The 1967 Gallaher 500 was the eighth running of the Bathurst 500 production car race. It was held on 1 October 1967 at the Mount Panorama Circuit just outside Bathurst. Cars competed in five classes based on purchase price (Australian dollars) of the vehicle.
In a seminal moment for the race, the first Australian built V8 muscle cars appeared in the first Ford Falcon GT. In a race long duel against three dealer entered Alfa Romeo GTVs, the Ford Works Team raced home for a one-two finish with Harry Firth and Fred Gibson acknowledged as race winners after some confusion over lap scoring briefly left question marks over the result. Brothers Leo and Ian Geoghegan finished second with the two Alec Mildren entered Alfa Romeos of Doug Chivas / Max Stewart and Kevin Bartlett / Laurie Stewart all finishing on the same lap. It was Firth's fourth victory, equalling Bob Jane's record.
The confusion over the result stemmed from the Geoghegan's first pit stop. Driving the opening stint, Leo Geoghegan's pole winning Falcon almost ran out of fuel coming past the pits. As he could not reverse into pit lane without being disqualified, Leo went in through the back gate to the pits located on Mountain Straight, and came back into pit lane through the paddock gate. Although he had not completed the lap, as he crossed the finish line in pit lane (located before he got to his pit bay) he was mistakenly credited with completing the lap. Firth, who knew this, was livid with the Australian Racing Drivers Club (ARDC) when the Geoghegan car was flagged in first, despite finishing 11 seconds behind Gibson (although he knew that he'd completed his 130th lap, Gibson completed another lap as he had not yet been shown the chequered flag). Firth, known as "The Fox", immediately protested the result and it was not until later that evening that he and Gibson were installed as race winners. Firth's protest led to long standing animosity between himself and the Geoghegan Team who were team mates for the race, with Leo contending until his death in 2015 that he and his brother won the race.
Midge Whiteman and Jane Richardson made history as the first all girls team to drive in the Bathurst 500, and to this day remain one of two all girl teams to finish the race (Midge Whiteman and Christine Cole finished in 1968).
1967 Gallaher 500 Wikipedia
The smallest class was for under cars the cost less $1,800. It was made up of Datsun 1000 and 1300, Hillman GT, Holden Torana and Toyota Corolla.
The $1,801 to $2,100 class featured Ford Cortina, Hillman Arrow, and Morris Cooper and 1100S, Renault R8 and Toyota Corona.
The $2,101 to $3,000 class was dominated by the Morris Cooper S, but also contained Fiat 124 and 850, an automatic gearbox Ford Falcon, Holden HD X2 and Prince Skyline.
The $3,001 to $4,500 class featured the debut of the 'Australian V8's which would dominate the history of the race, represented by, Ford Falcon GT, but also contained a single, Alfa Romeo Giulia, Audi Super 90, Studebaker Lark, Triumph 2000 and Volvo 122.
For the first time an unlimited class, for cars over $4,500, was included and while many exotic cars were rumoured the class contained Alfa Romeo 1600 GTV and a single Dodge Phoenix TD2.
The 1967 Gallaher 500 was the first time the grid was decided on qualifying times, regardless of class. Prior to 1967 the cars were gridded according to practice times but in their respective classes with the fastest class starting at the front of the grid and so on.Pole Position - #53 Ian Geoghegan - 3:03.0
Fastest Lap - #52 Fred Gibson - 3:03 (lap record)
Average Speed - 116 km/h
Race Time - 6:55:08