Lorenzo, Clive and Spencer: Boomerang Servo, Sydney 1962…

Posted: September 20, 2017 in F1, Obscurities, Who,What,Where & When...?
Tags: , , , , , , ,

(Joel Wakely)

Two of my favourite drivers are Lorenzo Bandini and Australian Gold Star champion, Spencer Martin but it was quite a surprise to see them in the same shot- Lorenzo in a Cooper and Spencer a Holden…

Joel Wakely’s Boomerang Service Station at Concord, inner-western Sydney was well known amongst Australian motor-racing aficionados by February 1962 as builders of one of the fastest ‘Appendix J’ Holden 48-215/FX sedans in the land peddled very hard by up-and comer Spencer Martin.

The young Sydneysider was soon to race Tasman cars like Bandini’s Cooper for Australian racer/journalist/patron David McKay’s Scuderia Veloce, but that period was still a year or so away. Click here for Spencer’s own account of his racing career;

https://primotipo.com/2015/04/30/spencer-martin-australian-gold-star-champion-19667/

Bandini himself was also on the rise, his racing in the southern summer sun of ’62 was part of Mimmo Dei’s grand plan to give the young Italian some racing miles aboard his Scuderia Centro Sud T53 Cooper in the European ‘off-season’, to get him razor sharp for the rigours of the coming season back home. The 2.8 litre Maserati engined Cooper was very much a ‘big-car’, F1 by then was a 1.5 litre formula, so the experience was valuable for him. It was a successful strategy back then and still is- the New Zealand Toyota Racing Series every summer is a place young racers look to keep themselves race fit and help thrust their careers forward. Click here for my article about Bandini;

https://primotipo.com/2015/03/24/lorenzo-bandinicooper-t53-maserati-warwick-farm-sydney-1962/

The car in the middle of the shot is the gorgeous Clive Adams designed Prad Holden sportscar styled along the lines of a Maserati 300S. Jack Pryor built the chassis and Stan Brown it’s shapely body. Spencer Martin bought, developed and raced the car successfully after Adams sold it.

And so it came to pass that Bandini’s Cooper was operated from the Boomerang Servo at the behest of BP, who supported Centro Sud. It made good sense as the garage was only 25Km from Warwick Farm, near Liverpool on Sydney’s then western outskirts. Wakely recalls that ‘So many people heard about the car at the garage and came down to have a look we had to have crowd control!’

Centro Sud were not exactly renowned for the detail presentation of their cars but even so I thought Lorenzo’s car looked a bit tatty. Perhaps the reason is that it isn’t the car he raced!

Have a look yourself at the photo below, it isn’t the same car. The inlet and exhaust sides of the Maserati engine are on the opposite sides to the Cooper in shot, apart from the body differences. I think the car above is a spare T51 Cooper, one of two acquired by Dei from Coopers in 1959 and raced in both F1 in 1959/60 and the Intercontinental Formula in 1961. Still, that’s my theory it may not be right! So, the question for my Australian friends is which Cooper chassis is Bandini sitting aboard? A Centro Sud spare or another car based that weekend at Concord’s Temple of Speed?…

I love these mysteries, but I like the answers even more…

Lorenzo Bandini in the Centro Sud Cooper T53 Maserati during the ‘Warwick Farm 100’, 4 February 1962. Compare and contrast with the car in the opening shot (John Ellacott)

Bibliography/Photo Credits…

oldracingcars.com, sergent.com, Joel Wakely, John Ellacott

Other Reading…

My other article about Spencer Martin, and the iconic Ferrari 250LM he raced for David McKay

https://primotipo.com/2014/07/03/pete-geoghegan-ferrari-250lm-6321-bathurst-easter-68/

Comments
  1. Alan Howard says:

    Mark,
    I can remember a story about this time of the Cooper being push started in the forecourt of the service station and when it fired up Lorenzo (or the mechanic) took off down Parramatta Road against the traffic. Can anybody vouch for this? Or is it a load of bollocks.
    Regards
    Alan H.

    • markbisset says:

      Ha! Luvvit Alan,
      If I was stupid enough, and i was many times- to fire up my F Vee and drive it around the backstreets of North Balwyn, when it was prepared and I wanted to make sure everything was tickety-boo before the long drive to Calder to test the thing, no doubt the ‘Pros’ of Concord would have done the same thing!
      I 100% believe your tale!
      Mark

  2. Joe Armour says:

    I read a novel based on a young mechanic who preped his own ‘humpy’ Holden at the local garage and his success bought him to the attention of the ‘entrant’ who installed him in the latest Aston Martin for GT racing. This was written in the early – mid 1960s and I do not have my copy, do not remember the title but felt it had to be based on the life of Spencer. I once meet him and asked but he was not aware of the novel. Any clues?

    • markbisset says:

      Cheers Joe,
      News to me but the story sounds like Spencer’s albeit the real life cars are the 250LM and Brabham Climax.
      Maybe one of the Oz book-sellers who see this can assist. Certainly a book I am keen to read.
      Great to hear from you again.
      Mark

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