Archive for September, 2014

rstored

The first two instalments of Peters’ restoration of the Lola were about its history, acquisition and journey from the US to Australia, and last month the commencement of the restoration of the tub, suspension, gearbox, suspension etcetera…

As you can see from the shot of the car at ‘Racers Retreat’, HU18 is now complete and ready for its first track test, very fast progress given the starting point of the project in August 2013!

How great does it look!

Monocoque…

You may recall that Borland Engineering in Mordialloc, Victoria were commissioned to rebuild the tub with assistance from Peter.

lola2

‘The tub is all solid riveted as aircraft were made during World War 2. You need a driver of the gun and someone to back the rivet. Putting the tub together involved three solid weeks of riveting, your head and shoulders aching every night, exactly as the crews putting the ‘planes together did’.

lola 3

‘Each morning we had to plan out the assembly procedure, one mistake, drill out the rivets and start again…’

riveting

chassis 1

The chassis is superb, the workmanship and commitment to the task fantastic. Mike Borland on the left and fabricator Dean on right.

tub mike

Bodywork…

‘I didn’t get any panels with the bits from the US so bought the lot, new off ‘Motorsport Solutions’ in New Zealand, there was little effort to adjust for fit, the quality of the workmanship was very good. I had the body painted by ‘ReFace Autos’ in Melbourne’.

body 1

body 2

painted

Instruments…

lola

Chassis re-assembly now underway at Peters’ home workshop. ‘Smiths’ chronometric tach and guages all exactly as they were ex-Huntingdon. Front suspension fitted, brakes, steering column, pedals, plumbing for the engine…Nickel plating throughout as Lola utilised.

Engine, ‘Old Midnight’…

engine

Nice black and white PB shot of ‘Old Midnight’ from above…4 X 48 IDA Webers, Vertex magneto, lovely linkages…

‘Some years ago i was looking for a Chev to finish the restoration of my Elfin 400 (the ex-Matich ‘Traco Olds’), Mary and Peter Middleton owned the ex-Cooper/Perkins Elfin MR8 and offered me this engine which was originally built by Max Stewart as his spare. Its nickname was ‘Old Midnight’ as the motor was usually slipped into his Lola after midnight when the race engine was cactus for the weekend!

Anyway, there was something great about reuniting Max’ old engine with a Lola T33o chassis. I bought it as a ‘long motor’ less injection. The block was shaved, of all uneccesary production lugs and lightened as much as possible.

It has Bow-Tie heads, TRW pistons, Carillo rods, a Crane ‘574’ roller cam, Z28 crank, Vertex magneto, and like most of Max’ engines is on Weber 48IDA carbs

In the early 70’s a good race Chev had 535BHP, this engine has 505BHP @ 7500RPM, which should be enough to keep me busy’

old

‘Old Midnight’ doing its thing on Peters dyno recently…Ex Max Stewart ‘spare’ good for 505 BHP on Webers

Re-Assembly…

After the tub was completed Peter took it back to ‘Racers Retreat’, his home workshop where the various componentry covered in Episode # 2 was fitted to the car…suspension, wheels, gearbox, fuel-cell etc.

reassembly

Still fettling the bodywork, mirrors period correct

front

Fabrication a work of art…note brake ducts

reassembly 1

That long bellhousing so Broadley got the weight where he wanted it and the longer wheelbase which made such a difference in 1973. Rear suspension and driveshafts to come..look at the rear bias of the wing, eventually FIA rule changes addressed this trend in all single-seater formulae. This shot shows the sheer ‘bulk’ of a Chev relative to a DFV, all that weight, 250Kg of Chev sits high!

wheels

New wheels made in Melbourne by ‘Whithorse Industries’, ‘Old Midnight’ to the right awaiting installation. Thats a Lola S2000 to the left

‘My good mate and fellow T332 racer , Jay Bondini made the rear wing, he did a beautiful job, and it was a much bigger project than he thought! The ‘spiders-web’ far aft wing support bracket is period correct for 1973. We are re-profiling the wing endplates to reflect the car  in that year as well, i can’t thank him enough, he did a great job’.

jay

Smile Jay Bondini, beautiful fabrication of rear wing

snorkel

T330 1973 spec attention to detail superb, very few 330’s were not converted to T332 spec in period, as such the car a welcome and different addition to Historic F5000 grids. Snorkels hide 4 48IDA Weber carbs, still common in Europe at that time and ‘standard spec’ on Swiss ‘Morand’ and Pommie ‘Alan Smith’ prepped Chevs

tub

From this to this…August 2013 to July 2014.

rstored

The transformation of the ‘car’ in such a short period of time is great testimony to the skill of all involved especially Peter himself. All being well the car will make its debut at Historic Sandown in November, it last raced in 1975…I think Jackie Epstein and Lella Lombardi would be mighty impressed with their old car?

Next Episode…

Will cover Peters’ test of his new car…

Photo Credits…

Peter Brennan

lotus 72

Amazing composition, Jochen Rindt en route to the 72’s first victory, the car still competitive in Petersens’ hands, winning four Grands Prix in 1974…

The car made its championship debut at Jarama in April and was already in ‘C’ spec by Monaco, major changes centred around taking out the anti-dive, and anti-squat geometry of front and rear suspension respectively. Easy to say but it involved ‘unpicking’ the tub to do so.

No joy in the win for Jochen as his good friend Piers Courage perished in his De Tomaso 505 Ford during the race.

Chapman showed his hand with the wedge shaped, Pratt & Whitney turbine powered Lotus 56 at Indy in 1968, but the 72 with its wedge shape, hip radiators, torsion bar suspension and inboard front brakes, lowering unsprung weight and rear weight bias set a new F1 design benchmark and aerodynamic direction, as Colin Chapman was want to do every few years!

Few cars are as competitive for so long, the venerable 72 being pushed into service long after it’s useby date as a consequence of its successor, the Lotus 76’s ‘failure to produce the goods’ in 1975.

Another of my top 10 racing cars ever!

image

Rindt ahead of the Ickx Ferrari 312B, he placed 3rd. Jochen scoring the Lotus 72’s first victory (Pinterest unattributed)

monaco 70

The passing of the baton from the Lotus 49 to the Lotus 72 at Monaco 1970. The 72 was not raceworthy, Rindt elected to race a 49 and won its last Championship GP. Cars # 2 are John Miles, standing to the right of Chapman in the red GLTL jacket…Rindts’ winning 49 behind car # 2 (Pinterest)

lotus 1

Cockpit of Rindts’ Lotus 72, Zandvoort ’70, as luxurious as the Elan of the day! Mota-Lita steering wheel, Smiths chronometric tach and subsidiary instruments, ‘tell-tale’ @ about 10000rpm ,’fire-bomb’ button, chassis plate under the LHS guage, Fibreglass bodyword, aluminium tub, ducts for inboard discs all there…(Autosport)

image

Cutaway drawing showing the essential elements of another of Chapmans masterpieces; aluminium monocoque, wedge shape, hip radiators, Ford Cosworth DFV V8, torsion bar springs, inboard front & rear brakes …

image

Poignant shot in the context of Rindts’ tragic Monza ’70 death. Jochen famously refused to wear crotch straps, only a 4 point belt. Absence of coil spring/shock aids front aerodynamics of the car. Extinguisher mounted legally but pointlessly where even a minor frontal impact would remove it from its mountings. Inboard discs and driveshafts, one of which failed causing Rindts’ accident clearly shown. (Pinterest unattributed)

rindt british gp

In this case the photographers toes mark the apex…Druids Hill, British GP, Brands Hatch 1970. A win for Jochen after Jack Brabham ran low on fuel on the last lap (Pinterest)

image

Wonderful Bernard Cahier portrait of Jochen in his Lotus 72 Ford, 1970. (The Cahier Archive)

Photo Credits… Autosport, Pinterest unattributed, The Cahier Archive

phil

Phil Hill turns his Ferrari Dino 246 into an open right hander on the prodigiously fast Ain Diab road circuit, Casablanca, Morocco 1958 . He finished third. (Unattributed)

Stirling Moss, Vanwall VW 57 and Mike Hawthorn, Ferrari 246 went to Morocco for the final round of the 1958 Championship, with Moss needing to win and set fastest lap and Hawthorn to finish no lower than third to take the title…

Morocco had recently gained its independence from Spain and used the race to help establish its global identity. The newly crowned King Mohammad V attended ‘Ain Diab’, a very fast, dangerous road circuit on public roads near Casablanca.

Moss took the lead, with Phil Hill also starting well. Hill waved teammate Hawthorn through to chase Moss with Brooks challenging in the other Vanwall. Moss set a new lap record, Ferrari slowing Hill to allow Hawthorn into second. Moss ran into Wolfgang Seidels’ Maserati 250F, damaging the Vanwalls nosecone, fut fortunately not the radiater core.

Tragedy struck on lap 42 when the engine in Stuart Lewis-Evans Vanwall blew, the cars rear wheels locked, careering into a small stand of trees. The vulnerable tail tank ruptured and caught fire, Lewis-Evans jumped out but was disoriented and headed away from fire marshalls who may have been able to minimise the terrible burns from his overalls and despite being flown home to the UK, he died in a specialist hospital six days later.

moroc

Stuart Lewis-Evans, Morocco 1958. His death robbed Britain of its great ‘coming-man’ (The Cahier Archive)

Moss won the race, and Hawthorn the Drivers Title. The Constructors Championship was won by Vanwall, a fitting reward for Tony Vandervell who had passionately supported the BRM program before setting out on his own, frustrated by Management By Committee…

Hawthorn shortly thereafter announced his retirement from racing, aged 29, and ‘dicing’ with Rob Walker on the Guildford Bypass not far from his home, crashed fatally in his Mark 2 Jag an horrific end to a tragic season for British Motor Racing.

moss

Stirling Moss on his way to Ain Diab victory in his Vanwall VW5,  1958 (Moss Archive)

moroc

Stunning Moroccan backdrop…Hawthorn 1958, Ferrari Dino 246 (Unattributed)

moss morocco 5

Moss’ car survived the heat despite the damaged Vanwall nosecone, having hit Seidels Maser ‘up the chuff’ taking the win, and Constructors Championship for Vanwall. (Unattributed)

Vanwall Racing Cars…

cutaway

Lotus’ Colin Chapman designed the car using a multi-tubular space frame chassis, aerodynamics by Frank Costin. 4 cylinder DOHC, Bosch fuel injected engine developing circa 280-290BHP depending upon fuel. 5 speed Ferrari derived gearbox, Goodyear disc brakes. Front suspension by upper and lower wishbones and coil spring/damper units. De Dion rear suspension and from 1957 ‘Chapman Struts’

Tony Vandervell…

Vandervell bearings ad

Guy Anthony ‘Tony’ Vandervell started his independent race program with a series of Ferraris modified by his company and called ‘Thinwall Specials’, he had become frustrated with the lack of progress of the BRM Project, of which he was a founder shareholder.

BRM V16 Vandervell ad

Vandervell Products ad in the ‘BRM Ambassador for Britain’ booklet 1949. (Stephen Dalton Collection)

The Ferraris raced mainly in British Formula Libre events, the main opposition the BRM V16 which was essentially too late for F1 before the formula changed rendering it obsolete.

Vandervell was restless and wanted to race in the new 2 Litre F1 of 1952/3.

thinwall

Mike Hawthorn in the Ferrari 375 V12 ‘Thinwall Special’, Turnberry 1953. Tony Vandervell is to the left of the mechanic (Unattributed)

vanwall goodwood

Peter Collins, then 22, at the wheel of the original Vanwall ’01’, ‘Goodwood Trophy’ in September 1954. He qualified and finished 2nd to the Moss Maser 250F. (Louis Klemantaski)

In 1954 he started building Vanwalls… the name an acronym of his Acton based ‘Thinwall’ bearing company and his surname. The chassis was designed by Coopers’ Owen Maddock, and built by them.

Vandervell was a Director of Norton and impressed by their very successful 500cc single. The engine was  designed by Norton designer Leo Kuzmicki and was essentially 4 Norton single cylinder barrells integrated ‘en-bloc’ with added water jackets.

This DOHC cylinder head used twin inclined valves in each combustion chamber, and also utilised motor cycle style hairpin valve springs. It was then married to the bottom end of a Rolls Royce ‘B40 military engine’, the crankcase cast in aluminium rather than the originals iron.

Laystall provided the crank and Bosch the fuel injection system.

vanwakll engine

Vanwall 4 cylinder, gear driven DOHC design a marriage of contemporary Norton head design and a rugged Rolls Royce ‘bottom end’ as per the text. Of note are the hairpin valve springs, train of gears to drive the cams and auxiliaries and high pressure fuel injection pump, both at the front of the engine. (Vic Berris)

Vanwall engine

Vanwall engine 1958. (Jesse Alexander)

The car made its debut at the 1954 International Trophy at Silverstone, the Goodyear disc brakes proving successful but the cars front suspension was unsatisfactory. The engine progressed from 2237cc to 2490cc .The car was raced by Mike Hawthorn and Peter Collins who wrote it off in Spanish GP at Barcelona.

Vandervell ordered  four chassis based on the Cooper design which picked up Ferrari suspension and steering, the team by that time having plenty of Ferrari parts!

1954

1955 Season…

hawt

Mike Hawthorn in the Cooper designed Vanwall chassis VW 55, Monaco GP 1955, DNF with throttle linkage problems in the race won by Trintignats Ferrari Squalo 625 (Unattributed)

The four cars were to be raced in 1955 by Ken Wharton, Harry Schell, Desmond Titterington and Mike Hawthorn. Schell won four minor British events but it was clear a lighter, stiffer and more sophisticated chassis was needed to make the most of the competitive engine.

Vandervells staff modified the basic Cooper frame at which point Colin Chapman was introduced to Vandervell via the Vanwall transport driver, Derek Wootton, to look at the frame. Vandervell was impressed with Chapmans knowledge and track record and signed him on.

Colin Chapmans 1956 Vanwall Design…

dutch

Moss in the Dutch GP winning VW10. Shot shows extreme attention to aero for the day by Frank Costin. Borranis’ at front Moss’ preference for driver feel but cast alloy wheels adopted in 1958 to save weight. This Vanwall, with 2 GP wins survives today. (Unattributed)

A defining moment in Vanwalls’ future success was the choice of Colin Chapman, then an up and coming racer/designer/builder of Lotus sports cars. Chapman designed a modern space-frame chassis and engaged aerodynamicist Frank Costin to design the gorgeous, low drag ultra-slippery body.

Chapman used the 1955 double wishbones and coil spring front suspension, Ferrari derived gearbox layout and brakes but laid out new De Dion rear axle geometry using a Watt linkage for lateral location whilst retaining the transverse leaf spring.

The space frame chassis featured round section top and bottom longerons in 1.5 inch diameter. At the front a sheet metal fabrication provided a cross member for anchorages for the coil and wishbone suspension setup. The frame was complex and rigid but weighed only 87.5 pounds.

vanwall front

High quality of forgings and fabrication of spaceframe chassis evident. Front cross-member visible, steering arm, top link, radius rod, coil spring/damper unit and Goodyear patented disc brakes (Vandervell Products/The GP Library)

Whilst the De Dion rear end was retained the suspension geometry was changed to allow much more negative camber at the rear to enhance the loaded outside tyres adhesion. For 1957 the transverse leaf spring was replaced by ‘Chapman Struts’ a coaxial coil spring and locating link.

Vanwall rear end

Vanwall rear end 1957 with Chapman struts, coil springs and Armstrong dampers.De Dion rear axle with Watts linkage. 5 speed ‘box in unit with diff, see the ducts for the disc brakes. The tail tank is connected to auxiliary tanks mounted alongside the chassis. (Automobile Year 5)

The most striking feature of the car was its Costin designed, teardrop shaped body. Painstaking attention was devoted to underbody fairing, the elliptical body section designed to minimise deflection in cross winds and drag.

Flush ‘NACA’ ducts were used, and the distinctive tall headrest faired a 39 gallon fuel tank, two subsidiary 15 gallon tanks were located low on each side of the scuttle.

Engine development continued under Harry Weslakes’ direction and the best of everyting was used throughout; Bosch fuel injection, Goodyear disc brakes, Mahle pistons, Porsche gears, Ferrari designed gearbox cum final drive…Vandervell didn’t get hung up on the whole ‘only British BRM thing’, simply buying the best when he could not readily or cost-effectively build it.

Schell was joined by Maurice Trintignant that season but Moss raced the car at the non-championship Silverstone International Trophy, as Maserati, Moss’ team that year had not entered. Moss set fastest time and won the race.

In 1956 the cars showed great speed but poor reliability and ordinary high speed roadholding. For 1957 they needed reliability and drivers capable of fully exploiting the cars performance.

french 1957

Ultra slippery shape of De Havilland aerodynamicist Frank Costins’ body shown to good effect in this shot of Stuart Lewis-Evans at Rouen 1957. Practice for the French GP , he retired with steering problems. Brooks and Moss absences gave him his chance in several events, he was quick and reliable, Vandervell signing him as the teams third driver (Unattributed)

1957 and 1958…

Vanwall cutaway drawing 1957

James Allington period cutaway drawing of the car as raced in 1957 and published in ‘Automobile Year 5’.

brooks

Tony Brooks, winner of the Belgian GP at Spa 1958. Pictured here at Eau Rouge. Chassis is VW 5 the most successful ever British front-engined GP car with 5 wins to its credit. Subsequently dismantled and rebuilt around a fresh frame. (Unattributed)

The ‘Chapman Struts’ were fitted and Fichtel & Sachs dampers, the engines were teased to develop 285BHP at 7300RPM and Moss signed to drive…with Tony Brooks as number 2. Moss tested BRM, Connaught and Vanwall cars at both Silverstone and Oulton Park, on the same days before making his decision about which car to drive in 1957..

The Vanwall finally broke through, winning the British GP at Aintree in the hands of Moss…and Brooks sharing cars. Lewis-Evans, the young British 500cc F3 star, joined the team in Monaco when Moss was ill, the team now had great depth, Moss won in Pescara and Monza, the Vanwalls qualifying 1,2, and 3! ahead of all the Red Cars.

Vanwall Streamliner Reims 1957

Vanwall tested this ‘Streamliner’, chassis VW6, at Reims in 1957 in practice. The changes were not successful the increase in weight and ‘sighting’ out of the car not greater than the increase in top speed. (Automobile Year)

Alcohol fuels were banned for 1958 causing especially big problems for Vanwall and BRM who both used ‘big banger’ four cylinder engines which needed the cooling effect of the alcohol. As a consequence the engines power dropped from 290BHP on alcohol to 278BHP on ‘pump fuel’ in 1958.

Changes to the engine involved investigation of cam profiles, three and four valve heads and water injection. Changes to port shapes, valve timing, and metering cams was finally involved. The Ferrari Dino was reckoned to have circa 286BHP but Italian dynos’ have always been a bit ‘eager’…

Weight saving was investigated but the cars were already light, cast alloy wheels were adopted but often Borrani wires were preferred especially at the front where they gave greater driver ‘feel’.

Drivers were the same as 1957, with Moss winning in Holland, Portugal and Morocco, and Brooks in Belgium, Germany and Italy. As stated earlier whilst Moss missed out on the drivers title to Hawthorn by one point, Vanwall won the inaugural Constructors Championship.

germany

Stirling Moss German GP 1958, Vanwall VW10, DNF magneto , teammate Tony Brooks took the win. Vanwall VW4  (Unattributed)

End of The Beginning of Dominance of The Green Cars…

moss and vandervell

Moss and Vandervell share the spoils of victory, Pescara GP, Italy 1958 (Unattributed)

For Vandervell it was ‘mission accomplished’ and whilst Vanwall raced on they did so without the full campaign of previous years. Vandervell took the death of Lewis-Evans very hard and his own health was failing. He announced the teams withdrawal from full-time competition, the team racing four times in the final three years, its swansong the rear engined Intercontinental Formula car competing in May 1961 at Silverstone.

vanwall french

Tony Brooks raced the Vanwall VW11 in the 1960 French GP at Reims on 3 July. He qualified the new low-line but now outdated front-engined car 13th, retiring on lap 7 with a vibration from the rear of the car. That year Brooks drove most of the season in British Racing Partnership year old Cooper T51 Climaxes and was prodigiously fast amongst newer Cooper T53/Lotus 18’s but was keen to give the Vanwall a try. VW11 not raced again. (unattributed)

vanwall vw11

Naked Vanwall VW11 in the Reims paddock 1960. Car a new chassis built from VW5 components in 1960. Car featured double wishbone rear suspension and Colotti 5 speed gearbox, the whole rear end designed by Colotti. Small, compact ‘box mounted behind the diff, drive running in at the bottom and exiting higher giving a low propshaft and seating position. Mid-ship location of fuel tanks made the car wider than the earlier cars. Wheels alloy and Cooper like. Engine reputedly developed around 280bhp. (unattributed)

vw14

Vanwall VW14 built for 1961 Intercontinental Formula. Fitted with 2.6 litre Vanwall engine. Auction photos. (Hall&Hall)

surtees

John Surtees in VW14 during the Silverstone Intercontinental May meeting. ’tis a pity there is not more of the car in this shot, period photos of it are so rare! Nice smile all the same (Getty)

Vanwall VW14

Vanwall VW14, the very last car. John Surtees at the Silverstone International Trophy in May 1961. He qualified the 2.6 litre engined ‘Intercontinental Formula’ car 6th, ran second, spun and finished 5th in Vanwalls’ last race as a factory team. (unattributed)

Etcetera Vanwall…

Click on this site for a chassis/year summary of cars built and raced;

http://8w.forix.com/vanwalls.html

Vanwall VW10 front

Vanwall VW10 ‘stripped’. Chapman spaceframe chassis, 4 cylinder DOHC engine, tail and cockpit fuel tanks, under-seat transaxle, this ’57 car has Chapman struts at the rear. (Doug Nye ‘History of The Grand Prix Car’

Vanwall VW10 rear

Vanwall VW10. Ferrari derived transaxle, cockpit layout, rear and twin side fuel tanks and radius rods to locate rear suspension fore/aft all visible. (Doug Nye “History of The Grand Prix Car’

vanwall shadow

 

vanwall types

Vanwall VW6 Reims

The Reims ‘Streamliner’ chassis VW6 tried in practice only, French GP 1957. (Automobile Year)

cockpit

Cockpit by the standards of the day confortable, swivelling face level vents to keep the driver alive in the carefully faired space…gearbox notoriously difficult to use. Car very fast but not as forgiving to Moss as a 250F. car needed the best to get the best from it. This is chassis VW9 (Unattributed)

manza 57

The Vanwall Team in the Monza paddock 1957. Moss won the Italian GP in ‘VW5/57’ (Unattributed)

col

fang

This shot shows the relaitve height of the Vanwall, which was very tall, the driver sitting atop the drive-shaft. Fangio is in his last grand prix in a Maser 250F ‘Piccolo’ and finished fourth. Moss in Vw 10 was second in the race won by Hawthorns’ Ferrari Dino 246. french GP Reims 1958 (The Cahier Archive)

tea

A spot of tea at what appears to be a Silverstone test session, circa 1957 . Moss up. (Unattributed)

Etcetera…Morocco

hawthorn morocco

Mike Hawthorn, Ferrari Dino 246 , Morocco 1958 (Unattributed)

hill g

Graham Hill finished sixteenth and last in the Lotus 16 Climax, teammate Cliff Allison tenth in the earlier Lotus 12 Climax. Lotus 16 also designed by Colin Chapman and was called the ‘Mini Vanwall’, the same concepts applied by Chapman..and Frank Costin who did the aerodynamics. Car much lower then Vanwall, the engine ‘canted’ in an offset way to allow driveshaft to be locted beside the driver rather than sit atop it. But the Coopers had arrived, the Lotus 16 an ‘also ran’ in 1959. Lotus 18, when Chapman applied himself to the mid-engined approach then vaulted forward… (Unattributed)

masten

Masten Gregory was a great sixth in the by then ageing Maserati 250F (Unattributed)

stu

Stuart Lewis-Evans Vanwall VW (57) Morocco 1958 (Unattributed)

poster

Photo and Reference Credits…

The Cahier Archive, Stirling Moss Archive, The GP Library, Walter Wright Illustrations, Louis Klemantaski, The Autocar, James Allington cutaway drawing, Jesse Alexander, Automobile Year 5, Stephen Dalton Collection, Vic Berris, Hall & Hall, Getty Images

‘The History of The Grand Prix Car’ Doug Nye

Finito…

 

image

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

map

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…

bathurst

Max Stewart, Niel Allen & Leo Geoghegan (L>R) , Easter Bathurst, 1969 (Wayne McKay)

Start of the ‘Gold Star’ race Mount Panorama, Easter 1969…

In the Good ‘Ole Days there used to be two meetings a year at Mount Panorama- Easter when the Gold Star race was the feature and of course the ‘Taxi’ classic later in the year.

Then the Gold Star, the Australian Drivers Championship meant something. A lot in fact, it was won down the decades by some great, world class drivers including Lex Davison, Stan Jones, Bib Stillwell, Spencer Martin, Kevin Bartlett, Frank Matich, John McCormack, Max Stewart, Alfredo Costanzo and many others. These days it does not have the same cachet and tourers dominate in Australia. Sadly.

This photo was posted on Facebook by Wayne McKay and shows the grid of the 1969 Gold Star event.

Leo Geoghegan is on pole in his evergreen, white, ex-Clark Lotus 39 Repco…

Alongside is Niel Allen in his ex-Piers Courage McLaren M4A Ford FVA (European F2 car) Max Stewart, having joined Alec Mildren’s team that year, is at the wheel of the yellow Mildren Waggott TC-4V in which he would have so much success over the following 3 years. The Mildren was a car built by Rennmax’ Bob Britton on his Brabham BT23 jig.

The red car on the second row is John Harvey in Bob Jane’s Brabham BT23E Repco, repaired after his huge Bathurst prang the year before caused by upright failure. The light blue car is Queenslander Glynn Scott in a Bowin P3 Ford FVA, a wonderful monocoque chassis car, one of three P3’s, built by John Joyce in Sydney- Joyce not long before having returned from a longish stint as an engineer at Lotus.

The red car towards the rear of the grid, on the fence side of the track is Jack Brabham in his Brabham BT31 Repco- the last of the ‘Tasman’ Brabhams. Jack was making a rare Gold Star appearance in the F3 based car built for his 1969 Tasman Series campaign, but which could not be unloaded from the ship from the UK due to a ‘Wharfies’ strike- and therefore only raced in the final Sandown Tasman round- the Australian Grand Prix won in fine style by Tasman Champion Chris Amon in a Ferrari 246T.

The BT31 was the lowest mileage Brabham ever built, it raced at Sandown and then Bathurst ‘in period’. The 2.5 litre ANF1 was in its dying days, Repco were unable to sell it. Years later, after being a Repco display car Rodway Wolfe acquired it, eventually it commenced its second career as an historic racer in William Marshall, and then in Bib Stillwell’s capable hands.

jack

Jack Brabham Brabham BT31 Repco , Bathurst Easter 1969 between ‘Skyline’ and ‘The Dipper’. He tried the car both bi-winged and with rear wing only during practice, racing the car as shown. BT31 a one off car based on the F3 BT28. Repco 2.5 litre ‘830 Series’ SOHC, 2 valve V8, circa 295 BHP @ 9000 RPM (D Simpson)

The Tasman 2.5 Formula…

The Mount Panorama grid shows just how poor our domestic fields had become as the 2.5 litre formula came towards its end.

The Tasman 2.5 litre Formula commenced in 1964 in Australia and New Zealand. The Tasman Series, eight events initially- four in both Australia and NZ over two months in the southern Summer was well attended by works or semi-works cars from BRM, Lotus and Ferrari running 2.5 litre variants (bored versions of their 1.5 litre F1 engines out to about 2 or 2.1 litres, or ‘de-stroked’ versions of their 3 litre F1 engines) of their F1 engines.

Local competitors could, on more or less equal terms, compete with the internationals using cars in the early Tasman years powered by the Coventry Climax 4 cylinder FPF engine, dominant in the final years of the 2.5 Litre F1, and later on, from 1967, Repco’s Tasman V8’s which were available to anyone with the cash.

As the sixties went on it became harder to attract the European teams to the Tasman as the F1 season became longer and local competitors, other than a small number of teams, struggled with budgets to run a Repco.

Mind you, support in open-wheeler racing in Australia, whatever the era had always been a problem. It was time, in all the circumstances to consider a new ANF1.

CAMS were vacillated between 2 litre F2, to commence in Europe in 1972 and Formula A or Formula 5000, which used ‘stock block’ American V8’s which commenced in the US, but had ‘taken off’ in the UK in 1969.

CAMS announced the change to 2 Litres, which made sense as Merv Waggott’s engine had already proved competitive. Under pressure from Ford, Holden and Repco, all of whom had commercial interests in the V8’s introduced into Australian road cars in preceding years- ultimately and controversially in some quarters, F5000 became the new ANF1 from 1971, with the 2.5 Litre cars legal in the 1970 Tasman, F5000’s first Tasman season.

Jack came to Australia over Easter 1969 to fulfil his final series of commitments to Repco, as a non-resident he was ineligible for Gold Star points, either way he was a welcome addition to the thinning Gold Star grid.

He was a busy boy in April and May too.

He was at Bathurst in April, raced in the Spanish and Monaco Grands’ Prix in Barcelona and Monte Carlo on May 4 and 18, also practising, qualifying and then racing at Indianapolis on May 30. Indianapolis itself occupied a big chunk of May.

indy

Jacks car for the Indianapolis 500 in 1969 was the BT25 built the year before. In 1968 they (3 cars built by MRD) were raced throughout the season by Jack, Jochen Rindt and Masten Gregory. Repco ‘760 Series’ 4.2 litre normally aspirated, alcohol fuelled V8, circa 500BHP @ 8500RPM. Hewland GB300 gearbox, chassis using sheet aluminium as a stressed member for the first time in a Brabham.

Jack engaged Peter Revson to drive the other BT25, the cars were powered by big 4.2 litre normally aspirated, alcohol fuelled ‘760 series’ Repco V8’s, close cousins of the F1 ‘860 Series’ engines which had given so much grief in 1968.

AJ Foyt was on pole at 170.568 MPH, with Jack on 163.875MPH, Revvie squeaking into the field as slowest qualifier at 160.851MPH. Revson showed his class in the race won by Andretti’s Hawk Ford, finishing fifth whilst Jack had ignition failure.

The cars were competitive that season Revson winning a race at Indianapolis Raceway Park later in the season.

jack and pete

Jack Brabham and Peter Revson at Indianapolis 1969

High Wings…

Looking at the Bathurst cars the high-wings stand out, pun intended.

They had grown larger and higher over the previous 12 months, developments in F1 emulating the wings used first by Chaparral on their Can-Am and World Sports Car Championship cars.

Things were about to change though after numerous failures to wings and their mounts- Jochen Rindt and Graham Hill both experienced near catastrophic failures of the wing mounts on their Lotus 49’s in Barcelona on May 4. The FIA acted decisively at Monaco, banning high wings in all classes globally after Monaco GP practice. There on Saturday, gone on Sunday.

Jack experimented with bi-wings in Bathurst practice, but had fuel feed problems problems so he qualified well back He settled for a wing on the rear, and went sans aero-assistance on the front for the race.

The fuel delivery problems were alleviated with the installation of the electric fuel pump from Repco Director, Charlie Dean’s Lancia and an on/off switch to avoid flattening the cars battery.

wings

Rodway Wolfe’s shot of Jack in practice, here with both front and rear high-wings, Mount Panorama, Easter 1969 (Rodway Wolfe)

The skinny grid looked even thinner by the time the cars appeared out of ‘Murrays’ and onto pit straight at the end of lap 1- Max Stewart and Niel Allen had a territorial dispute going into the Dipper tangling and neatly parking nose to nose high above the Bathurst Plains below.

maxxy

Niel Allen #2 and Max Stewart neatly parked high on the mount…’The Dipper’. McLaren M4A and Mildren Waggott respectively, Max extricating all 6’4” from the Mildren. Superb shot shows both the height and elevation of Mount Panorama (John Arkwright)

Jack cantered way and won the Bathurst Gold Star race, his last win in Australia, but one?…

Brabham retired from F1 at the end of 1970, but let’s come back to that in a little bit.

In 1971 Bob Jane promoted a Formula Ford ‘Race of Champions’ at Calder in August pitting some of the stars of the past and present against each other.

Kevin Bartlett, Frank Matich, Bib Stillwell, Alan Hamilton and Alan Moffat were amongst the drivers who took on Jack in his Bowin P4x. Jack Brabham Ford sponsored Bob Beasley who raced ‘Jacks’ car in the ‘Driver to Europe Series’, the Australian Formula Ford Championship that year. Brabham took the car to victory to much public acclaim…no way were one of the locals going to beat him having just retired!

So that little known FF event, I think, was JB’s last ever race win?

stillwell

Formula Ford ‘Race of Champions’. Calder August 15 1971. # 6 Bib Stillwell Elfin 600, in his old helmet!, #1 Jack Brabham Bowin P4x, # 7 Unknown Elfin 600, and the obscured car alongside Jack is Frank Matich in an Aztec. Trivia is that car # 6 is the Elfin 600 raced by Larry Perkins to win the FF Championship in 1971, Mike Stillwell raced the sister BS Stillwell Ford # 7 entry in the same Championship (Unattributed)

Jack ‘came back’ and did some touring car events in the mid- seventies including the Bathurst 1000 several times and even shared a Porsche 956 in the World Sports Car Championship race at Sandown in 1984, but I reckon that FF win was his last.

l34

In a promotional coup, Jack Brabham and Stirling Moss shared a Holden Torana L34 in the 1976 Bathurst 1000. Unfortunately the car had a driveline failure and was hit up the ar$e badly damaging the car. Patched together, the pair put on a show for the crowd but the car did not finish (autopics)

 

porker

# 56 Porsche 956 driven by Jack Brabham and Johnny Dumfries in the Sandown 1000 round of the World Endurance Championship in 1984. The car was a camera vehicle, and again a promotional coup but still competing, although suffered rear suspension failure so was a DNF. Brabham and Alan Jones careers did not overlap in F1 but both Australian World Champs competed in this race, Jones sharing another Rothmans Porsche with Vern Schuppan, also DNF. It was Jack’s first experience of a ground effect car, at 58, quite different to the last ‘serious car’ he drove, the Brabham BT33 Ford in which he finished the Mexican GP in 1970, he acquitted himself well (Pinterest)

 

jack 1

Whats it like out there Jack? It was a hot weekend, the challenge of the powerful ground-effects Porsche must have been considerable but Jack drove for over 2 hours in total, the car eventually failing. Whilst in works Rothmans colours it was a Richard Lloyd Racing 956

F1 in 1970…

These days F1 is all about youth, drivers start in Karts, some are in F1 before the age of 20. Jack was 44 when he commenced his last season and was incredibly competitive at an age F1 drivers these days are long since retired. It was to be a very full season for Jb in a large number of categories.

He won the season opening South African GP, made a last lap mistake at Monaco under pressure from Jochen Rindt whilst leading and came second.

He also finished second to Rindt in the British GP at Brands Hatch as well having passed him and was pulling away before running short of fuel on the last lap.

monaco

Brabham leading a gaggle of cars early in the Monaco GP 1970. Brabham BT33 Ford, Jean-Pierre Beltoise Matra MS120, Jacky Ickx Ferrari 312B, Denny Hulme McLaren M14A and one of the Lotuses…Jack led the race but Rindt gave the Lotus 49 its last victory in a phenomenal chase of Brabham, pressuring him into a last lap error into second place. Had Rindt re-joined Brabham for 1970, he enjoyed 1968 with them despite the foibles of the Repco ‘860 Series’ DOHC V8, instead of staying at Lotus Jack would have retired at the end of ’69 and Rindt, who knows? (Pinterest)

Brabham could have won the World Title in 1970 with a little more luck.

Mind you luck was in short supply that year, friends and former teammates, Bruce McLaren and Jochen Rindt as well as Piers Courage perished in 1970.

Grand Prix racing is the pinnacle and 1970 was a year of great depth. The grid comprised the established aces- Stewart, Rindt, Hill, Ickx, Hulme and Rodriguez, as well as young chargers in their first F1 year including Regazzoni, Peterson, Fittipaldi and our own Tim Schenken. Ferrari, Lotus, BRM, Brabham and March all won races in 1970 as well.

Ron Tauranac designed Jack a ‘pearler’ of a car for 1970. The team had been successful with space-frame chassis’ since it was formed. Chapman popularised the monocoque with his 1962 Lotus 25 but Brabham won championships in all formulae with their simple, user-friendly, easy to repair and forgiving cars. The latter was both a design feature and a function of Jack doing the final chassis settings before ‘sign-off’.

For 1970 monocoques had effectively been mandated by the FIA, new regulations demanded bag fuel tanks to improve the safety of the cars.

Tauranac’s first stressed-skin chassis was the BT25 ‘Indycar’ pictured earlier above. The BT33 could be said to be standard ‘Cosworth powered kit-car’- an aluminium monocoque, Ford DFV engine and Hewland gearbox were its essential elements, but it was a very good one, and was still very competitive in Tim Schenken’s hands in 1971.

bt33

This shot is at Hockenheim 1970, Stommelen’s car in front (5th), Jacks (DNF) at rear. Essential elements are the ‘bathtub’ aluminium monocoque chassis. Front suspension by top rocker and lower wishbone operating inboard mounted coil spring/damper unit. Gearbox and rear suspension ass’y rolls away for the engine change minimising time spent especially on time consuming wheel alignment in the field..mechanics will still align the car mind you, but not as big a job! The more you look, the more you see (Pinterest)

Matra…1970

Jack had decided to retire due to family pressure at the end of 1969 when he had agreed terms verbally with Jochen Rindt to rejoin the team for 1970.

Jochen enjoyed his Brabham season in 1968 despite the problems with the ‘860 Repco’ engine but ultimately asked Jack to release him from his undertaking as a consequence of an offer from Lotus which was too good to refuse. Had that Brabham Racing Organisation course of events transpired history would of course been quite different- Rindt died at the wheel of a Lotus 72 at Monza and won the 1970 World Championship posthumously.

Jack told his wife Betty he would compete for one more year, putting everything into that last season, and not just F1.

He participated in the World Sports Car Championship for Matra competing at Le Mans in an MS650, a spaceframed car using an endurance version of the companies F1 3 litre, 48 valve V12. He shared the car at Le Mans with Francois Cevert, but did not finish with engine failure.

He also did the lead up events to Le Mans including Daytona, tenth with Francois Cevert, Cevert breaking into F1 that year. He shared a car with Jean-Pierre Beltoise at Brands and Monza finishing twelfth and fifth respectively.

1970 and 1971 were the years of the ‘5 litre monsters’ the Porsche 917 and Ferrari 512S, it was tough for 3 litre prototypes, Matra steadily evolved their cars to be the class of the field in 1973/4/5, but Jack enjoyed the season and having to simply to drive the car, not do literally everything else.

brands

In search of downforce…Brabham in the Matra MS650, Brands Hatch 1000Km, April 1970, 12th sharing the car with Beltiose (Pinterest)

And Indy…1970

Ron Tauranac adapted a BT25 monocoque car for the race using  a 2.65 litre turbo-charged 4 cylinder ‘Offy’ engine and Weissman gearbox.

Jack was classified thirteenth in the BT32 but had piston failure which carved the block in half. The race was won that year by Al Unser in a Colt Offy ‘Johnny Lightning Special’.

bt32

Formula 2 in a Brabham BT30…1970

pau

Pau GP 1970 front row L>R : Jochen Rindt on pole Lotus 69, Francois Mazet & Jack Brabham both in Brabham BT30’s. Green helmet in the second row is Henri Pescarolo in another Brabham BT30 and alongside Clay Regazzoni, Tecno 69. All Ford FVA powered. Rindt won from Pescarolo and Tim Schenken, also in a BT30 (DPPI)

John ‘Nuggett’ Coombs was a longtime privateer entrant running Brabhams and in 1970 had a ‘dream team’ of Jackie Stewart and Jack sharing a Brabham BT30.

Jack competed at Pau, Rouen and Tulln-Langenlebarn (Vienna), his best result second in the latter meeting to the Ickx BMW 270.

jack

Brabham ahead of Jochen Rindt at Pau, France 1970. Jack DNF, Rindt winning the race in his Lotus 69 Ford FVA. The European F2 Championship was won in 1970 by Clay Regazzoni in a Tecno Ford FVA. Brabham is driving a Brabham BT30 FVA owned by John Coombs (Pinterest)

Tasman Series 1970 and Retirement…

The only series Brabham didn’t contest that he usually did was the Tasman Series in our Summer, his Matra campaign commenced on January 31 at Daytona. It was the first year of the F5000 Tasman series, albeit the 2.5 Litre cars were still eligible- maybe he figured it wasn’t worth the effort as MRD didn’t build an F5000 car at the time? Either way he spent February in Australia and kept the peace on the home front with Betty, sort of.

Graham Lawrence won the Tasman series that year with his ex-Amon Ferrari 246T, consistently running with and beating the more powerful but less nimble F5000’s.

If only Jack had dusted off the BT31 which won at Bathurst the previous April, fitted current tyres and wings maybe he would have won the Tasman Series, a cup missing from his mantelpiece?

Jack said in later years that he felt he had another three or four competitive years in him. He recounts to Doug Nye in his biography that his father, who had always been his strongest supporter within the family, and reinforced his decisions to continue racing, advised him not to reconsider his retirement during 1970 given the deaths which occurred that season.

At the end of 1970 Jack returned to Australia to a farm near Wagga, his Jack Brabham Ford dealership in Sydney and his aviation interests at Bankstown in addition to investments in the UK.

What can you say about this remarkable Australian which hasn’t already been said?

To my way of thinking he is Australia’s greatest sportsman ever. No other individual performed at the same level for so long, was as innovative as he was, and took on the best in the world and won, both in terms of his driving and in the deployment of Australian technology.

RIP Jack Brabham, thank goodness you did retire at the end of 1970- at the top, alive and in one piece.

bt 31

Jack Brabham, sans wings, Sandown Tasman practice 1969…BT31 ‘830’ surely a competitive mount in Tasman 1970 had he entered? (Flickr)

 

jacks

Deep in set-up thought. Jack in his BT33 F1 car during Manaco 1970. ‘Jet Jackson’ fighter pilot helmet that he, Jackie Stewart and Piers Courage tried that year. Skiers goggles. No nomex gloves, leather, nice Rolex watch. Lovely shot which captures the essence of the guy i think!? (Getty Images)

Etcetera: Bathurst 1969…

bathurst

Jack Brabham , Bathurst practice Easter 1969. Brabham BT31 Repco ‘bi-winged’ in practice (Facebook)

 

bathurst 3

Brabham in the race which he won, sans front wing. Bathurst Easter 1969. (Facebook)

Etcetera: Calder FF Race 1971…

calder

 

calder

Brabham takes the spoils of victory…’Race of Champions’ Calder, Australia August 1971. Car is a Formula Ford Bowin P4X (Facebook)

Etcetera: F1 1970 and Brabham BT33…

bt 33 cutaway

Drawing of Ron Tauranacs’ 1970 Brabham BT33 Ford, Motor Racing Developments first ‘real’ monocoque chassis car

 

spain

Jarama, Spanish GP 1970. Avoiding the fire as a result of the Ickx/Oliver collision, both the Ferrari and BRM were destroyed but the drivers escaped an accident caused by a stub axle failure of the BRM (Pinterest)

 

monaco

Jack Brabham, Monaco 1970 . BT33 from above, wet Saturday practice (Pinterest)

 

rolf

Jack trying teammate Rolf Stommelens BT33 in Spain practice, both DNF in the race won by the March 701 Ford of Jackie Stewart (Pinterest)

Etcetera Matra…

daytona

daytona

Jack Brabham, Matra MS 650, Daytona 1970 (Nigel Smuckatelli)

Photo and Other Credits…

oldracingcars.com, Pinterest, Getty Images, ‘Jack Brabham with Doug Nye’, Nigel Smuckatelli, Dick Simpson, Wayne McKay, John Arkwright, Rodway Wolfe

Finito…