The Brock Ford Ute Article

The following article, written by Joe Kenwright, appeared in the Melbourne Herald-Sun on May 17, 2002. It is the complete article as it appeared, excepting the photographs.

The Brock Ford - Beaut Ute

Beaut ute powers Shannons debut!

I got to know of Brock's early Falcon efforts well.

I had known the late Robert Shannon well enough to tell him - in 1989 - that his presentation in Insurance and auction fields was resembling an Arfur Daly-style operation.

A week later he called and challenged me to help him transform his Insurance agency into the national corporation it is today.

Robert was exceedingly generous in his club and motorsport sponsorship but was getting nothing back. We decided to unite these activities under the Team Shannons banner for a 1989 Lucas Grand Prix Rally debut.

We sponsored three front-running Porsche 911 models in matching Guard Red plus Robert's Invicta, my Lotus Elan and a staffer's De Tomaso Mangusta as a back-up team.

The Mangusta was replaced at the last minute - after grounding its sump on the way to the start line - by Robert's Triumph Stag.

My next job was to find a suitable team support ute that could also feature on future Shannons displays.

We were looking at building a '58 Ford Mainline with modern engine, auto, brakes and rubber when Robert called me out to look at a new Brock XF Falcon ute he was assessing for insurance.

Brock had pre-empted the special ute market by many years with this vehicle.

A similar shade of red to the Porsches, it was stunning.

Robert bought the ute on the spot, saying it was something his company could grow into. He was right, it later proved to be a crowd puller wherever it went.

I loved that ute. So did Robert. As we were both intensely competitive, we would set up mock challenges to see who would drive it home at night.

Brock's transformation of the agricultural XF was beyond belief. However, as we found when we regularly loaded it with tools and luggage ready to chase Team Shannons entries across the country, he had managed to preserve its hardworking capabilities.

At our 1989 grand prix debut, we copped some flack for being too intimidating - an impression helped, no doubt, by the Brock ute.

Not even the classic racing world was ready for a ute as wicked as this one.

© Copyright Joe Kenwright 2002

Reprinted and updated with the kind permission of Joe Kenwright.

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