Archive for December, 2019

(P Coleby)

Ray Porteous’ JMW leads the John Fleming Austin 7 Spl at Darley, Queens Birthday weekend June 11 to 13 1960…

Darley Army Base, 8km from Bacchus Marsh is a reasonably obscure motor racing venue so Hugh Coleby’s upload of some photographs from his late  father, Peter Coleby’s collection on social media is hugely welcome. Gordon Dobies’s contribution in identifying the cars and drivers is gold too ‘one of the advantages of being old enough to have raced at those meetings and never throwing anything away’ he quipped.

The Preston Motorcycle Club conducted the meeting, whilst I have vaguely heard of the place I thought it was a ‘bikes only venue- clearly that is not so, members of the 250cc and 500cc car clubs were also invited along.

Bacchus Marsh was a tiny rural hamlet when I played in some tennis tournaments there as a kid, I still remember the wonderful lawn courts and Avenue of Honour as you drive into the town which is 60km from Melbourne on the Western Highway- the main road from Melbourne to Adelaide for you internationals.

These days its a big commuter town to Melbourne but when the 4000 members of 4th Infantry Training Brigade, the U.S Marines and others occupied the place they must have wondered what they had struck, Bacchus Marsh let alone Darley would have been microscopic!

Australian, American and Dutch (from the Dutch East Indies/Indonesia) soldiers trained at the camp located on a plateau with rolling hills in the background, before being shipped overseas many of them marryied local gals, the area was used for Citizen Military Force (remember the CMF?) training until the 1970’s.

(AIF)

 

Rifle training at Darley, trusty Lee Enfield 303’s by the look (AIF)

 

(AIF)

Robert Thompson wrote that his late grandfather, Lou Thompson built the camp in 1939- Thompson and Chalmers Pty Ltd took on Simmie & Co as an associate on the large project, Darley Military Camp had over 360 buildings including recreation huts, a Post Office and a 68 bed hospital on 160 hectares of land located at Camerons Road.

When the military moved out post-war most of the infrastructure went as well inclusive of buildings, but, critically, the roads remained, the site soon came to the attention of the Preston Motorcycle Club who were eagerly looking for a venue on which to race.

Ray Porteous, Austin 7 Spl (P Coleby)

 

Extreme narrowness of Darley evident in many of these shots, this one the start of the 1959 Junior A Grade- L>R Eric Hinton AJS 7R, #64 Owen Archibald Norton, #82 Ron Miles Norton, #1 Tom Phillis Norton, #2 Jack Ahearn Velocette. On row 2 are #25 Ray Blackett and Geoff Curley #14 (E Miller)

Working bees of club members soon filled trenches left by the removal of cabling, re-coated the road surface, cleared scrub and removed junk left behind by retreating military forces. By late 1947 the place was ship-shape with the first meeting held on 29 February 1948- the Hartwell and Kew clubs were invited along to join in the fun.

Open meetings soon followed, ‘the main straight, which had a left-hand kink in the middle, was only as wide as a two lane road, while the rest of the rack was even narrower. It made for shoulder to shoulder racing on solos and even closer encounters on outfits’ recorded Old Bike Australia.

Peeling off the Main Straight (Camerons Road) is #8 Alan Osborne, Honda and Tom Phillis Ducati in 1959 (MCN)

 

John Hartnett, Cooper Jap 497cc 1960 (P Coleby)

The Preston club guys were happy to hold a couple of well run meetings a year, fitting many races onto the card without chasing the major titles such as the Australian Tourist Trophy with all of the stars of the day racing there- Frank Mussett, Maurie Quincey, Bert Flood, Jack Ahearn, Keith Brien, Max Stephens, Rex Tilbrook, Alan Wallis, Ken Rumble, Kel Carruthers and others with Quincey the ‘local ace’ in the mid-fifties- he switched to cars later in life remember folks, an ANF2 Elfin 600B Ford twin-cam springs to mind. Max Stephens was another who tried four wheels, he owned and raced the ex-Brabham Cooper T40 Bristol, with some success out of Tasmania.

Easter Monday meetings were common early, the club then settled into a mid-year date on the Kings/Queens Birthday weekend which was usually a frosty, wet experience for both the riders and the punters. The Preston guys were also innovative in running the first one hour race for production machines during the June 1959 program.

Over the years various high profile car racers had a crack at the lap record,  Reg Hunt’s Maserati 250F did a 1:14.1 in 1955 which was bested by multiple Australian Hillclimb Champion Bruce Walton aboard a Cooper Mk9 JAP 1 litre twin in 1960 with a 1:10.8. At that stage the quickest of the bikes was the 1:13.5 achieved by both Eric Hinton and Tom Phillis.

Maurie Quincey and Matchless G80 (C or CS?) on the Darley grid, rider of #1 more interested in the babe behind than the race start!

And below is Quincey aboard an Elfin 600B Ford twin-cam during the 1971 Sandown Tasman meeting, it was after some involuntary aerobatics in this car at Sandown at about this time that he called it quits on his competition career.

By then Maurie was in his late thirties, well after his international bike racing career, inclusive  Isle of Man appearances and running a successful Honda dealership in Moonee Ponds, Melbourne. He died on July 19, 2019 six months ago- see a very interesting article about Maurie here; https://www.oldbikemag.com.au/maurie-quincey-victorian-dominator/

(L Hemer)

 

Maurie Quincey on Bray Hill during the 1955 IOM Junior TT- a splendid fifth aboard a spare works Norton Manx 350. He was offered the bike after going so well on his ‘customer’ 350 and 500 during practice (unattributed)

Back to Darley.

Kel Carruthers appearance on the Honda 250/4 in 1961 would have been really something to see and hear- i bet he frightened the kookaburras flying above the citrus trees in the valley below the track bigtime!  Kel won the Harvey Wiltshire Trophy Lightweight race slicing four seconds off the lap record in the process.

The final meeting took place in 1962, in a thriller of a race Trevor Pound and Ken Rumble passed and re-passed for the whole 15 laps with Pound winning by a bike length, both being credited with a new outright lap record of 1:12.8. Trevor Pound raced in the Manx classic too and never lost his passion for competition, he raced Formula Vees in his dotage.

Whilst plans were being made to race in 1963, on 10 June the farm owner withdrew his permission saying the continued rain in the region had flooded the pit and spectator areas and damaged sections of the track- at late notice the meeting was held at Calder, 30km away.

‘Racing never returned to Darley. A combination of primitive facilities, the narrow and uneven road surface and the remorseless march of civilisation spelled the end of the happy little track. Despite its shortcomings, the circuit had an enviable record for safety and a reputation for slick organisation. With nary a backward glance, the infield area was soon subdivided into building lots and small farms.’

To see the place, drive up Camerons Road, at the top of the hill you are on the plateau, about 100 metres on the right are the remnants of the final corner named ‘St Kilda Junction’ poking at you from a vineyard. At this point you are on the Main Straight with the former pit area- still dotted with concrete slabs from the place’s military past on your left. The straight is about 600 metres long- halfway along is a kink, and opposite that is a monument to Darley Military Camp.

Old Bike Australia concluded a great article with this ‘It takes a little imagination if you weren’t there…but if you stand on the kink and close your eyes, you can still hear the sound of a hundred motorcycles and a dozen or so cars from the 250cc and 500cc Racing Clubs, most with open exhausts warming up.’

‘Wafting through the air is the fragrant  mix of Castrol R and methanol, mingled with the aroma of Hines “Kerosene” pies. The pointed tents of the Hines Catering Company…appear in many of the period photos of Darley, and those who sampled the wares will tell you the kerosene stove that heated the pies produced a pastry of unique taste. A section of canvas behind the servery contained a special nook where the course announcer Frank “Farmac” McDonald and selected others could lubricate their tonsils with a cold ale between races.’

‘Fortunately, on the run back to Melbourne, you won’t have to cope with “Cunningham The Camera Cop”- the notorious plod who used to hide his Thunderbird beside the old stone bridge out of Bacchus Marsh and photograph any who transgressed by crossing the double centre-lines.’

Hasn’t the Old Bike Australia writer painted a wonderful, evocative picture of times long gone?

‘Moe’s Nose’ approach June 1960. South Aussies Ian Hogg and Peter Morgan

 

(C Rice)

Roger Barker leading Ron Miles, note the hay bales and beautiful Darley bush setting.

Barker is on a bike with a ‘Rimond’ fibreglass fairing, a product he helped develop in tests at Ballarat and Darley- these were made in Melbourne by former top clubman racer, Charlie Rice and Bob Edmonds, ‘Rimond’ a combination of their names, about 30 fairings were built. Barker was quoted in the English press as saying they were good for about 12mph or 200rpm using tall gearing. The bike could be a Norton.

The Mudgee born rider, having scored points at the Isle of Man and Assen on Nortons in June, died at Schleiz, Thuringia, East Germany in July 1957 having blacked out in the intense heat of the 500cc race whilst leading aboard a Matchless G45, the conditions were made worse by the engine heat the Rimond fairing trapped. He slid off the bike, hit a tree and died instantly from the impact.

Etcetera…

What to look for on your visit, Camerons Road, Darley 3340.

Credits…

Hugh Coleby, the late Peter Coleby, Gordon Dobie, ‘Old Bike Australasia’ 5 February 2018, Eric Miller, Lynton Hemer, Motor Cycle News, Jim Scaysbrook article on Roger Barker in ‘Old Bike Australasia’, John Wynne Collection

Tailpiece…

(P Coleby)

John Fleming, Austin 7 Spl leading followed by Mel Mason with a couple of unidentified JMW’s in the mix, June 1960. There was a big field of at least eleven cars on this narrow track- intrigued to know the full grid if any of you have a record of the race.

JMW’s were built by John Wynne and his father to fuel John’s passion for racing, click here for an interesting site about the cars; http://members.optusnet.com.au/~pwstone/jmw/jwstory/jmwstory.htm

John Wynne below at Tarrawingee in 1960, the other final shot is of the car at Phillip Island circa 1962.

 

Finito…

lukey

Len Lukeys’ Cooper Bristol, Mount Druitt, NSW in May 1958, having set FTD at 13.53 sec for the standing quarter (J Ellacott)

‘Now that really is a beautiful looking racing car! Wotizzit I wonder’, the young gent seems to thinking…

The smartly attired chap is surveying the lines of Len Lukey’s Cooper T23 Bristol at Mount Druitt in Sydney’s west in May 1958. Len Lukey was both a champion driver and successful businessman, founding ‘Lukey Mufflers’ in the 1950’s, a brand still respected today.

Melbourne born, Lukey started racing relatively late, aged 32 having established and built his ‘Lukey Mufflers’ business from its Nepean Highway, Highett base. Generations of enthusiasts are aware of his name because of the original equipment and performance exhausts and mufflers he produced. No lowered, worked EH Holden with wide ‘chromies’ and twin SU’s was complete without the distinctive Lukey logo being displayed on its exhaust’s for following traffic to know its performance intent.

Lukey started competition in the Victorian hills with a side-valve Ford Mainline Ute, Australia’s ubiquitous workhorse down the decades. It was in this car at the opening Altona meeting in 1954 that he frightened the life out of Stan Jones in Maybach when he spun whilst coming through The Esses, the car looking all the while as though it had lost its way transporting a load of mufflers from Highett to Williamstown. The competition regulator, the CAMS, frowned upon the use of such a utilitarian vehicles in racing so he switched to the first of a series of Ford Customlines.

Len Lukey, Ford Customline, Rob Roy, 1957 (B King)

 

image

Equipe Lukey during the 1959 AGP weekend at Longford, Cooper T45 Climax- unknown, Neil Marsden, Helen Lukey, Claude Morton and Len Lukey (Jock Walkem)

 

Awesome shot at the start of the 1959 AGP at Longford, showing not least how narrow the track was then- the old start line was on The Flying Mile towards Mountford Corner. Winner Stan Jones has the jump in his Maserati 250F, then Len, partially obscured in his Cooper T45 Climax, then Arnold Glass, Maserati 250F, Doug Whiteford, Maserati 300S, Ron Phillips, Cooper T33 Jaguar, Alec Mildren, Cooper T45 Climax and the rest (unattributed, I’d love to know the name of the photographer)

Its interesting to review the stunning march of touring car domination of Australian motor racing and look at the role Len Lukey had in its rise. Australian Motor Sports had this to say in its January 1960 issue, ‘…there can be no doubt that by tuning these massive cars to the highest possible pitch, Len Lukey started the ball rolling towards the day when the term production car racing became such a farce that a special Gran Turismo Class had to be instituted’.

Lukey had some spectacular moments as he learned his craft, a trip through the hay bales at Albert Park and a lucky roll at Phillip Island- there was no rollover protection in those days, both were lucky escapes.

The car was timed at 106mph at Gnoo Blas, Orange in 1956 beating both Jack Myers and the Aldis Bristol. His dices against Jack Myers, the Sydney Holden driver were crowd pleasers in the way Geoghegan/Beechey battles were a little further down the track.

He soon took hillclimb class records at Rob Roy, Hepburn Springs and Templestowe, all in Victoria.

Both Myers and Lukey progressed into single seaters via Cooper Bristols. In Lukey’s case his ascent to the top was quicker than just about any Gold Star winner, and then, he almost immediately upon achieving the prestigious award in the longest ever season- twelve rounds in five states, retired as a competitor but remained in the sport as a circuit owner and sponsor.

Team Lukey during the 1957 AGP weekend at Caversham- Customline and Cooper T23 Bristol (K Devine)

Lukey commenced racing the ex Reg Hunt/Kevin Neal Cooper Bristol in 1956…

He was ninth in the ‘Olympic’ Australian Grand Prix won by Stirling Moss at Albert Park in a works Maserati 250F.

In the 100 mile Victorian Trophy Race he was fifth behind Davison’s Ferrari 500/625 3 litre, Brabham’s Cooper Climax, Doug Whiteford’s Maserati 300S and Tom Hawkes’ Cooper T23 Holden, it was an auspicious open-wheeler debut. He started a campaign to contest the Gold Star the following year- the first time the Australian Drivers Championship had been contested.

The season commenced at Caversham, 16km from Perth, held in searing heat and famously won, after much argument about lap-counting, by Davison’s Ferrari which was shared by Lex and Bill Patterson- Len was fourth in a fast reliable run in the Cooper. He was fifth at Albert Park and then late in the season scored two thirds in the New South Wales Road Racing Championships at Mount Panorama and in the Port Wakefield Trophy held at the South Australian circuit in rough bush country 100km north-west of Adelaide.

He set Australian National Speed Records in both the Cooper- 147.4mph, and the Customline at 123.3mph outside Coonabaraban in north-western NSW in 1957.

The Cusso was timed one way at 130mph, the car that weekend festooned with masking tape, shields over its headlights, an enclosed radiator and sealed doors and boot to squeeze every bit of speed from the beast. Len had to enter the car through the windows, safety again very much to the fore!

The car which ran at Coonabarabran was a new shell, but all the learnings and good bits of the earlier one were transferred across. Len raced it for a further year before being selling it to Melbourne driver Owen Bailey but it was badly damaged in an accident at Albert Park in 1958, Bailey’s first meeting in it.

On the way to winning the ‘South Australian Trophy’, Gold Star round at Port Wakefield in April 1958, Cooper T23 Bristol (unattributed)

 

Lukey at Albert Park during the Melbourne GP in November 1958, Lukey Bristol, Jaguar Corner. ‘Vanwall-esque’ nature of the body clear if not as beautiful in execution (B King)

 

lukey

Len Lukey being congratulated by Derek Jolley for his 2nd place in the October 1958 Victorian Road Racing Champinsghip at Fishernans Bend. Lukey Bristol, Ted Gray won in Tornado 2 Chev (K Drage)

Its amazing to compare and contrast the short four or five round Gold Star contests of later years with the more arduous nature of the series earlier on, particularly given the standard of Australian highways then.

The 1958 award was contested over nine rounds starting at Orange in New South Wales, from there to Fishermans Bend in Melbourne, then south across Bass Straight to Longford, to Port Wakefield north of Adelaide in South Australia, then two rounds at Lowood, Queensland in June and August- so I guess depending upon other race commitments one could leave your car up north- then to Mount Panorama, Bathurst New South Wales for the Australian Grand Prix in October and then, finally two rounds in Victoria- Albert Park in November and Phillip Island in early December.

The 1959 Gold Star was held over a staggering twelve rounds- and so it was that Len committed himself to a couple of serious tilts at the title in 1958 and 1959, the lessons learned in 1958 were applied with great success the following year when he won the title.

Len was third in the opening South Pacific Championship round at Gnoo, Blas Orange in January, Jack Brabham won that event in his Cooper T43 Climax but was ineligible for Gold Star points as a non-resident.

Back home to Victoria Len was then fourth at Fishermans Bend in February and fifth in the Longford Trophy in March. Stan Jones won at the Bend and Ted Gray at Longford in the big ‘booming Chev Corvette 283cid V8 engined Tornado 2.

He scored his first splendid Gold star win in the South Australian Trophy at Port Wakefield in April, winning from Austin Miller’s Cooper T41 Climax and Keith Rilstone in the amazing Zephyr Special s/c.

Then followed a long haul back to Melbourne to ready the car and then a 1650km tow to Lowood Queensland for the two rounds held on the disused airfield circuit.

He bagged a pair of thirds in the Queensland Road Racing Championship at Lowood in June and the Lowood Trophy in August- Alec Mildren won both of these events in his Cooper T43 Climax, with Len looking lovingly and with considerable longing for one of these mid-engined cars, an aim he would realise before the year was out.

Len had developed his own thoughts on how to improve the performance of his Cooper and built a new spaceframe, high-bodied chassis, the ‘Lukey Bristol’ into which the mechanicals of the factory car were fitted.

Ready for the AGP, the car was taken to Bathurst but finished a distant sixth, two laps in arrears of Lex Davison, Ern Seeliger and Tom Hawkes aboard 3 litre Ferrari 500/625, 4.6 litre Maybach 4 Chev and 2.3 litre Cooper T23 Holden-Repco respectively.

The last two round of the championship were back in Victoria, he was fifth in the Melbourne Grand Prix, an exciting race weekend in which Stirling Moss and Jack Brabham scrapped at the front of the field in 2.2 litre Cooper T45 Climaxes- the race was won by Moss from Brabham then Doug Whiteford’s Maserati 300S, Bib Stillwell’s ex-Hunt Maserati 250F and then Len.

Lukey was quickly in discussion with Brabham about purchase of the Cooper T45- the very latest of Surbiton’s machines at the time, and would soon have the 2 litre Coventry Climax FPF engined machine in his workshops providing him with the tool to do the job in 1959.

Len was still active on the hills, winning both a new NSW sprint record and FTD at Mt Druitt in 13.53 seconds, this articles opening photo is at that meeting. In July he spun at the end of Rob Roy when the throttle jammed open, Len was thrown from the car before it rolled to a halt, but it was a lucky escape.

The final Gold Star event was the Phillip Island Trophy on Boxing Day but Len spun the Cooper in a preliminary event damaging the cars suspension enough to non-start the championship race. The Coad brothers sportingly lent him their Vauxhall Special but the car was outclassed, with Lukey third in the Gold Star with 21 points, then Alec Mildren on 23 with Stan Jones deservedly taking the title with 31 points- Stan won two rounds at Fishermans Bend and Phillip Island and was third on three occasions- Gnoo Blas, Longford and the first of the two Lowood rounds.

The Lukey boys push the Cooper T23 Bristol thru the Longford paddock in March 1958, behind is the Lou Abrahams owned, mighty Tornado 2 Chev, victorious that weekend (HRCCTas)

 

Len and Stan Jones on the cover of the March 1959 issue of AMS in recognition of a marvellous AGP dice resolved in Jones’ favour 1959- Cooper T45 Climax from Maserati 250F

After Brabham contested three New Zealand internationals in early January 1959, Lukey bought the car from Jack. It was fitted with a 2 litre FPF rather than one of the 2.2’s Jack had been using- these engines were rare with the full 2.5 litre variants built around new blocks being readied back in Coventry for Cooper, Rob Walker and Lotus’ use in F1 that season- rather successfully so as events transpired.

In 1959, as mentioned above, the Gold Star was contested over twelve gruelling rounds- between 26 January and 14 June, the halfway mark of the season, those on the title chase travelled from their home base, to Orange, then Fishermans Bend, Longford, Port Wakefield, Bathurst and Lowood- Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales and Queensland, with an arduous second half of the season still to come.

The competition was strong- Len and Alec Mildren raced Cooper T45’s, Bill Patterson a T43 with Stan Jones the other racer who had committed to most of the rounds- racing his Maserati 250F, Maybach 4 Chev and later in the season he took delivery of a Cooper T51 Climax as did Bib Stillwell, David McKay and Austin Miller but the latter trio did not race across the continent in the manner Len, Alec and Stan did.

In much the same way that the new-fangled Coopers were challenging the front-engined orthodoxy in Europe so too of course was the case in Australia albeit there was no surprise at the speed of the Coventry Climax engined cars given the giant killing nature of the air-cooled Coopers since the first appeared of one at Bathurst in the dawn of the fifties.

Only two points separated the Cooper T45 Climax duo of Lukey and Mildren at the seasons end- Len won the title with 68 points to the Canberra motor-dealers 66.

Mildren won three rounds- Fishermans Bend and the two Lowood rounds mid-season whereas Len won two- at Caversham and the last round at Phillip Island when the pressure was well and truly on. The Cooper’s differential failed during Saturday practice, Len did not have a spare, Noel Hall did but it was affixed to his car which was in Sydney. Jack Myers removed the gearbox and popped it onto a ‘plane, there the precious cargo was collected from Essendon Airport and then taken to Phillip Island where it was fitted to the car. The machine was finally ready about an hour before the off- Lukey led from the flag and on the final lap equalled the lap record- a memorable win indeed.

Alan Jones quizzing Lukey about the handling characteristics of his Cooper- Otto Stone, racer/engineer/mechanic and fettler of the Stan Jones Maserati 250F at the time is to the right of Alan and Stan is far right but one in the white helmet ready for the off, Phillip Island 1959 (unattributed)

 

Lukey and Jones scrapping through Longford Village, AGP 1959, ‘pub corner’- Cooper T45 and Maserati 250F (oldracephotos.com)

Stan Jones won two rounds as well, notably the Australian Grand Prix at Longford after a race-long dice with Len- it was a classic battle of the time between the powerful front engined 2.5 litre Maserati and the more nimble, but less powerful 2 litre Climax powered Cooper. There was a bit a karma in Stan’s race win as no-one in the field, other than Mildren, deserved an AGP win more and Alec’s time came twelve months afterwards at the conclusion of an even more thrilling dice between Lex Davison’s 3 litre Aston Martin DBR4/300 and Mildren’s 2.5 litre Cooper T51 Maserati at Lowood.

Jones also won at Port Wakefield in March in the big, booming Maybach 4 Chev, stepping back into the car he vacated two years before when he acquired his Maserati 250F. His friend and engineer, Ern Seeliger had replaced the SOHC straight-six Maybach engine with a Chevy V8, and made other changes to what had been called Maybach 3, there was something a bit poetic about a Maybach taking one last win this late in the piece given the front-running nature of this series (of three or four variants of cars depending on how yer do your count) of cars for the best part of a decade.

Bill Patterson, like Mildren and Jones had a very long race CV which he enhanced in 1959 with two wins in his Cooper T43 Climax- arguably a quicker driver than Mildren and Lukey, if not Jones- Patto was also in a run to Gold Star victory, his turn would come in 1961 aboard a Cooper T51 Climax the year after Mildren.

Single round wins that year were taken by Jack Brabham, taking his traditional win at the season opening Gnoo Blas ‘South Pacific Championship’ before heading back to the UK and by Kiwi Ross Jensen’s Maserati 250F in the prestigious Bathurst 100 at Easter but neither qualified for Gold Star points as non-residents.

Bib Stillwell was the other round winner in his new Cooper T51 Climax at Bathurst in October. Bib was perhaps the slowest of all of this generation to mature as a driver at the absolute top level but he won four Gold Stars on the trot from 1962 to 1965 with a blend of speed, consistency and the best of equipment.

What was impressive about Lukey’s win in 1959 was his relative inexperience against the fellows he beat, all of whom had fifteen years to a couple of decades on him in race experience, but it was a close run contest. That year a driver could only count their scores from nine of the twelve rounds, Len and Alec scored in ten rounds apiece, both had to drop a round- both discarded 3 points, and so it was after a long, intense year of racing criss-crossing the vast brown land that Lukey won from Mildren by only 2 points. Amazing really, but the CAMS learned the lesson and the event was never held with that many rounds again.

Lukey only raced once more, in the 1960 NZGP at Ardmore and then sold the car to concentrate on his business interests.

It was a good performance too- seventh on the grid amongst all of the 2.2 and 2.5 litre FPF’s but it all came to nothing after undisclosed dramas after finishing 36 of the events 75 laps- Brabham won from McLaren, Stillwell and Jones- two Cooper 2.5’s from two Cooper 2.2’s rather put the state of play at the time into sharp relief.

No photoshop here, Jones and Lukey during their 1959 Longford AGP dice getting some serious air as the cross the railway line on the outskirts of Longford village on Tannery Straight (C Rice)

 

Left to right, Lukey and Mildren in Cooper T45 Climaxes and Bib Stillwell in his new T51 at Caversham in October 1959- Len took the win (K Devine)

 

(B King)

Whilst Lukey retired from competition to focus on his business, he remained a friend of motor racing until his untimely death in 1978…

He provided financial support to various competitors not least Jack Brabham, the works F1 Brabhams of the sixties used Lukey exhaust systems right into the 1966 and 1967 championship winning Brabham BT19 ‘620’ and BT24 ‘740’- all of the works F1 cars were fitted with Lukey exhaust systems.

Look closely at the rear of one of the Brabham BT24 Repco ‘740’s during the 1967 GP season in the photograph below and you can see the ‘Lukey Mufflers’ made exhausts on the car- and the company name on the chrome plated exhaust endpieces.

In 1962 Len acquired a Holman Moody built Ford Galaxie ‘R Code’ 406cid four-door which was raced initially by Lex Davison, Len no doubt encouraging his purist racing car friend in the direction of the ‘dark side’. The shot below is of Norm Beechey racing the machine against Max Volkers’ Cortina at Lowood in August 1964, I wonder who got the better of this encounter in the wet? The Galaxie still exists.

(B Thomas)

 

 

Brabham BT24 Repco during the 1967 season (unattributed)

The 1962 Armstrong 500 (miles) production car race resulted in extreme circuit damage to the the Phillip Island track, the Phillip Island Auto Racing Club Club (PIARC) could not afford to repair the bitumen out of meagre club funds and as a consequence the track sat idle for two years.

During the initial track fund raising to build the place a decade before, Repco and Olympic Tyres supported bank guarantees for PIARC to a value of £17,000. Without funds to service the loan- no race meetings and therefore no income, Repco and PIARC made the regretful decision to sell ‘The Island’ property.

Shortly thereafter Lukey was chatting to racer/enthusiast George Coad at Essendon Airport whilst awaiting a plane.  Upon learning from Coad that PIARC was forced to sell the facility, Lukey immediately rang the clubs President and offered to buy it for £13,000.

As part of the deal, Len imposed a condition on the club that racing be revived. Lukey would develop the property and PIARC re-build the track and facilities and run four events a year for ten years. Lukey had a passion for the island and the circuit but also knew what it would take to revive and run the place having been a PIARC committee member some years before. PIARC paid Len $2 per year in rent.

The first public race meeting was held three years later in September 1967. The circuit was sold again after Lukey’s death and is now the wonderful facility we all know and love, without Lukey’s timely investment it would not be there today.

The Lukey brand hasn’t been in family hands for decades but lives on as a wonderful reminder of its founder, a great driver of both touring cars and single-seaters, a lifelong enthusiast and supporter of the sport.

Love this shot of the Cooper T23 Bristol during the 1956 AGP weekend at Albert Park, the machine is getting plenty of attention- finned drum brakes and top transverse leaf springs front and rear both clear (G Smedley)

Additional Lukey reading…

Do click on the links for these two short articles- their are some stunning photographs contained within. Here; https://primotipo.com/2018/02/20/teds-tornado-and-lens-cooper/ , here; https://primotipo.com/2016/01/08/stan-jones-agp-longford-gold-star-series-1959/ , and here; https://primotipo.com/2018/10/11/1958-longford-trophy/

Etcetera…

 

 

(unattributed)

These big barges occupy a lot of real estate and did no harm at all to attract the punters- touring cars were on the rise, sadly, even in 1956. Len Lukey from Norm Beechey in Ford Customlines during the 1956 AGP carnival. Is the Holden 48-215 on right front below that of Jack Myers?

(unattributed)

Cooper T23 Bristol..

(unattributed)

 

(B King)

Lukey’s Cooper T23 Bristol blasts past the Army Barrack’s at Albert Park during the 1956 AGP, and below the cockpit of the immaculately prepared Cooper at Templestowe Hillclimb in Melbourne’s east.

(B King)

Doug Nye wrote the history of the 1953 build Cooper Mk2 Bristol chassis’ on ‘The Nostalgia Forum’ in 2003.

He lists ’11 (ish) to 12 (ish)’ chassis. The ‘Lukey’ car is ostensibly numbered ‘CB/9/53’.

‘1953 ‘5’ The Tom Cole Mk2 – in effect totally destroyed in fire at Syracuse

1953 ‘5B’ The Tom Cole Mark 2 rebuilt as above around a fresh frame, driven by Swaters, Cole, Graham Whitehead- to Dick Gibson- sold to Australia probably Reg Hunt. (Reg Hunt’s Mark 2- alleged sold NEW in 1954) for Kevin Neale in Australia- to Len Lukey- Frank Coad- Eddie Clay- Ken Cox- Peter Menere- Jumbo Goddard and to Tom Wheatcroft for The Donington Collection. But this was surely in reality the ex-Tom Cole second Mark 2 of 1953…ex-Gibson’ Nye wrote.

(B King)

Gardening at Templestowe circa 1958- no harm done by the look of it.

(A Lamont)

It would have been a wild ride around Longford, mind you, the forgiving nature of the Cooper Bristol chassis would have made it slightly less challenging than some other cars of the day.

This wonderful shot is during the 1958 Gold Star meeting in March- the first ‘national’ Longford won by Ted Gary in Tornado 2 Chev.

(unattributed)

Len at Albert Park, am guessing in 1957, who and what is that behind him?

(B King)

Lukey Bristol..

(unattributed)

Lukey heads up the Mountain, Mount Panorama during the 1958 Australian Grand Prix in October- well and truly outgunned in his new Lukey Bristol which had made its race debut at the previous Lowood Gold Star round, on a circuit which rewards power and a forgiving chassis.

The Lukey Bristol was an evolution of the factory product, but lighter with a chassis designed by Lukey. It had a more enveloping body clearly influenced by Frank Costin’s Vanwall design and using castings made and machined in Melbourne. The engine from his CB was used, the new machine also had a transverse leaf rear end like the original.

It was advertised for sale in this form as were the various components and body panels which were made of fibreglass. Bob King believes three of the chassis were built- the Lukey Bristol, ‘Faux Pas’ and a third. Both the cars mentioned are in the hands of David Reid, do get in touch if you can add more to this.

(Miller Family)

The photograph above and below are of the construction of the Lukey Bristol at right, with the Cooper T23 at left denuded of its constituent parts, at the Lukey factory in the Nepean Highway.

Note the rifle on the wall to scare off late night intruders, ‘chicky-babe’ calendars on the wall and robust spaceframe chassis- who the artisans are would be great to know.

Things have progressed in the shot below with a rear suspension corner, straight off the T23 soon to be bolted on, transverse top leaf spring carried over, chassis clearly lower and wider than the original.

(Miller Family)

 

(B King)

The page above is included for the section about the ‘Lukey Mufflers Chassis’ and related components. I was going to crop and then thought let’s all read it and weep- Frank Shuter’s Maserati 8CM will do me!

The ad makes mention of both front and mid-engined chassis availability- the former were of the type used on the Lukey Bristol, the latter built off a jig created from the Cooper T45 chassis- one of the Cooper experts will be able to hazard a guess as to how many chassis were built using this jig, not the only T45/T51 jig in Australia either!

(B King)

Len Lukey, Lukey Bristol chases Bib Stillwell’s ex-Hunt Maserati 250F during the 1958 Melbourne Grand Prix- they were fourth and fifth respectively. Stirling Moss won the race in a Rob Walker Cooper T45 Climax from Brabham’s similar car- the chassis bought by Len at the end of the summer, and Doug Whiteford’s Maserati 300S.

Look at the lean of the heads into the corner and the relative roll of the Lukey Bristol compared with the Maserati.

(unattributed)

Winning at Part Wakefield in the Cooper Bristol in 1958 and contesting the 1958 AGP at Bathurst the same year, he was sixth. The #56 car behind is Bill Reynolds in the Orlando MG Spl 1.5- Murrays Corner.

(B King)

More Australian Motor Sports, this time incorporating the ad for the sale of the Lukey Bristol.

Cooper T45 Climax..

(G McNeill)

 

(unattributed)

Lukey rounds Stonyfell Corner, Port Wakefield, South Australia in the 1959 ‘Gold Star’ round- Cooper T45 Climax.

The shot below was taken during the Fishermans Bend Gold Star round in early 1959.

(unattributed)

Information about this car is a bit opaque, like so many Coopers of the period but the story goes something like this. Chassis T45 ‘F2-10-58′ was believed to be a factory machine raced by Jack Brabham until it was damaged at the 1958 Moroccan Grand Prix.

It was acquired by Jack after being rebuilt around a new frame, brought to Australia and raced to second place behind Stirling Moss’ similar Rob Walker owned car in the 1958 Melbourne Grand Prix at Albert Park, the last race meeting held at the celebrated circuit in its first iteration as a motor racing venue.

Jack then took it to New Zealand to contest the 10 January Ardmore NZ GP, again finishing second behind the Walker/Moss T45. He was second at Wigram and third at Teretonga behind Ron Flockhart, BRM P25 and Bruce McLaren’s Cooper T45 Climax and then headed back to Europe, Len acquired the car at this point.

The car was then bought by Melbourne’s Jon Leighton who raced it successfully for a couple of years albeit the competiton got pretty tough with so many 2.2 and 2.5 litre FPF engine T51 Coopers on the scene.

It passed into the hands of Melbourne Architect Richard Berryman, and then later to Len Lukey’s widow, the car was an attraction at the Phillip Island museum for many years during the long period the Lukey’s owned the track and was occasionally raced by Keith Lukey, Len’s son.

Robert Shannon, founder of the insurance business well known in Australia was the right kind of owner sensitive to the car and it’s importance- I recall speaking to him about it during Melbourne City Chamber of Commerce meetings on several occasions.

After Robert’s sudden death by heart attack, Ron Walker, ‘father’ of the Albert Park Australian GP’s of today owned it, did nothing with it and then rather blotted his local copybook by selling it via Bonhams in the UK. It would have been rather nice if the Cooper with such a significant Australian history was advertised locally and stayed here.

Do contact me if you can assist in filling the gaps.

Credits and references…

John Ellacott, Kevin Drage, Ken Devine Collection, Bob King Collection- Spencer Wills photographer, ‘History of The Australian Grand Prix’ Graham Howard and others, Doug Nye on ‘The Nostalgia Forum’, oldracingcars.com, Wikipedia, Jock Walkem, Charles Rice, Geoff Smedley, Andrew ‘Slim’ Lamont, Greg McNeill, Austin Miller Family Collection

Special thanks to Bob King for some wonderful photographs and tidbits from his AMS collection

Tailpieces: Lukey with Cooper T23 Bristol sans bodywork, Templestowe circa 1958…

(B King)

 

(B King)

Finito…

(HRCCTas)

A very young John Goss and Holden FJ lost in his thoughts in a Symmons Plains paddock circa 1965/6…

Is he dreaming of his first Bathurst or AGP win or maybe Formula 1? Perhaps its a more prosaic and immediate musing- ‘Why doesn’t John Youl harvest the hay in this paddock so I can get my friggin’ car out!’

I’ve written a couple of articles about the only man to win both the Bathurst 1000 and Australian Grand Prix, so no point going over old ground. Click here; https://primotipo.com/2015/07/03/john-goss-bathurst-1000-and-australian-grand-prix-winner/ here; https://primotipo.com/2018/06/19/john-goss-tornado-ford-longford-1968/ and here; https://primotipo.com/2016/06/06/gossy/

The photograph below is a few years later, 1973 to be precise.

It shows Gossy in full-flight aboard his Ford Falcon GT351 Group C car at Old Pit Corner during the 5 March Symmons Australian Touring Car Championship round won by Allan Moffat in a Ford Falcon GTHO Ph 3 from Peter Brock’s Holden Torana GTR-XU1- John was third and blazing a trail in the early development of these cars. What an awesome thing it looked the first time I saw it during the January Sandown Tasman round a month or so earlier.

Both the Fords and new L34 V8 Toranas had problems early on without dry-sumps didn’t they?- the regs precluded them and more wheel/tyres on the Group C machines created greater grip than the Group E Series Production cars of the years before and therefore oil-surge problems. There were plenty of popped engines until the respective camps sorted the problem.

(D Cooper)

He won the Bathurst enduro together with Kevin Bartlett the following year in the same car. Click here; https://primotipo.com/2018/04/27/kbs-first-bathurst-100mph-lap/

The shot below is of the car at Hell Corner, Mount Panorama in 1973.

(unattributed)

Credits…

Historic Racing Car Club of Tasmania, D Cooper Collection

Finito…

(unattributed)

Of all the places to have a motorsport event, Tooronga Park in Malvern, 12km from Melbourne’s CBD is up there with the least likely…

An Austin 7 Special at left and the Campbell McLaren/Halliday Ford A Model Special the two intrepid occupants built.

Right in the heart of Melbourne’s stockbroker belt even in September 1940, the roar of racing engines is somewhat bizarre, but the ‘Malvern Comforts Fund’ staged a five day carnival of activities to raise money to provide luxury items to supplement Australian troops normal, basic rations.

State based organisations of this type were formed during World War 1 and federated- the ‘Australian Comforts Fund’ quickly grew into a fundraising, collecting, sorting and distribution machine to rival the Red Cross- it was dissolved in 1920 but revived in 1939 to again look after the lads and lassies.

Wonder what mutt won the Ugliest Doggie Competition? (R Bell Collection)

Ray Bell sent this amazing flyer to promote the event and most of the photographs in this piece, the one below is of Ron Edgerton’s Alta V8 a Speedway Midget alongside. Is that Tooronga Station in the background of the shot?

Given the crowded nature of the large parklands it seems likely that ‘novelty’ rather than speed events were the go but if any of you have an entry list and details of the contests it would be great to hear from you.

(R Bell)

The car (at left below) is the ex-Lord Selsdon Fraser Nash TT Replica being driven by Earl Davey-Milne, who still owns it. ‘The A Ford Special Midget is not Arthur Wylie’s normal car (Ray Bell’s thought as to the machine at right), so I am not at all sure’ as to the car on the right Bob King comments.

‘Cam McLaren was a hilarious commentator at Rob Roy and Templestowe Hillclimbs keeping up a lively banter with, I believe, John Price- this was before car racing got serious and many of the cars were absurd…’

(R Bell)

‘The Malvern Groups five day carnival in September 1940 was an extravaganza in Great War style, with marches, bands, button sales, dances, recitals and a monster Town Hall finale that included the Coburg Ladies Pipe Band, the Hawaiian Club (WTF?) and pupils of Miss Greenough, danseuse (a female ballet dancer) and J King, magician…’ there is no mention of the light car racing in Lynne Strahan’s account of the carnival.

The scale of this national organisation was enormous, the Malvern Comforts Group (only a small suburb of Melbourne then) alone provided ‘food, hostels, picture units, canteens and parcels of books and games…while over 120,000 skeins (a length of yarn loosely coiled and knotted) of wool and twelve miles of flannel and drill had been consumed for garments fashioned with “motherly care”…’

(R Bell and B King Collections)

Ron Edgerton’s Bugatti T37, with Bob King thinks, Maurie Monk’s GN Special alongside.

It is ironic that the Toorak domicile of this Bugatti, ‘37104’ for the last sixty years or so is three kilometres from one of its last events powered by a Bugatti engine!- see article on the car here; https://primotipo.com/2019/04/25/alexandra-sprints-and-bugatti-t37-37104/

The last serious motorsport event in Australia before competition cars were put away for the war’s duration was the ‘Patriotic Grand Prix’ held in Perth’s Applecross on 11 November 1940. The program comprised four events, the GP was a 12 lap, 30 mile race won by Harley Hammond’s Marquette Special, below.

(K Devine)

Etcetera…

(R Bell)

 

(R Bell)

Campbell McLaren and Mr Halliday at Mitcham Hillclimb, circa 1941, and in the photo above that, building their racer, a project they commenced whilst still at school.

Mitcham is a suburb 17km directly east of Malvern, very much in the sticks then but could almost be categorised as an inner-suburb these days if Melbourne’s eastern outskirts end at Healesville, which it sorta does…

I’d love to know where the ‘climb was, I had an aunt who lived at Mitcham in the sixties and seventies, a bit of cursory research shows the venue was in use from at least 1936- sixty entries raced there that October, but did it survive post-war?

(SLV)

A trip down memory lane for Melbourne’s eastern-suburbanites.

The Glen Waverley line rail-crossing- not even a boom-gate, as long as the operator in the little hut doesn’t go to sleep all is good, at the ‘bottom’ of the Toorak Road plunge down from Glenferrie Road looking east in 1955, this spot is a long drop-kick to Tooronga Park.

By the time i was an ankle-biter visiting my uncle/grandfather’s newsagency on the corner of Burke and Toorak Roads in the early sixties that stand of trees at the top of the hill had become a drive-in theatre. In addition to the gasometers there was a brickworks in this area of flat land, so it was quite industrial for a residential area- the gasometers were removed circa 1980 as natural gas replaced the coal-fired variety.

Its funny the stuff which pops back into yer head. The two ‘clutch-fucker’ hill starts which terrorised me as an 18 year old ‘P-Plater’ in me Mum’s Morrie 1100 was that one at the top of the hill where the trees are- the corner of Tooronga and Toorak Roads, when traffic lights emerged and the Warrigal Road/Riversdale Road muvva in Burwood…i got there eventually!

Into the sixties the first small shopping centre emerged, then re-zoning removed the extractive industries and Coles headquarters moved in, then circa 2010 a bigger shopping centre and shedloads of apartments. Oh yes, there is now a freeway (the Monash) near the railway lines and at present, finally, the powers that be are creating an overpass for the railway line.

Gardiners Creek is there somewhere but maybe its behind where the snapper took his shot, no doubt some folks who attended the Malvern Comforts Fund event fished in that creek all those years ago…

Credits…

Ray Bell and Bob King

Ray Bell Collection (from Campbell McLaren’s photo album), Museums Victoria, ‘A History of The City of Malvern’ Lynne Strahan, Bob King Collection, State Library of Victoria, Ken Devine Collection

Tailpiece…

Finito…

 

My theory is that there are only a relatively small number of ‘T-Intersections of Life’ decisions which are key in determining the paths which follow…

Its interesting to read Tony Davis’ biography (with Akos Armont who has directed the accompanying documentary due in cinemas early next year) of Jack and pick what those may be.

Johnny Schonberg’s wife and her pressure on him to give up racing in 1948 gave Jack his start- that it was a speedway car meant Brabham both got a taste of competition and also entered the sport in Australia at its professional end- that is he quickly realised there was a dollar to be made if you were good.

David Chamber’s suicide meant his Cooper T23 Bristol was available when it landed in Australia in 1953- Jack was able to buy it with his savings and assistance from his parents and REDeX. Whilst Jack was a name in speedway the RedeX Special put his name in lights on the circuits. Cooper inclined, he bought Peter Whitehead’s Cooper Alta to race in England- a shit-heap as it transpired, but he attracted the attention of the John and Charles Cooper with it when he moved to the UK, donned some overalls in Hollyfield Road, initially on an unpaid basis and six years later had bagged two World F1 Titles with the team.

Jack poses with Number 28, the Midget he and Johnny Schonberg built which was then powered by a 996cc 8/80 JAP engine. It’s his first race night in a 23 year career, Parramatta’s Cumberland Oval on 5 December 1947 (T Wright)

 

Brabham’s Cooper T23 Bristol REDeX Spl at Mount Druitt circa 1954. The sponsorship arrangement and advertising, not allowed by CAMS, caused Jack plenty of grief (Nye/Brabham)

Betty Evelyn Beresford was the right choice of Jack’s partner in life- she allowed Brabham to have absolute focus on his racing whilst she brought up the family of three boys- all successful racers themselves of course.

It transpires that Brabham was ‘Jack The Lad’ and not averse to a bit of Hanky Schpanky outside the matrimonial boudoir, this ultimately caused the end of his marriage in 1994. Jack’s second marriage to his secretary, Margaret Taylor, in 1995 is not explored in the book, a shame as she looked after him for over two decades but maybe this was simply too painful for the Brabham boys who unsurprisingly adored their late mother. Conversely, Gary Brabham’s charges and jail for child sexual offences in 2009 and 2016 are covered in brief, to the credit of Davis and the Brabhams.

The partnership between Ron Tauranac and Jack was key of course, this relationship dates back to 1951. Brabham involved him in consulting on major modifications to the Cooper T45/51 whilst he and his brother Austin were building the first series of Ralts before he came (home in a way, he is a Brit by birth) to England to commence Motor Racing Developments Ltd with Jack at the dawn of the sixties.

It transpired they needed one another too- Davis explores Jack’s ‘relevance deprivation syndrome’ and mental health after he retired to the bucolic splendour of outback Australia and Ron had been shafted in the sale of MRD to Bernard Charles Ecclestone within twelve months of Jack jumping a Qantas 707 to enjoy his boat on the Georges River.

Yeah, well you may well be the boss of McLaren in a decade cocko but to soften the front bar turn it the other way! Tauranac, Brabham and Ron Dennis at Monaco in 1970- BT33 Ford Cosworth, second after that last lap mistake- Jochen Rindt the winner in Lotus 49D Ford

 

Repco RBE640 2.5 litre ‘Tasman’ V8 in the back of Jack’s Brabham BT23A at Warwick Farm in the summer of 1967 (B Wells)

The precise start of Brabham’s relationship with Repco- when they gave him his first free part is unknown and never will be but from little acorns did big things grow. Jack saw close up Charlie Dean and his Repco Research Team and their work in building and racing the Maybachs, got a further sense of their facilities and capabilities in the manufacture of the Repco Hi-Power cylinder heads for the Holden ‘grey-six’ cylinder engine- designed by one PE Irving. At some stage, probably via Charlie Dean, Jack met ‘Dave’ McGrath, Repco Ltd CEO, Frank Hallam saw on opportunity to look after Jack’s Coventry Climax FPF’s in Richmond circa 1962, and the rest- a cuppla world titles is history.

The final T-Intersection call was to retire at the end of 1970- its significant in that Brabham pulled the stumps at the top of his game and was able to die in his Gold Coast bed, an opportunity Bruce McLaren, Piers Courage and Jochen Rind- statistics in 1970 did not have. Davis relates how Jack thought he still had a year or three in him but Geoff Brabham speculates that Brabham knew it was getting harder for an older guy to run at the front as cars became more aero dependent and developed greater G-forces. Jack was 44 in 1970, Ronnie Peterson was 26 to put the Australian’s challenge into some kind of competitive perspective…

She’ll be ‘comin down The Mountain, Easter Bathurst 1969. Brabham BT31 Repco RBE830 2.5 V8- its practice, he raced with the rear wing only- first place in his last commitment to Repco in Australia (D Simpson)

 

Betty, Jack and his self built monoposto, all enveloping bodied Cooper T40 Bristol during his championship F1 debut at Aintree in 1955. Happy times and the world at their feet (S Dalton)

This is the fourth book on Brabham but the first biographical account- what makes it different are the perspectives of Geoff and David Brabham, Ron Tauranac, Stirling Moss, John Surtees, Denny Hulme, Frank Matich and many others rather than the account being largely Jack’s perspective.

There is plenty of ‘nuts and bolts’ for we uber-enthusiasts, i do like Tony’s ‘Cooper T45 Climax’ rather than ‘Cooper’, much of the story will be familiar to those of us of a certain age but there are a heap of fragments which were new to me. What was interesting throughout the process- i need to declare a bias here as i was engaged twelve months ago to read and comment upon the manuscript along with a few others, was to get to know Tony and understand some of the commercial elements of publishing. The intended readership is much broader than you and i, targets extend to more casual observers and those from outside racing, i believe Tony has made that ‘straddle’ of ‘average punter’ to enthusiast masterfully.

Australian readers of the Sydney Morning Herald and Australian Financial Review will be aware of Davis as a motoring writer but he is also a noted author of adult and kids fiction as well as a number of motoring books. He is the son of Pedr Davis, who turned 90 in November, one of the doyen of Oz ‘muttering rotters’ from the sixties to nineties.

After reading the first few chapters of the manuscript i rang Tony and advised him that he was a Perick! ‘Why?’, he enquired. ‘Because you write with a beautiful descriptive fluidity, and i have been made acutely aware of my own limitations’ i responded.

Do buy the book, its a great read over the festive season or otherwise!

‘Brabham- The Untold Story of Formula One’, published by Harper Collins, ISBN: 978 1 4607 5747 5 (hardback) and ISBN: 978 1 4607 1122 4 (ebook)

Photo and other Credits…

Terry Wright’s ‘Loose Fillings’, Stephen Dalton Collection, Dick Simpson, Getty Images, Nye/Brabham, Bruce Wells

Jack loved the races he did for Matra in 1970- all he had to do was rock up and drive rather than have responsibility for ‘the lot’.

Here he is in the MS650 3 litre V12 prototype during the Brands Hatch 1000km- he shared the car with Jean-Pierre Beltoise to twelfth, Jack’s best result was a win at Montlhery later in the year, the Paris 1000km, his co-driver on that occasion was Francois Cevert in an MS660.

Finito…

 

 

(B Miles)

Look at that packed grandstand, grid for the first Lakeside International, 11 February 1962…

Jack Brabham is on pole from Bib Stillwell, Cooper T55 Climax 2.7 ‘slimline’ and T53 2.5 ‘lowline’ respectively, a great performance by the Melbourne Holden dealer. On the second row in the blue #10 Cooper T53 2.7 is Bruce McLaren and alongside the very quick John Youl in a now ageing Cooper T51 2.2. Then its Angus Hyslop’s white Cooper T53 2.5 and a smidge further back you can just see the red nose of Lorenzo Bandini’s Cooper T53 Maser 2.8. Other top-liners on the grid were Lex Davison’s T53, Ron Flockhart Lotus 18 and Arnold Glass in a BRM P48.

Brabham won the short 30 lap race in 30 minutes by a second from Stillwell, Hyslop, Davison, Youl and Bandini.

This photograph is another by Bill Miles, an enthusiast with a fine talent for composition. The eyes of Brabham and Stillwell are riveted on the starter, who is just about to commence his flag upswing with the hatted Judge of The Start ready to pounce on anybody with a jittery clutch foot…

Angus Hyslop with microphone in hand accepts the Presidents Cup for winning the 1962 Renwick 50 (MCC Inc)

I didn’t realise Kiwi up-and-comer Angus Hyslop had raced in Australia- he was sixth at Warwick Farm, fourth at Longford and ninth at Sandown that summer off the back of a pair of sixths at Wigram and Teretonga and seventh in the NZ GP at home.

Even more impressive was his 1963 season in the same Cooper T53- not exactly the latest bit of kit by then.

Q8 and second behind John Surtees’s Lola Mk4A Climax at Pukekohe in the NZ GP was a stunning start, buoyed by that performance he was Q2 behind Brabham’s new Brabham BT4 Climax in the following round at Levin for DNF halfshaft, a rare non-finish. Q5 and fourth at Wigram and Q6 and fifth down south at Teretonga were strong results- in addition all the fast boys were running 2.7 ‘Indy’ Climaxes whereas Hyslop’s FPF was only an ‘F1’ 2.5.

Clearly a driver of promise, the Hastings sheepfarmer went on to win the NZ Gold Star Championship in 1963 and then retired which is a shame as he was clearly a very fast racer who finished motor races

(MCC Inc)

The shot above is a better one of Hyslop’s Cooper T53 Climax- this time its the start of the Renwick 50, a road race held about 6 miles west of Blenheim in New Zealand’s South Island, in November 1962.

Angus’ white Cooper T51 Climax is on pole from Maurie Stanton’s Stanton Chev and then Tony Shelly’s partially obscured Lotus 18/21 Climax. Bob Eade’s Maserati 250F dwarfs the Barry Cottle Lola Mk1 Climax sports, the distinctive nose between and back a bit from these cars is the youthful Amon C, Maserati 250F.

The front-engined car behind Eade’s Maserati is John Histed in a Lola Mk2 Ford FJ and finally at right the Bob Smith’s Ferrari 555 Super Squalo 3.5

Angus won from Chris Amon and Barry Cottle.

Hulme, Amon and Hyslop at Hampton Downs circa late eighties (NZ Classic Car)

 

Angus Hyslop’s Jag D Type sandwiched at left by the Roy Billington Elfo Special (yes, as in the famous Brabham mechanic) and Graham Pierce’ Austin Healey 100S at the Levin Spring meeting in December 1958 (Natlib NZ)

Hyslop, born 1928, first rose to prominence in a Jaguar D Type (XKD534 ex-Jack Shelly/Sam&Bob Gibbons/Hyslop/Taylor/Bremer/Foster) he raced from October 1958 to 1961, successes included twice finishing second in the national Sports Car Gold Star competition.

After the 1961 internationals at home in a Cooper T45 Climax 2 litre FPF he before travelled to Europe to race in a half-dozen or so British FJ events in a ‘New Zealand Grand Prix Racing Team’ Lotus 20 Ford running immediately in the top ten- fourth behind Allan Rees, Gavin Youl and Dennis Taylor on 19 August at Goodwood was indicative of his pace.

During that year he also shared a works Fiat Abarth 850S with Denny Hulme at Le Mans- the pair finished fourteenth in the little car and won their class.

He returned to New Zealand and continued to raced the Cooper T45 in 1961/2 towing it behind the D Type!

The other apocryphal Hyslop/D Type story is that after the wet 1961 Wigram meeting in which Angus finished third behind Brabham and Moss in his 2 litre Cooper T45 but ahead of the 2.5 litre Coopers of McLaren and Hulme his bank manager, who had been staying in the same hotel as Angus to watch the race, complimented him on his wet weather driving whereupon Hyslop responded that he thought the skill had been learned by using the D Type to round up the sheep on his farm…

He ‘hit the bigtime’ when the New Zealand International Grand Prix Executive Committee approved a loan to allow him to buy an ex-Yeoman Credit Parnell Cooper T53- the car carried the same chassis plate as Angus’ T45 in the usual Antipodean manner to avoid import duty- the Cooper was sold to Jim Palmer after Hyslop ‘retired’.

I’m intrigued to know how far he strayed from the sport though- not far is my guess given his fourth place in the 1972 New Zealand International Heatway Rally in an Abingdon prepared Group 2 Mini 1275GT- Andrew Cowan won in the sister car crewed by Jim Scott.

Hyslop died in 1999, aged 71.

Etcetera…

Angus Hyslop and Mike Langley in their works Mini 1275GT, Heatway Rally 1972 (unattributed)

Angus Hyslop and Mike Langley in their works Mini 1275GT, Heatway Rally 1972.

BLMC/New Zealand Motor Corporation went all out to win the event, entering four cars- two 1275GT’s and two Morris Marina 1800TC Coupes, one of which was driven by Jim Richards finished 61st, the other 52nd, both the updated ‘Morris Minors’ had suspension problems.

Jim was unlucky- Cowan had been allocated a Marina to rally but he was having none of that so Jim got the bum seat and Andrew the car he wanted, which he put to rather good effect!

(CAN)

Hyslop at Dunedin in 1961, D Type in a support race.

He qualified second behind Denny Hulme’s Cooper T51 Climax in the feature Dunedin Road Race on the ‘Oval Circuit’ finishing third in his Cooper T45 behind Denny and Pat Hoare’s Ferrari 256 3 litre V12.

Credits…

Bill Miles, Allen Brown’s oldracingcars.com, Marlborough Car Club Inc, Alamy, NZ Jaguar D Type History ‘Nostalgia Forum’ thread

Tailpiece: Hulme/Hyslop works Fiat Abarth 850S, Le Mans 1961…

Finito…

 

(unattributed)

Tony Gaze during a pitstop for plugs, HWM Alta 2 litre s/c, chassis ’52/107′ during the New Zealand Grand Prix, Ardmore January 1954…

Hersham & Walton Motors (HWM) came to prominence in the immediate postwar years. Based in New Zealand Avenue, Walton, where the business still is today as an Aston Martin dealership- the company was a partnership between two great motor racing enthusiasts – driver George Abecassis and engineer John Heath.

George made his name aboard a single-seater Alta pre-war. When racing resumed post conflict both Abecassis and Heath campaigned a variety of Alta single-seaters and sportscars. John Heath developed Alta-based sports-prototype cars in 1948-49 and since George Abecassis had been racing his postwar GP Alta internationally with success – the pair planned a team of dual-purpose Formula 2/sports-racing cars to campaign at home and abroad in 1950.

The duo were adept talent-spotters recruiting along the way Stirling Moss, Lance Macklin and little later Peter Collins.

In 1950 the new HWM works team of three, or four HWM-Alta ‘F2’ cars were entered in a hectic program of racing, the team was well organised and its cars competitive with all but the best Continental factory machines.

HWM’s mechanics, including such later prominent names as Alf Francis and Rex Woodgate were capable and dedicated to putting the cars on the grid. They worked horrendous hours, transporting the cars from race to race in epic journeys overcoming all odds.

George Abecassis, leaning on the fuel tank and John Heath at left with one of the single-seaters coming together at Walton, which one I wonder? (unattributed)

 

Men of the moment- HWM’s John Heath and George Abecassis Alta ‘GP1’ and Alta’s Geoffrey Taylor at Goodwood on 18 April 1949. George was 6th in the Richmond Trophy won by Reg Parnell’s Maserati 4CLT (S Lewis Collection)

 

Lance Macklin, HWM Alta F2, Crystal Palace Coronation Cup May 1953. Fourth in the race won by Tony Rolt’s Connaught A Type. Doug Nye attributes the sexy bodies of the HWM’s to Leacroft of Egham (Getty)

In a hand to mouth, time honoured existence, start, prize and trade-bonus money from one weekend’s racing financed the next, under Heath’s technical direction and leadership HWM built a fleet of Formula 2 single-seater team cars for 1951, followed by developed variants into 1952-53.

In face of Ferrari, Maserati, Connaught, Cooper-Bristol and others HWM results deteriorated as time passed, 1951 being the teams best season, but in 1952 Lance Macklin and Tony Rolt drove their HWM Alta’s home first and second in the prestigious BRDC International Trophy race at Silverstone. The cars held together for two hours and won from the Emmanuel de Graffenreid Plate-Maserati 4CLT/48 and Rudy Fischer’s Ferrari 500.

The chassis campaigned in New Zealand was originally built as an F2 car in 1952 powered by an unsupercharged 2-litre 4-cylinder Alta engine and was later re-equipped with a supercharged GP Alta motor specifically for Formula Libre racing in New Zealand in 1954.

In 1952 HWM entered cars for George Abecassis, Peter Collins, Macklin, Stirling Moss, Paul Frere, Roger Laurent, Yves Giraud-Cabantous, Duncan Hamilton, Johnny Claes and Dries van der Lof- many of these drivers gained good start money in their home-country GP’s.

Lance, the ‘playboy’ son of Sir Noel Macklin was said to be the most stylish and glamorous British racing driver of that period, team-mate Stirling Moss credits him with having taught the new boy “an enormous amount, not just about racing, but also about how to enjoy life in general…”.

Chassis ‘52/107’ was predominantly the car raced by Macklin in 1952 and 1953.

Bonham’s spiel about ’52/107′ before its June 2016 sale relates that ‘Lance Macklin was relaxed about which car he drove – too relaxed according to George Abecassis. Each of the drivers had specific and often different requirements which extended to tyre pressures, final-drive ratios, seat position, they were not readily adjustable- bolted down, steering wheels etc. Macklin retained the pre-selector gearbox for the early part of 1953 as opposed to the ‘C’ Type Moss box adopted on the other cars.’

‘There is evidence of this on chassis ’52/107′ not seen on ’52/112′ the sister car. Macklin also had his logo ‘LM’ painted on the side of his car at some time in 1953. Finally the mechanics recorded plug types, pressures and gearing race by race for future use…Heath and Abecassis only appeared briefly for practice/racing and returned to the UK without corporate records. ‘52/107′ has the mechanics’ notes, scribbled in hand in a school note book, the car is recorded as Macklin’s car in several books and was confirmed personally by Tony Gaze as ’52/107′.

Tony Gaze in ’52/107′ in England date unknown but 1990’s perhaps (unattributed)

 

Macklin ’52/107′ date and circuit in the UK unknown (unattributed)

Macklin contested 1952 championship grands prix at Bremgarten, Spa, Silverstone, Zandvoort and Monza for a best of eighth, and six or seven non-championship races the best of which was the splendid BRDC International Trophy win at Silverstone in May.

He had a shocker of a run in 1953 starting six GP’s- his only finish was at Zandvoort where he was fifteenth, the run of DNF’s due to engine and clutch failures occurred at Spa, Reims, Silverstone, Bremgarten and Monza.

Macklin also contested a similar number of non-championship races as in 1952, his best was third at the Circuit de Lac in Aix-les-Bains and two fourths at Crystal Palace in the Coronation Trophy and Crystal Palace Trophy.

The ‘winningest’ cars in British non-championship 2 litre F2 races in 1953 were Connaught A Types and later in the year Cooper T23 Bristols.

It seems George Abecassis sent the ‘52/107’/Gaze combination to New Zealand out of simple commercial expediency.

He had the ex-Joe Kelly Alta ‘GP3′ sitting in the workshop- this car contested the 1950 and 1951 British GP’s, his view was that the supercharged 1.5 litre, four cylinder engine would form the basis of a good Formula Libre car when mated with one of his F2 chassis’.

Similarly the ‘GP3’ chassis fitted with a Jaguar engine was also saleable, in addition Macklin was moving to sportscars and George was frustrated with him.

On top of all of that, critically, the writing was on the wall for HWM and several other teams needing a competitive engine for the new F1 commencing on 1 January 1954.

The 2½ litre Climax ‘Godiva’ FPE V8 engine was not being proceeded with, Coventry Climax famously ‘took fright’ upon reading of the claimed outputs of their Continental rivals, and Alta’s Geoff Taylor had contracted exclusively with Connaught for the provision of his 2½-litre, DOHC four cylinder engine.

Commercially therefore, without a suitable F1 engine, sportscars made the greatest sense and so it was that HWM  made good money out of converting both HWM and Alta single-seaters into sportscars powered by Jaguar engines.

HWM never to let an opportunity to pass, proceeded with their plan albeit the 1.5 litre supercharged engine was upgraded by Taylor to 2-litres using the same bore and stroke as the 2 litre F2 units to improve reliability and power whilst simultaneously ensuring commonality of parts- bearings, pistons, rings and the rest for operators of the car in the colonies- a new crank was obtained from Laystall to suit.

Aussie fighter-ace Tony Gaze was chosen as the driver given his strong performances in his Alta, HWM and other cars since the war- his brief from George was a simple one, win a couple of races including the NZ GP if possible and then sell the car before returning back to Europe.

Looks major ‘dunnit- Macklin (or Peter Collins?) and the mechanics- perhaps pointing is Tony Rudd left in profile is Tony Gaze and ‘head to head’ alongside Tony is John Heath with ’52/107′ (unattributed)

 

Joe Kelly’s Alta ‘GP3’ during the 1950 British GP weekend at Silverstone- Geoffrey Taylor in the suit. Q19 and DNF, the race won by Nino Farina’s Alfa Romeo 158 (unattributed)

 

Tom Clark, I think, in ’52/107′ Levin, New Zealand circa 1956 (BV Davis)

In New Zealand in January/February 1954, Gaze drove it to third in the New Zealand Grand Prix at Ardmore behind Stan Jones, Maybach 1 and Ken Wharton’s BRM P15.

It was a pretty competitive field which included the Wharton BRM,  Peter Whitehead’s Ferrari 125, Jack Brabham and Horace Gould in Cooper T23 Bristols, Lex Davison’s ex-Gaze HWM Jaguar and others.

Gaze’ race was a great mighta-been.

He relates in ‘Almost Unknown’, Stewart Wilson’s biography of the great Australian, that Shell, his contracted fuel supplier did not have any of the required brew on raceday so he started the race with what fuel was left in the car after practice to at least obtain his start money payment.

When the flag dropped he tootled around, knowing he had sufficient juice for half the race at best, but the car was running on only three cylinders, a plug change rectified that. A lucky break was teammate Peter Whitehead’s Ferrari 125 (shortly to become Dick Cobden’s car) clutch failing which allowed Tony’s mechanics to siphon the fuel from the V12 2 litre Ferrari  and pop it into the Alta.

Tony sped up, he still didn’t have enough juice to finish, passing Wharton’s BRM which had its own problems- at this point he was gaining three seconds a lap on Stan Jones’ Maybach. Then the car ran out of fuel on lap 92, as Tony coasted into the pits with the engine dead a fuel churn appeared- ‘borrowed’ from BRM. Topped up, with mechanics Peter Manton and Alan Ashton totally spent after pushing the car the length of the pitlane before it fired, third place was Gaze’s. Tony’s regret to the end of his life was that the race was his had Shell fulfilled their contractual obligations. The two-hundred pounds paid in compensation was no substitute for an NZ GP win…

In the month long gap between Ardmore and Wigram Tony and Peter contested the 24 Hour race held at Mount Druitt in Sydney’s west on 31 January- they led by an enormous margin in Peter’s C Type Jaguar only to have a suspension failure when the car hit an enormous hole on track- it was repaired but failed again later in the race. They restarted the car and limped over the line to win the sportscar class- seven of twenty-two starters finished led by the Jaguar XK120 driven by Doris Anderson, Charlie Whatmore and Bill Pitt- well known racers to Australian readers.

Back in New Zealand and off to Christchurch on the South Island for the Lady Wigram Trophy on 6 February, he was second behind the Whitehead Ferrari after Peter ignored Dunlop’s advice and completed the race without a tyre change on the abrasive track- they were ‘well shredded’ but it was a winning if somewhat risky ‘racers’ decision.

At the end of Tony’s tour- successfully completing the second part of his assignment, he sold the Alta to Sybil Lupp for John Horton to drive.

Gaze had a great taste of racing in New Zealand and returned again the following year, he and Peter Whitehead raced a pair of Ferrari 500/625’s, Tony’s chassis ‘005’ famously the ex-Ascari 1952/3 World Championship winning car, it was not the only chassis the Italian used but the ‘winningest’.

Horton raced ’52/107′ from February 1954 until February 1956- in which his best results were two second places, setting fastest lap both times at the February 1954 Hamilton Trophy at Mairehau and the April 1956 NZ Championship Road Race on the Dunedin ‘Wharf’ road circuit.

In the January 1955 NZ GP, back at Ardmore, Horton struck trouble and was classified fifteenth- Bira won that year in a Maserati 250F from the Whitehead and Gaze Ferraris in second and third places.

Other than the NZ GP meeting it seems Horton did not race the car throughout 1955, nor was the machine entered in the 1956 NZ GP, but he ran at Dunedin- tenth and in the South Island Championship Road Race at Mairehau, finishing second on handicap. Onto the Southland Road Race at Ryal Bush he qualified a very good fifth on this challenging road course but only completed 9 of the 41 laps- Whitehead won.

The last meeting that summer was the Ohakea Trophy held at the airfield of the same name on 3 March, Horton didn’t enter but the race was won by (later Sir) Tom Clark who was clearly impressed with the Alta having raced against it for a while in his pre-war Maserati 8CM- he acquired it from Sybil Lupp shortly thereafter.

Sybil Lupp susses her HWM Alta on the evening before the 1955 NZ GP at Ardmore, its said there was a possibility she would drive the car, but John Horton raced it. Car #77 is also ex-Gaze- Lex Davison’s HWM Jaguar, the 1954 Australian GP winner started life as Tony’s 1952 Alta engined F2 machine. Car #3 is Reg Hunt’s just arrived in the Antipodes Maserati 2.5 litre A6GCM (CAN)

 

Tom Clark, Ardmore NZ GP 1957 (T McGrath)

 

Ron Tucker, Ransley Riley DNF, Tom Clark HWM Alta 6th and Bob Gibbons Jaguar D Type DNF during the 1957 Southland Road Race at Ryal Bush. Peter Whitehead won this race from Reg Parnell in identical Ferrari 555’s powered by 750 Monza engines (J Manhire)

Tom Clark, of Crown Lynn Potteries fame, began his stint with it by setting FTD at Whangarei hillclimb before finishing second at Levin in October 1956.

Clark shipped the car to Australia for the ‘Olympic’ Australian GP at Albert Park that December– finishing eleventh following various delays having run strongly early on in a world class field, Stirling Moss won in a works Maserati 250F.

Ninth place followed in the January 1957 NZ GP at Ardmore, Reg Parnell, Ferrari 555 Super Squalo triumphed that day.

Tom raced the car at Wigram DNF, Dunedin DNF, Ryal Bush where he was sixth and in much the same way that he had had a good look up close at the Alta decided the Ferrari 555’s were the go so acquired the Whitehead car, racing it to its first win at the South Island Championship Road Race meeting at Mairehau the weekend after Ryal Bush.

For sale, Johnny Buza was the purchaser.

He practiced at Ardmore for the 1958 GP, as the photograph (in Etcetera below) shows but appears as a DNA in the sergent.com results. He entered Dunedin and Teretonga but failed to take the start on both occasions. With plenty of mid-engined Coopers on the scene the older of the front-engined cars were finding the going tougher- the Alta didn’t race throughout 1959 or 1960.

Jim Boyd – more famous for his aero-engined Lycoming Special, raced the HWM throughout 1961- at Ardmore, Wigram, Dunedin, Teretonga and Waimate,  failing to qualify for the NZ GP but otherwise finishing the events with a best of eighth at Waimate towards the season’s end.

In 1962 it was driven by Lindsay Gough to win a beach race at New Brighton. J.G. Alexander also appeared in the car while Lindsay Gough raced it into 1963, although I can see no records of his events, by that stage though it was a ‘club car’ rather than a machine contesting the national level events reported upon by Bruce Sergent’s site.

By 1980 the car had been acquired by Russell Duell in New Zealand before passing to Colin Giltrap in 1989, the car has been in the United Kingdon since 1997.

Jim Boyd during the 1961 Dunedin Road Race, HWM Alta. Allan Dick wrote ‘This car was never really competitive in NZ but by 1961 it was very much a tail-ender, but Boyd competed for many years in a variety of old, outdated cars, finally striking it good with the Lycoming, followed by the Stanton Corvette and finally a Lola T70’ (CAN)

 

Etcetera…

 

(autopics)

Stirling Moss goes around the outside of Tom Clark during the December 1956 AGP at Albert Park. Maserati 250F and HWM Alta, Moss won from teammate Jean Behra.

 

(CAN)

Cracker of a shot- the kid with a proprietorial hand on the car is perhaps indicating ‘my dads car!’ During John Horton’s ownership probably at Cleland hillclimb perhaps. Input welcome!

Typical Kiwi/Oz kids of the period wearing their school ‘jumpers’ (jerseys) on the weekend.

 

(CAN)

Johnny Buza at Ardmore during the 1958 Ardmore NZ GP weekend. He is listed as a DNA but it seems he practiced at least- by then the old gal is getting a bit long in the tooth given the increasingly international nature of the Australasian Summer International grids.

 

Gaze and Davison driver profiles from the 1954 NZ GP race program (S Dalton)

 

(unattributed)

Cockpit of one of the 2 litre F2 Alta’s.

Doug Nye relates the story of Stirling Moss pitching out of his car a fire extinguisher which had come loose from its mount in the cockpit, when he reported this to John Heath back in the paddock the thrifty team owner promptly despatched his young star back in the direction of the track to find said expensive item…

 

(Motorsport)

These HWM Jaguar’s were and are attractive, fast racing cars.

Here George Abecassis in his DB3S inspired ‘025′ ‘XPE 2’ at Goodwood, circa 1955.

‘Abecassis himself sketched out the bodies of each HWM and, for the second generation HWM-Jaguars in 1955 he designed a neat functional new body. Two works cars were built: George’s was registered XPE2 and the second, for John Heath, took over the HWM1 number plate. It was in this car that John Heath decided to enter the 1956 Mille Miglia…In driving rain he lost control near Ravenna and the car hit a fence and turned over. A few days later Heath died from his injuries.’

David Abecassis on hwmastonmartin.co.uk continues, ‘That sadly, was more or less the end of HWM which still promised so much. Abecassis did build up one more chassis as a dramatically styled road-going coupe, but he gave up racing to concentrate on his burgeoning garage business. Today, HWM, still in its original premises on Walton-on-Thames thrives as a prestigious dealer in Aston Martins and other desirable and exotic road machinery.’

In an apt tribute to the role HWM played in the march of British motor racing post war Abecassis concluded, ‘Like all good racing cars, however, the handful of HWMs that came out of this courageous little team lived on, and most of them have never stopped being campaigned. Today they are cherished by their handful of lucky owners as important, and very effective, historic racing cars. Britain’s all-conquering motor racing industry owes a great debt to those pioneering European forays of John Heath and George Abecassis.’

Indeed!

 

John Heath and a mechanic work on one of the 2 litre Alta engines- Weber fed, during the 1953 British GP weekend at Silverstone (unattributed)

Alta Engine’s…

This summary of the Alta engine’s design is a trancuated version of Doug Nye’s piece in ‘History of The Grand Prix Car’.

Geoffrey Taylor’s twin cam, four cylinder design had a bath shape bottom end casting whose sides rose to provide cooling water jacketing.

The cylinders were formed in a separate Meehanite iron casting which fitted tightly into the crankcase bath. Crankcase rigidity was enhanced by box sections within its side walls and by horizontal cross-bolts positioning the main bearing caps.

Circumferential grooves were machined into the top of the cylinder-bore casting which matched grooves machined into the face of the alloy head- in assembly these matching grooves would clamp Wills pressure ring seals to create a joint which was water and gas tight.

The head was secured by thru bolts positioned by the tall outer crankcase casting, it carried two overhead cams operating two valves per cylinder via rocking fingers, valves were inclined at an included angle of 68 degrees- combustion chambers were hemispherical. Cam drive was by chain off a sprocket on the three main bearing crank. The Roots type supercharger, of Alta manufacture was driven off the crank nose drawing fuel from an SU carb delivering a maximum of 22psi.

In 1.5 litre supercharged form the engine was square- a bore and stroke of 78mm- 1480cc and was good for 7000 rpm using Specialloid pistons and a Nitralloy crank.

The basic  architecture was retained for the 2 litre normally aspirated F2 engines- the HWM engines of 1950 were fed by twin SU carbs burning a methanol/benzol/petrol mix. The 2 litre motors had a bore and stroke of 83.5 x 90mm- 1970cc and were claimed to give 130bhp @ 5500rpm.

Tony Gaze had twin Webers adapted to his engine when he ran at Monza in 1951- his lead was followed on other Alta motors.

For 1953 new type cranks were adopted, HWM’s engines that year were Alta based but the heads were HWM’s own design with gear driven cam drives rather than chain- the head, camshafts, rear-gear drive and other moving parts were made by HWM or its subcontractors.

Bonham’s piece noted the following, ‘There are major differences between the Alta GP and Formula 2 engines. The GP engine was dry-sumped with the crankcase going right down to the bottom of the motor with what is virtually a flat plate bolted to the base, whereas the F2 engine has a wet sump with the crankcase split in half along the centreline of the main bearings. There is a deep pan beneath the engine. The GP engine has a different crank which is extended at the front to drive the blowers- the ancillary drives for magneto(s) and oil pump(s) are also completely different.

The engine in ’52/107’ is marked ‘GP3’ in two places which is compatible with Joe Kelly’s ‘GP3’ as are the two blowers which were unique to ‘GP3’, it is thought the whole unit came from chassis ‘GP3’.

Photo Credits…

Getty Images, Bruce V Davis, John Manhire, Simon Lewis Collection, Allan Dick’s Classic Auto News, Motorsport, autopics.com

Bibliography…

Bonhams ’52/107′ sale material 2016, ‘History of The Grand Prix Car’ Doug Nye, ‘Almost Unknown’ Stewart Wilson, sergent.com, hwmastonmartin.co.uk, Terry McGrath Collection

Tailpiece: Lance Macklin, HWM Alta ‘52/107’ on the way to a win in the BRDC International Trophy, Silverstone 1952…

(Getty)

George Abecassis, on HW Motors letterhead wrote a letter to the cars then owner, which said in part: “I have often wondered what happened to the supercharged HWM which we sent to New Zealand, because it was undoubtedly the most exciting and fastest HWM that we ever made.’

‘It was one of the 1952 two-litre team cars and we fitted it with a two-stage supercharged unit especially for the Tasman series of races, and we lent it to Tony Gaze on the condition that he sold it for us in New Zealand, which he succeeded in doing’.

He concluded: ‘If ever you should get tired of the car, I would always be pleased to buy it back from you! I think it was the best car we ever made…’

Finito…

(R MacKenzie)

When shots of a bloke at the same circuit pop up randomly a week apart whilst looking for other stuff its an omen right?…

The photographs of Bob Muir a year apart at Warwick Farm aboard his Mildren ‘Yellow Submarine’ Waggott and Lola T300 Chev (below a bit) say much about his fast ascent during this career phase.

The first shot is during the F5000 Tasman 1971 ‘Warwick Farm 100’ in The Esses- he is on the way to sixth amongst the 500bhp beasties in the little, lithe, nimble 275’ish bhp 2 litre Waggott powered ‘Sub- the speck in the distance is, I think, Ken Goodwin’s Rennmax BN3 Ford DNS, it must be practice as he didn’t race. Frank Gardner won come raceday in his works Lola T192 Chev.

Bob raced a Rennmax Formula Vee initially after a dabble in a road Austin Healey Sprite and after showing immediate pace progressed through a Lotus 23B Ford in 1968/9 to a Rennmax BN3 which was raced with a Coventry Climax 2.5 litre FPF and later a 2 litre Waggott TC-4V acquired from Alec Mildren as the long time team owner and patron wound down his race operations.

The Waggott was then transferred to the Sub, when he bought it- his first meeting with that motor fitted appears to be the Mallala Gold Star round in 1970.

Jack Bono, Elfin, from Bob Muir, Mako then Elfin, Nota, uncertain and then probably Ken Goodwin, Rennmax back up the road Warwick Farm 1967 (oldracephotos.com/Phillips)

 

Muir, Lotus 23B Ford, Warwick Farm 1968 (oldracephotos.com/DSimpson)

 

Muir, Rennmax BN3 Waggott during practice for the Oran Park 1970 Gold Star round- Q4 but DNS after a run bearing (oldracephotos.com/DSimpson)

Money was always tight as Muir’s motor-dealership provided the funds to race, he did so when he could afford to.

Throughout 1970 he ran his Waggott engined BN3 at Warwick Farm and Sandown for strong thirds stepping into the Sub for the first time at Mallala in October and then the AGP at Warwick Farm in November where a blown tyre caused an accident in the race won by Frank Matichs’ McLaren M10B Repco-Holden.

He sensibly did not contest the Kiwi 1971 Tasman rounds as by then the ‘more modern’ F5000’s had eclipsed the 2 litre cars which could still, in the right circumstances, give a good account of themselves the year before- he raced at the Farm for sixth

Contradicting myself, Max Stewart won the 1971 Gold Star in the Mildren Waggott despite Bartlett’s McLaren M10B being demonstrably the quickest car that season- reliability let him down, and Bob would have given Max a shake had he the wherewithal to run the Mildren. His sole GS 1971 appearance was at Oran Park in Ken Goodwin’s BN3 fitted with his Waggott which blew in testing so he didn’t race, by June the Sub was advertised for sale in Racing Car News ‘Sell as is. Needs rebuild, engine repair’- Ray Winter bought it and did very well in it as an ANF2 car fitted with, in time, a Hart 416-B Lotus-Ford twin-cam. The Sub in period only had aces behind the wheel- Gardner, Bartlett, Muir and Winter.

Bob had bigger plans to have a crack at F5000 with a new car rather than the ‘hand me downs’ he had raced hitherto.

Muir’s Lola T300 Chev, DNF battery from 1972 Tasman Champ Graham McRae, Leda GM1 Chev 4th. Matich won from Gardner and Bartlett- Matich A50 Repco, Lola T300 Chev and McLaren M10B Chev (L Hemer)

Niel Allen’s misfortune created an opportunity for Bob.

Allen missed racing after his retirement at the end of the 1971 Tasman so he acquired a new Lola T300, chassis ‘HU-4’.

Whilst testing the car he lost control of the twitchy jigger- quite a different beast to the McLaren M10B had jumped out of twelve or so months before. Muir bought the car when Niel said ‘enough’ and rebuilt it around a new tub- he was ready for the Australian 1972 Tasman rounds where he was immediately quick- Q4 at both Surfers and Warwick Farm.

This was mighty impressive as the competition were ‘match fit’ having done four rounds over the five preceding weeks so the fact that a young fella had jumped right into these thoroughly demanding machines and was immediately on ze pace was a mighty strong effort.

Great Dick Simpson shot shows Bob hoiking an inside left at Oran Park with Kevin Bartlett’s T300 up his clacker during the 1972 Gold Star round. Bob Q2 behind Matich and DNF tyre/brakes. Matich, A50 Repco won from Bartlett and Max Stewart, Elfin MR5 Repco (oldracephotos.com/DSimpson)

 

Lynton Hemer’s shot of Muir heading thru BP and onto Oran Park’s main straight during the 1972 Gold Star round highlights some key aspects of the T300 design- the F2 T240 derived aluminium monocoque chassis, mid-ship, hip mounted radiators the ducting of which gives this whole series of cars (T300/330/332) their thoroughly sexy look- the cars worked rather well too. 5 litre Chev sits reasonably high, in this case fed by four 48IDA Weber carbs (L Hemer)

He spun at Surfers, had a battery problem at the Farm and an engine failure at Sandown’s AGP from Q5 but a point had been made despite not having the dollars to do the final Adelaide round.

His Gold Star appearances were similarly sporadic- Sandown Q2 and second behind the dominant Frank Matich A50 Repco, Q2 and DNF at Oran Park and that was it apart from some ‘Repco Birthday Series’ events at Calder.

He went jumped up into the big league in 1973 contesting most of the US F5000 ‘L&M Championship’ in a new Lola T330 Chev. The car was bought by Australian Garry Campbell and, a bit like the Allen Lola twelve months before, Campbell crashed in testing at Oran Park- Bob repaired it with the assistance of John Wright, later to be a very fast F5000 driver himself and shipped it to the US with a couple of nice, strong Peter Molloy 5 litre Chevs.

He hooked up with Chuck Jones and Jerry Eisert (the exact nature of the commercial relationship is not entirely clear) and together ‘Jones-Eisert-Racing’ attacked the L&M.

In an amazing run of raw pace Bob qualified fourth at Michigan International on 20 May for third in heat and DNF final, then off to Mid Ohio for Q3 and DNS heat and final and then off to the demanding Watkins Glen, a circuit on which he had not competed before for Q2 behind Jody Scheckter and ahead of Brett Lunger, Brian Redman, Peter Gethin, Mark Donohue, Tony Adamowicz, David Hobbs, Kevin Bartlett, John Walker, Vern Schuppan, Frank Matich and others.

Whilst Jody Scheckter was THE find of the series Bob’s performance was amazing, to say the least

His seasons in the US and the UK in F5000, Formula Pacific and a fleeting but impressive F2 appearance or two- is a story for another time.

Michigan International during the 1973 US L&M F5000 Championship, 20 May. Lola T330 Chev- a Peter Molloy Chevy at that. Scheckter, Trojan T101 Chev won from Derek Bell, Lola T330 Chev and Peter Gethin, Chevron B24 Chev. Muir Q4 3rd in heat and DNS final (M Windecker)

 

Etcetera…

 

(J Lemm)

Still wearing Bartlett’s usual #5, Bob sets to work on the Sub during the October 1970 Mallala Gold Star round- his first meeting in the car. Rare photo semi-nude.

 

‘Racing Car News’ June 1971 read it and weep…

 

(oldracephotos.com/Hammond)

Cruisin’ the Calder paddock during one of the ‘Repco Birthday Series’ (fiftieth) F5000 races during 1972, Lola T300 Chev. KB won this four or so championship rounds title from Frank Matich and Muir- all events held at Calder title.

 

(L Hemer)

Bob during the 1972 Warwick Farm Tasman round, not sure if it was practice or the race which was wet- Lynton has captured the reflections beautifully.

Credits…

Rod MacKenzie, oldracephotos.com/Dick Simpson/Hammond, Lynton Hemer, John Lemm, David Cutts

Tailpiece…

(oldracephotos.com/DSimpson)

The Muirs Sports Cars Mildren Yellow Submarine leads Teddy Pilette, Team VDS McLaren M10B Chev through the Warwick Farm Esses during the 1971 ‘100’ Tasman round- sixth and fifth respectively- a good dice, there were two seconds between the cars at the races end. Gardner won in his works Lola T192 Chev from Chris Amon, Lotus 70 Ford and Bartlett’s Mildren Chev.

Finito…

kleinig rob roy

(George Thomas)

Frank Kleinig, awesome driver that he was, attacks Rob Roy Hillclimb, left front pawing the air in his self built Kleinig Hudson Spl, 1947…

He won the Australian Hillclimb championship twice, at Rob Roy in 1948 and Hawkesbury in 1949, on both occasions at the wheel of this iconic and still extant Hudson straight-8 powered special.

Frank Leonard Kleinig was born on 10 November 1911 and died on 27 May 1976- he was one of the greatest of Australian racers of the inter and early post-war period who really should have won an AGP or two but never quite pulled it off in a career which went all the way from 1936 into the dawn of the sixties.

This is far from a complete history of the man but rather a story built around the ‘Kirby-Deering Special’ aka the ‘Kleinig Hudson Special’. Please treat the article as ‘work in progress’, some of you will have records that I do not, not least David Rapley who restored the car for its Melbourne enthusiast owner Tom Roberts.

I thought, ‘i’ll chuck it up with what I have and modify from there’ rather than try for perfection before uploading.

Mind you, the work online of John Medley and Bob King have unearthed some amazing fresh photographs from the Kleinig Family Collection via Daniel Kleinig and other information in the last couple of weeks. My contact is mark@bisset.com.au. The thing is 10,000 words now, a two beer read, let’s go for another 2,000 or so of detail…

The ill-fated Buckley/Kleinig combination aboard the McIntyre Hudson at Phillip Island in November 1935 (B King Collection)

 

‘The Car’ 15 November 1935 via (B King Collection)

John Medley advises that young mechanic Kleinig’s opportunity to race came about due to the misfortune of his boss at Kirby Engineering, EJ ‘Joe’ Buckley who had established his own competition reputation as an inter-capital record setter of considerable national renown.

Kleinig, employed by Kirby’s, accompanied driver Buckley who was racing one of the two racers owned by ‘McIntyre’s Picture Circuits’ theatre owner/entrepreneur William August ‘Gus’ McIntyre at Phillip Island for the first race meeting held on the new 3.312 mile ‘triangular road course’ on the Melbourne Cup long weekend, 6 November 1935.

Gus owned both the McIntyre Hudson/Hudson Special, a modified Hudson drophead and was in the process of construction of the Kirby-Deering Special (KD) a wild, Miller supercharged straight-eight powered racer of more anon.

Phillip Island in its original rectangular, circa 6 miles form, with its narrow, undulating, fast and dangerous gravel/sand surface was deemed too hazardous to hold the Australian Grand Prix, so a shorter course was mapped and used. It seems the last meeting on the original track was the ‘Winter 100’ handicap 100 miler won by Alf Barrett’s Morris Cowley Spl on 3 June 1935.

The new layout formed a ‘traditional triangle’ and included the whole of the old Pit Straight, inclusive of ‘Heaven’ and ‘Hell’ corners with the apex of the triangle formed by ‘School’ corner.

Buckley, with Kleinig as riding mechanic was entered in the all-comers 116 mile handicap ‘Australian Race Drivers Cup’.

John Medley wrote that the start/finish line was opposite the School House. Buckley, who started from scratch carrying #1, crashed at School House Corner, almost but not quite completing the first lap. The car rolled, Buckley’s feet were caught in the pedals with Kleinig thrown clear, badly bruised but ok.

Spectators and officials rushed forward, rolled the hefty Hudson back onto its wheels. The badly injured Buckley- who broke his back either in the initial roll or the Good Samaritan one which followed, was hospitalised in Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital and later a Sydney facility for months, never to race again.

The Melbourne Age speculated that the accident was caused by the very dusty conditions and a bump ‘wide out’ which he is thought to have hit, ‘tripping’ the car, but the race promoters, the ARDC were having none of that- ‘It was claimed that the dust on the corner was responsible, but this is wrong, as there was not a car within two-hundred yards of School Corner at the time. It appears that he was trying to make up his handicap of over sixteen minutes, and took the corner a trifle too fast…’

Bowral’s Les Burrows, in another Hudson Terraplane won the race in 1 hour 47 minutes 21 seconds, an average of 64.83mph (see Etcetera section at this pieces end for a bit more about Les) from the G Bastow, Singer Le Mans and Harry Beith’s Chrysler.

Whilst Buckley was being looked after in hospital Kleinig repaired the car and drove it back to Sydney- and shortly thereafter was offered the drive by McIntyre.

(B King Collection)

(B King Collection)

Clive Gibson, Kleinig employee and later owner of the McIntyre Hudson, said to John Medley that FK didn’t rate Joe’s talents at the wheel ‘FK thought Joe a poor driver who looked dangerous on the first few corners and turned over on lap one.’

The McIntyre Hudson was originally a hobby/plaything for the wealthy cinema owner, who had led a remarkable life, he travelled widely, had varied sporting interests including  motorcycle racing, Kings Cup shooting, rowing, yachting and fishing before his decade long motor sport career. The McIntyre Hudson was built for serious intent though- a race across Africa in 1936, that event was abandoned after Italy invaded Abyssinia, the car was then deployed for a full life in Australia- races, hillclimbs, sprints, trials and as a fast road machine, happily it still exists.

McIntyre knew Kleinig, he ‘used to get his cylinder heads from Kirby’s, who cast and machined them, and he had his eye on Frank as a likely youngster, so, when he decided to build a special racing car (the KD)…he got Frank into the plot’ wrote Bob Pritchett in Australian Motor Sports.

Frank owned and had a tragic accident in a Bugatti Brescia in June 1933, but his competition in that car, if any, seems to have been limited- more of the Brescia later. Note that by the standards of the time the monoposto, 175 or thereabouts bhp KD was a very quick machine in which to commence ones racing career- starting in an F2 car is perhaps to put the scale of the challenge in a modern context.

Maybe, although results published on Trove (Australian digital newspaper archive) do not support it, Kleinig was blooded initially in the McIntyre?

Whatever the case, Kleinig was immediately quick in the Kirby-Deering, his first race, according to Barry Lake was at Penrith Speedway when the track was re-opened by Frank Arthur in June 1936.

It is not clear exactly when the long awaited Kirby-Deering first turned a wheel but it seems that FK’s first public drive of the car was during the Saturday 1 February 1936 annual New South Wales Light Car Club organised speed record attempts held on Canberra’s Northbourne Avenue- a straight, well surfaced stretch of road ideal for the purpose.

Only seven cars took the challenge that year, the quickest of which was Tom Peters in the ex-Bill Thompson twice AGP winning Bugatti T37A, he did the Flying Mile in 106.8mph- a bit slower than the state mark set by Thompson the year before at 112mph.

Second quickest was the Kirby-Deering at 105.8mph, the Referee reported that ‘This Sydney built hybrid has taken nearly two years to get into competition, but it shows great possibilities. It was probably “over-trained” on the morning of the contest: the driver, young Frank Kleinig, usually occupies the mechanics seat and during the runs the broken exhaust note told of plug trouble. But once the car gets going, Thompson’s mile record is in danger.’

Gus McIntyre, driving the McIntyre Hudson, proved the low end grunt of his mount by completing the first half in 108.4mph but fell away towards the end for a 103.4mph average.

The KD is fifth from the bottom in this shot #6 with Kleinig about to mount up for the 50 Mile Olympic (as in tyres) Handicap at Victor Harbor (spelling correct) during the SA Centenary meeting second day on 29 December 1936- the 1936 AGP was run on Boxing Day. Its a rare shot so indulge me despite the Kirby-Deering being a tad difficult to see. From the bottom is #1 J Fagan MG K3, then Tom Peters Bugatti T37A, then Lord Waleran and Lyster Jackson in K3’s- then #6 Kleinig. #12 is Les Burrows Hudson, #17 the Harry Beith Terraplane and the light coloured car with a dark bonnet is Jack Phillips Ford V8 Spl (R Garth)

That year Kleinig contested speedway events, hillclimbs and the blue-riband 1936 Australian Grand Prix (South Australian Centenary GP) held on the challenging, once only used, gravel, Victor Harbor-Port Elliott road circuit that December 26, he retired after 6 laps with a burst radiator having driven the McIntyre Hudson.

Kleinig practiced the Kirby-Deering and McIntyre the ‘Hudson Terraplane’ (McIntyre Hudson) that weekend.

The Adelaide News reported that Kleinig was one of the most spectacular drivers of the meeting and that he ran out of fuel at Nangawooka Hairpin and had to walk half a mile back to the pits to get replenishment. No times were taken of the sessions, it seems that McIntyre/Kleinig determined the more appropriate mount for the fast, sandy-gravel course was the McIntyre Hudson so the K-D was put to one side for the Centenary Grand Prix but was raced in the ‘Olympic 50 Mile Handicap’ event on 29 December.

Held three days after the GP, another large crowd, this time estimated at over 20,000 people watched Stanley Woods win the Junior and Senior TT events on Velocettes, ‘the most exciting race was the car event in which great great speed and superb cornering brought spectators to their feet in the stands.’

Barney Dentry won in a Riley from Lord Waleran in John Snow’s MG K3 Magnette and Les Burrows’ Hudson third- Frank was not mentioned in the Advertisers race report other than that he was twelfth of fifteen starters in the K-D.

FK taking mum for a ride I wonder? Slender body by Gough Bros, Sydney, what is the lever on this side? Road registration makes it a wild road car! (Kleinig Family)

Kirby-Deering Special design, construction and development…

Gus McIntyre clearly had his public relations machine working, expectations of the completion of his new car were being speculated upon in the press later in 1934, in time for the Victorian Centenary 300 mile Grand Prix albeit the car did not finally appear until late 1935, one report had it that initial test runs would be conducted on the Bulli Pass- now that would have been exciting for anybody in the area at the time!

The basis of the car was an MG Magna ‘L Type’ tourer owned by noted Australian racing driver, speedway promoter, businessman and later President of The Royal Automobile Club of Australia, John Sherwood.

Sherwood recalled the machine in ‘Cars and Drivers’ ‘I also owned an ‘L’ type Magna…I sold it to the late WA McIntyre who had a saloon body fitted to it. He and his wife were big people and couldn’t fit into it without great discomfort so he eventually removed the body and gave the chassis to Frank Kleinig. This became the basis of the 1.5 litre Miller engined Kirby-Deering Special and later the Kleinig Hudson.’

WA McIntyre was immaculately connected and had a couple of titans of Australian industry in James Norman Kirby (later Sir James) and Harold Hastings Deering supporting his exotic new racing car- separately both men created enormous fortunes.

In Kirby’s case, he was born in Sydney, educated in Newtown and was initially apprenticed as a motor mechanic. After the success of a small enterprise repairing motor-cycles he established James N Kirby Pty Ltd in 1924- an automotive engine rebuilding business which in time employed Buckley and Kleinig.

He later expanded into the importation and assembly of cars and the manufacture of electrical whitegoods, machine tools, ordnance, establishment of an assembly plant for cars (British Motor Corporation at Zetland) and much more. Despite his modest formal education he was involved as a leader in industry bodies and was appointed as a Director of some of Australia’s largest companies including Qantas- he was knighted in 1962.

Born in Ashfield, Sydney in 1896 Hastings travelled to the UK and was commissioned in the British Army before transferring to the the Royal Flying Corps and later the RAF during the War. He served in England and France in the same squadron as (Sir) Charles Kingsford-Smith.

After postwar employment in the UK, upon return to Australia he set up Deering Engineering Co, establishing an agency for AEC bus manufacturers in Australia. He later had what was the largest Ford Dealership in the world- the sole metropolitan distributorship for Ford in Sydney selling 7,000 new and 12,000 used cars a year! Later he obtained the Caterpillar agency- Hastings Deering still holds that and more.

The smart-arse observation is that with backers of this wealth- noting that both men were still ‘on the up’ in the mid-thirties, why not have bought a Miller car, rather than ‘just’ the engine…Then again, maybe it was about good old Aussie enterprise? The commercial arrangements between the parties would be interesting to know.

Kirby died on 30 July 1971 and Deering on 16 June 1965, both in Sydney at Vaucluse and Homebush respectively.

By 1932 the Australia Street Newtown workshops of James N Kirby Pty Ltd were too small for the 25 employees, so the move was made to a larger freehold property at 75-85 Salisbury Road Camperdown that March- it is here, 4km from central Sydney that the Kirby-Deering Special was constructed.

The Sydney Referee’s 25 October 1934 issue reported that Joe Buckley was in charge of the cars build, in more modern times the credit for the KD is attributed to Kleinig solely- period newspaper articles suggest this is incorrect whilst noting that Frank was a key part of the team which built the thing.

The Magna chassis was used fitted with the front and back axles of a four-cylinder French Mathis car. The semi-elliptic springs were a Magna-Mathis combination with the back axle located above the chassis. The huge drum brakes of the Mathis were also deployed.

‘For better cornering the chassis is crab-tracked being several inches wider in the front than in the back.’

The streamlined steel body was built by Gough Brothers who had also created the body of the Stewart Enterprise land speed record car- lets leave that particular tangent well alone.

Doug Ramsay, FK’s apprentice, Jack Stevens of Silex Mufflers, FK and WA McIntyre- date and place unknown (C Gibson)

 

Kleinig, Kirby-Deering Spl, Penrith 1937 (Kleinig Family)

 

Harry Arminius Miller with one of his centrifugally supercharged 1.5 litre straight-8’s (unattributed)

 

Kirby-Deering Miller Spl, rare shot of the 1.5 litre s-8 centrifugal supercharged engine. Chassis MG Magna, brakes and front axle Mathis. Of the Olympic Air Ride tyres racer/engineer/restorer Greg Smith wrote ‘…we called them ‘Slippery Sams’ as they had no grip at all. Beaurepaire’s were the owners of Olympic Tyres, so called because Sir Frank Beaurepaire was an Olympic swimmer (3 silver and 3 bronze medals in the London, Antwerp and Paris games and 15 world records). Question- Is the small cog wheel and worm used as a rack drive accelerator by pushing the worm axle or a rotary motion for mixture?’ Greg concludes ‘The engine has the uber expensive Robert Bosch 8 cylinder racing magneto, in todays money GB pound 10,000 for a second hand one’ (Kleinig Family)

‘The Referee’ recorded that the motor ‘…is the supercharged 8-cylinder Miller engine, which was in the car that came second in the Indianapolis 500 four years ago…’ Shorty Cantlon was second in 1930 aboard the ‘Miller Schofield’, a Stevens Miller engine/chassis combination which was also raced by that years winner, Billy Arnold.

The quoted power of these 91.5cid engines was initially 154bhp @ 7000rpm but that rose with refinement to both the engine itself and it’s intercoolers.

The motor was cast in two blocks of four cylinders, the crank having four main white metal bearings. Two valves per cylinder were driven by twin-overhead camshafts, ‘the centrifugal blower revs at five times engine speed and is driven off a big ring gear in front of the flywheel. Normal revs are 7000.’

The KD’s gearbox was a Mathis three speed attached to a Mathis differential via a short, strong driveshaft two feet six inches in length.

The complete car was expected to weigh 13 1/2 cwt and had an estimated top speed of 130mph- at that time the KD was anticipated to race in the upcoming Phillip Island meeting on 27 October and then at Maroubra in Sydney’s southern beachside suburbs on 24 November 1934.

Frank and his team surrounded by admirers in Canberra after the May 1937 Speed Trials- note the discs on the wheels and special guards at the front to reduce air resistance- car very handsome in this specification- Kirby Deering Miller Spl (A Collingridge)

 

Sydney ‘Referee’ 29 April 1937

The Referee’s 3 January 1935 article reported on the frantic work being carried out to have the car ready for the New Years Day Victorian Centenary meeting at Phillip Island reflecting upon five months work to get to that point, ‘The streamlined body was a thing of beauty and…loving craftsmanship put into the job’. The plan was to complete the machine, truck the car to the Island and test it there.

Problems immediately arose when the exotic engine was started, despite a ‘satisfying clamour water oozed through the plugs, the defect was traced to metal inserts holding the blocks- apparently the rubber grommets had perished’. The towel was thrown in after attempts at soldering failed.

The car was weighed- with Buckley, who was to drive at the Island aboard, 28 gallons of fuel and 5 gallons of oil the racer weighed 17cwt ‘quite Grand Prix-ish’.

‘When the trouble has been cleared up it is likely the Kirby-Deering will attempt the mile records, standing and flying’…albeit that would be twelve months hence!

Bob Pritchett picks up the challenges of the cars early development in AMS.

‘At first, the car whilst extremely fast, was also extremely hard to handle, and it was only by a painstaking process of trial and error and experiments with weight distribution, steering geometry and ratios, shock absorbers, spring rates and so on (at one time the car carried 2 cwt of lead ballast aft so that the rear springs would work), that it was brought to the stage that it could be driven up to its potential performance.’

‘Even then the final drive ratio was too high; the Miller engine didn’t get really cracking until it was spinning at over 6200rpm and Frank says that by the time he had wound it up to this pitch the car was starting to take off properly- he had usually reached the stage where he was running out of straight and he had to begin all over again…at the Canberra Speed Trial he entered the flying mile in second gear and covered the distance at an average of 117mph, crossing the line at something over 135, he thinks that, given sufficient breathing space, she could have been worked up to about 145 or more mph. Not bad for a home-made 1 1/2 litre special. The supercharger was geared to about five and a bit times engine speed, which means that at times it was turning at 42000rpm, which is a bit staggering when you come to think of it.’

With the development of the car ongoing, it was almost unbeatable in Frank’s hands at Penrith in 1936 and 1937, he had become almost a household name in Sydney, until a spectacular rollover there on Monday 26 April 1937.

He was lucky to escape injury from the accident- having strayed to the edge of the track, the car tripped flinging him free, then rolled several times and ‘crashed down a foot of where he lay stunned’ bruised and battered but otherwise ok.

In the best racing tradition FK worked all week to repair the damage and carry complete some detailed streamlining of the KD inclusive of discs on the wheels to allow him to run at the annual Canberra Speed Trials in May 1937.

Frank did 116.9mph over the measured quarter of a mile besting Bill Thompson’s Bugatti T37A’s 112mph. His standing quarter mile time was also quickest of the day at 16.6 seconds from Jack Saywell’s Railton 4.1 litre.

Kleinig at speed on Northbourne Avenue on one of the KD’s runs in 1937. Even tho it’s not sharp note the largely covered radiator, with only a small hole for air and the fairings over the front wheels. Marvellous (Kleinig Collection)

 

Kirby-Deering, a bit of a mystery shot as to location and driver, perhaps Tom Peters, Tim Shellshear thinks (T Shellshear)

 

Another cracker of a shot from Daniel Kleinig this time of the exhaust side of the KD which appears, with vestigial rear guards, set up for a trial- the actual venue a hillclimb coz there is a hill present…venue anyone? Love the heart shaped grille (Kleinig Family)

 

Kleinig in the McIntyre Hudson from KR McDonald, Standard Spl during the Interstate GP, Wirlinga, Albury in March 1938, DNF. Jack Phillips won in a Ford V8 Spl

Kirby-Deering Special evolves into the Hudson Special…

During 1937 Kleinig continued to race the McIntyre Hudson as well as the KD amongst other things setting hillclimb records at Cessnock (Mount View), Waterfall Gully and Broughton Pass, all in New South Wales.

The Kirby-Deering proved itself a great sprint car but was dogged by unreliability in longer distance events and so ‘The pale blue Kirby Deering Spl was rebuilt into the royal blue Kleinig Spl with 4168cc Hudson 8 power for the 1938 Bathurst AGP (and was beaten only once at Penrith in this form)’ wrote John Medley.

‘While the Miller 8 motor was superb and effective for the rolling starts of Penrith Speedway, the torquey Hudson 8 was considered better equipment for the swoops and dives of Bathurst. Right idea- but the strengthened chassis and MG brakes were found to be deficient. The development of the Kleinig Hudson proceeded over the next 15 years’.

The exotic Miller engine was put to one side of the Kirby workshop- lets come back to it later on.

Kleinig’s AGP on the new Mount Panorama tourist road only lasted 5 laps, he was out with a broken fan belt, the race won in dominant style by the visiting Peter Whitehead in his ERA B Type ‘R10B’. Some compensation for Frank was a win in a short handicap preliminary earlier in the day.

Legend has it that ‘Conrod Straight’ at Bathurst acquired its name as a consequence of a big blow up of FK’s Hudson engine during the second Easter meeting in 1939, the rod punched a big hole in the block. The 1940 Bathurst program named the straight ‘Conrod’ and FK had the errant component chrome plated as a keepsake!

1939 started well with Frank’s first visit to Rob Roy during the New Years weekend- he had the big Hudson running beautifully and became the first driver to go under 30 seconds, setting a new record at 29.72 seconds.

The great form transferred to Aspendale Speedway when FK unofficially broke the lap record set by Peter Whitehead’s ERA B Type during his long successful tour of Australia the year before.

During 1939 McIntyre sold (or gave?) the Hudson Special to Kleinig which henceforth became the Kleinig Hudson Special. In the lead up to the 1939 Easter meeting the car had been lightened and its MG Magna brakes replaced by more powerful Minerva ones with Perrot operation, and the cars wheels modified to accommodate the big brakes.

Gus also sold the McIntyre Hudson to a Mrs Dixon, a divorced lady friend of her chosen driver, Kevin Salmon, at the same time- the car was entered as the ‘Salmon Motors Special’ during this period.

Medley wrote ‘Unfortunately Mrs Dixon surprised Salmon in bed with her daughter (testing the sponsors product, as it were) and she promptly sold the car to Frank Kleinig, who occasionally raced it post-war.’ Medley notes by that stage the car had been raced, hillclimbed and sprinted by McIntyre, Les Burrows, Joe Buckley and Frank Kleinig.

Despite the loss of his sponsor, Salmon continued his racing career into the sixties in an MG.

Kleinig’s speed and the effectiveness of the cars ongoing development as noted above, was amply demonstrated that Easter when he seemed assured of victory only to hear the death rattle of failed bearings end his race, victory going to John Sherwood’s  MG NE.

Better luck was in the offing during the October meeting when the car, painted red was second in the 150 mile race behind John Snow’s Delahaye 135CS and ahead of Bob Lea-Wright’s Hudson.

(JO Sherwood)

Two views of FK during the Easter, April meeting in 1939- the shot above shows Kleinig being closely watched by spectators as he apexes Hell Corner to head up Mountain Straight- with the pits and Pit Straight behind him.

The one below shows him exiting Murrays, at the bottom of Conrod Straight, entering Pit Straight. Its not the most beautiful of cars but brutally purposeful, distinctive and attractive if not seductive.

Mount Panorama 1939 (unattributed)

 

(JO Sherwood)

The way it was, Bathurst again, this time the line up for the 150 Mile Race, October 1939 meeting.

Up front is Alf Barrett’s Alfa Romeo Monza, then Colin Dunne’s MG K3 Magnette and beyond that John Snow’s slinky #14 Delahaye 135CS. #9 is the John Snow owned ex-Phil Garlick Alvis of 1920’s Maroubra fame- the machine that weekend driven by John Barraclough.

#3 is the McKellar Ford V8 Spl- this car famous as the ex-Bill Thompson twice AGP winning Bugatti Type 37A and infamous as the car, driven by Wal James, went into the crowd at Penrith in June 1938 killing three people- and then #2 Frank’s by then Kleinig Hudson Spl and then alongside the McIntyre Hudson, by then Salmon Special, driven by Kevin Salmon but owned by our Mrs Dixon.

The photograph is interesting in no shortage of ways not least to show the ‘competitive set’ in that immediate pre-War, and post-War period for that matter. The balance of the 150 Mile field was made up of MG T Series, Hudson/Terraplane Specials and Ford V8 Specials- and others with the only ‘Top Gun’ cars missing from this line-up Allan Tomlinson’s 1939 AGP winning MG TA Spl s/c, John Crouch’s Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Le Mans and Jack Saywell’s Alfa Romeo Tipo B/P3.

The interesting story about Saywell’s aristocratic Grand Prix Alfa Romeo is that the engine was damaged in a workshop cock-up by the cars imported British mechanic- he goofed the engine’s timing and when turned over valves and pistons made contact in a manner not intended by Vittorio Jano.

Saywell, not confident the engine could be rebuilt in Australia despatched it by ship back to Italy whereupon ’twas never seen again- perhaps the exotic aluminium 2.9 litre supercharged straight-8 ended up somewhere between Jones Bay Wharf and Genoa. It raced on post-War with ‘black-iron’ engines fitted but was not reunited with an engine of original specification until restored in the early-sixties.

Superb shot of FK in the KH Spl heading into Quarry from Mountain Straight during the October 1939 Bathurst meeting (J Shepherd)

 

Kleinig whistling thru Lobethal township at speed during the 1939 AGP weekend at (N Howard)

The 1939 AGP was held on the fast, daunting, Lobethal Adelaide Hills bitumen road circuit.

Like all of the big cars Frank fried his tyres in the incredibly hot conditions. He and John Snow were the backmarkers, off 4 minutes 15 seconds, Frank only lasted 3 laps, the race was won by the vary fast, canny West Australian, Allan Tomlinson in a lithe, nimble, beautifully set up and prepared supercharged MG TA Spl off 11 minutes 30 seconds- one of the great AGP wins and a wonderful story (written) for another time.

The last Bathurst meeting pre-War was in 1940 by which time the Mathis gearbox casing was fitted with four close ratios, Frank was sixth plagued by carburettor troubles the race won by Alf Barrett’s Alfa Romeo Monza- he, like so many other young Australian racers was soon off to War.

Just how large a number of Australian racers took up the challenge of defending our freedoms from 1939-1945 is explored in a whole chapter devoted to the topic of John Medley’s ‘John Snow: Classic Motor Racer’. In that context this snippet on the owner/sponsor of the McIntyre Hudson and Kirby-Deering Spl/Kleinig Hudson Spl is amazing and sobering.

’The Australian (war death) toll was no less (to that of the Europeans)- particularly in proportion to overall population. Even old hands were not spared: Walter Augustus McIntyre had been Frank Kleinig’s patron in the late 1930’s, had run in the typical trials of the day during and before that time, and been the man behind the McIntyre Hudson, built strong for the trans-Africa race of 1936 that did not happen because of Italy’s attack on Abyssinia. He was not a young man and was not in good health. He chose to do his bit in the war by carrying out private patrols of the NSW coast in his own boat, looking for submarines and any other enemy force. On one night patrol he became soaked in the very wet conditions, contracted pneumonia, and died’ in a Sydney private hospital about 27 June 1944 aged 59.

Post war the Kleinig Hudson was still competitive, winning the first event held at Bathurst, a hillclimb in January 1946.

Handicap meetings continued as standard fare across Australia for a while yet, Frank took a last lap win over the John Crouch MG in the ‘Victory Trophy’ at Strathpine, Queensland in August 1946.

Together with Crouch’s Delahaye 135CS he was off scratch in the Bathurst, 1946 New South Wales Grand Prix but clutch problems outed him early in the 150 mile race won by Alf Najar’s MG TB Monoposto Special.

Stunning clear photograph by a ‘Pix’ snapper. Mathis beam front axle, big mechanical drum brakes all around, ‘up and over’ exhaust for the side-valve straight-8 at this stage fed by a single carb, make? Note also the steering box and drag link (SLNSW)

The photo above is in the Mount Panorama pits, October 1946 during the New South Wales Grand Prix weekend. Kleinig was the limit man together with John Crouch’ Delahaye 135CS, DNF after completing only five laps, Alf Najar was the winner as noted above.

Note FK with kidney-belt on about to address the mechanicals- see the single carburettor being run at this meeting/stage of development in contrast with what was to come as below!

In 1947 Frank returned to Rob Roy with the Kleinig Hudson but Arthur Wylie triumphed that day, winning the Australian Hillclimb Championship with a time of 29.18 seconds in his ‘Wyliecar’ Ford A Model Special.

Undeterred, he returned to the Christmas Hills, outer Melbourne venue the following year and took the title doing a 28.72 seconds run- his ‘supertweak’ that year was using 7200rpm- that poor side-valve motor, and therefore using second gear for most of the journey. His good form carried over to his home turf when he took the 1948 title as well at the Hawkesbury climb that April.

The 1947 AGP was run at Bathurst with FK suffering a major engine failure on lap 27- the winner, Bill Murray’s MG TC.

Stunning shot of the KH straight-8 Hudson side valve engine in 1947 or 1948 at Rob Roy. Have you ever seen so many gee-gaws, bell cranks and levers in your life?! Four Amal carbs feeding eight cylinders, head- still side-valve cast by FK and his water injection system- the rail above the carb bell mouths carries water not fuel. Chromium plated exhausts are ‘up and over’ to get them away from induction side apparatus (E Davey-Milne)

 

Racer Earl Davey-Milne inspects the engineering marvel which is the KH straight-8 (E Davey-Milne)

In 1949 Kleinig was the favourite to win the AGP at the Leyburn, Queensland airfield track after a political dispute over the location of the race resulted in the Victorian drivers declining to enter- Barrett, Gaze, Davison, Dean and Whiteford included.

Putting that to one side, Kleinig’s pace was demonstrated at Bathurst that Easter with a win in the 25 lap over 1500cc Handicap and third in the All Powers 25 lap Handicap- and fastest times in both races, there was life in the old dog yet, over short distances at least.

Graham Howard’s account of the Leyburn event in the ‘History of the AGP’ records that ‘Kleinig’s continual development of the straight 8 side-valve Hudson engine had resulted in a car which could run a standing start quarter mile in under 15 secs and exceed more than 125mph’.

‘Among Kleinig’s modifications were a supplementary oil system which used an external pump driven from the nose of the crank by a chain, and a form of water injection direct into the special Kleinig cast cylinder head, with pressure from the water supply coming-ingeniously-from a line tapped into the exhaust system. Pre-race testing showed this gave much more pressure than was needed so a blow-off was fitted. The red Hudson was an intensely developed fiery style of car-which perfectly matched Kleinig’s driving. Probably at the time only Alf Barrett was faster, and plenty of people would argue about that too.’

In the race Kleinig started from pole position, it was the first time the grid of an AGP was based on practice times- a scratch rather than a handicap race, he led from the off but was in the pits by lap 9 as the water injection blow-off valve was discharging water onto the plugs.

He rejoined the race a lap behind the John Crouch driven Delahaye 135CS and soon after the car threw its water pump as a consequence of lots of loose road metal after completing 21 of the 35 laps, John Crouch won in the ex-John Snow Delahaye 135CS- some small compensation for Frank was sharing the fastest lap of the race with Crouch.

1949 AGP grid, Leyburn Qld, Dick Bland in George Reed Ford V8 Spl, #15 Keith Thallon, Jaguar SS100 #4 Crouch in the winning Delahaye 135CS, #8 Arthur Rizzo, Riley Spl and then Kleinig. Second row from this side, Alan Larsen, Regal Cadillac Spl, Snow Sefton Strathpine Ford V8 Spl and Rex Law Buick Spl. #3 is Arthur Bowes Hudson Spl #25 Doug McDonald Bugatti Dodge and #18 Garry Coglan MG TC Spl (unattributed)

 

FK in the Kleinig Hudson, Hell Corner, Mount Panorama 1951 (C Gibson)

 

Missing from the Mount Panorama grids in 1950 he returned in Easter 1951 but was out of luck in the over 1500cc handicap, having missed practice, with points which had closed up, but he was second in the 3 lap scratch behind Jack Saywell’s Cooper- the crowd roared approval of the two old warriors- FK and the car when Kleinig had the race won from the back of the grid only to have momentary fuel starvation gift Saywell’s new-fangled Cooper JAP 1100 the win out of Murrays on the last lap.

In October he was third in the Championship Scratch behind Whiteford’s Talbot-Lago T26C and Lex Davison’s Alfa Romeo P3, in the Redex 50 Mile feature he retired shortly after encountering brake troubles- Whiteford the winner of the scratch section of the race.

Into 1952 the car could still attract headlines, a Sydney Morning Herald banner in February proclaimed the cars top speed of 123mph at Mount Druitt.

Frank entered his faithful steed in the 1952 AGP at Bathurst but there were plenty of new kids on the block in the form of Whitefords Talbot Lago T26C, Jones Maybach and Coopers- the poor Kleinig Hudson was simply too old in the brave new world of scratch racing and the growing number of cars acquired to win outright- the big straight-8 cried enough after completing four laps and Doug Whiteford won the second of his three AGP’s- he would triumph again in the same car at Albert Park in 1953- his Ford V8 Special ‘Black Bess’ provided his first win at Nuriootpa in 1950.

Finally, and for the only time, Kleinig finished an AGP, in seventh place with one plug lead missing and only first and top gear in use towards the end- incredibly so, despite the advancing years of car and driver- with Frank pushing with all of his fire and brimstone he was third behind Jones and Whiteford at the end of the first Albert Park lap and still third by the end of lap 14 behind Jones- another fiery press-on character and Whiteford- not bad in this company in a car which dated to 1936 and was an amalgam, a clever one admittedly, of production derived parts.

For the 1954 AGP at Southport the car arrived with Kleinig’s major revision of the car incomplete but still considerably changed. The new car kept the old chassis side rails but used central seating, Peugeot 203 independent front suspension and an offset Hudson rear axle.

Additionally, the car was re-bodied with panels from the ex-Johnny Wakefield 6CM Maserati (#’1546′-the car now owned by Tom Roberts and has been reunited with its body in the restoration by David Rapley), the new car was much more slender, lower and lighter, 12cwt as against the 16cwt of the original car.

Part of the weight saving process included the use of a special, small ‘Lion’ battery which shorted before the event preventing Kleinig’s eighth and final attempt at the race ended almost unrecorded, wrote Graham Howard- such a sad end to the old chariots AGP career.

FK with the final iteration of the Kleinig Hudson Spl with Peugeot 203 front suspension, Maserati body and the rest (Modern Motor via S Dalton)

 

photo (3)

 

Kleinig and Beetle 1200 during the 1955 REDeX- 3 September en route to Fitzroy Crossing in WA- he hit a rock culvert, wrecking the car (HWT)

REDeX Round Australia Trials…

Like all of the aces of the day Kleinig was versatile and adaptable contesting a number of the round Australia trials which were hugely popular with the Australian public at the time buoyed by car ownership which was becoming more widespread.

FK’s was eighty-fourth in 1953 in a Morris Minor and twenty-seventh in a Peugeot 203 in 1954 but he made the papers anyway, for a speeding offence- he was found guilty of driving through Goulburn at 50mph, the prosecutor noting traffic convictions going back to 1928 and lost his licence for three months. Naughty boy.

More spectacular was the coverage he received as far away as France where their weekly magazine ‘Rampage’ reported that Frank Kleinig and another competitor, George Green ‘were attacked by savages’.

Kleinig was driving his Peugeot 203 between Katherine and Darwin, trying to get past George Green when a ‘blackfellow appeared by the side of the road…wearing only a bit of canvas in front of him, carrying an axe and a spear…’

In the delicate, politically correct language of the day Kleinig observed that ‘As Green’s car passed, the blackfellow rushed out on the road and tried to stop him but Green was going too fast. When I slowed up the blackfellow rushed towards my car and I stopped. He had some sort of root he had been smoking and he asked for “chew-back” (tobacco). I told him I had none, then he pointed to my watch…I said you don’t get that sport…I picked up a camera off the seat and took a picture of him as I started to drive away…as I did so…he took a swing at the back of the car with his axe…he made a mark but that’s all’ FK concluded.

By the time the French press got hold of this the artist concerned had ‘blackfellas’ all over the car, sadly the image, which is more ‘Jungle Jim’ in Africa than Australian Outback, is too poor to reproduce as it is a bit of a giggle…

FK pictured with Norman Hamilton’s Porsche 550 Spyder, and trophies (C Gibson)

Where does Kleinig fit in the pantheon of Australian drivers?…

Norman Hamilton, the importer of Porsche into Australia invited Frank to drive his 550 Spyder in the NZGP at Ardmore, FK finished ninth in the sportscar, a great drive, Stirling Moss won the race in a Maserati 250F- and drove the Porker to victory in a sportscar support event. Kleinig also raced the car in Australia and prepared it for a time in his Sydney HQ.

A ‘works drive’ such as that offered by Hamilton late in his career (FK was born 1911 remember) makes one wonder what Frank could have achieved with better equipment- mind you he was incredibly lucky to have a Patron such as Gus McIntyre to give him his start.

Amongst good pub chatter topics over a blurry Carlton Draught is a list of ‘the greatest Australian drivers never to win an Australian Grand Prix’ before the F1 era commenced in 1985.

Names that come up include Alf Barrett, Reg Hunt (mind you he wasn’t around that long) Frank Gardner, Kevin Bartlett, John Bowe, John Smith, Alfredo Costanzo…and Frank Kleinig.

In period comparisons put him thereabouts with Barrett whose primary tool was a beautifully prepared (Allan Ashton at AF Hollins who later looked after Lex Davo’s machines) Alfa Romeo Monza which the well heeled Armadale businessman raced with considerable success and perhaps too often big-event failures. Kleinig’s machine was as far from a factory built racer as it could possibly be, an amazingly fast ‘Bitza’ with the production based Hudson engine always pushed beyond limits hard to endure.

John Medley wrote about an AMS experts review of drivers at the time ‘A 1948 Australian Motor Sports magazine placing had John Snow just behind Alf Barrett in the “Best Australian Driver” category, but ahead of John Barraclough and Frank Kleinig, with John Crouch and Doug Whiteford in equal fifth place (although it should be noted that AMS editor Arthur Wylie ((a driver of the front rank himself)) was smart enough and knowledgable enough to restrict the poll to just New South Wales and Victoria: because he, like John Snow and all the other Eastern States hotshots all knew they had been out-thought, out-prepared, and remarkably out-driven by the almost unknown Allan Tomlinson from Western Australia when his supercharged MG TA Special won the 1939 Australian Grand Prix at the sobering high speed South Australian circuit at Lobethal’ wrote Medley providing valuable in-period context and opinion- far more valuable than any thoughts of mine decades hence using third-hand information to make interpretations of ‘what was’.

Contemporary reports have it that Frank was a sprinter, not one who could really stroke the car home- despite the fact he built and maintained his cars. You can see the fizz, brio, energy and sparkle characteristic of FK’s driving in some of the photographs within this piece.

We need to keep in mind the handicappers role in this period too of course. But the adage ‘to finish first, first you have to finish’ is one to bare in mind and perhaps one Frank’s Driver Coach could have mentioned to him once or twice along his journey.

Barry Lake wrote of Kleinig in his book ‘Half a Century of Speed’. ‘I asked John Crouch (1949 AGP winner and contemporary of FK for much of his career) what he thought of Frank Kleinig as a driver. He told me: ‘Kleinig was one of our best sprint drivers ever, but he wasn’t any good in a long race. He’d drive it as if it was a sprint. He was a top mechanic but the machinery still could never stand up to him. On the dirt or in a sprint hillclimb there’s probably never been anybody as good or better.’

Looking more broadly than just at his on-track performances Kleinig is very much in the rich tradition of elite level Australian racer/mechanic/engineer/entrepreneur/businessman types- think Brabham, Gardner, Garrie Cooper, Matich and Perkins, a pretty special breed I believe.

It’s hard to say who was quickest in an era when ‘everyone’ wasn’t racing a similar Maserati 250F, Cooper or Brabham Climax, Lola T332 or Ralt RT4 but it does seem the evidence suggests Kleinig was one of the fastest of his era, a different thing to the best mind you- which spans the mid-thirties to the mid-fifties in whatever he drove.

And my guess is he may have, may have, squeezed a tad more outta that Alfa Monza than Mr Barrett did over one or two laps if not an entire race.

Bill Thompson was winding back his activities in the mid-thirties as FK was winding up- Thompson died during the War too so i have not attempted to draw comparisons there- and this ramble started with arguments about those who didn’t win an AGP whereas Bill won three of course.

For the sake of completeness Thompson and Barrett are generally the pair at the tip of the pyramid of best ever Australian resident drivers with debate more or less equally drawn on which of these two fellas stand alone.

Kleinig’s factory/workshop on Parramatta Road, Burwood, Sydney in 1947. Kleinig Hudson on the trailer, the other racer is Bill Ford’s Hudson 6 Spl. Kleinig retained the 1.5 litre Miller engine after it was removed from the KD- many enthusiasts recall it being on display in the window of this workshop for decades (C Gibson)

Commercial Activities…

Whilst involved in the motor trade all of his life Kleinig was also an inventor and innovator.

He developed the ‘Mist-Master’ water injection system for the Kleinig Hudson and also sold kits for road cars to combat the pinging or detonation caused at the time as a consequence of the low octane and quality of fuels commercially available.

He also made and marketed a range of speed equipment including exhaust system, inlet manifolds, air cleaners and the ‘Spark Booster’ device which increased the intensity of the spark.

The workshop above, established after Frank’s departure from Kirby Engineering in 1938 at 404 Parramatta Road was well known to home mechanics by the 1950’s and it was not unusual for a long queue of folks on Saturday mornings wanting to buy parts.

In addition, the Frank Kleinig Rubber Company recycled old tyres- he developed a technique for shredding the tyres in which the steel belt material was removed by magnets and the rubber melted and injected under pressure to make new products, the most popular of which were bath plugs. Misfortune occurred in May 1947 with in excess of five thousand pounds worth of damage done to the premises, equipment and stock by fire.

Kleinig held patents for some of these inventions, that he was innovative and creative is not in doubt.

 

kleinig rr 1939 h vince photographer

Frank Kleinig Rob Roy 1947. To set the record there in 1948 he pulled second gear all the way over the line, it spun to 7000rpm on plain bearings, a 5 inch stroke  and with ‘splash’ lubrication (FH Hince)

Kleinig continued to race into the late 1950’s, for the fun of it in a Morris Minor, his last race Barry Lake believes to be a shared drive with his son, Frank Kleinig Jnr in a Morris Mini 850 for a class win in the Bathurst Six Hour Classic in September 1962- Kleinig Jnr became a Formula Vee ace.

When Frank ceased racing he never sold the car which had been such an important part of his life. He died in 1976, the family retained the Kleinig Hudson until 1992 when it was purchased by the current owner Tom Roberts.

He commissioned its rebuild by David Rapley who also restored the Maserati 6CM ‘1546’ which donated its body to the Kleinig Hudson way back in 1954- and is also owned by Roberts.

The Kleinig Hudson below with Tom Roberts at the wheel in Melbourne, August 2004- the KH would be right up there with ‘most raced car in Australia’, bested only by the Sulman Singer?

 

kleinig 2

Frank Kleinig 14th Rob Roy 1947 (George Thomas)

Etcetera…

Bugatti Brescia Tragedy..

Misfortune befell Frank, two young friends and the Bugatti Brescia Kleinig was driving to a wedding in Strathfield, inner-Sydney on June 26 1933.

Travelling along Parramatta Road, on the corner of Crane Street Homebush, Frank collided with and glanced off another car into a telegraph pole, the small French car rolled spilling the occupants onto the road- very sadly for the hapless 21 year old driver, his male companions, twenty and twenty-one years old later died.

The District Coroner, sitting in Burwood, H Richardson-Clark ‘…was satisfied (having heard the differing testimony of several witnesses as to Kleinig’s speed) that the young men in the racing car were going like the wind, with time on their hands and the temptation of a concrete road. There was…clear evidence of failure to observe traffic regulations. The racing car…should have given way to the other car’, the Coroner said.

Kleinig’s counsel, Mr Simpson, remonstrated with the Coroner who he said ‘was biased against motorists’. Simpson said that ‘in the last three cases you have sent men to trial they have not had to face juries’.

And so it was that despite finding the two men had been ‘feloniously slayed’- and committing Kleinig for trial on a charge of manslaughter and FK being released on bail of one-hundred pounds, the young man did not face court.

Whatever the facts, and they died with the three occupants of the car, to overcome this tragedy says much of Kleinig’s ability to pick himself up and refocus his life on racing, building several businesses and a family in a manner typical of ‘racers’- a special breed.

The incident was an horrific one for all concerned, not least Kleinig who lived with the incident and terrible outcomes for the rest of his long life.

(JO Sherwood)

EJ ‘Joe’ Buckley…

The photograph above shows Joe Buckley and Lewis L ‘Hope’ Bartlett in Sydney, Monday 20 November 1927 aboard a Hudson Super Six.

They set a time of 11 hours 54 minutes to become the first crew to go under ‘the magic 12 hours’ between Melbourne and Sydney, undercutting the previous best by 39 minutes 30 seconds despite crashing through a fence at Breadalbane and breaking a wheel.

The Sydney ‘Arrow’ reported that the same duo did a time of 10 hours 51 minutes in early January 1928. ‘The Hudson…used was almost a standard job, except that an extra petrol tank and an electric pump were installed and the springs were strengthened…The speedsters averaged 53 miles an hour over the 575 miles and had an uninterrupted run throughout. This is the first time that the journey between the two capitals has been done in under 11 hours, except by aeroplane’ the Arrow concluded.

Harry Beith held the record to that point in a Chrysler, he was the first to beat the time set by the late AV Turner who had done 12 hours 34 minutes, a record which stood for over four years set in February 1924

In a tit-for-tat period of constant changes in the record Harry Beith and his mechanic A Dolphin in a Chrysler did 10 hours and 12 minutes in December 1929 beating Buckley’s 10 hours 24 minutes…

And so it went on until the legislators brought an activity which was becoming increasingly dangerous to an end.

The intercapital record breaking efforts were big news, often front page news, as here with Buckley and a fellow aspirant Perry Donnelly (Overland Whippet) ‘betting their cars’ in the event one could not set a better time than the other for the Sydney-Cowra run- 27 November 1927

Buckley’s chosen marque, Hudson (Hudson, Essex and Terraplane) popular in Australia, were built from 1909 to 1954 by the Hudson Motor Car Co in Detroit and then for three years more by American Motors Corp before production stopped.

‘Speedster Buckley set speed records in that summer of 1928 between Sydney-Melbourne, Adelaide-Melbourne and Sydney-Cowra (his home town).

Whilst the manufacturers of the successful makes of car proclaimed their success in the usual way- newspaper advertisements, Hudson sent Buckley on a tour of Northern NSW (if not elsewhere) doing speed and economy demonstrations ‘with four or five passengers up’ of the Hudson Super-Six supervised by the local newspaper and/or motoring authority.

The Coffs Harbour Advocate reported the results; Walcha 21mpg, Tamworth 70mph and Moombi Range climbed ‘in top’, Armidale’s Hiscox Hill was ascended ‘in top’ whilst at Glen Innes 23mpg and 75mph was achieved.

The results of Glen Innes were repeated in Tenterfield but Big Hill was done ‘in top’- Lismore’s triumphs were 22.8mpg and 0-30mph in 4 seconds.

Proving that advertorial is nothing new the Advocate’s reporter concluded that ‘these figures are convincing proof of the Hudson makes claim that in spite of greatly improved performance, the latest Hudsons are 20mpg cars.’

What became of Joe Buckley folks?

 

(SLNSW)

Les Burrows..

Usual thing, you see a new name, sniff around and all of a sudden learn something about a fella yer didn’t know anything about.

What an ace on the tar and dirt the Bowral garage owner and Hudson dealer was aboard both this car and midgets at places like Penrith.

You may recall at the article’s outset that Les won the Phillip Island event during which Bailey and Kleinig came to grief, he is pictured in that car out front of his business in Bowral’s main street in May 1937 above.

Clive Gibson wrote that Burrow’s car was a one-off with a special body by Properts Body Works of Camperdown, Sydney. Said body was originally fitted to Burrow’s 1935 Terraplane and transferred to a new Hudson 8 in 1936, it was light- 20 cwt compared with a four door at 24 cwt. He also raced a 1933 Terraplane in the 1938 AGP at Bathurst, finishing second behind Peter Whitehead’s ERA B Type.

The car contested the 26 December South Australian Centenary Grand Prix aka 1936 AGP at Victor Harbor, DNF. He won the Ten Mile Championship at Penrith on Anzac Day in 1937 and in its first form as a 1935 Terraplane won the November 1935 Phillip Island race referred to above. The Terraplane was green and the Hudson bright red.

Clive Gibson owned the car in the sixties, then the machine changed hands in Sydney several times and disappeared, presumed lost. Les’ last competition event was the 1954 REDeX in a Vanguard.

Love this piece about the commitment of a racer, it’s from the Sydney Morning Herald 12 November 1935 report of his Phillip Island win.

‘…on the preceding Saturday he drove the car from Bowral to Sydney and competed in the New South Wales Light Car Club’s Mountain Trial over Kurrajong to Mount Victoria. Returning to Sydney the same evening, he drove his racing Midget at the Wentworth Oval Speedway and then left Sydney at midnight, towing the Midget home to Bowral. He then left in the Terraplane to Melbourne at 4.30am on the Sunday, arriving there the same afternoon about 4 o’clock. The car was then stripped of its mudguards, hood and windscreen, and taken to Phillip Island on Monday November 4. No additional tuning was found to be necessary, and the car went straight into practice for the big race.’

Les ‘…lapped the circuit at 64mph’ and ‘drove with great skill, cornering in a fast and safe manner’ to win the race.

Then, with all the road equipment installed back onto the car Burrows drove the 900km from Cowes back to Bowral, in New South Wales beautiful Southern Highlands.

You don’t have to be mad but it helps!

(unattributed)

Some more from Ray Bell in relation to Les Burrows, Ray wrote this piece some year back after speaking with Clive Gibson.

‘Burrows…had been showing off Essexs for some time before getting a 1935 Terraplane Sports Tourer, in this car he won Phillip Island in 1935 but then drove the McIntyre Hudson at Robertson Hillclimb later in the year.’

‘Impressed by the eight’s power, he ordered a new 1936 model minus body and installed the 1935 Terraplane body on the new car. It was in this car that he and his riding mechanics took their wives on the South Australian Centenary Trial from the Sydney start to Adelaide, then the guards were removed for the Grand Prix.’ (the 1936 South Australian Centenary GP aka the 1936 Australian GP at Victor Harbor)

‘The 1935 engine was destined for use later on the 1933 Terraplane which was shortened and run briefly with the original engine. With a Propert body and the ’35 engine and wire wheels, then a ’38 grille, it was the definitive Burrows car that was raced so much- and finished the Lobethal race on three wheels.’ (the 1939 AGP)

Les Burrows finishes the 1939 AGP at Lobethal on three wheels- he was fifth, the winner Allan Tomlinson’s MG TA Spl s/c (R Bell)

 

Magnificent shot of Les Burrows in the Terraplane Spl at Wirlinga, Albury during the March 1938 ‘Interstate Grand Prix’- he was third in the race won by Jack Phillip’s Ford V8 Spl- photo in reverse I think, actual number is 9 (R Bell)

Ray continues later in the original article ‘The only contemporary racing subsequent to this (Kleinig’s failure at the 1954 Southport AGP) of Hudsons or Terraplanes was accomplished by that old 1933 Burrows chassis. Its Propert body put aside in the late forties by Bill Ford, it was entered in the AGP meeting of 1955 as part of Bill’s racing and continued running until the closure of Mount Druitt and the Easter meeting at Bathurst in 1958, not entering the AGP that year.’

‘…the car became the Barracuda Ford in the sixties, with the Propert body, the grille Ford had fitted before the 1948 AGP and a Ford OHV V8. It reverted to its canvas bodied single-seater form when Peter Hitchin resurrected it for Historic Racing.’

Shane Cowham drawing for the HRR Newsletter no 167- McIntyre Hudson at rear, the Kleining Hudson and Burrows Terraplane Spl (R Bell)

McIntyre Hudson…

This amazing old warrior is shown above in ‘more recent times’ at Warwick Farm in 1971.

Some snippets about Kevin Salmon’s period with the car by Barry Lake, ‘Salmons car was owned by a Mrs Dixon, who sold it later to Frank Kleinig. John Crouch said of it: The McIntyre Hudson? That big roadster…it was a horrible thing to drive’.

Lake continued, ‘Kev Salmon was the son of Leo Salmon who was killed at Maroubra Speedway in 1925. John Crouch remembers Kevin for a used car showroom he had at the top of William Street (Sydney) where he “sold some wonderful cars”. I remember Salmon from when he raced again in the early 1960’s when he drove an MG Special and I had a Cooper Norton Mark V. At that time Kevin had a used car yard right at the Parramatta end of Parramatta Road.’

Kevin Salmon in the McIntyre Hudson/Salmon Spl from Frank Kleinig, Kleinig Hudson Spl at Bathurst in October 1939 (C Gibson)

Salmons Motors were the Sydney Citroen and Jewett agents and were involved in record-breaking.

Albert Vaughan, an employee of Leo Salmon’s enterprise and L McKenzie drove a Citroen to set the Sydney-Melbourne record at 15 hours 20 minutes in 1924.

Leo Salmon had a Jewett shortened and lightened to create a machine suited to Maroubra Speedway, the enormous concrete saucer built in the Sydney inner beachside suburb which opened on 5 December 1925.

With Leo at the wheel and Albert Vaughan as riding mechanic they were circulating the fast, challenging track on 30 December, preparing for the venue’s third meeting on New Years Day 1926 when Leo lost control and crashed over the top of the unguarded banking killing the poor unfortunate occupants who became the circuits first victims.

(C Gibson)

FK in the McIntyre Hudson at the Waterfall Valley Hillclimb in July 1938.

Doug Ramset in the white overalls and Clive Gibson in open neck jumper. Clive owned this car later in his life as a fast roadie, see a photograph of the car in more recent times at the end of this article.

In more recent times the McIntyre has fallen into good hands, that of the National Motor Museum at Birdwood In the Adelaide Hills, do pay the historic old jigger a visit!

Matthew Lombard is researching the full history of the car, please get in touch with him if you can add to the McIntyre story or any of those who drove, owned or prepared it- copy me in so I may update this piece too. Matt’s email is mlombard@history.sa.gov.au

Sydney ‘Referee’ 1 April 1937

Its interesting that the reporter in the April 1937 piece above comments upon the improvement in Kleinig’s driving ‘over his previous exhibitions and with the car going at its best…’, this suggests, perhaps, that the Kirby-Deering Miller Spl was by then reasonably well sorted and that FK was handling it with aplomb.

 

(E Davey-Milne)

Hillclimbs were a big deal yonks ago in Australia- look at the admiring Rob Roy crowd in 1947 or 1948 watching the KHS being warmed up- wonderfully, it still competes there seventy years after its first appearance.

 

(The Referee)

Interesting comparison of the two McIntyre owned racers in profile in November 1936.

At left is the Kirby-Deering Miller Spl with Frank at the wheel and at right Gus McIntyre aboard the McIntyre Hudson- he competed until health reasons forced relinquishment of the drivers seat.

(JO Sherwood)

Superb panorama of FK in the Kleinig Hudson Special- ‘Dirt Track Charlie’ doing his thing, Barry Lake believes, circa 1939/40.

I’ve written about Penrith before- it first opened in 1921, then closed in 1930 and was re-opened by Frank Arthur in June 1936 until its final closure, well into the War, after a meeting held on 14 April 1941.

Special research thanks…

Bob King, John Medley, Ray Bell, Nathan Taska and Daniel Kleinig for photographs from the family collection

Bibliography…

Graham Howard & Others ‘History of The Australian Grand Prix’, George Thomas ‘Cars and Drivers’ #3 1977, Nathan Taska, John Medley, Motorsport January 1936, Referee (Sydney) 25 October 1934, The Referee 5 November 1936, State Library of NSW note by Clive Gibson accompanying the photograph of the Burrows Hudson at Bowral, The Canberra Times 27 April 1937, Sydney Morning Herald 12 November 1935, Bob Pritchett in Australian Motor Sports 15 November 1946, Sunday Times, Perth 22 August 1954, Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Sydney Morning Herald 7 July 1933, Sydney The Sun 6 July 1933, Articles by Tim Shellshear in VSCC newsletter, Bob King Collection, ‘The Car’ 15 November 1935, ‘John Snow: Classic Motor Racer’ John Medley, ‘Half a Century of Speed’ Barry Lake via Tony Davis Collection- this publication incorporates the photographs of the John O Sherwood Collection, The Arrow Sydney 13 January 1928, Coffs Harbour Advocate 24 July 1928, The Advertiser 30 December 1936, Australian Dictionary of Biography- Sir JN Kirby and H Hastings Deering, article on the Kleinig-Hudson by David White and Graeme Jackson, Ray Bell and his Collection

Lobethal perhaps, 1939 Kleinig Hudson (unattributed)

Photo Credits…

George Thomas, Bob King Collection, Norman Howard, Alex Collingridge, Herald and Weekly Times, Tim Shellshear Collection, Bob King Collection, Russell Garth, Jim Shepherd, Kleinig Family Collection, Stephen Dalton Collection

Tailpiece: Kleinig, Kirby-Deering, date and place unknown, circa 1937…

(T Shellshear)

The Kirby Deering Miller Spl, a bit of a mouthful really, with Kleinig at the wheel, probably a hillclimb, if any of you can pick the venue do get in touch.

What about that Miller engine?

One story emanating, Bob King thinks from Kent Patrick- a racer/writer of note, is that the Miller engine was bought for Frank as a gift for saving a young person from drowning. It’s an interesting one. That does not accord with the newspaper accounts or Daniel Kleinig’s recollection of his grandfather saying he ‘was allowed to set the valve clearances of the engine whilst an apprentice.’ It it were your motor you wouldn’t have been askin’, would yer?

Perhaps this story has become confused with one involving (later Sir) Frank Beaurepaire who was awarded a Gold Medal and 550 pounds by the Royal Humane Society in 1922 for helping save a shark attack victim in the Coogee surf- he used this money to start Beaurepaires, a nationally significant (still) tyre, wheels and battery business.

In any event the Miller engine sat in Frank’s Parramatta Road workshop front window ‘forever’- Barry Lake records that Tom Wheatcroft bought the engine for his Donington Collection circa 1994.

Bob King recalls Wheatcroft as a regular visitor to Australia in the Adelaide GP and early Albert Park GP days. He was close to John ‘Jumbo’ Goddard, Sydney car collector, Bob’s suspicion is that Jumbo probably said to Tom on one of these trips ‘You really should grab that motor champ’, I wonder which particular bonnet below which it was inserted back in the UK? Or perhaps it became a swap?

Finito…

 

Rodney Clarke’s Connaught J3 Coventry Climax FPE V8 2.5, as concepted in 1954…

In anticipation of Climax’s forthcoming 2.5 litre ‘Godiva’ or FPE F1 V8 the amazing Clarke laid down a concept which ‘would have featured a stressed-skin monocoque section built up a round a geodetic latticed internal frame similar to the Barnes-Wallis originated structure of the R-100 airship and Vickers Wellesley and Wellington bombers of the 1930’s’ Doug Nye wrote.

This J3 (sometimes referred to as J5 or D Type) ‘tub’ would have supported a separate subframe which would have carried the FPE V8 and a bespoke Connaught transaxle and de Dion rear suspension with inboard mounted disc brakes.

’The transaxle was to be an epicyclic affair with its actual gearbox section overhung beyond the back axle line. One of these transaxles was actually completed, plus parts for another five, and was used in Paul Emeryson’s Cooper-Connaught’ Doug wrote.

As is well known the Coventry Climax lads felt ’emasculated’ by the claimed power outputs published by the continentals and the FPE was unraced in period, only one of the cars concepted around the wonderful V8 was eventually built, the Kieft, click here to read about it; https://primotipo.com/2016/06/03/kieft-de-soto-v8/

Cars were also planned by Climax customers Cooper and HWM as well as Connaught and Kieft. All was not lost at Climax, the learnings from development of the V8 were applied rather effectively to the all conquering family of FPF fours

Imagine the J3 racing in 1955 with a development budget to sort it…

Geodetic Airframe…

First i’ve ever heard of it. ‘It makes use of a spaceframe formed from a spirally crossing basket-weave of load bearing members. The principle is that two geodesic arcs (a curve representing the shortest distance between two points) can be drawn to intersect on a curving surface (the fuselage) in a manner that the torsional load on each cancels out that on the other’ says Wikipedia.

Credits…

Getty Images, ‘The History of The Grand Prix Car’ Doug Nye, Theo Page

Tailpiece: Kieft F1 Coventry Climax…

Finito…