Peter Champion once owned 27 cars by motorsport legend Peter Brock. Only one car left
“Keep your eyes on the road. Don’t look in the rearview mirror,” is a phrase that car enthusiast Peter Champion takes to heart.
- Peter Brock was killed in an accident during the Targa West rally in Western Australia in 2006
- Friend Peter Champion once owned Australia’s largest collection of Brock cars before selling 26 in 2017 to a private buyer
- Fifteen years after the death of the racing legend, Champion has only one racing car in his collection
The motto spoken by legendary racing driver and friend Peter Brock is the way Champion approaches life and his collection.
Brock was killed on September 8, 2006, when the car he was driving, a Daytona Coupé, crashed into a tree during the Targa West Rally in Western Australia.
Champion once had Australia’s largest collection of cars, racing suits and memorabilia from the nine-time Bathurst 1000 winners in a museum in Yeppoon, central Queensland.
Fifteen years after Brock’s death, only one racing car remains in his collection: the Daytona Coupé from that fateful day.
The Daytona dilemma
When Champion learned that individual parts of Brock’s last racing car would be sold, he paid Daytona to restore the vehicle.
While hesitant to restore the car, he says, he was encouraged by Brock’s girlfriend, Julie Bamford, and his navigator, Mick Hone.
“I agonized over it for a long time. All the mechanics of the car were still fine and I just thought, maybe I don’t need someone to come to the museum to say:” I got Brocky’s last wheels, I got his last engine [and] I have his last gearbox ‘.
“To protect him from this, I agreed to pay for the restoration and at the moment the decision to do so, I think was the right one.
“I know there are a lot of people who aren’t happy with this, but at least it’s there and knowing Peter as well as I do, he wouldn’t have wanted this car destroyed.”
The last car in the collection
Champion sold 26 Brock cars from his collection in 2017 to a private buyer who then auctioned them individually for around $ 10 million a year later.
He still has a collection of Brock replicas and cars from the Holden dealer team that Brock built after purchasing the company in December 1979.
But there is only one real racing car left.
“I’m heading into that part of my life where I have to make decisions about what happens to a lot of things, but I wouldn’t sell this car,” Champion said.
“Some days you walk by and you don’t want to watch it.
“Other days you look at it and say to yourself, ‘What if? “
When Champion met Brock
A fan of passenger cars, Champion was introduced to Brock at a charity dinner in 1994.
The pair hit it off, and when Champion suggested they restore a replica of Brock’s first car, the 1956 Austin A30, their friendship grew overkill.
It was this car that the couple discussed in their last conversation the day before Brock died in 2006.
The duo were preparing the car for the Speed on Tweed event at the River Tweed a fortnight later.
“I was asking him what tire pressures he wanted and all that and he said, ‘Give me a ringtone tomorrow night because I’ll be a little busy tonight and tomorrow so we’ll discuss it then.’
“Unfortunately, this was the last conversation I had with Pete.
“I was in Brisbane at the time [of the crash] and we heard the news before they mentioned it was Peter. “
Champion dialed Brock’s number.
There was no answer.
“A little while later I called Julie, his girlfriend, and it was just said when I called,” Champion said.
“I could tell by his voice it was Peter.
“It was a sad day.”
The end of an era
The brand synonymous with Brock – Holden – ended production on Australian soil in 2017 after nearly 70 years.
Champion purchased three Holden vehicles that rolled off the company’s final production line.
“I am disappointed like the rest of our country,” he said.
“To say the least, I’m pissed off.”
For Champion, watching Supercars sneak onto the Mont Panorama circuit has lost its appeal.
“I have a little squiz every now and then, but I think I lost that passion,” he said.
“It’s a little sad, but I think it spoiled the brands a bit.”