History

Peter Brock FordsThe following article, written by Joe Kenwright, appeared in the Melbourne Herald-Sun on May 17, 2002. It is the complete article as it appeared, with the exception of the original photographs.

The BROCK Treatment!

Racing legend Peter Brock's enhanced Falcons set the ground rules for Tickford.

After Holden struck a deal with Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR) to form Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) in 1988, Ford dealers faced a rapid succession of awesome HSV models unmatched by the Blue Oval.

Several after-market companies produced a range of high-performance Falcons in the hope that Ford would eventually appoint one of them as the firm's special vehicle supplier.

One of the neatest efforts was a one-off EA Falcon built by Dick Johnson.

And Mick Webb also submitted a stunner for consideration.

It didn't get him a Ford gig, but he remained a major player by offering body and mechanical modifications that could be added to new Falcons and Fairlanes through certain dealers.

Webb's long-term commitment leaves his SVO models from this period with the most credibility.

BECAUSE dealers had to wait until 1991 before Ford formalised an alliance with Tickford, special Falcon models proliferated.

Not the least of these vehicles was a range from touring car legend Peter Brock. When HSV took over from Brock-HDT, several employees regrouped under the APV name to release a version of the EA Falcon called SR3900.

It was rated at the time as "the best modified Falcon we've driven" by Car Australia magazine, whose test staff made an effort to keep up with these special Falcon models.

Brock then formed Austech Automotive Developments to deliver his own B8 Falcons based on the Falcon S or Fairmont Ghia.

As you would expect of Brock's eighth generation (hence the B8 name) of enhanced cars, it was a definitive effort.

Brock's eight years of delivering special vehicles with factory back-up showed in the B8's clean factory look.

The Brock signature appeared behind each front wheel arch with a stylised logo that reflected a number of EA styling cues and bore an astonishing resemblance to the Tickford wings that were still two years away.

Austech's own classic 16-inch alloy wheels were stunning as they looked like a cleaned-up aero version of the Jaguar V12 E-type's slotted wheel and hub cap.

The B8 interior had seats based on the originals, something Tickford would do in 1992 with the EBII GT.

Although this allowed the B8 seats to retain factory height adjustment and ADR compliance, they looked totally different with contoured side bolsters and separate cushions.

They were trimmed in a luxury grey cloth with diagonal red stripes across the cushions and separated by a matching Ghia centre console.

Rear seats were re-trimmed to match. No Brock model came without a leather-wrapped thick-rimmed steering wheel, and a B8 was no exception.

Austech also boosted the engine from 139kW to a claimed 164.5kW, helped by an extractor exhaust system with a twin pipe exit and twin catalytic converters which continued as a dual system until the main muffler.

COUPLED with an upgraded camshaft, engine management tweaks and cold air intake modifications, Austech claimed these improvements also reduced emissions while boosting performance.

Testers noted that it was smoother and more refined than the stock engine, always a sign of a professional job.

The B8 suspension gained gas dampers, uprated springs, lower ride height and along with some geometry tweaks delivered a significant improvement in handling and a smoother and more controlled ride than standard.

Brock had obviously pitched the B8 as an every-day car and again, pre-empted what Tickford would do later with the XR6.

It was widely believed that the Brock-Austech flirtation with Ford lasted barely a year, unleashing fewer than 500 examples based on Falcons, Fairlanes and utes.

Meanwhile, Brock-Ford enthusiast and archivist Terry Walsh has confirmed that only 126 Falcons and Fairmonts were built, plus the EA prototype.

Also, Walsh has established that only 5 top of the range SEs were built and that at least 18 Fairlanes and 11 Mavericks were completed before the whole operation closed in December 1990, around the time that Ford was casting the net for an official enhanced vehicle supplier.

There is also a suggestion that five Telstar TX5s were also given the Brock treatment.

© Copyright Joe Kenwright 2002

Reprinted and updated with the kind permission of Joe Kenwright.

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