Ford FC LTD
Driven by David Westbury, David Krant and Darren Mcmullen
David Westbury owned the red 1980 Ford FC LTD and drove with David Krant and Darren Mcmullen.
The LTD was heavily modified and had a 4V 351 Cleveland engine with a wild cam. The gearbox was a 4 speed top loader and it had a 9 inch differential.
The car also had an extra 300 litre fuel tank.
A couple of months prior to the race David had taken the car on a test and reconnaissance run to Perth but due to a license suspension he enlisted the help of his brother Graham to drive the car back to Melbourne for the race start.
David says that Graham drove the car hard and attracted the attention of the police when back near Melbourne, where they gave chase. Although he managed to evade them he was picked up a short time later when another police car recognised the vehicle and they pulled over.
Although it was reported that the car reached speeds of up to 220 km/h, David says that the speeds were actually up to 300 km/h!
Graham, a father of four at the time, received a hefty fine of $3,000 and lost his license for two years.
Their parents, already against David entering the race, were obviously even less happy after this happened.
The team started in 20th position but found themselves stuck behind a police car at the speed limit in a procession of around six Cannonballers until they reached the South Australian border. From there they were able to cruise at 200 to 220 km/h.
They had overtaken several other teams, and not been passed by any others, and had made it up to around sixth place when they suffered an engine problem about 30 kilometres out of Loxton, South Australia, at 3 o'clock in the morning.
There was water in the cylinders and the car overheated and stopped.
The only help they could get was from a truck driver who towed them by chain into town behind his semi-trailer.
Not able to continue in the LTD they waited until 8 am for a used car yard to open and bought a Ford XR Falcon for $600, which they used to get to the finish.
They did not have any run-ins with the police in either car.
They were awarded a special prize for the most determined team.
David said that he spoke to Charlie Kovacs who had said that when he saw the LTD he thought that it was going to be their biggest competition. Had it not been for the breakdown David thinks they would have been in the running for the win.
For the return trip they rebuilt the noisy gearbox of the newly-purchased XR Falcon in a car park in Perth, but the car let them down on the way back when a welsh plug failed. They ended up leaving the car at the side of the road on the Nullarbor.