Archive for August, 2015

webbo rear

On 27 February 2005 Mark Webber did ’10 laps’ of Sydney Harbour Bridge in his Williams FW26B BMW F1 car…

Webber had just joined Williams from Jaguar and much was expected of his shift to a top team. The Harbour Bridge run promotion was part of the build up to that years AGP held at Albert Park on 6 March.

The Bridge, a critical part of Sydney’s traffic flow was closed for 5 hours for the sortie which itself took only 10 minutes, he was flagged away by New South Wales Premier, Bob Carr.

The 2004 spec, V10 engined car was based at the City end of the Bridge and went backwards and forwards between the CBD and Kirribilli, Mark flicking the car to make the ‘tight u turns’ required. The FW26, a race winning car in Juan Pablo-Montoya’s hands in 2004, was fitted with wets in deference to Sydney’s ‘moody weather’ on the day.

Webber’s two seasons with Williams were not especially successful ones although 2005, 10th in the Drivers Championship, 3rd place at Monaco his best was better than 2006 when he was 14th in the standings. The move to the nascent Red Bull team the following year was the critical move to get into an ultimately race-winning team/car. And some celebrated duels with ‘enfant-terrible’ teammate Sebastian Vettel!

Giancarlo Fisichella won the 2005 AGP, confirming the renaissance of Renault as a team, teammate Fernando Alonso won the first of his World Championships in 2005 in the 3 litre V10 Renault R25. Mark Webber qualified 3rd and finished 5th at Albert Park in a good start to the season.

YouTube Footage…



Happy chappy prior to the start of the 2005 season. I always thought Williams and Webber could have and should have achieved more, the problem was the team not MW, Williams having a fall-off in competitiveness at the time. A pity. Sydneysiders may know this spot, photo taken from the Rotunda at Observatory Hill Park looking North. Webbo would have had to elbow aside a couple of wedding groups which are booked solidly back to back for ‘happy snaps’ in the warmer months. Its my old neighbourhood, i lived there for 9 years,.The Rocks, Millers Point, Barangaroo, Observatory Hill and Sydney Observatory itself all worth a good look on foot.

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Photo Credits…


THE BIGGEST CROWD ever to attend an Australian road race saw the Centenary Grand Prix won by Les Murphy (Victoria) over the Victor Harbor Port Elliot circuit this afternoon.

From the Special Staff of Adelaide’s ‘The Mail’ Writers at the Course…as they saw the race in the beautiful, descriptive language of the day, Saturday 26 December 1936.


‘Aerial view of Victor Harbour and Port Elliott for the South Australian Centenary Road Race’. Victor is in the lower right corner, Port Elliott is the smaller hamlet, the headland sticking out, above it. Using the diagram/map of the circuit below,taking the coast and the 2 settlements as reference points, you can see the roads used during the race. (State Library of SA)


victor circuit

Event Background…

It was the first AGP held outside Victoria and has been known over time as the 1937 AGP despite being held on Saturday 26 December 1936 and named then as the ‘South Australian Centenary Grand Prix’. It seems this ‘corruption of history’ as historian John Medley called it, commenced in the 1950’s, whence it originated nobody seems to know.

The Sporting Car Club of South Australia was formed in 1934 and played an active part in the celebration of 100 Years of European settlement of South Australia, the piece de resistance of the organising committee of the South Australian Centenary Committee was SA’s first real road race held 50 miles from Adelaide on the Fleurieu Peninsula, only a few miles from the mouth of the mighty Murray River on public roads between Port Elliott and Victor Harbor, then as now a summer playground. The event was run over 32 laps, 240 miles in total.

The race attracted the best cars and drivers from all around Australia, the limit men of the handicap race drove MG K3’s and Bugatti Types 37 and 43 and over 50000 paying customers came to an event then a long way from Adelaide.


Victor paddock. #1 is the Fagan MG K3, #2 the Peters Bugatti T37. (Norman Howard)

‘VICTOR HARBOR, Saturday 26 December 1936. ‘The Mails’ contemporary report of the event…

Before the biggest crowd ever seen at an Australian road race, the South Australian centenary Grand Prix and sidecar tourist trophy races on the Port Elliot-Victor Harbor racing circuit filled the quiet country air with a thunder of power. Les Murphy, winner of the ‘Victorian Centenary 300′ in 1934, the Australian Grand Prix at Cowes, (Vic) in 1935, and one of the best known motor speed men in Australia, ran away with the Grand Prix after 250 miles of supremely consistent driving, while opponents in faster cars failed when the final test of endurance was applied. He averaged 68 1/2 miles an hour to win the first prize of £200 and a £50 gold cup.


Formally dressed crowd cruise the Victor paddock (SLSA)

The first of the long stream of cars, charabancs, motor cycles, and bicycles which conveyed the invading army of 45,000 to 50,000 spectators to the course left Adelaide at dawn, (Victor Harbor is 85 Km from Adelaide) and long before the start of the sidecar tourist trophy, vantage points on each of the five corners of the circuit were taken up. The crowd seethed with excitement from the moment when the 12 riders in the opening race roared away in a massed start to the fall of the checkered flag until the winner of the Grand Prix flashed past the finishing line. Paling into comparative insignificance when seen against the sustained thrill of the motor event, the motor cycles prepared the onlookers for the motor racing spectacle...There were no serious accidents, but many narrow escapes in the Grand Prix kept the crowd on its toes throughout the day. At several points the efforts of police and race officials were unavailing when the spectators broke through the barriers to watch the cars flash past.’

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This State Library of SA shot does not record the competitors but shows the dirt/gravel road and the flat, scrubby terrain between Victor Harbor and Port Elliott. Popular summer playgrounds not far from Adelaide then as now. (RP Nicholas/State Library of SA)

‘Narrow Escapes’

‘A thousand people at the Grandstand Bend had their hearts in their mouths when the Bugatti of Hylton Dale (Vic) went into the corner too fast, skidded wildly round with screaming tyres, and regained its course with the driver fighting for control. Nearly an hour elapsed between the starting times of the limit men, E. M. Winter (SA) and R. S. Uffindel (SA) and the virtual scratch men Lyster Jackson (Vic), Jim Fagan (NSW). T. Peters and Lord Waleran. To make up this leeway the fast men attained speeds of more than 100 m.p.h. on the straights and made unbelievable speeds on corners.’

‘The demand for speed sapped the strength of the motors in the fastest cars, however, and it was a middle marker who took the honors of the day. Each of the virtual scratch men struck trouble while the excitement was at fever pitch, but Peters had established the lap record of 81 miles an hour before he dropped out of the running.’

There were plenty of thrills but no serious mishaps at the most difficult of corners. Hell Bend. Many drivers had narrow escapes, but only one, Jack Phillips, came to grief there. Taking the turn at too great a speed, he ran into an embankment and badly buckled the rear off wheel of his car.’


Harry Beith calls into the pits after crashing thru a fence at Seaview Bend, Terraplane Spl, he finished 9th (SLSA)

‘The crowd became out of hand at Hell Bend, and it was fortunate that the drivers showed such skill in regaining control of their skidding machines. Nearing the end of his race A. Barrett almost turned round just past the corner, but he managed to switch his car away from the crowd. The thousands of spectators at the bend spent an exciting afternoon. All eyes turned towards the Chilton Straight, when roaring engines warned of the approach of cars. As they quickly neared the bend the crowd was on tip-toes. Engines were throttled down, and the cars skidded and screamed round the corner, sweeping across the road, and sending up clouds of dust from the base of the embankment. Then engines roared again, and with a deafening noise the machines disappeared. Often spectators scampered for safety as the cars skidded out of control.’

Jack McDonald, Amilcar Grand Sport (R Fewster)

Determined efforts were made by the police to keep the corners clear, but soon the crowds took charge, and they swarmed everywhere, even over the grounds of a private residence. Nangawooka Hairpin, which was expected to provide many thrills, was surprisingly uneventful. The crowd at the corner was raised to heights of expectancy several times as the snarl of hard applied brakes and screaming tyres told of the drivers’ fight to get their cars round the corners safely. But apart from the unfortunate skid by G. C. Martin’s AC, which put him out of the race when in a handy position, and two or three cars which took the escape road, the bend was singularly free from incident.

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Bob Lea-Wright’s Terraplane Spl takes Nangawooka Hairpin. Victor Harbor 1936. (State Library of SA)

The day of speed was remarkable for the precision and orderliness with which the arrangements for the drivers’ safety and the convenience and comfort of spectators were carried out. 

The huge crowd was handled well by the large contingent of police and special constables who were on duty at the course. With the cars careering into corners to the very limit of safe speed, and often just a little more, the highlights of the day were seen by those who had secured corner positions.

Martin had bad lack when he skidded at the Nangawooka Hairpin, while challenging Murphy for the lead in the concluding laps. He was driving with the throttle flat on the floor, but on this corner he skidded and straddled the sandbag safety bank. Immediately dozens of spectators prepared to go to his help, but officials called them back, warning them that Martin would be disqualified if he received any help.

After several attempts to free his car, Martin gave up and two men helped him away. The spectators cheered sympathetically as he left. 

Crowd at Victor Biggest in History.

Although in peak times the estimated floating population of Victor Harbor was about 40,000, never in the history of the town has there been such a crowd as there was tonight. Motor cars were parked everywhere, even down side lanes and blind alleys. Nevertheless, no accidents were reported to the police. Streets were gay tonight and many of the buildings had colored lights.’

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Race Report…’The Mail’ then published a full account of the race in its Sports Section…

How Murphy Won Grand Prix: Brilliant Victory In 250-Mile Race.VICTORIANS FILL FIRST THREE PLACES VICTOR HARBOR. Saturday.

Driving a perfectly judged race, Les Murphy, of Victoria, sped to brilliant victory in the 250-mile Centenary Grand Prix car race this afternoon. He finished about a third of a lap ahead of Tim Joshua, another Victorian. Lea-Wright (Victoria) was third and A. E. Poole (SA) fourth.


Uffindell (Austin) and Winter (Vauxhall) were first away off the limit mark in the Grand Prix. McDonald (Amilcar), who crashed in the practice trials this week, was a last-minute starter. It had been thought that the damage to his car would not be repaired in time. He went off 8 min. later. The next away were Gullan (Hornet Special), Anderson (Morris), and Tim Joshua (MG). Then followed at intervals Summers (MG), Moulden (Sunbeam), Dutton (MG), Barrett (Lombard), and Dale (Bugatti). The machines away were by this time well warmed, and the lap speeds began to soar. The next batch away comprised Poole (Oldsmobile), Lea-Wright (Terraplane), Beith (Terraplane). Anderson pulled into the pits with water streaming from his radiator and Barrett followed with his Lombard to change a wheel.

At this time 13 competitors were still at the pits waiting to get away on their handicaps. One by one the machines roared down the Brick Kiln Straight until the back markers ; Fagan (MG Magnette), Jackson (MG Magnette), Snow (MG Magnette) and Peters (Bugatti) were on their way. Churning the dirt from the calcium chloride treated track, Peters scattered it all over the spectators as this batch of expert drivers thundered down the straight Peters had a slight advantage.


Practice or parade lap prior to the race. L>R Lyster Jackson MG K3, winner Les Murphy MG P Type #29 and Alf Barrett Lombard #22. (Alan Griffin Collection)


Uffindell had covered eight laps, while the scratch men had completed only two laps of the circuit. There had been no retirements up to this stage. Winter howled his Vauxhall round the course at a good average speed. At 1.28 Dale drove bis Bugatti into the pit with carburettor trouble. The defect was remedied in three minutes. Trouble began frequently. McDonald had to pull up opposite the grandstand to adjust his goggles. It only took him a minute, and the car bounded off again. Minor mechanical troubles stalked abroad, and the men at the pits worked feverishly to correct them without serious loss of time.

The pace was now on, but with so many laps ahead for the competitors, spectators were unable to anticipate the winner. After several rounds Fagan (MG Magnette) lapped the circuit at 78 mph, while Burrows went round with his Terraplane in 6 min. 15 sec., which was equal to 74 mph Jackson, driving a MG Magnette, went round in the same time. Hylton Dale, driving a Bugatti, tore round the grandstand bend and went wide. His throttle jamming, he swung round and ricochetted into the pit with a side sweep. Diagnosed, his trouble was described as ‘plug.’

Les Burrows, in his flaming Terraplane, had to pull in because of plug trouble. Barney Dentry in his Riley, who has completed many thousands of miles in his little car, also pulled in for a mechanical adjustment. G. C. Smith (NSW) retired. He said that he had been under the impression that the track was smooth, but it was very rough in his opinion. Anderson (Morris Special) had to pull in several times for water. The last time he came into the pit the water belched from the radiator high into the air as the mechanics lifted the radiator cap. Abbott was making good progress in his supercharged Austin. He came into the pit with a loose distributor which was adjusted in three minutes. Gullan (Hornet Special) lost three minutes while he stopped to adjust his helmet.


Les Murphy on his way to victory, here on West Straight heading to Hell Bend. MG P Type. Additional fuel tank gave him a range of 300 miles per tanks.(Norman Howard)


Halfway through the race Joshua was in a strong position. He was driving his MG K3 brilliantly. The Victorian driver Murphy was in second position, but Martin was giving a real fireworks display, lapping at 71 mph He was gradually overhauling Murphy. The South Australian representative, Uffindell, was still maintaining a good speed, and was not far behind, while Phillips, at the wheel of his Ford, was going at 74 mph. There had been no serious accidents up to this stage. Abbott experienced plug trouble, and a few minutes later Barrett and then Lord Waleran came into the pit with similar trouble. Mclntyre retired with his Hudson at 3.05 p.m., and Smith withdrew his Hudson a minute later. Frank Kleinig, who was driving Mclntyre’s entry, was forced to retire because of a broken radiator. Kleinig was one of the most popular and most spectacular drivers during practices.

Lord Waleran, who had relieved J. Snow at the wheel of the K3 Magnette, took Hell Bend too wide in the seventeenth lap. Handling his car skilfully, he headed his car down the Escape road, and a few minutes later joined in the fray again.   With eight laps to go Murphy had taken the lead with Martin, lapping at 73 miles an hour second and Tim Joshua third. Phillips, driving his Ford, crashed into the embankment at Hell Bend through attempting to take the turn too fast, the off rear wheel was bent almost underneath the car. Neither Phillips nor his passenger was hurt. At 3.45 20 cars were left in the race. Shortly before 4 o’clock Murphy (Vic) was leading by six minutes.


Nangawooka hairpin. A Poole Oldsmobile. (State Library of SA)


Martin set out to catch Murphy with six laps to go and he was reducing the gap at the rate of several miles an hour. There was now only four and a half minutes’ difference between the two speedmen. With an hour’s racing remaining the fastest lap record was put up by Peters, who covered the circuit at 81 mph. Then the whole aspect of the race changed.

Martin broadsided, and saddled the sandbags at Hairpin Bend. There he tried to shift his car without success. Martin made desperate efforts but the rear was protruding across the track, to the danger of other competitors. Driving a perfectly judged race, Murphy, the Victorian driver, who was on a 40 minute handicap, maintained the lead and finished about a third of a lap ahead of Tim Joshua, another Victorian, who was driving A. Barrett’s M.G. Lea-Wright (Terraplane) was third, and A. E. Poole (SA) was fourth.

The winner’s time was 3 hr. 39 min. 6 sec. Poole’s actual time was 3 hr. 37 min. 59 sec., and he thus wins the £25 presented by ‘The News’ and ‘The Mail’ for the fastest time for any South Australian competitor. Dentry was fifth and then followed Cranston, Uffindell, Summers, Beith and Dutton. Others to finish were Terdich and Martin. The following competitors retired; Fagan, Peters, Kleinig, Smith, Burrows, Phillips, Dale, Barrett, Gullan, Winter. Fastest time was set up by Cranston of Western Australia, who covered the distance in 3 hr. 20 min. 17 sec. T. Joshua’s time was 3 hr. 56 min. 10 sec., and Lea-Wright’s 3 hr. 26 min. 40 sec. Fastest lap was secured by T. Peters (NSW Bugatti), who went round in 5 min. 47 sec., equal to 81 miles an hour.

olympic ad

‘Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday’ adage started a long time ago! ‘The Mail’ ad the day after the GP.

Circuit Aerial Photographs…

The State Library of SA (attribution of shots in all cases below) have a series of aerial photographs taken during the meeting, unfortunately not during the racing! They are reproduced below in the sequence, by image number published, which may or may not be corners in their order of a lap, there are no captions to assist the historian. I have included fthen for the sake of completeness.

They clearly show the loose nature of the gravel, the dust the drivers and spectators had to contend with as a consequence, the flattish nature of the area and the open, fast corners.


‘Aerial view of Victor Harbor and Port Elliott for the South Australian Centenary race’ is the caption on this series of shots. (State Library of SA)


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(State Library of SA)


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Perhaps; the fast LH kink after exiting ‘Nangawooka Hairpin’. The cars heading from top to bottom of this shot. (State Library of SA)


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Perhaps; The cars race from top left to right, along ‘Brick Kiln Straight’ then the RH tight corner ‘Sea View Corner’, then the RH kink towards the bottom of the photo is the fast RH taking the cars into Port Elliott.(State Library of SA)


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Port Elliott. The cars raced clockwise, so from left to right. Into the right hander at top left, then the right hand kink depicted in the previous photo,(the point of the track closest to the water)  then another right hander and down ‘Chilton Straight’, thru the town and back towards Victor. (State Library of SA)


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Perhaps; ‘Hell Bend’, the RH tight corner at the end of ‘Chilton Straight’ which then heads in the direction of the L/R series of corners towards ‘Nangawooka Hairpin’. (State Library of SA)


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Perhaps; the L/R combination which leads to ‘Nangawooka Hairpin’. Looked at from top to bottom.(State Library of SA)

Etcetera: Motorcycle Events…


R Badger, Ariel Square Four winning the Sidecar TT. There were 12 competitors in a massed start, he gave a ‘brilliant exhibition’ to win the 56 mile race from Bill Barker, Levis and A Griffiths Morgan 3 Wheeler. Average speed 71 mph (SLSA)



A Griffiths and passenger aboard their 3rd placed Morgan 3 Wheeler during the Sidecar TT (SLSA)



Irish Champion Stanley Woods with some competitors and a fan during the Victor weekend. By then he had 4 successive Irish TT’s and the 1935 Junior and Senior IOM TT’s to his credit- and much more. Woods won the Junior TT on a Velocette by a half a lap in 58 minutes. He led the Senior TT, also Velocette but was slowed by clutch problems after a fuel stop, a South Aussie by the name of Foster won on a Norton (SLSA)


‘The Mail’ 26 December 1936, John Medleys chapter on ‘The 1937 Australian Grand Prix’ aka ‘1936 South Australian Centenary Grand Prix’ on 26 December 1936 in Graham Howard’s ‘History of The Australian Grand Prix’

Photo Credits…

State Library of South Australia, ‘History of the AGP’ as above, Norman Howard, RP Nicholas, Russell Garth, Richard Fewster

Tailpieces: The paddock…

(R Garth)


(R Garth)



(Heinz Federbusch)


Arnold Glass eases his Ferrari 555 Super Squalo into Mount Panorama’s tricky Esses as he starts the plunge down the mountain, Easter 1958…

Glass raced this car with success from November 1957- here he is contesting the Formula Libre ‘Bathurst 100′ on 7 April 1958, the race was won by Doug Whiteford’s equally exotic Maserati 300S. Glass drove a great race ahead of the vastly more experienced, multiple AGP winning Whiteford. The Fazz’ engine blew within sight of the finishing line but the Sydneysider was able to roll over the line in front of third placed Bill Pitt’s Jaguar D Type.

The engine was sent to Maranello for repair, but there were no 3.4 litre Monza spares available so a 2.5 litre 1956 GP engine was sent back to Sydney that November, factory information about the car and specifications of both engines are included at the end of this article.

Glass became disenchanted with the car, it needed the 3.4 litre Monza engine to be competitive at the pointy end of the field and replaced it with the ex-Hunt/Stillwell Maserati 250F when Bib bought his first Cooper- Arnold had plenty of success with the forgiving, fast Maserati in 1959 and 1960.

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The Glass Super Squalo being pushed thru the leafy surrounds of Albert Park during the Melbourne GP/Victorian Tourist Trophy meetings in November 1958. First meeting with the cars new 2.5 litre engine. (Kevin Drage)

The Ferrari was brought to Australia by Reg Parnell…

He and Peter Whitehead ran identical cars in the New Zealand International races that summer after racing their ex-works 1955 chassis’ in the Formula Libre 1956 Australian ‘Olympic’ Grand Prix at Albert Park- Stirling Moss won in a Maserati 250F whilst Whitehead was third and Parnell sixth.

The car was later sold to John McMillan, who rolled it at Mount Druitt, damaging it badly, before being repaired by local artisans including racers Tom Sulman and Jack Myers it was then sold to Glass.

I remember seeing the racer at Gilltraps Motor Museum, Kirra, on Queenslands Gold Coast on a family holiday in 1973- ‘twas sensational to look at the first fabulous ‘front engined red Grand Prix car’ i had seen and it is therefore forever etched in my memory!

Gilltraps added it to their collection as a static exhibit in 1963 at the end of the cars ‘front line’ career which was in the hands of Arthur Griffiths and speedway star Des Kelly.

Chassis #’555/2’, re-numbered ‘FL9002’ when rebuilt by the factory as an F Libre machine, was restored by Noel Tuckey and a team of enthusiasts in 1975/6 and then competed at various Australian historic events before sale to Ian Cummins and then the car was Hoovered up by US dealer in the 1980’s- these days it is part of Bernie Ecclestone’s collection.

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The Squalo at Gilltrap’s in the early ’70’s, a star amongst the other exhibits! (Sharaz Jek)


Des Kelly eases his magnificent machine forward onto the Lowood grid in 1961, Super Squalo still looks the goods despite its obsolescence as a front line Gold Star tool by then, the Cooper takeover was complete. Meeting date and result folks?(unattributed)

Ferrari had ruled the roost in Grand Prix racing in 1952, 1953, its Aurelio Lampredi designed 2 litre, four cylinder Tipo 500 had won two World Championships on the trot for Alberto Ascari.

They raced into the new F1 of 1954 with 2.5 litre versions of the 500, named 625- as well as a new design, the 553. It was fitted with a 2.5 litre engine which owed few parts to the 2 litre unit and a new chassis which whilst still comprised of two main longitudinal members was reinforced with welded on superstructure framework- certainly not a ‘spaceframe’ in a definitional sense but structurally better than what went before.

Suspension was similar to the 500/625 in having independent front suspension by wishbones and a transverse leaf spring and a de Dion rear axle similarly suspended. With its fuel low and centralised the car was squat, broad and low giving rise to its ‘Squalo’ or ‘Shark’ nick-name- three 553s were built.

In 1954 the 625 was the better performing car of the two designs despite Ascari first racing the Ferrari 500 at Modena in late 1951- he won. Doug Nye wrote that Ferrari built six, or maybe seven 500’s for their own use and ‘at least five cars either as new or from spare and cannibalised parts for sale to private entrants.’ All of these cars but one was converted from a 2 litre ‘500’ to a 2.5 litre ‘625’ for F1 use that year and beyond.

Ferrari 555 Super Squalo cutaway (G Cavara)


Paul Frere in the Ferrari 555 Super Squalo ‘555-2’ he raced at Monaco in 1955, Piero Taruffi started the car, Frere took over during the race- Nino Farina behind his #42 625 (Klemantaski)

Ferrari designed and built the 555 ‘Super Squalo’ for 1955 to address the shortcomings of the 553 starting with the chassis, which was of similar construction to the 553 but had larger diameter base tubes than its older brother.

The suspension was modified along the lines of changes made to the 553 chassis in which Mike Hawthorn was victorious at the Barcelona, Spanish Grand Prix in late 1954- the weekend Vittorio Jano’s Lancia D50 first raced and piled further competitive pressures upon Scuderia Ferrari who were already hard-pushed by the Maserati 250F and- from the French Grand Prix, Mercedes Benz W196. Front suspension used coil springs and revised geometry was deployed at both front, and to the rear de Dion. The three 553s were converted to this specification inclusive of bodywork changes, in addition to the four new 555s built.

The 625s were also developed along similar 555 lines- double wishbone and coil spring front suspension and de Dion suspension amended with the transverse leaf spring moved from above the differential unit, from its original site below it.

Maurice Trintignant won the 1955 Monaco GP in one of these cars to give the 625 its greatest success. Note that the two 500/625 cars acquired by Peter Whitehead and Tony Gaze (later acquired and raced with great success by Lex Davison in Australia) to race in Australasia and South Africa in 1955 were ‘original form 1954 works cars’ which had ‘Tipo 750 Monza 3 litre sportscar engines installed for Formula Libre racing.’

The fundamental problem of the 555 Super Squalo design from the start was excessive understeer- the best result of the year, on a high speed circuit which suited them was in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa where they were quick and finished 3-4-6- Farina from Trintignant and Frere. Regarded as a ‘fast circuit car’ the machines were not used again until Monza.

Note that the formal handover of the Lancia D50 ‘assets’ from the in desperately financially troubled Lancia to the desperately in need of a competitive car and haven’t got the budget to do so Ferrari, occurred on 26 July 1955, ‘saving Ferrari’s bacon’ and totally changing the Scuderia’s  developmental priorities away from the four cylinder cars to Jano’s V8 gems.

The Super Squalo’s were returned to Maranello and ‘lay in store there, while the totally obsolescent 553s had apparently long since been broken up…’Nye wrote.

The cars acquired by Parnell and Whitehead, chassis ‘555-2’ and ‘555-1’ were ‘presumably the least altered 555s, having their frames extended by four inches and 3.5 litre Tipo 860 Monza engines installed for Tasman racing…’

John Blanden records the Scuderia Ferrari 1955 race record of ‘555-2’ as sixth in the Monaco Grand Prix, the car shared by Piero Taruffi and Paul Frere with the balance of its outings with Maurice Trintignant at the wheel- Bordeaux GP DNF engine, Belgian- Spa sixth, Dutch- Zandvoort DNF gearbox and finally the Italian GP at Monza where he was eighth.

Arnold Glass in ‘555-2’ at Lowood circa 1958. Compare the bodywork of the car with its big, tall 860 Monza engine and the much shallower nose of the chassis in original F1 specs (B Thomas)

Arnold Glass is an immensely interesting character…

From a humble background, trained originally as a fitter and turner he made his first small fortune trading and repairing motor cycles. He was a racer and later an immensely successful businessman via his Sydney ‘Capitol Motors’ Datsun empire.

The following obituary was written by Malcolm Brown and published in the Sydney Morning Herald in January 2009- Glass was born on 11 December 1926 and died on 16 January 2009.

‘As a boy, Arnold Glass was directed by his father, a music teacher, to play the violin. But Arnold’s eye was firmly fixed on Popular Mechanics, a magazine for rev-heads, which he read from cover to cover, dreaming of owning a motorcycle.

Arnold’s father relented and bought him How To Be A Motor Mechanic. The boy who would become a dynamo in the Australian motor industry, a multimillionaire, sportsman and playboy, had his course in life set.

Arnold Glass, who has died at 82, was born in Newcastle and grew up in Marrickville. He left school at 14 to earn money for his family, which included three brothers and a sister. He became an apprentice mechanic and, at 16, left home and bought an old Douglas motorcycle for £3/15/-.

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Glass racing the 555 Super Squalo at Mount Druitt, Sydney on 10 November 1957. Bulbous rather than beautiful? Stunning regardless, if not the most successful of GP Ferrari’s. The Lancia D50 saved Ferrari’s bacon when ‘gifted’ to them in the deal brokered later in 1955. (John Ellacott)


Not working quite so hard in a display in a bank chamber, date and place unknown (B Thomas)

While working in engineering plants, Glass studied at technical college to become a fitter and turner. He worked on Avro Anson aircraft engines at Butler Air Transport and saved to buy motor cycles, which he restored and sold. In 1946, at 19, he went into partnership with Julian St John to run a motorcycle business. Operating out of a tin shed in Marrickville, they scoured back alleys seeking to buy motorcyles.

In 1947, Glass acquired a Tiger Moth, learnt to fly and developed an absorbing interest in war-vintage piston-driven aircraft.

In 1949, he and St John bought an old Chinese grocery shop in Campbell Street, opposite the Capitol Theatre, and converted it into a motorcycle shop, naming their business after the theatre. Used motorcycle and car salesmen depended on newspaper advertisements to find out what cars were for sale and would pounce on the first editions at 3am. But Glass paid a young Herald employee £2 a time to throw a copy from a toilet window at midnight.

The arrangement was risky. The businessmen had a setback when they bought a stolen motorbike. Yet Glass wasn’t one to recoil from risk. In partnership with Bill Duffy, he bought an unfancied racehorse called Johnny Zero, which won consistently, earning the owners £30,000.

He bought used cars in Singapore and aircraft in England, selling them to rural customers in Australia. In 1951, he and St John converted a pet shop in Campbell Street into a car yard. The next year he bought out St John and, in 1953, bought land for another car yard in the Haymarket, selling Chryslers, Simcas, Renaults and Porsches-by then he was selling 1000 vehicles a year.

Glass tried punting but stopped when he was losing heavily. “I found something that could beat me,” he recalled. He married a model, Norma Geneave, in 1955, acquired a car yard at Lidcombe in 1957 and won the Bathurst 100 motor race. A daughter named Amanda was born in 1958.

In 1961, he bought a car yard at Artarmon and made the critical decision to invest in Japanese cars, then rarely seen in Australia. Moving into William Street, he took over a Datsun franchise, soon the cars captured the public’s imagination his wealth assured.

He bought a home in Cremorne, in so-called ‘Millionaires’ Row’, with its own wharf, but his marriage failed in 1963. ‘I’m not a family man’, he said later. ‘I didn’t have a lot of time or patience for a family type life. I put so much into my business, none was left over.’

Maserati 250F circa 1959/60 at Lowood, Queensland (B Thomas)


Glass contesting the 1962 Australian Grand Prix in a BRM P48 Buick V8, 5th in the race won by McLaren’s Cooper T62 Climax (K Devine)

Glass raced many different cars, including Ferraris and Jaguars. He raced boats in Australia and the United States and competed successfully in marathon waterski events. He flew aircraft, buying a Mustang and British-made Vampires and travelled to Czechoslovakia and Poland to fly MiG-21s. His restless energy took him spear-fishing with the Prime Minister Harold Holt.

In 1961, Glass slammed his BRM P48 into a tree at 100 kmh at Mallala, after which he required plastic surgery. Bouncing back, he bought a seven-hectare site on Parramatta Road, Auburn, and turned it into the biggest car dealership in NSW, as the distributor for Nissan and BMW.

He established his own finance and insurance company, dealt in aircraft and boats and ventured into show business. Transporting himself in his Lear jet, he stalked and killed buffalo and lions in South Africa, crocodiles in Zimbabwe and bears in Alaska. His powerboat racing wins included the 1975 Sydney-Newcastle BP Ocean Classic.

By 1976, Capitol Motors was selling 23,000 Datsuns a year. In 1977, Australian National Industries bought the company for $28.43 million. With his 49 per cent shareholding, Glass took away $13.87 million while joining the ANI board as deputy chairman.

He spent much of his time in Monaco, although he returned in 1983 to sack three ANI executives. He had demonstrated his toughness years earlier by sacking car salesmen who failed to reach quotas. Retiring to Monaco in 1984, he returned from time to time to see his daughter and her family. He died in Sydney.

Arnold Glass is survived by his partner of 37 years, Jennifer Hole, his daughter, Amanda Sorensen, and grandchildren Ryan, Tegan and Kirsty’.

Arnold, his face showing the signs of a practice accident, with Graham Hill prior to the start of the 1965 NZ GP at Pukekohe. Hill won in the Scuderia Veloce Brabham BT11A Climax whilst Glass retired after 3 laps in his Cooper T55 Climax with mechanical dramas (CAN)


glass and 250f

(John Ellacott)

I love this portrait of Glass by John Ellacott, looking every inch the successful man he was- its taken at Symmons Plains, Tasmania in March 1960.

The car is the Maserati 250F referred to above, chassis #2516, the ex-works Moss/Behra/Hunt/Stillwell car which Arnold raced very competitively from 1959 to 1961- the car with which he achieved most success i think.

I wrote an article about this Maser a while back, click here to read it;

Arnold testing the Maserati 250F at Symmons Plains in March 1960 with Mick Watt’s MG Holden Spl in the foreground (J Barnes)


Gilltrap catalogue

(Stephen Dalton Collection)

From the Gilltraps catalogue of display cars circa 1967, the Ferrari Super Squalo is at bottom, at the top is ‘Genevieve’, the Darracq which starred in the 1953 British film of the same name.


(D Zeunert)

A bit of gold dust from Melbourne enthusiast/historian David Zeunert’s files.

‘A newspaper advertising clipping from my files of the Gilltrap Ferrari Super Squalo dated August 1986. Oh they were the  days, I have an extensive newspaper advertising collection of all of the cars that interested me. I used to comb the Age Motoring Ad section and clip out the ones I dreamed of owning one day. Its great to scan them 40 years later.’

I see Reg Purnell raced the car, the ad does nothing to provide me clarity about whether its ‘Gilltraps’ or ‘Giltraps’ either- there are all variations on the internet.

Ferrari works material on ‘FL9002’..

(R Croston)

Enthusiast, Richard Croston has a copy of this information on the general specifications of ‘FL9002’ and the detailed specifications of both the 3.5 litre engine the car was fitted with when raced by Parnell and the 2.5 litre unit the factory fitted when sent back to Italy by Arnold Glass.

Dated 10 November 1958, the document is from the time Glass owned the car and appears to be a letter and information in response to a request from Arnold.

You can piece it together yourselves but the gist of it seems to be they cannot be clear about providing more information about the car whereas in modern times the parentage of the car is quite clear.

The 3.5 litre engine ‘Tipo 129’ four cylinder, DOHC, two valve engine had a bore and stroke of 102x105mm and developed 281bhp @ 6000rpm, the gearbox was mounted at the rear and had four speeds.

(R Croston)

The 2.5 litre ‘Tipo 106’ four cylinder, DOHC, two valve engine was oversquare, having a bore and stroke of 100×79.5mm for a capacity of 2498cc and a rev limit of 7000rpm- no power output is quoted but other sources quote 260bhp. Carbs are two Weber 52DCOA/3.

(R Croston)


(R Croston)


Heinz Federbusch and John Ellacott photos, John Blanden ‘Historic Racing Cars in Australia’, ‘History of The Grand Prix Car’ Doug Nye, Kevin Drage, Stephen Dalton Collection, Sharaz Jek, Ken Devine Collection, Obituary by Malcolm Brown- Sydney Morning Herald, Quentin Miles, Classic Auto News, Brier Thomas, Louis Klemantaski, Richard Croston Collection, David Zeunert Collection

Tailpiece: Glass, Maserati 250F, Bathurst circa 1960…

(Q Miles)


sebring e type

Lady Godiva meets California Girl in Florida? Compound curavature of both chassis’ catch the eye…

Automobile Year 18 was the first issue of that great annual i pored over repeatedly from cover to cover, this page has always stuck in my mind.

The race was won, if you care! by the trio of Ignazio Giunti, Nino Vaccarella and Mario Andretti in a Ferrari 512S from Peter Revson and Steve McQueen’s Porsche 908 and the Toine Hezemans, Masten Gregory Alfa Romeo T33/3 in third.

The 512S flattered to deceive, Sebring was the only blue riband event the fantastic car won in 1970, Porsche with the 908/3 and 917 swept the board with chassis suited to either handling or high speed circuits.


Giunti in the Ferrari 512S he shared with Nino Vaccarella and, later in the race Mario Andretti who jumped into this car after gearbox failure in the car he shared with Arturo Merzario. Car # 37 is the Collins/Wilson Ford Mustang, 24th. (petrolicious)

Photo Credits…

Automobile Year 18, Petrolicious

AH AMS Mar 66 a

Alan Hamilton aboard the first of many ‘serious’ Porsches’ he raced in Australia down the decades, the ex-works 904/8  ‘Kanguruh’ chassis # 906-007 at Calder in January 1966…

Norman Hamilton famously negotiated a franchise for Porsche in Australia having been ’rounded up’ by one of the earliest 356’s on a drive through the Swiss Alps. The business quickly prospered from its Melbourne base, this article is about the ‘906’s raced by Norman’s son Alan from the mid sixties to early seventies and his career during that period.

He raced three such cars; 904/8 chassis # ‘906-007′ and two 906 Spyders; one during 1967 and another in 1971/2, the latter cars used chassis’ supplied by Porsche but neither had a chassis number, giving more than one historian a headache or two…

Alan Hamilton was born on 29 July 1942. After attending Camberwell High School in Melbourne’s leafy eastern suburbs he joined the family firm, which was to expand hugely over the ensuing decades under his leadership. A competition licence quickly succeeeded his road licence at 18, initial competition exploits were in a VW contesting trials and gymkhanas. A 1958 Porsche 356 Super followed, he competed at country meetings and hillclimbs, the car in standard form. A 1959 Convertible followed which was also successful.

In early 1965 Hamilton headed for Europe including a stint working in the Porsche factory, the 904/8 Bergspyder was purchased during that trip and shipped to Australia for the 1966 season, clearly a step up in performance for the young driver…

longford 1

Majestic shot of a fabulous road racing circuit, ‘Long Bridge’ Longford Tasman Meeting 1967. Bob Jane leads Noel Hurd in Elfin 400 Repco and Elfin 400 Ford respectively. Hamiltons 2 litre Porsche 906 outgunned at this point by the 4.4 and 5 litre Elfins. (

Porsche 906…

The  906 was produced for the 1966 World Championship of Makes. It was designed for the FIA’s Group 4 regulations, whilst modified variants of the car, using larger engines and/or cut-down Spyder bodywork, were entered in Group 6, the  Sports Prototype category.

The 906 became the last street-legal ‘pure’ racer built by Porsche. It replaced the successful ladder frame chassis’ 904 and was the first substantial product of Technical Director Ferdinand Piech’s new team at Zuffenhausen. The Porsche 904 had additional structural rigidity from its bonded-on fiberglass bodywork, the new 906 featured a modern multi-tubular spaceframe chassis, with an unstressed fibreglass body.

The initial batch of 50 Porsche 906/Carrera 6 Coupes offered light weight, circa 1,300 lb (580 kg) a saving of around 250 lb (113 kg) compared to the similarly-engined 904/6.

The Porsche 901/20 6-cylinder lightweight racing engine was standard equipment, offering circa 220bhp on Weber carburetors.

A handful of factory-entered works cars were powered either by fuel-injected versions of the 6 cylinder engine, or the flat-8 derived from Porsche’s F1 program, both engines air cooled of course.

906 chassis

Porsche 906 Coupe Cutaway; multi-tubular space frame chassis, front suspension; wishbones and coil spring/dampers, rear; inverted lower wishbone, single top link, radius rods and coil spring/dampers. Adjustable bars front and rear. Rack and pinion steering. 6 cylinder SOHC 2 valve engine on carbs, 220bhp, 5 speed Porsche’box with synchros, steel wheels, disc brakes. (Inomoto)

The 906 shape was developed in the wind tunnel, a top speed of 170mph the result at Le Mans, amazing for a 2 litre car.

The cars made their international race debut in the 1966 Daytona 24 Hours, 6th overall and beating the Ferrari Dino 206 in the 2 litre class, the car driven by Hans Herrmann/Herbert Linge. At Sebring, Herrmann won the class again in a Carrera 6, this time co-driving with Gerhard Mitter and Joe Buzzetta, and finished 4th overall.

The Monza 1,000kms was dominated by 906s in the 2-litre class, this time with Herrmann/Mitter in a works entry leading home the customer car of Charles Vogele/Jo Siffert, these two cars placing 4th and 5th overall behind the victorious Ferrari 330P3 and a pair of Ford GT40s.

At the Targa Florio the 906 won outright, Willy Mairesse/Herbert Muller co-drove the Swiss Ecurie Filipinetti car.

The 1966 Le Mans works, prototype Porsche 906LE Coupes finished in 4th-7th places behind the leading trio of 7-litre factory Ford GT Mark IIs, outlasting all of the V12 engined sports-prototype Ferrari P3/4s, while the 2-litre Sports class was again dominated by a standard 906.

The Austrian 500kms event at Zeltweg saw Gerhard Mitter/Hans Herrmann and Jo Siffert (driving solo) finishing 1-2.

In 1967 the 906 continued to be campaigned by prominent private entrants and drivers, while the factory team moved on to race larger-engined 907’s on the relentless climb to development of the outright contender which finally won Le Mans for Porsche in 1970, the immortal 917.


The Colin Davis/ Porsche 904/8 ‘906-007’ on the way to 2nd place during Targa 1965. The radical cutaway of the body at the front to reduce overhangs on narrow hillclimbs clear in this shot. (Martha)



Jo Bonnier inserts himself into 904/8 ‘906-007’ during practice, both he and Graham Hill tried the car but elected to race a 904/8 Coupe #174, you can just see the nose of the car, with Hill at the wheel beside the Carabinieri. Car # 94 behind Bonnier is the #94 Pucci/Klass 904GTS. Porsche bought 7 cars to the event, all but 2 ‘T Cars’ started. (Martha)

The Porsche 904/8…

The 904 based ‘Bergspyders’ played an important test role in the evolution of the 904 to 906, the first appearance of these cars was at the Targa Florio on May 9 1965.

All 904’s came from the factory with 2 litre engines; 4, 8 and 6 cylinders. Generally the ‘4 potters’ had ‘904’ chassis numbers, 6 cylinder cars ‘906’ chassis numbers. It was no rule though, the first prototype chassis ‘904-001’ had a 6 cylinder engine, the 8 cylinder coupes had ‘904’ chassis numbers whilst the 8 cylinder Spyders had ‘906’ chassis numbers. Easy really!

Porsche built 5 ‘904/8’ cars for factory use; chassis ‘906-003’, ‘004’, ‘007’, ‘008’ and ‘009’. To be clear, whilst the chassis had ‘906’ descriptor numbers the cars used 904 ladder frames, not the 906 spaceframe chassis.

All 904/8’s had 2 litre flat 8 engines; the Type 771 1962cc engine was derived from the 1962 804 F1 car and produced about 225bhp, fed by Weber carbs.

The cars were made in two body variants. Chassis ‘003’, ‘004’ and ‘009’ had the ‘normal’ Spyder look of a Porsche of the period, the other two cars ‘007’ and ‘008’ were more ‘visually challenging’, that is ugly! The overhangs were shortened a lot for hillclimbing purposes.

‘Bergspyder’ as a name was a misnomer as the cars were raced as well as ‘climbed, they were nicknamed ‘Kanguruh’ (kangaroo) because of the nature of the cars roadholding, the lightweight cars with their firm suspension jumped about on poor roads.


A couple of fabulous stationary shots of 904/8 ‘906-007’ at Targa 1965. #72 is the Alfa TZ1 of Panepinto/Parla DNF. (Martha)



And back…by far the better angle! (Martha)


targa 2

The Porsche team arrive at Targa, May 1965. Cars are 904GTS Coupes and the Spyder, 904/8 ‘906-007’chassis driven by Davis/Mitter. (PorscheAG)

Hamiltons 904/8 car chassis ‘906-007’ was first raced at Targa 1965,

It finished second in the hands of Cliff Davis/Gerhard Mitter behind the winning Ferrari P2 of local lad Nino Vaccarella and Lorenzo Bandini.

Gerhard Mitter then used the car to win the 1965 Rossfeld Hillclimb, a 6Km course near Berchtesgaden on 13 June, next placed Herbie Muller was 5 seconds adrift in a standard Porsche 904GTS.

targa 3

Carabinieri taking an interest in the 2nd placed 904/8. # 94 is the works 904GTS of Pucci/Klass 5th, #106 is the Lancia Flaminia of Raimondo/Lo Jacono, which finished but was unclassified. Privateers the lifeblood of Targa! (Martha)



Mitter on the startline of Rossfeld, Germany 1965. Win for 904/8 ‘906-007’. (unattributed)

Further success followed at the Norisring, near Nurnberg, Mitter raced ‘906-007’ to victory on July 4 1965 leading home two Elva BMW’s. The car was then unraced, the last appearance of a 904/8 was in August, in factory hands, Porsche thereafter focussing on production of the new 906.

Alan Hamilton spotted the car in a corner of the racing department…


Car #2 Mitter at the Norisring, victorious in the 904/8 again. Car #3 is a Lotus 23 driven by Anton Fischhaber, #5 Chris Williams’ Lotus BMW. (unattributed)

Porsche 904/8 ‘906-007’ in Australia…

Interviewed by Journalist Barry Lake, Hamilton said the 904/8 ‘originally had a 2 litre 8-cylinder engine, but I bought it with a new 906 (6 cylinder) engine I had asked them to install. I imported that at the end of 1965 and raced it through 1966.’

The car was first raced in Australia at Calder, Victoria on 16 January 1966, which is probably when the Autosportsman cover shot used at the start of this article was taken. The car then raced at the Sandown round of the Tasman Series, contesting the sports car events.

Taken across Bass Strait on ‘the Princess of Tasmania’ with the rest of the ‘Tasman Circus’ to contest the Australian Tourist Trophy at Longford, Hamilton was second in the race won by the much more powerful Elfin 400 Traco Olds V8 of Frank Matich.


Alan Hamilton in his Porsche 904 ‘906-007’ in one of its earliest appearances in Australia, at the 1966 Australian Tourist Trophy, Longford in March 1966. Alongside is Spencer Martin’s Ferrari 250LM and on the far side Frank Matich, in the victorious Elfin 400/Traco Olds. Hamilton was second, Martin third. (Ellis French)


hamo surfers

Alan Hamilton navigating Surfers Paradise traffic during the 1966 12 Hour. Porsche 904 ‘906-007’. Car #5 the ex-Moss/Stillwell Cooper Monaco Olds of Osborne/Carter/Gibbs. (David Blanch)

The 904 quickly became one of the fastest sportscars in the country, fourth in the 1966 Surfers Paradise 12 Hour with a 2 litre car was a top result. Alan shared the 904 with Melbourne driver Brian ‘Brique’ Reed. Jackie Stewart and Andy Buchanan won in the Scuderia Veloce Ferrari 250LM- i wrote an article about this Ferrari a while back, click here to read it;

The Hamilton 904 combination were also first in the 1966 Australian Hillclimb Championship at Collingrove, South Australia, the Victorian Sports Car Championship at Sandown and the South Australian Sports Car Championship at the Mallala ex-airfield circuit.

Towards the end of 1966 the Porsche workshop in St Kilda, Melbourne started to transfer the mechanicals of the ‘Kanguruh’ 904/8 ‘906-007’ to a new 906 chassis.

Alan Hamilton ‘Later (that is after the 904/8 was in Australia) I imported a new 906 chassis and body and put the mechanicals of the Targa car in that’.

‘Then Jim Abbot bought the Targa car (chassis 904/8 906-007) and fitted a ZF gearbox and 289 Ford V8 engine. His estate or perhaps Jim himself shortly before he died, sold the car to Murray Bingham in this form and it became the Bingham Cobra.’

904 6

Longford March 1966, second in the Australian Tourist Trophy. 904 ‘906-007’. (



Alan Hamilton ‘fairly hooting through here, scary to watch’ in the view of the photographer. Templestowe Hillclimb, outer Melbourne 1966. 904 ‘906-007’. (onelung)


hamo templestowe

Another shot of Hamilton in the 904 at Templestowe Hillclimb, 11 September 1966, he broke the climb record on the day. (Stephen Dalton Collection)

Hamilton; ‘Years later, Pat Burke bought the car and sent it to Germany where it was restored to its original 904/8 Targa Florio specification. After Pat Burke fell on hard times it was auctioned at Monte Carlo. I think a man in Sydney bought it, but I have no idea who has it now.’

Lets go back a step to the acquisition of the chassis and related parts by Jim Abbott.

Abbott was a driver, owner of Lakeland Hillclimb in outer Melbourne, publisher of motor racing monthly ‘Autosportsman’ magazine and promoter of an annual Motor Racing Show in Melbourne.

In 1966, 1980 World Champion, Alan Jones was trying to establish a foothold on the motor racing ladder in the UK, wheeling and dealing in cars and campers to provide the money to do so. He acquired an ex-works Sunbeam Tiger and knowing Abbott had an interest in such cars sold it to him. The car was raced and ‘climbed’ by Jim and engineer Paul England before Abbott decided it would make a nicer road car than a racer. He swapped the Shelby modded 289cid V8 for a standard engine and looked around for a chassis into which to plonk his nice, powerful Ford Windsor ‘small block’ V8.

Various Coopers were considered before a deal was done with Hamilton to acquire the Kanguruh 904/8 ‘906-007’.

A suitable ex-Cooper Maserati F1 ZF 5DS 25 transaxle was also acquired. The engine and box (the latter requiring some modification in terms of clutch componentry by Eddie Thomas) was ‘dropped’ into the Porsche chassis at Hamilton’s St Kilda workshop.

A little ‘cutting and shutting’ of the chassis cross-member was needed to fit the V8, a sub-frame was added around the engine to maintain chassis stiffness, but in essence the swap was relatively simple.  Stiffer springs and shocks were fitted as the Ford cast iron lump was around 200lbs heavier than the svelte, alloy Porsche Flat 6. Driveshafts were suitably strengthened by Paul England Engineering.

The original rear bodywork was used but at the front, much bashed and repaired a local specialist fashioned a nose much more attractive than the original, the screen, a concoction of a speedboat parts, met at each end with aluminium panels was not quite so pretty.

abbott lakeland

Jim Abbott in 904 ‘906-007’ now called a ‘Porsche Cobra’ in deference to the 289cid Ford engine installed. This shot is probably at Lakeland in outer Melbourne, a venue owned by Abbott. Front of the much bashed and repaired body re-worked. (Autosportsman)


butt shot

Fairly scratchy shot shows the ZF 5DS 25 beefy gearbox if not the engine. Chassis other than minor mods to fit the engine, as built by Porsche. Front and rear suspension sold with the car by Hamilton to Abbott also standard. (Autosportsman)

Abbott’s objective was not to build an outright car but rather a very fast sports car which could be ‘raced, sprinted and climbed’. The completed car made is debut at the Light Car Club of Australia’s annual members meeting at Sandown on Melbourne Cup Day in November 1967, ‘Red Handed’ won the ‘Cup at Flemington that day!, more importantly Abbott set a sub-13 second standing quarter mile at Sandown, also, primarily a horse racing venue.

The car was quickly under the times set by the class record holder, a Cooper Jaguar at Templestowe Hillclimb and was running 4th in the ‘Winton Trophy’ at the picturesque Benalla country Victorian circuit when the car lost its water. Initial troubles centred around the cooling system, which were solved by fully rebuilding it.

AH Abbott PC Templestowe

Jim Abbott, ‘Porsche Cobra’ 904/8 ‘906-007’, Lakeland Hillclimb 1967. These are scratchy shots but included for the sake of completeness. Abbott looks huge in the cars cockpit. Screen is from a boat. (Autosportsman)


AH Abbott PC lakeland

Jim Abbott, Porsche Cobra 904/8 ‘906-007’, Lakeland Hillclimb 1967, 2 years before victorious at the much more grand, Rossfeld, Germany hillclimb. (Autosportsman)


Tom Sulman in the Porsche Cobra at Huntley Hillclimb, NSW on 1 June 1969 (T Arts)

Abbott did not campaign the car for long before his untimely death, it was then sold to New South Wales veteran driver, Tom Sulman who raced it in 1969.

Murray Bingham then bought 904/8 ‘906-007’ and used it very successfully for over 10 years, the old chassis won the Australian Hillclimb Championship again in 1972, a three round Series that year. (Hamilton won the ’66 title in it at Collingrove).


Murray Bingham in 904/8 ‘906-007’ then known as the ‘Bingham Chev’ in, probably, 1972 at Collingrove, Angaston, SA. Check out the downforce being sought front and rear. (John Lemm)

A ‘Manx’ body replaced the original and the Ford Cobra engine was updated with an ex-Garry Campbell, Alan Smith built Chev F5000 engine out of a Lola T300, Bingham won the 1973 NSW Hillclimb Championship in Chev engined form, the 1971/2 NSW Titles Ford Cobra engined.

The much raced car finally passed into the hands of Pat Burke who restored it before it was sold upon the demise of his business empire in the 1980’s as described by Alan Hamilton earlier in the article.

I am uncertain of the cars current owner.


Murray Bingham in 904/8 ‘906-007’ in its hillclimbing years, King Edward Park, Newcastle, NSW. Car known as ‘Bingham Cobra’ and ‘Bingham Chev’ when fitted with Ford 289 and Chev F5000 engines respectively. ‘Manx’ body (unattributed)

Hamilton’s first Porsche 906 Spyder…

AH Autosportsman June 67

Australian Autosportsman June 1967 cover depicts the Alan Hamilton Porsche 906 Spyder at Longford in 1967. (Stephen Dalton Collection)

Hamilton’s new 906 chassis came with bodywork, suspension and brakes.

904/8 ‘906-007’ donated its engine and gearbox and some other components, as the narrative and photos show, the 904/8 ‘906-007’car was still as built by Porsche less the engine and ‘box. Alan is a big, tall bloke so elected to build the 906 up as a Spyder rather than a standard 906 Coupe in order to ease access and egress and more easily see out of the car.

At this point we have two cars;

The 904/8 chassis car # ‘906-007’, now called ‘Porsche Cobra’ and fitted with a Ford engine and ZF gearbox.

A 906 which was not issued a chassis number by Porsche but which over the years assumed the # ‘906-007’ tag, which was built up as a Spyder but which when restored in Germany in 2003-2009, was rebuilt as a Coupe. This chassis now has a chassis ‘906-007’ plate, at what point the plate was affixed is conjecture.

Both cars have elements of the original 904/8 ‘906-007’…

906 2

Another majestic Longford shot. Hamilton Porsche 906 Spyder 1967. (

Back in 1966 none of these problems for future historians mattered to Hamilton, he had a new ‘state of the art’ 906 to contest Australian events.

As the recent article i wrote on the Frank Matich Elfin 400/Traco Olds makes clear, the light 6 cylinder engined Porsche was ‘up against it’ with several very potent, light, well driven V8 powered cars in the hands of Frank Matich, Niel Allen and Bob Jane in 1967. (Matich SR3 Repco, Elfin 400 Chev and Elfin 400 Repco respectively).

The Porsche Team competed the build of the 906, the original 904 chassis ‘906-007’ was put out the back of their St Kilda workshop until acquired by Jim Abbott later in 1967.

The 906 Spyder made its debut in the sports car events at Sandown’s Tasman round in late February 1967. Hamilton took 3 class wins and a class lap record.

To Longford the following weekend the car was third outright. The following week, still in Tasmania, Hamilton raced the car at Symmons Plains, he won his first race and was leading the ‘Tasmanian Sports Car Championship’ event when a conrod let go. Hamilton noted in his ‘Autosportsman’ column that the engine had ‘done 14 months racing, 92 hours so we are more than happy with its overall performance’, Porsche reliability legendary.

In April Hamilton contested the ‘Victorian Sportscar Championship’ winning his heat and finishing second outright and first in class, he also bagged the class lap record.

wf pit front

The Hamilton 906 in the Warwick farm paddock, May 1967. Note the ‘chin wing’ and pretty front of the car. (WOT)


hamo wf

Sensational Bruce Wells shot of Hamilton contesting the ‘RAC Trophy’ at Warwick Farm in May 1967, here in ‘The Esses’. Sans the wings in the paddock shot. Porsche 906 Spyder. (Bruce Wells/The Roaring Season)


wf pit rear

Warwick Farm 906 ‘butt shot’, May 1967. (WOT)

On 14 May Hamilton contested the ‘RAC Trophy’ at Warwick Farm, he finished third behind two powerful V8’s. The dominant Matich SR3 of Frank Matich was getting in some valuable mileage before leaving to contest the Can Am Series in this car, and Bob Jane’s Elfin 400 which, like the SR3, was powered by Repco’s new ‘620 Series’ SOHC, 2 valve, 4.4 litre V8.

A week after the ‘RAC Trophy’ Hamilton contested the ‘Australian Tourist Trophy’ at Surfers Paradise. This was a relatively easy tow from Sydney to Queensland’s Gold Coast and gave Hamilton valuable testing time at Surfers to fettle the car to suit the circuit for the international 12 Hour event in September.

Matich won again in his SR3 Repco, but Alan was second in the 906 and his 12 Hour co-driver Glynn Scott third in his Lotus 23B Ford. The other two outright sportscar contenders of that year, Niel Allen and Bob Jane’s Elfin 400’s did not make the trip North.

Success followed in Victorian events at Calder and at Hume Weir on the Queens Birthday weekend,  before taking the long haul back to Surfers Paradise for the 12 Hour event on the 3 September weekend .

hume weir

Alan Hamilton awaits the rest of the grid at Hume Weir in 1967. Great little circuit built in a quarry created when land fill was excavated to create the Hume Weir Dam. Porsche 906 Spyder. Top shot shows the lines of this car superbly. (unattributed)


hamo and spencer

Hume Weir, Queens Birthday weekend 1967. AH on pole in his 906, #6 is ‘Gold Star’ reigning national champion, Spencer Martin having his first drive of Bob Jane’s Elfin 400 Repco  and the nose of Bevan Gibson’s Lotus 15 Climax FPF. (The Nostalgia Forum)

Hamilton’s co-driver at Surfers was Queenslands’ Glynn Scott, the duo finished third outright and first in class. The race was won again by the SV Ferrari 250LM, that year driven by the Australian duo of Bill Brown and Greg Cusack, Paul Hawkins and Jackie Epstein were second in Epstein’s Lola T70 Mk3 Chev.

surfers start

Alan Hamilton very fast ‘out of the blocks’ at the start of the ’67 Surfers 12 Hour in the #9 906. #1 is the 2nd placed Lola T70 Mk3 Chev, with Paul Hawkins at the wheel, the winning Ferrari 250LM is alongside Hawkins. The Lotus Elan is probably the McArthur brothers car, the Datsun 1600 #29 the ‘works’ 1600 of Tapsall/Woelders DNF and the Volvo P1800S driven by Keran/Bond/Winkless 10th. (unattributed)



Hamilton corners the 906 at ‘Lukeys’ during the Surfers 12 Hour. (Peter Baldwin)



Hamilton on the Collingrove Hillclimb startline in April 1967. He set a track record of 35.60 seconds in the 906 at this meeting. (John Lemm)

Another long tow to Mallala, South Australia was rewarded with victory in the ‘South Australian TT’.

John Blanden noted the versatility of the car and driver, the 906 contested hillclimbs, still pretty important and sometimes televised, the car taking FTD at Templestowe in Melbourne’s outer east and second in the Australian Hillclimb Championship at Bathurst in November behind Greg Cusack’s Tasman 2.5 litre Repco powered Brabham BT23.

A successful year was capped with a win at Lakeland Hillclimb in the Dandenong Ranges, outer Melbourne in December.

Alan had a win at Lakeland Hillclimb close to home in December 1967 (G Fry)



The Roxburgh/Whiteford Datsun 1600 ahead of the Cusack/Brown Ferrari 250LM and Hamilton/Scott Porsche 906 Spyder. Surfers 12 Hour 1967.(Ray Bell)

The 906 was advertised for sale in the November 1967 issue of ‘Racing Car News’, the car according to John Blanden having reached its Customs Duty limits. This taxation concession allowed Tasman Series competitors, for example, to avoid import duty by ‘exporting’ the cars each year to New Zealand. If exceeded, that is the car stayed in Australia for longer than twelve months, the ‘fiscal fiend’, the taxman, had to be paid.

The car was sold to Richard Wong in Singapore and passed through many hands including Macao businessman/racer/team owner Teddy Yip. As mentioned earlier in this article Hamilton’s first 906 was ultimately restored as a Coupe having been only raced by Hamilton as a Spyder…

Alan Hamilton, Porsche 906, Symmons Plains 1967 (HRCCT)

European Trip in 1968…

Hamilton spent most of 1968 overseas much of it working at Porsche, he did manage to fit in the Nurburgring 1000Km, racing a 911S to 28th place with co driver/car owner Hans-Dieter Blatzheim. The race was won by a factory Porsche 908 driven by Jo Siffert and Vic Elford.

Planning an all out assault on the 1969 Australian Touring Car Championship, Hamilton ordered a trick 911T/R, the car arrived early enough to compete in the 1968 ATCC, the last run to a one race format. Pete Geoghegan won the title again in his Mustang, Hamilton in the giant killing 2 litre 911 lost 2nd place on the last lap due to a puncture, Darrell King’s Morris Cooper S just beat him to the Warwick Farm chequered flag.

Porsche still had some spare 906 chassis’ lying around the factory, one was offered to Alan who was happy to oblige, he still had plenty of bits from the earlier cars so could easily build up another car for competition back in Oz.

This 906, like the previous chassis he raced in ’67 did not have a chassis number.

hammo wf

Hamilton has his 911T/R in a beautifully balanced 4-wheel drift during his run to 3rd place in the one race Australian Touring Car Championship at Warwick Farm in September 1968. A flat tyre cost him 2nd on the last lap. Pete Geoghegan won the title in his Ford Mustang. This car left Oz many years ago.(


hamo 911

Alan Hamilton exiting Clubhouse Corner at Mallala on 16 June 1969 during the ‘South Australian Touring Car Championship’, round 3 of the ATCC in 1969. AH was  2nd behind Pete Geoghegan, the first of 4 2nd places he achieved that year, the 2 litre 911T/R did not quite have the ‘Mumbo’ to knock off the big Mustang. (Dick Simpson)

In the 1969 ATCC he came very close to taking the title with consistent second places, ultimately the championship was won by Pete Geoghegan by 1 point, in his Mustang, the fifth win in the event for the beefy, supremely talented Sydneysider.

The battle went down to the wire in the final round at Symmons Plains.

In the middle of his ATCC campaign Hamilton was recruited by ‘Big Al’ Turner to drive a factory Ford Falcon XW GTHO Phase1 in the Bathurst 500 together with 500 debutant Allan Moffat that October.

Moffat was in good form having won the preceding Sandown 500 in his big Falcon. Still a young driver, Turner was keen to exploit Hamilton’s speed, smoothness and mechanical sympathy. It was the start of a relationship between the drivers which would be mutually beneficial over the next decade.

1969 was the famous Bathurst when tyres imported by Turner failed spectacularly, Moffat was called into the pits for a precautionary check after the tyres on the Brothers Geoghegan and Gibson/Seton cars failed. The Moffat/Hamilton duo were easier on the Goodyears than their teammates, the pitstop unnecessary and probably the cause of the pre-race favourite Falcons losing victory. The Holden Dealer Team Holden Monaro HG GTS350 of Colin Bond and Tony Roberts won the race.

hammo gtho

Moffat/Hamilton Ford Falcon GTHO, Bathurst 1969. (autopics)

In 1970 Alan didn’t contest the ATCC but the second Hamilton 906 was assembled. The car had a standard 906 ‘front clip’ but, like the earlier 904/8 ‘906-007’ and 906 was a Spyder, the rear deck modified locally with pronounced ‘spoilers’ to provide some downforce. No wing though.

Minilite wheels replaced the factory steels of the earlier cars, the car was ready for the 1971 Australian Sportscar Championship powered by a 2.4 litre twin plug engine assembled locally from Alan’s cache of trick, Porsche bits.


Hamilton in his second 906 at Warwick Farm on 2 May 1971. The standard 906 front, Minilite wheels and modified rear deck are all clear. Like his earlier 906 this chassis was not allocated a number by the factory. (lyntonh)

Hamilton’s second 906 Spyder…

1971 was to be a big year of racing for Hamilton. In amongst the rapid growth of Porsche Cars Australia, a strong economy and global growth in the Porsche brand reflected in strong sales in Australia, Hamilton took the big step up to Australia’s premier single-seater class, F5000.

He purchased Niel Allen’s spare McLaren M10B Chev (#400-19) upon Allen’s retirement from the sport. (Ignoring Allen’s short flirtation with a Lola T300 12 months later). Kevin Bartlett bought Niel’s other M10B (#400-02), all these years later Hamilton owns both McLarens, they are being historic raced by Alf Costanzo. In the seventies and eighties Alfie was Hamilton’s driver in a swag of F5000 and F Pacific cars in which the little Italian born Aussie was prodigiously fast. A tangent too far for this long article!

hamilton mac op

AH in his McLaren M10 B Chev, F5000, Oran Park June 1971. (lyntonh)

Hamilton missed the 1971 Tasman Rounds but both he and Bartlett had their cars ready for a full Gold Star campaign. Despite being a novice in these big, brutal, challenging cars Hamilton was immediately competitive taking third places at Oran Park, Surfers Paradise and Mallala.

He was fourth at Lakeside, finishing the Series equal second with Bartlett in his M10B. Winner of the series was the speedy and consistent Max Stewart in his Mildren Waggott 2 litre in a final Championship victory for this superb Australian 4 cylinder DOHC 4 valve engine. Stewart progressed to an Elfin MR5 Repco at the end of the Series and was consistently competitive in the big cars for the rest of his career.

The Porsche Cars Australia transporter did plenty of miles from its St Kilda base in 1971 in pursuit of two national championships and the vast distances across the big Australian continent that entails.

hamo wf mac

Alan Hamilton cornering his McLaren 911 style at Warwick Farm 1971, date unknown. Car is chassis ‘400-19’, Niel Allen’s spare built up by Peter Molloy and sold, together with his race chassis ‘400-02’ to Alan Hamilton and Keven Bartlett respectively. Full monocoque aluminium chassis, 500bhp fuel injected 5 litre Chev engine, Hewland DG300 gearbox…much more powerful than a Porsche 906! (unattributed)



In the best of company during the 1971 AGP at Warwick Farm. John Surtees from Hamilton, Colin Bond and Graeme Lawrence. Surtees TS8 Chev, McLaren M10B Chev, McLaren M10C Repco and Brabham BT30 Ford. (lyntonh)



Side on view of Hamilton’s 906 in 1971, here at the RAC Trophy meeting at Warwick Farm, ‘Northern Crossing’ in May 1971. (lyntonh)


hammo rear

Butt shot of the car, same day as above, the neat upswept tail providing downforce but also not too much drag given the little 2.4 litre flat-6 propelling it all…(lyntonh)

In 1971 Hamiltons 2.4 litre twin-plug Porsche 906 was as out-powered as the earlier cars were in 1966 and 1967.

The fastest combination in the field was John Harvey in Bob Jane’s McLaren M6 Repco, a 5 litre SOHC ‘740 Series’ V8 producing around 460bhp@7500rpm. Best results for the 906 were thirds at Phillip Island in January and Warwick Farm in May.

Whilst outgunned on the track, the nimble 906 was just the thing at Hillclimbs, Hamilton had a passion for these events and at Easter took fastest time of the day on 10 April, a track record and the Australian Title, his second win, the first in the 904/8 also at Collingrove in 1966. The Angaston Hills were alive to the sound of flat 6 music…

hammo collingrive

Alan Hamilton launches his Porsche 906 off the line at Collingrove, Angaston in South Australia’s Barossa Valley. Easter 1971. Hammo set a track record of 33 seconds dead at this meeting. (fredeuce)

At the end of the year Hamilton sold the McLaren to Pat Burke (later the restorer of the 904/8 ‘906-007’) for his driver Warwick Brown, the M10B an important stepping stone for the talented driver on his climb towards the top of the class in both Australasia and the US.

This M10B chassis was then used as the donor car for Bryan Thomson’s ‘Volksrolet’ VW Fastback Sports Sedan project, before being restored, around the original tub, which had never been destroyed, many years later, by Alan Hamilton as mentioned above.

hamilton lola 79

A lap or so from disaster, Dandenong Road corner. AGP Sandown 1978. AH was running a comfortable 2nd in his Lola T430 Chev, behind race winner Graham McRae McRae GM3 Chev when he lost the car across The Causeway section of the old circuit, at high speed hitting Dunlop Bridge and hurting himself very badly. Fortunately he survived, the car was carved in half, destroyed. In the last 5 years it has been reconstructed by the ‘NZ F5000 Industry’ around the cars remains which comprised ‘half its vinyl Lola nose badge’…(G Howard ‘History of The AGP’)

Hamilton returned to F5000 in 1978, that campaign ended in near tragedy at Sandown when he crashed his ex-Team VDS Warwick Brown Lola T430 Chev at the high speed Dunlop Bridge, the car was destroyed, carved in half, Alan lucky to survive, he became a diabetic as a consequence and has been unable to hold a full licence since.

Not that it stopped him winning two Australian Hillclimb Championships in 1981 at Ararat and 1989 at Gippsland Park, both in Victoria in Porsche Spl and Lola T8750 Buick respectively. He was lucky to survive the Sandown accident and was a significant patron to other drivers, notably Costanzo post prang.

In 1972 Hamilton continued to campaign the 906, John Harvey won the title again in the Bob Jane McLaren M6 Repco with Hamilton second in the title, 20 points adrift of Harvey with seconds at Phillip Island, Adelaide International, Warwick Farm and Surfers Paradise.

The championship had a bit of a renaissance that year with some new cars appearing, notably the Elfin 360’s of Phil Moore and Henry Michell, also the Rennmax of Doug Macarthur all powered by ex-Tasman Series 2.5 litre V8 Repco engines now surplus to requirements with F5000 as the new ANF1.

hammo sports sedan

Victory lap, Sports Sedan race at Oran Park May 1972. Alan Hamilton #9, Jim MkKeown in 911’s, Pat Peck in a Holden Torana GTR XU1 and Bill Brown #7 in another 911. (lyntonh)

Alan also raced a Porsche 911S sports sedan during this period but the 906 racing days were over. The car was rebuilt as Coupe in the 1980’s by the Porsche workshop in Melbourne. It appeared occasionally, notably at a couple of Adelaide Grand Prix historic demonstrations, the car finally sold by Hamilton in the 1990 via auction to a Japanese owner.

Hamilton raced on in a variety of cars and became a very generous team owner after his own front line racing days ceased post accident, he is still active in the historic scene and lives on a property at Red Hill on Melbourne, Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.


Hamiltons second 906, originally raced as a Spyder in 1971/72 now restored and rebodied as a Coupe and pictured here at Sandown in 1985. Restoration done in the Melbourne/Dandenong Porsche Cars Australia workshops. (Historic Racing Cars in Australia)



AH Autosportsman Apr 67 BP ad

Australian Autosportsman April 1967

904/8 ‘906-007’.


Refuelling 904/8 of Davis/ Mitter, Targa 1965. (Bernard Cahier)



Type 771 flat-8, 2 valve, DOHC, Weber carbed engine a development of Porsche’s 61/2′ F1 program. Circa 225bhp. (unattributed)



904/8 rear suspension and engine. Upper and lower wishbones, coil spring/dampers, radius rods. Disc brake, fuel tank all clear to see. 904 chassis of ladder frame type. (unattributed)


‘Historic racing Cars in Australia’ John Blanden, The Nostalgia Forum, Australian Autosportsman Magazine March 1966 and April 1967

Stephen Dalton for his research and access to his archive/collection

Photo Credits…, ‘onelung’, Bernard Cahier, lyntonh, G Howard ‘History of The AGP’,, Dick Simpson, Bruce Wells, The Roaring Season, freduece, Ray Bell, David Blanch, Ellis French, John Lemm, Peter Baldwin, Jean Charles Martha, Yoshihiro Inomoto, Gavin Fry, Tony Arts, Historic Racing Car Club of Tasmania




(Jesse Alexander)

Alfonso de Portago practices his Ferrari 625 prior to the 1955 Pau Grand Prix, a race won by Jean Behra’s factory Maser 250F…

These superb images are from the Jesse Alexander Archive. The factory Maserati’s of #14 Behra, #16 Roberto Mieres and #18 Luigi Musso are in line astern in the Pau paddock, Saturday 10 April 1955.


(Jesse Alexander)

Jean won the race from Eugenio Castellotti in a Lancia D50 and teammate Roberto Mieres in third. de Portago was 8th and the best placed Ferrari, no factory cars were entered by the Scuderia after a poor showing at Turin a fortnight before.

Ascari had the race in hand after a great dice with Behra early but with 20 laps to go had braking problems, the Lancia mechanics did a work around which gave him brakes on the front and allowed him to finish, Jean taking a lucky win.


Eugenio’s Lancia being warmed up by the team, you can feel the staccato-blast of that lovely basso-profundo 2.5 litre V8!? (Jesse Alexander)

de 50 front

The nose of Lancia Team Leader Alberto Ascari’s Lancia D50. Pau 1955, he was 5th. Alberto died only 6weeks later at Monza in a tragic testing accident. (Jesse Alexander)


(Jesse Alexander)

No sign of the admiring duck this time but again its de Portago in his Ferrari, not sure who it is behind, factory Ferrari GP drives would come his way in time.

Sensational shots of a great track, and thankfully still in use.

Photo Credits…

Jesse Alexander Archive,


syracuse gp 1965


John Surtees Ferrari 158 leads Jo Siffert and Jim Clark, Brabham BT11 BRM and Lotus 33 Climax at the start of the 1965 Syracuse GP, Sicily April 4 1965…

Clark won the race from Surtees and Lorenzo Bandini in another Ferrari 158. A solid entry contested this non-championship GP including Mike Spence Lotus 33 Climax, Masten Gregory BRM P57 and Mike Hailwood and Innes Ireland in Lotus 25 BRM’s. What a fabulous track this must have been.

Clark was well into his very successful 1965 season, he finished a successful Australasian summer in March winning the Tasman Series in a Lotus 32B Climax, took the ‘Indy 500 in the Lotus 38 Ford in May and won the world title, his second in the Lotus 33…apart from whatever F2, touring car and sports car victories he took that year!

The event was held on a road course in Syracuse, right in the corner of the southeast of Sicily. The GP was first and last held in 1951 and 1967, the events won by Ferraris’; Luigi Villoresi’s Ferrari 375 in 1951 and Mike Parkes AND Ludovico Scarfiotti’s Ferrari 312’s dead-heating in honor of their recently killed teammate Lorenzo Bandini, who died at Monaco in 1967.

Those 400bhp cars must have been awfully quick around that track in 1967…


Mike Parkes #28 and Ludovico Scarfiotti #16, Ferrari 312’s stage their dead-heat in the 16th and last Syracuse GP on 21 May 1967 in honour of their just killed teammate, Lorenzo Bandini at the ’67 Monaco GP. A wonderful gesture of respect. (Getty Images)


Getty Images


bentley la mans winner

The victorious Bentley Speed 8 of Kristensen/Capello/Smith ahead of the second placegetting car driven by Herbert/ Blundell/David Brabham, Le Mans 2003. (unattributed)

Wonderful outcomes of automotive industry mergers and takeovers of the last 20 years or so has been the resurgence of the ‘Great British Grand Marques’; Rolls Royce, Jaguar, Aston Martin and Bentley. Ford were very good for Aston’s and Jaguar, (noting the subsequent changes in ownership of both companies) BMW for Rolls and Volkswagen Group’s Bentley investment in 1998 put the brand back where it deserved to be.

bentley continental gt

Successful merchant bankers conveyance of choice; Bentley Continental GT. (unattributed)

Apart from the product driven strategy starting with the Continental GT Coupe in 2003, an important part of relaunching and repositioning Bentley as a brand was victory at Le Mans. The company achieved this 5 times under WO Bentley’s leadership/ Woolf Barnato’s ownership between 1923 and 1930.

wo bentley

The 1924 Le Mans winning Bentley 3 litre. WO Bentley in the middle with drivers Frank Clement, left and John Duff. 4 cylinder fixed head, the block and head cast as one, SOHC, 4 valve, twin plugs with ‘pent roof’ combustion chambers, 2996cc, very long stroke engine. 4 speed gearbox, 4 wheel brakes from 1924. Circa 1800Kg. (unattributed)

le mans 1925

Le Mans pit scene in 1925 featuring the #10 Herbert Kensington Moir/ Dudley Benjafield and #9 John Duff/ Frank Clement Bentley 3 Litres. Not a happy year for the marque, both cars DNF, the race won by a Lorraine Dietrich B3-6. (unattributed)

bentley 4.5

Gendarmes aboard the victorious Rubin/Barnato (right) Bentley 4.5 litre, Le Mans 1928. Chassis ‘ST3001’, was a ‘Long Standard’ type with a 101 inch wheelbase. The car was a prototype, the 3 litre engine described above enlarged to 4398cc, it used a stronger crank, rods and pistons. Power was 100-110bhp, 20 more than the 3 litre, the car good for 100mph @ 3500rpm. Suspension still by quarter elliptics front and rear. (unattributed)


Bentley boys @ Le Mans in 1928 L>R Rubin, Barnato, Birkin aboard the winning 4.5 litre, Clement and Benjafield (Popperfoto)

VW Group embarked on a 3 year program to win Le Mans with a Bentley ‘off the back’ of the Audi R8’s Le Mans success three years on the trot from 2000-2002. In 2003 there was a transition of their efforts from the all conquering R8’s, no works Audi’s were entered that year, to the Bentley Speed 8, that years contender.

The Audi race subsidiary RTN (Race Technology Norfolk) built an entirely new car, still a closed prototype or GTP class car designed by Peter Elleray who also concepted the ‘EXP Speed 8’ used in 2001 and 2002. Best placed of these cars was 3rd and 4th respectively, the all-conquering Audi R8’s in front of them in both years.

Elleray graduated from Durham University with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Maths, he then did some analysis work with Tyrrell in 1982 on their ground effect tunnels before getting a job with Arrows F1 having assisted several Formula Ford teams. He later worked as a design and race engineer running Gerhard Berger’s car in 1985. He was appointed Chief Designer of the Bentley program after Le Mans 1999.


Bentley Speed 8 cutaway drawing. (Peter Hutton)

In an interesting interview of depth with Elleray outlined the secrets of Bentley’s 2003 Le Mans success ‘I start with the aero side and then try to fit a workable structure and suspension systems into that…One of the very good pieces of advice I was given a number of years ago is to design the car you want and then make it fit the regulations!’

exp speed 8

The 2001 Bentley EXP Speed 8, Le Mans 2001. This car finished 3rd driven by Andy Wallace/Butch Leitzinger/Eric Van Der Poele, the sister car DNF. In 1st and 2nd positions were Audi R8’s. Car powered by 3.6 litre twin-turbo V8 in 2001, 4 litres in 2002 and 2003. Prototype built in 2000 did not race. (

Elleray conceded the Bentley benefited from the race winning Audi R8C ‘The prototype Bentley 00 car which never raced, did benefit from R8C experience, but only in as much as showing us what not to do!…I did reintroduce a number of suspension elements on the ’03 car when nobody was looking. There was not a lot of carryover of design staff from the R8C and subsequent Bentley projects…’

audi r8

Tom Kristensen in the Audi R8 he shared with Frank Biela and Emanuelle Pirro to win Audi’s first Le Mans in 2000. Audi’s 1-3rd. Carbon fibre and aluminium honeycombe chassis, 3.6 litre V8 twin-turbo engine, circa 610bhp in 2000, Ricardo 6 speed sequential ‘box, suspension; wishbones and pushrods actuating horizontally mounted shocks, front and rear. Designed by Michael Pfadenhauer (aero) and Ulrich Baretzky (engine). (unattributed)

bentley front

2003 Bentley Speed 8 front detail. Inlet for radiators in conventional midships position. The air flows past the suspension and a ‘faux duct’ whose aim is to reduce lift generated by the air as it goes over the bodywork. (Autosport/ Bob Chapman)

The GTP closed rather than open-car design was chosen because ‘the visual presence of the GTP may have been as important as anything else…If you look back through the history of prototype racing the closed cars have always been the most charismatic, and, in as much as the racing was part of their marketing strategy them I’m sure this was a factor’.

There was little mechanical carryover from ’02 to ’03 apart from the engine and internal layout of the gearbox. Some of the torsion bar system was carried over at the front but the rear was all new. The layout of the cooling system was the same, as were the front diffuser section and the Kayaba electric power steering.

front suspension

Front suspension by wishbones top and bottom, telescopic dampers, torsion bars and adjustable roll bar. Carbon fibre tub clear as is the diffuser strake leading edge. The structure housing the brake inlet duct also forms the trailing edge of the diffuser. (Autosport/Bob Chapman text Michael Fuller)

‘In contrast to that all of the key performance related parameters changed. Weight distribution, aero concept and map, suspension geometry, all changed significantly...all done due to the knowledge that only a win would be acceptable. If you know you are going to be in serious trouble if you finish second then it probably encourages you to take a few chances…’ Elleray said.

The good results started with the aerodynamics ‘The car had a good level of downforce over a wide range of ride-heights and pitch angles which meant that it could run softer than the ’02 car…that (may) have assisted Michelin in a way we hadn’t assisted Dunlop (in prior years) but the race showed that we were able to look after the tyres and still be quick…the changed suspension geometry played a part ‘

‘The other thing was that we ended up with a very drivable balanced car, although that came about during the test program rather than off the drawing board…that had been a case of trying different roll and heave stiffness, seven post rig testing and also playing with weight distribution a bit. The aero map being stable over a wide range was also a function and then Michelin responded with the right tyres for the car and suddenly we were right there…’


3 D model of the Bentley Speed 8 carbon fibre and aluminium monocoque. Carbon roll hoop assemblies integrated with the roof structure. (Alastair Macqueen)

All of the Bentley monocoques have been in the 70 Kg region which is to a large extent due to the FIA tests the chassis has to pass before it can race. The nose box tests the car passed easily but the roll hoop test, designed for open cars was more difficult.

After Eric Van Der Poele’s big accident at Paul Ricard in 2002, even though he was unhurt, Elleray decided to make the car more like an open one with a monocoque coming up in one piece to the drivers shoulders with a separate hoop of carbon on top of that.

A 360 degree hoop was inserted at the dashboard and a roof was glued on top of the two hoops to join them together. Elleray ‘figured this would be able to withstand repeated impacts better’.

bentley engine

Engine 4 litre, DOHC, 4 valve, twin-turbo 90 degree V8. Circa 615bhp and 590 lb ft of torque @7500 rpm. Boost pressure limited to 1.87 bar by ACO in 2003. Gearbox; Bentley case with Xtrac 6 speed sequential internals. Rear suspension upper and lower wishbones with telescopic dampers and torsion bars. Adjustable roll bar. (autosport/Bob Chapman)

The development of the 4 litre twin-turbo V8 to run with air inlet restrictions, imposed by the authorities to reduce power and speed in all 4 Le Mans categories in 2003 was also an important success factor. The 3 privately entered Audi R8’s which were Bentley’s main opposition had little development of their 3.6 litre engines to combat the regulation change; in short VW Group wanted Bentley to win in 2003.

The open Audi’s had the advantage of being easier to access during the race and had wider rear tyres and therefore better life and fuel economy whereas the Bentleys were superior in top speed but needed to change tyres and refuel more often.

bentley 8

The Herbert/Blundell/David Brabham 2nd place Speed 8. Le Mans 2003. (unattributed)

In terms of Le Mans itself, Audi’s winning factory drivers over the previous 3 years were farmed out; Tom Kristensen elected to lead the Bentley Team and asked that Rinaldo Capello join him, Guy Smith was the third driver in the #7 Bentley. Le Mans winning team, Joest Racing provided ‘in field’ support to Team Bentley.

Emmanuelle Pirro joined the Champion Racing Team driving its R8 and Frank Biela lead the British Audi Team also R8 mounted. Biela had the pace but made an error and overshot the pit entry, the extra lap ran the car out of fuel.


Nice shot which shows the profile of the 2003 Speed 8, the winning car and complex aero of the ‘modern’, its 12 years ago now, Sports Prototype. Carbon fibre brakes aglow. Brakes; AP Racing 14.8 inch front / 14 inch rear carbon fibre discs with 6 piston calipers. (unattributed)

The #7 Bentley lead almost every lap of the race, 377 in total and didn’t lose a lap in damage or punctures. Guy Smith was given the honor of piloting the Speed 8 across the line to mark an emotional sixth win for Bentley after the elapse of over 70 years.

Johnny Herbert, Mark Blundell and David Brabham were 2nd in the #8 Bentley, 2 laps behind the winners. They lost time with an unscheduled stop on the Saturday afternoon when the drivers headrest broke free in the cockpit and a few minutes on Sunday when the battery was changed twice.

With Le Mans won, it was ‘marketing mission accomplished’ for the VW Group, the Bentley prototype racing program was at and end. Audi have now won the race 13 times since their initial victory in 2000 with a variety of interesting cars; petrol, diesel and now hybrid powered.


Post Le Mans victory parade in Paris. The winning Speed 8 between the 2 crews aboard ‘Blower’ Bentleys. Nice juxtaposition of Le Mans technological advancement over 70 years! And rich Bentley brand heritage. (unattributed)


Bentley-BC24 sebring

Speed 8 at Sebring 2003. Interesting shot shows the aero treatment; wheel well air outlets on top of guard and at the side, and inlet for carbon brakes. Wheels are O.Z. forged magnesium, 12.25/13 inches wide front/rear and 18 inches in diameter. Tyres Michelin in 2003. The cars started from the back of the Sebring grid after a technical infraction caused by exhaust heat distorting the cars flat floor, as a result the rear diffuser was too high, its height measured from the floor. A plywood filler piece solved the problem. The Speed 8’s finished 3rd and 4th at Sebring, Audi R8’s in 1st and 2nd. Valuable testing gained. (Autosport/Bob Chapman)


Rear deck detail and aluminium strakes added to duct more air to the brakes after cooling concerns at Sebring. You can also see the very neat tail light at the trailing edge of the cockpit ‘bobble’. Between the 2 small ducts. (Autosport/Bob Chapman)

Bentley-BC25 sebring with fazz behind

Herbert/Brabham/Blundell, 3rd place, Bentley Speed 8, Sebring 2003. Car behind is a Chev Corvette C5-R. (Autosport/Bob Chapman)

photo (10)

Bentley Team at Le Mans 2003. Plus a factory at Norfolk to build the cars. Even with the technology transfer from the ‘family’ Audi R8 program, victory in 3 years was a considerable achievement, many have spent more and not won at all…(unattributed)

Bibliography and Credits…

Automobile Year 51: Andrew Cottons Sportscar Review,, Autosport, Bob Chapman, Michael Fuller, Alastair MacQueen,, Popperfoto


Bentley-BC26 sebring from behinsd

Bentley Speed 8, Sebring 2003. Hopefully a return to outright Le Mans contention again soon? (Autosport/Bob Chapman)



Manfred von Brauchitsch,winner, Rudy Caracciola 2nd 1937 Monaco GP, held that year on 8 August. Loews Hairpin. These 2 were 2 laps in front of 3rd placed Christian Kautz in another Mercedes W125. (unattributed)

Mercedes Benz’ 1937 Grand Prix car was famously the most powerful racing car until the 7-8 litre Can Am aluminium Chev V8’s deployed in the early 1970’s finally exceeded its output of circa 645 bhp. It took the 1.5 litre turbo-cars of the late 1970’s for a Grand Prix car to best those numbers of 1937…

The 750 Kg formula of 1934 to 1937 created an ‘unlimited formula’ of the type only replicated by the Can Am Series of the mid-sixties to mid-seventies. The class was minimum weight based which meant the German teams of Auto Union and Mercedes Benz, bouyed by Government subsidies and rapidly advancing military technology were able to build very light and powerful cars…far more powerful than the regulators had imagined or intended!

rudy 1929

Mercedes GP contender in 1929, prior to the ‘serious program’ of the 1930’s. Rudy Caracciola wrestling the big SSK, sports car around Monaco to 3rd place. Race won by the ‘W Williams’ Bugatti T35B. Supercharged SOHC 6.8 litre straight 6, circa 250bhp. (unattributed)


In search of, and finding an apex! Luigi Fagioli in his Mercedes Benz W25 at the Coppa Acerbo, Pescara on 15 August 1934. Nuvolari and Brivio 2nd and 3rd in Maser 8CM and Bugatti T59 respectively. (unattributed)

The mid-engined, radical Auto Union ‘P wagen’ was launched in late 1933 to critical acclaim. Mercedes approach was more conventional, the W25 a front-engined car powered by a DOHC supercharged straight-eight which initially developed circa 315bhp @ 5800rpm. Suspension was all independent by wishbones and coil springs at the front and swing axles and reversed quarter elliptic springs at the rear. Hydraulic drum brakes were used. The cars won 4 Grands’ Prix and 2 Hillclimbs in 1934.

In 1935 the W25 was further developed, Rudy Caracciola won the reinstated European Championship. Tazio Nuvolari’s famous 1935 German GP win aboard his Alfa Romeo P3 the only non-German car to win a Championship GP from 1935 to 1939.


Rudy Caracciola in his Mercedes W25B, Montjuic Park, Barcelona on 30 June 1935. Teammate Luigi Fagioli won the Penya Rhin Grand Prix with Rudi 2nd and Tazio Nuvolari 3rd in an Alfa P3. Carac won the European Drivers Title that year. (unattributed)

The capacity of the W25, initially 3.4 litres increased to over 4 litres developing over 400bhp. The M25 straight-8 became unreliable when enlarged to 4.7 litres and 490bhp. A 5.6 litre, 600bhp V12 was tested but the cars, the chassis shortened (becoming so small Caracciola couldn’t fit comfortably in it) and lightened became uncompetitive with reliability, engine and handling dramas, Auto Union winning many races.

german gp

Mercedes team at the foresters lodge ‘ Sankt Hubertus’ prior to the 1936 GP at the Nurburgring. Mercedes W25’s entered for Caracciola, von Brauchitsch,Lang, Fagioli and Louis Chiron. Best placed was the Fagioli/Caracciola car in 5th, Rosemeyer won in an Auto Union. (unattributed)

After the 1936 German Grand Prix, a catastrophic home race for the team, the best placed Mercedes-Benz in 5th position, it was clear that radical changes had to be made to the Mercedes sporting organization.

Management started by looking at the structure of their racing departments, the same issues of lack of nimbleness, communication and decisiveness which have dogged bigger companies such as Ferrari and Renault in recent decades are not new.

The organization used by Mercedes in 1936 had its roots before the First World War. After the death of Hans Nibel in 1934 the central design office was managed by ex-driver Max Sailer. Under him Albert Heess and Otto Schilling were engine design chiefs with Max Wagner the chassis supremo.

Construction, assembly and testing of the cars were handled by the experimental department led by Fritz Nallinger. Jacob Krauss managed chassis construction and Otto Weber engine assembly while George Scheerer, in charge of the dynamometer section, was responsible for engine testing.

Over the years communication between the experimental department and the sporting department led by Alfred Neubauer had begun to fail. ‘Too many cooks’ springs to mind…


Bob Shepherd line drawing of the Mercedes Benz W125. (Australian Motor Sports)

A new technical department between the design office and the racing team was created in 1936. The Rennabteilung (racing department) took over the assembly and testing of the racing cars from the experimental department. In charge of the new department was gifted young engineer, Rudolf Uhlenhaut. He was born in London on 15 July 1906, (died 8 May 1989) his father German, his mother English. He joined Mercedes Benz in 1931 as a Munich University graduate, until 1936 Uhlenhaut had worked on passenger cars not on any of the racers.


Rudy Uhlenhaut testing a Mercedes W154 GP car at Monza in early 1938. Uhlenhaut was a race fast, analytical driver. He was entered as potential relief driver in the Le Mans campaign of 1955. W154 in early form, radiator treatment different on the cars as raced and obviously sans bonnet here. 1938 was a 3 litre supercharged/4.5 litre unsupercharged formula. Chassis essentially an SWB version of the W125 frame made possible by the use of the smaller/shorter 3 litre supercharged DOHC, 4 valve V12. Power 425-475bhp. Car dominant in 1938, Caracciola again European Champion. (Mercedes Benz)

On 12th of August 1936 the Rennabteilung tested one rebuilt 1935 car and two 1936 cars at the Nurburgring with Caracciola and Manfred von Brauchitsch the drivers. Tests included different tyres and shock absorbers. A 60kg lead weight was placed over the front suspension in an attempt to get more front grip. After two days the drivers decamped and Uhlenhaut drove the cars himself.

Rudy had never driven a racer before, even though he was used to testing road cars at high speed on the famous circuit. However, he soon settled in and proved to be an exceptionally gifted driver. Famously it has been rumoured that Uhlenhaut once went faster than Fangio at the ‘Ring during a test in the mid 50s. Whatever the case, Rudy was a talented tester and potentially a gifted racer had he the chance to strut his stuff, his wife and corporate commitments barriers to a racing career.

Uhlenhaut concluded as follows in relation to the W25’s he drove; toe-in changes caused by the old steering geometry were too big whilst suspension travel was too little making the springs bottom. The chassis was bending during braking. The experimental department had tried to solve the problems by using both hydraulic and friction dampers and harder and harder springs exacerbating the handling problems and violent kickback to the steering wheel. At the rear the attachment point for the De Dion axle could bend as much as 7-10cm during braking. Because the suspension was so stiff the wheels couldn’t follow the road. Again, famously, once during Uhlenhaut’s tests a wheel came off at high speed yet the car continued on three wheels as if nothing had happened.

After the 1936 Swiss GP ended in emphatic victory for Auto Union Uhlenhaut suggested further racing that year was pointless. So Mercedes retired from the season to focus their efforts on the 1937 car, the W125.

cutaway w125

Tubular frame of chrome molybdenum, double wishbone and coil spring suspension at the front, De-Dion tube and coil springs located by radius rods at the rear. Supercharged 5662cc 645bhp straight 8. 4 speed rear mounted’ box with ZF slippery diff. (Yoshihiro Inomoto)

Uhlenhaut’s assessment of the changes required resulted in a long wheelbase car with reduced polar moment of inertia. The chassis frame was much stiffer. The front suspension was new with greater travel and much softer springs. The car had hydraulic dampers only. The gearbox was changed to a constant mesh type improving reliabilty. During the season a new suction-type supercharger that proved superior to its precursor was also fitted.

The W125 was the first of the MB GP cars to have a tubular frame; of oval section nickel chrome-molybdenum steel of 1.5mm section. 5 cross tubes braced the frame.

The independent front suspension was again by way of unequal length wishbones, 8.45 inches and 10.59 inches in size upper and lower. Coil springs were used. Both hydraulic and friction shocks were used at the front, sometimes hydraulic shocks only.

Rear suspension was De Dion tube, the 2 end halves forged and machined from a single piece of nickel chrome-molybdenum steel. Two channel section radius rods provided fore and aft location with torsion bars, 33.2 inches long and 0.67 inch wide, providing the spring medium.


This shot of 3rd placed Christian Kautz shows the rear end treatment of the Mercedes W125, Monaco 1937. (unattributed)

Lockheed hydraulic brakes were used, they were of 2 leading shoe type, had Iurid linings with alloy shoes and drums, the latter had steel liners shrunk in.

It is perhaps indicative of preoccupations of the time with engines that about half the ‘Australian Motor Sports’ article which provided the basis of the cars technical specifications, is about the M125 straight-eight engine!

The engine, in typical MB practice was made up of 2 blocks of 4 cylinders, with a bore and stroke of 94x102mm, the engine undersquare, as was the practice of the time, giving a total capacity of 5662cc. The engine developed 645bhp at 5800rpm, the supercharger ran at twice engine speed and was pressurised at 12-14lb per inch.

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Manfred Von Brauchitsch in his Mercedes W125 during the 1937 Coppa Acerbo, Pescara. He was 2nd, the race won by Bernd Rosemeyer’s Auto Union Type C. (unattributed)

In terms of the cars detailed engine design and construction;

The blocks comprised steel forged cylinders with water jackets and ports welded thereto in sheet steel. The cylinders were spigotted into the alloy, barrell shaped crankcase. The crank ran in 9 main bearings of split roller type made by SKF. Big ends were also of this type.

Pistons were provided by Mahle, conrods fully machined ‘H section’ made of nickel-chrome steel and had plain bronze bush gudgeon pins. Lubrication was by way of dry sump with a battery of gear type oil pumps and a front mounted oil radiator.

rudy 14

Lovely profile shot of Caracciola and the W125. Swiss GP, Bremgarten in August 1937. Rudy won the race from Herman Lang and Von Brauchitsch, also W125 mounted. (Mercedes Benz)

The cylinder head featured hemispherical combustion chambers with 2 inlet and 2 exhaust valves per cylinder at an included angle of 60 degrees. The exhaust valves were mercury filled for cooling. Two gear driven overhead camshafts were used, 1 plug per cylinder was fired by magneto. The heads were not detachable.

A Roots type supercharger originally blew air, in established Mercedes fashion into the carburettor but later in 1937, the blower was reconfigured to deliver the mixture in the more usual way. A twin-choke carb was used, the fuel mix a heady brew of 86% methyl alcohol, 4.4% nitro-benzol, 8.8% acetone and 0.8% sulphuric ether…who said fuel alchemy started in the 1980’s!?

A single plate dry clutch was mounted to the engine flywheel, the 4 speed gearbox, with ZF ‘slippery diff’ and final drive unit mounted to the rear crossmember.

The cars wheelbase was 9ft 2 ins and track 4ft 10ins, the W125 weighed 16.4 cwt.


1937 Donington GP. Manfred von Brauchitsch from Rudy Caracciola, Mercedes W125. Rosemeyer won in his Auto Union from Manfred and Rudy. (unattributed)

The W125 proved a winner, Caracciola victorious at the German, Swiss, Italian and Hungarian Grands’ Prix giving him his second European Championship whilst Herman Lang won at Tripoli and von Brauchitsch at Monaco. The W125 was put to one side at the end of 1937, in an attempt to slow the cars down, there is nothing new in this!, the authorities mandated a 3 litre supercharged/4.5 litre unsupercharged formula for 1938/9. The chassis of the W125 evolved into that of the 1938 season W154, that car powered by a 3 litre supercharged V12 and similarly dominant.

A story for another time…


Start of the Swiss GP at Bremgarten in 1937. #14 and winner Caracciola W125 with #10 and #8 Hans Stuck and Bernd Rosemeyer both Auto Union Type C mounted. (unattributed)



Mercedes team lineup of W125’s at Monaco 1937. #8 Caracciola 2nd, #10 Von Brauchitsch 1st, #12 Christian Kautz 3rd and #14 Goffredo Zehender 5th. Rosemeyer, the best placed Auto Union was 3 laps behind Von Brauchitsch! (unattributed)


Streamliners at Avus in 1937. #35 Caracciola Benz W125 overtakes # 31 Rosemeyer Auto Union Type C in the Nordcurve. Rudy won the first race, Von Brauchitsch the second in another W125. (Mercedes Benz)


Dick Seaman in his Mercedes W125 during the Masaryk Grand Prix, Brno September 1937. He was 4th. Caracciola won from Von Brauchitsch in another W125 and Herman Muller in a Auto Union Type C. (unattributed)


Mercedes Benz W125 drawing. (unattributed)


Rudy Uhlenhaut in 1955 at a Hockenheim test session beside the ‘Blue Wonder’ Mercedes high speed transporter with a W154 GP car on ze back. (unattributed)


A truly wild road car for any era; Uhlenhaut and his road legal Mercedes 300SLR racer. (Mercedes Benz)

Bibliography and Credits…

‘Australian Motor Sports’ March 1952 article by Bob Shepherd article on Rudy Uhlenhaut by Leif Snellman, Mercedes Benz




The ‘swingin ’60’s…

This fashion shot is from a photo site, I have no caption details, the chassis and engine are of no interest to these folks of course! Clearly the babe is a Cooper fan, my ‘educated guess’ of car is a 1963 T67 BMC Formula Junior, twin SU’s are unlikely on the rival Ford engine of the day?

So, one for you Cooper experts, it would be interesting to know the Who, What, Where and When of this photo.

cooper 67

1963 Cooper T67 BMC Formula Junior. (Theo Page)

Autosport Article on the Cooper T65/67 and its ‘Hydrolastic Suspension’ referred to in the response by Ken Collins/Peter Jackson below…

Autosport Cooper FJ 01

Autosport Cooper FJ 02


‘Photo Is Art’, Theo Page cutaway drawing, Stephen Dalton Collection for the Autosport article