Graham Docker Via email

GM Holdens for many years (most probably from the 48/215 until 1989) manufactured limited number of body shells for sale via dealers for the repair of near new vehicles that had been usually rolled over. Rollovers were one of the most prominent accidents in country Australia due to poor roads, skinny cross ply tyres, stray cattle and wildlife.

Due to the overall strength of the early cars bodies they could be substantially damaged but most, if not all of the mechanical parts were okay, and cheaper repair labour made this option viable. Such body shells were called “body in white” and were painted white and carried NASCO identification on the body plate and the body number and NASCO were usually additionally stamped on the floor pan under the driver’s seat.

In the state of Victoria, it emerged over time that these vehicles so repaired had to carry a VP body number. A VP body number was issued by Victoria Police and hence the name and was formatted as follows: • V • Two Digits for the year eg 68 for 1968 • Five digits - sequential numbers • P for Police This practice prevailed until the proclamation of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act of 1989, which mandated 17 character VINs and compliance plates in order for passenger cars to be registered. The popularity of touring car racing and the transition on from showroom stock to homologation specials, created a requirement for body shells for race teams.

These body shells were produced in small batches usually about April (so they could be built into race cars for the endurance races i.e.

Sandown and Bathurst and again in November for teams building up cars for the next season (and possibly recovering from Bathurst carnage!!)

These body shells were finished in white primer, the body ID plates were stamped PRIME as the colour, and they were not stamped with any body number or NASCO identification nor compliance plates fitted. The bodies were intended for sale to authorised race teams and were not to be registered for road use.

Damien Rowan’s car is in effect two cars, a road going 1973 XU, presumably written off in an accident and a PRIME race body shell sold to Allan Taylor, better known as Scotty Taylor, dealer principal of Scotty Taylor Holden Wodonga, who raced XU-1s and later bought Graeme Blanchard’s Torana L34 (Scotty co drove with Graeme Blanchard in the endurance races in the ’70s).

The price of $47,000 is reasonable if the race parts were included in addition to the original corresponding parts – genuine XU-1s make in excess of $85,000!

Whilst I have no issue with people enjoying a non-genuine muscle car, I do have issue with people who try to create a mystique about a car to potentially enhance its value. Over time misinformation becomes folklore (red motors in EJs!!) and some may believe it and unwittingly pay the price, as the old farts who knew the facts have tumbled off their perches.

The courts have already ruled in the case of a particular of a clone Falcon XY GTHO and very heavy fines were imposed on the perpetrators.

In terms of thick document files the advent of desktop publishing and the use of the common microwave oven to age documents is a minefield for those who value documentation files associated with cars.

I worked for Holdens Manufacturing, Fishermans Bend for over 34 years, and was heavily involved in XU-1, L34 and A9X homologation and manufacture. Incidentally I am unaware of any fire at any of Holdens facilities that resulted in the loss of vehicle records over these 34 years.

It’s increasingly hard to verify the history, legitimate or otherwise, of classics given that records get lost and hearsay created.

We’d love to hear from people who’ve had difficulty verifying the history of their classics.