Seasonal Salutations One and All…

Posted: December 24, 2015 in Obscurities

santa 1

The first use of a car by Santa to deliver gifts, 1896?! Make and model unknown, Benz my guess…

I hope wherever you live you have an enjoyable festive season with family and friends.

In Australia it’s our Summer Holidays so the whole joint closes down for a few weeks. We have the comatose excitement of cricket and lots of fun in the sun, which is great.

I’m off to Margaret River on the West Australian Coast; it’s a long flight from Melbourne across the big wide, dry continent and then a three hour drive drive from Perth. But you overseas folk should have it on your ‘must visit when I go to Oz’ list given it’s mix of wineries and food scene, coastal scenery and drivers roads, massive caves and beaches. Sure, there are a few sharks but the West Australian Great Whites are discerning diners, they seem to mainly eat lawyers!

I will continue to post over the coming weeks but the emphasis will be ‘quickies’ rather than features.

Even though 40% of the stuff I write about is Australian my ‘biggest market’ is France; other top-10 countries in order of size are Australia, US, UK, Germany, Italy, Japan, Czech Republic, Spain and Brazil. So, our little community is truly global, thank you all so much for reading the thing wherever you live.

I continue to enjoy writing it so will stick with the eclectic approach which is a function of the photos I find being the inspiration for an article.

Which brings me to some ‘thank-you’s’ for the year especially the photographers who have been so helpful and supportive; John Ellacott, Dick Simpson, Lindsay Ross, Rod MacKenzie and David Blanch in Australia, John Holmes ‘The Roaring Season’ ‘across the ditch’ in NZ and The Cahier Archive and Louis Klemantaski Collection for the more International stuff.

A foundation of the magazine is the Repco story and Peter Brennan’s restorations, many thanks to Rodway Wolfe and Peter for allowing me to write about these topics and the material they provide.

Stephen Dalton both contributed articles and is hugely helpful with his extensive library and advice on correcting the occasional boo-boo.

John Medley’s Chamberlain article and ongoing support and encouragement has been fantastic as is Pat Ryan’s enthusiastic fizz; both these guys have a wealth of Pre-War Oz knowledge which is not my strength. To my surprise i have written much more about older stuff rather than play to my personal strengths which is 1960 to the present but it’s simply more fun to research and write about what you don’t know rather than what yer do!

Autosport’s ‘The Nostalgia Forum’ is a good place to lose yourself for weeks, check it out. Its content rich for research especially on the obscure; the expertise especially on Australian Stuff of regular contributors Ray Bell, John Medley, Stephen Dalton, Kevin Drage and the Oz photographers above has added great depth and the perceptions of ‘those there at the time’.

Most of all, thankyou for reading it!

I am active on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram so if you need a ‘daily fix’ pop Mark Bisset and into the relevant search engines and the names should pop up. Of these FB is the best as there is often dialogue about the posts which is often interesting.

Finally, I get asked all the time ‘wot cars would you like the most’, my contribution to this endless enthusiast debate is as follows, it’s not around the cars I would invest in just the stuff I would have to own and race! Sadly i’m not Nick Mason so none of the purchases are imminent! Am very interested to know the lists of others.

1. 1931 Alfa 8C2300 Corto Sports/Road
.Who needs a Bugatti when you can have a Jano Alfa? Any ‘Monza’ series Alfa would do. In fact anything designed by Jano would be nice!

Click here for Alfa Monza article;


1932 Mille Miglia, Nuvolari/Guidotti Alfa 8C2300 DNF accident. Borzacchini/Bignami won in another 8C2300 Spider (unattributed)

2. 1955 Jaguar XK D Type Sports/Road
.So hard to chose between all the 50′ sporties; Maser 300S, Aston’s DB3S and DBR1, Ferrari 335S and TR

Click here for D Type article;


Frank Gardner, Jag D Type, Mount Druitt, Sydney 1958. It all looks ‘pretty chilled’ dunnit, from this ‘clubby scene’ sprung some world class drivers of whom FG was one (John Ellacott)

3. 1957 Maserati 250F F1
.’Nuff said ‘the’ quintessential front-engined GP car? Lancia D50 my next choice, not as pretty as the Maser but much more ‘edgy’.

Click here for 250F article;

maser 250f

Fangio in his 250F chasing Mike Hawthorn and Peter Collins Lancia Ferrari 801’s, German GP 1957. A famous, Fangio win (unattributed)

4. 1965 Ford GT40 Sports/Road
.So hard to choose between 1960’s Lola T70, Fazz P4/512S, Chap 2F and various Porsche’s!

69 gt40 first shot

Ford GT40 Mk1 ‘1075’ on the way to the second of its two Le Mans wins in 1969 for Ickx/Oliver, Rodriguez/Lucien Bianchi won in the same chassis the year before (Getty)

5. 1965/7 Lotus 39 Repco Tasman
.The ex-Clark Coventry Climax FPF engined chassis fitted with Repco ‘740 Series’ Repco 2.5 litre V8 to me the best looking 60’s single-seater of all, with apologies to Dan’s Eagle T1G!

39 surfers 68

Leo Geoghegan in his Lotus 39 Repco in the Surfers Paradise Tasman form-up area in February 1968. Brabham’s BT23E Repco alongside, Clark’s Lotus 49 DFW and Rodriguez BRM P126 to the rear. Clark won the race.Article on the 39 in the ‘pipeline’ @ present (unattributed)

6. 1970 McLaren M8D Chev CanAm
.Bruce’ last masterpiece and sadly the car in which he died.

Click here for M8D article;


Peter Gethin from teammate Denny Hulme, both in M8D Chev’s and Chris Amon in the March 707 Chev in the distance, Laguna Seca? (unattributed)

7. 1970 Ferrari 312B F1
.Fellow ‘class of 1970′ Lotus 72 more edgy but just love that whole series of Flat-12 engined Fazz’.

Click here for 312B article;


Ignazio Giunti, Ferrari 312B, Spa 1970. 4th and best placed of the Ferrari’s in the epic contest between Pedro Rodriguez BRM P153 and Chris Amon’s March 701 Ford. Sadly a lost talent, he died in a pointless accident in the Buenos Aires 1000Km race the following January (unattributed)

8. 1973/5 Lola T330/2 Chev F5000
.Grew up loving these beasts, T330/2 one of the most successful racing cars ever

Click here for the first of a series of article on the T330;

bartlett color sidways

Aussie Kevin Bartlett with the style for which he was renowned. Here subbing for Brian Redman in the Haas/Hall Lola T330 Chev @ the 1973 Laguna Seca L&M US F5000 Championship round DNF . Article on this in the pipeline (unattributed)

9. 1990 Ferrari 640 F1
.Anything more recent too ugly and complex.

Click here for 640 article;


Nigel Mansell wins the 1989 Brazilian GP in the Ferrari 640 3.5 V12. John Barnard designed and innovative in terms of its semi-auto’box (unattributed)

10. 1992 McLaren F1 Road
.My token road car but surely the greatest ever?! Anything by Gordon Murray will do as well.

mcl f1


Time Life Pictures, The Cahier Archive, John Ellacott, Getty Images

Tailpiece: Merry Christmas!…

santa 2


  1. Joe Armour says:

    Thankyou Mark. Your site gives me immense pleasure and I never cease to be amazed at the photographs and detail history you put with them. The Australian focus is great.
    Enjoy your Holiday Season and break in the ‘West

  2. Dale Harvey says:

    Great work Mark. I must agree with your ten most favorite cars except for #1 the Alfa.

  3. daleharvey96 says:

    Great work Mark. I must agree with your selection of ten desirable cars, except for #1 the Alfa.

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