Tru Blu is one of the most well remembered cars driven by Ford racing legend Dick Johnson.
In 1980 Johnson was a relatively unknown Queensland battler who fronted for the Bathurst race in his new XD falcon. While comfortably leading the race, a spectator dislodged a large rock onto the track. Johnson was unable to avoid it, crashed and was taken out of the race. Dick’s emotional interview on Channel 7 struck a chord with a huge amount of the viewers, who began ringing up and pledging money to help him continue. Edsel Ford matched it dollar for dollar and $74 000 was amassed, plus another $50 000 from the well known businessman ross Palmer, to build a new and better Tru Blu. With this new car Johnson became the new and much needed hero of Ford fans everywhere.
Dick promised to race at every track that year as a thank you for all his new supporters. They were not to be disappointed, the New XD came back in one the most fairytale ways in 1981, winning both the Australian Touring Car Championship (ATCC) series and as he promised, Bathurst with long time friend, John French. Perhaps one of the most hallmark races in Johnson’s career was the 1981 ATCC finale held at his local Qld race track, Lakeside raceway. Peter Brock was one point away from Johnson in the championship. The race itself was a thriller for the record 20 000 strong crowd, who came along to watch it. Johnson had a front sway bar break 4 laps in and worked hard controlling the oversteering Falcon. He held back Brock’s desperate attacks and sealed the championship by.02 of a second. The entire Bowden family were there that day and I still remember the crowd screaming lap after lap as Dick kept Brock at bay, One of those never forgotten days of motorsport!
In 1982 Johnson followed up with another big win in the ATCC series, before swapping to his new XE Falcon at the end of the year. He sold Tru Blu to Brisbane privateer Alf Grant, who raced it for a few more years to come. Dick finally bought Tru Blu back where it became a focal point in his DJR showroom at Staplyton, Qld.
In 2007 Johnson’s race team again had financial drama and a deal was done with passionate collector David Bowden to purchase Tru Blu and the other cars from the collection. Tru Blu has been given an overhaul by us, so that after 20 years in hibernation, she will once again be able to run and be displayed in events for all Ford fans to savour once again.