Iconic racing vehicle grabs V8 legend’s attention
NEXT year will mark 50 years since Keith Edwards first got involved with motor racing.
This avid Ford fan has plenty to be excited about following the events at Bathurst this past weekend, despite the controversy that's come with it.
The race's outcome is especially rewarding for Keith, who recently debuted his new pride and joy, a replica of one of Dick Johnson's most iconic racing vehicles.
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"I've been a Dick Johnson fan most of my life. I always said I would build a Dick Johnson car," he said.
"I thought long and hard about the particular model I wanted to build, and the car I built was the last car that Dick Johnson owned and drove in July 2000."
Months of meticulous work and untold dollars went into the construction of the millimetre-perfect project.
"I made the decision and sourced the car in August last year, and I debuted the car at the Leyburn sprints in August this year," Keith said.
The year of work involved significant custom work, including panelling and painting, with the logos and decorations adorning the vehicle being handpainted, not stickered.
"I looked long and hard for the right car for the basis and I was lucky enough to purchase a car driven by a little old lady in NSW," Keith said.
From these humble origins, the replica was slowly born.
"With the help of a local business, the Bramwell Auto Group, they were able to help me fit all of the supercar panels and painted the car," Keith said.
"They're masters at their game and that's why I chose them to do the car for me."
During the vehicle's debut race at Leyburn, the replica fell short of securing a podium finish but still performed well in its class and succeeded in seizing another coveted prize.
"My car was voted people's choice out of over 200 cars that were there, and some of those cars that race at Leyburn are worth a million bucks," Keith said.
He even had the privilege of seeing Dick and Steve Johnson - the occupants of the original car - drive the replica during the event.
"You can imagine how excited I was about that. That was a very proud moment."
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Keith's replica vehicle is that it is fully road compliant.
"I was restricted with what I could do to that car to keep it within Queensland rego," he said.
Keith is as passionate about cars as he is about helping the community, and being able to share his hard work on the road for all to see has been immensely gratifying.
"It's been a bit of a dream. Everywhere I go it's a head-turner," he said.
The replica is currently on display at the Queensland Transport Museum and will be featured at Ford dealerships and the like in coming months.
The car has already been used in several weddings and Keith has promised to lend it out for a few more, as well as a relative's formal.
"One of the highlights was when I used it for a wedding for a friend of mine and it created that much attention that the photographer said, 'Hey, is this about the car or about the wedding?' because people kept stopping to take photos with it," Keith said.
The replica car isn't the only item Keith has in his collection to showcase his love for Dick Johnson and all things racing.
"I've got Dick Johnson memorabilia everywhere. I even have the front door off his Falcon when they won Bathurst in 1994," he said.
Keith also owns several other Fords and customised vehicles and is already working on plans for future projects.
In the meantime though, Keith is still riding high after the outcome at Bathurst.
"My saying, as always, is: Go the Fords!"