(R Meyer)

Leo Geoghegan’s Holden 48-215 from Frank Hamm’s Jaguar Mk5, Bathurst, Easter 1959…

I’m not sure if this is the parade lap described below or a race but the presence of the sportscar in amongst the touring cars suggests the former.

The stunning series of photographs are uber-rare ones from the inside of Conrod Straight, the cars have just cleared Forrests Elbow and are winding up in top gear. The kid standing on the fence is Rick Meyer, his father took these wonderful rare photos trackside, ‘locals’ photographs.

The Easter meeting was the Gold Star round traditionally- there are a huge number of past, current and future top liners or champions amongst the entry list. ‘Currents’ include Stan Jones, Doug Whiteford, Ross Jenson, Curley Brydon, Jack Myers, Jack Murray and David McKay. ‘Future stars’ are Len Lukey, Alec Mildren and Bill Patterson- Gold Star winners in 1959, 1960 and 1961 respectively, Lionel Ayers, Glynn Scott, Arnold Glass, Frank Matich, Ron Phillips, Ron Hodgson, Doug Chivas, Leo Geoghegan, John French, Des West, Max Volkers, Brian Foley, Ian Geoghegan, Brian Muir and ‘Ken’ Bartlett- no doubt Kevin Bartlett learned the value of clean, clear hand-writing on entry forms when he perused the race program at the circuit!

The photo below is from the same spot and shows reigning World Champ Jack Brabham on the 2 October 1960 weekend when the local boy returned to Australia having retained his F1 drivers title, to win the ‘Craven A International’ from a classy field of locals.

The Cooper T51 Climax leads the similar white-coloured machine of 1961 Australian Gold Star Champion, Bill Patterson. Patterson was second in the race with Bib Stillwell, also T51 equipped in third- he is probably that flash of red car behind Patto.

(R Meyer)

The photo below is again Geoghegan who is about to take, perhaps, Barry Gurdon’s Austin on the run down Conrod, or is it a Triumph Herald? By this stage Leo’s car is very quick and much modified- light weight, it has a Repco Hi-Power cylinder head and multiple SU carbs, is fitted with an MG TC gearbox, slippery diff and disc front brakes.

The introduction of the Australian Touring Car Championship from 1 January 1960 run to Appendix J regulations would reign-in the ‘costs out of hand’ development of touring cars without in any way constraining the appeal of tin-top racing to either spectators or owner-drivers.

(R Meyer)

Beautiful picture of the Les Wheeler funded, Gordon Stewart designed and built Stewart MG…

Believe it or not this very advanced car was concepted and constructed in the early fifties around a tubular steel spaceframe chassis, MG TC engine and brakes. With a Bob Baker built body, modified in the nose here, it first raced at Mount Druitt in 1955.

(R Meyer)

The engine was 1350cc in capacity and fitted with a Laystall crank and locally made rods. By the time the car appeared lots of serious stuff from Europe was racing locally so it missed the boat a bit as a potential ‘outright’ contender but its 1957 Gordon Stewart driven 142 mph made it the fastest TC speed ever over Bathurst’s Flying One-Eighth!

Here, Dick Willis says the car is supercharged ‘B-Series’ BMC powered, still with Gordon at the wheel. This car is extant and a wonderful feature article, such is its conceptual design and execution, for another time.

(D Willis)

A bit more from Dick Willis, here the Stewart MG crew- ‘Ecurie Cinque’ at Mount Druitt probably in 1958. ‘Jim Robson (at right) of Silverdale fame was a technical writer for Riley (Nuffield) before the war writing workshop manuals etc. After the war he emigrated to Australia and soon struck up a friendship with the like, Nuffield minded, Gordon Stewart- Jim was one of the team who developed the Stewart MG…’

Credits…

Rick Meyer, Dick Willis, Paul Newby

Tailpiece: Finish as we started, neighbour still with hands on hips and the obedient Rick still on and behind the fence!…

(R Meyer)

Cars are Horst Kwech’s RM Spyder (Buchanan body) and Tom Sulman’s Aston Martin DB3S during the Easter 1960 meeting.

Paul Newby explains that Horst Kwech built the RM Spyder whilst working at Regional Motors in Cooma- New South Wales sub-alpine country, hence the ‘RM’. It comprised a Buchanan bodied upside-down Singer chassis powered by a Repco Hi-Power headed Holden ‘Grey’ six-cylinder engine and still exists in Canberra.

Finito…

 

 

 

Comments
  1. prn31 says:

    Hi Mark,

    I’m confused. That red “Buchanan is definitely Horst Kwech’s RM Spyder No.54. Only problem is that according to John Medley’s Bathurst book, he wasn’t there in Easter 59. He raced that car there in Easter 60 and the previous October he was in the Leaton Motors Austin Healey Sprite.

    The earlier photo of Frank Hann’s Jaguar Mk5 seems to confirm that it was the Easter 59 meeting as he had graduated to a Jaguar Mk7 for the Easter 60 meeting, still with a GMC Engine.

    As for the Triumph Herald, R Bulloch ran one at the October 60 meeting as a GT(!) car against the Geoghegan Holden.

    Paul

    • markbisset says:

      Hi Paul,
      Its a while since I wrote that one- Rick Meyer, the photographer was a Bathurst resident so it is entirely possible the shots are from different meetings which have been mixed together down the decades…now you have me interested in Horst Kwech’s special!
      Mark

      • Terry Sullivan says:

        That Grand Parade listing is absolutely amazing. I don’t think there is another list with so many star names.the more you look at it you see another top name.

        I at be wrong but large part of reason so many stare there was it was the only racing in NSW at the time. Warwick Farm and Catalina had not started and Mt Druitt had finished the year before

        Surprised to see Ian Geoghegan’s name beside a Peugeot. I don’t recall this. I thought he started in a Standard 8.

      • Terry Sullivan says:

        That Grand Parade listing is absolutely amazing. I don’t think there is another list with so many star names.the more you look at it you see another top name.

        I could be wrong but large part of reason so many stare there was it was the only racing in NSW at the time. Warwick Farm and Catalina had not started and Mt Druitt had finished the year before

        Surprised to see Ian Geoghegan’s name beside a Peugeot. I don’t recall this. I thought he started in a Standard 8.

      • markbisset says:

        Terry,
        It is a pretty impressive list!
        I love that ‘Grand Parade’ idea too but imagine the logistics of marshalling 500 or 600 cars around Phillip Island during the Historic meeting!?
        I’ve thought of an article listing the ‘main circuits’ of Australia start and finish dates just to be able to get the sequences correct from a research point of view and the overlaps as that consideration comes up in most articles- its on my ‘To Do’, not hard either with Google providing most of what one needs!
        Mark

  2. prn31 says:

    Kwech worked at Regional Motors in Cooma, hence the name RM Spyder. He used an upside down Singer chassis, with a Buchanan body and a Repco Holden engine that kept breaking its crankshaft. It didn’t race much and he sold it to fund his round the world ticket – he stoped over in the States en route to England but never left. The RM Spyder survives – painted green and owned by Bill Reid in Canberra.

    Paul

    • markbisset says:

      Great stuff Paul,
      I’ve updated the article and added you to the credits.
      I don’t recall ever seeing the RM- does the owner compete in it, or display it? Horst had a pretty amazing career didn’t he- both in and out of the car. My interest in Oz Specials has grown exponentially since running Pat Ryan’s Elgaram Jag at the Island 12 months ago…
      Mark

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