(I Curwen-Walker)

Social media just keeps giving and giving. This time enthusiast Russell Garth has posted some great ’56 AGP colour shots taken by the late Ian Curwen-Walker at Albert Park on Bob Williamson’s Old Motor Racing Photographs Australia Facebook page.

Sometimes I’ve got so many different articles on the same topic I’m confusing myself – not that is difficult to do I might add – so rather than start another ’56 AGP piece I’ve added the shots to this existing article; https://primotipo.com/2018/01/16/james-linehams-1956-agp-albert-park/

The photograph above is Paul England’s Ausca Holden-Repco which contested the 25 November, 34 lap, 100 mile Australian Tourist Trophy. He was 12th outright and second in class, in the car he and Bill Hickey built after hours at Repco Research’ Sydney Road, Brunswick premises on the other side of town. The flash of blue to the right is the Norman Hamilton owned Porsche 550 Spyder driven that weekend by Otto Stone, lasting only one lap. Otto would have been a busy boy that fortnight, looking after Stan Jones’ 250F, or was he preparing it at that early stage?

Tony Johns tells me the “bloke (with his back to us) in the white overalls with the fag is Norman Hamilton,” who created the Porsche Cars Australia empire in Australia, famously the first Porsche importer/dealer outside Europe.


Ian Curwen-Walker via Russell Garth


Mitsubishi Colt F2B (Akira Yokoyama)

The Japanese zaibatsu (conglomerates) were exhorted by their government to build and export cars post-war after the San Francisco Peace Treaty. Mitsubishi Corporation was happy to oblige their political masters.

The enormous transnational had a dalliance with automobiles in the early twentieth century, but they got serious with the Mitsubishi 500 – a design which drew on their wartime aircraft manufacture – which was mass-produced with the vision of becoming a ‘national car’ in 1959.

(Tetsuaki Makita)

The lure of competition was great so the company contested the 1962 Macau Grand Prix to showcase their engineering capabilities, the little cars finished 1-2-3-4 in a support race, taking the under 750cc class.

The company raised the bar when they developed a 90bhp competition variant (cam, carbs, head/valve modifications) of the 1-litre R28 engine which was fitted into the first of a number of Brabham/Brabham copy chassis, the first car was called the 1966 Colt F3A.

In the 1960s the Japanese Grand Prix was held for Group 7 sportscars, some of which were built by local giants such as Prince/Nissan and Toyota. At the same Mount Fuji circuit meetings there were support events for other categories, including single-seaters – the blue riband of these was the J.A.F. (Japan Auto Federation) Japanese GPs – it was on these races that Mitsubishi focussed. In later decades Mitsubishi’s competition history was celebrated with a series of calendars and posters which are the subject of this article.

Ken Yamamoto’s painting depicts the Osamu Mochizuki-Osamu Masuko one-two battle aboard 1.6-litre pushrod R46 circa-160bhp engined Colt F2As in the 1967 JAF Japanese GP

The company led in domestic single-seater racing, while Honda took on the world in F1 competition. Drivers such as Osamu Mochizuki, Tetsu Ikuzawa – the very first on the Japanese internationals who competed in F3 and F2 in Europe – Osamu Masuko, Kuniomi Nagamatsu and others competed against European and Australasian drivers, proving their ability at international level.

Single-seater engine developments spilled over into a rally program which commenced in Japan in 1965, but kicked up a couple of gears when Mitsubishi decided to enter Australia’s Southern Cross Rally off the back of a gruelling testing program to ensure the suitability of the Colt 800 (first launched in November 1965) for the country’s tough roads and vast climatic extremes.

Australian rally-driver, Doug Stewart – later appointed a Director of Ralliart along with Andrew Cowan – conducted the ‘destruction-testing’ of two cars in the outback/alps and was so impressed he convinced Mitsubishi to rally the Colts in the Australian Rally Championship (from 1968) competition. Colin Bond, later Australian Rally/Touring Car Champion, also drove and helped prepare the cars.

Colt 1000F depicted during the October 1967 Southern Cross Rally. Colin Bond/Brian Hope fourth placed car (Akira Yokoyama)

Mitsubishi’s website records that, “Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ Automotive Division considered his (Stewart’s) advice and concluded that rally participation would effectively promote road car sales and raise brand awareness.”

“They decided to contest the 1967 Southern Cross Rally with two Colt 1000Fs, pitting themselves against vehicles with much larger engines using high reliability and durability as their main assets. Colin Bond was fourth outright, also winning the small engine capacity class, while Stewart finished third in class. The foundations for what is referred to as ‘Mitsubishi Motors in Rallying’ were laid at that time.”

“1985 calendar illustration starting with the Mitsubishi 500 in 1962, Colt 1000, Colt F2, Colt F2000 – the 1971 Japanese GP winner – the Starion” (Dennis Brown)

Mitsubishi’s R39 1.6-litre (from 1968) and R39B 2-litre (1971) twin-cam, four-valve, fuel injected race engines won the 1971 Japanese Grand Prix in Colt F2000 chassis when Kuniomi Nagamatsu triumphed over Osamu Masuko in a great Colt F2D (F2000) 1-2 in an international field of depth.

Just as it seemed the company was poised as a possible engine supplier in the new 2-litre European F2 Championship which commenced in 1972, the company turned 180-degrees away from single-seaters and the circuits into the forests and deserts where its competition focus has largely remained. From a cost-effective brand-building perspective with production-car spinoffs, it was doubtless the right call.

(Akira Yokoyama)

Mitsubishi’s first international rally win was in the 1973 Southern Cross Rally, the winning crew of the Lancer 1600GSR was Andrew Cowan and navigator John Bryson. The company won two more of the Oz internationals and two Safari Rallies between 1973-77. Their first Safari was one by a privately entered Colt driven by Joginder Singh. Lancer Turbo and Lancer Evolutions programmes followed.

It’s a bummer not to be able to read the detail of these posters found on-line, but I thought them worth sharing all the same.


mit-cardesign-t.com – Dennis Brown, Tetsuaki Makita, Ken Yamamoto, Akira Yokoyama, rally-japan.jp

Another page from the 1985 calendar (Dennis Brown)

In the process of researching this story the only technician I have uncovered as involved in the race and rally programs is a man named Iwao Kimata, “a former Nissan rally driver, who was hired to help Mitsubishi learn about rally racing step by step” according to rally-japan.jp.

If any Japanese readers now the names of the key engineers/technicians/mechanics involved in Mitsubishi’s mid-1960s race and rally programmes, please get in touch with me on mark@bisset.com.au. I am keen to record such folks names and if possible communicate with them.


(B Spurr Collection)

Frank Gardner leads at the start of the Levin International, round two of the 1968 Tasman Series, won by Jim Clark’s works Lotus 49 Ford DFW, on January 13, 1968.

Clark is second, Chris Amon, Ferrari 246T third, then Pedro Rodriguez, BRM P126 and Piers Courage, McLaren M4A Ford FVA at the rear of the lead-bunch.

We have South African photographer, Brian Spurr to thank for these shots. He didn’t take them, but rather scanned them to preserve the deteriorating images given to him by a lady named Tracy Robb, then made them available through his Facebook page – via good friend, Peter Ellenbogen – for us all to enjoy. Brian has no idea who the snapper was, but clearly the man had a good eye. Many thanks to Tracy, Brian and Peter.

(B Spurr Collection)

Frank Bryan’s Mustang from, perhaps, Robert Stewart’s Cooper S at Cabbage Tree Corner during the same meeting.

(B Spurr Collection)

Graham McRae explores the limits in his Brabham BT2 Lotus-Ford 1.5. He failed to finish the 1968 race but three years later triumphed aboard the McLaren M10B Chev he took to the first of three-on-the-trot Tasman Cup victories from 1971-73. See here for an article about the amazing McRae and his cars, including his formative years; https://primotipo.com/2018/09/06/amons-talon-mcraes-gm2/

(B Spurr Collection)

Contretemps between Vince Anderson’s Brabham BT11A Climax and Bill Stone’s #24 Brabham BT6 Lotus-Ford 1.5 in practice. Stone got his car repaired for the race, finishing sixth in the International.

(B Spurr Collection)

Chris Amon on his way to victory at Levin in front of Bruce McLaren’s brand-new, Len Terry designed BRM P126 and Jim Clark. Amon won the 63 lap race from Courage and Jim Palmer in another M4A McLaren.

(B Spurr Collection)

Jim Clark and the lads push Clark’s Lotus 49 #R2 back into the incredibly picturesque Pukekohe paddock during practice. The New Zealand Grand Prix was traditionally the first Tasman round and was usually held at the Auckland circuit, this is/was the January 6 weekend.

Bruce McLaren, BRM P126-02 (B Spurr Collection )

McLaren drove the BRM in the four Kiwi rounds only with his best results fifth at Wigram and a splendid win at Teretonga, then it was back to Colnbrook to ready the new Ford Cosworth DFV powered McLaren M7 and McLaren M8A Chev for F1 and Can-Am competition respectively.

Bruce’s analytical skills kick-started BRM’s development program for their new car, he was familiar with the Type 101 V12 engine, having raced his M5A with it in the latter part of 1967. See here for an article on these cars; https://primotipo.com/2018/01/25/richard-attwood-brm-p126-longford-1968/

What was the Phil Irving line? “One more tube and you could breed from it!” BRM P126 highlighting the Hewland DG300 gearbox and 2.5-litre variant of their 3-litre F1 Type 101 V12 as first fitted to McLaren’s F1 car in 1967 (B Spurr Collection)

The undoubted stars of the show in 1968-69 were the works Lotus and Ferraris, arguably THE YEAR of Tasman competition in terms of variety was 1968.

Repco Brabham V8 engined Brabhams for Jack (in Australia) and Leo Geoghegan’s Lotus 39, BRM V8s and V12s – the P261 and new P126, the V6 Ferrari 246T and of course the Ford DFW V8 in the back of Jim Clark and Graham Hill’s Lotus 49, the 1.6-litre Ford FVA powered Brabham BT23 raced by Denny Hulme and Piers Courage’s McLaren M4A FVA. Not to forget Frank Gardner’s one-off Alec Mildren owned Brabham BT23D powered by a 2.5-litre variant of Alfa Romeo’s sportscar Tipo 33 V8. Plus the 2.5-litre FPF Climaxes, so long the backbone of the series. We never had it so good! Vive Le difference

(B Spurr Collection)

Piers Courage re-launched his career with his performances in this self-run F2 210bhp McLaren M4A Ford FVA. He drove the wheels off it, stayed on the black-stuff and capped a series of speed and consistency off with a famous win in the teeming rain at Longford in the final 1968 race.

Gardner’s Brabham at left, Amon’s Ferrari at right with Clark in the middle (B Spurr Collection)
(B Spurr Collection)
(B Spurr Collectionj

Les Jones’ Lotus 20B Ford 1.5 (DNS) and the spare BRM P261 raced that weekend by Pedro Rodriguez at the Shell depot in among the Puke trees.

(B Spurr Collection)

This will cause a state of excitement for Lotus historians. Peter Yock’s white Lotus 25 BRM is chassis R3, the machine used by Jim Clark and Trevor Taylor in 1962-63 before being sold to Reg Parnell racing in 1964 and fitted with BRM P56 V8s. Later, as here, R3 was fitted with a 2-litre BRM P60 V8 and sold to Yock.

This link to Allen Brown’s wonderful oldracingcars.com website tells all about the tortuous Lotus 25/33 chassis by chassis history; https://www.oldracingcars.com/lotus/25/ His records show this old-warrior contested 95! races in the hands of Clark, Taylor, Jack Brabham (Monaco 1963), Peter Arundell, Mike Spence, Pedro Rodriguez, Mike Hailwood, Chris Amon, Richard Atwood, Paul Hawkins, Giancarlo Baghetti, Jonathan Williams, Mike Spence, Rob Slotemaker, Piers Courage, Chis Irwin, Peter Yock and Peter Hughes…

Converted to Lotus 33 spec along the way, R3’s best results were wins at the 1962 US GP and Rand GP, and the ’63 Kanonloppet in all cases driven by Clark. Peter Yock’s ’68 Tasman was grim with DNF’s in all four of the Kiwi rounds he contested.

A better shot of the Lotus BRM engine installation – note the Owen Racing Organisation decal between the two front radius rod mounts. Circuit and date unknown (N Tait)
(B Spurr Collection)

Piers Courage and Chris Amon await their MGB ride prior to the off at Pukekohe. Who is the BP driver at right?

(B Spurr Collection)

Clark and Amon above, and the yellow nose of the Mildren Brabham, #2 is Pedro Rodriguez’ BRM P261 Bruce in the other car beyond in the shot below. The Goodyears on Chris’ car are interesting, I thought the Scuderia were contracted to Firestone at the time? Maybe ‘freelancing’ Down South was hunky-dory?

(B Spurr Collection)
(B Spurr Collection)

No works Brabham Repco V8 for the ‘68 Tasman for Denny – ’67 World F1 Championship and all – he was off to McLaren for 1968 so had to run a Brabham BT23 Ford FVA F2 to keep the fans at home and in Australian happy.

In fact he used two cars that summer. BT23-5 is shown above on the Pukekohe grid. In a very dodgy accident on lap – the blame for which was attributed to Hulme, albeit it was ‘hushed up’ at the time – Denny took Laurence Brownlie’s Brabham off the road, frustrated with his failure, as he saw it, to get out of the way, injuring him very badly and effectively ending the promising Kiwi’s career.

BT23-5, the Winkelmann Racing chassis with which Jochen Rindt won so many races in 1967, was rooted. Sold to Feo Stanton and Alec Mildren, Bob Britton made a BT23 jig with it then set it aside in his Rennmax Engineering workshop. 50 years later it’s alive and well in Europe.

BT23-2 was then shipped to New Zealand, a works car raced by Brabham and Frank Gardner in 1967. His bests in that was third place at Wigram and fifth at Warwick Farm.

(B Sergent Collection)

Clark contemplating loading-up while the shape of BRM Team Manager, Tim Parnell is to the right, a burger-boy of the nicest kind it seems.


Parnell, a few moments later is amongst his lads, Bruce with his back to us is about to jump aboard his P126 while Rodriguez – centre shot – is about to board his V8 P261. Pedro was much keener to race this very well-sorted old-tool that summer, rather than the car he should have been focusing on, his V12 mount for the upcoming F1 season!

(B Spurr Collection)

The off, with someone shitting-himself mid-grid. It is not a good feeling…and what a unique Pukekohe view too. Frank Gardner is on the outside of the front row we can see, Brabham BT23D Alfa, with Jim Clark, Chris Amon and Pedro Rodriguez obscured to FG’s right.


Amon has the jump with Clark right up his clacker. Gardner’s #7 Brabham Alfa is outside, then Pedro’s P261 with Bruce’s V12 on the inside and Denny’s four-cylinder Brabham #3 on the outside.

Amon Pukekohe (B Spurr Collection)

Chris Amon drove a great race to win his national Grand Prix from Frank Gardner, the Aussie was the only other driver to complete the full race distance of 58 laps. Piers Courage was third, Jim Palmer fourth in his McLaren M4A Ford FVA and Australian, Paul Bolton fifth in the Rorstan Racing Brabham BT22 Climax.

Jim Clark had engine failure after 44 laps, while Pedro Rodriguez’ old faithful BRM P261 V8 lasted only 28 laps until clutch failure, while Bruce McLaren’s P126 V12 was hors de combat with clutch failure after completing only 14 laps. More on the race here; https://primotipo.com/2017/07/21/amons-tasman-dino/

(B Spurr Collection)

Winners are grinners! ‘Sir Christopher’ Amon, Pukekohe 1968. Other dudes folks?


(B Spurr Collection)

I love the look of this Pukekohe paddock, the death sentence has just been made on this place, Denny.

(B Spurr Collection)

David McKay’s – to the right of the car touching his chin – Scuderia Veloce Ferrari 250LM was racing-royalty in this part of the world, competition Ferraris being very thin on the ground. Click here for an article about the car;

Here the machine is sharing the grid with another legendary car, the Lycoming Special – in which Jim Clark did some laps one year – with Jim Boyd at the wheel, the flash of red at right is the Stanton Corvette raced by Geoff Mardon.

The shot below is of the same three cars at Levin the week after Pukekohe at Cabbage Tree corner.

(B Spurr Collection)
Pukekohe paddock (B Spurr Collection)
(B Spurr Collection)

Together with Scuderia Veloce and Frank Matich Racing, Alec Mildren Racing was the only other fully-professional racing outfit in Australia at the time. See here; https://primotipo.com/2020/01/14/alec-mildren-racing/ and here on the BT23D;

Gardner finished equal fourth in the Tasman title chase, with Graham Hill, his best results were second place at Pukekohe, third at Teretonga and Longford, and fourth at Sandown, the AGP.

While the car fell short in international competition, Kevin Bartlett took BT23D over when FG returned to Europe and won the 1968 Australian Drivers Championship, the Gold Star, in it in 1968 before contesting the Australian 1969 Tasman rounds. After a chequered history, BT23D-1 is still with us.

(B Spurr Collection)

Andy Buchanan’s Elfin 400 Chev, looking superb as it did in the day, and now does! A Kiwi mate sent an image of this car very recently, the restoration is now nearly complete albeit the car is not yet running.

(B Spurr Collection)

He’s a bit anally retentive as a sculptor, but let’s give him points for creativity anyway. Those are called long-necks or depth-charges in this part of the world, unlike the little poofhouse things we mainly drink from today.

(B Spurr Collection)

Clark’s 49 R2 alongside Laurence Brownlie’s Brabham BT18/23 Lotus-Ford 1.5. Brownlie’s car – the quickest of the Kiwi 1.5s that year – was destroyed in the terrible accident with Denny Hulme mentioned earlier. More on the ’68 Tasman cars here; https://primotipo.com/2021/03/06/1968-australian-gp-sandown-2/

(B Spurr Collection)

Bruce labours on BRM P126-02, giving us another look at the DG300 Hewland – rather than one of Bourne’s own ‘trannies – and Len Terry’s signature twin-parallel-link lower rear suspension, which soon thereafter became the ‘industry standard’.

Note the local work-boots, typical attire on both sides of The Ditch (Tasman Straight). OH&S, WTF is that?

(B Spurr Collection)

Rod Coppins in Pete Geoghegan’s first Ford Mustang, ain’t she sweet.


Brian Spurr Collection, Bruce Sergent Collection, Naomi Tait, oldracingcars.com


Amon’s Ferrari 246T, Pukekohe (B Spurr Collection)

‘cor, dunnit look utterly lovely! Amon’s long-time mechanic, Bruce Wilson has lovingly, carefully, skilfully built up 246T/68 #004 for his longtime friend. They won two rounds in 1968 – Pukekohe and Levin – but returned the following year and went all the way; two cars for Chris and Derek Bell with logistics taken care of by Scuderia Veloce.

2.4-litre V6 is a three-valver here, the four-valve units mainly used in Australia gave very little away to anything else, Amon missed winning the Australian Grand Prix at Sandown so equipped, by only one-hundredth of a second to Clark’s flying Lotus 49 V8.

As you all know, that ’68 Tasman was Jim’s last championship win.


A bevi-at-the-Kevi comin’ up (M Bisset)

Designer Louis Coatalen’s obsession with engineering excellence fused into race successes which built Sunbeam’s brand.

1564 Sunbeam 20/60s were built, only 45 or-so of these superb 3.2-litre, straight-six touring machines still exist. Richard Stanley’s chassis 1640D was one of a tiny number exported by the Wolverhampton firm to New Zealand.

Bob King and Richard Stanley bowling along at a comfy 90-100km/h, Howqua Inlet at right (M Bisset)
Mangaweka paddock basher with redemption, fortunately, not too far away (R Stanley Collection)

It looked like it was going to be one of the fatalities too. Late in life it became a paddock-bomb which was thrashed to within an inch of its life on the Mangaweka, North Island farm where Stanley rescued it from under a fruit tree in 1970.

“A mate tipped me off, for the princely sum of $20 I bought the Sunbeam radiator, engine, gearbox, front axle, a rear Ford axle and the chassis to which all of the above was attached, albeit brutally shortened by four-feet. It was as ugly-as-sin but most of the critical bones were there.”

Handsome beast with great on-road presence (M Bisset)
Water pump into generator into magneto…neat. 3.2-litre, OHV two-valve six (M Bisset)

“It was a big job, but I had the skills to rebuild the chassis, make a body, and sub-out the mechanicals I couldn’t do, in my Auckland ‘shop.”

“I did a deal with my Australian wife-to-be that I’d finish the car before emigrating to Australia, the completed car was going to be my calling card, or rolling CV to establish a business in Australia.”

Within five years of establishing Richard Stanley Coachcraft in Melbourne, the business became one of Australia’s go-too body builders. His work included a half-dozen GP Bugattis, various of Ettore’s touring cars, an uber-rare Grand Prix Talbot Darracq 700, Delage D8 and CO2, Hispano Suiza and many others.

Stanley’s profile was raised via his racing exploits, initially in an Austin 7 Spl, then a self-constructed, supercharged 200bhp Amilcar AC. This pre-war combination became the quickest in Australia for a decade or so; the car ultimately found its way to the UK.

Richard Stanley, Amilcar AC, from Duncan Ricketts in Bill Morris’ ERA, Mal Reid in Monoskate Ford V8, David Reid in the red Reid Ford Spl, then Keith Harvey in another Ford Spl. Wakefield Park, date folks? “I beat him off the line, he had pole, held him all the way around till the main straight, then 50 years of fine tuning took over! I was the first Vintage Car though!” Richard recalls (HSRCA)
Jamieson with Eildon below M Bisset)

Stanley’s competition pedigree shows in his finessed, simpatico with the car. Despite the long period of ownership, Stanley is still in lust with it, last year he and wife Judy – this discerning lady is a 3-litre Sunbeam owner – headed for the Queensland sun during Victoria’s, long, dreary, foggy winter. Lancefield to Rockhampton is a lazy 1900km each way but the big beast comfortably did each leg in four days with plenty of tourism side-bars on top. In fine-fettle these cars are mighty-good tourers even on Australia’s notoriously average country B-roads.

(M Bisset)

Maestro Stanley at rest, a talented and capable pair of hands to say the least.


(M Bisset)

Many thanks to Bob King and Richard Stanley for allowing me to join them on their Boy’s Own Annual Tour. The route, mighty fine driving in Victoria’s sub-alpine high country, was Lancefield, Kilmore, Broadford, Glenburn – Alan Jones lived in the area and owned the Glenburn Hotel for a while after he first quit F1 at the end of 1981 – Yea, Yarck, Bonnie Doon, Mansfield, Howqua, Jamieson and Kevington for the night. Then Kevington, Jamieson, Eildon, Snobs Creek, Acheron, Alexandra, Yea, Broadford and back to Lancefield.

(M Bisset)

Four speed manual shift is to the right of, and obscured by the steering column. Extremely comfortable and built for long days in the saddle.

(M Bisset)

Standard ware is a single Claudel-Hobson carburettor, two SUs were fitted to give a bit more grunt, with bespoke manifold a-la-Stanley during the rebuild.

(M Bisset)

Rotax lambs, above and below.

(M Bisset)
(M Bisset)


Happy snaps Mark Bisset


(M Bisset)


(Draper Family Collection)

One upon a time Grand Prix drivers weren’t paid fees that make the GDPs of third world countries look small.

I guess that over 20 Grands Prix and the associated test and race-simulation loads keep them busy, the rest of the time is devoted to the body-beautiful, PR and the needs of the girl/boyfriend.

At the dawn of the space-age, wily Jack Brabham worked all the angles to optimise his earnings, short and perilous as it was in the days when drivers died in the cockpit as a matter of routine.

John Cooper paid him a retainer and a percentage of his winnings. He ghosted magazine articles, had a motor garage and dealership or three, drove cars for others and owned and entered cars for himself and others. That’s how he found himself in the New South Wales/Victorian border-town of Albury, on the Murray River, for the Craven-A International at the small, new, Hume Weir circuit over the March 12/13 1961 weekend.

(Draper Family Collection)
(G Garth)

That summer he’d brought a Cooper T53 Climax (chassis F2-8-60) and Cooper T51 Climax (F2-5-57 or F2-7-59) home to do the Kiwi and Australian Internationals.

He did pretty well too, winning the New Zealand Grand Prix on the Ardmore aerodrome and the Lady Wigram Trophy on the RNZAF base of the same name in the T53. Ron Flockhart that car on pole at Ballarat, and finished third, while Ron’s best with the Cooper T51 was fourth at Ardmore and fifth in the Warwick Farm 100 where Stirling Moss won the first international held on the great Sydney track aboard Rob Walker’s Lotus 18 Climax.

(J Richardson)

Roy Salvadori – who had raced a Reg Parnell Lotus 18 in New Zealand that summer – took the wheel of the Cooper T51 in Tasmania, winning the Longford Trophy (above) but his weekend wasn’t so successful in Albury where he was fourth in the Saturday 20-lapper, and failed to finish the equally hot Sunday race. Brabham won both races in the T53 in skinny six/seven car grids.

Our Jack dragged in he crowds, doubtless Craven A sold a few cancer-sticks, so everybody went home happy. Brabham always flogged the cars he brought to Australia at the end of his tour but on this occasion both Coopers returned to the UK and equally oddly both disappeared into the ether later in the year.

(Draper Family Collection)


John Richardson, Draper Family Collection, Glenn Garth, oldracingcars.com


(Draper Family Collection)

Roy Salvadori reflecting on the size of his ‘Gregory Peck’ at the Weir while entertaining the crowd, announcer’s name folks?


(B Wilson Collection)

Chris Amon hustles his March 707 Chev around Riverside, during the weekend in 1970. Isn’t it a big, handsome brute, fast too…

The scale of March’s F1 achievement in 1970 from a standing start is unbelievable, 11 March 701 Ford DFV’s were built and won three F1 races that year. Jackie Stewart took the fiery Spanish Grand Prix and the Race of Champions at Brands Hatch, while Chris Amon won the International Trophy at Silverstone.

In addition, they created the infrastructure and team to build customer Formula Ford, F3 and F2 cars, and this Group 7/Can-Am program, “credited to SCCA Pro Racing Director Jim Kaser’s trip to Europe to drum up more business” wrote Hunter Farnham. In his spare time – sic! – Robin Herd led the design of a car that was immediately competitive in Helmut Kelleners’ hands in the European Interserie, and in the much more competitive Can-Am Challenge, where McLaren remained supreme, later in 1970.

“The detail design was executed by ex-Lola man Martin Slater (a friend of one of the March founders, Graham Coaker) and John Clark, a freelance designer who was involved with most of the early Marches, while further refinements were made during its construction by John Thompson, Roger Silman and Peter Turland.” wrote Mike Lawrence in ‘The History of March’. Well aware of how thin the businesses resources were, Amon enticed his long-time mechanic, Kiwi Bruce Wilson – who had not too long before prepared and spannered the Ferrari 246T in which Chris had won the 1969 Tasman Cup – to Bicester to help complete the cars.

Chris testing 707-01 at Silverstone sans bodywork – Bruce would be proud of him! – in May 1970 (B Wilson Collection)
March 707 Chev technical specifications as per text, chassis depicted is Amon’s 707-02 (Bill Bennett)

Herd was partially responsible for the McLaren dominance of course, together with Bruce McLaren he designed and drew the 1967 McLaren M6A Chev, the first of the Papaya-Steamrollers comprising the 1967-71 M6A-M8A-M8B-M8D and M8F, all of which were Chevrolet V8 powered.

As was the case with the 701, Herd designed a simple car – nothing wrong with that, McLaren’s dominance was achieved with utterly conventional superbly designed, built and prepared racing cars – given the time constraints and customer queue. No way could he afford an expensive, time consuming development program with angry customers if an innovative approach turned-turtle.

Robin’s monocoque was fabricated in 20-gauge aluminium alloy with magnesium bulkhead castings at front and rear. It housed 70 gallons of fuel located in four Firestone bladders. In a neat touch, typical of some F1 cars of the day, the tub ended at the aft cockpit bulkhead with the engine and rear suspension/transaxle assembly bolted to a steel frame that attached to the back of the tub. With the fixings undone, the whole rear of the car could be rolled away for necessary maintenance.

707-02 getting pretty close to being ready for Chris first gallop at Silverstone by the look, no belt yet fitted tho. Lots of flat sheet to minimise the compound curvature fabrication challenges. Bruce Wilson second from the right, who are the other fellas folks? (B Wilson Collection)
(B Wilson Collection)
Ally block, capacity quoted as 494/502ci, Lucas injection, magneto ignition, Mota-Lita steering steering, Hewland LG ‘box (B Wilson Collection)

March purchased 494/502cid/8-litre Chaparral-Chev aluminium, pushrod, fuel injected V8s giving circa 720bhp @ 6500rpm. The ubiquitous Hewland LG600 gearbox transmitted its huge power and torque through roller-spline driveshafts to mag-alloy wheels and 23-inch wide Firestones at the rear.

Front and rear suspension was period typical. Upper and lower wishbones, coil spring-Koni damper units and adjustable roll-bar and mag-alloy uprights at the front. The rear used a single top link, twin parallel lower links, and radius rods, again with an adjustable bar and attaching to big, beefy but light mag-alloy uprights.

Brakes were Girling calipers with 12-inch rotors, steering was of course rack and pinion, the whole lot less fuel weighed a claimed 1460 pounds. The wheelbase, as published, was 96 inches, front track 68, rear track 64, length 156, and width 93 inches.

Pete Lyon’s ran his tape-measure over the cars and found that “the tape across the nose-fins was no wider that 83.5 inches, while the rear wheel arches swelled to only 83.75. That years M8D taped out at 79.5 at the latter point.” Lyon quoted Chris Amon from a Karl Ludvigsen – Motor Trend article as saying the true weight of the 707 was between 1600-1800 pounds. Big cars indeed…

Bruce Wilson and Chris catching up early in-build, 707-01, maybe (B Wilson Collection)
(B Wilson Collection)
(B Wilson Collection)

Chassis 707-01 was ready for Chris to test at Silverstone in mid-May (above). He was excited by the prospect of racing two 707s, which were part of his retainer agreement with March. Lawrence wrote that Chris viewed this effort as potentially a first step in establishing ‘Amon Racing Team’ to give him a measure of independence, and longer term security after he’d hung up his helmet.

In the end, March retained the cars, “the books would be balanced to suit” wrote Lawrence. Ultimately, Chris was never paid what he was owed by March, not that he was alone, just one of the first…

Chris complained of front end instability when he tested the car, the cockpit was so large that Robin Herd joined him for a few laps, the mechanics joked that “he’d designed the 707 that wide so he could hitch rides in it.”

Kelleners 707-01 was ready in time for the first Interserie round at the Norisring on June 26. He led both heats but was ousted by gearbox problems, a good effort as the brakes were troublesome and the weight distribution still wasn’t quite right. Progress was swift though, he won at Croft in July and at Hockenheim in October. The six round championship was won by Jurgen Neuhaus, Porsche 917K who was also victorious twice but was more consistent throughout the short season. Kelleners was the class of the field, despite the presence of some works-assisted Porsche 917s, with more reliability he would have won the title. Importantly, the lessons learned with the car were built into Amon’s machine which was quick and finished races from the start.

Helmut Kelleners 707-01 during the 1970 Trophy of The Dunes at Zandvoort on September 20 (unattributed)
Zandvoort again, the shot chosen to highlight the fabulous mix of cars; Groups 5, 6 and 7, fitted with engines ranging in capacity from 2-8-litres! Gijs Van Lennep, Porsche 917K here leads Kelleners (MotorSport)

After the Italian Grand Prix, Amon took his March 707 to round 8 of the Can-Am at Donnybrooke, McLaren had won almost all of the preceding rounds in the superb, Batmobile M8D Chev. Dan Gurney was victorious at Mosport and St Jovite until sponsor-clashes brought his McLaren F1 and Can-Am drive to an end. Denny Hulme then won at Watkins Glen, Edmonton and Mid Ohio until Peter Gethin took the Road America round in the car vacated by Gurney.

The odd-ball victory of the season was Tony Dean’s in the wet at Road Atlanta in mid-September when his nimble, light 3-litre Porsche 908 Spyder beat all of the 6-7 litre machines

When Amon appeared at Donnybrooke during the September 27 weekend he was immediately on the pace despite a lower front suspension arm pulling away from the chassis in practice.

Amon arrived in Minnesota early enough to do some mid-week practice, “but twice its practice was cut short with suspension failures,” Pete Lyons in ‘Can-Am’ wrote. The ‘Boeing’ was third on the grid, with ‘patches’ fitted to each side to rectify the suspension problem, behind Peter Revson’s Carl Haas-works Lola T220 Chev and the Hulme M8D; Chris matched Denny’s qualifying time, not bad…

In the race he ran second for a while, then, despite fuel pick up problems while running third – one tank wasn’t emptying into the other – Chris was classified fifth, having pulled off to the side of the track, behind Hulme, Gethin, Revson and Jim Adams’ Ferrari 512P.

(B Wilson Collection)
Amon negotiates Laguna Seca’s corkscrew (unattributed)
(B Wilson Collection)

Then it was off to Laguna Seca for another promising run on October 18. This time Q5 and fourth, coping with spongy brakes on the challenging track behind Hulme, Jackie Oliver’s Autocoast TI22 Mk2 Chev – who engaged in a long thriller of a dice with Denny – and Revson’s Lola. Clearly 707 had plenty of promise and pace despite missing the bulk of the races and the ongoing development which is a part of that process.

It was more of the same in the final round at Riverside, Q5 and fourth for Chris, third until fuel woes re-emerged and he had to pit for a splash and dash. This time the finishing order was Hulme, Oliver and Pedro Rodriguez in the BRM P154, the Bourne marque also having a crack that season but not making as much impact as March’s much shorter campaign.

At the end of 1970 both cars were returned to Bicester. 707-01 was modified by the removal of the hammerhead nose, and the front mounted radiators were moved to the chassis’ side. Dubbed the 717, Kelleners struggled with reliability in 1971 and sold the car at the season’s end to Austrian racer, Stefan Sklenar who race it sporadically without much luck.

Chris’ 707-02 was rebuilt and demonstrated occasionally. Despite the very promising start, March didn’t return to the Can-Am Challenge but rather focused mainly on volume production of single-seater categories where they were globally successful. In the later 1970s 707-03, a spare chassis, was built up and fitted with 707 bodywork, the cars live on.



Helmut Kelleners looking for a bit of love from his crew in the Croft pitlane, a successful July weekend for the team in that short 25 lap race. He won aboard 707-01 from Jurgen Neuhaus, Porsche 917K and John Lepp, Spectre GP6 Ford.

The photographs in this section are a mix from Bruce Wilson’s collection including some March works shots from in-period press releases, and the Getty Images’ archive. They are mixed up to get a nice visual mish-mash of monochrome and colour.


Plenty to smile about at Riverside, while Karl Ludvigsen’s shot below on the same November 1 weekend is much more moody, the shadows enhance that distinctive hammerhead nose with quite separate wing-section.

It’s such a shame that March didn’t race on with an evolved car in the 1971 Can-Am though it is hard to be critical of the commercial choices made by the March Boys, whilst noting the ever present and well documented ongoing cashflow dramas.

(K Ludvigsen)
It’s clear how much influence the F1 701 had on the nose-aero of its big Can-Am March sibling in this low angle shot (B Wilson Collection)
Monterey GP pits, Laguna Seca 1970. Bruce Wilson in the red shirt (H Thomas)

The sheer subtlety of Can-Am machines is what makes them so attractive to so many of us…

1970 was the last real Can-Am in the minds of many experts of the class. The Chapparral 2J Chev was such a threat to orthodoxy, it was thown out. Doubtless in accordance with FIA rules. But when Jim Hall said ‘go and get rooted’, or the Texan equivalent thereof, everything good about the unlimited, truly wild class was gone. Those of you who saw them race in-period are so lucky…

(B Wilson Collection)
Amon, again 707-02 at Laguna Seca in 1970 (H Thomas)
“How’s the F1 car going Bruce?” “Hmm, Ferrari have come good pal!” (B Wilson Collection)

Bruce Wilson and Chris Amon were the best of buddies. Bruce was key to Amon’s success right back to his Maserati 250F days before Reg Parnell popped him on a plane to England in early 1963.

Coopers galore in NZ circa 1961, circuit folks? Chris aboard his Cooper T41 Climax with Bruce’ hand on rear body (B Wilson Collection)

Wilson wrote a lovely book – The Master Mechanic- about his life and times in racing in the Antipodes and Europe, I’m told it’s great, it’s certainly on my list. I don’t believe the publisher has any – it was released almost as he died in 2017 – so go the online route.

(B Wilson Collection)


Bruce Wilson Collection, cutaway by Bill Bennett, Karl Ludvigsen, Can-Am review in ‘Automobile Year 18’ by Hunter Farnham, ‘The History of March’ Mike Lawrence, ‘Can-Am’ Pete Lyons, Getty Images-Henry Thomas


(B Wilson Collection)



The Grand Prix cinematographer doesn’t seem the least bit perturbed by the immediate proximity of Daniel Sexton Gurney at Spa during the 1966 Belgian Grand Prix in the pouring Ardennes rain. There is a haybale or two there after all.

I guess Dan is past the critical – for the ‘snapper’s life – turn-in phase of the corner and he is only (sic) delicately balancing the Eagle Mk1 Climax 2.7 FPF on the throttle through Eau Rouge. Still, it was really dumb-shit like this that makes the film so great.

Gurney qualified 15th and wasn’t classified in this interim car, he was awaiting Weslake Engineering’s delivery of the Eagle-Weslake V12 motor to create a true contender, John Surtees’ Ferrari 312 won. See here; https://primotipo.com/2019/02/19/eagle-mk1-climax-101/

(unattributed – who took the shot?)

He came, he saw and he conquered with mesmeric car control in the 1969 Warwick Farm 100 Tasman Cup round. Jochen Rindt Lotus 49B Ford DFW 2.5 V8.

If he wasn’t recognised as the fastest man alive at the start of the season, most pundits saw it that way by the end of it. Fastest I said, not best. See here; https://primotipo.com/2018/01/19/rindt-tasman-random/

(D Simpson)


MotorSport Images, Dick Simpson, wfooshee


(J Krajancich Collection)

Duncan Ord completes a donut out front of a Shell Servo in suburban Perth, date and place unknown…

I laughed at the sight of this oh-so-pedigreed racer being subjected to useage more often applied to ‘Humpy’ Holdens of the day!

This 3.3-litre, DOHC, straight-eight Bugatti T57T #57264 was first raced by Earl Howe in the 1935 Ulster Tourist Trophy later passing into the hands of Pierre Levegh who contested the 1937 GP des Frontieres at Chimay amongst other races. It, perhaps, passed through Jean-Pierre Wimille’s hands before being sold to visiting Perth racer Duncan Ord in the UK. He shipped it home, first racing it at Pingelly, Western Australia in January 1939, where it remained a pillar of the local scene into the dawn of the swinging-sixties.

Among sports-racing Bugattis, the Type 57 is one of the most illustrious. Chassis 57264 is a Type 57 Tourist Trophy Torpedo, originally designated chassis 57222, this was later changed by the factory. The car is unusual in that despite a racing history of over thirty years it retains its original chassis largely intact, and original crankcase, gear-box and front and rear axles as well as other less critical components.

Detailed research by foremost French Bugatti authority Pierre Yves Laugier has confirmed this machines history, “The first mention of the car is in the August 1935 list of bodywork at the Bugatti factory which contains the entry ‘2 Voitures Course 24 Heures, moteurs 223 et 224’. While no chassis serial numbers were recorded for these two cars, on August 29 that year – in the factory’s list of cars sold – the chassis serial number 57222 Torpedo Tourist Trophy with motor number 224 is mentioned. Francis, Earl Howe, drove Bugatti Type 57 TT, engine 224, to finish third in the Ulster TT race, at Ards, Ulster (as below) on September 7, 1935.”

(MotorSport Images)
Earl Howe beside his trusty steed at Ards before the off (MotorSport Images)

In its report of the race MotorSport said, “The Bugattis driven by Lord Howe and the Hon. Brian Lewis were models of light construction with their duralumin shell bodies, and weighed only 26 cwt, with driver, fuel and water. Georges de Ram shock absorbers were used and the engines were said to develop over 160hp at 5,500rpm, which sounds rather fantastic. At any rate the compression ratio was well over 8 to 1 thanks to the efficient shape of the twin (sic) combustion chambers. Lord Howe’s car did close on 120mph while Lewis’s car was somewhat slower….”.

During the first practice day Francis, Earl Howe, had in fact made fastest lap time in 10 minutes 16 seconds which was some six seconds faster than his RAC handicap time. During the race Brian Lewis – the younger man and a faster driver than Howe – led the race, before his Bugatti developed clutch slip due to an oil leak from the gearbox. This left Howe leading, only to make an immediate refuelling stop. He subsequently fought his way back onto the leader board, MotorSport commenting “Howe had been making splendid progress on the Bugatti, and on the 33rd lap caught the two Aston Martins to secure third place…” – behind winner Freddie Dixon’s fleet Riley and Eddie Hall’s very special 3.6-litre Bentley.

By January 1936, the car was listed for sale with dealer Dominique Lamberjack back in Paris at 60,0000 Francs. The car was also referred to in period as chassis serial 57264/moteur 224 Torpedo TT as the factory had re-allocated serial 57222 to a new Competition Torpedo with its gondola shaped Type 57S chassis.

57264 was possibly entered at Le Mans in 1936 but the event was cancelled due to the political unrest throughout France. On June 11, 1936 the car was co-driven by Yves Giraud-Cabantous and Bugatti company salesman Roger Labric in the Spa 24-Hours. Labric, a friend of Bugatti, managed the marque’s showroom on the Avenue Montaigne, Paris. Unfortunately he overshot at the Stavelot Hairpin and burst the car’s radiator. When repaired it was offered for sale at the Avenue Montaigne showroom.

The car pictured in France during Pierre Levegh’s ownership (Bonhams Collection)

It found a buyer on April 8, 1937 in talented French gentleman/sportsman – talented cyclist, skier, ice hockey and tennis player – owner/driver Pierre Bouillin. Born in Paris on December 22, 1905, he was the son of an antiques dealer and had become the director of a brush factory in Trie Châ-teau in the Oise region. The Type 57 was his first Bugatti.

Bouillin idolized his uncle – Alfred Velghe – a pre-war pioneer racing driver. Bouillin shuffled the letters of that surname to adopt the anagram nom de guerre ‘Levegh’ for his racing exploits.

Pierre became obsessed with winning Le Mans and in 1952 came close – over-revving his Talbot-Lago and blowing the engine after 23 hours of a solo drive, while well-established in a probably uncatchable lead. His misfortune gifted the race to the works Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwings which finished first and second. When Mercedes returned to Le Mans with a team of 300SLRs in 1955 they invited 49 year old Levegh to drive for them. It aboard an SLR that he innocently became involved in the terrible collision which claimed the lives of over 80 spectators, in addition to the luckless Bouillin himself.

57264 perhaps at Miramas, Marseilles with Levegh in June 1937 (Bonhams Collection)

In happier times during 1937 he paid 32,500 Francs in instalments to purchase 57264 for his competition debut. On May 15, 1937, he raced the T57 in the Grand Prix des Frontieres at Chimay, Belgium finishing third, running sans mudguards. On June 6 he contested the Marseilles 3-Hours, finishing eighth, then on September 19 at Montlhery, Levegh entered the the Autumn Cup sports car race, the machine by then fitted with larger Delahaye-style mudguards, but failed to finish.

Pierre then advertised the car for sale in the L’Auto March 15,1938 issue, describing it as a “Type 57, unique car, capable of 190km/h. Write to owner at 54 Avenue de Choisy”.The car was spotted at Brooklands during that period and clocked at 192km/h. It had already been modified with the addition of a 40-gallon riveted aluminium fuel tank behind the driver’s seat, different doors, an additional oil cooler ahead of the radiator and further modified mudguards. It also featured cable-adjustable Repesseau shock absorbers.’

Contemporary references are confusing but it’s possible Levegh sold it to French Ace Jean-Pierre Wimille who used it as his roadie before passing it on to an unknown purchaser, who shipped it to Brooklands, but died before he could compete there. It then passed to London based sports car specialist J.H. Bartlett who advertised it in the May 1938 issue of Speed, “Bugatti special 3.3-litre 120 m.p.h. competition 2 seater, fitted late series 57S engine, special electron body, special streamlined wings, spare tanks, etc…£450.” It was acquired by visiting Australian racer Duncan Ord.

Ord, Pingelly Speed Classic, on the cars race debut in Australia, January 30, 1939 (J Krajancich Collection)
Another Pingelly shot, year unknown, note the oil cooler up-front (K Devine Collection)

On arrival in Australia the car was unloaded from the ship at Fremantle where it created considerable local interest as a contemporary machine described in the press as a “1934 Le Mans model two-seater fitted with long range 60 gallon fuel tanks and had been refurbished at Molsheim before being clocked at 120 mph at Brooklands.”

Ord entered the Great Southern Speed Classic at Pingelly on 30 January, no doubt the step up in performance of the Bugatti compared to the P-Type MG he started racing in 1936 was deeply impressive. Ord’s handling of the car was noted as being particularly good but he was slowed by clutch troubles and a spin on the last lap which dropped him to fourth.

Interestingly this handicap race was won by the supercharged MG TA Spl driven by the very young Alan Tomlinson. On 2 January 1939, three weeks before, ‘The Three Kids from Perth’ (Tomlinson, Minder- Bill Smallwood, Manager- Clem Dwyer both of these latter fellows no slouches as drivers themselves) won a famous Australian Grand Prix victory on the daunting Lobethal which confounds historians to this day. Confounds in the sense that the sustained speed of the little MG beat some serious heavy-metal including the Jano Alfas of Alf Barrett, Jack Saywell and John Crouch, the Delahaye 135CS of John Snow and others on a track regarded as Australia’s greatest ever motor racing challenge.

The racing fraternity in Western Australia had a great relationship with the authorities which was reflected in a vast number of Round The Houses racing on closed public roads of small towns they secured over many decades, the first of which was at Albany in 1936.

The venues were away from Perth, to its south east was Pingelly 150km away, and Cannington 10km. Narrogin was-is 200km to the north east, Goomalling 130 km and Dowerin 160km. Byford Hillclimb was 45km south of Perth whereas Albany was a very long tow, 420km south to the edge of the continent’s coast. Busselton is 225km ‘down south’ as the Perthies say, too, on a magic stretch of coast. Bunbury was and is an important port on the west coast, it too is south of Perth, 175km from the state capital. This is by no means a complete list, I’ve just covered the towns in which the Bugatti raced.

Duncan Ord pressing on, place and date unknown (J Krajancich Collection)
Ord again at Pingelly, uncertain of the year – he raced there from 1939-41 carrying #9 on each occasion – at the Review Street corner (K Devine Collection)

Pre-War the West Australians did more racing miles than racers in any other state on tar or bitumen. On the odd occasion they competed on the east coast – a cut-lunch and a camel ride away – given the transport network and roads of the day, the best of them could be prodigiously fast, Alan Tomlinson being the prime example.

As the war clouds gathered in Europe Ord raced the car in the June Dowerin winter meeting, finishing second in the open championship to Jack Nelson’s Ballot Ford V8 Spl. A fortnight later he was at Cannington for the Quarter Mile Trials where the Bug did a 17.2 second standing quarter and a flying quarter mile pass at 94.73 mph. He was second in each event again to Nelson’s Ballot which achieved 16.5/104.64 mph.

Whilst Australia was at war in 1940, Ord competed three times for a second place to Bob Lee’s Riley in the (handicap) Great Southern Speed Classic at Pingelly, and second in the Albany Tourist Trophy. Of his performances Bob King reported in his ‘Bugattis of Australasia’ that Ord “thrilled many thousands of spectators at Albany and Pingelly by the skilful and dashing manner in which he was handling the big, blue Bugatti. Ord demonstrated at Albany this year when he broke the course record that he had mastered the car.”

Ord, Patriotic Grand Prix, Applecross 1940. What was that about Motor Racing is Dangerous bit on the entry-ticket?! (P Partridge Collection)
Jack Nelson, White Mouse Ford 10 Spl from Duncan Ord, Bugatti T57, Applecross 1940 (K Devine Collection)

Let’s not forget the Patriotic Grand Prix, a four event race meeting held through the then outer suburban streets of Applecross 8km from Perth’s CBD to raise money for various charities which looked after returned serviceman and their families.

Between 20,000 and 40,000 spectators turned up, appropriately on Armistice Day, November 11, and paid a shilling to enter with a program a further sixpence. The feature event was a handicap for racing cars and won by Harley Hammond’s Marquette Spl with the big Bug setting a lap record but retiring with engine trouble. “Oddly one race was held for cars fitted with gas producers, perhaps as a sop to those who felt motor racing was wasteful during a war,” Bob King wrote.

While in his ownership Ord fitted hydraulic brakes and moved the radiator forward to lower the bodywork, perhaps improving cooling, exactly when these changes were made is unclear.

Ord was first in the January 1941 Great Southern Speed Classic 5 lap scratch race at Pingelly before laying the car up for the balance of the war years. This carnival was literally the last race meeting in Australia until the conflict ended.

Victory shot at Pingelly in 1940. Duncan Ord, third at left, Bob Lee (Riley Brooklands) the winner in the middle and second placed Bill Smallwood (MG TA) at right (K Devine Collection)
Duncan Ord – with goggles around his neck in the middle of the group of three – lines the T57T for a standing-quarter competition behind the very neat MG TA Spl of Norm Kestrel, at Nicholson Road, Forrestdale in 1946 (MG Specials – Aust – Pre-War and T Type Collection)

The Bunbury Flying 50 in November 1946 was Duncan’s first competitive post-war run, perhaps the big beast was unhappy about being disturbed after such a long slumber as it failed to finish. In January 1947 the WA Speed Championships were run on the RAAF Airfield at Caversham – a venue close to Perth which remained the home of motor racing in WA until the late-sixties – when Wanneroo Park was built. Ord was second in the 50 Mile Handicap,

He returned twelve months later and shared the car with prospective purchaser, South Australian Durrie Turner, who had placed a deposit on it pending a race in it. Fuel feed problems prevented Turner taking the start in his event with Ord then winning a 6 mile scratch. In the Airforce Trophy 25 lapper, Turner broke the lap record, but pitted with an overheating engine. Ord took over but on the following lap left the road, travelling through the boonies at great speed, before coming to rest too badly damaged to continue. The corner was subsequently known as ‘Bugatti Corner’!, to add to Ord’s woes Turner didn’t proceed the purchase.

AD ‘Durrie’ Turner is flagged away in the 25 lap Air Force Trophy handicap, Caversham on 13 March, 1948 (T Walker Collection)

Six years elapsed before the car reappeared at the Great Southern Flying 50 at Narrogin in March 1954 when it was driven by MG and Morgan driver and photographer David Van Dal to eighth, and last place last in a 3 lap scratch. He didn’t race in the feature won by Sid Taylor’s TS Special so perhaps had dramas in the earlier race. I’m not sure who owned the car by this stage, it’s said David Van Dal, but Phil Hind raced the Bug to twelfth in a preliminary and a DNF in the June 1954 Goomalling Classic.

In October Hind contested the Byford Hillclimb on the south-eastern Perth fringe but was unplaced. In this period Van Dal raced the BRM Morgan. It’s said at some time that Phil Hind bought the car, and in an effort to keep it competitive modified the chassis by shortening it 2 feet 6 inches between the rear kick-up and the cockpit. In addition, the original body was discarded and replaced by a contemporary style slender monoposto racing version, coil-springs were fitted at the front.

The T57 returned to Byford hill in October 1956 this time raced by R Annear to equal fourth place, or was it V Smith racing the car?

(K Devine Collection)
T57T, Busselton in ‘monoposto’ form 1957, David Van Dal up (B King Collection)

By 1957 the Bugatti was back in David Van Dal’s hands, running in the Busselton Derby at the towns airstrip in January 1957, prior to the ’57 Australian Grand Prix held at Caversham in March. He was fourth in a 5 lap racing car scratch but failed to finish the Busselton Derby.

In a full field of the best cars of the day at Caversham for the AGP – Lex Davison’s Ferrari 500/625, Stan Jones Maserati 250F, Len Lukey’s and Tom Hawkes’ Cooper T23 Bristols, Jack Brabham’s Cooper T41 Climax and many others – the monoposto Bugatti was an also-ran but that was hardly the point, Van Dal was out there competing.

He shared the drive on an excruciatingly hot Perth summers day with John Cummins, a Sydney racer/mechanic/raconteur and fellow Bugatti driver, Cummins usually raced a Bugatti T37A Holden. The pair didn’t finish the race won in somewhat controversial circumstances by Davison who shared his car with fellow Melbourne driver/Holden Dealer Bill Patterson, whereas burly, rough and tough Stan Jones raced solo, and in the minds of some, won in disputes over lap counts. It was not the first time this occurred at elite level, nor the last!

Again, the ownership of the car isn’t clear throughout this period with Don Hall racing it in the state championships at Caversham in September, he was unplaced in the 7 lap scratch. David Van Dal raced a Morgan at the state championship meeting. Is it the case that David owned it from 1954 with others also having a race during this continuing period of ownership?

The Type 57T again in monoposto form, circa 1956 (K Devine Collection)
(K Devine Collection)

In 1958 Van Dal sold it to Jim Krajancich, a Perth motor engineer. He had spotted 57264 advertised for £600 in Australian Motor Sport and offered Van Dal £400 payable in instalments. Van Dal had already been offered £400 by Melbourne-based Bugatti Type 51 owner Peter Menere, but since this would cost him a good deal more in transport he accepted Jim’s offer.

Krajancich then entered the car in the WA State Championships at Caversham in September 1958. He was sixth in both the first and second heats and DNF the third heat, a 10 lap race. N Rossiter won all three events in the TS Special with John Cummins second in the BRM Morgan raced previously by Van Dal.

The old beast’s final race before a very long hibernation was the Christmas Cup meeting at Caversham on November 22, 1958. In an ignominious end to such a long period of racing in Europe and Australia Jim was unplaced in the 5 lap scratch and the 15 lap Chrismas Cup, no doubt the machine needed a major ‘pull through’!

Jim decided to rebuild it in Maserati 300S style, but time passed and upon marriage in 1962, Bugatti T57T 57264 was mothballed as he bought it.


Bonhams picks up the story “Restoration work to original 1935 form finally commenced in 1973 and the work continued until 2010, Krajancich completing almost all the work himself. This included re-lengthening the chassis using works T57 drawings and painstakingly re-making the body and road equipment from archive photos. The brakes were re-converted to mechanical operation, the original radiator was acquired from Van Dal while the car’s original starter motor, dynamo and radiator shutters were reacquired from Ord. The radiator shell came via Wolf Zeuner and had come from Australia, it is in fact believed to be the car’s original. Original Type 57 rear springs came from Barry Swann in Malaysia, replacement original cylinder block and crankshaft were also sourced from Malaysia (the cars originals included with sale of the car), the spring hangers came from Zeuner, while the rear torque arm is old stock Molsheim spares.

“Original pedal pads were obtained from Henry Posner, and when Gavin Sandford-Morgan re-bodied the sister 57627 he sold numerous original parts to Krajancich including the fuel tank, cast aluminium dashboard brackets and bonnet catches. The Repesseau adjustable friction shock absorbers now fitted at the rear were the fronts when the car arrived in Australia in 1938, the vendor having fitted original de Ram dampers on the front (sold to Krajancich by Bob King who obtained the ‘very heavy!’ units ex-Lex Davison’s Alfa Romeo P3 from Diana Davison) as fitted for the 1935 TT.”


The only replica mechanical parts used in 57264’s rebuild are the rear-brake back plates, the brake cross shafts and the dashboard instruments while original parts being sold with the car but not used in the rebuild include gearbox internals, crankshaft, cylinder block, steering wheel, steering drag link, oil pump, Stromberg carburettor – two SUs are mounted presently on the original manifold – while in addition there is a spare radiator ex-Sandford-Morgan.”

Bugatti authority Pierre Yves Laugier has personally inspected the car, “From this we can confirm correct number stampings identify the engine crankcase, gearbox, chassis, front and back axles as being original to this car.”



‘Bugattis in Australasia’ Bob King, MotorSport Images, Bonhams sale description/car history, Terry Walker Collection, Jim Krajancich Collection, Ken Devine Collection, Peter Partridge Collection


(K Devine Collection)

Fantastic sharp shot of Duncan Ord at Pingelly in 1940.


Huge crowd awaits the start of the Patriotic Grand Prix at Applecross in 1940. Clem Dwyer’s very successful Plymouth Special in front of Duncan’s T57T.

(J Krajancich Collection)

No address or date for this shot but it’s still in Duncan Ord’s ownership, given the presence of #9, but looking decidedly tatty.

(J Krajancich Collection)

Applecross ladies in their finery dodging the noisy, smelly racing cars…


One look at this magnificent Bugatti after it had been tampered with – I’ve got no issue with racers trying to remain competitive mind you – made me think of Queen’s Fat Bottomed Girls…

57264 very late in its competitive life at Caversham in ‘comfy monoposto or tight bi-posto’ form. Ken Devine tells me the driver is Don Hall, the meeting is the 1957 WA Championship. “The car in this form was also driven by Peter Nichol of motorcycle scramble fame.”


(T Emery)

Peter Macrow, clad in fireproof woollen brown jumper, on his way to victory in the Riverina Gold Cup aboard his Brian Shead built Cheetah Mk3 Ford at Hume Weir on September 3, 1967.

It was his third Riverina Gold Cup on-the-trot! He won from a 17 car field varying in performance from future prominent Clubman and Tourer competitor Tom Naughton’s MG TC and equally capable single-seater driver/engineers Ivan Tighe, Lynx and Peter Larner, Lotus.

Shead first competed in his road-going Austin A40 in 1960, progressing to his own Cooper influenced Cheetah Mk1 in 1962. Brian regularly diced with Peter who was then racing the ex-Garrie Cooper, Cooper Austin. The evolved Cheetah Mk2 followed and all new spaceframe Mk3 in 1963.

Macrow was so impressed by the Mk3 he convinced Shead to sell it and help with its development. Brian picks up the story, “I succumbed to pressure from Macrow and sold him the car less engine, and assisted in installation of a pushrod Ford 1100cc engine. I retired from racing and helped with the running of the car and its preparation. Peter raced it extensively with considerable success in Victoria and New South Wales.”

“We continually upgraded the specifications of the car until it was running 7″ and 9″ wide wheels with disc brakes all around and fitment of a Lotus twin-cam engine. The Macrow/Cheetah combination became most successful at Hume Weir and Winton.”

Shead returned to racing when he built his first production cars, the Mk4, which was also raced successfully by Macrow, more on that here; https://primotipo.com/2021/11/16/cheetah-mk4/

(S Dalton Collection)
(S Dalton Collection)


Tim and Mick Emery


The first Pingelly Speed Classic was held on a 2.5-mile round-the-houses course in the West Australian town 160km south-east of Perth on January 30, 1939.

The five event programme consisted of the handicap Great Southern Speed Classic, run concurrently with a scratch race, two five lap handicaps – one each for racing and sports cars – and a four lap handicap and relay race for stock (standard production) cars.

(K Devine Collection)

The Clem Dwyer Plymouth Special and Duncan Ord Bugatti T57T take the chequered flag during the inaugural Great Southern Speed Classic on a fabulous Wellington Street panorama.

The very successful Plymouth, powered by a side-valve straight-six was based on a damaged sedan which was heavily lightened and modified, whereas Ord’s blue-blood 3.3-litre straight-eight twin-cam Bugatti (chassis 57264, originally 57222) was an ex-Lord Howe machine. It was the race debut of the Plymouth and first Australian event for the Bugatti which had arrived from France not long before.

Alan Tomlinson MG TA Spl S/c won from Bill Smallman, MG TA with Roy Sojan third in his Chrysler Special ‘Silverwings’. Duncan Ord was fourth.

(K Devine Collection)

The round-the-houses racing tradition – unique to Western Australia and the envy of the other states – commenced when the good-burghers of Albany decided on a Back To Albany Festival in 1936. With that, three entrepreneurs of the West Australian Sporting Car Club – Eric Armstrong, Clem Dyer and J Warburton – motored down from Perth and successfully pitched the notion of a Monaco style street race around their fair city to the Council.

The race became the highlight of the festival and spawned similar races at Applecross, Bunbury, Dowerin, Narrogin – at which the 1951 Australian Grand Prix was held – Pingelly and others until the gruesome 1955 Le Mans disaster frightened local councils and led to a clampdown on racing on public roads. Not that they eliminated it completely, the WASCC had a tremendous relationship with the WA cops and ran events in a variety of places right into the 1960s.

(K Devine Collection)
(P Narducci Collection)

Two shots of Bill Smallwood’s MG TA Spl during the 1939 race. Smallwood and Clem Dwyer had been Tomlinson’s pit-crew in a staggering win for the young West Australian in the Australian Grand Prix held on the daunting Lobethal road circuit three weeks before.

Sadly, Pingelly was his last victory, Tomlinson, shown below there in 1939, was badly injured at Lobethal in 1940 and never raced again. See here; https://primotipo.com/2020/12/04/tomlinsons-1939-lobethal-australian-grand-prix/

(T Walker Collection)
(E Rigg Collection)

Clem Dyer aboard the Bartlett Special in 1939. He bought this machine, built around an 1100cc twin-cam Salmson engine on a trip to the UK. Modified with Brooklands in mind, it was fitted with a Cozette supercharger and was said to be good for 120mph.

Raced at Lake Perkolilli, he gave Ossie Cranston’s Ford V8 Spl a run for his money in 1936, but the car never achieved the success hoped, the demands of the Brooklands bowl and round-the-houses West Australian tracks being quite different.

Unattributed and unknown, perhaps Jack Nelson, Ballot Ford V8 Spl

(W Duffy Collection)

Bob Lee won the five-lap handicap aboard this Riley Brooklands in 1939, and went one better as shown here in 1940, when he won the Great Southern Flying Fifty – the race had been increased from 5 to 10 laps, 25 to 50 miles.

(K Devine Collection)

During the 1940 race. “Park Street Hospital Hill with the old nurses home in the background behind the chook-yard” quipped Jennie Narducci. It’s Harley Hammond in the Marquette Special from Barry Ranford’s Ranford Special. In a long successful career through until 1958, the latter built four specials.

The 1940 programme comprised five events; a 10 lap Tourist Trophy for under 1500cc stock machines, a 5 lap handicap for racing cars, 4 lapper for stock cars plus the 15 lap classic.


Harry Squires MG PB Spl S/c – looks more like a T-Type to me?


The intersection of Park and Parade Streets with Jack Nelson’s Ballot Ford V8 Spl in shot, 1940.

The bones of this car – #15 – were those of the ex-Jules Goux, Cooper brothers Ballot 2LS which met its death at Phillip Island in 1935. Les Cramp had just acquired the car and was killed. This machine raced on well into the 1950s – with no Ballot left – before Mick Geneve died at its wheel, by then Chev powered, at Caversham in 1959. A tribute car exists.

This local footbridge lasted into the 1960s, while one of the local ‘cockies tells us there are two Gilchrist sheep feeders “built by the dozen on a site between the present police station and Shire Office.” Love the power of FB! (K Devine Collection)

Harley Hammond again aboard the Marquette Special. The serving RAAF man did well in this immediate pre-war period with this attractive Buick 3.5-litre sidevalve six-cylinder powered special; Marquette was a shortlived Buick sub-brand.

He won the Great Southern Speed Classic in 1941 – the last race meeting in Australia before the lights went out – and the Patriotic Grand Prix held on the Applecross round-the-houses course 10km from the Perth CBD, several months before.

In fact the November 11, 1940 Applecross races were to have been the final event but the Pingelly organisers slipped in one final meeting on the Australia Day weekend, January 27 with funds raised from the five event programme for cars and ‘bikes in aid of the British Air Raid Relief Fund.


Ken Devine Collection, Peter Narducci Collection, Eddy Ring Collection, Warren Duffy Collection, ‘Around The Houses’ Terry Walker