John Goss’ Tornado Ford leads a gaggle of sportscars on the drop between the Water Tower and The Viaduct, Longford, Saturday 2 March 1968…

I wrote this piece a while back and now seems a good time to post it given one of Tasmania’s finest, Gossy himself was awarded an Order of Australia for services to motor sports in last weekend-and-a-bit’s Queens Birthday Honours announcements. Off the back of that achievement Terry Sullivan started a The Nostalgia Forum thread which now contains some marvellous Goss photos, many from Lindsay Ross’ oldracephotos.com.au archive which have never seen the light of day before- check TNF out;


Back to Longford- it’s the Saturday race day, the Monday Labour Day holiday was Tasman Cup day, that year the feature race was won by Piers Courage’ McLaren M4A FVA F2 car in a notoriously wet, perilous day of motor-racing. Sadly it was the last in Longford’s relatively short but very sweet period as a road racing track. Click here for my article on the 1968 Longford Tasman;


Goss, future Bathurst and Australian Grand Prix winner is leading Kerry Cox’s Paramount Jaguar, three-times Australian Grand Prix winner Doug Whiteford’s works Datsun Fairlady, Bert Howard’s Lola Mk1 Climax, the partially obscured Lotus 23 Ford of Alan Ling and then Peter Mawdesley in a Lotus Super 7. Out front out of shot is the ex-works Scuderia Veloce Ferrari P4/350 Can Am driven by Chris Amon from Ian Cook’s Bob Jane Racing Elfin 400 Repco, Peter Macrow in the Argo Chev, Lionel Ayers MRC Ford and Glynn Scott’s Lotus 23 Ford. The opening shot shown is the second group of cars.

I wrote an article a while back about John Goss including a bit on the Tornado, click on the link to read it;


The following shot is of Gossy losing Tornado on his turn-in to The Viaduct, I wonder if its the same lap! I think not, the track looks wet, which makes it the Monday. Amon’s Ferrari was pushed off the grid with a flat battery- he started the 10 lapper with 2 laps down and finished third- and did 178 mph in the wet conditions on The Flying Mile. Peter Macrow won in Tony Osborne’s Argo Chev from Glynn Scott’s Lotus 23 Ford.



David Keep/oldracephotos.com, Lindsay Ross Collection, Rob Bartholomaeus

Etcetera: Autosportsman article on the Tornado Ford, courtesy Lindsay Ross’ Collection…

Tailpiece: Amon’s 480bhp Ferrari P4/Can-Am 350 monstering Gossy’s 200bhp Tornado Ford out of Newry, Longford 1968…


During the dry Sports Car Scratch race on the Saturday Chris won from Ian Cook in Bob Jane’s Elfin 400 Repco V8 and Peter Macrow in the Argo Chev.

Amon, awfully comfortable in the P4/CanAm 350- in addition to his Ferrari F1 commitments he raced the cars in both the 1967 endurance races and some Can Am rounds, set an all-time Longford lap record of 2:16.2 undercutting Jim Clark’s Lotus 49 Ford DFW time of 2:13.0 earlier in the day. Mighty quick. Mind you, that summer Frank Matich beat Chris’ Ferrari in the Matich SR3 Repco in the other Australian Tasman round sportscar support events. But FM did not cross Bass Straight to do Longford- sad! Those battles on that circuit would really have been something to see!


  1. Joe Armour says:

    I remember seeing Goss race at oran Park and it was impressive. Falcon motors were not the norm.

    • markbisset says:

      Yes Joe,
      It was an odd choice but he was very much a Ford man- and claims a big difference in weight of the FoMoCo motor compared with a Holden-Red 6, so no doubt figured blazing a development path with the engine was worthwhile. Apparently the car still exists, it would be great to see it in historic racing one day.

  2. Bill Hollingsworth says:

    The Tornado Ford was an engineering masterpiece. A truly remarkable and successful backyard special.

    • markbisset says:

      Yes Bill,
      I didn’t realise until relatively recently what a talented engineer/mechanic Gossy was. The Tornado under the skin may not have been the prettiest of things but it was certainly fast and achieved his primary aim of ‘getting a leg up’- he was certainly noticed by those who could spot talent.

  3. Rob says:


    According to the Longford report in Racing Car New, the Monday 10 lapper for Sports Cars started in drizzling rain with Cook’s Elfin Repco a non-starter and Amon’s Ferrari P4 wheeled off the grid with a flat battery. The Ferrari got underway two laps down.

    Peter Macrow (Argo Chevrolet) won the race from Glyn Scott (Lotus 23) and Amon, with the latter achieving a flying eight speed of 178 m.p.h.! In the wet! Goss is mentioned in the report as pitting and rejoining one lap down.


  4. Rob says:


    Yes, Chris Amon won the 10 lap “Abbotts” Sports Car Scratch Race on the Saturday in the Ferrari P4 with Ian Cook second in the Elfin Repco V8 and Peter Macrow third in the Argo Chevrolet. Amon also set a new OUTRIGHT track record in that race with a 2:12.6, undercutting Jim Clark’s record of 2:13.0 with the Lotus 49, set earlier in the day during the 12 lap “Examiner” Scratch Race for Tasman cars. Not bad for a Sports Car, albeit with a couple of extra litres to play with.


    • markbisset says:

      Yes Rob, pretty amazing, I’ve been researching Longford all week. An article with a lot of pictorial content focussed on the track itself and it’s nuances- there are far more turns than the maps actually show. 122 mph average is amazing also given how narrow much of it was, and that CanAm 350 was a big bit of real estate!

  5. […] mainland and subsequent fame in tourers and F5000 a couple of times before, checkout the link here; https://primotipo.com/2018/06/19/john-goss-tornado-ford-longford-1968/ , and here; […]

  6. Ray Bell says:

    The original engine was a Pursuit 170. Later it gained a bigger engine when Rob Worboys had it. The Hillman uprights were interesting. Mention is made in the story of the rack being turned upside down to suit the uprights which have the steering arms coming back rather than Herald-style forward-facing arms. I do think there may have been some more practical reasoning behind this choice as the discs on the Hillman Super Minx/Humber Vogue were bigger than came on Cortinas and Spitfires.
    I don’t know what kind of oil Gossy used to keep the engine together, but when we had it we found that to be a problem.

    • markbisset says:

      Hi Ray,
      Sorry to be slow coming back to you. I didn’t realise you helped with this car. Gossy went the hard way in terms of engine didn’t he?- and he had raced both Ford and Holden Taxis hadn’t he. Interesting theory re uprights and discs- what was the nature of the engine problems- which bit usually broke?

      • Ray Bell says:

        Keeping bearings in it was the issue we found. This was when Malcolm Smith owned the car, a few owners on from Gossy. But I also had conversations with Tony Williams, who was deeply involved with John, a great fabricator and responsible for other works of his, like the sports sedan Falcon built on the last lightweight XA body.
        Moffat was livid when he found out Ford had given them that body…
        John raced an early Holden and a Customline in Tasmania.

      • markbisset says:

        Gossy was the real deal wasn’t he?
        I remember him buying the A53 and thinking ‘this will be good’ – NOT. But he flew from the start, both the engineering of the Tornado and the challenges of driving it meant he was eminently qualified to jump into F5000.
        Another bloke who in different times would have gone overseas and gone well, rather than do it all the hard way, paying his own way before Max McLeod threw him a life-raft.

      • Ray Bell says:

        Just to show how much the times were changing, Mark…

        For instance, the reason it had the Lotus 32B wheels was that tyres were simply getting wider all the time. It also meant that the car had to have 6-stud fixings which fitted nothing else. And when we got it we had to have Rod Dale make up some wheel centres for us to suit because tyres were much lower profile by then and we had to go to 15″ rims (or were they 14″?). Rims were second hand from a Bob Morris Torana.

        As for Gossy in the F5000, I always expected that to work. Remember that the reason why he built that sports sedan was that Ford didn’t want him to go on beating Fords with a Porsche. That Porsche was owned by Laurie O’Neil. Matich had some funding from Laurie O’Neil. If you could drive a Porsche that quick you could probably handle a Matich F5000.

        And now it’s obvious that Laurie helped the deal happen. If not made it happen. Gossy is tight-lipped on it all and Laurie would be hard to get further detail from.

        But when John won the AGP in the blue Matich, he was the fourth AGP winner to drive a blue car over the line with Laurie on the sidelines cheering them on.

      • markbisset says:

        I didn’t ever see JG race the Tornado, not sure he ever raced it in Victoria in any event and he may have sold it before ‘my time’.
        I didn’t realise Laurie helped JG with the A53- do you think he was helping both parties given the relationship he had with FM back to the dawn of the sixties? FM wanted out and JG in- its not as tho the car(s) and bits sold quickly.
        Grant O’Neill came across so in that sense their was ‘engineering continuity’on the car as Goss got to grips with it. Derek Kneller says it was their best- and lightest and the flat-plane Repcos were far from shabby as well…And Gossy did the rest- that ’76 AGP was a thriller-diller @ the circuit!

      • Ray Bell says:

        I think his relationship with Frank was still current up till his retirement. The interesting thing is that Laurie retained his relationships with each of the first three drivers who he was close to as AGP winners (in blue cars) until their respective deaths. I don’t know about Gossy. That is to say, I don’t know, it is possible he has done.

  7. Lester Oliver says:

    Does the Goss Ford Tornado still exist today

    • markbisset says:

      Hi Lester,
      Yes, it does still exist. I believe a guy in South Australia owns it, I don’t recall whether it is in bits or complete. Significant car, and certainly an early indicator of Goss’ mechanical/engineering capabilities.

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