whitford 300s albert park 1958

(Ed Steet)

Bob Jane ahead of Doug Whiteford, both in ex-factory Maserati 300S, Victorian Tourist Trophy, 1958 Melbourne Grand Prix meeting at Albert Park…

Its Bill Pitt immediately behind Whiteford in a Jaguar D Type with Lou Molina in his Molina Monza Holden Repco on the inside. Whiteford and Pitt are lapping Jane and Molina, the latter pair scrapped for much of the race. I uploaded an article featuring the clever, technically interesting, Molina Monza the other day.

https://primotipo.com/2015/05/13/shifting-gear-design-innovation-and-the-australian-car-exhibition-national-gallery-of-victoria-by-stephen-dalton-mark-bisset/

On the 12th lap Whiteford took the lead from Pitt he was not to lose. On lap 26 Pitts’ D Type hit the haybales at Jaguar corner, pitting to clear the rear guard from a wheel. Ron Phillips took his Cooper Jag through to second. At the finish it was Whiteford from Phillips, Pitt, Derek Jolly in a Lotus 15 Climax and Bob Jane.

moss 300s 1956

Stirling Moss in Maserati 300S ‘3059’ during the 1956 AGP Meeting at Albert Park, in December. He won the sports car ‘TT’ race in the car. (Unattributed)

The Maserati team brought 5 cars to the 1956 Australian Grand Prix held at Albert Park, 3 250F’s and 2 300S which were driven by Stirling Moss and Jean Behra, Moss won the AGP. At the end of the meeting the 300S’ were acquired by former AGP Winner, Doug Whiteford and Reg Smith, a Melbourne racer/motor dealer. Smith raced the car little and soon sold it to future Touring Car Champion, very successful businessman and Calder Circuit owner Bob Jane.

Bobs’ driving was ‘pretty rough and ready’ at this stage, fellow racer Reg Hunt was moved to shift his boat further into Albert Park Lake to keep it out of harms way…Jane quickly got the hang of the car and was competitive in it.

Whiteford bought the ex-Behra 300S #3055 which sort of made sense as an outright car as the AGP was run to Formula Libre at the time. A great ‘mighta been’ would have been Doug in a 250F taking on the other front runners at the time; Stan Jones, Reg Hunt, Lex Davison and Ted Gray in an equivalent car…’twas not to be sadly.

jane on the grid 300s fishermans bend 1958

(Kevin Drage)

Bob Jane pictured above and below in his ex-Moss 300S #3059 on his debut meeting in the car at Fishermans Bend, in the inner western suburbs of Melbourne, October 1958.

jane 300s fishermans bend 1958

(Kevin Drage)

Stirling Moss said of the 300S…’a decently prepared 300S had a chassis which was infinitely superior to any front engined sports Ferrari, one of the easiest, nicest, best balanced sports racing cars ever made’…

The 250F Grand Prix engine would not stretch to 3 litres, 2.8 litre variants of the 300S were built and were uncompetitive so Maserati built in essence a bigger version of the 250F engine, using the 250F head. 6 cylinders in line, 2992cc DOHC. The 2 valves per cylinder, 2 plugs per cylinder engine developed circa 280bhp @ 7000rpm. It was fed by 3 Weber carbs, initially 42 and later 45DCO3’s.

maser 300s engine

Janes’ Maser 300S engine, Fishermans Bend 1958. (Kevin Drage)

The gearbox was a ZF 4 speed.

The chassis was a ladder frame made with large diameter main tubes, front suspension by upper and lower wishbones and coil spring/damper units and a roll bar. A de Dion rear axle was used with a transverse semi-elliptic leaf spring and hydraulic shocks.

The first cars were built by Maserati, later assembly was outsourced to Gilberto Colombos’ specialist company, Gilco.

Steering was worm and sector, brakes huge finned alloy drums, wheels Borrani 5X16 inch wires, the aluminium bodies built by Fantuzzi. The car weighed circa 780Kg.

300s cutaway

26-28 cars were built between 1955-1958 depending upon the reference source…Whilst the cars were built in large numbers and were favourites of privateers they were not particularly successful at an International level, winning the 1956 Buenos Aires 1000Km and 1956 Nurburgring 1000Km.

When first built the 300S was outgunned by competitors with greater capacity and when the 3 litre limit was mandated for sports cars by the CSI in 1958 they were getting a little ‘long in the tooth’ compared with the Ferrari 250TR and Aston Martin DBR1.

They were very useful, competitive, relatively simple devices in places like Australia where the cars of Jane and particularly Whiteford were crowd drawcards from 1956 to 1963.

Bob Jane raced many mouth-watering cars over the decades, he is still alive and has retained many of them, including the 300S for decades after the end of its competitive life, it was sold some years ago.

300 s bathurst

Bob Jane Maserati 300S, Forrests Elbow, Bathurst October 1961. Our regs of the time encouraged GT cars and as a consequence cars such as the Maser became Coupes. (John Ellacott)

Australias ‘Appendix K’ or GT rules at the time mandated cars with ‘lids’, as a consequence Janes’ 300S grew this appendage, which is not too catastrophic in the context of some other efforts to comply with the rule change at the time. The Fantuzzi original is rather nicer all the same. When Janes’ team rebuilt the car in the mid-seventies it was restored, superbly to its original specs.

The car left Australia in the early 90’s, the current custodian appears to be Klaus Werner.

whiteford

Doug Whiteford has parked his ‘3055’ 300S after a major moment going up Mt Panorama, perhaps driveshaft failure, the dark blue lines on the road show his path. He has time to watch Bob Janes’ approach in ‘3059’. Bathurst October 1958. Bucolic Central Tablelands in the distance far below. (John Ellacott)

Photo Credits…

Ed Steet, Kevin Drage, John Ellacott

Finito…

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Comments
  1. […] Bob Jane: Maserati 300S: Albert Park 1958… […]

  2. John R. McLean says:

    I have a shot of Doug Whiteford at Albert Park in the 300s, photo sourced from Doug Whiteford 1960’s. Can upload if interested

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