Archive for the ‘Touring Cars’ Category

(HRCCT)

Michael ‘Moose’ Warner, Holden 48-215 leads Tony Edmondson, BMW 1602 Repco at Symmons Plains circa 1974…

Touring Cars (a ‘Sports Sedan’ in this case) are not my thing but that BMW is powered by a Repco Brabham 4.4 litre ‘620 Series’ V8 so by definition it’s of interest!

The Historic Racing Car Club of Tasmania continues to post wonderful photographs on its Facebook page- just pop the name into the FB search engine and have a look. Grab a beer before you do so, you cannot do the job properly in less than two or three hours.

(HRCCT)

 

(HRCCT)

Edmondson, who started racing a Ford Cortina GT with a good deal of pace in his native Tasmania circa 1970 was the latest in a long list of drivers whose career was aided and abetted by Tasmanian businessman Don Elliott- others include Robin Pare, John Walker and Mark McLaughlin.

The pair raced this BMW, then the ex-McCormack Valiant Charger Repco-Holden F5000 V8 and later still the two K&A Engineering built Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV Chev V8’s- he had a really nasty accident in the first of these at Surfers Paradise.

Later still, in the mid-eighties, they acquired Elfin Sportscars, bless ’em- after Garrie Cooper’s untimely death and built some fantastic FV, ANF2 and one Formula Holden before the economic realities finally caught up with them and the business changed hands to become a builder of road/race cars rather than racing cars. (i’m truncating)

Edmondson and Grice top of The Esses at Baskerville in 1978 looking as though it could turn to tears at any moment’ indeed Grant Twining, but did it!? (K Midgley)

I always admired Edmondson’s aggression, pace and mechanical ability- another guy wasted on Sports Sedans I thought, if he handles 5 litres so well why not jump aboard the ‘real F5000 deal’…

I do recall the BMW, not that I ever saw it race in Victoria- did it ever race on the ‘Big Island’ i wonder? No doubt it did.

The Baskerville photos, circa 1973, are great, particularly Tony’s cavalier disregard for his racegear- perhaps he was ‘just tootling around’ on day one of testing.

I’m very interested to know who did the engine installation- presumably a Borg Warner four-speeder is attached to the back of the RBE V8 but i’m just guessing. Which particular RBE 620 izzit, where did it come from and where is it now? Where is the BMW shell too I guess, although that is of less interest. The Holden ‘was one of the best Humpy’s going around, unfortunately it fell over one day and was binned’ wrote the HRCCT’s Grant Twining.

Lindsay Ross advises Don Elliott is about 90 years old and that Tony Edmondson still works for his ‘Elliots Self Storage’ business in Hobart. He also recalls the ‘Repco 4.4 gave them so much grief with cracking blocks.’

Correspondence welcome!

oldracephotos.com.au/Harrisson)

Top shot above is of Edmondson a few months later with the car now complete at Baskerville, 1973.

Credits…

Historic Racing Car Club of Tasmania, Keith Midgely

Etcetera…

 

(HRCCT)

‘Its not too noisy, no cops about, how bout we swing past mums on the way back to Hobart’, or some such. As I say, very interested to find out and publish the fullest technical specifications of this car we can come up with.

Social media suggests the car ended up in Western Australia at some point?

(HRCCT)

That’s not Edmondson in the ‘Fastman’ race suit- he is almost fully obscured by blue-cardigan man- who is the other racer?

Tailpiece: Turn-in is real noice…

(HRCCT)

‘Hmm, maybe time to put my fire-proofs on’ is perhaps the drivers thoughts. And ‘Shit! This thing gets up and boogies.’

Note the Mawer Engineering wheels and ‘well back’ location of the engine. Intriguing to know the difference in weight between the cast iron block, alloy head BMW four and all alloy Repco V8.

This conversion is a ‘well-travelled path’ in the sense that the 1970 similarly engined Bob Jane Racing, John Sheppard built, Holden Torana GTR-XU1 ‘620’ 4.4 V8 showed just how quick this combination of compact car and very light ‘racing’ V8 could be.

Click here for a piece in part about this car, the Charger Repco and Corvair Chev; https://primotipo.com/2015/06/30/hey-charger-mccormacks-valiant-charger-repco/

Finito…

 

(HRCCT)

Norm Beechey and Jim McKeown at Symmons Plains in February 1968…

Both the Chev Nova and injected Lotus Cortina Mk2 were top-liners in 1968 albeit the one race Australian Touring Car Championship was won again that year by Pete Geoghegan’s Ford Mustang from Darrell King, Morris Cooper S and Alan Hamilton’s just arrived in the country Porsche 911S/T. It was Geoghegan’s fourth of five ATCC titles.

The 34 lap event was held at Warwick Farm on 8 September, by that stage Norm had replaced the Nova with a Chev Camaro- he retired with mechanical dramas after 11 laps whilst Jim’s race was over after only 2- axle failure the cause.

(L Ruting)

Photographs of the Camaro SS are not plentiful as it raced for only a short period- four meetings (Warwick Farm twice, Calder and Catalina) from July to September 1968 inclusive of the ATCC race where he qualified on the second row- the car was an ‘in between’.

The Nova raced from Easter 1966 and the Holden Monaro’s with which he became synonomous in the latter stages of his career date from October 1968, the Camaro fitted in between.

The photo above is during the first lap of the 1968 ATCC race with Pete up front, then Norm and the Bob Jane Mustang.

See this piece on the 1969 ATCC; https://primotipo.com/2018/02/01/1969-australian-touring-car-championship/ , and on 1970; https://primotipo.com/2018/04/01/variety-is-the-spice/

Beechey trying to pursuade the Nova to turn in, Paul Fahey and Red Dawson in Mustangs, Rod Coppins in Chev Camaro at Baypark, NZ 1968 (T Marshall)

Etcetera…

(M Rogers)

Beechey and John French, Nova and Cooper S on the Surfers Paradise grid in 1967.

Credit…

Historic Racing Car Club of Tasmania, Lance Ruting, Rod MacKenzie, Steve Holmes- The Roaring Season, Terry Marshall, Mervin Rogers

Tailpiece: Beechey and Geoghegan at Catalina Park 18 August 1968…

(R MacKenzie)

Classic Ford/GM, Geoghegan/Beechey battle. Who won?

Finito…

(J Wright)

The grid for the Australian GT Championship at Lakeside, Queensland on 8 July 1962…

Bill Pitt, Jaguar 3.4 alongside John French in the Centaur Waggott/Holden, then the two Lotus Elites of Tony Osborne #16 and #7 Brian Foley. On the row behind is #21 Les Howard, Austin Healey Sprite Ford-Cosworth, in the middle the partially obscured #31 Porsche 356 of Tony Basile and on the left the white #30 Renault Floride of Terry Kratzmann .

The light coloured Sprite further back is #51 Sib Petralia, #60 Paul Fallu, Karmann Ghia whilst the #4 Wolseley has long time competitor Ken Peters at the wheel. The unmistakable outline of the grey Renault Dauphine is #6 M Hunt. Dennis Geary #22, was also entered in the HWM Jaguar- now in two-seat Coupe form but with the very same chassis and mechanicals of the car raced by Lex Davison to win the 1954 Australian Grand Prix, ‘just down the road’ at Southport on the Gold Coast.

The 50 lap 75 mile race was won in 62:6.06 minutes/seconds by French from Basile, Pitt, Howard then came Foley. Sib Petralia won the under 1 litre class, Basile the 1000-1600cc, French the 1600-2600cc and Pitt the 2600cc class and over.

The race was the third Australian GT Championship for Appendix K cars- the first was held at Bathurst during the October 1960 meeting and won by Leo Geoghegan’s Lotus Elite, the 1961 event was at Warwick Farm in July- Frank Matich won in his Jaguar D Type.

The CAMS relaxed attitude to the requirements of App K was that cars such as the Matich D, Bob Jane Maserati 300S, David McKay Lola Mk1 Climax and many other sports-racers were allowed to run to fill scanty grids, with hardtops cobbled together for the purpose.

Which rather negated the intent of the CAMS regulatory changes, lets not go down that path.

The first photograph had me tossed- I got Pitt and French but not the locale at all, i’ve never been to Lakeside and some earthworks after the first several years changed the look of the place a bit in any event.

So, many thanks for the detective work of regular collaborator Stephen Dalton and Glenn Moulds- the wise owls of The Nostalgia Forum can usually solve these knotty Who, What, Where and When problems.

Mind you, we are still cogitating in relation to the shot below, said to be Lakeside too.

If there are some Queenslanders out there who can confirm the whereabouts of the scene below that would be a bonus. My suggestion that its on the Jindabyne-Charlottes Pass road near Charlottes in the NSW Snowies so far has little support.

(J Wright)

Most of these photographs were popped up on the Shannons Insurance website by Dr John Wright a couple of years ago but only three were identified- we on primotipo…backed by the research horsepower of the TNF Crew are happy to oblige.

Lakeside was built on farm land purchased by Geoffrey Sidney Sakzewski at Petrie 30km north of Brisbane in 1957.

The first open race meeting was held on 19 March 1961- the landlord was keen to compete so pressed into service his wife’s  four door, light-green pillarless Plymouth Belvedere- here he is chasing the Jeremiah driven Holden FE. Rob Bartholomaeus advises the race was the Queensland Touring Car Championship- Bill Pitt is on his way to winning aboard his 3.4 Jaguar up the road- these two are scrapping for second, a battle won by the Jeremiah.

(J Wright)

 

Pondering and working on the remodelled Lakeside layout in 1965 before the 1966 AGP- David Harding, Ken Peters and Sid at right (unattributed)

 

(J Wright)

The profile of car and the helmet above will be familiar to most of you, its Hill G on his 1963 Australasian Tour during which he raced the Ferguson P99 Coventry Climax 2.5 FPF.

The rest of the hotshots ran 2.7 Climaxes in their Coopers, i’ve always thought it interesting to ponder how Graham would have gone with a bigger engine under the cars shapely bonnet.

Mind you, his only race win on the tour was a heat at Lakeside- its looks a tad soggy so I would not be surprised if Graham is on the way to a Saturday victory aboard this magnificent bit of engineering.

I waxed lyrical a while back about it, click here; https://primotipo.com/2015/01/30/ferguson-p99-climax-graham-hill-australian-grand-prix-1963/

(J Wright)

The poor old Kombi is groaning under the weight of so many champions in one place- 1200cc this model? and now highly sought after of course.

She’s a bit grainy but my best guess- and happy to hear from you, goes a bit like this from left to right- Frank Gardner in the white helmet looking away at the kangaroos, dunno holding the helmet, Arnold Glass in the darker blue race suit, Bruce McLaren holding the light silver helmet, short-sleeved fella probably Greg Cusack, Bib Stillwell and Graham Hill. ‘Blondie-locks’ behind is John Youl perhaps. Do get in touch with your bids.

The 1963 Lakeside International was won by John Surtees, Lola Mk4A from Hill’s Ferguson P99 and Bib Stillwell’s Brabham BT4- Climaxes all.

Back in the days of yore, until 1969, the Australian Touring Car Championship was decided over one race- the honour to host the event was awarded to Lakeside in 1964- race day was 26 July.

Lakeside’s proximity to Brisbane ensured a good crowd saw a contest waged between a huge variety of cars with Ian ‘Pete’ Geoghegan winning the first of his ATCC’s aboard a Ford Cortina GT from Norm Beechey, Holden EH S4, Bob Jane’s Jaguar Mk2 4.1, the Brian Foley and Peter Manton Morris Cooper S’, Glynn Scott’s Cortina GT and Brian Muir’s EH S4.

A series of heats, split into engine capacity classes determined the grid- Jim McKeown’s Lotus Cortina was on pole from Jane, Muir, Beechey and Manton.

Muir, Jane and Beechey led initially from Geoghegan and McKeown- Jim moved forward to second behind Muir- leadership of the race by Muir (below) was the first time a Holden had led an ATCC event- it would not be the last! Brian went off to fame and good fortune in Europe not so long after this.

(J Wright)

McKeown took the lead from Brian Muir on lap 7 with Beechey and Geoghegan battling for fourth. Bob Jane moved to second on lap 11 and then first when McKeown made an error and dropped to third behind Muir- at about the same time Warren Weldon locked a brake on lap 15, hit the bank and rolled onto his side a little bit behind Clem Smith who had clobbered the same bit of Queensland on lap 2, rendering his Valiant hors de combat.

The obstacles were raced around back in them days…Clem Smith’s very precarious Valiant R Type, and behind him Warren Weldon’s Holden 48-215 on its side. In the photo below you can see the blue McKeown Lotus Cortina partially obscured by the marshal. Passing Cortinas in both shots (J Wright)

 

(J Wright)

 

Done this one to death- Smith, McKeown and Weldon in line astern (unattributed)

Jane’s lead over Muir was up to 100 metres before clutch problems intervened circa lap 31- Muir then led from Pete and Norm who both passed Bob Jane. Encouraging for Holden, Muir led for the next 6 laps before a puncture forced him to pit, ‘While fetching the spare wheel, one crewman accidentally handed his motel keys to another crewman trying to open the cars boot lid. The delay cost Muir two laps and his chance of victory’ Wikipedia says.

Beechey led from Geoghegan who applied plenty of pressure to the EH in the lighter Ford taking the lead on lap 43, he held on for the next 7 laps to win by 1.2 seconds from Beechey. Jane was third despite a shagged clutch, thirty seconds adrift, with Foley and Manton’s Coopers the remaining cars on the lead lap.

Etcetera…

Start of lap 2 1964 ATCC.

Jane, Muir, Beechey, McKeown, Geoghegan, Manton, Firth, Foley and the rest.

(TRS)

Beechey and Muir in Holden EH S4’s with an obscured McKeown’s blue Lotus Cortina on the inside with Foley in the red Cooper S.

(TRS)

Pete Geoghegan’s winning Cortina GT ahead of McKeown’s Lotus Cortina.

(TRS)

Bob Jane’s very quick Jaguar 4.1 chasing Brian Muir’s Scuderia Veloce Holden EH S4, drivers using all of the available bitumen and a smidge of gravel on the inside.

Tailpiece: Lakeside Magazine looks good….

Credits…

John Wright Collection, The Nostalgia Forum- Stephen Dalton and Glenn Moulds, ‘TRS’- The Roaring Season’, Rob Bartholomaeus

Finito…

Touring Car and Sportscar tustle at Longford in 1965…

Don Gorringe, John Goss, Bob Curran and Greg Ellis blast over the River Esk- they have just completed the fast left-hander onto Long Bridge.

These blokes are all Tasmanian’s- I think it’s probably one of the locals only races, Gossy learned his trade pretty well down south- the only fella to win the Australian GP and Bathurst 1000 race double of course.

Goss is in an Appendix J Holden FJ, in front Gorringe is aboard a Jaguar XK150- which is clearly the successful businessman’s ‘daily driver’ given the rego plate affixed to the front bumper. Bob Curran’s Triumph TR4 was a machine he raced through to 1970 at least and the last car is Ellis’ MGA, it too appears as though he raced it for quite a bit.

Do any of these cars still exist? Who won the race?

Love this David Keep photo, it’s very much a ‘feel the noise’ shot…

Credit…

oldracephotos.com.au/D Keep

(R Thorncraft)

Allan Moffat chases Pete Geoghegan out of Creek Corner at Warwick Farm in September 1970…

Goodness knows how many dices these fellas had over the two short years the race histories of the cars converged- Geoghegan’s car was locally built in Sydney by John Sheppard and was continually developed from the time of its debut in 1967, Al Pal’s was a factory KarKraft machine which arrived in Australia in early 1969.

Russell Thorncraft’s photo has drama too- all the dust and shite being thrown up by the cars using all of the road and then some. The meeting is dated by Pete’s ‘rear spoiler’ too- remember him trying a jacked open boot lid either ‘for real’ as downforce or as a ruse!

Etcetera…

(L Hemer)

Lynton Hemer’s shot of Pete at the end of practice at Oran Park above on 9 August 1969 shows some aero experimentation- note the boot strut support.

Lynton recalls ‘These are a couple of overexposed, grainy photos of Pete…Note the strut under the boot lid. If my memory serves me right, I remember him running the car with the boot up in some type of Colin Chapman like experiment with downforce.’

‘Whether he raced the car that way, I can’t recall, but it only happened this once that I know of’- we can now see he did race this way at the ‘farm in 1970.

‘Whether the scrutineers frowned upon it, or it just didn’t work who knows? The car was unbeatable at Oran Park that year (1969) and most of the next, so why he tried it is a mystery’ Hemer concluded.

The photo below shows him deploying his secret weapon as he hunts down Alan Hamilton’s Porsche 911 R/T at Oran Park in 1969- same OP meeting Lynton refers to as above?

(R Thorncraft)

Credits…

Russell Thorncraft, Lynton Hemer

Tailpiece…

(R Thorncraft)

Finito…

It’s funny how stuff happens sometimes, I finally bought a Mini Cooper S last month, mind you, the one I lusted after in my teens was a Morris Cooper S…

Most normal fourteen year old ‘knob-jockeys’ were looking at Playboy and Penthouse and giving the sav a serious slap. Being the sick little unit that I was I spent most of my waking hours looking at Sports Car World, Racing Car News- and Autosport which required a trip to town- Technical Books in Swanston Street, Melbourne will be well known to Victorian enthusiasts over 40.

The cars I lusted after as my first road car- then four years down the track weren’t the local muscle cars but the Cooper S, Escort Twin-Cam, Lotus Europa with my dream car the Ferrari Dino 246GT. The Dino fantasy lasted for a several decades until Gordon Murray’s McLaren F1 finally blew it off its pedestal.

I always thumbed through magazines whilst sitting in a beanbag watching the teev, whilst other cars came and went, my diet of articles always came back to this group of cars with the Cooper S always to be my first car, restricted to a student income as I was.

I had a Castrol promotional brochure (remember the set of seven or eight stapled into Racing Car News, one at a time each month?) about John Leffler’s Cooper S Lwt Sports-Sedan, which I looked at endlessly together with road tests of the S and Clubman GT.

I can still remember the standard Cooper S 1275cc oversizes of the ‘A Series’ block at 1293cc and 1310cc, the factory race AEA 648/649 and rally AEA571 cam part numbers are still in my woolly head long after the intricacies of the accounting and economics I was studying at the time have well and truly disappeared.

Castrol brochure featuring the BMC Racing Team, John Leffler Cooper S, leading Barry Sharp, Ford Falcon at Oran Park circa 1970. Leffo a few years later, 1973, won the Australian FF Championship in a Bowin P6F and in 1976 the Gold Star in an F5000 Lola T400 Chev

I came close to buying Coopers twice and still kick myself for missing out on the first one, a BRG 1969 car in Richmond. Dad insisted I get an RACV (Royal Automobile Club of Victoria) mechanical test on it, which was the right parental advice (not that I usually listened to it) and of course the car sold on the Sunday with my deposit dutifully refunded a couple of days later. I cracked the shits with him for well over a month.

Spending all of my Monash Uni student income on Elfin 620B Formula Ford laps at the Calder based Bob Jane-Frank Gardner Race Driving School whilst 18 changed everything- I found god and he raced single-seaters!

So the focus then became a road tow car and a Formula Vee by the time I started full-time work, that was achieved. I bought a Venom Vee in February 1979 and started work the following month. So, the Cooper S never happened, why bother rattling around in road cars on-circuit when you can drive the real thing? Here are the exploits of one of Australia’s most prominent FV drivers. Not. https://primotipo.com/2016/10/06/formula-vee-and-the-summer-of-79/

I have owned a few Cooper S TYPE cars though; three Alfasuds- Sedan, TI twin-carb and Sprint and an Alfa 147GTA amongst other things.

The Lotus Europa, when I finally drove one was a heap of shit- what a disappointment, ‘shake-rattle-and roll’ it wasn’t a flash example i guess, but the Lotus fetish never left me- my Elise was a wonderful 5 year experience if somewhat challenging in the winter.

I looked at a beaut ‘Vermillion Fire’ red Escort Twin-Cam an old codger (he was far younger than I am now) had for sale in Glen Iris but by then a mate had an Alfa Giulia Sprint GT (nee 1600 GTV) in which I drove a lot of miles and it was a far more cohesive bit of kit than the Escort- and I had couple of 105 Series coupes as a consequence.

The Italian Sheila

Roll on a cuppla decades, had kids, raced historic Formula Ford, got divorced and got a girlfriend. An Italian one actually- if I’d known what Northern Italian sheilas were like at 18 I’d have specialised in that breed from then- but you live and learn right?

Five years ago she bought an R53 Cooper S auto (sub-optimal as a manual driver but too easy round town), in fact I wrote about it a while back;

https://primotipo.com/2014/09/03/perdriau-master-cord-tyres-mini-cooper-s-nuriootpa-and-lobethal-australian-grands-prix-tour/

In recent times the thing, which always used a lot of oil, has been using a forty-four of expensive lubricant a fortnight. Our mechanic put this down to the car probably not being run in properly in its infancy- Patrizia being ‘WUBs’ second owner. The funny thing is you can’t see the oil being burned like you could in the old days- the plume of pungent but sweet smelling blue smoke has not been there.

She-who-must-be-obeyed looked at new Abarth 595’s last summer and only baulked when I pointed out the lack of cruise-control- so we, she, kept driving The WUBster and I kept shoving expensive oil down its gullet on a weekly basis whilst alternative, automobile deliberations continued.

WUB @ Tarra Warra Estate near Healesville

And then, as they say in the classics, it happened!

Ok, I did insist we use her car for the trip to Kyneton, comfier than mine as it is.

A few kays past Calder, going up the long hill towards Diggers Rest the little beastie lapsed onto 3 cylinders- not a big deal I thought as the same thing happened in almost the same place twelve months before and was just a duff plug. An easy, cheap fix.

Not so this time.

The long gradual build up of carbon on #3 piston from all that not fully burned oil over all those years, ignited, blowing a neato hole in said aluminium component and did some block damage to add insult to injury. Worse, it was ALL MY FAULT as I insisted we use her car not mine- I was driving the thing at the moment of destruction.

Never mind the fact that the ‘liddl fokker could have let go on a similar trip she did to McRae the week before…’twas all my fault, deploying all of the chick logic they have.

No amount of cunning-linguistics on my part, and my powers of persuasion are not too shabby given forty years in business, were going to shift the crossed arms of The Italian Sheila.

So my friends, having first got interested in Coopers circa 1971, I am now the proud owner of an R53 in 2019, it’s easily the most expensive in Australia too. My heart feels good but my wallet is not so flash.

The Italian Sheila did buy the Abarth in the end- it’s great, in some ways the ultimate inner city tool, I’ll bore you with that another time.

As I said at the outset, it’s funny how stuff happens sometimes, and more often than not a chick is involved…

PS; Hopefully The Italian Sheila does not read this, she never looks at primotipo, all good, I trust, hope and pray.

Tailpiece: The new Abarth 595 in Brunswick Street, North Fitzroy…

Castrol Cooper S Brochure- the rest of it…

 

Finito…

 

(G Ruckert)

‘Brian Foley in the Alfa Romeo GTAm nicely on line as he exits The Karrussell, Lakeside 18 April 1971’ wrote photographer Graham Ruckert…

This is about as natural a setting, devoid of signage and the visual clutter typical of racetracks by the early seventies you could hope for to capture surely one of the most beautifully proportioned and delicately toned Touring Car racers ever?

Foley’s ex-works car in its various incarnations is very well known to Oz enthusiasts, I’ll get around to writing about it again one day- I first did so in an Alfa Romeo Owners Club of Australia magazine circa 1978! About time to do so again, thankfully the car is still in Australia, in Melbourne’s east and in the very best of Alfista hands too.

Photo Credit…

Graham Ruckert