Grandson-of-a-gun invokes spirit of Dick Johnson’s iconic ‘Tru-Blu’ racer
Jett Johnson is hoping he can channel some of the success of his grandfather Dick Johnson’s iconic ‘Tru-Blu’ Ford XD Falcon when he returns to the National Trans Am Series.
The third-generation racer will sport a scheme on his Ford Mustang harking back to the 1980s.
Although not an exact replica, the all-blue base is a nod to the car that made five-time Australian Touring Car Championship winner Dick famous at Mount Panorama.
It was in 1980 that Dick hit a rock at The Mountain driving the bright blue Falcon.
What followed were emotional scenes as Johnson offered a teary interview.
Soon enough, donations started flooding in and Edsel Ford, grandson of Henry Ford and then-general manager of Ford Australia, offered to match each donation dollar for dollar.
Nearly $80,000 was raised – the equivalent of $375,000 nowadays – and Dick returned in 1981, famously winning the Great Race and the Australian Touring Car Championship.
Now his grandson Jett is following his footsteps.
“We liked the idea of a Tru-Blu-inspired XD and so we thought for the first round we’d run a bit of a tribute livery to granddad and sticker it up to look a bit like the Tru-Blu car,” Jett told Wide World of Sports.
“I feel there’s a little bit of pressure to perform, but at the same time I’ve got a lot of good people in my corner. I’ve just got to do the best I can.”
While Dick doesn’t travel as much as he used to, he is always glued to the television when Jett races.
“He watches all the races, he’s real hands-on at the workshop whenever he comes by, he’s always, every session we do,” said Jett.
“Before the rounds, he’s helping us out heaps and he just loves it.”
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All of the racing action can be seen live and ad-break free on Stan Sport, plus free-to-air coverage on 9GEM (9GO! for New South Wales) on Saturday, February 25 from 2-5pm.