‘Perdriau Master Cord Tyres’: Mini Cooper S: Nuriootpa and Lobethal Australian Grands Prix Tour…

Posted: September 3, 2014 in Features, Obscurities
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Doncha’ love old automotive street advertising signs!?

 I was tootling home after my early morning coffee on Sunday and came upon this sign for ‘Perdriau Master Cord Tyres’.

For Melburnians the sign is on a development site on the corner of Malvern Road and Francis Street, Hawksburn.

In most of Australias’ cities, as I guess elsewhere in the world, people are moving closer to town with old industrial buildings converted into interesting residential places or more often modern ones constructed. Often their are interesting old signs exposed when demolition occurs.I don’t recall what was on this corner before, but this sign on the adjoining building wall has been exposed, looking at the history of the Perdriau it’s been hidden since the 1920’s!

The developer has erected a hoarding so thus far it’s been spared the ravages of graffiti-ists.

perdriau rider sydney

Perdriau sidecar delivery service; out front of 21 Wentworth Avenue, Sydney date unknown. (Tedd Hood)

My friend Google tells me Henry Perdriau commenced importing rubber into Sydney in 1897 and manufacturing tyres in 1904, older motorists may remember the company as a market leader. Corporate consolidation is not new of course, the company was absorbed by what is now Pacific Dunlop Ltd in 1929.

I’ve not heavily cropped the shot, I love it juxtaposed with the modern inner urban environment in which it sits.

Still, it will be covered again within 12 months or so, to be exposed by another group of ‘archaeologists’ in 100 years time when once again the site is adapted for whatever use is appropriate then. I have a feeling by then ‘we’ will be getting around in ‘The Jetsons’ style of vehicles than something using rubber tyres. Who knows?

This Shell sign is a ripper as well. It’s on the Horrocks Highway, in the small village of Auburn in South Australia’s Clare Valley, i  spotted it on a cruise up there a month ago.

sheell

It’s interesting what you can spot out and about, mind you I’ve nearly been hit ‘up the chuff’ a couple of times in the process, these sightings are always accompanied by an application of brakes Daniel Ricciardo would be proud of! In fact my partners Cooper S has a neato coffee stain on the dash of said vehicle as a consequence of one of these manouevres.

My quip that the ‘brakes grab a bit’ didn’t remotely come close to making up for the mess i made in her otherwise pristine car…it does have a nice coffee smell, almost cafe like, inside however!

The follow up jibe that ‘car manufacturers would pay for that coffee smell’ didn’t work either…No sense of humour these women.

patz

‘WUB’ speeding past the MCG…in the words of Basil Fawlty…’don’t mention the coffee stain…i did it once and i think i got away with it’…

Mini Cooper S …

That Cooper S is a great car by the way. Its an R56, the just superseded jobbie. 1.6 litre DOHC turbocharged, circa 128KW and 240 Nm of torque.

Patrizias car is an auto, sub-optimal I know but the ‘box and its operation is great, almost enough to convince me to change to the ‘dark-side’.

The auto is a bit ‘clunky’, in fact you can drive the thing smoother manually than in auto mode. Perversely the thing starts in first (of 6) in auto but second in manual mode, unless you select first. Its much less aggressive on lift off in manual mode as a consequence around town. Counter intuitive, but Der Deutschlanders have their ways I guess. That aside the steering wheel, and shift mounted manual controls work a treat.

Its fast, has heaps of mid-range punch, has beautiful turn in, great brakes and sharp steering in a ‘modern car sense’ but lacking compared to my personal road car benchmark, my S1 Elise which I should not have sold!

They are not the most practical of things though, the rear seats a bit of a joke, one of my ‘well-nourished mates’ couldn’t get out of it for a fortnight until his girth disappeared a tad. Not feeding him helped.

I looked at an R53 when they first came out, under pressure from the ‘little sabre-toothed tiger to whom I was betrothed’ to get a more practical car than ye olde 3.2 Carrera, much to the disappointment of my sons who rather liked riding in the old bus. The Mini had less rear seat space than the ‘parcel-shelf’ type seats of the 911!

‘WUB’ has done a lotta trips since acquisition 6 months ago, the only touring downside is a fair amount of road-noise from the sunroof, even when closed, the price you pay for the pleasure of the thing. The car has done 85000Km so its no ‘spring-chicken’ but is still as ‘tight as a mackerals bottom’ in terms of ‘shake, rattle and roll’. Panel fit and the detailing of the thing inside and out is a designers delight. More ‘Audi flair’ than ‘BMW spartan’.

Its far from the rorty original Cooper S’ driven in my youth none of which were standard, all taken out from 1275cc to 1293 or 1310cc, had a 45DCOE Weber, extractors and the factory rally cam ‘AEA 544’ if memory serves…but still a nice small, fast jigger albeit far more refined than the original.

Worth considering if you are in the market for a small, stylish, fun, fast, well built, practical car…for two!

min 1

Australian Grands’ Prix at Nuriootpa & Lobethal…Suggested Driving Tour

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Back to the earlier thread about the Clare Valley. It ocurred to me having driven through the Clare for the first time on one of my weekends here a month ago (i work in Adelaide but live in Melbourne), that other interstaters with a penchant for Australian GP history may enjoy a tour, if you are ever in Adelaide, which takes in the Clare, Barossa Valley, and Nuriootpa and Lobethal.

A nice loop to the Clare, back through the Barossa, which contains Nuriootpa, then on to Lobethal, and back to Adelaide.

The AGP is one of the oldest Grands’ Prix in the world. It started at Phillip Island in Victoria and for many years each state held it in turn annually. Over the decades in South Australia its been held at Victor Harbour in 1937, Lobethal in 1939, Nuriootpa in 1950, Port Wakefield in 1955, Mallala in 1961, and from 1985 to 1995 at the fantastic Adelaide GP circuit.

My suggestion is a tour which could be done in a day but would be best over 2 days depending upon how large an element you want to make of the wineries as against the driving. I won’t advise on the wine as there is red stuff and white stuff, i like to drink both but am no connoiseur. You COULD, if you wanted add Mallala, and Port Wakefield into the loop, in the first half-day as both are West of Adelaide, which is the direction in which we head. This is all GPS stuff so i won’t go into too much detail.

1.Punch ‘Auburn into your GPS. Head West up the A20 and A32 bypassing Gawler .(116Km)

2.At Auburn by all means check out the Shell sign! Then do a ‘Clare Valley Loop’, i suggest (and South Australian readers please chip in with comments)…Auburn, Mintaro (stop and have a good look its a really interesting little historic village with a good Pub), Farrell Flat then into Clare itself. Check out Clare.

Then go through Emu Flat and Emu Flat to Skillogallee’ for a meal or a look. Its at Trevarrick Road, Sevenhill. It was very good.

3. Now we head for Nuriootpa in the Barossa. go via Kapunda, and Koonunga to Nuriootpa. (90Km) There are lots of wineries in the Barossa so do your research accordingly.

nuri

With the AGP due to be run in SA in 1950, the search was on to replace, ‘vast, fast, treacherous Lobethal’ as historian Terry Walker put it. With lots of local support a circuit was laid out which included the Nuriootpa main street. Its all still there to see, but only the starting stright , Research Road looks the way it did in 1950, the sweeping curves over the river are smoother, wider and armco lined (‘Lost Circuits’ Terry Walker)

black bess

Doug Whiteford , winner of the 1950 AGP at Nuriootpa in ‘Black Bess’, his Ford Mercury engined cut down ex Forests Commission Ute Special. In those days the AGP was a Handicap event, but Black Bess was a fast car by any standards

bess

A better shot of # 8 Black Bess driven by Bill Hayes albeit at Fishermans Bend, Victoria in 1953. Lex Davison is leading in an Alfa P3, with Bill Pitt #1 Alta. ‘Bess was built for Whiteford in an Albert Park, Melbourne backyard in 1939. Ford ute chassis , bed iron frames and panneling from the Footscray tip. A coat of black paint gave its name. When Whiteford returned from the war a Mercury engine was fitted, benefitting from US Hot Rod experience. From 1946-52 the car was one of the fastest in the country, inclusive of the AGP win. As imported cars came in it became obsolete, being tracked down and restored before its debut in the 1977 City Of Sydney Trophy (Old English Sports Cars)

4. Now go through Tanunda in the direction of Birdwood (42 Km)  where the National Motor Museum is. There is not a lot of motor racing stuff in it to really float my boat but if you haven’t been before its worth a look. Go via Lyndoch, Williamstown, and through Mount Crawford Forest, on to Birdwood.

5. Birdwood to Lobethal (17Km)

lobethal 1

tommo

Alan Tomlinson came all the way to Lobethal from WA and won the 1939 AGP in his very fast, light, powerful,supercharged MGTA Spl. He returned to compete in the 1940 SA Grand Prix and was hospitalised after crashing the same car at high speed. In second and third places were Australian Specials’: Bob Lea Wright in the Terraplane Spl, and Jack Phillips in a Ford Spl.(Google)

lobethal

Lobethal was developed as a motor sporting centre off the back of the successful 1936/7 SA Centenary/ Australian GP’s at Victor Harbour. WA driver Alan Tomlinson won the race in both the fastest elapsed time and on handidcap, he drove a self prepared superchaged MG TA Spl. Lobethal was revived in 1948, but three sensational accidents saw it fall into disuse in favour of Woodside, and Nuriootpa. In 1951 the SA Government banned motor-racing on public roads, such ban was in place until the 1985 Adelaide AGP.

6.Lobethal to Adelaide (45Km). key in your location and away you go…

 


 

Etcetera…

perdy

Contenporary magazine advert for Perdriau tyres…late 1920’s (ANU Archives)

enzo

Enzo Ferrari was a big Cooper S fan, and driver! Modena circuit mid 60’s (Pinterest)

nuri

AGP Nuriootpa 1950. 3 MG TC Spls…#30 David Harvey (4th), #29 Vin Maloney (12th), and # 35 Don Cant (8th). MG’s of all kinds were the backbone of Australian Racing including AGP’s for decades (Unattributed)

References…

Pinterest, Wikipedia, ANU, ‘Lost Circuits’ Terry Walker

Finito…

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