Born in 1936 and raised in the Sydney suburb of Marrickville, Wherrett later revealed in the biography Desirelines, written with his brother Richard, that he had a troubled childhood with an alcoholic father.
A motoring enthusiast from a young age, Wherrett went on to run a successful driving school, compete in the famous Bathurst 1000 motor race, and branched into the media as a technical editor for Racing Car News as well as motoring journalist for the Sydney Morning Herald and reviewer for Wheels magazine.
In the early ‘70s Wherrett was the frontman for the popular ABC motoring series, Torque, that ran for eight years. He then followed that up in 1978 with Marque, a top-selling book release and a ten-part series for ABC that extensively explored the history of the motor industry over the previous 100 years.
A later series, Balance Of Power produced in association with Andy Lloyd James in the 1980s, explored the future of the industry and possible alternative energy sources as the world was beginning to consider the effects of prolonged environmental damage.
Leaving ABC in the ‘80s, Wherrett’s life took a downturn after a drink driving offence led to losing his driving licence and later his job at the Nine Network and at radio 2GB. A second offence led to him leaving Sydney, moving to North Queensland, where he ended up producing television commercials.
After his third marriage ended in 2006, Wherrett moved to Lake Macquarie in New South Wales.
Peter Wherrett is survived by two children from his first marriage – son Stephen and daughter Jane – and six grandchildren.