Archive for the ‘Touring Cars’ Category

Graham Boulter’s race equipe completing a Bacchus Marsh pitstop enroute to Calder Raceway, Victoria, Australia circa 1968 or 1969…

Competitors can relate to this wherever you live on the planet- loading up your racer and hung-over, scaly mates and girlfriend and heading off to the track hoping the last minute fixes to your steed will last the rigours of the weekend away from home base.

Enthusiast racer Lee Nicholle identified the photograph on ‘The Nostalgia Forum’ which was taken at a ‘Golden Fleece’ servo at Bacchus Marsh, 60 kilometres from Melbourne on its western outskirts.

Oz enthusiasts of a certain age will well remember Golden Fleece as a brand of petroleum products and servo’s such as this one operated by Australian Company HC Sleigh since 1893. Caltex acquired the business in 1981.

The racer is a Holden FJ or ‘Humpy’, sports sedan. The tow car is the ‘Ducks Guts’ of General Motors Holdens range at the time- no less than an ‘HK’ Monaro GTS powered by the range-topping Chevrolet 327cid V8. One of these cars won the 1968 Bathurst 500 enduro driven by Bruce McPhee. The race was then run to ‘Series Production’ or unmodified road car rules. That the car is new is proved by the standard fitment ‘Dunlop Sovereign’ radial tyres. The other road cars in shot are a Vanguard and in the distant carpark an ‘FB’ Holden.

Finally, Lee notes that Boulter still races in ‘Historics’, has built a replica of this car as a ‘roadie’ and that the bare chested youth, now over 70 of course!, is John Reynolds who stayed close to racing as a supplier of Champion plugs into the 1990’s.

Cracker of a shot, it reminds me of my abysmal car preparation capabilities, unreliable mates, patient girlfriends and the racers breakfast of a Chico Roll and Coke on the fly, running late and being behind the eight-ball well before the meeting commenced!…

Credits…

Graham Boulter

Tailpiece: Bruce McPhee on the way to Bathurst 500 glory during the 1968 running of the Australian classic…

(unattributed)

Bruce McPhee started from pole in his HK Monaro GTS327 and won the race from the ‘works’ Holden Dealer Team similar car of Jim Palmer/Phil West and the Tony Roberts/Bob Watson HK GTS a lap adrift in 3rd

Finito…

Robin Pare, Pete Geoghegan in Ford Mustangs, Bruno Carosi Jag Mk2, Frank Gardner Alfa GTA and Robin Bessant Lotus Cortina on the downhill plunge towards The Viaduct, Longford Improved Production Touring Car race 1967 (oldracephotos.com)

Pete Geoghegan did so many times too! The Sydneysider is here doing his stuff aboard the first of his two Ford Mustangs at Longford during the Tasman round in February 1967…

The Brothers Geoghegan, Leo and Ian or ‘Pete’ were stars of Australian Motor Racing from the late-fifties into the mid-seventies, Leo in single-seaters and Pete in ‘taxis’, touring cars of all pursuations. When he was a youth Pete was quick in a brief career in single seaters and a Lotus 23 Ford but he became a ‘big unit’ so his girth meant he was best suited to cars with a roof.

Geoghegan , Gardner and Carosi off the front row, no sign of Pare- perhaps not the same race grid as above ? (oldracephotos.com)

A supreme natural, Geoghegan made a car sing with flair and feel blessed to some from above. Every car he drove. His band-width extended from GT’s to Sports Cars, Production Tourers and very highly modified Sports Sedans- sedans of considerable power and performance.

His CV included some of the most iconic cars raced in Australia over the decades above including a Lotus 7 , 22, 23, the Scuderia Veloce Ferrari 250LM, Holden ‘Humpy’, Jaguar 3.4, Morris 850, the two Mustangs, Cortinas- both GT and Lotus variants, Falcon GT’s, Falcon GTHO’s, Valiant Charger E49, highly modified Porsche 911’s, his iconic, Ford factory built and later Bowin Cars modified Ford Falcon GTHO ‘Super Falcon’ and the superb John Sheppard built Holden Monaro GTS350 Sports Sedan.

That car was as conceptually clever, beautifully built and presented sedan racer as any ever constructed in Oz. Lets not forget his late career drives in Laurie O’Neill’s Porsche 935, a notoriously tricky device to master. Much earlier on he drove O’Neills Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato, every bit as exotic as the 935.

Big Pete finesses the Mustang into The Viaduct (oldracephotos.com)

Geoghegan, five times Australian Touring Car Champion 1965-69 was an immensely popular racer with the fans, his bulk, manner and ‘stutter’ part of his appeal. He was not without his issues mind you. Touring Car racing is a religion in Australia, our sedan racing has been the equal of the best in the world for decades and arguably for the last 20 years our V8 Supercar category has been consistently one of the Top 5 sedan racing contests on the planet.

A touch of the opposites on the exit to Newry (oldracephotos.com)

So, the pantheon of talented touring car aces is large, and membership of the Top 10 a subject of much informed pub chatter, tough. Most knowledgeable touring car observers would have Geoghegan in their Top 10, if not Top 5, along with the likes of Norm Beechey, Peter Brock, Allan Moffat, Dick Johnson, Jim Richards (a Kiwi but we take him as our own) Mark Skaife, Glenn Seton, Craig Lowndes, Garth Tander, Jamie Whincup and others.

(oldracephotos.com)

Photo Credits…

Oldracephotos.com- Harrison and David Keep

Tailpiece: Came, Saw, Conquered and then returned to Sydney…

Other Reading…

Pete Geoghegan and his Falcon GTHO ‘Super Falcon’

https://primotipo.com/2015/10/15/greatest-ever-australian-touring-car-championship-race-bathurst-easter-1972/

Pete’s 1965 Mustang notchback

http://www.bowdensown.com.au/collection/ian-pete-geoghegans-1965-mustang

Finito…

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I was too young for the Lotus Cortina but drooled over its cousin, the Escort Twin Cam from the time they were released in Australia as a youngster…

‘Going Ford Is The Going Thing’ was the tagline of the day. And it was too. At the dawn of the 1970’s their product lineup was irresistible as a kid; Escort Twin Cam, Cortina GT, Capri 1600 GT and 3000 GT V6 and then came the range topping big muvvas, the Falcon GT and GTHO. Both packed the famed 351CID V8, the ‘HO’ the Bathurst homologation special was truly outrageous. All had ‘Super Roo’ decals on the front valances making the striped, candy-red devices lustworthy in a pubescent kinda way. Always a realist, I thought the Twin-Cam the pick of the litter given its cost/size/performance equation, not to mention its looks.

Local, Melbourne, Kew driver Michael Stillwell was racing a BDA powered Escort in Australian Touring Car Championship races at the time, giant killing too, I still think its one of the sexiest touring cars of all time. Others were raced by Allan Moffat, John Bassett, Bob Holden and Garry Rodgers, with plenty of tyre under extensively flared guards they really did, do, look the goods.

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Mike Stillwell giving Don Holland’s Holden Torana GTR XU1 a love tap in the entry to Hell Corner, Bathurst during the 1972 Australian Touring Car Championship round (oldracephotos.com)

Eventually, post university, I was in the market to buy and drove a Twin Cam an old codger (about my age now) in Glen Iris had for sale. But i had been spoiled by a mates Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT I had driven a lot by then. The older Alfa ‘105 Coupe’ made the little Ford seem crude by comparison. Don’t get me wrong, it was quick, but the front suspension was doing one thing, the back another, you didn’t sit nice and low like in the Alfa. The rack had that sort of ‘rattle, chatter, shimmy thing’ no amount of wheel alignments or balance weights fixed on both my Mk2 Cortina GT and Capri 1600 GT. That always gave me the shits with those cars!

The engine was great, I still love Harry Mundy’s work and drive them reasonably regularly, usually mounted in Elans. Imagine motor racing without the Ford Lotus Twin-Cam engine from mild to Hart 416B wild specification!? The gearbox was great too, Fords single-rail box is one of the production ‘trannys of the era, knife thru butter with synchro’s which, when in good nick, could not be beaten.

My heart was with the ‘Twinc but the Alfa was so much more of an integrated, cohesive package with similar performance and matching looks so that’s the way I went. But I still love Cortina’s and Escort’s, mass market for sure but Ford got the styling of the things just right as their sales volumes proved…

Tailpiece…

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Allan Moffat slices his Ford Australia, Alan Mann built, Escort FVA into Warwick Farm’s Esses, bang on line, in 1971 (oldracephotos.com)

 

 

 

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Glemser/Fitzpatrick Ford Capri RS2600 ahead of a Ferrari 312PB and a Porsche 911RSR, Le Mans 1973 (Schlegelmilch)

Ford’s battles with BMW in 1970’s touring car racing are legendary as both manufacturers battled for supremacy. The adage ‘Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday’ was reflected in big marketing spends in the European Touring Car Championship at the time…

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Chris Amon in the CSL he shared with Hans Stuck, Le Mans ’73 DNF lap 162 with accident damage (Schlegelmilch)

In 1973 the protagonists in the big car class were the RS2600 Capri and 3.0CSL, the title that year won by Toine Hezeman’s BMW with wins at the Spa, Zandvoort and Paul Ricard rounds.

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Toine Hezemans/Dieter Quester CSL winning the class at LeMans in 1973 (unattributed)

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Jackie Stewart and Jochen Mass, Monza ETCC round 25 March 1973 (Schlegelmilch)

Such were the number of GeePee drivers involved one could have mistaken the paddocks for F1 events rather than touring cars; Stewart, Amon, Stuck, Hunt, Lauda, Ickx, Pescarolo and Emerson Fittipaldi all had a steer during the ETCC that year.

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Jean Claude Andruet/Richard Bond Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona 20th, Dieter Glemser/John Fitzpatrick Capri, out in the 20th hour with a broken rod (Schlegelmilch)

Whilst Le Mans was not part of the ETCC, Ford and BMW slugged it out in the 24 Hour Classic although only one of the factory cars went the distance; the Dieter Quester/Toine Hezemans BMW was 11th overall with 307 laps.

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The race was won by the superb 3 litre V12 Matra MS670B piloted by Henri Pescarolo/Gerard Larrousse, the rapid sports-prototype covering 355 laps. The best placed Ferrari 312PB was 6 laps adrift of the Matra, Art Merzario and Carlos Pace were second with another Matra 670B driven by the two Jean-Pierre’s, Jabouille and Jaussaud in third place.

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#53 Koinigg/Vinatier/Birrell and #55 Glemser/Fitzpatrick (Schlegelmilch)

As to the rest of the factory touring car entries; the Dieter Glemser/John Fitzpatrick RS2600 schnapped a conrod on lap 239, the Chris Amon/Hans Stuck BMW had an accident on lap 162.

The woe continued with the Helmut Koinigg/Jean Vinatier/Gerry Birrell Ford having valve gear trouble on lap 152, Gerry Birrell swapped into this car after his own Capri had ignition problems. Hans Heyer co-drove that entry.

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Mike Kranefuss, keeps an eye on proceedings, ‘the boss’ as the cap suggests (Schlegelmilch)

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Glemser/Fitzpatrick RS2600 at Le Mans, DNF with a broken rod (unattributed)

I guess the cars weren’t stressed for 24 hours so perhaps the results are not too surprising, I posted an article about the fabulous Cologne Capri’s which may be of interest to those who have not read it; https://primotipo.com/2015/04/09/australias-cologne-capris/

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Credits…

Rainer Schlegelmilch

Tailpiece: Glemser/Fitz in the pits…

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Colin Bond finessing the Holden Dealer Teams Holden Torana GTR XU1 Repco thru Murrays Corner, Bathurst, Easter 1973…

In fact ‘twas as much Brocky’s as Bondy’s as they tended to drive this Repco Holden F5000 V8 engined ‘Sports Sedan’ (Oz anything goes taxi category) in their home states. Peter Brock in Victoria and Bond in NSW. I ‘spose Holden Dealer Team chief Harry Firth worked out who drove the thing elsewhere.

By that stage Sports Sedans were starting to get a bit more scientific, check out my article on John McCormack’s Chrysler Valiant Charger Repco F5000 which provides both era context and some car specifics.

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This press shot a couple of days before the cars Sandown race debut in April 1973 shows the mid-mounted location of the cast iron Repco Holden F5000 V8, and change for the 4 speed Borg Warner ‘box, the engine cover provided some heat absorption, but not much! (M Bisset Collection/Melbourne Herald)

Harry decided to chase the ‘Toby Lee Sports Sedan Series’ $ at Oran Park and cobbled together this car which was the marriage of an LJ Torana chassis with a Repco Holden 500BHP injected F5000 V8, which was mounted right next to the driver to keep him warm.

Borg Warner T10 tranny, a Rose jointed solid, Watts linkage rear end and wishbone, coil sprung front end were suspension modes. Brakes were F5000 issue calipers clamping HQ Holden rotors front and rear.

The car began life in ’71 as an HDT Bathurst 500 Series Production car and in ’72 was Frank Kilfoyle’s rally car before being gutted for its new role, Chris De Fraga reported in ‘The Age’ before the cars debut as a Sports Sedan at Sandown on 13-15 April 1973.

It didn’t win too much in the way of major events but it was a massive crowd pleaser and fast with two of the countries best steerers twiddling its MoMo.

Back to Bathurst Easter ’73; Col Bond won all three of his races over the weekend in ‘The Beast’ with Peter Brock, in a good meeting for the Holden Dealer Team, sharing the Production Touring Car wins in an XU1 with John Goss’ Ford Falcon GT Coupe.

Credit…

Nigel Tait Collection/ Repco Ltd

Tailpiece: Brock at Calder, LC/LJ Toranas’ such a great looking car, the bellow of this injected V8 one not to be missed. Wheels are by Mawer Engineering in Sydney, very popular on Touring Cars and Clubmans of the day…

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Blondie surrounded by World Champs; Messrs Hulme, Hill and Clark, Melbourne, 1968…

Ford Australia’s 1967 ‘XR’ Falcon was a big step forward in its market competition with General Motors ‘Holden’ who had a dominant position.  The XR GT packed a 289cid V8 and started the trend of local pony cars which provided wonderful road cars and iconic Bathurst racers for years.

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Barry Cassidy, Ford Falcon ‘XR’ GT, Newry Corner, Longford March 1968 (oldracephotos.com)

This photo is no doubt part of Ford’s ongoing repositioning of their product, ‘Going Ford is the Going Thing’ was FoMoCo’s ‘tag line’ of the day.

‘Blondies’ car is the 1968 ‘XT’ Falcon 500 ‘poverty pack’. A 302cid V8 was cranked under the bonnet to create the GT, a 4 speed box, slippery diff and front disc brakes with firmer springs and shocks completed the performance makeover. This was the only one of the ‘Big Henrys’ which didn’t win the Bathurst enduro classic. An ‘HK’ Holden Monaro 327 coupe driven by Bruce McPhee took the ’68 win.

‘Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday’ is the adage…

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The Spencer Martin/Jim McKeown XT Ford Falcon GT auto!,Bathurst 500 1968. The pair were 42nd, the highest placed Ford was the XR GT driven by McIntyre/Stacey which was 7th (unattributed)

The local ranges of Ford and Holden were full of mundane stodge in 1966, perhaps the Cortina GT the ‘highlight’. Times ‘were a changin tho’, by 1970; Ford offered the Falcon 351V8 GT/GTHO, Lotus engined Escort Twin-cam, Capri GT V6 and 1600GT and Holden the Monaro HG 350V8 and Torana XU1 which sported a 186cid ohv triple-carbed straight six, all wonderful cars for 13 year olds to dream about…

ford

Ford Oz ad for the 1972/3 ‘XA’ Coupe GT; 351cid 300bhp V8, 4 speed ‘top loader’ box, slippery diff, disc/drum brakes, great cars!

Ford provided some support to Team Lotus who campaigned Lotus 49 DFW’s for both Jim Clark and Graham Hill during the ’68 Tasman Series which Clark won.

The Falcon shot at the articles start has Victorian plates so the shot was probably taken in the week of 25 February to 4 March 1968. Clark took the Sandown, Victorian round. The world champs were then in Melbourne for a few days before heading to Longford, Tasmania for the series ending race won by Piers Courage’ McLaren M4A FVA F2 car in a stunning wet weather drive.

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Clark ahead of Graham Hill, slices into The Esses during the ‘Warwick Farm 100’, another win for the Scot’s Lotus 49, he took the ’68 Tasman (oldracephotos.com)

Credits…

Ford Australia, oldracephotos.com

911S

(Rolling Road)

Jim had a great weekend, he knocked off the V8’s and won the ‘AJC Trophy’ round 5 of the 1970 Australian Touring Car Championship on 12 July…

Allan Moffat’s Trans Am Mustang was on pole but he spun on the first corner taking out Pete Geoghegan’s Mustang and Brian Foley’s 911S. McKeown took the win. Outright contender, Norm Beechey’s Holden Monaro lost a rear wheel, Bob Jane’s Mustang was 2nd and Bill Brown 911S 3rd. Fast, robust, reliable beasts 911’s…

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Foley in the WF paddock, ATCC round 1970 (Rolling Road)

The ex-factory specification of these cars is infinitely variable to special order and in summary comprises;

Engine; 6 cylinder boxer, SOHC 2 valve, 2247cc, comp ratio 10.3:1, 3 46IDA Weber carbs, Marelli distributor, bigger valves and polished inlet and exhaust ports giving circa 240bhp @ 8000rpm

5 speed gearbox with slippery diff, external oil pump, cooler and vast array of ratio choices

Body lightened by deletion of bumper over-riders, rubber locks, simplified interior, wings widened, front bumper fibreglass

Wheels; 7 and 9 inches front and rear in width, 15 inches diameter

For those with an interest in these cars attached is a link which shows you the factory options for both the 1970 911 and 914-6 and later 3 litre Carreras, wallet size the only limiting factor;

https://onedrive.live.com/?authkey=%21ADIWaF_m7_hVjME&id=C806C41D17D73AC8%216464&cid=C806C41D17D73AC8

Etcetera…

Recently the ex-Foley 911S/T, both the Foley and McKeown cars were fitted with factory S/T kit of goodies has been restored by Melbourne’s Ian Henderson.

These shots are of the cars appearance at Phillip Island in March 2016. Use of the period Chesterfield Racing transporter is a nice touch!

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(Bisset)

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(Bisset)

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(Bisset)

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(Bisset)

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(Bisset)

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McKeown at the 1970 Bathurst ATCC round, 4th in the race won by Beechey’s Holden HT Monaro GTS 350 (Nigel Watts)

Credit: The Rolling Road, Dick Simpson, Nigel Watts, Mike Jacobson of Spyder Automobiles for the information on ex-factory parts

Tailpieces: McKeown and Brian Foley in 911S’ doing the wheel lifting 911 thing, Energol Corner, Oran Park 1970…

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(Dick Simpson)