Ian Mountain and his mates with his self-built, very clever IKM Peugeot Special on the AGP grid at Southport on Queensland’s Gold Coast, November 7, 1954.

Ian gives the photographer a big grin, it’s none other than champion racer Reg Hunt, who is sharing his previously unpublished shots with us via his friend and confidant, Melbourne enthusiast/historian David Zeunert.

The young Montclair Avenue, Gardenvale (now Brighton) engineer first came to prominence racing the MYF (Mountain Young Ford) Special he built together with fellow Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology civil engineering student, Bruce Young.

In the finest traditions of the day, this Ford 4.2 litre V8 two-seater provided day to day transport and a multi-purpose racer including a mount for the 1952 AGP at Mount Panorama. Up front Doug Whiteford won in his Talbot-Lago T26C, while Ian retired after 24 of the 38 laps.

Ian awaits the off in the MYF Ford Spl at Rob Roy circa 1952 (L Hatch)

 

IKM Spl. Chassis, engine and suspension detail as per text (AMS)

Despite his training, Ian was up to his armpits in all things automotive. He was employed as a Peugeot salesman by Canada Cycle and Motor Co in Latrobe Street, Melbourne. It was to them he turned for components for his next car, the IKM (Ian Keith Mountain) Peugeot Special.

The machine’s chassis was of typical ladder frame type, longerons were of 16 gauge 2 3/4 inches diameter steel tube with four cross members – one at the front, one behind the engine then two at the back, in front of and behind the final drive unit.

Front suspension used Peugeot 203 transverse front springs and stub axles with fabricated top wishbones and telescopic shocks. Steering was 203 rack and pinion, as was the steering wheel.

Rear suspension was de Dion. The bowed tube picked up the hub-carriers and a 1946 Ford V8 diff housing mounted on the frame. This had specially cast side-plates with Dodge pot-type universal joints at each end of the driveshafts. Semi-elliptic springs, radius rods and telescopic shocks completed the package.

The hydraulic brakes use MG TC backplates and shoes with Alfin drums. The wheels were Holden FJ ‘laced’ onto ‘TC hubs- 5 inches x15 in front and 5.5 x 15 at the back, whilst the heart of the matter was a modified 203 crossflow engine.

IKM engine and front suspension. Peugeot suspension and steering components with fabricated top wishbones, MG TC/Alfin brakes. Peugeot engine 1490cc- 80.5mm bore and 73mm stroke, big Wade blower and SU carb (AMS)

 

IKM ally fuel tank and rear suspension detail- de Dion tube, radius rod and shock mount (AMS)

The standard Peugeot four-cylinder OHV 1290cc unit was bored to 1490cc using custom made Rolloy pistons and sleeves. A big Wade R020 blower fed by a 55mm SU carb giving about 6 pounds of boost was mounted on a frame ahead of the front suspension and chain-driven from the front of the crank. Extractors were fabricated, a Scintilla Vertex magneto gave the sparks, Peugeot provided a competition fuel pump and exhaust valves. Inlets and valve springs were standard but the valve gear was lightened and polished as were the rods and crankshaft before balancing. The compression ratio was 6:1.

The engine was mounted to the left in the frame to allow a driveline left of centre and therefore a nice, low seating position. An MG TC gearbox mated to the bellhousing easily, 22 gallons of fuel were carried in a rear mounted tank.

Neil Coleman’s ‘shop in North Melbourne built the light aluminium body with the light, low purposeful car beautifully built and finished. IKM weighed 9cwt, had a wheelbase of 7′ 6″, front track of 4′ 2″ and a rear track of 4’, ‘so the car is not really a small one, belying its looks’ AMS reported.

After testing in the quiet(!) of the Geelong Road Ian ran the machine at the Beveridge and Templestowe Hillclimbs in chassis form, and then at Fisherman’s Bend with its body fitted. He finished two races despite fuel feed problems caused by shortcomings in the manifold design.

Ian married Laurel Duguid in the Scotch College Chapel at Hawthorn on November 2, 1954 then the couple set off for Southport and the 1954 AGP, what a honeymoon! Lex Davison won in his HWM Jaguar with the IKM retiring after 11 laps. Ian’s radiator drain tap was opened slightly by vibration of the body panels which allowed the water to escape, the travails of new cars.

Peugeot 203 and IKM Spl ready for the long Melbourne-Gold Coast November 1954 AGP trip, Gardenvale to Southport is 1,725km each way (L Hatch)

 

Ian looking around for his crew at Gnoo Blas, long, low lines of the innovative IKM Pug clear (K Devine)

After a relaxing Port Phillip Bay Christmas/New Year the newlyweds set off from Melbourne for the South Pacific Trophy at Gnoo Blas, Orange, New South Wales over the January 31, 1955 weekend.

Australia’s first FIA listed international meeting featured the Ferrari 500/625s of Peter Whitehead and Tony Gaze, Jack Brabham’s Cooper T23 Bristol, Dick Cobden’s Ferrari 125 and Bira’s Maserati 250F and Osca V12 amongst others.

Two cars in Connaghan’s Corner after the right-hand Mrs Mutton’s Corner and then the downhill The Dip. Ian has lost adhesion and left the circuit on the outside, his crashed car is visible with officials well away on the left as, perhaps, the South Pacific Trophy takes place. Superb, rare angle of this section of this road circuit whilst noting the sad scene Reg Hunt reveals

 

Sadly, oil which spewed from Bira’s Osca V12 probably led to the awful accident which cost 25 year old Ian and a young spectator in a prohibited area their lives on the fast, downhill run out of Connaghan’s Corner, see here for a feature on this meeting; https://primotipo.com/2020/04/09/1955-south-pacific-championship-gnoo-blas/

Reg Hunt’s Maserati A6GCM 2.5 litre was entered for the meeting but necessary spares were late arriving from Italy so he prowled the circuit with his camera instead.

Laurel remarried in 1960, the IKM remains passed to Ian’s brother Ken who later sold them to Harry Firth. Ian Tate, who admired the car in the day, later acquired it and is in the gradual process of restoration.

Path of the car clear through the fence from the previous shot from up the hill towards Connaghan’s Corner.

Whilst components off the crashed machine have been placed on the wreck and in the cockpit the barbed wire fence, wrapped around IKM Spl, which provided some of Ian’s fatal wounds is clear. When the worst happened on those tracks in those days, lady luck either was, or was not present. Unseen by Ian that day sadly

Stunning, most significant photographs, many thanks Reg, David.

Credits…

Australian Motor Sports, December 1954, ‘Ian Mountain: Potential Unfulfilled’ Paul Watson, Reg Hunt photographs via David Zeunert Archive, Ken Devine Collection, Gnoo Blas Classic Car Club

Finito…

Comments
  1. Great car. Sad story. Best regards, Arnold Hauswald, Houston, Texas, USA

  2. John Medley says:

    Long ago at a Friday night Bulant Gardens barbeque( Brian Rawlings workshop, Amaroo Park), the IKM accident was a topic– and we discussed our locations then: Cummo was invited before the accident by officials at Connaghans to flag but declined, Maureen Hunter with Percy was a nurse and tended the injured, Brian Schroder described the colour of IKM’s face (purple, fence wire across the neck), Ron Reid described IKM-with-trailer passing RR-with-trailer over double yellow lines on the way to Orange, I was at Windsock and recalled the high speed motorcycle policeman leading the high speed ambulance to hospital…. all sad and ugly stuff.
    Mark I suggest you seek from I think a Bill Tuckey book a pic of IKM opposite-locking out of the previous corner– which some suggested indicated IKM over-exuberance, and others a rear-end design fault…..Regards

    • markbisset says:

      Thanks John,
      Great to hear from you, all very sad indeed. I will seek out the Tuckey book, i have one somewhere…So, i have maligned Bira unfairly? If so i will change the wording accordingly.
      Next time i see Ian i must ask about rebuild status.
      Stay well.
      M

  3. Christopher Blanden says:

    My father and mother were spectators at that event somewhere in the vicinity of the accident, as i recall my father saying that he had seen the accident happen and of course, the unfortunate aftermath. My parents filmed many early races and i have a vague recollection there may be one of this event. I will check

  4. Bruce young is a good mate of mine who has been a friend and client for many years. I told him about this article and he was very excited to see it! He is still in Brighten and still a true enthusiast, who was doing regularities until about 4 years ago!

  5. Bruce Polain says:

    With a couple of mates we were at Orange on that day spectating by walking round the circuit clockwise. Only minutes before the accident we arrived at the scene where the Peugeot left the circuit. Contrary to mentions that it was a restricted area we saw nothing to confirm that – but once we saw only a barbed wire fence between us and the outside of the curve (over a crest)
    we kept walking rather quickly. We had only gone perhaps a hundred yards further when the accident happened. As the saying goes – it was an accident waiting to happen!

  6. prn31 says:

    Hi Mark,

    Ray Bell wrote about the Ian Mountain Peugeot Special in Motor Racing Australia (#68) magazine back in 2002. He interviewed Ian’s widow Laurel as well as one of his mates Barry Hudson, who helped build the car for the this three page story.

    John Cummins, who had witnessed the crash drove the Peugeot 203 tow car with the wreck on the trailer back to Melbourne.. Ian’s bother Ken and another friend Don Olsen set about rebuilding the car but abandoned the project and sold the remains to Harry Firth as already noted.

    Paul

    • markbisset says:

      Seems to be a fellow and car that touched a lot of people Paul.
      I was talking to Ron McCallum who worked on the IKM and Tornado a fortnight ago, the catalyst for the piece.
      I’ve not seen Ray’s MRA article, be interesting to see it.
      Mark

  7. Dick Willis says:

    Mark, I am not sure whether you have seen Denis Gregory’s account of the accident in his Gnoo Blas book, “Ian Mountain’s Peugeot Special travelling at about 80 mph clipped the end of the safety fence on the fast right hand Connaghan’s Corner at the back of the circuit, somersalted, went through a barbed wire fence and ploughed into a small group of spectators watching from a paddock” Some accounts say there was oil on the tack which caused him to lose adhesion but it points out the hazards racing drivers experienced in those days racing on what were virtually barbed wire fenced public roads as against the sanitised run off areas which are on most circuits these days.

    • markbisset says:

      Thanks Dick,
      I don’t have that book so many thanks- it’s one I should buy.
      Whether is was a youthful error, although he was an experienced driver, oil or a lose induced by a car without fully-sorted suspension i guess we will never know.
      This article has created more response then most, clearly he was a much liked and respected guy.
      Such a lovely car in concept and execution too.
      Stay well,
      Mark

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s