I didn’t know John Harvey well, but well enough to say we were friends.
After I spent more than a dozen years living overseas, we didn’t see much of each other, until we re-connected at the inaugural ‘Legends Lunch’, organised by Aussie motor racing icon Ian Maudsley in 2016.
“Terribly sorry to learn of John Harvey’s passing and my sympathy is with Bev and their family.
“Harves and I have been friends, colleagues and associates for over 45 years. I first got to know John during the very early days of the Holden Racing Team. He was a brilliant, champion racing car driver whom we all called, in the very best Australian vernacular, “Slug”…
|Johnnie Harvey (Left) with teammate Peter Brock at Bathurst|
“Also, John was a Holden ‘true believer’ and any time there was a problem arising between GM Holden and the racing team, John was the ‘steadier’, who kept things on the rails through thick and through thin.
|Legends, all - Larry Perkins; Australian PM Bob Hawke; Peter Brock and John Harvey|
“During the era of the HDT racing Commodores, Philip Morris wanted to push the Marlboro ‘Special Mild’ brand along with the regular HDT Marlboro cars. A unique HDT Commodore was to be created and driven by John Harvey, and I was asked to design the car’s special racing livery. John Harvey’s No. 25 ‘Special Mild’ Commodore was always a favourite.
“After finishing up at Holden’s in 1983, I returned to the GM Design Studios in Detroit. It was during this period that General Motors and Hughes Aircraft decided, for publicity purposes, to invest USD$2 million designing and building a solar powered car to compete in the inaugural 1987 Australian solar car race over 3000km from Darwin to Adelaide.
“As I had some involvement (through Holden and Hans Tholstrup) in the very first solar car race activities, I was approached by the Hughes Aircraft representative involved with the development of the “Sunraycer” asking did I know anyone in Australia who could drive the car in the race? I had no hesitation in recommending John Harvey and Larry Perkins as drivers.
|Johnnie Harvey celebrating Sunraycer's victory, finishing two days ahead of the 2nd placed entrant. It led from start to finish.|
“Before the “Sunraycer” project had finished, John visited GM in Detroit, and while at the General Motors Technical Centre I had the pleasure to show John through the GM Styling Studios, a privilege rarely offered to others.
“John was a gentleman and special friend.”
John Harvey was a ‘good man’ and he will be missed by family, friends and fans alike. RIP Harves.