Harry Firth

Harry Firth

18/4/1918 - 27/4/2014

Harry was a Ford works driver in the mid 60's and was responsible for developing the XR Falcon GT in 1967, winning the Bathurst that year with Fred Gibson.

Mr Harry Firth started his working life in a country garage. He was a Ford works driver in the mid 60's. He was responsible for developing the XR Falcon GT in 1967 and won Bathurst that year with Fred Gibson.

As a driver, known as the "Old Fox" for his wily tactics, Harry won an Australian Rally Championship and four endurance events at Phillip Island and Bathurst. As a team manager, he won five more Bathursts, five Australian Manufacturers’ Championships and four Australian Rally Championships.

He co-designed and race-developed some legendary cars: the Cortina GT 500, the XR Falcon GT, the Torana XU1, L34 and A9X. In 1969 he introduced two youngsters into the team, Colin Bond and Peter Brock, and set about developing a new mid sized race car, the Torana XU-1. The GT 500 was no Lotus-Cortina, but it certainly was a step up from the GT. It was designed for Ford Australia by Harry, wielding the spanners in his Queens Avenue workshop in Auburn, Melbourne. In 1965 Harry Firth had become so synonymous with Cortinas in Australia, that he was invited by the Mayor of the Italian city Cortina for a special celebration they were having there.

Firth's long distance driving adage was to nurse the car along by being sympathetic with the machinery. Considering his outstanding record in enduro racing it paid dividends on many occasions. He retired from the HDT and Motor Sport after the 1977 Great Race.

Bathurst Starts:

  • 1960 - Singer Gazelle with John Reaburn
  • 1961 - Mercedes 220SE with Bob Jane (1st)
  • 1962 - Ford Falcon XL with Bob Jane (1st)
  • 1963 - Ford Cortina GT with Bob Jane (1st)
  • 1964 - Ford Cortina GT with John Reaburn (3rd)
  • 1965 - Ford Cortina 220 with John Reaburn (14th)
  • 1966 - Morris Cooper S with Ern Abbott (6th)
  • 1967 - Ford Falcon XR GT with Fred Gibson (1st)

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