- 1984 Group C VK Commodore finished second at Bathurst
- Has been repainted to wear the #25 rather than Brock’s #05
- Driven by Peter Brock at the 2005 Goodwood Festival of Speed
One of the longest-running debates in Australian motorsport history has been finalised nearly 40 years since it began.
The Bowden family – owners of the Bowden’s Own car care brand – has added the 1984 Group C Holden VK Commodore to its collection, returning it to its original livery after years of debate.
The history of this particular Holden VK Commodore began after it finished second as car #25 at the 1984 Bathurst 1000, behind the identical and iconic #05 of Peter Brock and Larry Perkins.
However, for quite some time, some believed this car to be the #05 race winner, not the #25 of John Harvey and David Parsons as many in the Holden Dealer Team claimed.
After the race, the #05 car was donated to Bathurst City Council’s National Motor Racing Museum (where it remains today) with its original wear and tear, paintwork, stone chips – while the #25 was sold to its new owner in Western Australia before heading to the UK under the ownership of Bill Cleland, father of touring car ace John.
The #25’s history gets murky when it was returned to Australian soil thanks to Peter Champion, a Brock car collecter and friend of the ‘King of the Mountain’, who had the car restored and repainted with the #05 on its doors and roof – not #25.
Brock and Champion took the “#05” to the 2005 Goodwood Festival of Speed – sporting a placard which read “this is the real 05” – just over a year before the nine-time Bathurst winner’s untimely death in 2006, which reignited the market for his former race cars.
While Champion maintained his #05 was the race winner, experts in the industry threw their support around the VK residing in Bathurst as the real McCoy, strengthened by an investigation by Australian Muscle Car magazine.
Champion put his collection of Brock cars – which had been on display at Dreamworld as a part of the ‘Brock Experience’ – up for sale in 2018, with the 1984 VK then finding its new home with an anonymous collector.
Now in the hands of the Bowden family, the “#05” has been returned to its original #25 numbering, sadly too late for Harvey to see since his death from cancer in December 2020.
“One of the most significant moments in Australian Motorsport was the finish of Bathurst 1984 race where the two now iconic dayglo HDT commodores took one-two in that final enduro for Group C beasts at the mountain,” said the Bowdens.
“Since that time the two almost identical VK’s went very different ways and from that moment there has been conjecture and controversy as to which car was which, an argument which has accelerated in the last decade.
“Our family has been on the sidelines and can see/understand both sides of the argument, but has sided with the physical evidence and HDT team members that all point to the #05 in the Bathurst museum being the correct #05 and the equally iconic #25 being the car we now proudly have at home in our shed.
“This week we changed the numbers back to what we feel is the right thing to do. John Harvey was a great friend who we were lucky enough to have come and stay with us a few times over the years, in all sense of the word he was a total gentleman.
“It’s a shame he didn’t get to see this moment, but he and David “Skippy” Parsons can now be celebrated with the famous Brock/Perkins #05 VK together once again.”
With Holden’s final Bathurst 1000 coming this year, it’s understood the Bowdens are intending to take the #25 from their Sunshine Coast base to Mount Panorama so it can be shown off alongside the real #05 in the 60th running of the Great Race.