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Classic Ads: Wheel Appeal

Submitted by on August 26, 2010

Aunger Wheels where something of a must have for the more sporting driver in 1970s Australia.

Here we have a ‘young Johnny Goss’ finding himself in the disturbing situation of his pit crew not being particularly interested in getting his Falcon Hardtop prepped and ready for the track. It’s an ad from a simpler time, when wearing a shirt in the pits was optional, shorts were very short and racing drivers apparently liked to wear silk scarves.

The obviously staged photograph is on the grid outside the control tower at Sydney’s Amaroo Park Raceway in 1974. The car – complete with the signature Goss black and gold chequered windscreen strip – is the Ford Falcon Lightweight. Built to cash in on the various rich and highly competitive Sports Sedan series being staged at the time, it was a relatively simple machine in that it was essentially a stripped out Group C Touring Car.

For the uninitiated, Tasmanian born John Goss is one of Australia’s most charismatic drivers. ‘Gossy’ was a natural when the microphone was pointed his way, and wasn’t shy to exaggerate a little, but that was part of his charm. This combined with driving skill, popularity and marketable good looks, made him a bankable commodity for his sponsors.

The only driver to have won both the Bathurst 1000 touring car race (1974, 1985) and the Australian Grand Prix (1976), John’s personality and success was well leveraged by his backers. He featured in advertising for Bridgestone, Sydney radio station 2UW and he was synonymous with McLeod Ford, a prominent dealer producing customised, high performance V8 Falcons marketed as ‘Horn Cars’.

To celebrate his 1974 Bathurst victory, Ford Australia released the ‘John Goss Special’. Made in limited numbers, the white Falcon Hardtops with 302 Cleveland V8 were available with a choice green or blue accent colors and special striping.

John has long retired from full time competition, but he does hit the track at times, driving his very own replica Bathurst winners.

James Meale

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