Archive for the ‘Obscurities’ Category

(B Young)

Fabulous photographs of Christmas at The Hunting Grounds, 15km west of Dysart, Tasmania in 1958.

Santa’s Elf is a Mr Cussin, a confused MG Car Club member driving a Triumph TR2.

The very best of seasonal salutations whatever brand of religion you consume- no doubt a faith has given enormous succour to many in this most challenging of years. Time I found one.

In Melbourne, Victoria we had six months of mild and then wild lockdown in the process of getting the Covid Beast ‘under control’. We are all, of course, impacted.

Best wishes to each and every one of you. Lets put 2020 to one side and approach 2021 with optimism. And hope.

Thankyou for your ongoing primotipo support.

Mark

(B Young)

Credits…

Bob Young Collection via the Historic Racing Car Club of Tasmania

Finito…

Australian Auto Action…

Posted: December 7, 2020 in Obscurities
Tags:

Make sure you buy Auto Action this week as it has a piece by yours truly, a six page feature on the Tornados. It has some ripper shots not published before. Keep buying it too, if I can help drag in a few extra readers the historic content will grow.

AA boss-cocky Bruce Williams is expanding his historic coverage to help broaden the appeal of a magazine which has been with us since 1971. Time flies. When i got hooked on cars in 1972 my magazine diet was Racing Car News, Sports Car World and Auto Action, only the latter endures sadly.

AA has more V8-taxis than you can poke a stick at of course. The F1 coverage is great, ditto Indycars, sports-prototypes, off-road and a halfway decent national event summary – and the rest. You might be surprised at the historic content already, about eight pages and above. My loose brief is to waffle on about older single-seaters, sportscars and people.

Anyway, give us a go, revisit the magazine if you’ve not bought it for a while.

primotipo and the like are free, I suppose as a group the ‘primotipos’ of the world have knocked around the sales of traditional publications. But it’s important we keep the magazines we have. Of course said publications must have punter appeal. My current favourites are MotorSport, The Automobile, Australian Musclecar and Auto Action– a diverse selection. All are privately owned which I rather like as an SME owner for most of my business career.

I’m pluggin’ away on some other commissions as well. The Auto Action piece is the first to be published. Many thanks to Geoff Harris, Bruce Williams, Heath McAlpine and the Auto Action crew.

primotipo.com rolls on unchanged, it’s a fix I can’t do without!

 

 

 

(B Pottinger)

The only things missing are the chief and three screaming kiddy-wids in the back seat.

Love this fantastic shot of John Colvin’s Haitch-Arrr Holden Station Wagon X2 during a club meeting at Teretonga, New Zealand in 1967.

The HR X2 option on the new ‘186’ three-litre OHV six gave only 145bhp, 5bhp more then the similar twin-Stromberg carb equipped ‘179’ X2 of the fugly predecessor HD.

Me dad had turd brown HD and blinding white HR wagons but ole’ Pete never developed slip-angles like this on the Great Ocean Road.

(gallery.oldholden.com)

Credits…

Bill Pottinger, gallery.oldholden.com

Tailpiece…

Finito…

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Credits…

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

Tailpiece…

Finito…

DB, Brabham BT59 Judd EV V8, AGP 1990 (BA)

It was great to see David Brabham race a Brabham in Adelaide during the 1990 Australian Grand Prix, whilst the BT59 Judd looked the goods it was not a great car, and Brabham was hardly the marque it was during the Brabham/Tauranac and Ecclestone eras.

David qualified 25th and failed to finished after spinning off on lap 19, we saw him again in 1994, when he raced a Simtec S941 Ford HB V8 but that simple car, still fitted with a semi-manual gearbox, remember them, was well and truly under-cooked in amongst the Top-Guns.

And that, sadly, turned out to be the end of David Brabham’s time in Formula 1, mind you, he had a great professional race career inclusive of a 2009 Le Mans win aboard a Peugeot 908 HDi FAP in amongst heaps of sportscar and other victories.

In more recent times, after a legal battle of about a decade, he has gained control of the Brabham name and intellectual property and built the awesome Anglo-Australian Brabham BT62 Ford Hypercar, the first of what will hopefully be a long line of racing and road cars. If ever there was a time for ‘Team Australia’ to climb aboard it is now?

DB, BT62 during the Adelaide Motorsport Festival 2019 (InSydeMedia)

Here is the car during the 2019 Adelaide Motorsport Festival, love the circa 1990 Brabham era livery!

When I think of David Brabham in Adelaide it is the 1987 F1 carnival weekend which sticks in my mind. DB won the 15 lap, ANF2 (1.6 litre, SOHC, two-valve, carbs) one-race Gold Star  Championship event from the back of the grid, finishing ahead of a classy 28 car field including most of the top ten placegetters of the six round Formula 2 Championship which concluded a couple of months before.

In more recent times David has made public his motivation for that great drive. In one of those ‘shit happens’ moments of youth, he had ‘potted’ his girlfriend, and as an expectant father, Jack had given DB the ‘that’s the end of your F1 aspirations’ brush off. #3 son’s drive in Adelaide was an ‘I’ll faaarkin show you mate moment’, and man it was really impressive to watch!

I was rooting for Mark McLaughlin’s Elfin 852 VW as an enthusiast of the marque, and watched with amazement from the East Terrace section of the track as he caught and passed the competition hand over fist. It wasn’t his first race on one of the more technical road courses, Brabham was second in the Formula Ford Championship race the year before, and his Ralt RT30 VW was the right bit of kit, but it was an impressive drive all the same. A portent of what was to come.

DB, Ralt RT30 VW, Adelaide 1987 (driving.co.uk)

 

DB Adelaide 1987 (BA)

 

BT62 launch at the Australian High Commision, London (BA)

Jack Brabham and Ron Tauranac would chuckle with delight at the pragmatism of the BT62.  The car bristles with the latest in technology in some ways but beneath the sinfully edgy and sexy aerodynamically efficient carbon fibre and kevlar body delivering 1,600 kg of downforce, lurks a good old fashioned multi-tubular spaceframe chassis and a wonderful 5.4 litre modular Ford V8 modified to Brabham Automotive specifications.

Brabham and Tauranac won a couple of world titles in 1966-1967 with engines of relatively modest technical specifications and were still winning Grands Prix with spaceframes in 1969 when a change to regulations requiring ‘bag’ fuel tanks effectively mandated monocoques in F1.

The poverty pack BT62 is priced at US $975K plus taxes, whereas the ducks guts BT62 ‘Ultimate Track Car’ hits the road at a giddy US $1.3M, only proprietors of Chinese Wet Markets should apply. Seventy cars only will be built at Brabham’s new 15,000 square metre facility, at Edinburgh Parks, within parent company Fusion Capital’s complex.

(BA)

 

(BA)

The Ford ‘Voodoo’ based, Brabham DOHC, four-valve, fuel injected, flat-plane crank 5.4 litre V8 has a bore/stroke of 94 x 97 mm for a capacity of 5,387 cc giving 700 bhp @ 7,400 rpm and 492 lb/ft of torque. This lot hits the road via a six-speed sequential Holinger transaxle. Suspension front and rear is by way of push-rod actuated upper and lower wishbones and coil spring/dampers with adjustable roll bars at both ends. Brakes are carbon/carbon and carbon/ceramic for race/road.

BT62 has enormous, menacing presence, it is 4,460 mm long, 1,950 mm wide, 1,200 mm high and weighs 972 kg with a weight distribution of 41/59% front/rear.

Brabham delivered its first competition BT62 to Horsepower Racing in the UK in May 2019 to contest the Britcar Endurance Championship, in a wonderful start for the machine it won its first race from pole driven by David Brabham and Will Powell at Brands Hatch last November 9. Great stuff!

(BA)

 

(BA)

There is something wonderful about Brabhams being built in Adelaide’s Edinburgh Parks, only a kilometre or so from Holden’s closed Elizabeth factory. The city has a long history of automotive engineering and manufacturing excellence with such famous/prominent companies as Elfin Sports Cars, Clisby Engineering, Birrana Cars, Globe Products, ASP and many others building racing cars and components since the earliest days of motoring in Australia.

Without drawing too long a bow in making an historic connection between Brabham and Adelaide, Clisby Engineering in Prospect manufactured the 1967-1970 30, 40, 50, and 60 series cylinder heads for the range of Repco-Brabham Engines Pty. Ltd. racing V8s, including those used on the ‘740’ engines which won the 1967 world F1 championships.

Ooops, forgot! Jack’s first national championship speedway win was at Kilburn Speedway on 25 February 1949, 9 km from Adelaide’s GPO, so lets take the Adelaide/Brabham connection as a given.

Fusion Capital, the Brabham Automotive parent company, is based in Waymouth Street, Adelaide, they position themselves as ‘a partner of investors and small business’ and operate in three business sectors; advanced manufacturing and renewables, property and private equity.

Brabham Automotive’s brothers in the advanced manufacturing and renewables division are Precision Buses, Precision Components, a manufacturer of pressed metal and fabricated components, and Heliostat, a business which makes heliostats, mirrors which turn to reflect light in solar energy applications.

(BA)

 

(BA)

Hopefully Fusion Capital has a balance sheet of sufficient strength to allow Brabham to complete the construction of the seventy BT62s in their business plan as the first step of a process which will establish the company as a manufacturer of road and racing cars with a return to F1 at some point.

It is amusing to hear of ScoMo’s mob’s recent interest in the manufacturing sector given the final act of automotive sodomy which destroyed the motor industry was performed by Tony Abbott, a knuckle-dragging, towering monument to intellectual and leadership bankruptcy. In truth the seeds of the industries ultimate failure were established at birth, that is, a total lack of Australian ownership and therefore control. Generational management failure, union and head office greed, governments of both stripes applying economic rationalism since 1972 (and I’ll fess up to supporting such policies) without any ‘societal good’ over-ride and our high dollar did the rest.

The ongoing success of Bolwell in Mordialloc, who have navigated the travails of manufacturing in Australia with nimble skill since the sixties, 35 year old (yes!) Borland Racing Developments closeby, Geelong’s ‘Carbon Revolution’ wheel maker, and now Adelaide’s Brabham Automotive give great cause for optimism in the weird world in which we live, long may these enterprises prosper.

(BA)

Etcetera…

(BA)

 

(BA)

 

(BA)

 

(BA)

Credits…

Fairfax, Adelaide GP FB page, driving.co.uk, InSydeMedia, Getty Images, BA-Brabham Automotive, Fusion Capital

Tailpiece…

(BA)

Match race between David Brabham’s BT62 and Matt Hall in a Zivco Edge 540 V3 aircraft, during the Adelaide Motorsports Festival in 2019.

Finito…

Terence James Trowell was an incredibly talented writer and graphic designer/illustrator.
‘Jet Black, Racing Driver’ was one of his many accomplishments, its excellence made easy for him as a lifetime car nut and race fan.
Google is such a tricky little minx, sometimes you can give her a tickle and get the result anticipated, on other occasions you nibble her ears much the same way you did a couple of days before and she surprises you with her secrets, this is one of those happy occasions.
I’d never heard of Terry Trowell until Tuesday night. His was a shortish but full, fascinating life. Many thanks to Kevin Patrick, this article is the GTAm ‘allegerita-modificato’ version of his Trowell profile in Comics Down Under of March 12, 2010.
Born in Katanning, in Western Australia’s south-west on September 4 1918, Trowell’s formative childhood years were in Malaya where his father was a mining engineer in Ipoh, Perak. He returned to Australia in 1926, boarding at Perth’s Guildford Grammar. At 20, after studying journalism at the UWA he returned to Malaya as a journalist on The Straits Times.

Having returned home in 1940, Trowell enlisted in the Australian Army in July 1942, where his unique skills as an artist with personal experience and knowledge of the Asia-Pacific region, earmarked him for military service with such specialised branches as Operational Intelligence, the Allied Intelligence Bureau and Z-Force, a special operations commando unit which undertook dangerous missions behind Japanese lines. Trowell’s duties included topography, map-making and interrogating prisoners of war in Malaya at the end of hostilities.

Discharged with the rank of corporal in July 1946, Terry travelled to England where he studied art before going to France where he worked as a freelance artist. He returned to Perth in 1948, via the United States. Back home he created a series of murals for several hospitals, hotels and commercial buildings and was then commissioned to illustrate a series of social studies books documenting Western Australian history, the first volume, Early Days of W.A. Towns, was published in 1949.

The following year, he moved to Melbourne with his wife, Patricia Powell, a school teacher studying music and training to be a concert pianist. This was the beginning of his involvement in Australia’s then-booming comic book industry. During 1950/1951 he was a freelance writer and illustrator for Atlas Publications, a Melbourne company which scored early commercial success with the superhero comic Captain Atom.

Trowell’s first series for them was The Grey Domino, a masked vigilante described as “the hooded nemesis of crime”, which debuted in 1951. His storylines were set in exotic locales and featured glamourous women and implacable rogues and were illustrated with great skill – a creative combination for success.

For his next series, Terry inherited a cowboy comic titled The Ghost Rider, a wandering cowboy who dons a black mask to become ‘The Ghost Rider’, whenever trouble looms. Trowell’s work on The Ghost Rider marked a significant advance in his ability as a comic book storyteller.

In 1952 Terry returned to Perth where he established an art studio, but he continued to work as a freelancer for Atlas Publications on The Grey Domino, The Ghost Rider and Rhino Beresford, released by Atlas in 1957. Accompanied by his loyal aide and ‘gun-boy’, M’Bolo, (in most politically incorrect fashion for this day and age), the phlegmatic British hunter, Major Beresford, is known and respected throughout French Equatorial Africa as ‘Bwana Kifaru’ (‘Master Rhino’), able to best any man or beast in the jungle.

Trowell was appointed Art Director of Modern Motor in 1956, published by Modern Magazines Pty. Ltd., a company which also produced Modern Boating and Australian Cricket. Capitalising on his new employers size, he re-entered the comic book market, creating Jet Black – Racing Driver (11 issues), which took its bow in 1958.

Jet Black was a former World War II fighter pilot, who is now the number one driver for the Cougar Racing Team, managed by his wartime colleague, George Faversham. Accompanied by Jet’s girlfriend, Rusty Redd, the trio became entangled in foreign intrigue wherever they went on the racing circuit.

Terry seems to have taken his inspiration from the real ‘JB’ who had not long before joined Cooper Racing, although Cougar Racing was in decline, which Cooper most certainly was not at that stage anyway!

‘Drama is maintained and racing interrupted with a steady stream of villains and beautiful female Interpol agents while a good pair of fists is as useful as a four-wheel drift’ observed ‘Repco 22’ on The Nostalgia Forum.

Modern Magazines was keen to align Jet Black with its racing publication. Trowell’s richly painted covers were adorned with the blurb, ‘Modern Motor presents Jet Black’, while the comic featured text stories and photos taken from Modern Motor, profiling contemporary racing drivers and their cars.

‘The inside back covers offered photos and news of current happenings in the real racing world and there were board games featuring famous circuits on the back page’ Repco 22 adds. It was ‘Altogether a delightful package. A pity it only ran to thirteen issues but American comics were being dumped cheaply on the Australian market and our (comics) industry drew to a sudden halt.’

 

In 1956/7, despite being in Sydney, Terry and his brother John were on the Western Australian Sporting Car Club organising committee of the 1957 AGP held at Caversham that March. His skill as a graphic designer is shown in the suite of material he created for the race which extended to signage, tickets, the program and promotional material.

Trowell also designed a series of full-colour ‘Famous Racers’ posters and ‘Race Games’, depicting well-known circuits which were printed on the comic’s back covers. Each issue of Jet Black was endorsed by the publisher as “an original story, based on authentically drawn scenes and cars, which is both entertaining and educational for readers of all ages.”

At this stage Terry also produced three issues of the True Western comic book series for Modern Magazines. These comics, titled Truth about Jesse James, Truth about Custer’s Last Stand and Killer Marshal – Truth about Wyatt Earp, were factual accounts of famous figures from America’s ‘Wild West’ era.
‘Trowell’s other major comic for Modern Magazines was the offbeat, one-shot title, Purple People Eater. Taking its name from the popular song recorded by Sheb Wooley in 1958, Purple People Eater was a freewheeling romp of a comic, full of space aliens, a hip-swivelling Elvis look-alike, beatniks and a spear-wielding witchdoctor that not only defied description, but mirrored some of the best satirical comic strips then appearing in America’s famous Mad Magazine.’

Lindsay Ross ‘Kerry Cox lights up the retreads on the Paramount Ford out of Newry Corner, Longford 1965 (oldracephotos.com)

Aha! A sidebar. So the nickname of the ‘Krazy Kerry’ Cox famous Paramount Jaguar Spl aka ‘Purple Petrol Eater’, was nicked from either the pop song or Terry’s comic!
Cox was an immensely popular driver amongst his peers and spectators alike, his sportscar was one of Tasmania’s most iconic sixties racing cars.
In 1960 Terry returned to Western Australia, to establish ‘Trowell Purdon Advertising’. He entered the television industry in 1960, working for the Australian Broadcasting Commission for whom he appeared in a children’s television program to use puppets for on-air drawing lessons. He joined J. Gibney & Sons Art Studio as chief illustrator and designer in 1962.
Sadly, his life was cut short on 23 October 1964, when he died from a war-related medical condition. ‘While the history of Australian comics is all the poorer for his untimely death, Terry Trowell nonetheless left behind a significant body of work which entertained countless readers and enriched the comic book medium.’

(HRCCT)

Cox built the Paramount Ford together with Norm Nott, the machines’ chassis was based on the tubular chassis of a Paramount Ford, a British low volume car of the early to mid fifties.
Rather than the puny Ford Consul 1508 cc four, power was provided by a Ford Customline V8 with ‘mechanical bits donated from more than a dozen makes’ wrote Ellis French. The body, which was constructed mainly of fibreglass was laid out and formed over chicken wire as shown in the photograph above.

(Reg Dalwood via HRCCT)

Great shot of Cox blasting the Paramount Ford away from Longford village, he is about to jump the railway line and then charge along Tannery Straight. The shot below is more like Kerry, a very fast driver of great exuberance and skill, Symmons Plains circa 1965.

(HRCCT)

Ellis French tells us once Kerry moved on to the Le Mans Jaguar the Petrol Eater was sold to Ralph Terry before ultimately ending up on the northwest coast of Tassie, perhaps East Devonport, with a replica appearing at Symmons Plains circa 2010.
Credits…
Tailpiece…
Finito…

(Jones Family)

Greg McEwin’s Mac Healey towards the top of Collingrove Hillclimb, Barossa Valley, South Australia in 1958…

I first became aware of historic racing in the mid-seventies attending of the Sandown 400 touring car endurance race, the support program at that stage included some events for ‘Historics’, this was before the defining first all historic meeting at Amaroo Park in 1976.

Various cars are etched into my brain from those times including Bob Jane’s Jaguar D Type and Maserati 300S raced by Jim Shepherd and Harry Firth, the Leech brothers Maserati 300S and Cisitalia. At many of the historic meetings which followed Roger Wells’ Mac Healey was very much front of house for what seemed like decades. I’ve not seen it for a while, the late Alex Reid was the last owner I recall.

(Jones Family)

The car started its life in South Australia, ignoring its country of birth. It was one of a batch of 1954 Healeys bound for Adelaide from Melbourne but caught fire enroute. Peter De Mac bought the remains with the intention of creating a Jaguar powered special, but his friend, Greg McEwin, swapped the Healey 100 he was racing for the bundle of bits.

He decided to create a single-seater removing the front and rear bulkheads and outriggers leaving the central box-section of the chassis plus the front suspension components and the rear spring brackets. He and De Mac created a body from aluminium and fibreglass. Initially the mechanicals were left in standard specification but the engine and gearbox were moved back eleven inches.

The car made its competition  debut at Collingrove in 1955 painted a nice hue of mid-blue, progressively the machine was modified to enhance its competitiveness. The engine’s capacity was increased to just under 3 litres, the cylinder head was modified, larger 2 inch SU carbs and extractors were part of the package, as was a more suitable gearbox. After trying an Austin Gypsy four wheel drive unit and a Morris LD5, a four speed Austin A90 box was adopted for a while before being replaced by a Austin Champ 4WD transmission.

McEwin’s Mac Healey alongside Austin Miller’s Cooper Climax at Port Wakefield, circa 1958 (K Drage)

 

Front suspension detail at Collingrove (Jones Family)

McEwin eventually sold it, the car ended up in Sydney where it ran as a ‘Division’ car modified further by fitment of a Holden Grey motor, front discs and a four-speed MG gearbox.

Sydney Healey enthusiast Roger Wells acquired it in 1971, he popped it into storage before running it once or twice around 1974 and then started the process of restoring it to original specifications as the historic scene gained momentum. He competed regularly until 1988 when he sold it, Melbourne Healey man, Alex Reid was the purchaser  via another owner who didn’t use it.

Once Reid had a good look he realised Mac Healey needed another rebuild around replacement chassis rails. All of the existing hardware was removed, refurbished and refitted to the new chassis inclusive of incorporating a central front crossmember as originally fitted. The body was retained and tidied up, an Healey100S type box was used with the machine making its debut in 1998 driven by Graeme Marks, i’ve lost touch of the current owner?

Collingrove 1958 (Jones Family)

 

Roger Wells at Winton in 1982.

Credits…

Robert Jones via Steve Jones ‘Jones Family Archive’, Kevin Drage, ‘Historic Racing Cars in Australia’ John Blanden

Finito…

(ANU)

Jack Burton aboard his Vauxhall 30-98 in the Gambier Ranges during his 2,889 mile drive across Australia, from Fremantle to Sydney between December 8-14 1923…

He and Bill Bradley were hoping to do the transcontinental journey in five days but a crash in a deep hole in Meningie necessitated repairs which cost the pair twelve hours of valuable time. They still bagged a new record of six days, 15 hours and 57 minutes, 39 hours less than the previous record and in so doing they also set new marks for Fremantle to Adelaide and Fremantle to Melbourne.

The reputation of these mighty Vauxhalls as robust, beautifully built machines was polished yet again, this car had already done over 40,000 miles in previous attempts.

‘Daily Telegraph’ 15 December 1923

Burton was the husband of famous Australian equestrian, Emma Roach, whilst based in Sydney they travelled the continent to agricultural shows where Roach plied her trade whilst Burton worked in car sales and as a motoring writer. Along the way he was involved in a number of record breaking drives in the pioneering days of motoring in this earliest branch of motorsport in Oz. See here for a feature on this important aspect of Australian motoring history; https://primotipo.com/2018/12/21/city-to-city-record-breaking-and-car-trials/

 

Hi-ho Silver, giddy-up (ANU)

Credits…

Sydney Daily Telegraph 15 December 1923, The Mercury, Hobart 15 December 1923, Dunlop, Australian National University

Tailpiece…

(ANU)

Finito…

(P Vestey)

A cold, snowy and wet Ferrari 250LM sits out front of the Hotel des Alpes, Aosta, between Courmayeur and the Mont Blanc Tunnel in 1968, this establishment is now closed.

Paul Vestey’s car is on its way back to the United Kingdon, or perhaps heading direct to Le Mans from Piero Drogo’s Carozzeria Sports Cars in Modena, via Emilia Ovest  524, near the old Autodromo. The tow vehicle is a Mercedes 250SE, either belonging to Paul Vestey or his friend and motor trader Don Parker.

These shots popped up whilst doing a ‘Getty Images Le Mans 1968’ search. I’m certainly not the first to post them, the story goes something like this, with thanks to DC Nye, whilst noting that some of the conclusions drawn are mine and therefore, so too are any errors.

Paul Vestey acquired 250LM ‘6167’ from Maranello Concessionaires in September 1967, after a successful life in the hands of Richard Attwood and Mike Parkes earlier in the year, to run throughout the 1968 endurance season.

In the early laps of the Targa Florio, his co-driver, David Piper, lost the car, probably after a steering arm parted company with the balance of the front suspension assembly, whereupon said vehicle tripped over a stone roadside marker and ended up, tit over arse, in a field about 50 feet below. Nye’s MotorSport article relates an amusing tale of Piper being fed some wonderful tucker by the owners whose real estate he smote, whilst the balance of the race was completed!

Targa 1968, ‘6167’ before the off in Cerda (unattributed)

 

Cripes, what a mess, or words to that general effect. David Piper surveys his ‘walk on the wild side’ into a Sicilian field, the morning after the day before. Paul Vestey took the shot from the point at which Piper left the road (P Vestey/GP Library)

 

It doesn’t look any better up close (P Vestey/GP Library)

 

Franco Zucchi, British racer F3 ace and occasional F1 driver Tony Lanfranchi and Piper ponder pre-Le Mans repairs (P Vestey/GP Library)

The wreck was dragged up to road level by the teams transporter with a bit of additional assistance from British racer Tony Lanfranchi, who co-drove Mark Konig’s Nomad Mk1 Ford in the race, and looked quite a sad and sorry sight.

Shortly thereafter Vestey acquired George Drummond’s sister 250LM rolling chassis ‘6053’ into which ‘6167’s engine and gearbox were fitted at Piero Drogo’s workshop in time for him to co-drive with Roy Pike at Le Mans, where, Nye notes, the salvaged transaxle broke.

This is the repaired car ‘6053’ heading back in the direction of the UK in the care of Paul Vestey, who took the photographs, and Don Parker.

(P Vestey/GP Library)

Oh yes, what became of ‘6167’ you ask? The ‘Barchetta’ website records that the original chassis remains, left at Carozzeria Cars were sold to Stefano Sebastiani, a Roman in April 1969 with a new chassis and body built by Franco Ferrari in 1992.

Final exchange on price, extra unanticipated additional work and all that kind of stuff between Paul Vestey and Piero Drogo above before the off and lunch in The Alps- Modena to Courmayeur is 400 km, a four to five hour tow i guess.

This set of panels are fibreglass unlike the hand formed aluminium originals.

 

Tony Lanfranchi, BRM P261, Oulton Park Gold Cup, August 1968. He was fifth in the 2 litre V8 engined car behind four 3 litre machines, Jackie Stewart won in a Matra MS10 Ford

Etcetera: Tony Lanfranchi…

Gee, i really did a flashback when i saw the photograph of Tony Lanfranchi, the very first motor racing book i ever had was an X-Mas stocking filler from Santa, bless the old fella, circa 1967.

The wonderful book has a shot of Tony, his psychedelic helmet caught my eye and mind, so much so that my first Bell Star was subjected to the same treatment a decade later, so i always followed his career and must get a copy of his book.

Tony Lanfranchi, Mike Spence and Jack Brabham in the 1968 publication ‘Car Sports Book’,

 

Lanfranchi lifts the singer ‘Lulu’ into a Lotus 51 Formula Ford at Brands Hatch in February 1967, she had just failed her road licence test, no doubt Tony knocked her into shape

Of Swiss extraction but Yorkshire born, Lanfranchi was a ‘doyen’ of British national racing, all the way up to non-championship F1 mind you, he was no slouch behind the wheel at all, of anything; single-seaters, sports cars and taxis.

He died of cancer in 2004, i like this tribute from MotorSport ‘He was the archetypal racing driver of yesteryear- booze, birds and cars, though in which order of priority was always up for debate.’

Tony aboard a Lola T140 Chev at Brands Hatch early in 1969, must be a Libre race, it does not appear to be a Guards F5000 round (unattributed)

Credits…

Paul Vestey, GP Library, Alamy, ‘VIP Hospitality at the Targa Florio’ Doug Nye in MotorSport June 2009, Marcel Massini, Miki Paki, barchetta.cc, ‘Car Sports Book’ Young World Productions 1968, Getty Images

Tailpiece…

What a lovely bit of kit the Nomad Mk1 Lotus-Ford is. Here at Targa in 1968 at the start.

The car was designed by ex-Lotus man Bob Curl, it has a spaceframe chassis and a body built in aluminium by Williams and Pritchard, it was very quick in endurance events in the UK and Europe in 1969 and still exists.

Finito…

Garrie Cooper exported a couple of Elfin sportscars to South Africa in the mid-sixties, both of which were competitive cars. It would be interesting to know how many of the great Edwardstown outfits products left our shores?

The shot above shows the brand spankers Elfin Mallala Ford Cosworth having perhaps its first run at Roy Hesketh, in June 1964 M Lester having a good look at the Smiths tell-tale to ensure Henri le Roux hasn’t buzzed the fresh motor. G Goetzer looks on at left.

The Mallala was essentially a sports version of the Catalina single-seater, five cars were built and delivered between December 1962 and March 1964, Henri’s car, chassis ‘S6418’ was the last of these.

The car sang for its supper immediately, Le Roux entered it in the 1964 South African Sports Car Championship, his first event was the Republic Day Races at Kyalami on 6 June where he won his class and finished second outright. The race report observed ‘Henri le Roux’s Australian Elfin Mallala with Cosworth Ford engine was most impressive and will certainly be a car to watch, though the final drive ratio was wrong and he reached peak revs early in the straight instead of near the end’ a malady rather easy to fix with a Hewland gearbox of course.

Henri raced the car at Kyalami, Roy Hesketh, East London, Killarney and Lourenco Marques with his best results first in class at Kyalami in June, second outright at Laurenco in July and third in class at the Rand GP meeting at Kyalami in December. By 1967 the car was owned and raced by Joss Viljoen, Stephen Knox brought the car back to Australia in the eighties.

Henri le Roux, Elfin Mallala Ford, circuit unknown, assistance welcome. Beautiful shot (R Winslade)

 

McGillewie Elfin 300 Climax at Roy Hesketh 1968- first place in the 15 April SA SCC race

Perhaps the pace of the Mallala inspired Garth McGillewie to acquire the second of seven Elfin 300s built. Chassis ‘SS67-5’ was completed by Elfins in September 1967 and shipped to South Africa shortly thereafter.

Durban motor trader McGillewie, with a careful eye on the local and international class structure, fitted his machine with a 2-litre Coventry Climax FPF four-cylinder engine and five speed Hewland transaxle.

Barry Catford wrote ‘…this car was shipped to South Africa where it performed exceptionally well in the hands of Garth McGillewie, holding many records in its category for some years. In the Capetown 3 Hour race the Elfin finished fourth outright behind a Ferrari P4 and two 6-litre Lola GTs. During the Rand 9 Hour race, driver Tony Jeffries shadowed the Ford GT40s until he was forced to retire after colliding with Frank Gardner and Mike Spence. The Elfin went on to take out the 1968 South African Sports Car Championship.’ McGillewie bought at Chevron B8 to replace the Elfin.

‘The car was later restored for a subsequent owner, Ron Watt of Zimbabwe, by Ivan Glasby who was responsible for returning the car to Australia some years later’ Catford concludes.

(M Hall Collection)

Etcetera: Elfin Exports…

My inquisitive nature usually gets the better of me. Having posed the question as to Elfins exported, i think the number of Garrie Cooper Elfins sold overseas when built is 15 cars of 264 built, the first of which was the Le Roux Mallala.

My methodology was to add the production numbers in the Catford/Blanden book then list those which were exported viz;

1964: Mallala ‘S6418’ Henri le Roux, South Africa

1967: 400 ‘BB67-4’ Andy Buchanan, New Zealand, 300 ‘SS67-4’ Chuck Krueger USA, 300 ‘SS67-5’ Garth McGillewie South Africa

1969: 600C ‘6910’ Hengkie Iriawan Indonesia, Ford FVA engined

1970: 600B ‘7015’ Teddy Yip Macau, 600FF ‘70005’ David Oxton New Zealand, 600FF ‘70009’ Frohlich Golding & Co South Africa

1973: 620FF ‘73421’ Dante Silverio, Toyota engine fitted Philippines, 622 ‘73422’ Dante Silverio Toyota engine Philippines

1974: 620/BFF ‘73430’ Mike Hall USA, ‘73432’, ‘73433’ and ‘73434’ all USA, seemingly Chuck Jones Racing

1977: MR8A-C ‘8783’ Vern Schuppan USA (i appreciate he isn’t American but he was an Oz International then so i am treating the car as such- it bombed in the Can-Am and was also raced in F5000 guise in Oz

So, fifteen cars, as always, happy for input.

(M Hall Collection)

Mike Hall was Elfin’s man on the ground in the US for a bit and i really must give him a call. Elfin 620FF American style, the Americans were running on the same Goodyear slicks we were at the time so the suspension should have worked nicely.

Interesting for FF buffs is that Larry Perkins debuted the 620 in the UK Formula Ford Festival in late 1972 doing well enough at Snetterton to launch his international career- that chassis returned to Oz.

(M Hall Collection)

Bibliography…

‘Australia’s Elfin Sports and Racing Cars’ Barry Catford and John Blanden, ‘Hieronymus’ on The Nostalgia Forum

Credits…

Roy Hesketh Circuit Heritage, Richard Winslade, Michael Hall Collection

Tailpiece…

(Roy Hesketh Circuit Heritage)

Jos Viljoen’s Elfin Mallala Ford alongside Ray Emond’s Lola Mk1 Ford on the Roy Hesketh grid during the Easter 1967 long weekend.

Finito…