1962 Armstrong 500

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1962 Armstrong 500
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The 1962 Armstrong 500 was an endurance race for Australian built production cars. The race was held at the Phillip Island circuit in Victoria, Australia on 21 October 1962 over 167 laps of the 3.0 mile circuit, a total of 501 miles. Cars competed in four classes based on the retail price of each model. Officially, only class placings were awarded but the No 21 Ford Falcon driven by Harry Firth and Bob Jane was recognised as "First across the line". This was the third and last Armstrong 500 to be held at Phillip Island prior to the race being moved to the Mount Panorama Circuit at Bathurst in New South Wales where it later became known as the Bathurst 1000.

Class structure[edit]

For the 1962 race the division of classes was changed from engine capacity, used in the previous two Armstrong 500's, to the purchase price (in Australian pounds, the currency of the era) of the vehicle on the Australian market, the intention being to allow the public to make comparisons according to their potential financial circumstances rather than approximating cars of equivalent vehicle performance. An upper limit of £2000 was established to prevent the race from becoming dominated by sports exotica. In terms of actual cars entered the changes saw the Renault Gordinis move up from Class D to Class C, while the Volkswagens dropped from C to D. Volkswagen would break through for their first class victory this year.

Class A[edit]

Class A was for cars with a purchase price of between £1251 and £2000. The class featured Chrysler Valiant, Citroën ID19, Ford Zephyr, Studebaker Lark and Vauxhall Velox.

Class B[edit]

Class B was for cars with a purchase price of between £1051 and £1250. The class was dominated by the new Ford Falcon XL but also feature Austin Freeway and Holden EJ.

Class C[edit]

Class C was for cars with a purchase price of between £901 and £1050. The class featured Hillman Minx, Morris Major, Renault Gordini and Simca Aronde.

Class D[edit]

Class D was for cars with a purchase price of less than £900. The class featured Ford Anglia, Morris 850, Triumph Herald and Volkswagen.


In a pointer towards the future the race results outright order was dominated by the new XL series Ford Falcon were three of the first four cars home, led by the factory supported car of defending race champions Harry Firth and Bob Jane. On the same lap as Firth/Jane was the Class A winning Studebaker of Fred Sutherland and Bill Graetz, who won the class by four laps, defeating the factory supported Ford Zephyr being driven by Geoff Russell and David Anderson, denying them of a third consecutive class victory. The performance of the big Studebaker was noteworthy in that while Larks continued to be entered into the race until 1968 this was as close as they would get to an outright victory.

In Class C one of the Renault Gordini's won despite being the victims of the new class structure with Rex Emmett, John Connolly and Brian Sampson racing to a four lap victory. Sampson in particular would become a fixture of the race in the next two decades, which after demolishing the 1974 field only to blow their engine, would finally win the race outright in 1975 as Peter Brock's co-driver.

There are some reports that the Class C winning Renault Gordini driven by Emmett, Connolly and Sampson was disqualified after the race along with the second placed Morris 850 in Class D driven by Allen and Hooker. However their original placing are still shown in the list of official results. This is likely due to the scrutineers taking days to finalise their results followed by protests by the entrants at their exclusions. The completed results were widely published before the disqualifications were finally enforced thus many subsequent publications show an incorrect finishing order including Bill Tuckey's "Australia's Greatest Motor Race". This would make the Morris Major driven by Edney and Fayer the correct winner of Class C.

Jim McKeown, an emerging star in small bore touring cars, and George Reynolds took their Volkswagen to the Class D victory, beating the leading Mini by a lap. Reynolds too had an outright victory in store in just two years time in 1964.


The toil placed on the cold mix bitumen surface by the race, with the largest entry the race had seen, overwhelmed the Phillip Island racetrack. Dangerous potholes formed all around the circuit, leaving a hefty repair bill, and an ominous threat to the future growth of the race. Staying at Phillip Island, as attractive as other factors presented, was plainly impossible and the search began by the promotors for a new home for the increasingly popular endurance production car race. Earlier the same year the Bathurst Six Hour Classic had been held at the Mount Panorama Circuit near Bathurst (won by a Daimler not eligible to run in the Armstrong), and that circuit immediately entered speculation.


Pos No Team Drivers Car Laps
Class A
1 2 Canadian Cycle and Motor Co Australia Fred Sutherland
Australia Bill Graetz
Studebaker Lark 167
2 10 Ford Motor Company Australia Geoff Russell
Australia David Anderson
Ford Zephyr Mk III 163
3 7 Continental and General Distributors Australia Norm Beechey
Australia Greg Cusack
Citroën ID19 160
4 5 Hawthorn Auto Wreckers Australia Vic Croft
Australia Wal Gillespie
Chrysler Valiant 160
5 8 Scuderia Veloce Australia Bill Buckle
Australia Brian Foley
Citroën ID19 156
6 9 Wallace Auto Racing Stable Australia Bill Wilson
Australia Mike Ide
Citroën ID19 155
7 6 Calder Motor Raceway Australia Pat Hawthorn
Australia G Hibberd
Chrysler Valiant 153
8 3 Hospital Hill Motors Australia Don Algie
Australia Kingsley Hibbard
Studebaker Lark 127
DNF 4 Auburn Garage Australia Peter White
Australia Peter Boyd-Squires
Chrysler Valiant 118
DNF 1 SA Cheney Pty Ltd Australia Frank Coad
Australia John Roxburgh
Vauxhall Velox 64
Class B
1 21 Ford Motor Company Australia Harry Firth
Australia Bob Jane
Ford Falcon XL 167
2 20 Ford Motor Company Australia Ken Harper
Australia John Raeburn
Australia Syd Fisher
Ford Falcon XL 166
3 25 Broon's Motors Australia Alan Caelli
Australia J Edwards
Australia John Bodinnar
Ford Falcon XL 165
4 26 LJ Callaway Australia John Callaway
Australia Frank Porter
Australia Jim Smith
Ford Falcon XL 161
5 22 Molybond Laboratories Australia Barry Foster
Australia Bob Brown
Australia David Catlin
Holden EJ 160
6 24 Hilltop Autos Australia Lex Davison
Australia John Brindley
Australia Phil Trueman [1]
Austin Freeway 159
7 23 C Smith Australia Charlie Smith
Australia Brucer Maher
Austin Freeway 145
8 27 New Oakleigh - New St Kilda Motors Australia Kevin Lott
Australia Tom Roddy
Australia Brian Devlin
Ford Falcon XL 134
Class C
1 30 Rex Emmett Australia Rex Emmett
Australia John Connolly
Australia Brian Sampson
Renault Gordini 162
2 34 Edney's Garage Australia Alan Edney
Australia Greg Fayers
Morris Major Elite 158
3 33 Eiffel Tower Group Australia Diane Leighton
Australia Anne Bennett
Australia Pam Murison
Simca Aronde 157
4 37 Clemens Sporting Car Service Australia Ian Wells
Australia Don Dunoon
Hillman Minx 151
5 36 W Nalder Australia Wes Nalder
Australia John Fish
Hillman Minx 145
DNF 31 Eiffel Tower Group Australia Jack Eiffeltower [2]
Australia Lionel Marsh
Australia Vern Curtin
Simca Aronde 121
DNF 32 Eiffel Tower Group Australia Bill Roberts
Australia J Hume
Australia W Murison
Simca Aronde 63
DNF 35 Carburettor Centre - Belvedere Motors Australia Les Darcy
Australia Don Castaldi
Simca Aronde 60
Class D
1 48 HG McLean Motors Australia George Reynolds
Australia Jim McKeown
Volkswagen 162
2 Australia D Hooker
Australia Terry Allen
Morris 850 161
3 41 Ace Motors Pty Ltd Australia Geoffrey Waite
Australia Peter Macrow
Australia Rocky Tresise
Morris 850 160
4 50 Spencer Motors Australia Tony Theiler
Australia Bob Foreman
Australia Reg Lunn
Volkswagen 160
5 40 Jack Hunnam Australia Jack Hunnam
Australia John Hartnett
Morris 850 160
6 42 Head Bros Australia George Huse
Australia Clarrie Head
Morris 850 159
7 51 GA Gibson Australia Hoot Gibson
Australia Paul England
Australia Jack Madden
Triumph Herald 157
8 44 SD Hughes Australia Graham Hoinville
Australia Kevin Burns
Ford Anglia 157
9 47 SC Martin Australia Stan Martin
Australia Les Park
Triumph Herald 154
10 53 Sydney Grevett Australia Syd Grevett
Australia Cliff van Praag
Morris 850 150
11 45 McLure's Restaurants Australia George Poulton
Australia R Poulton
Australia M Watson
Triumph Herald 150
DNF 49 Whiteford Motors Australia Doug Whiteford
Australia Lou Molina
Volkswagen 148
DNF 52 AG Reynolds Australia Tony Reynolds
Australia A Humphries
Australia Frank McEnroe
Morris 850 101
DNF 46 High Road Auto Port Australia Jack Anderson
Australia J Binning
Australia Bob Bullock
Triumph Herald 13


  • Fastest Lap - #3 Algie/Hibbard - 2:42
  • Race Time - 8:15:16.0


  1. ^ Graham Howard, Lex Davison - Larger Than Life, 2004, page 175
  2. ^ Jack Eiffeltower was a pseudonym used by Jack Nougher
  • Australian Motor Sports, December 1962
  • Tuckey, Bill (1981). "1962: The end of the island:". Australia's Greatest Motor Race The Complete History. Sydney: Lansdowne Press. pp. 82–89. 
  • Australia's Greatest Motor Race, The First 30 Years, © 1989
  • The Age, Monday, 22 October 1962
  • Wheels, January 1963
  • Greenhalgh, David; Thomas B. Floyd; Bill Tuckey (2000). "1962 The end of the island". Australia's Greatest Motor Race 1960–1999 The first 40 years. Hornsby: Chevron Publishing Group Pty Limited. pp. 108–113 & 452. ISBN 1-875221-12-3. 

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