Layout of the Mount Panorama Circuit (1938–1986)

The 1963 Armstrong 500 was the fourth running of the Armstrong 500 touring car race. It was held on 6 October 1963. After the 1962 race, the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit was too damaged to continue to stage the race, forcing it to move to a new location, the Mount Panorama Circuit just outside Bathurst with a new organising club, the Australian Racing Drivers Club. The race was open to standard production sedans with four classes based on the purchase price (in Australian pounds) of the vehicle.

Bob Jane and Harry Firth were the first team to complete the full race distance, taking victory in Class C in their factory backed Ford Cortina GT, the change of both vehicle and circuit making no difference to their result of the previous year. While outright victories were not to be recognised until years later, they had completed a hat-trick of 'first to the line' wins.

Class structure

A replica of the Ford Cortina GT in which Bob Jane and Harry Firth won Class C

The largest change was cosmetic. The bigger cars moved down the alphabet, the smaller cars moved into classes A and B. The Volkswagens moved into class A. Ford Falcons disappeared from the race, replaced by an influx of smaller, more versatile Ford Cortinas. As in 1962 the Fords were the biggest threat, shaping up to be faster than the larger D Class cars which included Chrysler Valiants and Studebaker Larks.

Class A

Class A was for cars that cost less £900. It comprised Fiat 770, Morris 850, Triumph Herald and Volkswagen Beetle.

Class B

The £901 to £1,000 class featured 1.5 litre Ford Cortina, Morris Cooper and Morris Major Elite, Renault R8 and Simca Aronde.

Class C

The £1,001 to £1,200 class was contested by Ford Cortina GT, Holden EH S4 and Holden FB.

Class D

The £1,201 to £2,000 class featured Chrysler Valiant, Ford Zephyr, Humber Super Snipe, Peugeot 404, Studebaker Lark, Vauxhall Velox and Vauxhall VX 4/90.


The race became the first Ford vs Holden head-to-head fight, with the works Cortina of defending race champions Bob Jane and Harry Firth winning by a lap over the first EH Holden of Ralph Sach and Frank Morgan with a second Cortina on the same lap. It was a third consecutive victory for Jane and Firth, each victory coming in a different model and back-to-back for the factory Ford team. Second place was the closest Holden would get to a win until the breakthrough in 1968. Chrysler got its first class win with the Valiant of Tony Reynolds and Tony Allen with Geoff Russell driving the factory prepared Ford Zephyr again narrowly missing out on the Class D win. The new Morris Coopers saw the Mini break out of the entry level class and gave Doug Chivas his first class win, co-driving with Ken Wilkinson in Class B, defeating the 1.5 litre Cortinas, ominously just a lap behind the Valiant and the Zephyr. In the small class, Volkswagen again defeated the Morris 850s with Barry Ferguson and Bill Ford taking first place ahead of the Mini of Don Holland and Lindsay Little.


Pos No Entrant Drivers Car Laps
Class A
1 54 Lanock Motors Ltd Australia Barry Ferguson
Australia Bill Ford
Volkswagen 1200 116
2 55 Vaughan & Lane Pty Ltd Australia Don Holland
Australia Lindsay Little
Morris 850 116
3 51 Victorian VW Agents-VW Sales Australia Jim McKeown
Australia George Reynolds
Volkswagen 1200 115
4 61 A. Andrews Australia Rocky Tresise
Australia Arthur Andrews
Volkswagen 1200 115
5 57 Macquarie Motors Australia Greg Mackie
Australia Graham White
Volkswagen 1200 113
6 53 K.B. Nicholson Motors Australia Bill Stanley
Australia John Alexander
Morris 850 113
7 49 H.E. Taylor Australia Barry Seton
Australia Herb Taylor
Morris 850 112
8 50 Kinsley Motors Australia George Forrest
Australia Frank Hann
Volkswagen 1200 111
9 59 T. Corcoran Australia Tom Corcoran
Australia Digby Cooke
Morris 850 111
10 52 Paul M. Samuels Australia [Barry Collerson
Australia Les Howard
Fiat 770 103
11 56 Reg Smith Motors Australia Jim Bonthorne
Australia Mike Callan
Triumph Herald 101
12 58 Vaughan & Lane Pty Ltd Australia Fred Gibson
Australia Ken Nicholson
Morris 850 89
DNF 60 P & R Williams Australia Tony Hill
Australia Frank Kleinig
Morris 850
Class B
1 42 Denis Summers Conversions Australia Doug Chivas
Australia Ken Wilkinson
Morris Cooper 125
2 41 Delore Motors (Newcastle) Australia Jack Gates
Australia Mike Nedelko
Morris Cooper 125
3 28 Ford Motor Co. of Australia Australia Ern Abbott
Australia Alan Caelli
Ford Cortina 1500 123
4 46 Ford Motor Co. of Australia Australia Max Volkers
Australia K Burns
Ford Cortina 1500 123
5 43 Bamar Motors Australia Wal Donnelly
Australia John Marchiori
Morris Cooper 122
6 44 P & R Williams Australia Des West
Australia John Martin
Morris Cooper 120
7 26 C. Harding Australia Chris Harding
Australia Adrian Yannuccelli
Morris Cooper 120
8 29 Total Team Australia Frank Matich
Australia George Murray
Renault R8 119
9 37 Rex Emmett Australia John Connolly
Australia Rod Draper
Renault R8 119
10 39 P & R Williams Australia Brian Foley
Australia Peter Manton
Morris Cooper 116
11 45 P. Brown Australia Peter Brown
Australia Ron Marshall
Morris Cooper 115
12 47 C.G. Smith Australia Ron Hodgson
Australia Charlie Smith
Morris Cooper 115
13 32 Cecil R Pierce Australia Ken Brigden
Australia Bruce Smith
Simca Aronde 114
14 38 Gurdon Motors Australia Barry Gurdon
Australia Jerry Trevor-Jones
Morris Major Elite 113
15 33 Gurdon Motors Australia Jack Murray
Australia Alan Edney
Morris Major Elite 113
16 48 Gurdon Motors Australia Warren Blomfield
Australia Lorraine Hill
Morris Major Elite 112
17 36 Ron Thorp's Bargain Barn Australia Ron Thorp
Australia John White
Morris Major Elite 111
18 40 Rex Emmett Australia Les Park
Australia Fred Sutherland
Renault Gordini 110
19 25 Scuderia Veloce Australia Ron Clarke
Australia David Walker
Renault R8 102
DNF 30 Delore Motors (Newcastle) Australia Doug Kelley
Australia Graham Kelley
Morris Cooper
DNF 34 Total Bexley Service Station Australia |Mike Martin
Australia Dave Humphries
Morris Cooper
DNF 35 Howard and Sons Racing Team Australia Sid Howard
Australia Les Weiley
Morris Cooper 18
DNF 27 P. & R. Williams Australia Paul Bolton
Australia Laurie Stewart
Morris Cooper 13
DNF 31 Three Way Motors Australia Carl Kennedy
Australia Doug Stewart
Simca Aronde
Class C
1 20 Ford Motor Co. of Australia[1] Australia Bob Jane
Australia Harry Firth
Ford Cortina Mk.I GT 130
2 12 F.G. Morgan[2] Australia Ralph Sach
Australia Fred Morgan
Holden EH S4 129
3 13 Grawill Motors Pty. Ltd.[1] Australia Bruce McPhee
Australia Graham Ryan
Ford Cortina Mk.I GT 129
4 22 Barrie Broomhall Motors[1] Australia Barry Broomhall
Australia Bill Cunliffe
Ford Cortina Mk.I GT 124
5 18 H. Budd[1] Australia Harry Budd
Australia R. Smith
Holden EH S4 123
6 23 Geissler Motors Pty. Ltd.[1] Australia Ian Grant
Australia Trevor Marden
Holden EH S4 120
7 16 Muirs Motors (Ryde)[1] Australia Kevin Bartlett
Australia Bill Reynolds
Holden EH S4 115
8 24 B.P. Warwick Farm Service Station[1] Australia Lex Bailey
Australia Phil McCumisky
Holden FB Special[1] 115
9 17 Heldon Motors Pty. Ltd.[1] Australia Spencer Martin
Australia Brian Muir
Holden EH S4 111
DNF 21 Ford Motor Co. of Australia[1] Australia Ian Geoghegan
Australia Leo Geoghegan
Ford Cortina Mk.I GT 105
DNF 14 Seatons Globe Hotel, Albury[1] Australia Jim O'Shaunnessy
Australia John Brindley
Holden EH S4 65
Class D
1 8 Ron Dunbier Motors Australia Tony Allen
Australia Tony Reynolds
Chrysler AP5 Valiant 126
2 5 Ford Motor Co. of Australia Australia Geoff Russell
Australia John Reaburn
Ford Zephyr Mk.III 126
3 9 Killara Motor Garage Australia Bob Holden
Australia Bill March
Peugeot 404 119
4 2 Needham Motors Pty Ltd Australia Warren Weldon
Australia Bert Needham
Studebaker Lark 115
45 6 Alex Strachan Motors Australia Bill Burns
Australia Brian Lawler
Humber Super Snipe 21
DNF 4 Baulkham Hill Service Station Australia Bob Cook
Australia Alwyn Rose
Chrysler SV1 Valiant 119
DNF 7 N.J. Wright Australia Jim Wright
Australia Ian Ferguson
Studebaker Lark 57
DNF 3 Boyded Pty Ltd-Scuderia Veloce Australia David McKay
Australia Greg Cusack
Vauxhall Velox 20
DSQ 10 Continental & General Distributors Australia Bill Coe
Australia Syd Fisher
Peugeot 404 119
DNS 12 P. Fallu Australia Paul Fallu
Australia Terry Kratzmann
Vauxhall VX 4/90


  • Fastest Lap – N/A
  • Race time of Firth / Jane Ford Cortina GT (First car across the line) – 7:47:14[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Philip McCumisky, Holden versus Holden at Bathurst,, as archived at
  2. ^ Barry Collerson, Behind the wheel, Australian Motor Sports, November 1963, pages 30, 31, 32 & 50
  3. ^ Bill Tuckey and David Greenhalgh, Australia's Greatest Motor Race – The First 30 Years
  • Greenhalgh, David; Thomas B. Floyd; Bill Tuckey (2000). "1963 The telecast begins". Australia's Greatest Motor Race 1960-1999 The first 40 years. Hornsby: Chevron Publishing Group Pty Limited. pp. 114–121 & 452. ISBN 1-875221-12-3.

External links