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1977
Project Phoenix continues

BIG CHANGES were made for the 1977 season as Allan Moffat Racing became a two driver affair for the first time since the Cortina days back in America.
Moffat shocked the racing world by signing on Colin Bond, who had been a Holden Dealer Team driver since 1969.

To accommodate Bond on the team, a second Moffat Ford Dealer Team Falcon was built up in the team's Malvern workshops, virtually identical to the Project Phoenix car and painted in the same white with red and blue side stripes.

This was to be another do-or-die effort for Moffat as he went about re-establishing himself at the top of the Australian motor racing tree. He was also keen to assure his team of a future when the time comes for Allan himself to quit driving on a regular basis, but to continue managing a top line team.

With such a huge operation to control, Moffat brought in from America the Team Management expertise of Carrol Smith, the legendary engineer who led the Shelby team in America and who was highly involved in Ford's successful take-over of the Le Mans 24 Hour Race with that company's GT40s.

First outing for the two car team was at Sandown in February 1977.
For Colin Bond it was a dream debut.
Just as Moffat had done with the Mustang eight years earlier, Bond went out and won both his races with the older of the Falcons, and against top class opposition at that.
Moffat ran the new car and finished a little further behind, sorting it out as he went and more than happy to let his new team-mate gather all the attention.

That was to be one of the few times that season that the two Falcons would not come home in formation at the head of the field. The first of many 1-2 results came at Symmons Plains in Tasmania, the first round of the Australian Touring Car Championship, a title which Moffat was trying to win for the third time.
That race in Tasmania crushed the opposition and the next round at Calder helped drive home the point that the Falcons were top dogs of 1977 as they raced to another 1-2 win.
At Oran Park Bond blew a tyre on the first lap and had to fight back to eighth place but Moffat was right on top once again to score his third victory on the trot.
The status quo was restored a couple of weeks later at Sydney's Amaroo Park when the "Dynamic Duo", as they were dubbed by this stage, did their formation flying trick yet again.

By the end of the fifth round at Sandown, where Moffat had again led Bond to the chequered flag, it was decided to break the monotony a little, so Adelaide saw Bond's second win of the year while the Boss followed him home in second place, but now with the beloved Touring Car crown safe in his keeping once more..
It was only in the final round at Lakeside that the routine was broken by the Toranas, Peter Brock scoring while Moffat retired and Bond took second place.

Then came the long-distance races. Sandown was something of a let-down for the team as the new Torana Hatchbacks dominated everything while Moffat did the best of the Fords with a quiet drive from the back of the grid after blowing an engine in practice.
Bond meanwhile was only fourth fastest and lost too much time with a puncture to figure in the results.

Then it was on to Bathurst.
In front of a record crowd at the circuit and an estimated television audience of some 5'/2 million people, the Moffat Ford Dealer Team delivered their most powerful blow of the year.
A grandstand finish with Moffat leading Bond home by a few inches and the obvious staging of the finish created a magnificent spectacle and had all of Australia talking about the win.
Camel Filters had come in with sponsorship to go with that of 3MP, Motorcraft, Dow Corning, BP and Goodyear and took advantage of the publicity generated, which was enormous.

It was an almost faultless victory with the only thread for the opposition to grab at being whether Bond or Moffat should have won. Allan had troubles late in the race with his front right brake gone but, had it been a Torana and not his team-mate behind, who is to say that he could not have gone faster and won anyway.
But it was unimportant.
They had done what no other team has managed before. Sharing in the win was Jackie Ickx with Moffat and Alan Hamilton with Colin Bond in the second placed car.

To prove the point, Moffat and Bond went on to score another 1-2 finish in the next Manufacturers Championship race at Adelaide.
Moffat then wrapped up the ManChamp for Ford at Surfers Paradise with another fine victory, although Bond had to retire with engine problems after leading the early laps. Moffat chose to miss the last race of the year at Phillip Island choosing not to race there since his horrendous crash in 1973 with the Ford factory car.

Bond flew the flag and led with only a few laps remaining but a puncture saw him into the pits and finishing fifth at the flag. Nevertheless, it was the end of an incredibly successful year of racing which will surely remain in Allan Moffat's heart for many years to come.   

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