-up far more 'in-house' than HDRT.

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#20 Posted : Tuesday, 15 October 2019 10:13:01 AM(UTC)
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Sorry Byron we seem to be getting caught here on how we are pitting thins up.

Yes I do talk about the model code as you and several others have suggested that changing it from 80737 with code XT2 to 81837 would have hidden it better. So yes I do talk about hiding it from who? I have always believed that the change was someone's idea as the Brabham did it at the same time. Holden has done this in the past with the Business sedan, and as you pointed out the Brougham changed from Premier Brougham. And now that I see the GTO and several others had a change at around the same time it makes sense that this was a GM wide thing, more models and less option packages.

My point about GM happy with Muscle cars was to point out that there was no reason for GMH to hide anything about a Muscle car being built here from GM. You stated that GMH was worried the the GTS327 would be seen as another GTO.

Yes it was 1964 when the HK coupe was first given the green light, but Norm Darwin points out in his book that GMH had been designing coupes for many models, it was just not until the HK that the final approval was given. Do we know the date of option XT2 introduction?

I did not say that you were inconsistent, I just pointed out that the theories have inconsistency.

So in summary,

I am no longer totally convinced GMH had any reason to stick to the GM world wide ban on motor sport as it was about the US government breaking up GM over monopoly of market in the US and the result was GM removed involvement in motor sport in an effort to lower sales. Any motor sport results here, by Holden badged cars, would have no impact on US sales.

I agree dealer teams are a better option that works teams.

I no longer see any reason to hide the fact that GMH were making a GTO style vehicle. And the GTS327 did fit into the rules set by GM as far as engine size and weight go.

I agree that GMH put a lot of funding into HDRT and this is the beginning of GMH's full on involvement in motor sport. Which was your first point.

I now believe GMH was more worried about public opinion on these cars and used the dealer teams so as to be seen by the public as not being overly involved, not GM. GMH had a conservative image in the 1960s and this is what I believe they were trying to protect this image.

I am also of the understanding that GMH and the ARDC were not on good terms and this would also add to the weight of using a dealer team.

I could be wrong on all points here, and I doubt we will ever see a memo on all the true answers.

Edited by user Tuesday, 15 October 2019 10:37:14 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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