(J Lineham)

Reg Hunt #5 and Guerino Bertocchi #7 in Maserati 250Fs prior to Saturday practice, Albert Park, Australian Grand Prix, 1 December 1956…

Hunt looks pretty happy with himself whilst Maserati’s legendary tester/mechanic Bertocchi wonders if everything is AOK with the Moss #2501. To the left of Hunt’s car is Tom Sulman’s Aston Martin DB3S.

James Lineham had a fantastic day at the ‘Park, the sun shone making it ideal for spectators, especially those with cameras. He used his expensive colour film wisely in the paddock, his camera wasn’t sophisticated, so best to take snaps of stationary or slow moving cars. Then he shot off some monochrome action work whilst he walked Albert Park’s huge expanse.

Bib Stillwell’s Jag XKD perhaps, on Lakeside Drive looking to the south of Albert Park Lake (J Lineham)
Paul England’s superb Ausca Holden-Repco, built after-hours by England at Repco Research (I Curwen-Walker)

James life spanned 1925 to 1997, he was a young enthusiast aged 31 when he attended this meeting. After his death his wife carefully went through all of his precious belongings, found these photographs and donated them to the State Library of Victoria for enthusiasts like you and I to see, in 2014.

Many thanks James and Catherine Lineham. Blurry though some of them are, they ooze atmosphere of a weekend spoken about in reverential terms by those fortunate enough to have attended. One of the journalists of the day, wrote of the weekend as ‘when Australian motor racing came of age’.

Moss or Behra Maser 300S on the pit or main straight, Aughtie Drive. Race direction these days the other direction, or clockwise (J Lineham)
Tom Sulman’s Aston Martin DB3S with Tom in the blazer at right (I Curwen-Walker)
Circuit map from the meeting program (G Dobie)

I’m obsessed with a few circuits in Australia in particular; Warwick Farm, Mount Panorama, Longford, Lobethal and Albert Park – Longford and the ‘Park especially. I live in Windsor 750 metres from Albert Park’s Austin Healey Corner/Turn 13, the Union Street/Queens Road second gear right-hander.

I run around it every other day, I think about the fellows who conquered it’s oh-so-quick unguarded challenges in the 1950s and do so in much more safety today. I feel its wonderful rhythm, vibe and sense of history all the time. These snaps gimme that vibe, Albert Park is a wonderful place to be even at 5.15am with only the park’s Daffy Ducks as company!

When originally posted, the article comprised James’ shots only, but the piece has grown over the years as other photographs have appeared online and I have plucked them from certain obscurity on FB.

Vrrooom in a six-cylinder 3-litre, DOHC kinda-way. Moss Maser 300S. Aughtie Drive from the Olympic Tyres Bridge (J Lineham)
Reg Parnell’s Ferrari 555 Super Squalo with Peter Whitehead’s similar car at left (I Curwen-Walker)
3.4-litre, DOHC, two-valve engine of Parnell’s car (I Curwen-Walker)

Attached are links to articles already written about this motor racing fortnight during the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games which ‘put Melbourne, if not Australia on the map’.

In fact James had a big choice to make that day. He could have taken a vantage point on the men’s marathon course from Clayton to the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Algerian born Frenchman Alain Mimoun won it in 2:25.00 from Franjo Mihalic of Yugoslavia a minute and a half behind.

The Australian Tourist Trophy; https://primotipo.com/2016/01/29/1956-australian-tourist-trophy-albert-park/ and Australian Grand Prix; https://primotipo.com/2016/12/27/moss-at-albert-park/

Jean Behra, Maserati 250F (J Lineham)

The short story of the race is that Stirling Moss won the 80 lap, 250 mile event on 2 December 1956…

He did so by a lap from teammate Jean Behra, Peter Whitehead’s Ferrari 555 Super Squalo, Reg Hunt’s Maserati 250F and Stan Jones’ similar machine. It was a dominant display from the plucky Brit who was always, and still is immensely popular when he visits Australia.

International representation included the two works Officine Maserati drivers Moss and Behra (#1 above) who brought no less than five Masers with them. They shipped three 250Fs, two of the latest specification and an earlier chassis, and two 300S sportscars both of which remained in Australia post event. The cars were based at Reg Hunt’s Holden Dealership just up St Kilda Road on the Nepean Highway in Elsternwick a few kilometres from the circuit, the 300S’ being famously driven between workshop and racetrack.

Stirling Moss enroute to victory in his Maserati 250F (Melbourne Argus)
Prince Bira and Jean Behra in the Albert Park paddock (S Landrigan)

Jean didn’t have a great year, being comprehensively bested by one of the most gifted drivers in the world, but third places at Buenos Aires, Monaco, Reims, Silverstone and at the Nurburgring is hardly shabby. Over the two weekend Australian carnival it was Moss winning both the AGP and the Australian Tourist Trophy held the weekend before.

Moss raced #7 250F chassis number 2501 and Behra #1 2522. The spare car – 2507 – was driven by both Moss and Hunt during practice. At one point it was thought Jack Brabham may race it, not having an AGP ride that year, but it was not to be. A pity, by that stage Jack had two seasons of racing in Europe behind him so would have given all but Moss and Behra a good-go.

Two of the three Officine Maserati works 250Fs, chassis numbers as per text. #1 is Behra’s machine (I Curwen-Walker)

Scuderia Ambrosiana entered two Ferrari 555 Super Squalos powered by 3.4-litre 860 Monza four cylinder engines.

The AGP at this time was run to Formula Libre rules, the cars above were driven by #2 Reg Parnell, chassis number FL9002 and #3 Peter Whitehead, chassis FL9001. Whitehead was a regular visitor to Australia dealing with the family wool business and had won the Australian Grand Prix way back in 1938 aboard his ERA chassis R10B, when he was 24, in 1956 he was 42 years of age.

Whitehead started the carnival well winning the Bryson Industries Cup support event to the Australian Tourist Trophy the week before, ahead of Hunt and Kevin Neal, Maserati A6GCM.

Whitehead and Parnell were unlikely to be on the pace of the works Masers but would be good bets as best of the rest, as indeed they were, Peter was third and Reg sixth. The Parnell car remained in Australia, click here to read about it;

Car #9 in the background of the photo above is Lex Davison’s Ferrari 500/625, Alberto Ascari’s 1952/3 dual World F1 Championship winning chassis #0005, iconic in Australia and winner of the 1957 and 1958 AGP’s at Caversham and Bathurst respectively. The 3-litre car, which then carried chassis number #0480 was seventh, five laps behind Moss with various problems.

Behra and Moss at the driver’s briefing (S Landrigan)
(J Lineham)

Ken Wharton was a well credentialled Brit in both single-seaters and sportscars, but his ‘Ecurie Du Puy’ (John Du Puy was an American resident in Switzerland) silver Maserati 250F was said to be, and looked, tired.

Chassis #2521 had been Behra’s works machine – a new car that season – and raced in eight events earlier in the year before being sold to Du Puy. But it looked in-need-of-a-birthday before leaving Europe, it was the latest bit of kit, properly prepared the car was a top-three contender.

Ken retired the car on lap 19 and then journeyed on to race the Maserati and his Ferrari Monza in New Zealand that summer, unfortunately dying in a tragic accident aboard the Monza on 12 January 1957 at Ardmore during the NZ GP weekend.

The best prepared and equipped of the locals were the well-heeled Victorian motor dealers, Reg Hunt and Stan Jones in Maserati 250Fs of similar specification and cobbler Lex Davison, who owned a shoe manufacturing and distribution business.

Lex’ Ferrari was older than the 250Fs but was quick with its 3-litre four cylinder, DOHC engine and was beautifully prepared by Alan Ashton at AF Hollins motor engineers just up the road from the ‘Park in Armadale. In fact all three of these cars lived close to the circuit. Hunt was fourth, and best of the locals, Jones fifth and Davison seventh.

(J Lineham)

Doug Whiteford was another local – very – his dealership/workshop was in Carlisle Street St Kilda, a drop-kick from Albert Park.

Whiteford’s first Talbot-Lago T26C, chassis #110007 was an astute purchase, the robust, simple design was well suited to Australian events. It was beautifully prepared and driven by ‘Dicer Doug’ who won two of his three AGPs in it, at Bathurst in 1952 and at Albert Park in 1953. Click here for a piece on Doug’s TLs;

The purchase of the second T26C (photo above) wasn’t quite so smart though. An earlier chassis #110002 but later spec mechanically than #110007 sounded ok but the game in Oz had moved on. He needed something more modern and competitive.

Whiteford was a consistent third in the ’55 AGP at Port Wakefield behind Brabham and Hunt but by ’56 the old Talbot Lago was simply not on the pace. Still, his bankroll was more modest at the top level than most. A shame, as Doug, 42 then and as vastly experienced and tough as they come didn’t give a yard to any of the locals. Whiteford in a 250F or something of that performance envelope would have been worth travelling a few miles to see. It’s a shame he bought a 300S off Maserati after this meeting rather than a 250F.

The Whiteford Talbot Lago T26C in the paddock, and below being pushed by Doug and the crew towards the start (I Curwen-Walker)
Kevin Neal, Maserati A6GCM 2.5-litre (J Lineham)

Reg Hunt made everybody take notice in his ‘Flying Bedstead’ Hunt JAP Spl in hillclimbs and on the circuits in the late 1940s/early 1950s and then refined his craft with a season racing a 500 F3 Cooper machine in the UK in 1954.

On his way back to Oz he acquired a superb Maserati 250F engined Maserati A6GCM chassis #2038 (above with Kevin Neal at the wheel) with which he belted the locals in 1955. Only mechanical failure kept him from the ’55 AGP won by Brabham’s Cooper T40 Bristol. Hunt ordered a 250F for ’56, he was allocated a rebuilt 1955 works machine chassis 2516 with Melbourne haulier Kevin Neal – who had also raced an ex-Hunt Cooper T53 Bristol – the purchaser of the A6GCM.

Neal had a shocker of an AGP, bending the car severely and injuring himself late in the race when he lost the car in the greasy conditions. I wrote a long feature about the A6GCM;

Stan Coffey’s Ferrari 750 Monza sportscar below. He raced the car in the Australian TT, DNF in the classic won by Moss from Behra and Ken Wharton’s Ferrari Monza.

It’s a rare, clear shot of the man, now whatever became of him? There is an obscure article topic, he raced a few interesting cars too, Cooper Bristol etc…

(J Lineham)

Entry List…

(B Moyle)


(J Hunting)

The photograph above is in Reg Hunt’s Elsternwick workshop with Gib Barrett’s #19 Alta GP-2 1.5 s/c alongside Lex Davison’s Ferrari 500/625. Behind are the two Ferrari 555s of Reg Parnell on the left and #3 Peter Whitehead on the right. The other car we can just see at left is the Wharton silver Maserati 250F.

(Gray Family)

Reg Parnell’s Ferrari Super Squalo, Lex Davison’s Ferrari 500/625, looking smaller in comparison, and the dark coloured Kevin Neal Maserati A6GCM which did not look quite so pristine at the end of the weekend.

(I Curwen-Walker)

Quite what is going on here I’m not sure, it’s most certainly not the start of the touring car race!

(I Curwen-Walker)

Derek Jolly’s very successful Lotus 11-esque Decca Mk2 Climax. 13th outright and first in class in the Australian Tourist Trophy won by the Moss Maserati 300S. See here for more on Derek and his cars; https://primotipo.com/2017/11/09/dereks-deccas-and-lotus-15s/

(O Plada)


 8W.forix.com on Maserati 250F chassis numbers, oldracingcars.com

Photo Credits…

James Lineham, State Library of Victoria, Simon Landrigan, Brian Moyle Collection, Gordon Dobie Collection, Oscar Plada, John Hunting, Gray Family Collection, Ian Curwen-Walker, Melbourne Argus


(I Curwen-Walker)

The Maserati corner of the Albert Park paddock, how good would that have been! The factory spare and Behra’s race-car in shot with Kevin Neal’s 2.5-lite A6GCM behind being looked after by the short-arse mechanic.



  1. Rob Bailey says:

    Doug bought the 300s with the thought of more starting/prize money ..sports car racing and Formula libre.

    • markbisset says:

      Yep i know what he did makes sense i guess given he was a pro and looked at all the commercial angles. At 42 he was still young enough to take them all on with a 250F- i guess selfishly I’ve always thought it a shame he didn’t have an outright single-seater car at the same time as Davison, Hunt, Jones and Gray. The races would have been epic contests, then Hunt went and spoiled the show and retired. ’56, ’57, ’58 and even into ’59 could have been great with all that lot in equally competitive cars.

  2. Luc Dekeyzer says:

    Stan Jones had is own team,but on the driverslist i see J,Jones,,,,was Stan his short name?we see also Jack Brabham,Stirling Moss etc,and yes I am still a fan of Alan Jones !!!

    • markbisset says:

      Sounds like a typo to me! Stanley Jones was his full name- I am a big fan of father and son. I’ve written a feature on Stan Luc- have you seen it? Key his name into the primo search engine on the home page.

  3. […] He and Peter Whitehead, in ‘555-1’, raced the cars in the 1956 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park and then did the New Zealand internationals in January/February 1957 before selling the cars locally and then high-tailing it back to Europe. Suss this ’56 AGP piece; https://primotipo.com/2018/01/16/james-linehams-1956-agp-albert-park/ […]

  4. […] Taken from the spectator foot bridge on Pit Straight, Stan was fifth in the race won by Moss’ works 250F, see here; https://primotipo.com/2018/01/16/james-linehams-1956-agp-albert-park/ […]

  5. […] Sometimes I’ve got so many different articles on the same topic I’m confusing myself – not that is difficult to do I might add – so rather than start another ’56 AGP piece I’ve added the shots to this existing article; https://primotipo.com/2018/01/16/james-linehams-1956-agp-albert-park/ […]

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