Hunt’s GP Maser A6GCM ‘2038’…

Posted: December 12, 2017 in F1, Features
Tags: , , , , , ,

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.

Schell’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 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 my 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.

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, and then passed to the UK in 1965 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…

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…

 

Comments
  1. Pat says:

    Mark, Reckon bloke you ask about is Barber drove a Cooper Bristol Pat

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  2. The driver behind de Graffenried might be Mike Hawthorn – I have seen pictures of him wearing a similar helmet with the huge visor.

  3. Rob Bailey says:

    Fielding family sold it a few years ago.

  4. Rob says:

    Mark,

    Can we actually say that 2038 “was originally built as a 2 litre F1 car”? My understanding is that it was built to Formula 2 specifications, with F2 rather than F1 being the formula applicable for all Grand Prix in both the 1952 and 1953 World Champion of Drivers contests. Certainly we can say that it was an F1 car once it had the 2.5 litre engine fitted.

    Rob

    • markbisset says:

      Rob,
      You are right, F2 became F1 given the paucity of cars to the then F1 4.5 litre / 1.5 litre S/c rules for 1952.
      F2 became F1 or the class for which Grands Prix were contested…
      The description is challenging!
      What is clear is how important the A6GCM was in developing the 250F- the shortcomings of the earlier car were addressed in its successor. In my view, everybodies view I guess, one of THE great GP cars whatever filter you apply. Bias declared!
      Mark

    • markbisset says:

      Rob,
      Have re-worded that paragraph- thanks for picking me up- I think it’s now more correctly put.
      Mark

  5. Jon Crooke says:

    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 THEN SOLD TO DR PETER CROOKE IN MELBOURNE WHO THEN SOLD IT TO COLIN HYAMS.

    The car was sold to Melbourne’s Colin Hyams in 1962

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