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The BRUT Falcon (Project Falcon B52)

When the Ford Works team withdrew from racing at the end of the 1973 racing season Allan Moffat set about building up a Falcon of his own which would become the most publicised and possibly the most expensive in the history of the race.
He utilised facilities and personnel of Ford people from both the United States and Europe in this attempt at winning his fourth Bathurst.

Although the plan eventually failed dismally it was a mammoth project which deserved better and promised much more. At Sandown a few weeks earlier Moffat appeared in a dark blue Falcon which simply blew the rest of the field into the weeds, winning easily and setting a new lap record on the way.

But this was not the same car that had been built up in America for the Bathurst race. although it did incorporate a few of the lessons learnt there..
The actual Bathurst race car was unveiled at a spectacular function hosted by Moffat's long-time sponsor BP, and its credentials and development history were impressive to say the least.
The Falcon, painted the same dark blue as at Sandown, but sporting the Australian flag and a "Moffat Ford Dealers" motif along each wing, was pretty much the same as the Sandown car, but built and developed during an intensive four week period in Ohio USA.

Its engine. fitted with newly homologated Ford parts. was alleged to give around 440 bhp, and unlike the Sandown race car it featured a four barrel Holly carb, rather than the twin choke Weber setup favored by the works team in 1973.
Dieter Glemser was nominated as the car's co-driver. while one-time arch rival of Moffat. Horst Kwech, was relief driver for the pair of them.
Horst is Australian basically, having emigrated to the USA from Sydney in 1962. He became a pro' driver in the States, as well as a small car preparation expert there. In 1966, Kwech beat Moffat to the 1600cc sedan class in the amateur racing finals of the SCCA at Riverside.
Subsequently, Moffat and Kwech shared a Mustang at Daytona and Sebring Trans Am races in 1968.

Looking after the pits was Lee Dykstra, an American who was Moffat's superior during his time as a test driver at Kar Kraft.
Dykstra, along with chassis ace John Mulrine, worked on the development programme of the Falcon in America.
Originally a General Motors man, he joined Ford in the mid-sixties, where, at the age of 26, he was involved in the Ford GT 40 programme, and later in the Trans Am Mustang development programme.
In 1968 Dykstra headed up the design team on Carroll Shelby's Mustangs which, as we said earlier, Moffat drove at Daytona and Sebring.
Later he transferred to Kar Kraft. When that part of the Ford empire closed down, he was appointed to research and safety design on Ford passenger vehicles. Lee Dykstra finally began supervising Horst Kwech's efforts racing a Capri V6 in the U.S. with the result that he was invited to Cologne to pass on a few of his findings to the European factory racing team.

The Bathurst Falcon GT ran the modified 5.7-litre V8 developed in Australia by AMR chief mechanic Ray Cutchie.
Part of a 90-day engine development programme by Cutchie and other engine shop mechanics used information gained from running a 351 V8 In Moffat's Mustang sports sedan.
A test engine, in Bathurst form, was put in the Mustang for track evaluation at Sandown.

Said Moffat: "The Mustang was set up for sprint conditions and we ran the engine flat out at Sandown. Best lap time was 1-16.0. Which is not hanging around.
"We were more than happy to set a new record lap of 1-16.9 with this engine in the Falcon at the Sandown 250. And we were carrying about 36 gallons of fuel at the time. We didn't have the track to ourselves either.

Two engines were flown to the United States for dynamometer and in-vehicle testing with the emphasis on oil surge problems, durability and reliability.
In the United States the engines were run long and hard - much harder than at Bathurst and for longer than the race distance. Not in an engine shop, but out on the track where it counts.
During the team's time in America, two Bathurst rehearsals were run on the 7 '/2-mile speed and endurance track at the Transporation and Research Centre in mid-Ohio. The 10,000-acre centre at East Liberty cost $26 million and Moffat describes it as an automotive Disneyland - is used by the Detroit car makers for vehicle testing. . . from Greyhound buses to prototype cars for 1980.
It was then the most advanced and newest facility in the world for the study of vehicle behavior, performance and durability.

Moffat along with Ray Cutchie and electrical wizard Graham "Jackie" Stewart spent four weeks working there with U.S. engine, suspension and tyre experts developing the Falcon.
The project was code-named Falcon B52. On both Bathurst trials, the Falcon was run for greater than race distance and was clocked at more than 160 miles an hour rocketing on to the 30-degree banking that links each of the three-mile straightaways.
The plan was to check the possibility of engine oil surge - a critical factor at Bathurst - high-speed stability, braking capacity, and the durability and grip of the Goodyear tyres which were tailor-made for the Falcon.
The car was run on BP Corse 50 oil, which was flown to Ohio from Melbourne.

An interested spectator was all-American champion Mark Donohue, a long-time friend and Trans-Am rival of Moffat, who was testing the new Penske Formula One racer at the centre.
Donohue was invited to drive the Falcon and give his opinion - he is one of the world's top development drivers. He stayed out on the track so long that he had to be finally black-flagged in!
His comment: "That's a great little car. I was having a ball out there. It sure as hell beats the 'stockers' I used to drive."

More oil surge and handling tests were done at the centre's skid pan, which covers an area of 50 acres, has a one-inch fall at the extremities and has nothing to hit. Tyres were one of the main factors in the whole expensive operation.
While Moffat was making his last appearance in the 1974 touring car championship at Sydney's Oran Park - he won that round and the earlier Sandown heat in one of the Former Ford works GTs - the Bathurst engine programme headed by Ray Cutchie was getting underway.

At the same time, an XB model Falcon GT two-door was being pulled down and carefully rebuilt from the ground up by Moffat's mechanics.
As tyre testing was an important part in producing a Bathurst winner, the decision was made to send the car to the United States.
For obvious reasons - testing could be carried out close to the Goodyear factory in Akron, new compounds, mixes and designs could be developed quickly. Results of tests could be put in the pipeline on the spot and modifications made. And the finest technical help was readily available.
As well, there was no facility in Australia for duplicating and exceeding Bathurst speeds and conditions.
The Ohio test centre was arranged and the Falcon was flown out in the belly of a Boeing 747.
Two of the engines which had been prepared and tested in Melbourne in Moffat's Mustang were later airfreighted to the United States.

The car was given a shakedown run at a short circuit close to Detroit before being sent to Ohio for a proper workout.
Moffat also took the opportunity of consulting with American experts on long distance racing and renewing friendships with suspension and engine designers, including Lee Dykstra.
The car was flown back to Australia, .but too late to compete in the Sandown 250.

With the car finally at Bathurst things started going bad and never really improved throughout the weekend, despite the fact that Moffat arrived as the overwhelming popular favourite for the event.
Ten minutes before the first official practice session had even started Harry Firth, then Manager of the Holden Dealer Team, put in a 15-point protest on the Number 33 Falcon.

Moffat was incensed.
In a terse press interview he stated:
"This is the greatest insult I have received in Australia and shows the level of sportsmanship of the opposition.
"If I have to pull the whole vehicle apart tonight to prove its eligibility, I will do so."
The car came through the investigation but had less luck during the practice session, losing all oil pressure. It was given an engine change and returned for the final practice but Dieter Glemser did only a few laps on a wet track to qualify before the ignition was swamped. They would have to start from 15th on the grid.
Moffat charged into fourth place on the opening lap but was forced to pit on the 12th lap, the first of many stops. A blown clutch eventually ended the run after suffering from distributor, bearing, gearbox and brake problems. Bathurst was obviously more demanding than Ohio and it was the end of one of the most expensive and glamorous attempts at winning the race.

This particular car raced on into the next season of 1975 but Moffat only raced the car a few times in the Australian Touring Car Championship events. It was later repainted red with number 25 on its flanks and was released with a huge new transporter from International Harvester.

Onto Bathurst once again, this time with Pete Geoghegan co-driving again, but it was another bad year for Moffat. After leading for a number of laps a gearbox broke and had to be replaced and then the car was later retired when a lower control arm in the suspension broke.
At the next race: at Surfers Paradise the car finally won a race for Moffat.

  

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