Archive for September, 2021

(B King Collection)

George Martin’s BMW 328 exits The Cutting during the 1938 Australian Grand Prix on Mount Panorama.

The Melbourne based Australian representative of the Cunard White Star Line (passenger liner) was fifteenth in the handicap race won by fellow Brit, Peter Whitehead’s ERA R10B.

Martin and his wife had settled comfortably into Australian life, he was the President of the Light Car Club of Australia and had competed in the car for only a short while. It was bought for him by racer/scion of Snow Department Stores, John Snow on one of his annual purchasing trips to Europe of stock for the family stores, and top-end racing cars for his mates/clients in 1937.

On his way back to Melbourne from Bathurst, Martin crashed the 328 fatally outside Wagga Wagga, the car was repaired and sold.

George and Mrs Martin, car unknown (B King Collection)
George Martin, AGP, Bathurst 1938 (B King Collection)

After passing through several sets of hands, 328 chassis # 85136 was bought by Geelong, Victoria motorcycle dealer/racer Frank Pratt in 1947.

Pratt had the car prepared for him by AGP winner, Les Murphy. Despite it being his first motor race, Pratt – with vast experience on bikes – won the 1948 AGP at Point Cook, an airfield track used just once.

Held on a fearfully hot Melbourne summer day, Pratt triumphed over many more fancied entries due to the retirement or non-classification of sixteen cars. The mortality race was high with many car’s cooling systems unable to cope. Pratt was also assisted by the favourable handicap afforded a novice…Alf Najar’s MG TB Spl was second and Dick Bland’s George Reed Ford V8 Spl third.

Frank Pratt’s recently acquired BMW on the way to 1948 AGP victory on the RAAF Point Cook airbase in Melbourne’s outer west (VSCC Vic Collection)
Frank Pratt having a celebratory fag after his ‘48 AGP win (VSCC Vic Collection)

Next owner, Peter McKenna raced the car throughout Victoria in 1949, at Ballarat in 1951, practiced but did not start the ’52 AGP at Bathurst, Port Wakefield’s opening meeting in 1953 and at Albert Park’s first AGP later that year where the machine retired after 11 laps. Entered for the ’54 AGP at Southport on the Gold Coast hinterland, McKenna rolled the car while leading a preliminary so didn’t start the feature.

There is a big gap in the car’s history, but the well-used immensely significant BMW fell into the sympathetic hands of Melbourne enthusiast Graeme Quinn, who restored it in the mid-seventies. Since then # 85136 has been a global investment commodity, pinging its way around the globe, returning to Australia once or twice. Pat Burke owned it at the time of the collapse of his empire, it’s now thought to be in Japan.

Peter McKenna and passenger in # 85136, now re-registered, at Fishermans Bend circa 1951, beautiful lines of the machine shown to good effect (VSCC Vic Collection)
(drawingdatabase.com)

The BMW328 was a celebrated design built from 1936-1941.

With a light alloy frame, aluminium body, and peppy 1971cc, four cylinder, two valve, twin carb 79bhp engine, the 1825 pound sportscar was a high performer of its day.

Via war reparations settlements, the BMW designed Bristol built engines provided post-war power for a host of great sports-racing cars and single seaters, not least the Cooper Bristols which launched the GP careers of Mike Hawthorn and Jack Brabham.

Credits…

Bob King and VSCC Victoria Collections, ‘Historic Racing Cars in Australia’ John Blanden

Tailpiece…

(B King Collection)

During the Peter McKenna era at Rob Roy hillclimb in Melbourne’s outer east Christmas Hills.

Finito…

Murray Aunger in King William Street, Adelaide and his team aboard three Dort cars prior to departing for Darwin in July 1922…

Members of that Adelaide to Darwin and return trip were, left to right, Aunger with Donald McCallum, the organiser and local member of parliament, the Hon Thomas McCallum and WH Crowder of the SA Lands Department, and Cyril Aunger with Captain Samuel A White a prominent ornithologist

This article is about the exploits of Horace Hooper ‘Murray’ Aunger (April 1878-1953), sportsman, overlander, adventurer, businessman and motor engineer – born at Narridy, near Clare, South Australia.

Educated in Adelaide he was later apprenticed in the Kilkenny workshops of G. E. Fulton & Co., consulting engineers. He later joined the cycle works established by Vivian Lewis, collaborating with Tom O’Grady in the construction of the first petrol-driven car in South Australia. I wrote tangentially about Lewis and his machines a while back, click here to read the story; https://primotipo.com/2017/10/19/first-car-demonstration-or-parade-in-australia-adelaide-oval-18-october-1902/

A sportsman of note, riding Lewis bikes, Aunger was the colony’s one-mile (1.6 km) champion in 1899 and in 1901 held the Australian 50 Mile record.

As co-driver and mechanic, Aunger made two attempts with Henry Hampden ‘Harry’ Dutton to be the first to cross Australia from south to north by car.

Then there were only 500 cars registered in South Australia. Motorists facing ‘a hostile society of luddites, horse loving reactionaries, regressive law makers and over-zealous police’ wrote Dr Kieren Tranter. Dutton was then the wealthy 28 year old heir to a significant pastoral fortune, the family owned Anlaby Station outside Kapunda. Aunger was the brain and muscle behind crossing attempts which Harry later attributed to in their entirety to Aunger’s ability.

The pair left Adelaide in Dutton’s Talbot on November 25, 1907. ‘Angelina’ was powered by a 3770cc water cooled, monobloc four-cylinder engine rated at 20hp and was fitted with a four-speed gearbox.

‘Darwin lay almost 2100 miles (3380 km) away. ‘Obstacles confronted them on long sections of the route: rivers, treacherous sandhills and boulder-strewn country had to be traversed which no modern motorist would tackle without the advantage of four-wheel drive. Beyond Alice Springs, in the Northern Territory, the partners met the pioneering cyclist FE Birtles. The pinion in the Talbot’s differential collapsed south of Tennant Creek, where the car was abandoned given the wet season’s onset. Dutton and Aunger returned on horseback to the railhead at Oodnadatta, South Australia, and then back to Adelaide’.

Aunger, Dutton and Dick the dog aboard Talbot ‘474’ at Burra on the second, 1908 trip (NM)

Determined to try again when the rains ended, Dutton bought another Talbot. This car, nicknamed ‘474’ after its registration number, was more powerful and had a lower axle ratio than ‘Angelina’ as a result of lessons learned the year before. Again with Aunger leading the charge, the pair left Adelaide on June 30, 1908. At Alice Springs, local special magistrate and postmaster Ern Allchurch joined the team. Ern’s ability to transmit messages along the telegraph line enabled them to keep in touch with, and confirm their position to the outside world.

Tennant Creek was reached in thirty days; the stranded ‘Angelina’ was repaired and driven in convoy to Pine Creek before being freighted by train to Darwin. Continuing their journey by car, the trailblazers reached their destination on August 20. International motoring circles recognised both expedition’s demonstrations of skill and endurance – it was one of the greatest pioneering motoring feats in Australia, the pair averaged over 50 miles a day over 42 days at the wheel. Talbot ‘474’ is preserved in the Birdwood Museum, in the Adelaide hills.

As I have written in previous articles about Australia’s pioneering motor sport days, speed-record attempts between Australia’s capital cities received wide publicity and the record breakers were our earliest motor-sporting stars.

Murray Aunger and Robert Barr Smith, Adelaide en route to Melbourne in February 1909, Napier (SLSA)

In 1909 Murray accompanied Robert Barr Smith in his Napier to set a new time for the Adelaide-Melbourne journey, the pair held the record for only a few weeks.

Aunger regained it in February 1914, driving a Prince Henry Vauxhall imported expressly for the purpose. He left Lewis Cycle Works in 1909 to establish Murray Aunger Ltd which held Willys-Overland, Vauxhall, Morris and Dort franchises.

Together with F. Bearsley – achieving speeds of over 80 miles per hour (129 km/h) on the pipeclay of the Coorong – their time was 14 hours 54 minutes. They improved the previous record time of GG White and Fred Custance set in a 35hp Talbot, 20 hours six minutes, which had stood for over five years by five hours 12 minutes.

At a time the only route to Melbourne included 90 miles of the dreaded Coorong in south-east SA, and then on to the border and into Victoria via Casterton, Hamilton and Geelong – about 100 miles further than the trip now. The 80 miles of the Coorong desert sand were negotiated in under two hours, the cars fastest speed of 80 mph was achieved on a 10 mile stretch of dried up Coorong lagoon.

They also broke the Adelaide-Broken Hill record in the same car.

Murray Aunger and, perhaps F Bearsley, testing their Vauxhall Prince Henry in 1913/14 (SLSA)

Better management of the South Australian Railways (SAR) and the need for a railway line from Adelaide to Darwin was a thread which ran through the next phase of Aunger’s life.

By 1920 the railway system was crippled by mismanagement and failure to invest. To that end, newly elected Premier, Sir Henry Barwell, appointed American William Webb to run the SAR. By 1926 the state had the most powerful locos in the country, the grand Adelaide Railway Station was Webb’s monument.

In 1922 Aunger joined another expedition – the one featured at the outset of this article – of three cars which travelled from Adelaide to Darwin and back. The group included his brother Cyril, Samuel White, H Crowder and a local parliamentarian, the Hon Thomas McCallum and his brother Donald McCallum. They explored settlement possibilities, inclusive of a railway along their route.

Samuel White in a ‘The Register’ article wrote that there was much public wrangling about the route of the north-south rail line. The plan was to drive the proposed course from Adelaide to Darwin, and then return to Adelaide via Queensland to see for themselves the nature of the terrain, its obstacles and opportunities.

Aunger, ‘the greatest overland motorist in Australia’ was engaged by the group to organise the trip. This included shipping fuel, provisions and spares sent months ahead to Oodnadatta and then 700-800 miles further north by camel train. Teams were also sent from the Darwin end as well, to be prepared for what was a large group of intrepid, influential travellers.

Aunger selected and prepared three American Dorts, machines built by the Dort Motor Car Company of Flint, Michigan. These hardy, Lycoming four-cylinder, 30 horsepower vehicles were stripped of top protective equipment and doors to make them a lighter and more suited to the demands of the Australian bush.

The three Dorts en-route to Darwin in 1922 (SLSA)

Murray was again called upon to assist in providing cars and logistics to the government in assessing possible rail routes, organising a trip in June 1923 from Adelaide to the wilds of Oodnadatta, Alice Springs and Central Australia, again using three Dorts.

The expedition was three weeks, the all-star cast included the State Governor, Sir Tom Bridges, Premier Sir Henry Barwell, William Webb, Chief Commissioner of the South Australian Railways, Thomas McCallum, who organised this trip, the earlier one in 1922 and two others. This time the Dorts were further modified with removable grips for the tyres. The party travelled by train from Adelaide to Oodnadatta, picking up the Dorts at Terowie, between Burra and Peterborough.

After returning, both the Governor and Premier called on the Commonwealth Government to extend the railway, the line from Oodnadatta to Alice Springs was completed in 1929.

Later in 1923 the SAR sought cars suitable for running on rails. By November, Aunger had modified one Dort, eventually ten were in service, but they (or perhaps their drivers) were accident prone with some fatalities from collisions and roll-overs.

The first of these accidents occurred on the Clare line in December 1923 when a Dort collided with a gangers trike – fortunately the employees aboard the trike were able to jump clear. The driver of the Dort was Webb – his passenger the State Premier, Barwell. The nature of their business was Sir Henry’s attendance at a bowls tournament with Webb the taxi-driver!

Murray Aunger and the SA State Governor, Sir Tom Bridges aboard a Dort at Oodnadatta out front of the Pub (SLSA)

In 1925 Webb persuaded Aunger to become the motor engineer of the SAR, on a salary of £1000. There had been a large increase in the use of motors in the railways and Webb had commenced bus services to various parts of the State. A number of politicians believed Aunger had received favoured treatment from Webb. Webb was the subject of ongoing bitter political attacks for the American’s revolutionary changes to improve systems, processes and viability of the SAR. Aunger twice visited Britain and the USA in the course of his SAR duties.

In 1930 Webb returned to America. For several years attempts (after the Hill Labor Government lost power in 1927 and Butler Liberal Administration in 1930, in part over ongoing railway deficits and their impact on the State budget) were made in South Australian political circles to wreak petty revenge upon Aunger, despite his important part in rehabilitating the State’s railway system. He was dismissed in June 1937 for contravening Section 37 of the South Australian Railways Commissioner’s Act.

On June 6, 1942 he re-married, his first wife having died some years before, they moved to Melbourne. Aunger died on September 14, 1953 at Mordialloc, aged 75.

Whilst there is plenty of material on Aunger’s life in South Australia there is little I can find about his time in Victoria. If any of can fill in the gaps it would be great to hear from you – the fellow certainly had an amazing life of sporting, commercial and pioneering success!

Bibliography…

‘The Register’ 22 August 1922, ‘Australian Dictionary of Biography’- article on Aunger by John Playford, ‘Lassetters Gold’ Warren Brown, Trove- various

Photo Credits…

State Library of South Australia, National Motor Museum

Tailpiece…

Dunlop ad celebrating the Aunger/Bearsley Vauxhall Prince Henry Melbourne-Adelaide record breaking run in 1914.

Finito…

 

(Auto Action)

Jack Brabham’s last win (I think) was the Formula Ford Race of Champions at Calder on August 15, 1971.

30,000 Melburnian’s turned up to see our just-retired World Champ beat a classy field of past and present Oz champions including Kevin Bartlett, Frank Matich, Bib Stillwell, Alan Hamilton, Bob Jane, Leo Geoghegan and Allan Moffat. Click here for pieces on the meeting, here; Calder Formula Ford ‘Race of Champions’ August 1971… | primotipo… and here; Jack’s Bowin, again… | primotipo…

The sight of Teddy Whitten interviewing Black Jack on the victory dais gave me a chuckle. Whitten (RIP) is a legendary Melburnian, one of our most decorated of all VFL/AFL footballers. While he had the gift-of-the-gab, his motor racing knowledge could fit easily on a postage stamp so his banter with Jack for the punters at the circuit and on Channel Seven would have been amusing.

(Allan Moffat, Wren FF)

Moffat is a touring car icon of similar stature to Teddy, but he hadn’t competed in single seaters for a few years, see here; Allan Moffat, Single-Seater racer… | primotipo…

He enjoyed the Formula Ford foray, brief as it was, commenting in his Auto Action column; “My car – Morley Ford Wren went like a charm. I enjoyed the change in handling and the beautiful response you get. There’s no doubt that these cars teach you quickly and teach you well.”

“Sitting out there in the open with the front wheels bobbing a few inches away and the track disappearing alongside is a really thrilling experience. Formula Ford just has to be the way for the young drivers,” was great endorsement from Moff during FF’s second full season in Oz.

If those who would change FF fuck-off and leave things well alone we should have the category for another 50-years. When it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

Credits…

Auto Action, Sydney Morning Herald

Tailpiece…

(SMH)

The great EJ Whitten, wearing his beloved Big V, Victorian state side jumper, during training for a state carnival game in 1963.

Finito…

(E Davey-Milne)

To those of us from less exalted climes, they were known as “the three ‘Ds’ from Toorak”, Dale, Duckett and Davey-Milne; all imbued with a fine sense of what a good motor car should be. They lived in close proximity, Duckett just around the corner from Davey-Milne and the Dales less than a kilometre away. They and their cars were often seen together. A fourth ‘D’ was their friend Lex Davison, four times winner of the Australian Grand Prix, but he was farming at Killara Park, near Lilydale.

Lyndon’s family had a thriving hardware business in Melbourne. He was only a teenager when he ventured to Europe in the late 1930s. Whether the primary purpose of this visit was to find a racing car is not known, but he certainly brought one back with him, the car he made famous, the Anzani Bugatti Special. Lyndon wanted a twin cam Grand Prix Bugatti – in other words, a Type 51. As these were still being actively raced in Europe, they may have been a little beyond his purse. In a London mews he did find a single cam Type 35 with a blown-up motor. With his young mind obsessed with the twin cam idea, he contacted the works of Ettore Bugatti in Molsheim, France, and was assured that they had such a car (or was it an engine) for him. This was to be a disappointing trip, for on arrival there, the only Grand Prix Bugatti they had available had but a single camshaft; he did not purchase it. He took a side trip to Nuremburg for the annual Nazi Party rally and heard Adolf Hitler’s address, an event which horrified him. On return to London, he bought the 35 sans moteur.

The opening photograph is the engineless 1925 Type 35 Grand Prix Bugatti, chassis no. 4450, as found by Lyndon in a London Mews. Lyndon noted that there was a lot of sand in the chassis rails – it had an extensive racing history at Southport Sands and other venues in the hands of TGV Selby who was later involved in the development of Bristol cars. Its first owner was Glen Kidston and it was the first Grand Prix Bugatti to be raced in England. Kidston later became one of the ‘Bentley Boys’.

(Bugatti Trust)

Glen Kidston on his way to a class second place in the Grand Prix de Provence in March, 1925. The band over the bonnet was yellow and denoted the 2-litre class.

(B King)

TVG Selby on Southport Sands. The Bugatti, chassis number 4450, can always be distinguished by the unusual bonnet lift handles that Kidston had fitted by the Nice Bugatti agent Friderich while it was there for the GP de Provence.

Lyndon’s search for a twin cam motor bore fruit when he found a brand new Anzani R1, 2 OHC, 4-cylinder, 1496cc motor; the same as fitted to the Squire motorcar. This engine, numbered R1 62, was the last engine to leave the Anzani works in Kingston-on-Thames – there were probably only 12 made. The English Bentley specialists Pacey’s were tasked with adapting the motor to the chassis, but this work was unsatisfactory and had to be redone in Australia. (Sound familiar?) A neat round tailed body was constructed by Cardigan Motor Body Works in Carlton. Initially there were problems with the motor (they had never been properly sorted by the factory, but Lyndon’s engineering skills overcame these problems).

(B King)

Lyndon Duckett in his immaculate Anzani Bugatti special.

For 10 years after the war Lyndon used the car for all sorts of motorsport. 1946 saw early success with ftd at a vintage sprint held at Lex and Diana Davison’s property, Killara Park. Duckett and the ‘Anz’ went on to be the inaugural winners of the Vintage Sports Car Club’s premier trophy, the ‘Vickery’.

(B King)

Lyndon at Marsden Park, NSW.

Not only did Lyndon set fastest under 1500cc time at Rob Roy, but he also beat allcomers at Marsden Park in a quarter mile sprint after an epic drive from Melbourne. Motor racing was just getting back on its feet after WWII and events were few and far between. Lyndon and Lex Davison had decided to make the long journey to north-west Sydney; Lex accompanied by his 17-year-old fiancé Diana Crick on the bodyless chassis of his 1500cc Alfa Romeo.

They had only reached the northern outskirts of Melbourne when the Alfa had a fit of Italian temperament and Lex needed Lyndon, the engineer, to travel with him. Diana, who did not have a licence, was installed in the Anzani and given a quick lesson on gear changing. In particular, she was told to get into top gear and stay there until she reached the outskirts of Albury, over 300 kilometres north! Lyndon had many more successes with the car, including wins at Ballarat Airfield races in 1950. Its last competitive outing with Lyndon ended as it had begun with a handicap win in the Tasmanian Trophy at Longford Road Races in 1955.

(B King)

It was wet in Ballarat for the 1950 Road Races held on Ballarat Airfield. It won the D Grade race. Note the stub exhausts.

(B King)

The writer also had 52 years of pleasure and some success in Historic Racing with the car. Here it is seen on the long climb up the hill at Laguna Seca in 2003 at a ‘Bugatti Grand Prix’.

(AMS)

This drawing of Lyndon’s Semmering Mercedes, aircraft seats and all, appeared in the July 1947 Australian Motor Sport.

The Anzani Bugatti could hardly have been off the boat from England when the young Lyndon purchased this monster. At the time of Bob Shepherd’s AMS drawing, there was much discussion as to just what type of Mercedes it was. At 17.3 litres, it did not conform with the specifications of the 1907 or the 1908 Mercedes Grand Prix cars – it was larger than both and the largest Mercedes ever. Subsequent research has identified it as a 1908 car developed specifically to win the 10Km Semmering hill climb in Austria; it succeeded in 1908 and 1909. Lebbeus Hordern was just 18 years of age when his merchant father died, leaving him a £4,000,000 fortune. What better way to spend it than on the ultimate bird puller?

(G McKaige)
(G McKaige)

No account exists of Lebbeus using the car, but the next owner Colin Smith, another millionaire, competed in 1911 at Artillery Hill, south of Sydney, before selling the car to Percy Cornwell, owner of potteries in Brunswick, an inner suburb of Melbourne. It was raced in a few events by Cornwell who also had the notorious Rupert Jeffkyns drive it for him before it passed to Ike Watson in Melbourne who dismantled it. It was bought by a brave young Lyndon in January 1942, and he had it running within a year. He confirmed that it had engine dimensions of 175×180 mm, consistent with the hill climb car. The gear ratios were equally heroic, 1st, 5:1; 2nd, 2.25:1; 3rd, 1.5:1 and 4th, direct drive.

(SLV)

Rob Roy with the Semmering Mercedes and Anzani Bugatti; also, the Davison ‘Little Alfa’ 6C1500 and 38/250 Mercedes Benz with Lex at the rear.

In July 1953 at Fisherman’s Bend race track the Melbourne Mercedes dealer attracted some attention which they may have preferred to have avoided. They pitted their new 300 model against the 1908 car, and to the delight of the considerable crowd, it was soundly beaten.

The writer recalls the only time he saw the Mercedes mobile; it was on the Argus Veteran Car rally in January 1955. The car was observed leaving a control in St Kilda Road and each time the engine fired the rear tyres left two black skid marks on the road – impressive.

(G McKaige)

Barn find. Lyndon’s Type FENC Isotta Fraschini.

This remarkably complete little jewel of a 1908 Isotta Fraschini Voiturette was found in rural Victoria; two of them had come here and they both survive. There are three others known, two in Italy and one in USA.

(G McKaige)

Professionally Lyndon had a motor engineering business in west-central Melbourne where he attended to client’s cars while accumulating a collection of vehicles for his own amusement.

At the time of his death, he had low-mileage Alfas, an Aston Martin, a Ducati and several other bits and pieces, including a rare Jowett Jupiter R1 and a Tojeiro chassis to which he hoped to mate a new MG twin-cam motor which was still in its box. I believe this was for a projected Le Mans car that he and Jumbo Goddard had dreamt up. The Isotta Fraschini remains with his sister.

(B King)

Isotta Fraschini FENC in recent times with Noel Cunningham at the wheel in Victoria’s Western District on a Bugatti Rally.

Etcetera…

Enthusiast, historian and restorer, Chester McKaige knew Lyndon as a child and shares his memories.

“He was a great bloke, he Bob Chamberlain, Earl Davey-Milne and a couple of Bentley Club bods in the Bentley Club were great to a kid growing up.”

“I have many fond memories of Lyndon and his mother Edith. The huge kitchen in Towers Road, Toorak, with kitchen table at one end piled high with car magazines. The stag head on the wall in the hall, the mosaic covered fountain. Lyndon’s obnoxious nephew too! Edith teaching me to play the saxophone. And towards his later years, the stick to keep the hoist up at his garage. The huge quantity of oil filters he had in stock that turned out to be empty boxes or filled with used ones.”

“I was his Godson and fortunate to get a guernsey in his will, so I was able to buy his Coventry Climax engined Morris Minor.  I have his garage sign hanging on the wall in my garage. He used to keep spare cash under the carpet in his cars. I found $8 in $2 notes under the carpet in Morris. Dad used to call him Fella”.

Credits…

Australian Motor Sport, 1947, ‘Bugattis in Australia and New Zealand’ 1920 to 2012. King and McGann, Serpollete’s Tricycle, Volumes 2 & 3. https://earlymotor.com/serpolettes-tricycle/ The Brescia Bugatti, Bob King, Earl Davey-Milne, State Library of Victoria, George McKaige

Tailpiece, or piece of tail?…

(B King)

Finito…

image

(Brier Thomas)

Jackie Stewart leads Jim Clark through Lakeside’s Eastern Loop during the 1967 Tasman round at the fast Queensland circuit on 12 February…

 You can just see that the lightly loaded right-front wheel of Jackie’s 2070cc BRM P261 V8 is off-the-deck. Jim is chasing him in Lotus 33 R14 powered by a 2-litre variant of Coventry Climax’s 1.5-litre FWMV V8 Climax built for Lotus to tide them over pending delivery of the BRM H16 engines they used in the 1966, the first 3-litre GP year. The Ford Cosworth DFV V8 arrived at the ’67 Dutch GP in the back of a Lotus 49 and changed the GP world of course.

Stewart was the reigning Tasman Champion, BRM cleaned up in 1966 winning seven of the eight races – Jackie won four, Graham Hill two and Dickie Attwood one.

It was a lot tougher in 1967.

Lotus put to one side the 2.5-litre Coventry Climax FPF four cylinder engines they had previously used in their Tasman cars and used the F1 33 powered by the Climax V8, creating a very competitive mount despite giving away 500cc to some of the competition.

Jim finished all eight rounds and won five races including three point-scoring events. Jack Brabham’s Brabham Repco 640 Series V8s driven by he and Denny Hulme were also fast but had poor reliability. Jackie took two wins in 1967 for second in the series but was well behind Jim.

The BRMs were still very competitive in 1967 but the final increase in capacity – and resulting power and torque proved a bit too much for the transmission. BRM suffered gearbox problems in ’67 with the 2070cc variant of the P56/60 V8, they had not experienced with the 1930cc version used the year before.

image

(HRCCT)

The photo above shows the pair again, this time with Clark in front of Stewart during the final 1966 Tasman round at Longford, Tasmania on 7 March.

There Jackie won from teammate Graham Hill, Jack Brabham’s Brabham BT19 Repco third. It was the Brabham Repco V8 combination’s third race, by the early European Grands Prix the 1965 BT19 chassis and Repco 620 Series V8 was finding ultimate race and championship winning pace and reliability.

Clark’s 1966 Tasman Lotus was the 39 Coventry Climax FPF, he took one round win it at Warwick Farm.

I wrote an article a while back about the ’67 Tasman and the seasons of Clark, Stewart and Hulme, see here; https://primotipo.com/2014/11/24/1967-hulme-stewart-and-clark-levin-new-zealand-tasman-and-beyond/ This article on the P56 BRM V8 may also be of interest; https://primotipo.com/2016/02/05/motori-porno-stackpipe-brm-v8/

Credits…

Brier Thomas, Historic Racing Car Club of Tasmania

Finito…

(L Hemer)

Lynton Hemer’s great shot catches the Frank Matich McLaren M10A Chev in the braking area before Creek Corner during practice for the Warwick Farm 100 on February 15, 1970.

Love the ABC TV outside broadcast van and flaggies and other officials cars sprinkled amongst the trees.

The 1970 Tasman was an interesting one in that the 2.5 Tasman cars which were on the way out (sadly) ended up having, just, the pace and the reliability to lift the Tasman Cup one last time over F5000, which was on the way in. Graeme Lawrence took the title with one win in the Ferrari Dino 246T Chris Amon raced to victory the year before, Matich was second in the points score with two wins.

(R Thorncraft)

The Matich crew first raced their M10A in September 1969 and progressively modified the car in many respects to the new M10B specifications- Hewland DG300 gearbox instead of LG600 etcetera, see this epic on Matich here; Frank Matich: Matich F5000 Cars etcetera… | primotipo…

Frank’s car was the quickest of the series, he won the NZ GP at Pukekohe and at Wigram. Only a splash and dash stop for fuel at Surfers gifted Graham McRae that win and engine problems at the Sandown final round- having started from pole – spoiled his Tasman, Niel Allen’s new M10B won that day with Lawrence’ second place enough to give him the series win.

Jaime Gard susses, whilst FM sucks on the sponsors product

Matich started at Warwick Farm from grid two with Graeme Lawrence on pole, he had an early coming together with Kevin Bartlett’s Mildren Waggott TC-4V, which Derek Kneller believes was the cause of the broken left-rear upright after 29 of the race’s 45 laps.

In a splendid drive, KB he won the race in the sweetest of racing cars, the Mildren Yellow Submarine, from Max Stewart’s Mildren Waggott TC-4V, Graeme Lawrence Ferrari Dino 246T 2.4 V6 and then the first of the F5000s- Niel Allen’s McLaren M10B Chev.

FM talks to Lugsy Adams looking particularly summer-posh in Rothmans Team Matich shorts ‘n long sox whilst Jaime Gard looks altogether more casual – not much they can do at this stage of proceedings.

FM’s Matich SR3 Repco was owned then by Don O’Sullivan, I imagine Gard was over from Perth and in-situ at the Matich workshops looking after the prep of that car, and totally involved otherwise – he of ‘Gardos’ fame I wrote about a while ago;https://primotipo.com/2017/11/30/dons-party-f5000-party/

Credits…

Lynton Hemer, John Lindsay, Russell Thorncraft, oldracingcars.com

Thanks to Kris Matich and Derek Kneller for assistance with event and people detail

Tailpiece…

FM’s Matich is fitted with an injected Chevvy here having commenced the series in New Zealand with units fitted with Webers. By this stage Matich’ Repco sponsorship was being refocused away from the Matich SR4 sportscar powered by 4.8/5 litre Repco RB760 V8’s in favour of the Repco Holden F5000 engines which were in the early stages of development by Phil Irving, Brian Heard and the rest of the crew in Maidstone.

The early promise of that Repco Holden engine was realised with FM’s Australian Grand Prix win aboard his M10B Repco at the Farm ten months hence

Finito…

Marquis Alfonso de Portago and Edmund Nelson accelerate their Ferrari 335S away from the Rome control, heading north on the homeward leg during the 1957 Mille Miglia on May 12.

At that stage the ill-fated crew were placed fourth. They later crashed only 35km short of the Brescia finish, killing eleven – five of whom were kids – after tyre failure.

I wrote about this race and car some years ago here; Peter Collins: Mille Miglia 1957: Ferrari 335S… | primotipo…

This piece is a pictorial delving into the the Klemantaski/Getty Images archive, remembering an event which changed the face of motor racing, ended the lives of two combatants, nine innocents and the Mille Miglia.

The table of nobles; De Portago along side Wolfgang von Trips during a ‘training camp’ or perhaps more accurately a pre-event briefing and planning session in the weeks before the Mille, held on 11-12 May 1957.

Wonderful Doug Nye piece on De Portago in MotorSport; Ferrari’s fastest playboy: Alfonso de Portago – Motor Sport Magazine

Peter Collins leaves Maranello for a quick blast up the Abetone Road to check that all is good with his 335S- note the bonnet is still to be painted.

The team cars below in the famous factory courtyard are the four 4-cam cars for Piero Taruffi – the winner – Von Trips, De Portago and Collins, with the Collins/Klemantaski machine at left. A blur of activity.

The series of photographs below are at Brescia, the start and finish of the classic event. The shots show the sheer pageantry and grandeur of the event tinged with no shortage of pathos given the events that day which took De Portago, Collins twelve months later aboard a Ferrari Dino 246 during the 1958 German GP at the Nurburgring, at at Monza in 1961 when Von Trips perished in the early laps of the Italian GP aboard a Ferrari 156 along with another group of spectators.

De Portago and Von Trips swapping notes before the off while Taruffi seems a little more focused on the needs of the adoring locals.

Enzo Ferrari with Peter Collins (above) before the start, and De Portago below.

De Portago and Collins shortly before Alfonso’s departure from Brescia, car the ill-fated 335S chassis 0676. Louise Collins is mid-shot.

It was the first time De Portago raced the 4-litre car – the most powerful car he had ever driven. He drove it with skill and seemed set to finish well in this most difficult of races in the world’s fastest sportscar.

De Portago and Nelson departing the Ravenna control – in Emilia-Romagna – a couple of hours into the race.

Piero Taruffi won in a 315S from Von Trips second in another 315S, while the Collins/Klemantaski 335S DNF with driveshaft failure in the fifth hour. The De Portago/Nelson accident happened after five hours, seventeen minutes at 3.30pm near the village of Cavriana 35km from Brescia.

De Portago’s final pitstop was in Montova where he refused a tyre-change to save time, at that stage the crew were fourth, third by some accounts. “This may have caused his car’s tyres to be more susceptible to failure when the Ferrari ran over cat’s eyes at high speed.” The left-front failed at a little over 150mph.

Not too many photos exist of Edmund Gurner Nelson, De Portago’s navigator, friend, confidant, fixer, Bob-sled coach and whatever else, in the car.

Here they are leaving the Ravenna control, the shot gives a sense of immediacy and pressure, note Ed’s sports-blazer casual attire.

Credits…

All photographs Klemantaski Collection/Getty Images, motorsportmemorial.org

Tailpiece…

This moody shot was taken by Louis Klemantaski at high speed during the event alongside Peter Collins in his 335S. 150mph plus is all fine and dandy – even with an enthusiastic Italian crowd encroaching on the road – until something goes wrong. Apologies for the statement of the bleeding obvious…

We should all be thankful the Targa Florio survived in its traditional form for as long as it did given the ’57 Mille.

Finito…

gonz silvers start

(Louis Klemantaski)

Froilan Gonzalez launches his BRM V16 Mk1 off the line. 19 July, Silverstone ‘Daily Express Formula Libre Trophy’…

He is slow away on the inside though, Piero Taruffi is quicker off the line in the Thinwall Ferrari on the outside with Ken Wharton in the other #8 BRM, similarly sluggish. Big, heavy beasts that they are, with Gigi Villoresi in the factory Ferrari 375 V12 between the two V16’s.

gonz and ray

‘Get knotted’, hmm, maybe not. ‘Take it easy for two laps’ Raymond Mays seems to be saying to his driver? (Ronald Startup)

2-litre F2 became the World Championship category in 1952, a consequence of there being too little opposition to Ferrari upon Alfa Romeo’s withdrawal from Grand Prix racing at the end of 1951.

BRM’s unreliability in terms of commitment to GP racing forced the issue upon the CSI. The choice was to have Ferrari dominate F1 or potentially open up the fields by running the World Championship to F2 of which their were plenty of manufacturers, ignoring the fact that the Scuderia dominated there anyway.

Despite the change to F2, ten F1 races of substance were held in 1952, but quite a few of them were in reality Formula Libre events, as Silverstone was. Event organisers were keen for the Grand Prix car spectacle, there were plenty of them even if the grids were thin of recent F1 cars.

gonz silvers astraight

The big, brutish, distinctive BRM Type 15 profile. Gonzalez, Silverstone (Louis Klemantaski)

The 35 lap race was won by Piero Taruffi in Tony Vandervell’s Ferrari 375 Thinwall Special from the Scuderia Ferrari 375 of Luigi Villoresi and Chico Landi’s 1951 spec Ferrari 375. Fourth was Australian Tony Gaze in a pre-war Maserati 8CM.

Gonzalez was out on lap eight after an accident, Ken Wharton in the other BRM completed 33 laps before retiring with a gearbox problem. The mixed nature of the grid is indicated by the place-getters below fourth who were Ron Flockhart and Bob Gerard in ERA D and A Types, John Barber in a Cooper T20 Bristol, Graham Whitehead in ERA C Type, and Bira in Maser 4CLT Osca V12 and the rest. There was no shortage of variety in the field which comprised pre and post War, supercharged and normally aspirated, F1 and F2 cars.

Although not GP wins the BRM was finding some form later in the season with victories for Reg Parnell at Turnberry in August and Gonzalez at Goodwood in late September. Gonzalez led home Parnell and Ken Wharton in a BRM 1-2-3 in the 15 lap ‘Daily Graphic Goodwood Trophy’ that day in a grid comprising mainly F2 cars.

If only it’s development were a year or so further advanced at the time…

Credits…

Louis Klemantaski, Ronald Startup

Tailpiece: Gonzalez wowing the Silverstone crowds with the stunning music of 1.5-litres of supercharged BRM V16…

gonz silvers truck

(Louis Klemantaski)

Finito…

Ya gotta be kiddin’ blokes! This thing is rattling my teeth!

Is the look on Jack Brabham’s face aboard his Brabham BT24 Repco in the Mosport pitlane. By the end of the weekend he was a happy-chappy as winner of the first, soggy, 1967 F1 Canadian GP…

These days every Tom, Dick and Harold has a little, lightweight GoPro to capture their every move aboard their kart, board, bike, girlfriend or racer. It was a whole different ballgame in 1967, the state of the art was somewhat more cumbersome.

The interesting thing is where the footage ended up? Perhaps it was quickly consumed by the local TV news audience. I’ve had a fossick on that YouTube thingy but cannot find anything, do let us know the link if you discover its whereabouts.

Jim Clark and Graham Hill were quickest in qualifying aboard Lotus 49 Fords from Chris Amon, Ferrari 312, Dan Gurney, Eagle Mk1 Weslake, Bruce McLaren, McLaren M5A BRM V12, Brabham’s BT24 Repco and Jochen Rindt, Cooper T81 Maserati.

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Into the first turn at Mosport its Clark Lotus 49, from L>R Stewart BRM P83, Hill Lotus 49, Gurney Mk1 Eagle and Hulme Brabham BT24. That’s Rindt far left Cooper T81, Amon’s Ferrari 312 is in the murk behind Stewart’s left rear and the rest (unattributed)

Rain fell before the race to make things interesting. Clark led from Hulme, who took the lead on lap four, with Jack passing Hill for third. I rather fancy driving the Brabham, with its nice flat, fat torque curve rather than the DFV engined Lotus with its very abrupt power delivery in its earliest days in these conditions.

Bruce McLaren worked his way up thrugh the field, taking Jacks third place, then on lap 22 he took Clark’s second too. Clearly the conditions suited the V12 BRM engined McLaren. As the track dried, Jim and Jack both passed Bruce. Denny was still happily in the lead but Clark’s Lotus was quicker in the dry conditions and soon led, it rained again. Clark kept the lead but then his DFV went kaput. Jack overtook Denny at about the same time and won from Hulme with Gurney a distant third.

At the end of the meeting Denny had a nine point lead in the drivers championship over Jack, but with three GP’s to go; Italy, the US and Mexico City it was well and truly game-on between the buddies and teammates.

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Jack is on the drying line in BT24 so I think its him re-taking McLaren’s M5B third place, rather than Bruce taking Jack earlier on  (R Laymon)

Jack was out-fumbled by John Surtees’ Honda RA300 on the last lap, last corner at Monza with Hulme retiring due to overheating early in the race. At Watkins Glen Clark’s Lotus 49 Ford won from Hill’s with Denny third and Jack a distant fourth. Denny then led the championship from Jack by five points before the final round. It was all down to Mexico where Clark won from Brabham and Hulme. Denny bagged the title from Jack – 51 points to 48 points and Jim third on 41.

The car of the year was undoubtedly the new Lotus 49 Ford in terms of outright speed, but the less powerful, not much slower and more reliable new Brabham BT24 chassis with its new Repco Brabham 740 Series V8 should never be forgotten in the shadow of the sexy Lotus 49, as it always is! It did win the Manufacturers Championship after all.

Credits…

 Ron Laymon Photography

Tailpiece: Winners are Grinners and Jack had a smile which lit a room. Mosport 1967…

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(R Laymon)

Finito…