Archive for the ‘Sports Racers’ Category

(P Geard)

John Youl attacks Mountford Corner, Longford in his Porsche 356 during the late fifties…

John and his racer brother Gavin were scions of a prominent Tasmanian grazier family and very successful, competitive drivers until business pressures forced early retirement. Symmons Plains is a permanent legacy for the racing brothers built as it was on the family property.

(P Geard)

John proved his world level pace in several seasons aboard Cooper Climax T51 and T55 prepared by Geoff Smedley, whose just published book will be definitive on both drivers careers.

In the 1961 Longford shot below he is in the best of company (at right) aboard a Cooper T51 alongside #14 Brabham’s T53 with Austin Miller’s distinctive yellow T51 Climax behind.

(J Richardson)

Roy Salvadori won the South Pacific Trophy race that weekend from Bill Patterson and John with Austin fourth. Brabham was outed with a broken half-shaft on lap 16 of the 24 lap distance.

Here John’s appearance in the Porsche is a little earlier, the last photo below perhaps in 1957 and the others a little later- you can see the evolution from road car still fitted with hubcaps! to lowered rortier racer. I wonder what modifications were made to that 356 Super?

Credits…

Paul Geard, Historic Racing Car Club of Tasmania, Ellis French, Geoff Smedley, John Richardson

Tailpiece: Youl, White, Walkem on ‘The Flying Mile’, Longford circa 1957…

(HRCCT)

Youl in what looks like a motor-cycle racing helmet beside his Porker, the yellow machine is Graham White’s Vincent Spl and the obscured Cooper is Jock Walkem’s- the man in black. Delightful bucolic scene belies the high speeds and sound of straining engines which took place annually on this stretch of road over the March Labour Day long-weekend from 1953 to 1968…

Finito…

(P Maslen)

Paul Hawkins appears reasonably fleet of foot, first dude on the left…

And so he should too- the Australian International had far more experience than the locals at Le Mans, run and jump, starts. What great panoramic, colourful, atmospheric photographs these are.

The first few cars lined up in the 3 September 1967 twelve hour enduro are the Hawkins/Jackie Epstein Lola Mk3 Chev, Alan Hamilton/Glynn Scott Porsche 906, Bill Brown/Greg Cusack Ferrari 250LM, Bill Gates/Jim Bertram Lotus Elan and then the Kevin Bartlett/Doug Chivas Alfa Romeo GTA.

Whilst Paul was quick to the car, the task of affixing a Willans six-pointer to his body was tricky when getting his Heavy Chevy started even in the calmness of a paddock, let alone with a schrieking 2 litre Porsche flat-6 blasting past and reinforcing his tardiness. Not that the notion of outrunning the Porsche over twelve hours should have been an issue. The Gates Lotus is also fast away.

(P Maslen)

The last Le Mans 24 Hours with a running start was the 1969 event, when Jacky Ickx famously walked to his John Wyer Ford GT40 before carefully fitting his belt- and winning the race the following day with Jackie Oliver. The tragic irony of Ickx’ protest was that the ‘unbelted’ John Woolfe died in his Porsche 917 in a first lap accident. Safety and seatbelts were the end of that bit of racing spectacle, fair enough too.

Lone ranger, Ickx, Le Mans 1969 (unattributed)

 

David McKay’s Scuderia Veloce 250LM was almost ‘rusted to this race’, it was never the fastest thing entered but it won in 1966- crewed by Jackie Stewart and Andy Buchanan, in 1967 with McKay’s regular team drivers of the day Bill Brown and Greg Cusack at the wheel and in 1968 piloted by the brothers Geoghegan- Leo and Pete. In second behind the Brown/Cusack 250LM in 1967 was the Lola with 468 laps and in third the Porsche 906 with 460- the winners covered 490 laps of reliable, fast Ferrari motoring.

What a blast it would have been to drive a car in one of these Surfers events!

Etcetera…

The Ron Thorp/Ray Strong AC Cobra ahead of the Scuderia Veloce Greg Cusack/Bill Brown Ferrari 250LM (B Williamson)

Credits…

Peter Maslen, oldracephotos.com.au

Tailpieces: Paul Hawkins T70, Surfers…

(oldracephotos)

(unattributed)

Finito…

image

…with the sweet sound of a 3 litre Ferrari V12, the prototype Testa Rossa negotiates the Sicilian Mountains…

Gino Munaron and Wofgang Seidel contested the 1958 Targa in the prototype 250TR, chassis #0666 failing to finish with engine dramas.

Scuderia Ferrari teammates Luigi Musso and Olivier Gendebien won the classic in another 3 litre TR in 10 hours 38 minutes from the factory Porsche 718 RSK Spyder of Jean Behra and Giorgio Scarlatti 6 minutes back with Taffy von Trips and Mike Hawthorn in another Ferrari 250TR third a minute more in arrears.

Credits…

Klemantaski Collection

(oldracephotos/DKeep)

John Goss, Tornado Ford, Ross Ambrose, Rennmax Climax and Alan Hamilton, Porsche 906 during the 1967 Tasmanian Sportscar Championship at Symmons Plains on 12 March…

It could only be Australia with that backdrop? Love Don Elliott’s transporter providing the spectator vantage point, devoid of Ford Mustang it makes a mighty fine mini-grandstand. Jaguar Mk1, stark eucalypt tree and the topography of the northern Tasmanian midlands circuit.

The cars are well known too, albeit Hamilton is about to lap the other two cars. Oh, and the drivers are prominent too, Goss and Hamilton Australian Champions- in Ambrose’ case perhaps he is known as much as the father of touring car ace Marcos Ambrose and ‘co-father’ with Ralph Firman of Van Diemen racing cars. No prizes for guessing who suggested the name of that great marque.

I’ve written articles about the John Goss built Tornado, Hamilton’s 906 and tangentially about Ross Ambrose’s car which started life as the Bob Britton built – he of Rennmax fame- Mildren Maserati sportscar driven by Ralph Sach, Frank Gardner and Kevin Bartlett. It then morphed into the ‘Rennmax Climax’. When sold by Alec Mildren to Ross Ambrose he fitted a Coventry Climax 2.2 litre four cylinder FPF engine in place of the Maserati Birdcage T61 motor which blew big-time whilst driven by Frank Gardner in the 1965 Australian Tourist Trophy at Lakeside, the chassis was re-named by Ross with Alecs consent.

This article was inspired by David Keep’s opening shot, it was only when I sought Rob Barthlomaeus’ help with a race report that he pointed out this was a tragic meeting as one of the contestants, Melbourne’s Wally Mitchell later died as a result of a collision in this event.

Many of the Symmons competitors contested support events during the Longford Tasman round a week before with the fields depleted by the likes of Noel Hurd’s Elfin 400 Ford due to an accident seven days earlier- Hamilton’s 906 made its debut race at Longford and was race favourite with the non-appearance of the powerful Elfin.

Alan was having a good day in the office with a Symmons preliminary win from Glynn Scott’s Lotus 23B Ford and Wally Mitchell’s RM1 Ford. The grid for the 30 lap, 45 mile championship race was derived from the lap times achieved during the earlier event.

Tas sportscar c’ship grid- L>R Mitchell RM1 Chev, Scott Lotus 23B Ford and Hamilton, Porsche 906 (oldracephotos/DKeep)

Hamilton started from pole with Scott and Mitchell alongside with Bruce Ling Lotus 23B Ford and Bob Holden in a Morris Cooper Lwt on row two.

Scott led initially from Hamilton with Mitchell’s circa 350 bhp Chev V8 engined, spaceframe chassis car- built by he and St Kilda, Melbourne engineer/constructor Bill Reynolds, Bill’s cars were named Wren (R-Reynolds M-Mitchell) comprised a mixture of ex-Lex Davison Estate Brabham BT4/Cooper T62 and Wren components- passed by almost the entire field.

After 5 laps Hamilton had a sixty yard lead over Scott and had already lapped tailenders Mawdesley, Lotus Super 7 and Truscott’s Honda.

By lap 7 Hamilton led from Scott, Ling (who later lost 3rd gear) and Bob Wright’s Tasma Climax FPF 2 litre and was continuing to lap the slower cars.

An arcane but interesting sidebar to Bill Reynolds/Wren enthusiasts, and there are quite a few of us in the Australian Formula Ford ranks given the number of FF Wrens Bill constructed, is that the Tasma Climax was initially built by Reynolds as the ANF1/Tasman Formula Wren Climax single-seater- it too fitted with an ex-Davison Estate 2.5 FPF but was only raced several times as such by Brendan Tapp and Wright before Wright widened the chassis and created the Tasma sports-racer. There is a story about both the RM1 and Wren Climax but that is for another time.

Goss spun Tornado at The Hairpin allowing Bob Holden and Kerry Cox’ Jaguar Spl through, the order at this point of the 30 lap journey was Hamilton, Scott, plugging along and hopeful in second, Ling unable to do much with third gear absent without leave, Holden, Cox, Goss, Mitchell, still with a misfiring motor and then the rest.

Wally Mitchell’s car finally chimed onto eight-cylinders and proceeded to make up lost ground over the slower cars hand over fist, he was up to third by lap 15 having passed Ling.

Mitchell’s RM1 Chev in front of Hamilton’s 906, a lap ahead, one lap before Mitchell’s tragic accident. He wore a seat belt, a big tick in 1967 as they were not mandated but it seems his fireproofs were sub-optimal and no balaclava, again, not mandated or universally used at the time (oldracephotos/DKeep)

Tragically at half distance, on that lap, Mitchell lost control of the probably not fully sorted RM1- it was originally fitted with a lightweight aluminium Coventry Climax FPF engine where the 5 litre cast iron Chev by then rested- over Bessant Hump, went onto the grass, slammed into the fence tail first at TNT Corner, then bounced back onto the track. The cars two fuel tanks ruptured with both the car and unfortunate driver engulfed in flames. The badly burned Mitchell released his seat belt eventually and jumped clear but not before suffering burns to eighty-percent of his body.

Whilst poor Wally was attended to ‘The race was restarted at lap 16 as…the gutted RM1 still cast a pall of smoke over the pits’. In the final laps Ambrose passed Ling, and Hamilton had a rod let go in the 906 on lap 26, the car expired at the Hairpin giving the win to Scott from Ling’s similar Lotus 23B Ford and Ambrose in the Rennmax Climax.

The sad aftermath of the accident is that the popular East Burwood based Wally died of his burns and related complications of pneumonia on 18 April in a Melbourne hospital.

Mitchell and the RM1 Chev at Symmons 12 March 1967. Nice looking car, I wonder what Wally and Bill took the fibreglass body flop off? Or was it bespoke? (E French)

Related Articles…

Goss Tornado; https://primotipo.com/2018/06/19/john-goss-tornado-ford-longford-1968/

Hamilton 906; https://primotipo.com/2015/08/20/alan-hamilton-his-porsche-9048-and-two-906s/

Ambrose Rennmax/Mildren; https://primotipo.com/2018/06/08/mildrens-unfair-advantage/

Credits…

oldracephotos.com.au- David Keep, Ellis French, Rob Bartholomaeus Collection- Racing Car News & Australian Auto Sportsman April 1967 issues, The Nostalgia Forum- Wally Mitchell thread

Tailpiece: Start of the ’67 Tassie Championship from the rear of the grid…

(oldracephotos/DKeep)

That’s Gossy to the right and the Peter Truscott Honda whilst up front it’s Hamilton’s white 906 sandwiched by two Lotus 23 Fords and then the Ambrose Rennmax and Mitchell RM1.

Finito…

Doug Whiteford’s Maserati 300S blasts past Tom Sulman’s Lotus 11 Climax ‘Le Mans’ during Sandown’s opening International meeting on 12 March 1962…

I hate to think how many times these two fellows shared a starting grid- both personified the ‘Racing Is Living, All The Rest of It Is Waiting’ adage to a tee.

Unfortunately Tom died in one of his Lotus 11’s in a freak accident at Bathurst in 1970, he is 63 here with a career that stretched back to pro-Speedway racing in England pre-war.

Doug, a triple Australian Grand Prix winner, 44 years of age in 1962 raced into his dotage in Datsun Group E ‘Series Production’ Sedans and Production Sportscars after he had finished with the serious stuff.

It must be close to the end of his time racing the Maser, in fact John Ellacott who took the photo of the pair on Pit Straight, thinks it may well be his last race of the car before it’s sale. ‘3055’ was a works machine he acquired from the factory at the end of the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Grand Prix meeting with which he had considerable success in both Sportscar and Formula Libre events from then on.

I’ve written articles about both Doug and Tom, click here; https://primotipo.com/2015/05/05/doug-whiteford-black-bess-woodside-south-australia-1949/  and here; https://primotipo.com/2018/04/19/tom-sulman/

Photo Credit…

John Ellacott

The prototype Ferrari 250 GTB SWB on test at Modena Autodrome on 29 October 1959…

Carlo Chiti, Chief Engineer is behind the car, to his left in overalls is the legendary Enzo Ferrari Lieutenant Luigi Bazzi, by then I think ‘Technical Consultant’. You can just see the tip of Richie Ginther’s head over Bazzi’s shoulder.

I wonder if Richie had a steer of the 250 or whether he was focussed on the GP 246 Dino, the nose of which can be seen at left.

This session is in the huge gap between the Italian GP at Monza on 13 September in which Hill was second behind Moss’ Cooper T51 Climax, and the US event at Sebring in December. There Tony Brooks Dino was third behind the Cooper T51’s of both Bruce McLaren and Maurice Trintignant.

Ferrari got the hang of the mid-engined caper in 1961 with the Tipo 156 but 1960 was to be a year of slim pickings, the front-engined Dino was well past its useby date.

What a car the 250 SWB proved to be!?

Shorter in wheelbase than the 250 ‘cruisers’ to lower the cars weight and increase it’s agility. High power- between 237-276 BHP from the 3 litre V12 and well sorted suspension by the design and development team of Chiti, Giotto Bizzarini and the youthful Mauro Forghieri made it a winner. Around 176 were built in both steel and aluminium ‘Lusso’ and ‘Corsa’ forms.

The car below is chassis ‘3218GT’, imported to Australia by WH Lowe Automobiles Pty. Ltd. in 1962. Bill Lowe was the Australian importer of Lancia’s and Ferrari’s for decades.

(unattributed)

I was a Camberwell Grammar School prat nearby Lowe’s factory/showroom and regularly dribbled over the showroom window in Whitehorse Road, Balwyn, Melbourne from 1969-1974. I admired everything but particularly 246 Dinos. I was as infatuated with those almost as much as the perky, pert, teenage temptresses at Fintona Girls School just round the corner. Both were unattainable of course.

‘3218GT’ was Lowe’s daily drive until he sold to Jim Leech in 1964. Jim and his brother Bill Leech were ‘Light Car Club of Australia’ stalwarts, racers pre and post war and owners of some wonderful cars. From memory they had a Lombard AL3- this car was raced by Bill Lowe in the Australian GP at Phillip Island from 1929-33, Cisitalia D46, Maser 300S, Bug T37A and some great road stuff including this Ferrari- the 58th steel bodied car built, RHD too. It was a familiar beast at many Victorian events forever, inevitably it was sold overseas, cars such as this are global commodities after all.

Here ‘3218’ is participating in the Geelong Sprints along Ritchie Boulevard, on Geelong’s waterfront circa 1970 at a guess.

Not a bad bit of kit?!…

Credits…

Klemantaski Collection

(Q Miles)

Doug Cavill or perhaps Bill Reynolds races his Austin Healey 100-6 based Prad Healey at Lowood, Queensland circa 1959…

The car was a new one on me, quite a wild, fantastic looking machine, the modifications to the body were made by Jack Pryer and Clive Adams- the Prad boys in Sydney whilst the engine was breathed upon by racer/mechanic Bill Reynolds. Cavill- the Surfers Paradise ‘main drag’ Cavill Avenue was named after his father Jim Cavill- was a successful estate agent and had the readies to fund this interesting car.

Quentin Miles has been progressively uploading some photographs taken by his late father on Bob Williamson’s ‘Old Motor Racing Photographs – Australia Facebook page- check it out, this is a beauty despite the ravages of time to the negative.

Patrick Quinn wrote an article about this interesting car published in the Victorian Austin Healey Owners Club magazine ‘Hundreds and Thousands’ in 2013 which is reproduced below. The ‘restoration’ of the car is a shame, tragic really.

Credits…

Quentin Miles, Patrick Quinn, ‘Hundreds and Thousands’

Tailpiece…

Finito…