Archive for August, 2015

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)

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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, chassis and engine are of no interest to those folks! 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

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


Tom Hawkes, Allard J2, Collingrove Hillclimb, Angaston, SA, March 1952. 1st in the over 1500cc Sports Car class. (State Library of South Australia)

Tom Hawkes caresses his powerful Allard around the twisty, challenging gravel confines of South Australia’s Collingrove Hillclimb at its inaugural, public, 15 March 1952 meeting…

Chassis #99/J/1731 fitted with Ford Pilot engine # 5338/26 was the first of 6 Allards imported to Australia, the car arrived in September 1950 to Rube Gardner’s order. Gardner was appointed the local concessionaire having travelled to the UK to do the deal with Allard himself early in 1950. Gardner’s premises were on the Princes Highway, Carlton, a southern Sydney suburb.

Gardner drove the car to the October 1950 Bathurst meeting. He didn’t race, but took it to Mount Panorama for display purposes. The red painted, side valve Ford Pilot engined car immediately impressed Stan Jones, the 1959 Gold Star and Australian Grand Prix winner and father of 1980 World Champion Alan Jones.

Stan was well aware of the car’s competition record in the UK and US and bought it on his inexorable rise to the top of Australian Motor Racing. I wrote an article about Stan’s career, click on this link to read it;


The J2 in the Bathurst paddock during Stan Jones ownership at Easter 1951. Color red, ‘standard’ Ford Pilot side-valve spec V8. 5 of the 6 J2’s imported to Australia entered this meeting,3 started! (Ray Eldershaw Collection)

Jones first J2 competition event was the 1950 Australian Hillclimb Championship at Rob Roy in November, he finished 2nd in his class. In 1951 he raced the car successfully at Rob Roy, at Bathurst where he was timed at 104.8mph on ConRod Straight and at other meetings.

Jones sold the car to Geelong, Victoria, driver Tom Hawkes in a deal which involved Jones taking over a Cooper MkV 500 Bill Patterson and Hawkes had raced in England in 1951.

Hawkes raced the car in standard form for a while and then engaged Melbourne’s Ern Seeliger to modify it by fitment of an Ardun OHV engine kit and Jaguar 4 speed gearbox with ‘C Type’ ratios to replace the 3 speed Ford Pilot ‘box. The tail of the Allard was replaced with a narrower one, the front and rear guards removed and wire wheels adapted to Lancia hubs fitted. The light car now developed circa 300bhp and was a formidable, noisy and spectacular weapon at the time.


Hawkes ahead of Eldred Norman’s Maserati 6CM at Adelaide’s Sellicks Beach. This meeting in 1953 was the first all car beach program post-War. Sellicks Beach 55 Km from Adelaide. Tom is kicking the tail out, no shortage of power on the soft sand! Eldred Norman and his many cars are fascinating stories for another time. (

Over the next couple of years the J2 competed widely, mainly driven by Hawkes but occasionally by Reg Robbins who maintained it- it was also driven by John Sawyer and Adrian Gundlach. The car raced at Fishermans Bend, in Albert Parks inaugural 1953 meeting and Rob Roy, all in Victoria. Hawles competed at Collingrove Hillclimb, Sellicks Beach and Port Wakefield in South Australia.

He travelled to New Zealand for the 1954 NZ Grand Prix meeting at Ardmore in January. There the car blew the OHV engine in practice, a stone pierced the radiator. The side valve engine was fitted for the race, famously won by Stan Jones in the Maybach after an amazing overnight engine rebuild. The J2’s Ford engine was brittle and ‘popped’ comprehensively at least 3 times, twice with rod failure, the errant component carving the cast iron block in half on both occasions. The J2 was very quick though, it recorded 137 mph on Longfords ‘Flying Mile’ during the 1955 Tasmanian Trophy meeting.

Hawkes advertised # 1731 for sale in October 1955 but continued to race it before being finally bought by Reg Robbins who had been preparing the car for Hawkes as noted above. He raced it at Phillip Island and Rob Roy in late 1956 and early 1957 respectively before sale to Geoff McHugh in Tasmania.

Melbourne’s Ian McDonald repatriated it from a Tasmanian ‘chook shed’ in 1964 and restored it, a process which took 2 years. He first raced the car in an historic event at an open meeting at Sandown in 1966. The car has passed through numerous sets of caring hands since then and is still in Australia.


The Hawkes Allard in the Collingrove paddock March 1952. The modifications referred to in the text are not yet evident, this is early in Hawkes ownership of the car. Compare with the other later Collingrove shot below and the Sellicks Beach shot above where the car is running sans guards and with the wire wheels referred to in the text. (State Library of SA)

Allard Short History…

In the the 1930s Sydney Allard was successful as a British Trials and Hillclimb competitor with his Allard Specials. Operating from Adlards Motors, a Ford dealership he acquired in 1929, Allard competed successfully in international motor racing. He was 3third at Le Mans in 1950 and victorious in the Monte Carlo Rally in an Allard P1 in 1952.

After racing first on motorbikes he moved to four wheels, in 1936 the first ‘Allard Special’ was built.

Allard’s first cars were based on Ford products. The first ‘CLK 5’ combined a Ford Model 40 chassis and engine with a Bugatti Type 51 body. Its light weight and ground clearance made it an ideal Trials racer. By moving the cockpit as far backwards as possible, Allard concentrated weight over the rear wheels, a design principle of all future Allard’s. With Ford’s flat-head V8 providing plenty of power it was competitive immediately.

coll 2

This later Collingrove shot in 1954 shows the Hawkes J2 in its later modified form; with Ardun head, ‘skinny tail’, sans guards front and rear and with its wire wheels. (State Library of SA)

Pre War a small number of Allard Specials were built powered by either the Ford V8 or Lincoln V12 and were race winners.

During the War Adlards Motors repaired damaged military vehicles…and Sydney designed a new sportscar, which was built in 1946 and is now referred to as the J1. Ford components formed the basis of the car. A braced and boxed frame housed a Ford 3.6 litre V8 and 3-speed gearbox. Suspension was by a split axle at the front and live axle at the rear, transverse leaf springs were used front and rear. A full width body was fitted, but the guards could be removed and replaced by cycle-guards to turn the J1 Sports into a Trials car. Twelve J1s’ were built and competed in Britain and in Europe, its shortcoming was the flat-head V8, which was underpowered and overheated. readily. 

Allard then built, in larger numbers the K1 sports two seater, L-Type Tourer and M-Type coupe.

allard drawing

J2 factory drawings. (The Allard Register)

In 1950 Allard launched the J2. Based on the J1 design, the new car was designed with the J1’s shortcomings in mind.

The front suspension was similar, the transverse leaf springs were replaced with coils at both front and rear- and a de-Dion axle was fitted with inboard drum brakes at the rear. The combination of rear weight bias and better rear suspension gave the car much better traction. Modified Ford sidevalve V8’s were Allard’s engines of choice, but the chassis was built to accommodate other engines, with Cadillac’s pushrod V8 the J2 was ‘in a league of its own’ and very successful in the US.


Butt shot showing the Hawkes J2’s modified tail, fuzzy shot but modifications clear; #1731 sans guards, wire wheels. On ‘The Wall’. (Collingrove Hillclimb)

‘Allard’s biggest road racing success was in 1950, when Sydney Allard and Tom Cole drove a Cadillac powered J2 to third place overall and a first in class at Le Mans. In 1951 a slightly modified version, dubbed J2X was introduced. It was similar to the J2, but the engine was mounted further forward to allow a larger cockpit. Chrysler Hemi and Cadillac powered J2s and J2Xs dominated racing in America. The final evolutions of the J2 were the J2X Le Mans and JR, which both featured a fully enveloping body’, wrote Wouter Melissen in

syd vicious

Sydney Allard practicing his J2 at Le Mans in 1950. He and Tom Cole finished 3rd outright in the race won by the Rosier father and son Talbot-Lago T26GS and 2nd place Talbot-Lago Monoplace. These 2 cars were essentially ‘GP cars in drag’, so the Allards 3rd was a great result 5 laps adrift of the winning car. Allard wore a helmet in the race! This shot was on Allard’s corporate 1950 Christmas card to contacts of the company (

After 1908 Allards were built production ended in 1959. Increased competition from Jaguar, Lotus, Austin Healey and others producing quality production sports and racing cars made the going tough as the sixties dawned but the company and its clever products ‘punched above their weight’ very successfully for many years.


J2 chassis and general layout drawings. (The Allard Register)

Technical Specifications…

90 J2’s were built from 1949 to 1951. Cars delivered to the US were usually ‘sans engine’ allowing the customer to choose. Those with ultimate performance in mind specified the Cadillac or Chrysler ‘Hemi’ OHV engines with a wide variety of modifications available ‘off the shelf”.

Specifications of the Ford Pilot ‘Ardun’ engine as fitted to #1731 and modified by Tom Hawkes; 3923cc, bore and stroke 80.96mmx95.25mm. Compression ratio 8:1. Magneto ignition. 2 Solex carburettors giving a claimed, and i suspect very optimistic, 300bhp.

The cars chassis was a ladder or box section frame having a wheelbase of 100 inches and track of 56/52 inches front/rear.

Front suspension was Allard divided or split axle with coil springs and hydraulic shocks. A de-Dion setup was deployed at the rear again with coil springs and hydraulic shocks. Drum brakes were fitted mounted outboard at the front and inboard at the rear.

Steering was Ford Pilot ‘Marles’ worm and roller. The fuel tank held 20 gallons, the car weighed circa 1700-2000lbs. (estimates of weight differ widely across the reference sources and would do so dependent upon the engine fitted)

allard roadie

Factory J2 shot. (Allard Motor Co)

The Six Australian Allard J2’s…

For those with an interest in these cars this excellent MotorMarques article by Philip Stanton details the history of all J2’s imported to Australia.

The Allard Register…

If you are interested in Allards more generally checkout this interesting website;

Collingrove Hillclimb…

This website about the Barossa Valley venue is terrific;


Collingrove is a sensational climb, highly technical and difficult. Its at Angaston in SA’s Barossa Valley, the place a stunningly pretty spot. Angaston is 85 Km from Adelaide. In use since 1952.(Collingrove Hillclimb)


‘The Mail’ article about Collingrove’s first meeting in March 1952. Hawkes won the over 1500cc modified sports car class. (Collingrove Hillclimb)


Distant shot of Hawkes coming off ‘The Wall’, well sideways on the slippery gravel surface. Shot included to show the topography of this fabulous climb. (Collingrove Hillclimb)

Bibliography and Photo Credits…

John Blanden ‘Historic Racing Cars in Australia’, Wouter Melissen’s Allard article in, MotorMarques article by Philip Stanton, State Library of South Australia, Ray Eldershaw Collection, The Allard Register,, Collingrove Hillclimb website,, Paul Geard Collection

Tailpiece: Tom on the entry to Mountford Corner, Longford 1955- car did 137 mph on ‘The Flying Mile’ that weekend…

(P Geard)


keke stag

Keke Rosberg tips his Williams FW10 Honda into ‘Stag Corner’, so named after the hotel behind him, for the long run down Rundle Road and onto Dequetteville Terrace. Adelaide GP 1985. The Stag Hotel is still there and a much nicer place to eat and drink than then! (unattributed)

‘Rossi Kekberg is on pole!’ our host Ralph announced as we pulled up at what would become our regular annual digs for the Adelaide Grand Prix for the next 10 years…

I was the designated driver for the second half of the long drive from Melbourne, but the rest of my mates were well pissed, so it was a relief to see our host similarly inebriated when we pulled up in leafy Tusmore, Adelaide. Ralph and Jill’s backyard provided our cheap accommodation only 1 km from the Victoria Park road circuit for years. Wonderful people they were and are.

Ralph was no racing enthusiast, he always struggled with the furrin’ drivers names, but his zeal for the race typified the way the average Adelaide citizen felt about the event each year despite the interruptions to normal traffic flows and all the rest. Adelaide is a small town which embraced the race in a way Melburnians en-masse never really have. The ‘Save Albert Park’ mob are still vocal despite the GP having support from both sides of politics.

There had been mumblings about Australia having an F1 GP on and off for decades, the lack of an F1 event was not such an issue in the sixties when we had the Tasman Series which was effectively 4 Grands Prix in 4 States in 4 weeks! And 4 races in New Zealand before the ‘circus’ arrived in Oz.

The ‘Tasman’ was a 2.5 litre formula dominated in the early days by ex-F1 2.5 litre Coventry Climax 4 cylinder FPF engined cars. Later on ‘bored’ 1.5 litre F1 engines were used and at the very end of the category, 2.5 litre versions of current F1 engines were built by Cosworth and BRM, in addition to the bespoke Tasman engines of Repco and Alfa Romeo. Magic it surely was!


Geoff Smedley’s shot captures all that was great about the Tasman Series. Here, at Longford, Tasmania in 1968; Clark from Hill, Amon and Gardner in yellow. Lotus 49 DFW X2, Ferrari 246T obscured and Gardner’s Brabham BT23D Alfa Romeo. This is the preliminary race, the main very wet event was won by Piers Courage in a McLaren M4A Ford FVA F2 car, a famous victory for the young Brit. (Geoff Smedley)

Later Bob Jane perhaps came close to an F1 event, his early 80’s Formula Pacific Grands Prix were intended to be replaced by an F1 event but Calder, love it as I do, is a bit of a ‘shithole’. It lacks any sort of visual appeal from a Teev viewpoint, nor does it represent a challenge to the best drivers in the world. It’s a great club, point and squirt kinda place.

Sandown looked best placed, the circuit was increased to GP length to host a 1984 World Endurance Championship Round but the Light Car Club emasculated a great circuit with the ‘Mickey-Mouse stop go’ additions to the circuits infield to get the track to the requisite length. The financial returns, or lack of them destroyed the oldest racing club in the country as well.


AGP Calder 1984. F1 drivers in F Pacific cars, Ralt RT4/85 Ford’s. Rosberg, 2nd on the inside, Lauda, DNF prang, on the outside. Roberto Moreno won the race in another RT4, his 3rd AGP win. (History of The AGP)

And so, pretty much outta the blue, with the support of the local business community, racer/business man Bill O’Gorman having pitched the idea to the committee set up to celebrate SA’s Sesquicentennial Year in 1986; South Australian Premier, John Bannon did a deal with Sir Bernie The Unbelievable to stage a race on the outskirts of Adelaide’s CBD. Part of the circuit defines the cities Eastern boundary, so ’twas a race in the city centre. Critically from an SA perspective, the Formula One Constructors Association wanted a street race, Calder and Sandown are not street circuits.

Sydney is Australia’s beautiful world city. The place doesn’t have to work hard to attract tourists who are drawn to all of its visual, cultural and sporting splendour, she is the ‘hot sister’ her sibling cities are the ‘fuglies’ in relative terms. They have to work a lot harder to get tourists into their cities.

Melbourne’s approach to combat that, is an event a month strategy, the very same Ron Walker behind the Melbourne GP was one of the founders of ‘Melbourne Major Events’ the body set up decades ago, to identify global events or develop local initiatives to get folks to come here. John Bannon grabbed an event the Victorians wanted and in fact the Victorians ‘stole’ it from the South Aussies some years later.


Derek Warwick Renault RE60, turning into ‘Stag Corner’, with the fruit markets in the background, Adelaide 1985. The building is still there. (unattributed)

Most of us hadn’t seen contemporary F1 cars. I hadn’t done the ‘big European trip’ at that point, the visits of Guy Edwards in a Fittipaldi to Sandown, and the Theodore Team to the ’79 Rothmans Series with an Ensign MN05 and Wolf WR4, all Ford Cosworth powered whetted the appetite, but none were current cars when they visited and by 1985 we were in the middle of the 1.5 Litre Turbo Era.

The sight and sound of those cars around the wide open expanses of Adelaide’s Victoria Park was something to relish. It was, and still is a street circuit but the GP circuit, the V8 Supercars use a truncated version of the track, was fast and flowing with the full gamut of corners, if not gradient changes to provide a ‘technical track’ for drivers to master.

adelaide map

Once we separated ourselves from Ralph, our host, his enthusiasm for ‘Rossi Kekberg’ undiminished, we went to the circuit, being unfamiliar with the city and were simply blown away by Victoria Park, it’s scale, the circuit itself and the standard of organisation. The event won awards from the start to the end of the period in which the races were held there. Little Adelaide had something to prove both within Australia and globally, and delivered in spades.

Typical of AGP’s is a chock-a-block program of events; that year the supports included F Pacific, F Ford, Group A Touring Cars (Gerhard Berger drove a BMW635csi in the taxi races), Historic Cars. The ‘what the FAAAAARK’ moment was provided on that Thursday, when, unannounced an RAAF General Dynamics F18 Hornet fighter did a treetops high, fast pass, with all of us in Victoria Park hitting the deck and realising what it would have been like to ‘kiss your arse’ goodbye if one of these things was flying with aggressive intent…

prost nipping a brake

Alain Prost nips a front brake, his carbon brakes gave him troubles as they did other cars similarly equipped, but a blown turbo wastegate put him out on lap 26. He won his first drivers title in 1985.(Phil Aynsley)

By the time the circus arrived in town Alain Prost had won his first F1 Drivers Title with victories in Brazil, Monaco, Britain, Austria and Italy. He lost a win at Imola when his car was found to be underweight.

The McLaren MP4/2 TAG’s were the class of the field in 1984, they were fast, reliable, handled well and were driven superbly by Niki Lauda, who took the title that year and by Alain Prost who joined the team from Renault. The McLarens took their advantage into 1985 but the year was made technically interesting by Williams first carbon-fibre monocoque and the emergence of Nigel Mansell, signed by Williams that season, as a force particularly in the seasons second half.

rosberg front

Patrick Head’s first carbon-composite Williams, the FW10 Honda a superbly integrated design, the car of the second half of the ’85 season. Honda had also got the power delivery of its potent twin-turbo V6 more progressive than in 1984. Keke Rosberg here. (Phil Aynsley)

Patrick Head, Williams designer was conservative and cost-effective in his approach to such large design changes and was also concerned about the new carbon-composite materials. Head was impressed with the way his aluminium-honeycomb monocoques had withstood big impacts; Jones at Watkins Glen (FW06) in 1978 and Reutemann at Silverstone (FW07) in 1980.

Head determined to control the carbon-composite program inhouse, Williams built 9 carbon-composite FW10 chassis during the season. And gems of cars they were, right out of the box; Rosberg won in Detroit and Adelaide, Mansell at Brands Hatch and Kyalami.

In the early part of the season the cars were powered by ’84 ‘D-spec’ Honda engines but by the time they arrived in Adelaide ‘E-spec’ engines giving a reputed 1000/1250 BHP qualifying capability and a 6 speed, rather than 5 speed Hewland gearbox to harness the power was fitted.

williams fw10

Williams FW10 and its Honda RA163E engine; 80 degree DOHC, 4 valve 1494cc twin IHI turbo V6. Upwards of 800bhp @ 12000rpm depending upon boost. Carbon fibre chassis, lower wishbone and rocker/ coil spring/dampers suspension. Hewland 6 speed gearbox. Brakes in this shot carbon, but cast iron brakes in Adelaide an important factor in the Williams win. 520Kg. (unattributed)

Qualifying was held on a beautiful, hot day, 30000 punters turned up to see Ayrton Senna do an absolute blinder of a lap, you could see and feel the effort being expended by the Brazilian on track and on the plentiful video screens around the circuit, to set pole 7/10 of a second from Mansell, Rosberg, Prost and Alboreto.

So; Lotus, Williams, Williams, McLaren and Ferrari were the top 5. Alan Jones had returned to F1 but was well back in 19th, the Lola Hart not the fastest combination in the field.


Alan Jones ponders his chances on the grid. Strategy was to ‘go for it’ knowing the car probably would not last. It didn’t! He stalled on the grid but recovered to be 7th by lap 18, when the engines timing caused his retirement. Team Chief, ex-McLaren owner Teddy Mayer beside the wing. Lola THL1 Hart. (Phil Aynsley)

We were well pleased with the first 3 days of entertainment, I was suitably jealous of a couple of mates who were part of the show, participants in the Formula Ford race and wishing I was part of history, as all the competitors in that year were. It was surely the most significant motor race in Australia’s Racing History?!

muzza and keke

Muzza and Keke. Murray Walker had the same cult following in this part of the world as elsewhere, deservedly so! He is getting the goss on the grid from Rosberg before the start. (Phil Aynsley)

We plodded into town and found a nice Italian joint to have dinner, as it happened La Trattoria, which is still in King William Street, still owned by the same family and still employs the same waiters, became a restaurant of choice for the drivers, especially the Italians.

We had not even ordered a Spag Marinara when Patrese and De Cesaris arrived with wives/friends, we were blown away to have stumbled on the place by luck; because we were first, and ate there every night, every year a table was kept for us, it was fantastic to live vicariously and get the occasional autograph without intruding too much on the drivers. Adelaide was and is a small place, this was a good example of the access the locals had, their simply were few places to stay, so it wasn’t hard to find the stars of the show.

parade lap

Grid departs on its parade lap. Mansell, Senna, Rosberg by the fence, then Prost and Alboreto. Adelaide Hills in the distance, gum trees, and a full-house. Circa 105000 people on raceday/ (Phil Aynsley)

‘Poverty tickets’ in that first year weren’t a smart purchase, practice crowd numbers meant we had a very early start to bag our viewing positions. Outside the turn 1 chicane, a top spot on lap 1 but also throughout the race with a video screen to follow the event, was our choice after much debate. Being early was key, over 105000 attended on raceday.

Ralph was keen for ‘Rossi’ to win the race, and so it was, Keke won, and after 3 pit stops!

senna grid

Senna awaits the start from pole. Lotus 97T Renault. Blinder of a lap to get pole, but his race performance was a bit erratic. (Phil Aynsley)

Mansell won the start but Senna carved him in half at the third turn, putting Noige outta the race. Rosberg then lead for 41 laps with Senna at a distance until his tyres went off.

turn 1

Lap 1 turn 1 Chicane; Mansell from Senna, Rosberg, Alboreto (Ferrari) Prost, Boutsen (Arrows BMW), Surer (Brabham BMW) on his outside and Warwick (Renault). Senna gave Mansell a tap which took him out of the race into the right hander at Wakefield Road. (unattributed)

Senna moved back towards Keke, having given his tyres a rest and regained some grip, he then made a mistake clipping a chicane on the entrance to Brabham Straight, giving Rosberg some breathing space. But crazily, Senna had another moment and boofed Rosbergs Williams up the chuff as Keke went into the pits for a scheduled tyre change. Senna had to pit for both tyres and a new nose cone.


Niki Lauda in the cockpit of his McLaren MP4/2B TAG during practice. We saw him twice in Oz, in ’85 he was a real chance but like so many others his carbon brakes were not up to the rigours of a hot race which went for the maximum possible time allowed for a GP of 2 hours, twas said the race was about 12 laps too long. In 1984 he raced a Ralt RT4 Ford F Pacific car in the last non-F1 AGP at Calder Park. Niki retired at the end of the ’85 Adelaide race. (Phil Aynsley)

Rosberg was in the lead but Niki Lauda, in his last GP was looking a possibility in 2nd. At this point the heat of the day was telling for those with carbon-brakes, which were failing, those with steel brakes faring much better.

Keke’s tyres had gone off, he lean’t on them too soon so pitted again, then a wheel nut jammed so he entered the track 45 seconds behind Senna and Lauda.

rosberg tyres

Rosberg frying the Goodyears of his Williams on the hot day, you can clearly see the graining. (Phil Aynsley)

Senna fried his tyres giving the lead to Lauda, a career ending win a possibility, but his carbon brakes failed and he was into a wall. Rosberg, with cast iron brakes was looking good, Senna with carbon not so much, but then a piston failed in his Honda engine so Ayrton was out.

keke and senna

Rosberg from Senna during their long and interesting battle. Ayrton DNF with piston failure brought an end to it, but the Brazilian’s carbon brakes would not have lasted the distance in any event. Shot captures the essence of the track, the view from this point, in the Victoria Park section of the circuit, on Pit Straight  is pretty much the same 30 years later. (unattributed)

Rosberg had the race won with 21 laps to go, last lap entertainment was provided by the Ligiers (Ligier JS25 Renault) with Jacques Laffitte and Phillipe Steiff managing to run into one another, the unfortunate Streiff misunderstanding a Laffitte waving arms gesture which meant ‘don’t pass’ rather than ‘do pass’ as Phillippe interpreted!

Ivan Capelli, Tyrrell 014 Renault Stefan Johannsson Ferrari 156 and Gerhard Berger Arrows A8 BMW rounded out the top 6.

east terrace

The cars blast down Wakefield Road heading into town and into the East Terrace section of the track. Proximity of Adelaide CBD and treed nature of the Victoria Park section of the track clear. A Renault chasing a Tyrrell. (Phil Aynsley)

What a memorable race and event it was; the last for Lauda, Renault as a team for a while, Alfa Romeo as a team and the first of many Grands Prix for Australia…and yes Ralph did master ‘Rossi’s’ correct name but it took him another year to do so…


Victory ceremony L>R Laffitte, Frank Williams with his hands on the cup, Rosberg, Streiff and in the suit John Bannon, SA’s Premier who brought the event to Australia. Williams was shortly to suffer the accident which made him wheelchair bound only several months later. Mitsubishi a welcome global and local sponsor. At the time, its now long since closed, Mitsubishi manufactured cars at Tonsley Park, a southern outer Adelaide suburb. (unattributed)


warwick and senna

Derek Warwick, Renault RE60 and Senna Lotus 97T Renault, a bit cocked up, coping with tyres fried by heat and the pressure he is applying to them. End of Brabham Straight perhaps. (Phil Aynsley)


Unusual Adelaide GP circuit angle and shot. Keke’s Williams Fw10 has gone through the fast left/right ‘Banana Bend’ kink, he is on the outside of the circuit, The Adelaide Fruit Markets to his left, by the look of it he is under brakes and plucking 2nd gear for the left hander at ‘Stag Corner’, to head east out of town along Rundle Road. The fruit market buildings are still there, but are now retail and residential space. (unattributed)

alboreto and patrese

Michele Alboreto Ferrari 156, DNF transmission, ahead of Riccardo Patrese, Alfa Romeo 185T, DNF exhaust. (Phil Aynsley)

noige hairpin

Red 5, Noige at the hairpin onto Pit Straight. Mansell a popular figure in Oz, Senna drove a nutty race, twould have been very interesting to see what Mansell would have done without Senna’s assault on him. Two wins in the previous 2 races, the ‘form combination’ coming into Adelaide. Williams Fw10 Honda. (Phil Aynsley)


‘Autocourse 50 Years of The World Championship’ Alan Henry, ‘History of The Australian Grand Prix’ Graham Howard

Photo Credits…

Phil Aynsley, Geoff Smedley, ‘History of The AGP’ Graham Howard


12 th rob roy 1947

Its a very English car but not so the background, the year is 1947, driver a winner of the Australian Grand Prix…

Many thanks to contributor Stephen Dalton for correctly identifying the car and driver as Lex Davison and Bentley 4.5 litre s/c as the car, a big conveyance for that hill despite its open, fast flowing nature!

Lex entered the Bentley in the 12th Rob Roy Hillclimb in 1947. This picturesque venue, in the outer east of Melbourne in the Christmas Hills is still in use by the MG Car Club.

The stretch of main road which goes past Rob Roy’s location off Clintons Road a regular stretch for ‘early morning runs’ by car and bike enthusiasts heading into the Yarra Valley where drivers roads, wineries and fine food are plentiful.

davison 4.5 bentley 12th rob roy