(M Wiliams)

Lex Davison boots his Tasman Formula ex-Bruce McLaren Cooper T62 Climax off the line at Mount Tarrengower Hillclimb, Maldon, in Victoria’s Goldfields, 25 October 1964…

Davo just loved to compete- anywhere and everywhere. Apart from his four AGP wins he was adept on the dirt in Redex Round Australia Trials competition and in the hills. He won the Australian Hillclimb Championship thrice on the trot from 1955-1957 at Toowoomba, Bathurst and Albany respectively, in all cases aboard the Cooper Mk4 Vincent/Irving.

(M Williams)

This non-championship event was an easy one for the great man. Toorak to Maldon is a nice 150 km drive up the Calder Highway so would have represented a nice weekend away with the car and no doubt a few of his kids.

Having said that Tarrengower is still a very fast, dangerous place especially with a car of the performance envelope of Davo’s GP machine. This T62 chassis was Bruce McLaren’s 1962 Caversham AGP winner before its sale to Lex, and is a car I’ve written a feature about, click here to read it; https://primotipo.com/2016/05/20/bruce-lex-and-rockys-cooper-t62-climax/

The internet gives and gives in terms of photos seeing the light of day after decades hidden in boxes. This wonderful batch were taken by a friend of Max Williams, he posted them on Bob Williamson’s amazing Facebook ‘Old Motor Racing Photographs-Australia’ page. In amongst hundreds of recycled touring car photos are some jewels, including this lot!

(M Williams)

Bob King attended that day, it was ‘..the second hillclimb of the new era, the venue revived by the Vintage Sports Car Club of Victoria, with the event held on 25 October 1964’.

‘Graeme Thomson raced the ex-Whiteford Talbot Lago T26C but ‘Doug was there and advanced the magneto by about half a turn and then did an electric run. In those days the finish was right at the top, and having finished my run i was privileged to see Whiteford sideways across the finish line at about 100 mph. Davo was pretty exciting also taking the FTD with a 50.34 seconds run’.

(M Williams)

Ron Simmonds picked the ex-Whitehead/Jones/Phillips Cooper T38 Jaguar (above) as probably driven by John Ampt at Monks Corner, Templestowe Hillclimb, again in Victoria.

Enthusiast Les Hughes said of the car ‘One of three, the first and shown without body at the Paris Show. It was bought by Peter Whitehead and raced by he and his brother Graham at Le Mans and Dundrod in 1955. He sold it to Jones in New Zealand who made his Australian race debut in it at Albert Park’.

Pictured is the car below at Le Mans ‘…coming through The Esses and about to be passed by the ill-fated Pierre Levegh (Mercedes Benz 300SLR) who would die on this lap. The Cooper Jag retired’.


Another Templestowe shot below , the corner at the end of Banana Straight, the wide loop hairpin onto The Shelf which then led up to The Wall.

Who is it and what is it though?

( M Williams)


Max Williams, Bob King, Les Hughes, Ron Simmonds

Tailpiece: MGA coming out of The Hole at Templestowe heading down to Barons Corner…

(M Williams)


  1. James Calder says:

    I think my elfin type 100 (mono) chassis 6441 holds the outright record at Mt Tarrengower with Steve Lunn the steerer?

  2. […] Reg had a fraught start to his weekend in that DP155 threw a connecting rod during the second day of practice. He was well and truly up the creek sans paddle without a spare engine but via the good graces of Peter Whitehead raced his Cooper T38 Jaguar in the race, a most sporting gesture (and the car Stan Jones acquired that summer). Click here to read about the car; https://primotipo.com/2019/03/05/mount-tarrengower-hillclimb/ […]

  3. […] The climb had not been used for a couple of decades until the Vintage Sports Car Club ran an event on 29 February 1964, FTD that day went to Bill Leach in an E Type Jaguar. The club returned that October when FTD was set by no less than Lex Davison’s Cooper T62 Climax 2.5 Tasman car in 50.34 seconds, Davo was a very experienced hill climber with an Australian Championship amongst his many racing achievements, see here; https://primotipo.com/2019/03/05/mount-tarrengower-hillclimb/ […]

  4. robert king says:

    Mark, I don’t know about the early days, but in the VSCC times – 1964 forward – there were different finishing lines. Initially it was just before the parking area at the top. I will never forget the sight and sound of Davo a bit sideways at 100 mph+ across the finishing line – I was up there because I had just finished a run. Ditto Doug Whiteford having a guest run in Graeme Thompson’s Lago – even more sideways. Madness that was stopped after a Sprite had a big off near the top – was it Dick Sorenson? Like you I won’t forget my mate Will Darvall’s horrendous accident in the Porsche – not the least Brian Burnett cutting him out of the fuel-soaked Porsche with a cut off saw – as course doctor (and competitor!), I had marshalled every fire extinguisher on the mountain to be on standby.
    The start line photo of Hollinger is a beauty – I am guessing the guy in shorts is Nick Langford with Allan Elliot operating the chock.

    • markbisset says:

      Davo and Lex at speed would have been really wild towards or at the top. Darvall was very lucky to survive- I’m glad he went off far enough away from Chris and I, useless as we would have been.
      The shot of Peter is from Tony’s collection, one thought is that was 1978, but I don’t remember seeing him run and I’m sure I would if I did.
      Nick and Leonie Langford would have moved from Mitcham to Castlemaine by then, upon reflection we may have stayed there, too long ago.
      I’ve always loved that area, still do, Maldon in particular- as you can see!

    • Barry Pritchett says:

      Yes that is Nick. He passed away in New Zealand last year. I became his offsider at that event about that time and took over as CoC a while later.

  5. robert king says:

    Mark, I found you first car on facebook just now. I have never seen a picture of it before and then twice in one day. ‘Lindsay Head punts the Riley Austin special’.

  6. […] The car is still in Australia and ‘still in Queensland’! There is a bit about it here; https://primotipo.com/2019/03/05/mount-tarrengower-hillclimb/ […]

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