Brock auction bids hit new high
THE largest private collection of Peter Brock race cars is about to go under the hammer on Saturday night at an exclusive auction at Bathurst.
The Lloyds auction has already received a bid of $1.6 million for Brock's 1982 and 1983 Bathurst-winning VH Commodore, but bids could go even higher by the time the hammer comes down some time between 8pm and 10pm.
The most controversial car in the collection is Brock's VK Commodore race car affectionately known as the "Big Banger".
Auctioneers claim this is the car driven to victory at Bathurst in 1984 and expect it to fetch more than $2 million.
If it does, it will smash the record for the highest price paid for an Australian-made car, set earlier this year at just over $1 million for a Ford Falcon GTHO road car.
Many motorsport experts are adamant the VK Commodore race car being auctioned, which wears the famous Brock 05 number on its doors, is actually the number 25 car driven by John Harvey, which finished second in the race.
A 2014 investigation by Australian Muscle Car magazine interviewed former Brock team members and race drivers, but the outcome was inconclusive.
Former Holden motorsport insiders have told News Corp Australia the real Brock 05 car resides in the Bathurst museum.
In August, head auctioneer Bill Freeman told News Corp Australia all bidders would be made aware of the controversy surrounding the two cars.
"In the end every bidder will be made aware of all the facts, including new information we will release closer to the sale," he said. "At the end of the day, both cars are very important."
However, a spokeswoman for Lloyds auction has since told News Corp Australia there is no plan to make the information public and it will be shared only with serious potential buyers.
The auction house would not disclose what type of proof would be shown to bidders but News Corp Australia understands it mmight be a letter penned by Brock before he died, vouching for the validity of the car.
In a letter republished by the magazine Brock said: "(Former owner) Peter Champion has the real 05 car. No contest. It is a beautiful restored example of a wonderful part of our rich motorsport heritage. Bathurst museum has the car Holden and I donated to them - car 25," Brock wrote.
The racing logbooks for both cars have been lost over time and restorations and repairs have changed other key markings, including some made by former Holden mechanic Jeff Grech.
In 2014, Grech told the magazine he stamped a B and an S on each car - B for Brock and S for "slug" Harvey - but neither mark has been found.
Also in the auction are replicas of Brock's first race car, an Austin A30 built by Brock's son James, and a hand-made version of Brock's original paddock basher, effectively a frame with an engine on it and no body.
The collection also includes Brock's Targa Tasmania race cars, an around-Australia rally car, a Peugeot he drove in the Bathurst 12 Hour, and even a Brock edition of a Ford Falcon road car.
View the entire collection here.
This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling