Jones at Ardmore during the 1954 NZ GP weekend (unattributed)

The Charlie Dean/Repco Research constructed Maybach series of three ‘1950s’ racing cars – Ern Seeliger’s Chev engined Maybach 4 evolution of Maybach 3 duly noted and venerated – are favourites.

Stan Jones raced them to many successes until 1956, see here for a long article about Stan and his Maybachs; Stan Jones: Australian and New Zealand Grand Prix and Gold Star Winner… | primotipo…

Links at the end of this piece provide more for those with the Maybach fetish.

Repco had no plan-grande in the 1950s to take on and beat the world in Grand Prix racing, as they did in 1966-67. But in hindsight, the Maybach race program was an important plank in a series of identifiable steps by Repco which commenced in the 1930s and ended in global racing triumph.

The catalyst for this piece is some material Tony Johns sent me this week, in addition to some other shots I’ve had for a while from two other mates, Bob King and David Zeunert. It seemed timely to have another crack at Maybach 1, Jones’ 1954 New Zealand Grand Prix winning machine, still extant in Bob Harborow’s hands.

(T Johns Collection)
(T Johns Collection)

We are diving into the minutiae here, but I’ve never heard of the Fesca Gear Co, clearly a key relationship in developing Maybach 1, and the other cars?

Chris De Fraga, the fella to whom the letter is addressed, was the longtime motoring editor of The Age, Melbourne, a daily aimed at those who could read and think. The competitor Sun and Herald were aimed at those without those capabilities, IG Mason, my English master useter tell us endlessly at Camberwell Grammar School. “Just read the front, back, and editorial pages of The Age if you’ve not got the time to read anything else.” I digress.

(KE Niven & Co)

Jones looking pretty happy with himself after the Ardmore victory. It had been a tough few days for all of the team dealing with major mechanical recalcitrance of the big Maybach six, note the company logo on Stan’s helmet.

And below leading Ken Wharton’s basso-profundo-shrieking, absolutely sensational V16 BRM P15, DNF brakes.


Tony Johns, David Zeunert and Bob King Collections


‘Speed Man After 500 Pounds Racing Car Trophy’ said the heading of this The Age promo shot of Maybach in Stan’s backyard garage at Yongala Road, Balwyn, Melbourne in the days prior to the 1953 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park.

The technicians hard at it are Ern Seeliger, racer/engineer/Jones’ friend, Stocky Stan, Alan Jones’ head you can just see behind the wheel, Reg Robbins, longtime Jones’ employee, Charlie Dean and Lloyd Holyoak, Jones’ used car manager.

Dean lived in Kew, the adjoining suburb to Stan so it was an easy shot to set up when both men headed for home. Note the three bottles of Fosters Lager – we call these Long Necks or Depth Charges – to ease the pain of car preparation on the bench behind the car.

In essence Maybach 1 was built by Dean in 1946, continually modified and raced by him, including the 1948 AGP, then sold to Jones in 1951. Part of the deal was that Maybach was further developed and prepared by Repco Research, which Dean ran. In so doing a generation of the best mechanics and technicians from the rapidly growing Repco conglomerate were imbued with the racing ethos, another key plank in the long road to Brabham’s first championship win aboard a Repco Brabham Engines V8 powered BT19 chassis at Reims on July 3, 1966…

(B King Collection)

Jones sneaks a look at his pursuers a few days later during the race. Maybach DNF with various maladies, fastest lap was some consolation. Another local lad, Doug Whiteford prevailed in a Talbot Lago T26C, his third AGP win.

The Ecurie Australie (name under the number) was – and still is – the name under which the Davison family sometimes race. Lex Davison and Stan were competitors on-track, but owned a Holden dealership for a while and competed in the Monte Carlo Rally aboard a Holden 48-215, also crewed by Tony Gaze, in 1953.

The name on the side of the car should have been Repco, or Repco Research, but such vulgar commercialisation wasn’t kosher then. It would come of course…


  1. John Ballantyne says:

    Was there ever a cutaway drawing of the early maybach(s)?

    • markbisset says:

      I don’t think so John,
      I’ve never seen any. They would be wonderful things to do, a nice set of four!
      From memory – and it might have been in one of those hardback AMS annuals – Maybach 1 had three or maybe four quite distinct differences in spec alone, so a challenge would have been/would be at what point in time you ‘freeze’ the car.
      Awesome machines…

  2. bill HOLLINGSWORTH says:

    Your mention of advertising on cars highlights CAMS blind allegiance to the BRDC who did not want their gentleman’s sport tainted by the stain of commerciality. The lure of tobacco money changed that in 1968. We followed suit displaying our entrenched colonial mentality which still unfortunately persists to this day.

    • markbisset says:

      Yes, a slippery slope, not that we had any choice of course!
      I’ve never had an issue with sponsorship, its so many of the sporting regulations that I still find naff.
      Commercial too, to allow F1 and MaxiTaxis, to use just two examples, to fall out of the sports ownership and into the hands of arms length investors, such as VC funds has enriched many folk but buggered the spectacle.
      All great pub topics of course!

  3. The Maybach circa 1951 was fitted with a Marshall Roots blower it was removed to go to triple SU’s ? and Stan Jones mechanics fitted it to the Kevin Neal XK120 660851 which was by far the quickest of the 1950’s and 1960’s XK’s in Australia.
    I currently own it along with the supercharger

  4. The Maybach circa 1951 was fitted with a Marshall Roots blower it was removed to go to triple SU’s ? and Stan Jones mechanics fitted it to the Kevin Neal XK120 660851 which was by far the quickest of the 1950’s and 1960’s XK’s in Australia.
    I currently own it along with the supercharger.
    Graham Howard had planned to write a book on this car

    • markbisset says:

      Cheers Terry,
      The book to buy would have been one about Charlie Dean and all of the cars he either built or influenced, written by Graham. Way too late now of course for anybody to take on, very few of the close collaborators are still with us.

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