Greg Murphy's iconic Bathurst-winning Kmart Holden Commodore up for sale
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Want to feel old? Know that 2004 was a decade and a half ago.
Things were different back then. Justin Timberlake was relevant, planking had yet to be invented, and what's known as the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship today was known — simply — as the V8 Supercars.
What hasn't changed over that timeframe is the tendency for Kiwis to steal away some of the category's biggest trophies. Case in point; Greg Murphy's 2004 Bathurst 1000 victory, shared with a young Rick Kelly.
While the win didn't quite have the same 'Lap of the Gods' lustre as Murph's win from the previous year, it was no less impressive. The Kmart team were able to go two-for-two with a car that probably wasn't as dominant as the one they tackled Mount Panorama with in 2003.
The quickest cars on the day belonged to the combinations of Steve Richards/Jim Richards and Jason Bright/Paul Weel. But, both were inexplicably jinxed when they elected to hit each other in a highly clumsy fashion coming out of turn one.
From there, the Richards/Richards Castrol Commodore clobbered an quite unlucky kangaroo, while Bright and Weel's PWR Commodore limped to 12th place with mechanical woes (and the fastest lap). Murphy and Kelly meanwhile ran a near-seamless race, leading 100 laps out of 161, dodging the chaos, and fending off a late charge from Craig Lowndes to win by eight seconds.
Admittedly, a late safety car did do them a huge favour.
For Murphy, it was the last of his four Bathurst 1000 wins; 2004 joining 2003, 1999, and 1996. And, the car itself looks set to come up for sale in the coming months.
Murphy himself doesn't own the car (not yet, anyway). Instead its owned by former Holden Racing Team chief and car-building guru Rick Wyatt. According to V8 Sleuth, Wyatt is about to finish an extensive restoration on the 2004 Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 winner, at which point it will be offered up for sale. Price, as you'd expect, is available on application.
Some might be surprised to find that this Kmart car and the 2003 winning Kmart car aren't one in the same. While the former was chassis number HRT 043, this one is chassis number HRT 044.
HRT 044 started its life as a Holden VX Commodore campaigned by Jason Bright across 2001 and 2002, until it was shuffled across to Kmart Racing in mid-2002. There, it was first raced by Todd Kelly before becoming a hand-me-down for younger brother Rick Kelly in 2003.
It spent a period of time sitting on the sidelines in late 2003, before being rebuilt as a VY Commodore for Kelly junior's 2004 campaign. Prior to Bathurst it helped Kelly claim his first solo race win at a soggy Sydney Motorsport Park (known at the time as Eastern Creek), before being used for both endurance races.
Like most HRT chassis from the period, it's a car that comes loaded with successful and interesting history. Hopefully, a Kiwi can buy it and bring it over to our side of the ditch!
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