Archive for December, 2016


(Automobile Year/DPPI)

Nigel Mansell blasts his Lotus 87 Ford through the North Sea sand dunes of the fabulous Dutch circuit on August 30 1981…

Mansell joined the team in 1980, contesting the Austrian, Imola and Canadan Grands Prix.

In Holland he qualified his Cosworth powered Lotus 87 17th in a field of 30, 5 cars were non-qualifiers. His race was a short one though, he retired with an electrical failure on the races first lap. Alain Prost took the Renault RE30 win from Nelson Piquet, Brabham BT49C Ford (Piquet won the drivers title that year and Williams the constructors) and Alan Jones’ Williams FW07C Ford.

Mansell finished his first full season with 8 points, 14th in the drivers championship and a best placing of 3rd at Zolder, Belgium.

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Mansell, Zandvoort 1981. (The Cahier Archive)

Photo Credit…DPPI, The Cahier Archive



Stirling Moss leads the 1956 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in his works Maser 250F…

The dark, gloomy, wet weather shot could be in Europe. Stirling won the 80 lap, 250 mile race held on 2 December 1956 by a lap from teammate Jean Behra, Peter Whitehead’s Ferrari 555 Super Squalo, Reg Hunt’s Maser 250F and Stan Jones similar car.

The excitement of this post Melbourne Olympic Games race meeting run over two weekends I covered in an article about the Australian Tourist Trophy which Moss also won the week before, in another works Maser, this time a 300S, click here to read it;


Moss during the 1958 Melbourne Grand Prix metting in Rob Walker’s Cooper T45 Climax. He raced sans the rear engine cover in the final, such was the heat, so this is a practice shot or heat (Fairfax)


This short article is pictorial in nature, I rather like the justaposition between his win in the conventional, state of the art 250F in 1956 and victory 2 years later in the 1958 Melbourne Grand Prix. This time  Stirling was in a paradigm shifting, mid-engined Cooper, in this case a T45 Climax. He took the first modern era, mid-engined GP win on January 19 1958 in a Cooper T43 Climax at the Buenos Aires circuit in Argentina.

Moss chills in the Albert Park paddock before the off in 1956 (S Landrigan)



Stirling won that 32 lap, 100 mile Albert Park, Melbourne GP race run in super hot conditions on 30 November 1958…

Behind him was Jack Brabham’s similar Cooper T45 Climax 2.2 FPF- Doug Whiteford’s Maser 300S and Bib Stillwell’s Maser 250F were third and fourth.

The race was a Formula Libre event attended by over 70000 spectators. Brabham led away at the start but Moss soon passed him and moved steadily away keeping a strong lead despite easing in the final laps given his cars water temperature, which was off the Smiths clock!

(R Jones)



Melbourne GP start, Jack gets the jump in the centre from Moss on the left, both in Cooper T45’s and Stan Jones Maserati 250F.

Stirling’s car was fitted with an Alf Francis built Coventry Climax FPF, 4 cylinder DOHC, two valve, Weber carbed engine of 2051cc, it was a ‘screamer’ with trick cams and crank. Jack’s T45 toted a 2.2 litre FPF, revised ‘Ersa’ 5 speed ‘box and double wishbone rear suspension.


Jack Brabham ahead of Dick Cobden, Ferrari 125 Chev




The two new-fangled Cooper T45’s were the class of the field, Moss and Jack took a heat apiece. The natural order of things in Australia changed very rapidly, just like everywhere else, albeit the last Australian Grand Prix won by a front-engine car was Stan Jones win at Longford several months after the Albert Park meeting, on 2 March 1959.



Jack’s Cooper being fettled in the Albert Park paddock in 1958, probably a practice day shot, T45 Climax (G Rhodes via KBY191)

Brabham was still on the rise as a driver, he raced in F2 in 1958 (and in the F2 class of some GP’s) but took fourth in the Monaco classic, sixth in the French, seventh in the Portuguese and eighth in the Dutch GP at Zandvoort-all in works F1 Cooper T45’s. His time was shortly to come of course in 1959 and 1960.



Moss takes the chequered flag in his Cooper T45, Melbourne GP, November 1958 (LAT)


Sadly, the 30 November 1958 Albert Park race was the last race meeting until the modern Albert Park era which commenced with the first of the F1 Grands Prix in 1996- or more precisely with some historic events in the years before which ‘softened up the public’ to the concept. The use of the park for motor racing became enmeshed in fifties Victorian State politics, the net result was the end of racing for nearly forty years.

Barry Green observed in his book, ‘Glory Days’, ‘In many ways that final meeting represented a changing of the guard. The two nimble, little rear-engined cars had blitzed the field, underscoring the fact that the writing was on the wall for the big, front engined cars’.

‘So too, the days of the wealthy sporting amateur, of racing for a silver cup and the fun of it all. Professionalism had arrived- to see that, one had to look no further than the darkening sky over Albert Park; to a hovering helicopter, about to pluck Stirling Moss from the crowd and whisk him off to Essendon Airport and connections to the Bahamas for the Nassau Speed Week’.


Start of one of the heats won by Brabham’s Cooper T45 on this side. In the middle is Ted Gray’s big, booming Tornado Chev with Bill Patterson in the white Cooper T43 Climax (R Jones)


Same heat as above- Brabham, Cooper T45 Climax, Ted Gray, Tornado 2 Chev, Stan Jones, Maserati 250F, Tom Clark, Ferrari 555 Super Squalo, Derek Jolly, Lotus 15, Bill Patterson, Cooper T41 and the rest


Checkout this fantastic BP film, supporters of Moss’ attendance at the event, of the 1958 Melbourne GP meeting…




‘Glory Days-Albert Park 1953-8’ Barry Green


Credits…, LAT, Fairfax Media, Graham Rhodes, Simon Landrigan, Robert Jones, Australian Motor Heritage Foundation


Tailpiece: And a fine tail it is too. Moss, Maser 250F and mechanic in more recent times. ‘I won’t remember your number, text me’ is the gist of the conversation…




Seasonal Salutations 2016…

Posted: December 24, 2016 in Obscurities

Down to the local scout-hall in your 250 SWB to pick up a tree (unattributed)

Seasonal Saluations to you all wherever you may live…

This world of ours is as nutty as ever. It’s nice to be able to lose yourself in motor racing I figure!

It’s my third Christmas Primotipo greeting, I started this online magazine in mid-2014 when I had lots of time on my hands working in Adelaide. I’ve now a role based in Melbourne but involves regular travel to Sydney and Perth. It makes writing the longer stuff a lot harder, so contributions from anyone who want to write about their passion are invited! You can see how eclectic the content is, so go for it! My email address is

In that regard many thanks to Stephen Dalton, Nigel Tait and Greg Smith for their articles this year. Similarly Peter Brennan and Rodway Wolfe both provide ongoing sources of material for articles, in Rodway’s case we are bit by bit writing the ‘Repco Racing Story’ with Nigel Tait and Michael Gasking’s Collections providing, rich, never published before Repco visual promotional material.

An army of Australian photographers continue to assist by allowing me to use their wonderful work; John Ellacott, Dick Simpson, Rod MacKenzie, Lindsay Ross, Dale Harvey and David Blanch all spring to mind.


My own Van Diemen RF86 Formula Ford ‘freshen’ is nearly complete, i will rejoin the historic FF grids in Oz in 2017. Interesting car, its one of two chassis used by Peter Verheyen to win the Australian FF Championship in 1987

It continues to boggle my mind that although the content is about 40% Australian that 80% of the readership is global, the top 10 countries in order of size Australia, France, US, Germany, UK, Italy, Japan, Holland, Brazil and Spain. An interesting mix!

Most of all, thanks for reading primotipo!

I’ll mainly be posting shorter stuff over the next few weeks, it’s our summer holidays in this part of the world so me ‘an the sabre-toothed-tigress are off to Seminyak, Bali for a couple of weeks.

Stay well, stay safe, may you all enjoy good health and all the luck you deserve in 2017.

Mark Bisset, 24 December 2016


Lane in Fitzroy, Melbourne, not too far from home





Bobby Kohlrausch and his ‘Magic Midget’ ‘EX127’ during the 1934 ‘IV Internationales Avus-Rennen’ Voiturette race on 27 May, he is getting a leg massage to address the cramp he suffered…

‘In a long, arduous life’ Kohl Rausch achieved Standing and Flying Mile class records in the car of 93.4 and 140.6 mph in 1932′. Kohlrausch didn’t get the best from the car that weekend despite being favoured to win the unofficial 800cc class with the fastest car in the world of its size. Starting from the third row, he pitted after 5 laps complaining of cramp. The race was won by Pierre Veyron’s Bugatti T51A.


Zoller supercharged (look at the size of the thing!) 750cc s/c 115bhp 4 cylinder engine (Zoltan Glass)

A vast crowd turned up to see the Silver Arrows make their race debut in the Grand Prix event, the crowd doubly disappointed when Mercedes withdrew their cars after fuel pump troubles in practice. The Hans Stuck driven Auto Union Type A convincingly led the race by 85 seconds until lap 12 only for clutch problems to intervene. He retired the car allowing Guy Moll to win in a Scuderia Ferrari Alfa P3/Tipo B, not what the punters came to see at all, a story for another time…


Kohlrausch in EX127, Avus 1934 (unattributed)

The ‘EX127’ single seater, oblique or off-centre transmission car was designed as a record breaker rather than a circuit racer. After a great deal of trying with a good deal of misfortune the car finally broke the 120mph barrier, achieving 120.56mph in George Eyston’s hands at Montlhery in December 1932.










This was going to be a ‘quickie’ around the pictures at the articles outset but as usual my inquisitiveness got the better of me, this time stimulated by my friend Patrick Ryan, an enthusiast of considerable knowledge who identified the shot below as Bobby K rather than Goldie Gardner, I was not even close!


Bobby K in MG EX127 at the first Grossglockner Hillclimb on 4 August 1935, 4th best time of the day 15;10.3 with a 750cc s/c car (ullstein bild)

Kohlraush was born to affluent parents in Eisenach in 1904, he raced motorcycles from around the time he was apprenticed to the local Dixi car factory. His folks, concerned about his safety, bought him a BMW roadster to get him off ‘bikes. Soon he was competing, initially at the Kesselberg Hillclimb and soon the Nurburgring. So quick was the BMW Wartburg roadster that Bobby was offered an experimental engine by the works, he reputedly won 27 races so equipped in 1930/3.

bob austin

Bobby K in his Austin 7 ‘Rubber Duck, Berlin 1933 (Zoltan Glass)

His Austin 7 ‘Rubber Duck’ was a record breaker which was also raced by BK, he soon switched to ‘EX127’ which he bought off George Eyston. Equipped with a ‘Q Type’ engine the car did 130mph and later 140mph on the Frankfurt Autobahn. He raced the car at the Avus in 1934/5, the Nurburgring and various hillclimbs.

His performances were impressive enough to be offered a ride as a cadet or test driver with Auto Union in 1935, although he does not appear to have raced one of the awesome, V16 mid-engined beasties.

He contested the Voiturette Swiss GP ‘Prix de Berne’ on 25 August 1935, having engine troubles and retiring on lap 14, Dick Seaman took a good win in his ERA B Type.

bob mg

Bobby K in MG EX127 at the Grossglocker Hillclimb, Austria in 1935, he was 4 th quickest, Tadini’s much more powerful works Alfa P3 the winner. Climb circa 19.5Km, Motorsport magazine said his run ‘was stirring climb…a superlative climb in 13 minutes 10.3 seconds’, he won the under 1100cc class (unattributed)

In 1937 EX127 was bought by Mercedes Benz, some say perhaps on Hitler’s orders. Dyno tests revealed 115bhp@7000rpm or 153.3bhp per litre. A 3 litre engines implied output is 460bhp which became the benchmark for the M154 engine, the M163 achieved the target in 1939.

Post-war Bobby raced on in East Germany in the 750cc LTE Juwel built by Ferdi Lehder Bobby renamed the ‘GvB’, a pretty front-engined car in which he contested the 1950 German F3 Championship. His intention to supercharge the 500cc BMW engine and race it as an F2 car was never realised, he died of a heart attack enroute to a hillclimb at Schauinsland on 9 August 1953.

bobby f3

Bobby K sorting an engine problem in his GvB, Schauinsland-Racetrack, in the Black Forest, Baden-Wurttemberg, 4 August 1951. What a curvaceous little car (Willy Pragher)


Zoltan Glass, Triple M Register, Patrick Ryan,, Getty Images, Imagno, Ullstein Bild, Willy Pragher, Science & Society Picture Library

Tailpiece: George Eyston in the Magic Midget EX127 outside the Abingdon factory…




Roger Penske fits the mould of racer, billionaire rather nicely, as a model he doesn’t look quite so comfy…

I found these ‘Zerex Special’ shots, as is so often the case lookin’ for something else. They are interesting in an historical context in the journey this ‘chassis’ took. ‘F1-16-61’ was built as a Cooper T53 GP car then converted into an ‘edgy’ central seat sportscar by Penske and his team. It then evolved into a two-seater and finally passed into Bruce McLaren’s hands as a foundation piece in his journey to ultimate CanAm domination a few years later.

So, in the McLaren pantheon, its an important car. I wrote about it early in 2015, click here to read the article;


Cooper fans will easily pick the origins of the chassis. Both the photo date, September 1963, and the two equally sized seats reveal this to be the ‘third evolution’ of the car.

When the SCCA regulators, aided and abetted by some very cranky competitors and car owners ‘cracked the shits’ with Roger’s innovative Rule Bender they re-wrote the regs to ensure sportscars were two seaters rather than Rogers ‘seat and a bit’ approach. This is the rebuild of the car at that time to meet the new rules…


James Drake




lotus boys

Nina Rindt keeping a close eye on Jochen, Jo Siffert and Graham Hill all doing their best to focus on their Loti and need for speed rather than the black booted babe…

A famous Rainer Schlegelmilch shot at Monza in 1969, i don’t think its ever been established exactly who ‘boots’ is? Quite a tidy unit.

Jackie Stewart took the race, the best placed Lotus 49 was Rindt in 2nd. Siffert was classified 8th but withdrew with engine failure, Hill retired his 49 the lap before Jo with driveshaft failure and was classified 9th.

Photo…Rainer Schlegelmilch

monaco fan moss

(Maurice Jarnoux)

The Mercedes Benz 1955 1,2; Fangio and Moss in W196, 22 May 1955…

Mercedes had three 1/2 finishes for the year; at Spa and Zandvoort when Fangio led Moss and at Aintree where Moss led Fangio. At Monaco things were looking good for another but JM’s car broke a rear axle on lap 49 and Moss had an engine failure in the closing laps of the race (lap 80 of 100).



Maurice Trintignant (above) took a somewhat lucky, but well deserved win in his Ferrari 625 from Eugenio Castellotti’s Lancia D50, the Italian putting in a charge in the final stages of the race trying to catch the Frenchman.


Ascari and Castelotti in D50’s ahead of Behra’s 250F, later in the race but before lap 80 when Alberto took his afternoon swim (Jarnoux)


Moss discussing the Mercedes teams prospects with its legendary engineer/test driver Rudy Uhlenhaut during Monaco practice. This car was comprehensively rooted later in the day when Hans Hermann had a bad accident, hurting himself as well as the W196. Andre Simon was brought into the team to race the spare (GP Library)

This was the famous race in which Alberto Ascari crashed his Lancia D50 into the harbour perhaps distracted by Moss’ engine problems in front of him late in the race. He popped to the surface unharmed but was killed several days later testing a Ferrari sportscar at Monza.


Ascari’s D50 cruises past Lance Macklin’s Maser 250F, DNQ. Ascari 2nd on the grid (unattributed)


It was a pivotal time in the history of GP racing; Ascari’s death robbed Lancia of the driver around which its GP campaign was built and Gianni Lancia’s lavish race program was quickly driving his company into insolvency.

The famous ‘handover’ of Lancia assets to Ferrari occurred later in the year, solving Enzo’s immediate need of competitive cars. The ‘sponsorship’ in the form of an annual contribution to the Scuderia’s budget from Fiat laid the foundations of a strategic partnership which, via ownership of the road-car division from 1969 and ultimate acquisition of the company upon Enzo Ferrari’s death continues today.


Louis Chiron 6th let’s teammate Gigi Villoresi 5th Lancia D50 past whilst Jean Behra’s equal 3rd placed (with Cesare Perdisa) Maser 250F threatens (GP Library)


Farina’s Ferrari 625 4th about to be swallowed by Ascari’s Lancia D50 (GP Library)


That! high speed Mercedes transporter, Monaco 1955 (GP Library)


Maurice Jarnoux, GP Library


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Moss heading up the hill from Ste Devote,  Monaco 1955, Mercedes W196 (unattributed)


The master in the lead; Fangio led from pole until transmission dramas intervened on lap 49, Benz W196, Monaco ’55 (unattributed)