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Perkins V8 Supercar #PE018 restoration in Sydney

We bought PE018 the sister car to PE017 that won Bathurst in '93. Follow our story about the restoration project we undertook for this V8 Supercar in Sydney
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V8 Supercar restoration in Sydney

  • Our workshop in Sydney can restore classic sports or racing cars
  • Recommission cars that are not currently in use
  • Provide regular support for road or track use

If you have browsed the other car project stories you will quickly see we work on road as well as race cars. As we’ve mentioned before we are not a dedicated motorsport car workshop in Sydney but we do have the experience, equipment and passion to work on old racing cars.

We purchased a Holden V8 Supercar in November 2019 as a rolling chassis with a R.E.D. ”Benson” 18 degree Chev Supercar engine, with Morrison injection. George and Darren set about researching the history of the car and sourcing the required parts so that it could be restored as close as possible to original condition and get it back on the race track.

PE018 was originally built as a VP for West Australian privateer and currently carries the livery which Mike Imrie and Rodney Crick raced with in the 1999 Bathurst 1000. It is the sister car to PE017 which famously won the Bathurst 1000 in 1993, going from last to first thanks to Larry Perkins brilliant strategy and Endless race pads.

Since we purchased and restored this V8 Supercar we have managed to get it out on track. One of the goals was to run it at the Holden Bathurst Revival which was a bucket list dream, we were even featured in SpeedCafe no less. 

What we love about owning a V8 Supercar (apart from the brutal driving experience) is the passion and following the category has in Australia. With some research, Google searches, forum reading or even Facebook group searches you can piece together bits and pieces of a vehicle’s history.

Owning and restoring a Perkins Engineering v8 Supercar

Larry Perkins (and his business Perkins Engineering) is synonymous with touring cars in Australia. In fact they have even restored #PE017 as well as other chassis you can see on their website here.

They ran the car at Mount Panorama in 2023 as part of the anniversary celebrations with Larry behind the wheel.

Owning one of Larry Perkin’s V8 Supercars in Australia is quite a privilege. He is probably the most successful driver / race car engineer in modern times and his highlights reel includes a mix of rally, open wheel and touring car success. He has been an industry stalwart running his own touring car teams while also supporting both privateer and larger, well funded, teams over the years.

Some of his career highlights include;

  • Winning the TAA Formula Ford “Driver To Europe” Series in 1971 and the Australian Formula 2 Championship in 1972 (both times in an Elfin 600)
 
  • Perkins won the 1975 European Formula Three Championship. 
 
  • Raced in Formula One during the 1974, 1976 and 1977 seasons. 
 
  • Won the Rothmans International Series in 1979 in an Elfin MR8 for the Ansett Team Elfin factory team run by Elfin Sports Cars founder Garrie Cooper.
 
  • Won the 1979 Australian Rallycross Championship in a Volkswagen Beetle
 
  • Worked with brother Garry on the construction of The Quiet Achiever solar car. He was one of the drivers of the car during the transcontinental solar crossing of Australia, the car using only a photovoltaic solar cell source.
 
  • 1988 he returned to Europe to race at the Le Mans 24 Hour with Tom Walkinshaw Racing, finishing 4th.
 
  • Made his Bathurst 1000 debut in 1977 in a Holden LX Torana SS A9X Hatchback where he finished third with Peter Janson. 
 
  • He won 6 x Bathurst 1000 events  (1982, 1983, 1984, 1993, 1995, 1997), with co-drivers Peter Brock (1982–84), John Harvey (1983) (all for the Holden Dealer Team which by then was owned by Brock with Perkins in charge of race car building and preparation), Gregg Hansford (1993) and in his last two wins in 1995 and 1997 with Russell Ingall, winning each time in an Australian developed Holden Commodore.
 
Perkins retired from driving in 2003, aged 53 and was inducted into the V8 Supercars Hall of Fame in 2008. In addition to his racing credentials as a driver he is an accomplished automotive engineer and engine-builder having built many race cars for both his own team and for other racing teams.
 

If you love Group A or C Touring Cars there is a great Facebook page dedicated to the category that will often feature some of Larry’s cars here.

Restoring a v8 supercar for track day use

  • Refreshed engine
  • New front brakes
  • Dash and ignition rewiring
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Once we took delivery of #PE018 we got to work pretty quickly and this is a taste of the work we carried out to restore this V8 Supercar.

  • Ordered a brand new H6S gearbox from Holinger Engineering, with the 1993 Bathurst 1000 gear ratios
  • Cleaned and resprayed the engine bay
  • Fabricated and fitted new engine and gearbox mounts
  • Refreshed the engine, replaced all drive belts
  • Sourced and fitted a custom made tailshaft
  • Rebuilt the differential
  • Sourced custom made and correct specification radiator
  • Sourced original specification headers from Perkins Engineering, and had them ceramic coated
  • Sourced & fitted Tilton clutch, starter motor, custom flywheel, master cylinder
  • Replaced fuel bladder and foam which was custom made in the U.S.
  • Replaced fuel pumps and filters
  • Replaced brake rotor ‘top hats‘ and all bolts, sourced from Harrop Engineering
  • Stripped down and rebuilt Harrop brake calipers, replaced brake master cylinders
  • Removed Haltech system and installed period correct Motec dash, ECU and wiring harness
  • Tracked down an original “Larry Tower” for all the switches and electrics
  • Fitted thermal insulation in the transmission tunnel and on firewall
  • Tracked down and purchased original IMS01 engine block that the car ran “back in the day”
  • Found correct offset spare set of wheels, and spare set of centrelock wheel nuts
  • Installed new remote activated fire extinguisher and replumbed this through the car
 
 
and talk about the little details right, we also

  • Had a custom seat inset made from pouring expanding foam for Darren so he could reach the pedals.
 
  • George had replica models specially commissioned, in the 1999 Bathurst livery the car is in today
 

 

Many thanks to Dave Gardner, Jack Perkins, Holinger Engineering, Harrop Engineering, Dean Crosswell and Dave Mawer for all the advice, assistance and first rate workmanship to help us complete this V8 Supercar restoration in Sydney.

Using a v8 supercar in Australia for track days or motor racing

Yes if you didn’t realise, you can actually buy, own and use a touring car quite easily. Touring Cars come up for sale fairly often from different eras either as rolling chassis, complete cars or ones that are used today but modified from their original spec.

A lot of touring cars are listed for sale on websites like my105.com or Race Cars Direct or Speed Sales as well as local car clubs, race category websites or local forums. The other place can sometimes be on special interest websites like Australian Muscle Car Sales or V8 Sleuth where you can see a lot of different cars in various states of condition, some with spares packages etc.

While some of the more modern touring cars will need a crew to support running it (including a mechanic, electronics specialists and/or a data analyst) the older cars that run simpler set ups using production based Holden or Ford engines can be more manageable and accessible. 

If you want to get a taste of what driving a touring car is like there are plenty of experience days that are run in Australia. They generally run stripped out road cars that will have a cage, open exhaust and bigger brakes, they typically aren’t full race spec cars as they’d be too expensive (and valuable) to run for the general public, although they will give you a glimpse as to what they are like. 

Touring Cars can be used in lots of practice days at different race tracks around Australia plus there are categories like Heritage Touring Cars who actively support the older cars getting a run. Motorsport Australia also has various groups that vehicles can fall into to be eligible for events.

Peninsula Sports Cars is by no means a motorsport or touring car focussed workshop but if you are thinking about owning a V8 Supercar to do some casual track days or even join us when we head out to historic race meetings then we may be able to support you, let’s chat about it.

can you Buy and maintain an Australian v8 supercar car in Sydney?
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If you are thinking of buying a touring car to use for track days, or have one that needs to be recommissioned, we might be able to help you. While most of the work we do is focussed on road cars we have the equipment and expertise to also work on track specific cars. 

We own a mix of touring cars, sports cars and open wheel single seater race cars which we do track days or race ourselves.

What we typically do when someone asks us about getting a race car recommissioned is;

  • Provide an initial free phone consultation to understand the history of the vehicle, your requirements and if we are a good fit to be working together, and determine if we have the right expertise to help with the type of race car you have.
 
  • We’ll ask you to bring the car to our workshop to have a closer look at it or secure photos and videos to help assess what needs to be done and to work out the logistics.
 
  • Clearly define a scope of work that covers all mechanical or cosmetic requirements as per your brief.
 
  • Once the scope of work is agreed to and the vehicle is with us we create a detailed job sheet & begin capturing photos of each element that is being worked on. You get to literally follow the journey of what is being done and why.
 
  • If we discover anything that is a surprise or not in the brief then we’ll contact you to talk through the available options before we commence any further work.
 

So yes, you may be able to unleash those child hood dreams of throwing a race car around a track with support from our workshop. Lets have a discussion to see what is possible.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO GET A RACING CAR RECOMMISSIONED?
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Recommissioning a racing car in Australia is a meticulous process that involves restoring a race car to operational condition after it has been inactive or stored for an extended period. This procedure is crucial to ensure the vehicle’s safety, performance, and compliance with relevant regulations before it can be used for competitive racing events in the country.

Peninsula Sports Cars can help you through a recommissioning process which typically follows a structured sequence of steps, adhering to rigorous standards and guidelines. Some of this will be dictated by the state of the vehicle, available parts and your desired outcome or intended use. 

Some of the steps involved would include;

Assessment and Documentation:
The initial step in recommissioning a racing car involves a thorough assessment of the vehicle’s current condition. This can include reviewing the car’s history, specifications, and any modifications that may have been made since its last use. We can review records that come with the vehicle and/or help piece together its history. All of this is optional as our focus will be on the mechanical aspects.

Safety Inspection:
Safety is of paramount importance in any form of motorsport if you intend to drive the vehicle in any way. Sometimes owners will restore or recommission a race car as a static vehicle for display. If you intend driving it then the car must undergo a comprehensive safety inspection to identify and rectify any potential hazards or deficiencies. This includes scrutinising the chassis, roll cage if it has one, safety harnesses, fire extinguishing systems, and any other safety equipment like brakes, lines, hoses etc.

Mechanical Restoration:
The mechanical components of the racing car, such as the engine, transmission, suspension, brakes, and steering may require thorough inspection, restoration and/or replacement if necessary. Any worn-out or damaged parts we will recommend what approach to take depending on what it is and what condition it is in. For old race cars outright performance will take a second priority vs reliability and safety. Unless of course you will be competing heavily with the vehicle and want to be a the pointy end of any field.

Electrical Systems:
The car’s electrical systems, including wiring, sensors, and electronic components, must be inspected for functionality and compliance with safety standards. Wiring looms should be checked for wear and tear, and any damaged components should be repaired or replaced. Sometimes these will be in areas that are hard to see or from the outside look ok but further inspection will reveal otherwise.

Fuel and Fluid Systems:
The fuel and fluid systems, including the fuel tank, brake lines, and cooling system, should be inspected for leaks or corrosion. These systems must meet the safety and performance requirements mandated by motorsport regulations but common sense will always prevail from a pure safety perspective. Many of these items can be replaced.

Tires and Wheels:
Racing car tires and wheels play a crucial role in performance and safety. These components should be inspected for wear, damage, or even small cracks. Replacing tyres will depend on how the vehicle will be used and whether you need racing slicks or something less performance orientated.

Compliance with Regulations:
Recommissioning a racing car in Australia may necessitate adherence to strict motorsport regulations and safety standards. The car should comply with specific category rules and technical regulations established by the governing body of the respective racing series. For historic racing categories this can sometimes come down to decals, major mechanical components etc in terms of preserving the original state of the vehicle when it was raced. For some categories this is less important but modern safety equipment will still be needed.

Testing and Tuning:
After the restoration and maintenance work is completed, the racing car should undergo extensive testing and tuning. This involves ensuring that all components work harmoniously to optimise performance, handling, and reliability. Typically this will be done at our workshop but there is the option for us to help you at the race track which can be added to our service provisions.

Logbook and Documentation:
A comprehensive logbook detailing all recommissioning activities, modifications, and inspections should be maintained in an ideal world. This logbook is essential for demonstrating compliance with regulations and facilitating future scrutineering checks but may not be necessary depending on the type of race car and how you intend using it.

That is a brief explanation about recommissioning a racing car in Australia and the actual process will vary based on where your vehicle is located, what it is, its age & your intended purpose. The last factor to consider will be budget and we can help you structure a scope of work that addresses the most important items first and work through anything else you need after that.

Either way it is possible to get a racing car recommissioned and ready for use or demonstration.

Enquire about getting work done to your vehicle

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Peninsula Sports Car Services
Peninsula Sports Car Services

A team of passionate car enthusiasts providing a range of services and support for the local classic car community in Australia

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