Archive for December, 2017

Don’t listen to him! Trust me girls, we can get 142 bhp @ 7,600 rpm out of this V8 ’60’ Flattie on methanol!…

The chief mechanic trying to reassure her team she can take on Doug Whiteford’s Ford V8 Special ‘Black Bess’ post-war with a combination of Edelbrock manifold, two Stromberg 2-barrel carbs, Offy heads, Jahns pistons to suit the .030 overbore, a Claysmith crank and Isky cam. Not to forget the hand fabricated extractors.

The first shot was taken during World War 2 at Ford’s Geelong factory in Victoria, Australia. The ladies of the Womens Emergency League, VAD Transport Services and Red Cross are learning how to maintain a Ford V8.

I am interested to know exactly which variant of the venerable Ford Flathead V8 this is, and the car to which it is fitted!

Henry Ford and his ‘flathead’ V8 creation in 1932 (FoMoCo)

Credit…

State Libraries of Victoria/South Australia, FoMoCo

Tailpiece: Doug Whiteford’s ‘Black Bess’ leads the ‘Woodside Handicap’ at Woodside, South Australia on 10 October 1949…

(SLSA)

Click here for an article about Doug Whiteford’s 1950 Australian Grand Prix winning Ford V8 Spl ‘Black Bess’;

https://primotipo.com/2015/05/05/doug-whiteford-black-bess-woodside-south-australia-1949/

Finito…

(Ron Laymon)

Denny Hulme caresses his Repco Brabham ‘RB740’ V8 in the Mosport pits during the Canadian GP weekend, August 1967…

As well he should too, it was this engine which powered his Brabham BT24 to victory in that years drivers championship. Mind, you that statement is not entirely correct as Denny used the ’66 engine, ‘RB620’ early in the season as Jack raced the 740, that engine was only used by the Kiwi after Jack deemed it available and raceworthy to him.

In the meantime Denny scored 4th in South Africa and won at Monaco using RB620 V8’s- those results won Denny the title really, Jack was 6th and failed to finish in the same two races. Denny’s 51 points took the title from Jack’s 46 points and Jim Clark with 41.

Clark from Hill during the 1967 British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Lotus 49 one-two for a while at least, GH retired with engine failure on lap 64 to end a dismal weekend, he crashed after suspension failure on Saturday. Clark won from Hulme’s BT24 and Chris Amon’s Ferrari 312 (Sutton)

Clark’s 4 wins shaded Jack and Denny with two apiece in the epochal Lotus 49 Ford Cosworth. Any design which is competitive over four seasons, inclusive of drivers and manufacturers title wins (Hill in 1968 and Rindt in 1970) is ‘up there’ in the pantheon of great GP cars. The 49’s first win was Clark’s victory at Zandvoort in ’67 upon the cars debut, its last the result of Jochen Rindt’s stunning tiger drive at Monaco in 1970- at his friend Jack Brabham’s expense, the great Aussie pressured into a famous last lap error by the storming Austrian.

Without doubt the Lotus 49 was the car of 1967, its always said it would have won the title with more reliability that it did not have as a brand new car.

But that simple analysis fails to give credit to the Aussies.

The Brabham BT24 was a ‘brand-spankers’ design as well. Tauranac says that it was only his second ‘clean sheet’ GP design, his first was the BT3 Climax which raced from mid-1962. The GeePee Brabhams which followed were evolutions of that design.

 

Love these close-up shots. Its Denny’s BT24 and RB740 engine the cam cover of which has been removed to give us a better look. The cars spaceframe chassis is clear- small car for the era. Based on Tauranac’s BT23 F2 design the engine was tightly proportioned and economical of fuel so the package around could also be tight. From the bottom you can see the distinctive ribs of the 700 block below the top suspension radius rod. To its right is an ally tank held in place by a rubber bungy cord, a fuel collector which picks up from the two, one each side, fuel tanks. SOHC, 2 valve V8, circa 330 bhp in period. Cams chain driven. Note the rail carrying coolant behind and above the camshaft. Fuel injection is the ubiquitous, excellent Lucas product, to the left is the top of the Bosch twin-point distributor. In the centre of the Vee is a hornets nest of carefully fabricated exhausts- wonderful examples of tube bending art. Ferrari fitted 12 within the Vee of its engine in a trend common at the time. The idea was to get the pipes outta the breeze and away from suspension members. What a wonderful bit of kit it is (Laymon)

The ‘RB740’ SOHC, 2 valve, ‘between the Vee’ exhaust engine was also a new design. Both the Repco designed, Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation cast ‘700 Series’ block and the ’40 Series’ heads (the heads were cast by Kevin Drage at Clisby Industries in Adelaide) were new. They were completely different to RB620, albeit the 700 block could and was bolted to 20 Series heads and ancillaries when 620’s were rebuilt and its modified Oldsmobile F85 block cast aside as no longer fit for purpose.

Jack and Repco ‘blooded’ or tested the head design in the early 1967 Tasman races but the block was not ready then- the 2.5 litre 1967 Tasman engines were ‘640 Series’, a combination of the ’67 heads and the 1966 modified by Repco, Olds F85 blocks. The first 700 blocks were used in F1, not the Tasman Series. In fact the early ’67 F1 engines used by Jack were 640’s as well. Denny used 620’s early on in ’67, as mentioned above just to add to the confusion!

My point is that the all new Brabham BT24 Repco won 4 races and took the ’67 drivers and manufacturers titles beating the all new Lotus 49 Ford which also won 4 GP’s- Graham Hill was winless in the other 49 that year. (I’ve ignored the 49’s guest drivers in this analysis)

BT24 sans Hewland DG300 during the German GP weekend. Elegant simplicity of the design laid bare. Spaceframe chassis, rear suspension comprising single top link, inverted lower wishbone, coil spring/damper, twin radius rods and an adjustable roll bar. Eagle eyed Aussies may note the ‘Lukey Muffler’ tipped exhausts (unattributed)

It could also be said that the 49 chassis design was not really all new- the 1966 Lotus 43 is identical in layout inclusive of suspension and using the BRM H16 engine as a stressed member, as the Ford DFV was.

So whaddam I saying?

That the spaceframe Brabham BT24 Repco combination was ‘newer’ than the monocoque Lotus 49 Ford which was really the 43 chassis design, suitably lightened and modified to carry the DFV, a much lighter and fuel efficient moteur than the sensational but corpulent, complex BRM engine. Let the correspondence begin! Here is a link to my Lotus 43 BRM article, form a view yourselves.

https://primotipo.com/2015/02/17/jim-clark-taking-a-deep-breath-lotus-43-brm/

Tell me in a conceptual sense how the 49 chassis and suspension differs from the 43? There was plenty of Ford funded PR hoopla around the Lotus 49, we have all seen the footage. It was hardly going to be the case that Chapman said of the Lotus 49 chassis ‘we needed a known platform to bolt the new engine to, so we used the BRM engined 43 chassis design with minor mods to suit the much lighter, smaller DFV’. Much better to tout the whole lot as ‘all new’- no drama in that, its all fair in a corporate bullshit sense, its just not quite true and largely a myth perpetuated by many over time. Time after time!

Lotus were not the first to use the engine as a stressed part of the car either, although that is widely attributed to Chapman. Jano did it with the D50 Lancia, Ferrari with the 1512 and BRM the P83 H16.

In any event, lets give the Brabham BT24 Repco ‘740’ V8 the respect it deserves but seldom gets.

Clark in the Mosport paddock 1967, his eyes well focused on the fashionably attired young Canadian missy, despite having just bagged pole. Lotus 49 Ford (unattributed)

Canadian GP Mosport- 27 August 1967…

This first Canadian F1 GP was in many ways an exemplar of the words above. Clark and Hill qualified 1-2 with Denny sharing the front row on Q3.

Clark led from the start to be passed by Hulme, Denny’s flat, fat Repco torque curve was more suited to the slippery wet conditions than the DFV which was notoriously abrupt in its power delivery early in its development. Bruce McLaren’s BRM V12 engined M5A was up to 3rd at one point. As the track dried Clark worked his way into the lead- which he kept after rain started again until lap 68 when the engine cut out. Jack won from Denny with Hill in the other 49 4th and Canadian driver Eppie Wietzes a DNF during a Lotus 49 guest drive with the same ignition dramas as Clark.

Maybe the truth is that the difference between the Lotus 49 and Brabham BT24 in 1967 was that Clark sat aboard a Lotus not a Brabham? For sure Jimmy would have been lightning fast in the light, chuckable BT24. Faster than Jack and Denny for sure.

Graham Hill quizzing Jack about the pace of his BT20 ‘640’ at the Silverstone BRDC International trophy in April 1967, Mike Parkes Ferrari 312 took the win from Jack. Red car is Bruce McLaren’s McLaren M4B BRM (Schlegelmilch)

A further point is around car preparation. The 1962/68 World Champion, Hill G, still at the peak of his powers was effectively neutered from the time the 49 appeared by the unreliability of the chassis he drove- of his 9 Lotus 49 starts he retired 7 times. Three of those were engine failures, the others due to driveshaft, suspension, gearbox and clutch problems. Clark retired 3 times in the same 9 races with ignition, suspension and ZF tranny dramas.

Brabham Racing Organisation prepared beautifully consistent cars in 1967 powered by very reliable Repco engines. Factory Brabhams took the championship F1 startline 22 times in 1967 for 4 DNF’s, all due to 740 Series engine failures- Jack’s broken rod at Monaco, both drivers at Spa and Denny’s overheating at Monza.

Clark was far and away the quicker of the two Lotus men- Jim started from pole in 6 of those 9 races, Hill from pole in 3 of them. As I have said before ‘if yer aunty had balls she’d be yer uncle’- but IF Hill had won a race or two that Clark did not, the manufacturers title would have been Lotuses not Brabhams. Because the lads from Hethel did not prepare two equally reliable cars the title was Brabham’s not Lotus’, surely a fair outcome?!

Denny Hulme in his ‘brand spankers’ Brabham BT24 Repco ahead of Chris Amon’s Ferrari 312 during the 1967 French Grand Prix, Bugatti Circuit, Le Mans. Jack won from Denny, Chris retired on lap 47 with a throttle linkage problem. The Ferrari 312 was a big car, the sheer ‘economy’ of the little, light, BT23 F2 derived BT24 shown to good effect in this shot. Note the air-scoop used to cool the fuel metering unit in the Tasman and some of the ‘hot’ races in the GP season (unattributed)

Denny’s 1967…

Didn’t he have a ripper season! In addition to the F1 drivers title he could easily have won the Can Am Series in Bruce McLarens M6A Chev, the first of the wonderful ‘papaya’ cars too. He went back to Mosport a month after the Canadian GP and won the Can Am race in addition to wins at Road America and Bridgehampton. Bruce just won the title with a smidge more reliability than his Kiwi buddy, 30 points to 27.

Denny didn’t have great reliability in the Tasman Series at 1967’s outset but then again the Brabham main game was engine development in advance of the GP season’s commencement. The cars were match fit for the World Championship partially due to development work done in Australasia by Jack, Denny and Repco in January and February whilst Tauranac beavered away on his new BT24 chassis design back in the UK- which is about where we came in!

Michael Gasking in grey coat and Roy Billington in shirtsleeves fitting a 2.5 litre RB640 V8 at Repco Maidstone during the 1967 Tasman. Cars raced in the ’67 Tasman were BT22 ‘F1-1-64’ for Denny and BT23A ‘1’ for Jack. The latter car is very much the F1 ‘BT24 prototype’ being a modified F2 BT23 frame to which the RB640 engine was adapted. Not sure which car is being fettled in this photo. It looks as tho they are about to fire her up- you can just see the end of a white ‘Varley’ battery by Roy’s foot and a red slave battery alongside. The motors Bosch distributor cap is missing but not a big deal to fit. The sound of those engines is oh-so-sweet! Not sure who the other two dudes in shot are, intrigued to know (Gasking)

Who Says Ron Tauranac designed the Brabham BT24?…

The BRO lads based themselves at Repco’s Maidstone headquarters in Melbourne’s western suburbs during the Tasman Series to fit engines before the Kiwi rounds and before/between the Sandown and Longford rounds in Melbourne and Tasmania each year. These two events were traditionally the season enders.

During these trips Jack, Denny, Roy Billington and others out from the UK operated from Maidstone both preparing the cars and spending time with the guys who built their engines. The Repco fellas all have incredibly strong, happy memories of these times.

The sketch below was made by Jack and Denny in the Maidstone lunch-room during a break in the days proceedings on the ‘1967 tour’.

Michael Gasking recalls that in between tea and bikkies the ‘guys were explaining to us what the ’67 F1 car would look like and its key dimensions’- so there you have it, Jack and Denny’s conceptual thoughts on the ’67 F1 car! The funny thing is, at that time, early March 1967 Ron Tauranac may not have been too far advanced with the ’67 chassis, the first didn’t appear until Jack raced BT24/1 at Spa on 18 June.

In the interim Ron was busy at Motor Racing Developments pushing F2 Brabham BT23’s out the door- far more profitable work than knocking together a few F1 cars for Brabham racing Organisation!

In any event, what a wonderful historical document! JB’s rendering of the RB740 engine is sub-optimal mind you, but its clear the guys have taken the time to carefully draw the car in pencil, and then add the dimensions in ink, or ‘biro’ I should say!

(Gasking)

Its hard to compare all of the BT24’s publicly reported dimensions with Jack’s sketches level of detail but the total height of the car at 34 inches tallies, whereas Ron’s final wheelbase was 94 inches rather than Jack’s 91.5 inches.

Re-engineering Jacks total width from tyre to tyre outside extremities at the rear of 69 inches- to a rear track dimension, using his 12 inch wide tyres, gives a rear track calculation of 57 inches for Jack whereas Ron’s was 55 inches.

The little air-ducts either side of the nose and in front of the driver didn’t make it, the steering wheel diameter agrees at 13 inches mind you these were trending down to what became the 10 inch norm. The outboard suspension layout all around is spot on of course, as is the use of a V8 engine…

At the end of the lunch, Michael scooped up the drawing which is now, 50 years later shared with us, many thanks Michael! Wonderful this internet thingy, isn’t it?

(Max Millar)

Related Articles…

On the Repco RB740 engine

https://primotipo.com/2016/08/05/rb740-repcos-1967-f1-championship-winning-v8/

The 1967 Repco Brabham season

https://primotipo.com/2015/09/03/life-magazine-the-big-wheels-of-car-racing-brabham-and-hulme-30-october-1967/

Hulmes 1967

https://primotipo.com/2014/11/24/1967-hulme-stewart-and-clark-levin-new-zealand-tasman-and-beyond/

Tailpiece: 1967 wasn’t all plain sailing, Brabham, Monaco…

(Getty)

Jack looking intently at the sight of his RB740’s Laystall, steel crankshaft. He can see it thru the side of the engines block, an errant connecting rod has punched a hole in its aluminium casing! Dennis Jenkinson’s MotorSport Monaco ’67 race report records that JB started the weekend with an RB640 engine fitted, and popped a new 740 in- which had circa 20bhp more, which he ran-in on Saturday and then qualified with, on pole.

Bandini got the jump at the start with the rod failing on the journey to Mirabeau, whereupon Jack spun on his own oil, travelling backwards all the way to the Station Hairpin, in the middle of the jostling pack. But the robust engine continued to run on 7 cylinders for the journey back to the pits, where this photo was taken, the great Aussie inadvertently trailing oil all the way around the course, the lubricant having an easy path out of the moteur via a not insignificant hole!

The rod problem was quickly fixed by Repco who fitted Carrillo’s- drama solved. The chassis is BT19, Jack’s ’66 Championship winning frame. Brabham first raced a BT24 at Spa on 18 June, Denny did not get his until Le Mans on 2 July. So you might accurately say the ’67 drivers and manufacturers titles were won with a mix of 1966 and 1967 chassis’ and engines!

Bibliography…

 ‘Brabham, Ralt, Honda: The Ron Tauranac Story’ Mike Lawrence, GP Encyclopaedia, Michael Gasking, ‘History of The GP Car’ Doug Nye, Garry Simkin

Photo Credits…

 Ron Laymon, Michael Gasking Collection, Sutton, Getty Images, Max Millar, Vittorio Del Basso

Postscript: Jochen Rindt driving the ring off the BT24 at Kyalami, South Africa on 1 January 1968- he was third behind a Clark, Hill Lotus 49 1-2. Clark’s last F1 win sadly…

 

 

 

 

Gary Knutson and Jerry Mallett with their Lotus 11 Climax at the ‘Garden of The Gods’, Colorado Springs, Colorado circa 1959…

Knutson went on to become one of the ’main men’ during the McLaren ‘Papaya Period’ after doing stints with Traco and Chaparral, but here he is posing with his later business partner and their new car just acquired from Jim Hall.

Its amazing how you find stuff such as this wonderful photograph. I was trying to find the correct spelling of Gary’s surname which I always get wrong- off to Google. Click away. Bingo! The trouble is the photo is on ‘The Nostalgia Forum’, the most content rich motorsport website on the planet. I can never deal with a new thread on TNF in less than an hour.

Tyler Alexander and Gary Knutson tend to their charge in the Bridghampton paddock, 1968. Bruce waits patiently. Both M8A’s had engine dramas this race- Bruce ran a bearing and Denny’s chucked a rod. Mark Donohue won in Roger Penske’s M6B Chev (P Lyons)

Contributions to this thread of TNF include bits by Wally Willmott, Howden Ganley, Jerry Entin and others. Here are some snippets, its not a comprehensive article about Knutson but a pot-pourri of bits and bobs plus a link to a fantastic, detailed article in Hot Rod magazine on development of the Big Block Chev ZL1 V8- Knutson was up to his armpits in that project of course.

The connection to Jim Hall was via Jims brother Chuck who was going to the University of Colorado, at Boulder, as was Knutson. Gary prepared Chuck’s Corvette with which he was third in class at Pikes Peak in 1958.

Knutson and Mallett shortly thereafter saw a sportscar race in Phoenix and were hooked- they then approached Jim via Chuck to buy the 1.5 litre Coventry Climax powered Lotus 11 Le Mans Series 2.

Bruce McLaren and Robin Herd’s superb, simple monocoque M6A Chev- the ’67 Can Am Champ. ’67 engines developed on Al Bartz’ dyno in Van Nuys, Cal by Knutson as McLaren then did not have a dyno- look closely on the rocker cover and you can see the Bartz tag in addition to the McLaren Flower Power one! Cast iron Chev 350, four-bolt main bearing caps, 2.02 /1.60 inch intake/exhaust valves with 4 Weber 48IDA carbs 525 bhp @ 7600 rpm. An additional 25 bhp was gained with the adoption of Lucas fuel injection- Knutson used Traco throttle bodies on a Mickey Thomson cross-ram intake manifold intended for Webers. Also used was a Corvette Rochester fuel injection distributor to drive the metering unit and a Vertex magneto instead of a distributor. McLaren was reported disappointed with the power gain but the improved throttle response and driveability was significant with the M6A’s winning 5 of the 6 rounds and Bruce the championship from Denny (unattributed)

Knutson, born in 1937 lived in Colorado Springs where his mother was a teacher and father a photographer. His mechanical interest started with Soapbox Derby devices, a Maytag washing machine motor powered trike and Briggs and Stratton lawnmower engines, then ‘Whizzer’ ‘bike engines and soon an Ardun flat-head Ford V8 engine which went into a 1932 ‘5 window’ Ford which was ‘dragged’ and hill-climbed. Gary won a dirt hillclimb event in the car aged 16 at Georgetown.

Mallett recalls ‘When we ran the Lotus 11, both of us worked two jobs each to pay for the thing, but we would roll out of Colorado Springs on Friday night at about 7 pm and drive all night to Salt Lake City, Utah, New Mexico or Texas. The first race was in Dallas, Texas and after the all night drive, a shower and a cup of coffee, we really thought we were in the big leagues. Around 8 am a trailer showed up with four Ferraris. It was a long day’.

1967 Chev 350 McLaren engine detail at Road America. Note the Traco throttle bodies and Mickey Thomson magnesium manifold referred to above. Below is the Vertex maggy and roller-rocker valve gear- by whom I wonder? (D Friedman)

Knutson worked for Chaparral in the early days when the Chap 2 was first built and the team comprised Jim Hall and Hap Sharp, chief mechanic Franz Weis, ace fabricator Troy Rogers, with Gary as the engine man. At Traco Engineering before commencing McLaren’s in-house Chevy engine program, he worked on a ‘Who’s Who of all branches of motor racing engines doing 14 hour days with Wally Willmott, with Gary having oversight of the Ford Quad Cam Indy to McLaren F1 engine project.

The in-house CanAm project started with the ’67 McLaren Chev 350 cid engines which produced about 525 bhp @ 7600 rpm on Webers, before Knutson adapted Lucas fuel injection…

At this point, click on this link to a wonderful article in ‘Hot Rod’ magazine about the development of the McLaren Chev aluminium, big block ‘Rat Motors’ in which Knutson was the major player, it’s a beauty;

http://www.hotrod.com/articles/unlimited-rat-motor-racing/

1968 7 litre Chev ally LT1 ‘Rat Motor’. Development work initially done with cast iron block and the new L88 ally heads till the blocks became available. 4.25 inch standard bore and 3.76 inch stroke with Moldex steel crank, Cloyes roller timing chains, cam by Vince Piggins group at Chev R&D. Production solid lifters, Forgedtrue pistons and Carillo rods. Dry sump pumps by Weaver and magnesium dry sump pans by Chev R&D. The L88 heads had 2.19/1.84 inch intake/exhaust valves with the ports enlarged and re-shaped. Crane aluminium roller-rockers. Magnesium intake manifolds had a 2.9 inch bore for each cylinder with a fuel injector into each of the curved and tuned length steel velocity stacks. Intakes were modified Crower with MacKay making the intakes, Lucas metering unit, Vetex magneto and tach drives from magnesium. That lot generated  a real 650 bhp @ 7600 rpm with McLaren quoting 620 in-period . In ’68 the M8A won 4 of the 6 rounds and Denny the title. McLarens won every round of the series (HotRod)

Bibliography…

The Nostalgia Forum, classicscars.com

Photo Credits…

Gary Knutson Collection, Pete Lyons, Dave Friedman Archive, hotrod.com

Tailpiece: Moss, Hulme and Knutson astride another McLaren mechanic, McLaren M6A Chev, Road America 1967…

Stirling Moss is interviewing the winner Denny Hulme whilst Knutson looks pleased that his engine has won first time out. Road Am the first ’67 Can Am round on 3 September. Donohue and Surtees were 2nd/3rd in Lola T70 Mk3B’s with Bruce #4 below out with an oil leak on lap 6 (D Friedman)

Finito…

 

Christmas 2017…

Posted: December 24, 2017 in Who,What,Where & When...?
Tags:

(Pinterest)

Seasonal salutations to you all, I know we don’t all celebrate Christmas, but even for those of us who are not religious its a good time to pause, reflect and be thankful for what we have.

In this case to thankyou all for your ongoing support of this magazine.

In this nutty world ruled by Froot-Loops like Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un we need to just pursue our lives and passions in the knowledge that the ‘ruling class’ to a large extent, fortunately, have limited control over what goes on.

Modern ‘narrow-casting’ and the ability to selectively consume the media you want effectively allows one to filter out the fuckwits. They are there, ever present, but one can largely ignore them.

primotipo is an example of a niche site of the type I refer to, somewhere to lose yourself for a while away from the madness. There you go, a motorsport site with medicinal qualities- and free! How good is that?

I started it whilst working in Adelaide with plenty of time on my hands, on 15 May 2014, have a giggle at my first effort!

https://primotipo.com/2014/05/15/when-im-in-a-car-i/

Several years later there are now over 600 articles, long and short. Some I have enjoyed re-reading, others make me cringe.

I know its getting cold in the Northern Hemisphere just looking at my site stats- when you guys go inside out of the winter chill it makes a difference of anywhere up to 10,000 additional hits a month. Its nice to think I am giving some of you something to do!

Our little community is the same in terms of  the structure of readership as last year.

The ‘Top Ten’ countries are the same as in 2016; Australia, France, United States, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, Holland, Brazil and Spain. 35% of the articles are Australian but only 22% of the readership are ‘Aussies- 78% of you are from other countries. Which is so wonderful! I never figured I would have global readership.

51% of you are from countries where English is not the native tongue either- that amazes me. Other than our large migrant population the average Aussie isn’t bilingual, we all struggle with the Queens English if truth be known- but look at you lot, clever sods that you are!

I don’t think I have had a guest writer this calendar year, which is a pain as i’ve done it all. Freelance contributions on just about any topic are welcome- mind you I owe a few of you big-time to pop up manuscripts you have generously provided.

I continue to get great support from Australian photographers in particular, these blokes are gold- Dick Simpson, John Ellacott, Lynton Hemer, Kevin Drage, Lindsay Ross, Rod MacKenzie, David Blanch, Dale Harvey and Terry Marshall ‘over the ditch’ in New Zealand. Similarly Steve Holmes of ‘The Roaring Season’ tolerates me raiding his wonderful sites photographic archives from time to time.

‘The Nostalgia Forum’ is content rich with a whole swag of Australian enthusiasts adding vast depth to all sorts of arcane topics which has added bigtime to the depth of articles beyond that possible from my own library or experience. There are lots of them but those fellas off the top of my head include John Medley, Ray Bell, Stephen Dalton, Lynton Hemer, Terry Sullivan, David Seldon, Ken Devine (who I met in Perth a month ago- expect some great West Australian content next year folks) Lee Nicholle, Greg Mackie, Bruce Moxon, Spencer Lambert, Wirra and others- apologies to those I forgot.

What can you expect next year? More of the same I think- still pretty random, discovery of a photo inspires the articles- I don’t have a list of topics as such. In recent times various of the State Library Archive’s in Australia have yielded some gold, some of these articles, features, are in the ‘back end’ of the site awaiting up-loading. The Getty Images, staggering global archive is often a source of inspiration too.

My (real) job workload has increased quite a lot this year with regular travel from home in Melbourne to Sydney and Perth so the regime has been three posts a week- a Thursday or Friday feature (anything over 1500 words) an odd or amusing snippet on a Sunday or Monday and another shorter article mid-week is the loose regime I work to.

My favourite articles this year are all about relative obscurities- the ATS 100 GP car, Aussie single-seater ace Bill Patterson, Derek Jolly and his sportscars and the ‘Penrith World Championship’. It is nice to do stuff not every other Tom, Dick, ‘n Harry has written- the hard part is coming up with them and the necessary research material.

Speaking of which- thanks to Martin Stubbs, Stephen Dalton, Rob Bartholomaeus, Patrick Ryan, Nigel Tait, Michael Gasking and Rod Wolfe for ongoing access to their archive or other information and corrections provided. I have no sub-editor so occasionally boo-boos are made- usually when I rely on memory which is dangerous given that particular resource is ageing rapidly.

Thinking of Rodway Wolfe reminds me I have been light on in terms of our Repco articles this year- I’ve done a few but only one of substance. I need to re-focus on that aim of documenting, as best we can, the insiders view of the Repco Sixties Glory Years.

Enough. Thanks for being there, it remains fun- I get a lot of satisfaction knowing I have regular readers in places such as Namibia, Laos, Mongolia, Nepal, Albania and Greenland- not exactly global centres of motor racing!

Finally, out of interest, the three most consistently popular articles are all ‘oldies’ on mainstream global topics- ‘Porsche 917: 1969 The First Season’, ‘RB620’ V8: Building the 1966 World Champion Engine’ (written with Rod Wolfe) and the piece about the Works/Chris Amon/Scuderia Veloce ‘Ferrari P4/Can Am 350 ‘0858’.

There is a lesson there of course, if you want the numbers write on mainstream topics.

For those that have one, enjoy the break!

 

 

WJ Phipps and J Seery drove this 7 hp Citroen Type C from Fremantle, Western Australia to Adelaide, South Australia, Melbourne, Victoria in May 1923, and on to Sydney New South Wales, a  journey of about 3,180 miles…

The West Australian pair left Freo in the 856cc, 4 cylinder, 3 speed small car on 1 May. Phipps originally intended to make the trip on a motor cycle and sidecar but received an offer from the Citroen agents to use the small car instead, he then invited Seery to accompany him. In various reports described as a planned as an attempt on the Fremantle-Sydney transcontinental record, or to prove a small light car could make the challenging journey, the trip became a ‘more leisurely touring drive’ after the loss of four days due to hub damage.

Phipps quipped that ‘When we left Perth we were the laughing stock of all motorists because no-one dreamed we would be able to get through’. Even the cars agents were somewhat dubious about their prospects. The intrepid adventurers travelled all day and night, one sleeping whilst the other drove.

The route chosen took them from Fremantle to Kalgoorlie (WA) Port Augusta to Adelaide (SA) Melbourne and then on to Sydney (Victoria and NSW respectively).

The Perth ‘Daily News’ reported that ‘Despite the fact the whole outfit with luggage weighed 18 cwt, (including 23 gallons of petroleum benzine and 8 gallons of water) the little car had no difficulty in negotiating this heavy route’. For hundreds of miles, the pair followed the transcontinental railway line as much as possible, there was no track at all, with large limestone boulders having to be moved before they could proceed.

The car was delayed by four days near Naretha, 180 miles from Kalgoorlie on the transcontinental railway line, ‘owing to one of the wheels crashing into an obscured stump’ the Citroens hub was broken necessitating a spare to be delivered by rail from Perth. Apart from that mishap they ‘never had a spanner on the car’.

The most challenging part of the trip were the Yardu Sandhills in central WA where the Citroen got through unaided, taking five hours to go 12 miles. Other heavier cars on previous trips having to be hauled through by bullock teams.

Adelaide was reached in 157 driving hours on 11 May, this section of the trip was 1,769 miles. Behrens and Marshall (another report says Maugham-Thiem Motor Works) were the Citroen agents in Adelaide, the photograph of the car is out front of their Flinders Street showrooms.

The car then set off for the 571 miles to Melbourne at 2pm that afternoon 11 May. The other most difficult leg of the trip was the section near Kurow Lake, there, instead of being axle deep in sand, they were axle deep in mud. They arrived in Melbourne at 8 am on 14 May.

After a days rest Phipps and Seery then set of for the 594 mile Sydney leg at 10.45 pm on 16 May via the Hume Highway route. They stopped for a night in Gundagai, wet and cold from exposure and set off again on Saturday arriving that evening, 19 May ‘…in Martin Place with West Australian air’ a quip referring to the fact that the tyres had not been pumped up at any time on the journey. The car was shod with Dunlop ‘Railroad’ tyres, averaged 38-44 miles per gallon, used 1.5 gallons of lubricant with the average speed for the entire trip 16.5 mph.

In a parting shot Phipps said ‘We are on a holiday trip…we will return in the car…we intend on the way back to the West to have some dingo shooting on the Nullarbor Plain’.

I wonder if this significant Citroen survived?

Credits…

WS Smith/State Library of South Australia. ‘The Daily News Perth’ 2 June 1923, ‘Perth Sunday Times’ 20 May 1923, ‘The Express’ Adelaide 11 May 1923

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(SLWA)

Lionel Ayers and Stuart Kostera shake hands after Ayers’ victory in the 35 lap Wanneroo Park, West Australian round of the Australian Sportscar Championship (ASC) on 12 August 1973…

Lionel’s car is a real weapon, a Rennmax, ‘the Big Bertha’ of all of the sportscars built by Bob Britton, powered by a Repco ‘740 Series’ SOHC Lucas injected, 5 litre 500 BHP V8. Stuart raced a Matich SR3 Ford into third place behind Henry Michell who was second in an Elfin 360 Repco 2.5 V8.

Both Ayers and Kostera were ‘sportscar stalwarts’, they raced two-seaters for a decade and more and all over Australia- not easy as Ayers was a Brisbane boy with Stuart from Perth.

A majority of the motor racing in Australia is in the Eastern Seaboard states of Victoria and New South Wales so these blokes would have done a million miles over the years travelling from home base to chase the Tourist Trophy or ASC. As the name suggests the ASC was a national series, the distance from Brisbane to Perth and return for Ayers was about 8600 Km for example!

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Lionel Ayers tips his MRC Lotus 23B Ford into The Viaduct at Longford in 1968. What a shot! (oldracephotos.com/DKeep)

Ayers cut his racing teeth in an MG TC and then progressed into single-seaters such as the Cooper MG and Lotus 20 Ford before racing the first of three Rennmax Engineering built sportscars over the next decade.

The first was the MRC Lotus 23B Ford in which he contested the 1966 Australian Tourist Trophy at Longford. Later came the MRC Mk2 Repco, the last the Rennmax Repco which used the Repco ‘740 Series’ 5 litre V8 and Hewland DG300 ‘box from the MRC Mk2.

MRC ‘Motor Racing Components’ was Ayers company, which prepared the cars and part assembled them in Brisbane but the three cars were Rennmax built. Lionel was a pharmacist but he was also a pretty handy engineer.

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John Harvey and Phil Moore, Wanneroo Park 18 August 1972. Howie Sangster won the ASC round at Wanneroo that year in a McLaren LT170 Chev- this car an amalgam of Lola T70 chassis and McLaren bits (SLWA)

Star of the sportscar ranks at the dawn of the seventies, post the sixties ‘Matich Decade’ was John Harvey in Bob Jane’s superb McLaren M6B Repco.

You could liken Harves to an Australian Mario Andretti in some ways, he was a champion in Speedway Midgets before hitting the circuits and was soon into single-seaters after an initial season in a Cooper S.

The shame is that he wasn’t in 2.5 litre Tasman cars earlier, that he never did a full Tasman Series (only the Oz rounds) and in the F5000 era Bob Jane popped the Bowin P8 to one side way too early. Sponsor, Castrol wanted Bob to run ‘taxis’, so it was tourers and sports sedans the team raced- and in which John excelled.

Harvey won the ASC title at a canter in 1971 and 1972, the car only raced sporadically after that as the team focussed on Touring Cars/Sports Sedans. Bob of course still owns it.

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John Harvey in the Symmons Plains paddock, McLaren M6B ‘740 Series’ Repco V8, November 1972. He won the title in ’72 and that round. Love the juxtaposition of the 1967/8 ‘futuristic’ racer with the (mainly) Holden ‘roadies’ in the background (E French)

The South Australian ‘Elfin 360 Repco twins’, Phil Moore and Henry Michell won the ASC in 1973 and 1974 in two different chassis’.

Garrie Cooper built two very clever cars there (three 360’s were built, the other for Bob Romano was Ford twin-cam powered). In essence they comprised spaceframe chassis sporties built of single-seater F2 Elfin 600E hardware into which he dropped (surplus to requirements with the advent of F5000) ex-Tasman Repco Brabham 2.5 litre V8’s and FT200 Hewland gearboxes. In so doing, he created two light, chuckable, circa 300bhp little rockets which were driven with considerable skill and brio.

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Phil Moore Elfin 360 Repco and Stuart Kostera, Matich SR3 Ford in the Wanneroo Park formup area August 1971. Pinocchios is Howie’s club (SLWA)

In 1973 Moore won the ASC convincingly taking four rounds, Phillip Island, Sandown, Symmons Plains and Oran Park, the latter a night meeting. I would love to have seen those cars, lights ablaze in the dark. Lionel won at Wanneroo and Adelaide International.

The photo below is at the Sandown round in July and shows Phil diving down the inside of  Lionel’s Rennmax at Torana/Peters Corner before the blast up the back straight where I suspect 5 litres of Repco V8 triumphed over 2.5 litres of it! Phil won the round mind you.

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(Aust M Racing Year)

The following year, 1974, Ayers again won two of four rounds, at Adelaide and Calder with Henry Michell taking the title in a year of speed and consistency.

Garrie Cooper took the other two wins in ’74 in his new, epoch shifting, Elfin MS7 Repco Holden.

This one off car was a mix of monocoque chassis and bibs and bobs from his F5000 MR6 parts book including uprights, wheels, suspension and brake componentry, Repco Holden 500bhp V8 and of course the ubiquitous DG300 Hewland transaxle.

The car (below) was a crowd and sponsor pleaser, you can just make out the Ansett logo against the bare aluminium body on the nose of the MS7 which is making its race debut at Adelaide International, just down the road from Edwardstown, where the car was built.

Its 25 August 1974, Ayers won the two ASCC rounds before the Elfin raced, Garrie won the other two at Phillip Island and Symmons Plains. In an unfortunate turn of events Lionel broke both of his arms in a low speed motorcycle accident after the first two rounds of the series, perhaps missing out on a title it would have been wonderful to see him win- mainstay of sporties as he had been.

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(G Cooper Elfin MS7 Repco Holden from Stan Keen, Boral Ford, August 1974 (R Davies)

He promptly retired from the sport and sold the Rennmax but remaining close to the scene. A decade ago he did a brilliant job restoring the Mildren Waggott ‘Yellow Submarine’ made famous by Kevin Bartlett and Frank Gardner. He died in 2013 but his memory lives on in that wonderful car retained and used by his family.

The Rennmax did achieve a national title though- after Lionel sold it.

It passed through Melbourne’s Jim Phillips hands, he raced the car for a few years and then sold it to the ‘Racing Gibsons’ in Benalla. There, at Winton in 1979, with yours truly watching the race, I was contesting the Formula Vee support races that weekend, Paul Gibson won the Australian Tourist Trophy- from none other than Stuart Kostera in the Elfin MS7 Repco Holden. The presentation of the Australian Tourist Trophy to Paul was a very proud moment for father ‘Hoot’ Gibson, a racer himself who raised a family of racers!

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Stuart Kostera’s Matich SR3A Ford looking as ugly as sin. Wanneroo Park 9 June 1975 (SLWA)

Kostera cut his racing teeth in sedans but progressed through an Elfin Catalina Ford to the Matich SR3- this famous car was ex-Matich and Don O’Sullivan- who finished 2nd in the 1969 ASSC in it behind Matich’s famous SR4 Repco.

Stuart continually developed the car, 5 litre Ford, not Repco ‘620 Series’ 4.4 V8 powered as it had originally been to the stage that it won the West Australian Sportscar Championship in 1975 having finished second in 1972 and 1974. At national (ASC) level he was 9th in 1972 and 1973, 12th in 1974, and 5th in the single race ASC at Phillip Island in 1975, the winner Cooper’s MS7.

Stuart Kostera, Matich SR3A Ford Wanneroo Park 1976 (SLWA)

He bought the MS7 Repco Holden from Garrie Cooper, running it as a quasi-works machine, the car mainly based at the Elfin works in Edwardstown, Adelaide rather than Stuart’s hometown of Perth.

Kostera’s first big win in the car was at Phillip Island twelve months after Coopers MS7 victory in the one race 1975 Australian Sports Car Championship. Kostera won the 1976 Australian Tourist Trophy at the same fast, demanding circuit tailor made for powerful devices such as the Elfin.

Kostera was a talented driver, I saw him race both the SR3 and MS7 at most of the Victorian circuits on numerous occasions, he always got the best from these big, demanding cars. The Elfin drive ended after Garrie Cooper’s demise in 1982.

Lionel Ayers, Lakeside, MRC Mk2 Repco Brabham V8 circa 1970 (unattributed)

All of the cars mentioned in this article still exist, the MRC Lotus 23, MRC Mk2 Repco, McLaren M6B, Elfin 360’s, Elfin MS7 and Matich SR3.

The Rennmax has been in Jim Phillip’s ownership (back to him post the Gibsons period of ownership) for decades, and will hopefully one day see the light of day outside the outer east of Melbourne garage where it resides. So too do the two 360’s mind you one of those has been in a garage not too far from the Rennmax for about the same time period!

 Etcetera…

Matich SR3 ‘3’ Ford

This ex-Don O’Sullivan/Frank Matich car evolved, as cars do over time. Attached are a couple of shots of the chassis which defeated Chris Amons Ferrari P4/Can Am 350 during the 1968 Tasman Series sportscar races competitive against more modern designs. The story of the SR3’s and a comprehensive chassis list of all the Matich built cars is in this article on the Matich SR4;

https://primotipo.com/2016/07/15/matich-sr4-repco-by-nigel-tait-and-mark-bisset/

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Stuart Kostera Matich SR3 Ford, Wanneroo Park 18 August 1972. Body of the SR3 not too from the car as built albeit guards modified to take much wider tyres than those of 1967/8 (SLWA)

 

Three years earlier than the shot above, Lakeside. Ayers in the MRC Repco Mk2 from Don O’Sullivan in SR3 ‘3’ Repco from a couple of Lotus 23’s and the rest, circa 1969 (unattributed)

 

Lionel Ayers Rennmax Repco at home shortly after collection from Bob Britton (J Lay)

Credits…

State Library of Western Australia, Terry Walkers Place, Ellis French, Robert Davies, Jeffrey Lay, Australian Motor Racing Year

Tailpiece: Phil and Stuart, ready to roll, ASC Wanneroo August 1972…

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Phil Moore and Stuart Kostera in the Wanneroo Park form up area in 1972. Elfin 360 Repco and Matich SR3 Ford. Howie Sangster won the ’72 Wanneroo ASC round that year, McLaren LT170 Chev from Kostera and Moore (SLWA)

Finito…

Jochen Rindt doing some Brabham ‘grass cutting’ at the Tulln-Langenlebarn airfield circuit in 1967 with the flair and precision for which he was famous…

There are the ‘thinking drivers’ of course but it’s the ones with mesmerising, other worldly driving skills that ultimately excite.

The high priests amongst these fellows are the likes of Nuvolari, Fangio, Peterson, Villeneuve and of course Jochen Rindt. Only two of these chaps died in bed. In the days when racing cars and the geography in which they raced could and did bite, the law of averages, especially if you played with the extremes of the laws of physics too often could bring you undone.

Rindt from JPB at TL in 1968. He won from JPB and Henri Pescarolo in works  Matra MS7 FVA’s. Brabham BT23C’s filled 5 of the top 10 placings (unattributed)

Rindt made his name in F2- he was the dominant player in the class from the time he entered it in 1964 until the time he left planet earth in 1970. For much of that period he raced Brabhams- the chuckability of which were tailor made for the plucky Austrians balls to the wall, tail out, crowd pleasing style. Check out this article about Jochen and the F1 Lotus 72 Ford; https://primotipo.com/2017/05/19/designers-original-intent/

The BT23 family of cars, Tasman and F2/FB variants were ripper cars. They were up there with the very best of customer Brabhams designed by Ron Tauranac, fettled by Jack as to baseline chassis setup and built by Motor Racing Developments in large numbers.

The photos in this article are of Rindt at Tulln-Langenlebaln, Vienna and Thruxton. At TL Rindt’s Winkelmann BT23 FVA won in 1967 from Jack Brabham’s works machine and Jean-Pierre Beltoise’ Matra MS5 FVA , and ‘winged in 1968 from JPB and Henri Pescarolo both aboard  works Matra MS7 FVA’s.

At Thruxton (below) in 1968 he won from JPB in an MS7 FVA and Derek Bell in a BT23C FVA. Jochen also raced a BT23C in ’68, again Winkelmann entered.

Jochen on the way to winning the ‘BARC 200’ at Thruxton on 15 April 1968, Winkelmann BT23C (unattributed)

Bibliography…

F2 Index

Photo Credits…

Unattributed

Tailpiece: Rindt, on it, as usual, BT23C, Tulln-Langenlebaln, Vienna, 14 July 1968…

(unattributed)

James Garner is fitted to a Jim Russell Racing Drivers School Formula 3 car on 14 April 1966…

Jim Russell supervises ‘Pete Aron’s’ preparation for some laps at Snetterton. I wonder exactly what make and model it is?!

The business end of the iconic film ‘Grand Prix’ is about to get underway, the race scenes were filmed, famously, during the 1966 Grand Prix season.

Garner is sharpening his driving skills to cope with the in-car rigours of his role as Peter Aron. Of course he rather enjoyed it all didn’t he, becoming a racer and an entrant of some note.

Garner’s ‘American International Racing’ Lola T70 Mk3B Chev finished second in the 1969 Sebring 12 Hour driven by Ed Leslie and Lothar Motschenbacher behind the winning Penske T70 of Mark Donohue and Chuck Parsons.

By the time these shots were taken in the UK Garner had already done quite a lot of driving under the tutelage of Bob Bondurant in the US, but I wonder if the JRRDS laps were his first in single-seaters?

The ‘Tailpiece’ workshop shot below is on-location at the Cooper, Surbiton, Surrey factory. ‘Pete’ is sitting aboard his Japanese Yamura car which looks rather suspiciously like a Lotus 25 Coventry Climax, the cam-covers of the little 1.5 litre FWMV V8 are removed.

What a film! I wrote a short piece about it ages ago, click here if you’ve not read it, its focus is on Francoise Hardy;

https://primotipo.com/2014/10/17/francoise-hardy-on-the-set-of-grand-prix-1966/

Photo Credits…

Jim Gray, Evening Standard, J Wilds

Tailpiece: Pete being fitted to his Yamura F1 car, July 1966…

The on-circuit shots of the Yamura were of Bruce McLarens 1966 F1 contender, the McLaren M2B that year fitted with Ford, Serennissima and BRM engines. The contract was a nice little earner in the team’s first year in Gee Pee racing. Aron’s helmet design was Chris Amon’s sans the Kiwi logo. Checkout this really interesting article about McLaren’s involvement in the film on mclaren.com;

http://www.mclaren.com/formula1/heritage/action-mclaren-at-the-movies-6114785/

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(K Harris)

The Northern Territory entered Jaguar Mk7 of B Kingston and a Holden 48-215 line up for fuel at Bonds Chalet, Alice Springs during the 1953 Redex Round Australia Trial on 9/10 September…

It’s a quintessential Alice Springs scene, the red-brown parched soil and mid-green eucalypts framed in the distance by the MacDonell Ranges. Most of us of a certain age attended Primary Schools with artwork by Albert Namatjira, in these hues, hanging on the classroom walls.

Adelaide based Bonds Bus Tours provided ‘Parc Ferme’ and refuelling facilities for the rally in Alice Springs. These amazing photos were taken by a longtime employee, Kevin Harris. Rolled gold they are too, even though they are of the cars at rest, with one exception.

The post-war pent-up demand for entertainment, in those much simpler times was massive. Bouyed by an economy which was starting to boom, Australians turned out in their thousands to watch the progress of the 187 participants in the 1953 Redex Round Australia Trial.

In part it was because most roads west of Adelaide were challenging to say the least. The fact that the rules provided that cars were largely unmodified meant that the average man in the street could see how his car, or the one he aspired to own went created some interest. Cars were stock other than for underbody protection, carburettor, exhaust, lighting and instrument modifications.

Many of Australia’s better racing drivers competed, not that they were all household names by any stretch, but many were by the end of the decade in part due to their trial exploits in the years to come. The media, by the standards of the day provided massive coverage also fuelling the fire of public interest.

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Stan Jones Holden 48-215 and O Yates Austin A40 Atlantic, Stan a tough nut purpose built for an endurance event like this, even if his press-on style was not (K Harris)

Fifty thousand people lined the streets of Sydney from the start at the Sydney Showgrounds at Centennial Park on 30 August and lined the route through the major cities the circus traversed. Whilst the event was styled as a reliability trial it was effectively a race as we shall see. So there were plenty of acts of derring do and accidents aplenty.

Name drivers included ‘Gelignite Jack ‘Murray, the ‘Preston Holden Team’ of Holden 48-215’s driven by Lex Davison, Stan Jones and Charlie Dean. David McKay and ‘Curley’ Brydon ran Austin A40’s and Jack Brabham a Holden 48-215. Norman (father of Alan) Hamilton, the Porsche importer entered a 356, Frank Kleinig a Morris Minor. Jack Davey ran a Ford Customline- the popular radio show host broadcast on local radio stations along the route and had a can of hairspray in the glovebox to look his best at all times. Bill McLachlan ran a Customline, Don Gorringe a Jowett Javelin, Peter Antill, a trials ace raced a Plymouth with Eddie Perkins in a Rover 75, Laurie Whitehead ran a Citroen and John Crouch a Peugeot 203, Ken Tubman another.

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Norman Hamilton, Porsche 356, I wonder if this car still exists? (unattributed)

The entry included all of the above as well as an Allard, Vauxhall Velox, Mercedes 200D diesels, MG TD’s, De Soto, Humber Super Snipes and a swag of big, strong 1948 Ford V8’s. In addition were Peugeot 203, Jaguar Mk7, Chrysler Airflow, Hudson Terraplane, Ford Anglia, Zephyr and Consul, Singer 9, Simca, Vanguard, Hillman, Riley and so on!

It isn’t my plan to cover the trial in detail but rather to showcase the Kevin Harris  photographs taken during the Alice Springs stopover on September 9 and 19 1953. A summary of the trial, a heavily truncated version of a couple of other articles follows.

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B Gurdon Austin A40 and Lex Davison Holden 48-215- the ever versatile Victorian racer/businessman was quick in anything or any sort of event from Trials to GP cars (K Harris)

Ted Hoy’s Chrysler Airflow, car #1 later to play a critical part in the result of the event, was the first to leave the showgrounds at 2pm, the last to travel along Driver Avenue was a Queenslander, Miss J. Hill aboard a Renault 750 at 11.33pm.

150,000 people lined the streets through Sydney’s northern suburbs to Hornsby to watch the start of this amazing 6500 mile adventure, the second longest event of this type in the world at the time. The first breakdown was a Jaguar Mk7 which died near the Hawkesbury River only 52 Km from the start!

The leaders averaged about 50 mph (80 km/h) up the Pacific Highway to Brisbane, with mechanical failure taking points from some of the novices. The first bad accident happened near Gin Gin, when Patience/Binks hospitalised themselves after rolling their Ford V8 down an embankment.

The field didn’t strike unsealed roads until after clearing Rockhampton. The challenges began with corrugations, culverts, cattlegrids, washaways, dry creek beds and everything else the vast brown land could throw at them. McLachlan, one of the favourites, lost two hours 15 minutes with water pump failure on his Customline, but still made the Mackay control on time.

In 24 hours’ rest at Townsville, the organisers counted 177 cars in control with 128 clean-sheeters.

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The Antill Chrysler Plymouth, no idea where (unattributed)

At this point the trial stopped being a rally and became a road race.

Word went thru the field that the organisers had decided that if several crews reached Sydney without loss of points, their times on the TownsvilleMt. lsa and Alice SpringsAdelaide sections would decide the winner. They were given 16 hours to cover the 609 miles (980 km) from Townsville to lsa. It was ‘game on’ amongst the racers.

Peter Antill’s Plymouth was fastest with an incredible 13:22. The first car to reach Mt. Isa was Possum Kipling’s, 14 hours 12 minutes after leaving Townsville. He had to get the control officials out of bed, he was so early!

Behind him was a nightmare of crashed cars, irate police and horror stories. Half the field was spread across most of Queensland. Bill McLachlan was directed wrongly in the middle of the night and drove 136 miles (219 km) off course before getting back on the right road, only to hit a cattle grid that had been de-guttered by the field. Stan Jones hit the same grid.

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Bonds Alice Springs vista ( K Harris)

Bill Murray rolled his Plymouth, Hamilton’s Porsche hit a kangaroo and deranged its front suspension, driving the rest of the way into the Isa on the undertray. The last car, Anderson in a Skoda, staggered into town after a 24 hour 44 minute trip following a trail of wreckage

The next stage over bitumen to Darwin, was 1098 miles (1760 km) the average set at 44 mph (71 km/h). Antill hit a galah (indigenous bird) which took out his windscreen, his car already had a cracked chassis.

McLachlan had broken his Customline’s diff housing, but the medium-sized cars, like the Holden of Kipling, who was second into Darwin, and the Rover of Perkins, 3rd into control, were in good shape.

‘Wheels’ magazine in its report of the trial wrote: ‘The myth that the only car suited for Australian conditions was the large American vehicle had been exploded’.

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‘Parc ferme’ #114 Charlie Deans Holden 48-215, the master engineer taking time away from his Repco Research/Maybach race preparation duties but no doubt keeping some kind of eye on his driver S Jones Esq in one of the other ‘works’ Holdens. Stan very much one of the quickest guys in Australia at the time and stiff not to win the Australian Grand Prix in Maybach 1 that November with mechanical problems ( K Harris)

From Darwin 132 cars set out for an easy drive down the bitumen to Alice Springs  for servicing and repairs at Tennant Creek, then on to the Alice.

At Alice Springs the field stopped at Bonds facilities as shown in the photographs. The cars were scheduled in from 8.51am on Saturday the 9th, and out, commencing 12.01am on the 10th.

Of the 41 clean-sheeters who departed Darwin, 38 were there when the field lined up for 368 miles (592 km) of desert to Kingoonya.

This stretch was considered impossible to cover in less than 48 hours- the organisers had set a time of 15 hours 10 minutes. In addition the field were given only one hour’s rest at Kingoonya before despatch for the 424 mile (682 km) run to Adelaide, an an average of 42 mph (68 km/h).

Lex Davison arrived in Kingoonya in an unbelievable 13 hours 39 minutes. Second was Possum Kipling in another Holden in 14:10. Tom Sulman, prominent racer, was fastest in his Humber Super Snipe when he emerged from the desert and drove south to Adelaide.

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Magic scene, the Cusso framed between the truck wotizzit? and old Shell bowsers. Driver is S Levy, NSW (K Harris)

By Adelaide there were 11 clean-sheeters. Crews had to be lifted from their cars after up to 60 hours at the wheel without a break!

 The road had decimated the field, who limped in with hair-raising tales of tying up rear suspensions with tyre chains, living underground at the opal mining settlement of Coober Pedy, jamming coir matting into a broken front end to keep going and crew members going crazy from the dust and heat.

The field of 11 clean-sheeters who left Adelaide faced only bitumen roads through to the finish in Sydney via Melbourne. They were Davison, Kipling and Davies in Holdens, Perkins (Rover), Tubman (Peugeot), Sulman, Ken Robinson and Jack Masling (Humber Snipe), Antill (Plymouth), Nelson (Vanguard) and David McKay (Austin A40).

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HR Smith, Pug 203 from WA, no idea where the crossing is (unattributed)

The journey was easier given the sealed roads and by this stage the police were very stroppy ‘about the crazy high speeds’. As a consequence the organisers threw in a special section or stage to help break up the field.

An 11-mile (17.7 km) stock route was chosen between Marulan and Bowral in NSW, part of a 30-miles (48 km) long elimination section which included a flooded river crossing, Paddy’s River. It was a metre deep with several cars being washed downstream.

Some drivers stopped and fitted protection in front of the radiator before entering the water, but the winner of the event, Ken Tubman was one who elected to drive right through. He stalled, but the 203’s engine restarted.

The Paddy’s River crossing and the strange action of Hoy, the man who had retired his Airflow at Mount Isa, got bogged, with the whole field held up for at least 30 minutes. The drivers naturally tried anything to get around him and save points.

No-one is quite sure what happened to whom or who set up the stage. The contest was so tight it took five hours for the Australian Sporting Car Club to work out that 37 year old Ken Tubman and his navigator, John Marshall won in their Peugeot 203 by 25 seconds from the Robinson Humber Super Snipe- 25 seconds after 10,500 kilometres of murderous country!

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Ken Tubman and John Marshall take the chequered flag in Sydney. Results not announced until some 5 hours later. Peugeot 203 (unattributed)

In one of those ‘Win On Sunday, Sell on Monday’ moments the victory caused a sales rush on Peugeots- every new Pug in the country was sold within a week.

The first Redex Trial went down in the annals of Australian automotive history as one of the harshest long-distance events ever run. It had everything- characters, heroes, bravery, stupidity, crashes, ingenuity and mayhem!

Off the back of its 1953 success, 31 203’s were entered in the 1954 Redex, that year won by Jack Murray’s Ford. Ken Tubman competed in rallies well into his sixties winning a re-run of the trial from ‘Gelignite Jack’ Murray in 1974. He also took part in a 1983 anniversary re-run in a Peugeot 505. He died at his Maitland, NSW home in May 1993.

Bibliography…

Redex.ru, Unique Cars and Parts

Photo Credits…

Kevin Harris

Tailpiece: End where we started with the Kingston Jag Mk7, here  lifting its skirts as it leaves Alice Springs…

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Reg Hunt, second from right, and his band of merry men fettle his Maserati A6GCM at his 182 Brighton Road, Elsternwick, Melbourne car dealership prior to the late March, Moomba races in 1955…

The car is being readied for the Labour Day long weekend, Moomba Races at Albert Park in which Reg did rather well. He won the Saturday 50 mile ‘Argus Cup’ from Doug Whiteford’s Talbot Lago T26C and Ted Gray’s Tornado Ford V8. On the Sunday he won the first heat of the ‘Argus Trophy’ and was well ahead in the 100 mile final when the Masers crown wheel and pinion failed, giving the win to Whiteford.

Otto Stone, racer/engineer looked after this car, it appears a few ‘technicians’ have been grabbed from Reg’s dealership workshop for this photo taken by the crew of  ‘The Argus’ newspaper. The publication was a major sponsor of the race meeting as reflected in the silverware won by Reg, no doubt they published an article encouraging the crowds to come and see the ‘KLG Maserati, the fastest car in Australia’.

I’ve written several articles about this very fast and supremely talented English born Australian racer/businessman who retired way too early. See here; https://primotipo.com/2014/07/19/reg-hunt-australian-ace-of-the-1950s/;

and here, the ’56 Argus Trophy; https://primotipo.com/2014/10/01/1956-argus-trophy-albert-park-reg-hunt-and-lex-davison-maserati-250f-and-a6gcm-ferrari-tipo-500/

there’s more- the ’55 AGP @ Port Wakefield; https://primotipo.com/2017/07/28/battle-of-the-melbourne-motor-dealers/

After a successful season racing a Cooper 500 in the UK in 1954 Reg travelled to Modena and acquired this ex-factory chassis ‘2038’ to race back in Australia.

Toulo de Graffenried aboard his 2 litre Maser A6GCM ‘2038’ in the Goodwood paddock during the Lavant Cup meeting- an event he won on 6 April 1953 from the Roy Salvadori and Tony Rolt Connaught A Types. I wonder who the driver behind the car is? (Getty)

‘2038’ was originally built as a 2 litre F2 car in 1953- raced by Emmanuel de Graffenreid.

Many of you would know the class of the 2 litre 1952/3 F2/Grand Prix formula- F2, which at short notice became the category to which championship Grand Prix events were run in 1952/3 given the paucity of cars at the start of 1952 with Alfa’s withdrawal from GP racing and BRM’s non-appearance- were the simple, fast, 4 cylinder Ferrari 500’s. Especially chassis ‘0005’, the car raced by Alberto Ascari to a record number of wins and two World Championships in 1952 and 1953. That chassis was sold to Tony Gaze and later Lex Davison, it was an iconic racer in Australia in the fifties.

The great engineer Giacchino Colombo joined Maserati from Alfa Romeo for a consultancy which ended about June 1953, he first applied his magic touch to the 1953 A6GCM, squeezing closer the performance gap between the Maser and Ferrari 500.

He changed the engine from being square to oversquare, a bore/stroke of 76.22x72mm, squeezing a few more revs and raised the power of the 2 litre, DOHC, 2 valve, 40 DCO3 Weber carbed, Marelli sparked six cylinder engine to circa 190 bhp @ 9000 rpm. Other tweaks were to the suspension- the inclusion of an A-bracket to better locate the rear axle and brakes. Otherwise the Maserati 4CLT derived twin-tube chassis with hoop shaped bracing at the front and cockpit area, quarter elliptic sprung rigid rear axle with ZF slippery diff, twin front wishbone suspension and excellent Valerio Colotti designed 4 speed gearbox, which mated directly to the engine, were unchanged.

By the end of 1953 it seems fair to say that the high-revving Maser was better suited to the high speed circuits than the Ferrari 500, and whilst  the Maser may have had an edge in top speed the De Dion rear end of the Ferrari put its power down more effectively than the ‘cart sprung’ A6GCM. Maserati would remedy this shortcoming with the design of the 250F of course.

The talented Swiss Baron’s car was mainly entered by Enrico Plate’s team. His best results in 1953 were first placings in the Lavant and Chichester Cups at Goodwood, a heat of the International Trophy at Silverstone and the Eifelrennen at the Nurburgring in May. He was also victorious at the Freiburg Hillclimb in Switzerland.

At championship level his best result was 4th in the Belgian GP when the car was a works rather than a Maserati-Enrico Plate entry. The car was also entered by the works at Zandvoort, the Dutch Grand Prix, two weeks earlier using a new chassis- the car first raced at the Siracuse GP on 22 March 1953. It raced on nine occasions with the original frame.

A chassis of the same number is said to have been raced and crashed by Fangio at Monza on 8 June 1952, breaking has neck. The great man crashed 2 laps into his heat as a result of being fatigued after travelling from the Ulster Trophy race, where he drove a BRM. He flew from Belfast to Paris but could not take his connecting flight to Milan due to fog. He drove a Renault 750 borrowed from Louis Rosier all night  to contest the non-championship GP of Monza Auto Club. He arrived exhausted, started the race from the back of the grid and crashed on the events second lap having run wide at Lesmo, and then thrown out of the car.

Mind you, other sources have the chassis used that day as ‘2034’…

Harry Schell contesting the non-championship Berlin GP at The Avus in 1954 aboard his Maser A6GCM ‘2038’. 8th in the race won by Karl Kling’s Mercedes W196 (Getty

Rebuilt with a Maserati 250F engine, the car was raced during the new 2.5 litre F1 in 1954 by Harry Schell as a private entry with the exception of the Pau GP, when it was works entered.

Schell’s best results in 15 races was a 1st in a heat of the Circuit de Cadours, France, 2nd in the GP di Roma at Castel Fusano and 3rds at Aintree’s Daily Telegraph Trophy and the Circuito di Pescara on the wild Pescara road course beside the Adriatic.

Harry’s last drive of the car was at Aintree on 2 October, ‘2038’ was sold to Hunt shortly thereafter and was soon aboard the ‘Oceania’ heading south for Port Melbourne. Reg was reported as pacing Station Pier anxiously like an expectant father as he waited an hour for the notoriously ‘Bolshie’ Melbourne waterside workers to carefully unload his precious car on Friday 31 December 1954.

Click here for an article on the Maserati 250F, which includes the evolution of these magnificent single-seaters from A6GCM to 250F;

https://primotipo.com/2014/08/21/stirling-moss-monaco-gp-1956-maserati-250f/

In the best tradition of this series of cars, the A6GCM and 250F, there are quite a few variations on the chassis theme, that is, which one is which.

I reference the 8W: Forix records as the most authorative source drawing together research of recent decades, particularly the exhaustive, scholarly, work of David McKinney and Barrie Hobkirk. The sharing and debating of evidence on the internet is a luxury not available to earlier 250F authors. Click below for all of the detail you could wish for, chassis by chassis and author by author including the way the views of the same author changed over time as more exhaustive research was undertaken allowing them to re-appraise conclusions they had earlier reached.

Chassis ‘2038’ was never allocated a 250F number when fitted with the 2.5 litre engine- although chassis ‘2503’ is the number occasionally cited. Nye concludes in relation to ‘2503’ ‘Serial never applied to a true 250F’, McKinney ‘Never built as a 250F’, Pritchard ‘Number not used’.

Given the foregoing, to be clear, ‘2038’ was built in 1953, or 1952 as a 2 litre A6GCM. Fitted with a 2.5 litre 250F engine, but otherwise the same in specification, ‘2038’ is one of the ‘interim A6GCM/250F’ chassis.

http://8w.forix.com/250f-redux.html

Reg Hunt in the Maser A6GCM during the Albert Park, Moomba meeting in late March 1955 (unattributed)

The car arrived in Melbourne in late 1954, Reg soon shook it down at Fishermans Bend before popping it back on a boat to contest the 1955 NZ GP at Ardmore.

He was immediately on the pace qualifying 4th, was 2nd in a heat and ran 2nd to Prince Bira’s 250F until fading brakes slowed him, finally finishing 5th.

Back in Australia the car was the quickest device around winning the Victorian Trophy at Fishermans Bend, the Bathurst 100 scratch race and was hot favourite for the Australian Grand Prix at Port Wakefield in October but was slowed by a cam follower problem- he was 2nd to Brabham’s Cooper T40 Bristol having led initially.

In November the car won two events at Fishermans Bend- the ‘Racers Trophy’ and ‘Lucas Trophy’ both from Lex Davison’s HWM Jaguar. Lex was soon to acquire the Tony Gaze Ferrari 500/625 with which he is so readily associated.

Official extricate Neal from the badly damaged Maser towards the end of the AGP at Albert Park (unattributed)

The Maser was sold to Melbourne haulier Kevin Neal after Reg’s 250F ‘2516’ arrived in early 1956- the car was badly damaged in the ’56 AGP at Albert Park when Neal lost control during a shower of rain late in the race.

Looking as elegant as ever, beautifully repaired, the car reappeared again at a minor sprint meeting at Eildon in country Victoria in 1960. The car was sold to Melbourne’s Colin Hyams in 1962, he used it occasionally, as below at Fishermans Bend.

(C Hyams)

The car then went to the UK in 1965, passing through the hands of Colin Crabbe and Dan Marguiles to Ray Fielding in Scotland in 1972. After many years owned by him and his estate ‘2038’ now resides in a private Swiss collection.

Reg Hunt aboard ‘2038’ at Easter Bathurst 1955. He won the A Grade scratch race and the scratch class of the Bathurst 100 setting the fastest time, an average of 77.8 mph. He was expected to take the lap record but was hampered by lack of his tall diff ratio, this component was damaged at Albert Park the month before. Here Hunt is exiting Hell Corner to start his run up the mountain (AMS)

Reg Hunt in 2017…

This photo and those of the Maser which follow were taken by David Zeunert, President of the Maser Club of Victoria- many thanks to David for sending them in to round out the article. The photo was taken early in 2017 at Reg and Julia Hunts home on Melbournes St Kilda Road- they have a floor in an old historic building. Reg is a spritely, fit 94 and David says is still working in Real Estate Apartment Development with his grandson. Trophy is ‘The KLG Trophy’ with two Masers in is base (D Zeunert)

Etcetera…

 

(E Gobell)

The very rare photographs of the car in colour were taken during the 1955 Australian Grand Prix meeting at Port Wakefield- technical specifications as per text.

(E Gobell)

 

Reg only raced the A6GCM for not quite a year, here is the ad for its sale in Australian Motor Sports February 1956 , I rather like the ‘no idle curiosity’ bit! (D Zeunert)

The photos below via David Zeunert are of the car at home in Switzerland.

Bibliography…

‘Historic Racing Cars in Australia’ John Blanden, 8W Forix.com, ‘Maserati: A Racing History’ Anthony Pritchard, Australian Motor Sports

Photo Credits…

Fairfax, GP Library, Australian Motor Sports, Michael Hickey/Museum of Victoria, David Zeunert Collection

Tailpiece: Brake Enginner, Bart Harven, Reg Hunt, beautifully cast Maser brake drum and sublime A6GCM- circa 240 bhp from its 2 valve, Weber DCO carbed, DOHC 2.5 litre, 6 cylinder engine…

Etcetera: ‘2038’ The Movie or TV Star…

(MOV)

A mystery to solve folks! Since posting the article, reader Michael Hickey posted these amazing photos of ‘2038’ in an Australian movie, or perhaps more likely, TV show on the primotipo Facebook page.

He found the shots on the Museum of Victoria website but they are devoid of details. Tony Matthews thought the ‘driver’ of the car may be Bob Hope- it certainly looks like him. I’m not sure that he did any movies in Australia though. The ‘driver’ could be Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell, a distinguished but now deceased Australian actor. He was in dozens of movies throughout a long career, the most iconic perhaps ‘The Castle’. I don’t recognise the babe, mechanic or baddie.

The crook only has a little gun- ‘yerd reckon they would give him a big one. Lovely A6GCM front suspension detail shot tho! Finned brake drum, forged upright and upper and lower wishbones all clear, as is roll bar. Shocks are Houdaille (MOV)

I can’t make the films Tingwell appeared in work with the photos mind you. Which means it isn’t Bud or perhaps the scenes are from a TV show. You can just make out Reg’s name on the car in the first shot, the limited caption information dates it as October 1955. TV didn’t commence in Australia until the second half of 1956. All ideas or the definitive answer appreciated!

Finito…