Bruce Alexander McPhee (11 February 1927 – 22 September 2009) was an Australian motor racing driver. He is most famous for winning the 1968 Hardie-Ferodo 500 (now the Bathurst 1000), defeating both the Holden and Ford factory teams.


A reproduction of the Holden FE raced by McPhee in Appendix J Touring Car races in the early 1960s

At the 1968 Hardie-Ferodo 500, McPhee drove a Holden Monaro GTS327 painted yellow with black stripes with the number 13. His co-driver, who drove just one lap that day, was Barry Mulholland. McPhee would later claim in Australian Muscle Car magazine that an attempt to sabotage his Monaro was made the night before the race. As the race cars were road registered in that era, McPhee had driven the car back to his motel in Bathurst for the night. When he came out on race morning to fill the car with petrol, a number of tree leaves floated to the top of the filler. Luckily this was found before any potential damage could have put the car out of the race. The Monaro, supplied and sponsored by Wyong Motors, ran the race on one set of used, almost bald tyres, McPhee believing that they were faster than tyres with full tread (race regulations at the time stated the cars had to race on road tyres). Towards the end of the race track marshals around the Mount Panorama Circuit were reporting seeing sparks from the Monaro's Michelin tyres as they had worn down to their steel belts after almost 500 miles (800 km) of racing.

McPhee entered the 1969 Hardie-Ferodo 500 originally intending to run one of the new HT Monaro GTS350's, but when he received no help from Holden to do so he instead drove a privately entered XW Ford Falcon GTHO. Driving with Mulholland who again only drove one lap, the McPhee Falcon finished a close second at Bathurst to the Colin Bond/Tony Roberts HDT Monaro GTS350. Many, including HDT boss Harry Firth, believe that if not for an early pit stop to change a tyre after a clash with another car resulting in a late stop for fuel as they were out of sequence, McPhee and Mulholland would have won in '69 and made it back to back Bathurst 500's.

McPhee joined the Ford works team in 1970, driving in the South Pacific Touring Series early in the year, and was given his own Phase II XW GTHO to drive solo at the 1970 Hardie-Ferodo 500. Even though his car was still running near perfectly at the end of the 500 miles, McPhee finished second after following team orders not to pass his teammate, lead driver Allan Moffat.

As well as the 1968 outright win in the Holden Monaro, McPhee finished on the podium at Bathurst in 1963 (3rd) in a Ford Cortina Mk.I GT (the first year the race was run at Mount Panorama), 1965 (2nd) in a Ford Cortina Mk.I GT500, 1966 (3rd) in a Morris Cooper S, 1969 (2nd) in a XW Ford Falcon GTHO Phase I and 1970 (2nd) in a XW Ford Falcon GTHO Phase II.

McPhee also claimed the 1968 Hardie-Ferodo 500 pole position giving him the dual honour of being the first "Bathurst 500" race winner for Holden and the first "Bathurst 500" pole position winner for Holden.

Personal life

McPhee lived the majority of his life on the NSW Central Coast until his death on 22 September 2009 at the age of 82.

Career results

Complete Bathurst 500/1000 results

Year Team Co-drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
1963 Australia Graham Ryan Ford Cortina Mk.I GT C 129 3rd 3rd
1964 Australia Frank Delandro Motors Australia Barry Mulholland Ford Cortina Mk.I GT C 126 6th 6th
1965 Australia Grawill Motors Pty Ltd Australia Barry Mulholland Ford Cortina Mk.I GT500 D 130 2nd 2nd
1966 Australia Regal Motors Australia Barry Mulholland Morris Cooper S C 129 3rd 3rd
1968 Australia Wyong Motors Pty Ltd Australia Barry Mulholland Holden HK Monaro GTS327 C 129 1st 1st
1969 Australia Kloster Pty Ltd Australia Barry Mulholland Ford XW Falcon GTHO D 130 2nd 2nd
1970 Australia Ford Motor Co of Australia Ford XW Falcon GTHO Phase II E 130 2nd 2nd
1971 Australia Suttons Motors (Petersham) Holden LC Torana GTR XU-1 D 127 13th 7th
1972 Australia Ron Hodgson Motors Holden LJ Torana GTR XU-1 C 66 DNF DNF
1973 Australia Tom Nailard Holden LJ Torana GTR XU-1 D 41 DNF DNF
1974 Australia Les Grose Australia Les Grose Holden LH Torana SL/R 5000 3001 – 6000cc 19 DNF DNF

Further reading

  • Barry Lake, Solitary Man, Bruce McPhee 1927–2009, Motor Racing Australia, Dec/Jan 2009–2010
Sporting positions
Preceded by Winner of the Bathurst 500
(with Barry Mulholland)
Succeeded by