The Mirror News

Torana club honours Brock mechanic “Nowa”

A fleet of 11 Holden Toranas, all with gleaming paint and that distinctive engine note, drove in at Prom Country Aged Care’s (PCAC) Prom Country House in Foster on Sunday September 24, 2023 to honour Peter Brock’s head mechanic Bruce “Nowa” Nowacki.

The cars’ owners are members of Aussie Torana Legends Social Cruisers’ Inc.’s Melbourne City club, who had willingly responded to an invitation to show off their vehicles to someone who no doubt knows Toranas as much or more than they do.

Bruce has been living in the Corner Inlet district for quite a while now and has been a resident at Prom Country House for the past couple of years, where he made friends with visiting hairdresser Denise Bravington over Toranas as their topic in common.

Denise’s husband Anthony owns a Torana, and Bruce let Denise know, through his recently rediscovered old mate and racetrack pit colleague Jack Pearce of Fish Creek, that back in the day, he, “Nowa”, had been head mechanic to Australian car racing legend, “Brockie”.

In fact, “Nowa” had even built the Torana that “Brockie” drove when he won the Bathurst 1000 in 1972.

Bruce has also written a book about his life working on cars and interacting with their drivers, their manufacturers and their fans, which is entitled From the Bush to Bathurst and starts in his birthplace of Coleraine.

Anthony and Denise, with the full support of PCAC leisure and health coordinator Margaret Roach, approached Aussie Torana Legends Social Cruisers’ Melbourne City president Colin Crain with the idea of a car or two coming to visit “Nowa”.

As it turned out, it was nearly a dozen Toranas that came to PCAC, including an exact replica of the Bathurst winner “Nowa” built, and just a hint of a burn-out in the driveway.

There was also a fair bit of loud revving, and a chauffeur-driven blast along the South Gippsland Highway for “Nowa”, as well as a counter lunch at the Exchange Hotel in Foster amid balloons in the Holden Dealer Team colours of red, white and blue.

Aussie Torana Legends Social Cruisers presented both “Nowa” and Jack with honorary life memberships, in order to “give something back” to two people who had contributed so much to Holden Toranas’ many successes. 

An ordinary membership was given to Margaret so she can help keep “Nowa” up to date with the club’s activities and all things Torana.

About 30 of Bruce’s fellow PCAC residents came outside to enjoy the parade of Toranas in the driveway, with many inspecting engines and various modifications at close hand.

The row of shiny Toranas parked along Main Street outside the pub also drew plenty of admiring glances from local people and visitors, too.

Bruce let people know that he was thrilled by the display of his favourite cars and that he “couldn’t believe that they did all this for me!”


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