25 February 2023 | General

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.”

CLICK HERE to read Wide World of Sports’ Ultimate Guide to the opening Shannons SpeedSeries round at AWC Race Tasmania.

Don’t miss the start this weekend at AWC Race Tasmania.

CLICK HERE for tickets.

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.