Archive for the ‘Who,What,Where & When…?’ Category

Miller 122

My first exposure to Bob Shepherd’s artistry was in the first issue of the late Barry Lake’s marvellous and way too short-lived Cars and Drivers magazine published in early 1977.

John Medley chose a Shepherd drawing of a Miller 122 to support an article he wrote about the ex-Zborowski machine which raced in New Zealand, and briefly in Australia pre-war, after the untimely death of the wealthy Briton at the wheel of a Mercedes during the 1924 Italian GP.

I’ve always been blown away by Shepherd’s work when I have tripped over it. Discussions with Bob King about the Miller led us to his copy of Graham Howard’s book (Racing Cars Through The Years) of Shepherd’s drawings published in 1993. Diana Davison/Gaze made available the Davison Family Collection of Shepherd images to Howard to allow the book to be published.

So little is known about Bob Shepherd we figured it was time to put something on the record more widely available than those lucky enough to have a copy of that marvellous book.

I asked Bob to do a bio, but after re-reading Graeme’s Introduction in the book, he said “How can I top that!”

So, here it is, Howard’s words shortened only a smidge, and a small selection of drawings which I think demonstrate Bob’s mastery of his art. The descriptions of each car are exactly as they appear in the book.

MG R-type Midget, 1935. Zoller blown at 24-28lbs, MG’s tiny single-cam four (57mm x 73mm, 746cc) delivered 120bhp – more than the Q-type’s leaf-spring chassis could handle. Hence the all independent 750cc R-type, MG’s first ever pure-racing car, with far-sighted backbone chassis and torsion bar parallelogram wishbone suspension. Drawing appeared in the March 1958 AMS.
Bob Shepherd in 1960

“To countless Australians Bob Shepherd the artist was also Bob Shepherd the historian, primarily because of the series of articles he wrote and illustrated for the magazine Australian Motor Sports, starting in August 1946 and continuing for than 15 years.

With a distinctive combination of knowledge, passion and flair, he carried his audience into the magic world of the racing and high performance cars of Europe and (to a lesser degree) America, broadly from the time of the French Grands Prix through to the end of the 1930s. Month by month, car by car, Shepherd spread before his readers the treasures of the Vintage era and the legendary cars of the 1930s which laid the foundations for post-WW2 motor racing. Over the years he gave AMS readers an education in motoring history unrivalled anywhere in the world.

Not that he confined his energies to Australia. He sent drawings overseas to MotorSport and to the Bugatti Owners Club journal Bugantics and was singled out by British engineer-historian Laurence Pomeroy, in the second edition of his milestone book The Grand Prix Car, for having been particularly helpful in suggesting improvements and corrections to the original work. The significance of this acknowledgement needs to be emphasised – that, while far removed from the Northern hemisphere’s factories, archives and authors, Shepherd was nonetheless the master of details which had eluded even the most eminent of British motoring historians.

Even more remarkable was that Shepherd had no formal training, either as an engineer or as an historian, or for that matter as an artist. The writing and illustrating of his monthly AMS pieces, and the maintenance of his correspondence with enthusiasts around the world, was done from the lounge room of his house in the time he had spare from family life and his job as a stores clerk.

Itala 12-cylinder fwd, 1926. Tested but never raced, these innovative cars would have competed against such classics as the 1.5-litre Delages. They were true single-seaters with fully independent suspension; the supercharged V12 engines were built in 1500cc and 1100cc form, the single central camshaft flanked by its two rows of horizontal valves. Drawing appeared in the August 1952 AMS.

He was born in 1914 in the Sydney suburb of Pagewood, where his father was a hairdresser. He was the oldest of three children; he and his brother Sydney were each dux of Daceyville Primary School in their respective years, and Bob was later also dux of Cleveland Street High School, but university was out of the question. Cars and drawing were his great interest, but work in the motor trade was impossible to find: eventually a family friend heard of a job at Davis Gelatine, and he worked there until his retirement in 1979, holding a staff position from 1964. He married Joan Manhood in 1940, they had three children.

As a schoolboy Shepherd had started writing to overseas car manufacturers for catalogues; these catalogues, his voluminous international correspondence, and dissected copies of The Motor, The Autocar and MotorSport formed the basis of his archives, kept in rows of manila folders in large glass-fronted cupboards.

His drawings were made using the simplest of methods and materials. A pencilled grid, or a pair of dividers, would be used to transfer dimensions and proportions from the chosen source photograph onto a sheet of his favourite cartridge paper, and the drawing would start in HB pencil, which would be rubbed out after the final version had been inked-in using mapping pens. All his work was freehand – there were no rulers or artificial aids like French curves. He did most of his drawings on Sundays after church, working for four to five hours, resting his paper on a wooden board and taking advantage of natural light. It would usually need two Sundays to produce a drawing; those for AMS were sent to Melbourne (always by registered mail) in cardboard cylinders accompanied by the text for his article which – like his letters – would be written in copperplate script, blue ink on unlined paper.

He was not comfortable drawing vehicles in action, or drawing people, and he showed no interest in drawing aircraft or motorcycles. Almost all his work was black and white: AMS itself was not printed in colour. In some drawings he used a wash, rather than hatching, to provide shading: when he did use colour, for example for private commissions, it was with complete success. His black box of watercolour pigments, bought when he was 12, is still in use by one of his grandchildren.

Bob Shepherd’s colour drawing of a 1922 Bugatti Type 30 (B King Collection)

Delage 2-litre V12, 1923-1925. After two relatively unsuccessful years as unsupercharged cars, the V12s were supercharged for the 1925 season (as illustrated) and finished 1-2 in the French Grand Prix. The four-camshaft engines (51.3mm x 80mm, 1984cc), unusual in having the exhausts in the centre of the Vee, gave about 190bhp in supercharged form. This drawing appeared in the June 1954 AMS.

As well as his work for AMS, he provided illustrations for many club magazines and illustrated ‘Vintage Types’ for the Vintage Sports Car Club of Australia, he was one of its founding members. His first published drawings may have been the series ‘Australia’s Best Known Speed Cars’ in Motor in Australia and Flying in 1939. He was sometimes asked to suggest shapes for rebuilds or of new racing cars. As a boy he had watched racing on the banked concrete saucer at Maroubra but went to few race meetings in later years. More surprisingly, he never owned a car (although he had part shares in several), seldom drove, and did not hold a licence, he never travelled outside New South Wales.

Yet he was in no way reclusive or narrow in his interests. While a reluctant partygoer, he was a most entertaining teller of stories, had an astonishingly broad general knowledge, was a keen reader, loved opera (he did his drawings with ABC radio playing) and was well enough known as a fisherman for there to be an unofficial ‘Shepherd’s Rock’ at nearby Kurnell.

There was little to single out the family house in Maroubra Bay Road. Shepherd took his research seriously – he shared in some ferocious debates in his correspondence columns – but there was absolutely no pretence; there was nothing in his manner to hint that here was one of the foremost authorities on motoring history. Joan and Bob Shepherd made everyone most welcome, whether they were famous names or awed tram-travelling young admirers (for which all those young admirers remain very grateful).

Voisin Grand Prix, 1923. Gabriel Voisin was a pioneer French aviator and aircraft manufacturer, as well as an innovative car maker. His cars for the 1923 French GP had only around 75hp from their 2-litre six-cylinder Knight double-sleeve-valve engines, but had aerodynamic body work and disc covered wire wheels and a true monocoque chassis of plywood and sheet metal. The drawing appeared in the September 1956 AMS.
This is a spread from Bob Shepherd’s Maserati scrap-book, a simple but effective way of archiving material, I guess we all have one, or many! (D Zeunert Collection)

Like many remarkable people, Bob Shepherd was a paradox. He almost never drove a Vintage car, seldom went to the Vintage club meetings, yet was – without realising it – the Australian Vintage movement’s finest publicist. He never travelled outside Australia, never saw any of his beloved cars in their heyday, yet he knew them in minute detail and could picture them with elegant clarity. He had rare gifts yet remained a modest and gentle man. With this book we remember that man.”

Graham Howard, Sydney, 1993.

Talbot-Darracq 1.5-litre, 1926 (above). Continuing Darracq’s pre-1914 racing tradition, the company’s cars for the 1926 1.5-litre formula were 140bhp supercharged twin-cam straight-eights (56mm x 75.5mm, 1488cc). Engine and gearbox were slightly offset to the drivers left. A much modified version of one of these cars (still in 2021) survives in Australia, imported after WW2. The drawing appeared in the October 1951 AMS.

Oops, nearly forgot the Miller 122 at this pieces outset. Miller, 1923. Influenced by Fiat, Harry Miller used two valves per cylinder in hemispherical chambers when he scaled down his 183-cubic inch straight-eight for the 122-inch (2-litre) limit applying from 1923, obtaining an unrivalled 120bhp. Supercharged from 1924, and reduced to 91c.i. from 1926, these engines won Indianapolis in 1923, 1926, 1928 and 1929. That drawing appeared in the April 1957 AMS.

Credits…

‘Racing Cars Through The Years’ Bob Shepherd and Graeme Howard, Bob King Collection, David Zenuert Collection

Tailpiece…

Finito…

Gurney in Lotus 29-R1 Ford at Indy in March 1963. Here with symmetrical suspension, raced with offset

A bit like Chris Amon, there is no such thing as too much Dan Gurney.

I’ve been researching an article on Lotus’ 1963 Indy campaign and have discovered a few Dan shots too good to waste.

Gurney’s mind was blown, just like everybody elses, when the Lotus 25 Climax was rolled out of the Team Lotus transporter at Zandvoort in 1962. That monocoque design was an Indy winner; as a Californian he was keen to drink the Indy Winners Milk.

He said as much to Colin Chapman and flicked the Lotus supremo a free air ticket to watch him contest the ’62 event in a Mickey Thompson Spl; John Crosthwaite’s mid-engined, spaceframe powered by a Buick stock-block V8. Dan ran in the top ten until the transaxle was hors ‘d combat. Importantly ole-chunky was on the hook.

I promise your slice of the pie will be no less than that Daniel! Colin Chapman and Dan Gurney at Indy in 1963
Lotus 29 Ford’s first test at Indy in March 1963. Gurney aboard chassis R1, which is fitted with symmetrical suspension, wobbly-web wheels rather than the Dunlops it raced with and stack-exhausts rather than the megaphones which followed (unattributed)

Gurney was a Ford man, his teenage hot-rod exploits were all Flattie-Ford powered. He raced a Holman Moody Ford Fairlane NASCAR at Riverside in early ’62 and used a couple of Ford heavies he met that weekend to set up a meeting between he, Chapman and the-right Ford execs at Dearborn in July.

By March 1963 the Lotus 29 – call it a fat-25 – powered by a 350-375bhp, 255cid all aluminium pushrod variant of the 260 Windsor Falcon/Fairlane V8 was being tested for the first time by Jim Clark at Snetterton.

At Indy Clark ran second to Parnelli Jones’ Watson Offy Roadster for the last 20 or 30 laps. Jones was dropping oil, but was not black-flagged as other cars dropping lubricant throughout the race had been.

The Indy Establishment, led by Chief Steward Harlan Fengler – who had the black flag power – shafted Lotus, Ford, Chapman, Clark and Gurney. Revenge was sweet in 1965 when Lotus Fords occupied the front row driven by Gurney, Clark and AJ Foyt – and Clark won.

Gurney was seventh in 1963, his engine wore a cam-lobe, so he wasn’t able to press hard in the same manner as Clark. Check out my Auto Action feature on the 1963 race here; Auto Action #1823 by Auto Action – Buy through Issuu

Clark and Gurney, in his Yamaha sponsored 29, Indy 1963 (unattributed)
Gurney during the Milwaukee 200 in 1963 (unattributed)

Keen to reinforce the point about their speed, Clark and Gurney raced in the Milwaukee 200 three weeks after Indy, Clark won with Gurney third.

In 1964 the same duo raced the evolved Lotus 34, the most critical mechanical change of which was use of Ford’s Quad Cam Indy V8; this fuel injected, four-cam, two valve V8 produced circa 400bhp.

AJ Foyt’s Watson Offy won the race – the last by a front-engined car- which is primarily remembered for the horrific seven car, lap two accident and conflagration which cost the lives of Dave MacDonald (Thompson Ford and Eddie Sachs (Halibrand Ford). Coincidently, Sach’s Watson was the last casualty of ‘Fengler’s oil slick’ the year before, when he boofed the fence on lap 181, and then copped a punch-in-the-nose the following day when he fronted Jones about his win.

Gurney’s Lotus 34 quad-cam in 1964, Chapman alongside (D Friedman)

Lotus were contracted to Dunlop in F1. Chapman used hard Firestones in ’63 and sought the performance , and no doubt, commercial advantage of softer Dunlops in ’64. One of Clark’s (from pole) tyres failed after 47 laps taking out the left-rear corner of the car. Gurney retired after 110 laps with excessive wear…FoMoCo were not amused as Clark’s failure happened on the entry to the main-straightaway (front straight) providing an exciting – and oh so public – epic-fail in front of 150,000 or so spectators.

Needless to say, Ford took control of tyre choice in 1965, an all-Ford year.

Indy front row 1965; Gurney, left and Clark in Lotus 38s and AJ Foyt on pole, Lotus 34 Ford (AAR archive)
Gurney, Lotus 38 Ford, Indy 1965 (unattributed)

AJ Foyt’s Lotus 34 Ford took pole while Clark’s Lotus 38 won, having led 189 of the 200 laps, from Jones Lotus 34 Ford, a young Mario Andretti’s (Brabham based) Hawk Ford and All Miller’s Lotus 29 Ford. Poor old Dan started from the outside of the front row but was a DNF after 38 laps with timing-gear failure in his Lotus 38.

While his Eagles won plenty of Indy 500s, Dan never did take one as a driver, a great shame!

Etcetera…

(MotorSport)

The business end of Gurney’s Lotus 29-R2 in 1963.

Gurney and Chapman pitched a 4.2-litre pushrod engine to Ford. They figured, based on Dan’s 1962 experience, that a 350 pound, 350bhp petrol fuelled Ford V8 would do the trick. As it did…

Clark’s Lotus 34 Ford in 1964.

Lotus 29 and 34 were bathtub-monocoques, the 38 was a full-monocoque. Note the offset suspension to the right, and Ford quad-cam 4.2-litre V8.

Credits…

Getty Images, David Friedman, AAR Archive

Tailpiece…

(AAR archive)

The boys fire up Dan’s Ford V8 in 1967. His beautiful, dual purpose F1/Indycar design, in Indy spec designated Eagle 67 Ford was designed by Len Terry, the same bloke who drew Chapman’s epochal Lotus 25 F1 car and 29/34/38 Indycars.

He started from Q2, led 2 of the 200 laps but was out after 160 laps with piston failure. Better would come, Bobby Unser won in an Eagle 68 Offy in 1968, and Dan was second in an Eagle 68 Gurney-Weslake-Ford.

Finito…

Cheetah Mk4 Toyota mounted Brian Shead and a distant Brian Sampson, sandwich Tony Stewarts ANF2 Birrana 273 Ford as they enter Sandown’s Dandenong Road corner circa 1973 (B Jones Collection)

Brian Shead’s first car, the Mk1, Cooper-esque, BMC A-series powered Formula Junior was completed on August 1, 1960 and raced by the man himself. The Marks 2 and 3 were finished in early 1962 and 1963 respectively. Sheady got serious about ‘volume production’ in 1968 despite still having a ‘real-job’, his Service Manager role at Conquip Victoria was handily close to his home and workshop in Mordialloc, a Melbourne bayside suburb.

Brian Shead fettles his Cheetah Mk1 BMC at Rob Roy hillclimb, in Melbourne’s outer east, circa 1961. Note Laurie Rofe’s ? Alfa P3 at rear (M Borland Collection)

The Mark 4A was made from one-inch, 18-gauge round and square steel tube. Outboard wishbone suspension was used using the “later stiffer Triumph Spitfire front uprights,” Brian wrote in his diary. The rear suspension comprised a single top link, inverted lower wishbone, two radius rods and Shead’s cast aluminium uprights.

Rack and pinion steering was by way of modified Renault items, “all cars used modified VW transmissions with the F2 and F3 models employing the first of the recently introduced Holinger five-speed quick change units. Under seat aluminium six gallon fuel tanks were fitted whilst the Bob Edmonds Polyfibre Products body work was in fibreglass. A 16-gauge aluminium undertray was bonded and rivetted to the lower chassis rails. A new enclosed tandem trailer was built to transport my car,” Shead wrote.

Sampson’s Mk4 Toyota (S Gall)
Sambo’s Mk4 showing Holinger five-speed transaxle, fabricated rear uprights and Mario Costa built wheels. Sampson’s Motor Improvements’ 1.3-litre pushrod, twin Weber fed race motors were the ducks-guts F3/Clubman unit of the day and gave circa 130bhp (S Gall)

Peter Macrow’s 1.6-litre Ford twin-cam ANF2 car (Mk4B # 43-2) proceeded as funds allowed but one car, #4H-1 for Don Biggar and Shead’s #43-1 were finished mid-year. Biggar’s machine was a hillclimber fitted with a 3.5-litre Oldsmobile V8 and modified VW gearbox. Shead’s car was tested at Calder in mid-May, then made its race-debut on May 31.

Continuing good results and several wins over Brian Sampson’s Elfin 600B Toyota led to an order from Sambo for a Mk4 (#43-3), his car was finished in January 1973. Brian Shead describes this car as the “first production chassis, minor changes were made in the chassis layout. Live front axles were used with fabricated front and rear uprights, Holinger gearbox. Toyota Corolla 1300cc engine, new front nosecone and cockpit body sections.”

Other production Mk4s were built for Peter Roach (43-4), Vincent McLaughlan (43-5), while an ANF2 1.6-litre Ford twin-cam Mk4E (342-1) was delivered to Graeme Crawford in February. That makes seven Mk4’s in total, and I’m sure David Crabtree’s ANF2 Mk4 – which he retains – was delivered to Crabby and built up by him, so that makes eight…

The Mark 4 Cheetah was the dominant ANF3 car of the era, perhaps not so much in Sydney, where none were resident, and set up the reign of terror of the small-bore-classes Brian Shead had for the best part of a decade.

Shead’s car (Brian leaning over the engine at right rear) at Calder circa 1973, car by this stage fitted with fabricated front uprights rather than the Triumph Spitfire/Alford & Alder units with which it was originally built. These were chuckable, strong, light , fast racing cars (S Gall)
Same Calder meeting with a spot of MI Toyota Corolla valve, rocker or head gasket problems…(S Gall)

Credits…

Stephen Gall, Brendan Jones Collection, Brian Shead Diary, Michael Borland Collection

Tailpieces…

(Auto Action)

Racing cars are never static of course, by 1973 Australian F3 cars were growing wings as shown on the Sampson and Shead Mk4s at Winton above.

Shead’s solution at this stage was a modest rear body panel come wing, and wingless at the front.

A fugly Tyrrell-type nose followed, as shown below, all of which was refined in the marvellous, even more successful monocoque Mk5 and Mk6 F3/F2 machines which followed. Stories for another time, or you could buy Auto Action issue #1815 which covers the topic rather nicely; Auto Action #1815 by Auto Action – Issuu

The other member of the Victorian Cheetah triumvirate is Peter Macrow, running third at Sandown’s Causeway area circa 1973 – Sambo from Sheady up front. Look at the different rear-wing supports (B Jones Collection)
(B Jones Collection)

Another shot of Brian Shead at Amaroo Park or perhaps Phillip Island. This aero evolution is towards the end of their time as the works machines, supported as you can see by Toyota; Australian Motor Industries, the Toyota importer, had been longtime supporters of Sambo’s Triumph Spitfire.

Neat engine cover, the appearance of Tony Alcock’s and Malcolm Ramsay’s monocoque Birrana 374 made it clear a new car was required, some marvellous racing followed between the Cheetahs and Paul King/Dean Hosking/Jim Evans 374s in 1974.

Finito…

(B King)

Known as ‘The Giant of Provence’, this 1900 metre mountain dominates southern Provence; its bald, treeless, summit gives it the appearance of being snow covered.

It will be familiar to those who watch ‘Le Tour de France’ (and who doesn’t?) as a particularly gruelling hill climb, but few will be aware that it is also famous as a car and motorcycle hill climbing venue.

This short review was prompted when Mark Bisset spotted the featured photograph of George Boillot in my collection. Boillot, driving a Peugeot Lion, achieved FTD in 1910; this photograph shows him near the summit on a 7.6-litre, DOHC, 16-valve, four-cylinder Peugeot L76 on August 11, 1912. His time in 1910 was 21 min 30.4, in 1912 17 min 46 sec, and in 1913, again on Peugeot, he ascended in 17 min 38 sec.

Note the W-registration, a factory trade plate. No-doubt George and his compatriots had driven the car 600 kilometres from the Lion Peugeot factory in Sochaux to the Mount.

Boillot and passenger in 1912, lack of L76 front brakes doubtless added to the challenge! (unattributed)
Ettore and passenger aboard his 5-litre chain drive Type 16 (B King)

Ettore Bugatti also competed on one of his Type 16 5-litre, SOHC, three-valve, four-cylinder machines; his journey from Molsheim would have been 750 kilometres.

Note the luggage rack on which he mounted his suitcase for the journey from Molsheim! C/n 471 still exists…as does the suitcase.

Bugatti and passenger aboard T16 at Mont Ventoux. This view is perhaps not the racer’s best angle (unattributed)

The hillclimb dates back to 1902 and the “Palmares Autos” is decorated with many famous names – to mention just a few: Rougier, Boillot of course, Thomas, Divo, Carraciola, Straight, Von Stuck, Trintignant, Behra, Barth, Hermann, Stommelen and Mitter – a veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of Grand Prix and Hill Climbing talent.

With no safety barriers and a winning average speed of almost 150 kph there were no more open events after 1976, presumably for safety reasons.

Etcetera…

Boillot, Peugeot again, year uncertain, advice welcome (B King)

Credits…

Bob King Collection

Tailpiece…

In 2002 an event was held to commemorate 100 years since the first event. My wife and I were lucky enough to chance on this celebration as we were holidaying in the region.

And what an event with over 250 racing cars and motorcycles with everything from a 1902 Paris-Vienna Renault, through scads of barely known French voiturettes (D’Yrsan, BNC, Darmont, Rally and so on), to a Porsche 906 Carrera 6 that competed in 1967, and an Abarth SP 2000 which was the European hill climb champion in 1970. What a feast for eye and ear!

The French even manage to make their brochure ads cool rather than gauche!

Finito…

image

Denny Hulme’s snub/Monaco nosed McLaren M7A Ford passing Pedro Rodriguez’ very dead BRM P133 V12 during the 1968 Monaco Grand Prix…

By lap 16 there were only five cars left in the race won by Graham Hill’s Lotus 49B Ford from Richard Attwood’s BRM P126 and Lucien Bianchi’s Cooper T86B Maserati. Pedro boofed the Len Terry designed BRM on lap 16 having qualified ninth, Denny raced his car to fifth.

A couple of design aspects of the P126/133 design in the shot below are worth noting. The Hewland DG300 transaxle is the only occasion on which a non-BRM ‘box was fitted to a Bourne designed and built car. Checkout the remaining right-rear suspension componentry too, the twin-parallel-lower-links set up to better control rear toe, later picked up by all and sundry, was first designed for this car by Len.

image

Credits…

Rainer Schlegelmilch

Tailpieces: Pedro and BRM P133 in pre-rooted state…

image

(unattributed)

(unattributed)

(unattributed)

Finito…

Max Stewart with John Walker at right, Calder 1972. Repco-Holden V8, then circa 490bhp powered Elfin MR5 and Matich A50 (S Gall)

During 1972, then Australian automotive parts manufacturing and retailing colossus, Repco Ltd celebrated its half century.

Yes folks, that means the now foreign owned 400 store retailer of automotive bits and pieces made by others is a centenarian in 2022! They have some exciting things planned for next year, I won’t rain on their parade by sharing the bits I’m aware of.

Time flies all too fast, as a young teenager I attended two of the five Repco Birthday Series F5000 championship meetings run at Calder between March and December ‘72 as part of those celebrations.

The man who was ‘sposed to win the Repco Birthday Series, F Matich Esq. Bi-winged Matich A50 Repco-Holden, Calder 1972 (S Gall)

At that stage Repco had been out of F1 for four years, the 3-litre V8 Repco Brabham Engines program had yielded two GP world constructors and drivers championships for Brabham Cars (Motor Racing Developments Ltd), Repco Brabham Engines Pty. Ltd, Jack Brabham and Denny Hulme in 1966-1967.

Repco’s cost effective means of maintaining a racing presence after pulling the F1 pin was a partnership with General Motors Holdens to build F5000 engines using GMH’ then ‘spankers 308 V8 as a base, from 1969 to 1974.

Phil Irving and Brian Heard did mighty fine jobs, their Repco-Holden V8 engine design won AGPs, NZ GPs, many Tasman rounds, several Gold Stars and countless sports-sedan and sportscar races.

The interloper: KB in his sinfully sexy and oh-so-fast Lola T300 Chev at Calder in 1972 (I Smith)

It was therefore a pain-in-the-tit when Kevin Bartlett’s Chev powered Lola T300 rained on Repco’s parade in their home state by winning a ‘72 championship the grand plan of which involved a Repco-Holden engined victory!

It wasn’t all bad, Frank Matich, in the Repco sponsored Matich A50 Repco-Holden won that years Gold Star, but KB’s two Birthday Series round wins gave him a nine point advantage over FM. Conversely, Bartlett was 12 points short of Matich in the Australian Drivers Championship, the Gold Star.

Repco’s race heritage goes all the way back. In 1935 they were sponsors of engineering substance, rather than just cash…not that cash is to be scoffed at (B King Collection)

In recent times Repco have returned to racing as series sponsors of the Bathurst maxi-taxis. In the forty years they were involved as OE and aftermarket suppliers to the motor industry, and constructors of cars (Maybachs, Repco Record), race engines, components and equipment from the mid-1930s to 1974 Repco’s involvement was supreme.

Still, the comparison is unfair. We once had an automotive industry in this country until it was sodomised to a standstill by a troika (sic) of incompetent, greedy fuckwits bereft of commonsense or a single-cell of vision; management, government and organised labour.

Gees he was a big, lanky prick wasn’t he? The capped Marvellous Maxwell Stewart partially obscured by mutton-chopped Bryan Thomson or Garrie Cooper (? who-izzit?) in the BP compound at Calder in 1972. Elfin MR5 Repco, not Max’ favourite car (S Gall)

Etcetera…

(T Johns Collection)

More on the use of Repco pistons and rings in 1935. This time fitted to Les Murphy’s MG P-Type during the ‘1935 Centenary 300’ held at Phillip Island in January.

(S Gall)

Warwick Brown proved he had the ability to handle these demanding 5-litre roller skates in 1972 having jumped out of a Cosworth FVC powered McLaren M4A – McLaren M10B Chev heading into Calder’s main straight in 1972.

(S Gall)

Graham ‘Lugsy’ Adams – then mechanic and later rather handy driver and F5000 constructor – does his best to focus on the Calder job at hand. Is that the future, and still current Mrs Brown looking thoroughly wonderful behind an M10B shortly to become Bryan Thomson’s Volksrolet?

Credits…

Stephen Gall, Bob King Collection, Ian Smith, Tony Johns Collection, Barry Edmunds

Tailpiece…

(B Edmunds)

John Harvey in one of the very few appearances of Bob Jane’s Bowin P8 Repco-Holden F5000 at Calder in 1972 – Surfers Paradise and Warwick Farm were the others as far as I can see.

Bowin bias hereby declared…here I go. Again.

This beautiful, small, light, compact, ingenious, variable-rate suspension F5000 never got the run it deserved. Supposedly Janey put it to one side because Castrol wanted him to focus on his taxis rather than his real cars.

Then Leffo bought it in mid-1974, sans Repco-Holden V8, to replace the P8 chassis he boofed at Amaroo and then stuffed up the installation of a Chev V8 into a chassis for which it was never designed, creating a car as stiff as a centenarians todger, with handling reflective thereof…

John Joyce’s P8 Repco design is a great Oz F5000 mighta-been, not that mighta-beens count for SFA in motor racing!

Finito…

(B King Collection)

A one-armed paper-hanger! Ron Chandler, Lancia Lambda Special (Chandler Special) at Mount Tarrengower, post-war, date folks? Isn’t it a marvellous shot, gotta be summer with that much dust.

Plenty of Vincenzo Lancia’s outstanding cars came to Australia and no shortage of them were adapted as racing cars as they aged. The mix of stiff monocoque chassis, SOHC V4, four-speed gearbox and independent front suspension was irresistible to enthusiasts. The Chandler was a mix of narrowed fifth series chassis and eighth series components. Ron had no shortage of knowledge or parts, he was a Lancia dealer/wrecker in Melbourne’s inner-eastern suburb, Hawthorn.

(J Hickford)

The shot above shows Eddie Perkins (Larry’s dad) at the wheel of the Chandler. Note the ‘sprint’ fuel tank (‘snot water I think) and support structure, the chassis and exhaust are also clear. Perkins built a mid-engined Lancia Special of his own circa 1951 – a story for another time.

This car later morphed into the Lambda based, monoposto Meadows Special built by Rob Harcourt, shown below at Winton. It marries a narrowed fifth series chassis and seventh series Lambda components mixed with a 3-litre 4EH Meadows engine first fitted to an Australian assembled Chic circa 1925. With around 200bhp, it’s a very quick car.

(A Cox Collection)

Etcetera…

(Classic Cars in Profile)

Stripped Lambda shows the key elements of the design to good effect – that pressed steel unitary/monocoque chassis was so far ahead of its time…Ease with which it can be cut-and-shut obvious.

(unattributed)

Credits…

Bob King Collection, Andrew Cox in the Lancia Motor Club website, Colin Marr, John Hickford, Classic Cars in Profile

Tailpiece…

(C Marr Collection)

Rob Harcourt’s Lancia Meadows Spl during the Australian Grand Prix carnival at Albert Park in 2000. The dude on the right is Sir Stirling Moss in an HWM Jaguar – which HWM Jaguar?

Finito…

Jumbo Goddard and Bob King, Bugatti T35C on the Mildura, Victoria dirt in 1970 (B King)

164 MPH IN A VINTAGE BENTLEY–THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JOHN LEMUEL ‘JUMBO’ GODDARD – A GENTLEMAN ADVENTURER

“Jumbo liked shiny things”.

A legend in his own lifetime, much has been written about John L. Goddard. His life story has been told by journalist luminaries including Bill Boddy (Motor Sport, 12/62), Pedr Davis, (Sports Car World, 9/63), John Croxson (Autocar, 1/73), Eoin Young (Classic Car, 8/74) and Doug Nye (Collector’s Cars, 11/79). There was also an excellent review of his life written by Tom King in the New Zealand Rolls Royce and Bentley Club magazine in 2012. Mark Bisset thought it was time to introduce Jumbo to a new audience.

It’s said that John Goddard acquired his nick-name – by which he was always addressed – when his generous size was observed by Captain J.E.P. Howey who remarked “Hmmm…he much resembles a pantomime elephant from behind, doesn’t he”? Jumbo was very much in the ‘Bulldog Drummond’ mould of “a class of Englishman who were patriotic, loyal and ‘physically and morally intrepid’”. Far be it for the writer to question Jumbo’s morals, but the description otherwise fits perfectly. Jumbo’s lifestyle was not for the ordinary mortal; it required not only that ‘Englishness’, but also the means to indulge his passions.

John Lemuel Goddard (Cummins Collection)
(Cummins Collection)

Early days

Born at the inappropriately named Tilbury Forest Cottage (more of a mansion than a cottage), at Peas Pottage, Jumbo was brought up in comfortable circumstances. His Barrister father Jack was a sporting motorist who favoured big Daimlers – for a time he held the hill record at South Harting driving one of these chain-driven monsters. His six cars were maintained in a fully equipped, tiled and centrally heated workshop by a staff of four, chauffer, second chauffer, mechanic and washer. The machine tools were driven by an electric motor powered by a Ruston engine and generator set. These were accommodated in a sunken power-house accessed by polished hand rails and white-washed steps. Electricity was also available to light the house, pump water and power an organ – unlike the workshop, the house was not centrally heated. At an early age Jumbo stood on a box to watch the operation of the workshop machinery – it seemed his fate was sealed. Rather than follow his father into the legal profession, he opted for a mechanical engineering apprenticeship with J.G. Parry Thomas at Brooklands Motor Course, but this was not to be when Thomas died during a world-speed record attempt in his 27-litre chain-driven ‘Babs’ in March 1927.

Goddard family Maxwell at Tilgate Forest 1910, Jumbo in the care of a Nanny (Cummins Collection)

While still a school-boy, Jumbo obtained a three-wheeler Morgan which was followed by a Francis Beart tuned Morgan Blackburne which had a formidable power-to-weight ratio – 5 cwt. and 60 to 70 bhp on a good day – the rear tyre had a short life. With this notoriously difficult device he obtained a Brooklands Gold Medal by lapping at over 100 mph. After a brief flirtation with two wheels (frowned on by his parents) he moved to a “gutless wonder” MG 14/40 which was quickly replaced by a 2-litre, 6-cylinder Marlborough which again did not meet with the owner’s approval. His next move was pivotal in his motoring career; he replaced the “fantastically awful” Marlborough with a Red Label 3-litre Bentley.

In a pattern that was to become familiar, Jumbo was soon improving the car; replacing its single Smiths carburetter with twin SU’s. By now a 19-year-old marine apprentice with John I. Thornycroft’s Woolston shipyard, he went a step further, supercharging the Bentley engine with a Cozette supercharger attached to a redesigned cambox cast in bronze by Thornycrofts to his design. As this did not provide sufficient urge, the next step was to replace the 3-litre engine with one from a 6 ½ litre car, enlarged to 7.2 litre’ and developing 175 bhp. On completion of his Thorneycroft contract, he set up a boatyard at Hythe on Southampton Water which was short-lived.

Jumbo, perhaps, with one of the Morgans (Cummins Collection)

His considerable passions were not confined to the motorcar as he also had a love for boats and steam. There are no photos of a young Jumbo sailing a model boat on some idyllic pond in rural England, but by the late twenties he had owned a speed record holding steam driven boat, Miss Chatterbox IV. She was replaced by a slipper stern-drive boat ‘Shawk’ which had previously been owned by Count Louis Zborowski. Jumbo’s ‘improvement’ was to replace the previous engine with a Zeppelin from a plane that had been shot down over England. Steam interests were maintained by working as a train driver on his friend Johnny Howey’s Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway.

Jumbo made his first visit to Australia in 1934, but no first-class cabin for him; he worked his way before the mast on one of the most famous grain ships – the 4-masted barque Herzogin Cecilie (below) which won the Great Australian Grain Race eight times in succession. (This would have been no pleasure cruise – for an account of the hardships experienced on one of these grain boats, Eric Newby’s ‘The Last Grain Race’ is recommended reading). He then had a period sailing the South Pacific on a trading schooner while enjoying the associated delights.

Herzogin Cecilie (unattributed)

He liked what he saw in Australia and purchased a Ford V8 ute which he drove from Brisbane to Perth. He became interested in prospecting for minerals, spending the pre-war years in New Guinea where he also worked as a fitter and turner in a mining venture.

Just before the war he was back in England, buying a blower-4½ litre Bentley described as a bundle of trouble coupled with an 8-mpg thirst. During the war he was attached to the Admiralty doing design work on propellers for 110-foot Fairmile motor torpedo boats powered by four Bristol Hercules engines – the idea of 56 cylinders and 18,000 hp would have appealed to him, and possibly gave him ideas for a record-breaking car in the future. (‘There is no substitute for litres’). He was one of the many brave volunteer seamen involved in the Dunkirk rescue using a flotilla of little boats.

A Fiat 500 and various Morris’s sufficed as wartime transport, but on the conclusion of hostilities he bought a 1½ litre Aston Martin which wanted “150 hp on account of its weight”. A more satisfactory solution was a 328 BMW which was followed by an ex-Peter Whitehead XK 120 Jaguar which he progressively modified with a C-type specification engine and disc brakes – he kept this car for the rest of his life.

In a derelict building he found a competition 9½ litre Cottin-Desgouttes which had taken the Mont Ventoux hill record in 1911. His 3-litre Bentley now had a 4½ litre motor. An 8-litre Bentley chassis which had been converted to an ambulance was purchased – this car will feature later in our story. To this burgeoning collection was added the ‘cherry on the top’, the two-year-old D-type Jaguar OKV 1 driven to second place at Le Mans by Hamilton and Rolt in 1954. This car, too, will be re-visited.

Jumbo and ‘OKV1’ on a damp Newport Beach to Gundagai trip with Ian Cummins in 1970. This D Type sang-for-its-supper! (Cummins Collection)

Mayflower 2 (unattributed)

 In 1957 Jumbo signed on as an ordinary seaman on ‘Mayflower II’ with Allan Villiers, sailing from Plymouth, Devon to Plymouth, Massachusetts in a 56-day voyage replicating the 1620 voyage of the original Mayflower.

His peripatetic lifestyle led him back to Australia in the late forties where he prospected for uranium. In Alice Springs he befriended pioneer aviator Eddie Connellan and took an interest in Connellan Airlines which operated in the Northern Territory. He then joined Consolidated African selection Trust, prospecting in Sierra Leone and Ghana. In the absence of female company, evenings were spent playing poker with uncut diamonds as chips.

Bugatti T35C at, or rather in! Hove To. “Even with floral covered armchairs, that is a proper mancave!” quipped Paul Cummins (Cummins Collection)

After his retirement in 1962 he spent most of his time in Australia with his expanding car collection. The D-Type was brought here, to which he added a Type 35C 8-cylinder supercharged Bugatti that he had stumbled on in a local village. He had its counterpart in England, a Type 51 with similar specifications to the Type 35, but twin overhead camshaft. At one time he also had a Le Mans 4.9-litre Type 50 Bugatti and a Type 57.

Other cars, some of which shuttled back and forth between England and Australia, included three Frazer Nashs – the ex-AFP Fane single-seater which had broken the Shelsley Walsh hill record in 1937, a TT Replica and an Australian car modified into a single seat racing car. His English collection was cared for by his friend Tom Wheatcroft at his Donington Museum.

Porsche 356, Bugatti T35C and Frazer Nash on the turntable at Hove To (Cummins Collection)

Jumbo settled at Newport Beach, overlooking Pittwater and his beloved Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club – the oldest yacht club in Australia. The term ‘idiosyncratic’ better describes Jumbo than ‘eccentric’. This extended to his habitual dress featuring sockless and lace-less desert boots, later replaced by similar plimsolls; his shorts had invisible mending over previous iterations of the same and were held up by binder-twine. His sockless state, however, did pose problems as he was unable to enter the main clubrooms of his yacht club, being confined to the downstairs public bar. His dress was completed by a Victorian Police issue blue shirt with epaulets.

He named his home at Pittwater ‘Hove To’, acknowledging that his international sailing days were over. It consisted of two houses joined by a covered and carpeted passageway crammed with ephemera pertaining to his motoring, nautical and steam interests. Whatever space was left was filled by his book collection – for reasons the writer never fathomed, Jumbo always had two of each book. To access the motor-house, which was at the top of a steep driveway, a car had to be driven onto a turn table which was then rotated towards the garage, or, if you were sufficiently skilled, you could land on the table with enough impetus to have the car pointing in the right direction.

Jumbo with 300SL in Melbourne to buy the fabulous Mercedes 38/250 for Jack Jeffries from Trevor Willey at right (Cummins Collection)

Once in the garage you were exposed to his delightful and changing collection; at any one time there might be his Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing which had been converted to RHD, a supercharged MG TC, a minivan into which was shoe-horned a Lotus Ford twin-cam motor, a competition 904 Porsche alongside a four-cam roller bearing Carrera 356, the Bentleys and Jaguars as well as a 30/98 Vauxhall, previously owned by the writer, which had received the full Jumbo treatment with a special aluminium cylinder head designed for him by his friend Phil Irving, with pattern making and machining done in Bob Chamberlain’s workshop in Port Melbourne.

Awaiting his attention was a much-modified Vauxhall 30/98 chassis known as the ‘drain-pipe special’ in the light of its tubular chassis members, into which he intended to fit a WWI Hispano Suiza aero engine. In England he still had the 8-litre Bentley chassis which he saw as a suitable recipient for a 12.7-litre Bugatti Royale motor from a French motor-rail. All cars were modified – even his minivan had horizontally opening rear doors which provided a picnic table when open.

Jumbo ready for the off, Frazer Nash, Wollongong Hillclimb 1968 (Cummins Collection)
Jumbo, with hands on hips, inspects the Halvorsen launch ‘Golliwog’, which is being prepared for launch (Cummins Collection)

A weekend at Jumbo’s was a wonderful experience. One was greeted by Jumbo with his up-side down smile, once described as a contented scowl, informing one that a visit to the yacht club for a drink was confined to the public bar– “Sorry I can’t take you upstairs, they want me to wear socks”. Back to Pittwater next morning to see SS Golliwog, a reconstructed 48’ 1910 Admiralty steam pinnace complete with its original triple expansion steam engine, which Jumbo was having built in Huon pine and teak by Lars Halvorsen and Sons. “Sorry we can’t steam her; we have a problem with jellyfish being sucked into the water intakes – looking for a solution”.

As a special favour Jumbo was allowed to moor Golliwog amongst the pristine RPAYC yacht fleet, so long as it did not leak any oil. This required Jumbo to mop up the bilges with a bucket and sponge each morning. Bobbing up and down at anchor was his Dragon Class racer ‘Sama’ used for competition each Wednesday. Seemingly like everything he owned, this too was modified with an extra 4 feet added to the mast and half a ton of lead to the keel – it either went like the ‘clappers’, or broke. In 1946, ’47 and’48 he been a crew member on the 65’ ‘Morna’ for three of her wins in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. She was the largest yacht on Sydney Harbour.

Morna on the Derwent, Hobart (unattributed)

Boats done with, it was back to the house to check out the latest motoring project and to admire the tower clock from the Sydney cricket ground which was at repose along the back wall of the garage waiting for Jumbo to re-engineer it so that, through a system of pulleys, he could have it operating above his garage without the need for a fifty-foot tower. A ‘Flying Scotsman’ locomotive name-plate was on a wall behind his work bench – a reminder of an intended trip across America by steam on the ‘Scot’ that did not come to fruition. Various cars were tried out on the local roads, and on one occasion the writer was deputised to drive his supercharged MG TC at Amaroo hill climb. Saturday night was interesting – the guest bedroom was adjacent to the clock-room which housed most of Jumbo’s 65 clocks. As a couple of hours on Sunday morning were devoted to clock winding, many of the clocks were either fast or slow by Saturday. This meant that the would-be sleeping guest was subjected to an aural barrage of whirrings, dings, dongs, clunks and cuckoos.

Steam engines remained an interest and on one occasion Peter Latreille had the writer bring his model beam engine to a Saturday night dinner at which Jumbo was a guest. Of course, the engine was fired up during an intermission in the eating and drinking. Jumbo was duly impressed until he slowed the engine by laying a finger on the flywheel, announcing “It’s down on power, is the valve timing correct?”

A formidable team. Kevin Wheatcroft, Ian Cummins, Tom Wheatcroft, Jumbo with inverted smile, and Gavin Bain (Cummins Collection)
Jumbo and Mike Hailwood (Cummins Collection)

As can be imagined, Jumbo had a wide circle of friends including Amherst Villiers of Bentley supercharging fame, Mike Hailwood, Donald Campbell, Briggs Cunningham, Tom Wheatcroft, Bob Chamberlain and Phil Irving. In Australia Phil was his go-to engineer and the two of them assisted at Donald Campbell’s land speed record on Lake Eyre; they operated a milling machine used to level the course. When in Melbourne Jumbo delighted in attending Lou Molina’s legendary Monday lunches, the fare being served in the lube bay of his mate Silvio Massola’s service station; the table being a giant board painted and shaped to represent a Bugatti badge placed on top of a partially raised car hoist.

Jumbo had an eye for the ladies. Peter Latreille recalls a visit to Hove To on his honeymoon with Ann who was wearing an ultra-short miniskirt – Jumbo took one glance and suggested she might like to take a seat in the monoposto Frazer Nash. Bob Chamberlain recalled a visit to Warrandyte to see Phil Irving and his partner Edith was also wearing a miniskirt and had her hair dyed red. Jumbo availed himself of the opportunity to confirm that the ‘curtains did not match the carpet’.

Most of Jumbo’s cars are worth special mention – indeed they were all ‘specials’ having been modified in some way to suit his taste; even his tow car was a blacked-out 3500 Rover, devoid of all external ornament or badging. Some of his cars were extra-special and will be dealt with in some detail.

Jumbo and D Type at Hove To, Newport Beach, Sydney (G Bain)

The D-type Jaguar, OKV 1.

The Le Mans D-type was bought by Hamilton from Jaguar after the event and was displayed at the Paris Motor Show. It suffered accident damage on its way back to England and it was in this state that Jumbo bought it, subsequently modifying it to his taste for high-speed touring. This revamping was carried out under the guidance of Jaguars racing team manager Lofty England. A full width windscreen was fitted together with a habitable passenger seat, a door and luggage space sufficient for a picnic basket, thus sacrificing some petrol tank capacity. It became the inspiration for the Jaguar XK SS.

One of its high-speed journeys from Sydney to Melbourne was conducted in January heat – the external exhaust pipes below the passenger side door added to the heat stress. On arrival in Melbourne Jumbo and his passenger, New Zealander Gavin Bain, visited Peter Menere in his Pier Garage in Brighton to see if there was a way to relieve the heat in the passenger seat. Peter’s solution was a car scuttle ventilator let into the floor and controlled by a cable. Gavin laughs when he sees replica XJ SSs with this ‘authentic’ detail.

Gavin recalls another high-speed trip from Sydney to Adelaide. Jumbo: “We will average 60mph and do 60 minute ‘watches’”. With Gavin at the wheel, Jumbo would then go instantly to sleep in the passenger seat, only to wake almost exactly one hour later, exclaiming “It must be time for my watch”. He had not lost his seafaring habits.

A very much slower trip for the D-Type was when it was used as support vehicle to a steam traction engine being moved to Ted Lobb’s property at Grenfell in the Riverina – the average speed would have been less than 6 mph, not 60. Jumbo’s companion for this trip was the legendary ‘Bunty’ Scott-Moncrieff, dressed in full tropical kit including ‘Bombay’ bloomers and topped by a pith hat.

Elevenses. Jumbo, Ian Cummins and Neville Webb after their record breaking run from Sydney-Adelaide in 1974 – Bentley 3-litre with the usual 4 1/2-litre modern modification (Cummins Collection)

The writer continues to regret a missed opportunity to travel in the Jaguar to the famous Mont Ventoux hill climb in Provence. In 1965 he had been invited to visit Jumbo at his cottage in Braintree, England. The purpose of the visit was to authenticate the Type 50 Le Mans Bugatti for a potential buyer in USA. “Would you like to come to Mont Ventoux in the D-Type?” At that time, not knowing Jumbo well and being shy and penniless, the offer was declined with visions of embarrassment through an inability to pay our way. On closer acquaintance with Jumbo at a later date, we realised that flash hotels were not for him and that the trip would have been conducted with the minimum expense.

A record breaking 3/4½ Bentley.

Purchased by Jumbo in Melbourne, this car was used extensively for commuting in Australia. In September 1974 he undertook another high-speed Sydney-Adelaide trip with his friend and Jaguar guru Ian Cummins as passenger with Neville Webb providing back-up in one of Jumbo’s Porsches. The 1043-mile trip took 20 hours at an average speed of 52 mph – an exceptional speed for a vintage car.

When on a rally with Jumbo one often saw his car parked by the road-side in the late morning. On stopping there would an invitation to join him for ‘elevenses’ – coffee from a Thermos which was “improved” by a generous shot of rum – another naval tradition.

The Bentley 8-litre turbo being raced at Silverstone – date and driver folks? (unattributed)

The turbo-charged 8-litre Bentley record breaker.

In 1946 Jumbo found an 8-litre Bentley that had been converted into an ambulance. 100 pounds was exchanged and a speed-record car envisaged. His original 3-litre Bentley chassis was shortened and boxed in, hydraulic brakes and telescopic shock absorbers were added and the 8-litre engine was overhauled; a light two-seater body completing the package. A mean speed of 136.4 mph at the 1962 Antwerp speed trials might have satisfied some as an adequate speed for a vintage car – but not for Jumbo, as it did not break the Bentley record previously set by Forrest Lycett with his 8-litre.

Amongst his extensive world-wide list of friends was Wilton Parker, the Vice-President of the Garret Corporation. Not since the Lockheed P38 fighter had turbochargers been used for petrol engines. The 8-litre engine was rebuilt again with a new, enlarged crankshaft, and Phil Irving designed connecting rods, forged in Melbourne, no doubt with help from Bob Chamberlain. With Jumbo, living in Australia, the car in England and the turbo arrangements being finalised in the USA, the logistics in the days of snail-mail must have been huge.

(T King)
(T King)

In spite of these difficulties, it all came together in a most satisfactory way with 550 bhp showing on the dynamometer at 4,500 rpm. This was sufficient to hurl the beast down an Autoroute near Ghent in Belgium at 164 mph one-way and a two-way average of 158.2 mph over one kilometre. Jumbo said that he was faster than all the Ferraris; there must have been a lot of dropped jaws!

Jumbo married for the only time in 1973 to Kathleen who was a car enthusiast and had been secretary to Chris Shorrock of supercharger fame. For the first time he was forced to wear socks on more formal occasions – a real concession to love.  Jumbo died in 1983 and in October 1984 a two-day auction of 733 lots from his collection was held in Sydney consisting of ‘A unique and most important collection of Vintage and Thoroughbred Cars and Motorbikes, Automobilia, Steam Models and Artifacts, Clocks and Horological Items, Marine Models. Flight – Aircraft engines and Models’, according to the auction catalogue.

They don’t make’m like that anymore.

Etcetera…

This is what some coarse Australians perhaps describe as an English Peach. If you avert your eyes northwards, Jumbo’s Blower Bentley is at the rear.

Credits…

Special thanks to Paul Cummins for the fantastic images from Dad, Ian Cummins Collection, Bob King, Gavin Bain, Tom King

Jumbo 1930s: Life, Let Me At It! (Cummins Collection)

Tailpiece

Doug Nye relates the following tale about Jumbo: On one Bugatti Rally in France, ‘Jumbo’ suffered constant trouble with a sinking carburettor float. At the Chateau Hotel lunch stop he tore down the troublesome carburettor, removed the punctured float and took it into the Hotel kitchen, where he wanted to boil it in a saucepan of water, to vaporise the methanol fuel which had filled it, so he could solder the hole and return his Bugatti to clean running.

With many hand signals and much volume, he explained to the Chef what he wanted to do, and he was assigned a gas ring, a saucepan full of water, and some tongs. But what ‘Jumbo’ had overlooked, and what the Chef was not warned of, was the explosive nature of vaporised methanol.

Laid out in that kitchen, ready for service, were plate after plate of cherishingly-crafted hors d’oeuvres, many in aspic or decorated with mayonnaise. But as ‘Jumbo’s fuel-filled carburettor float reached the critical temperature; methanol gas began to bubble from its puncture. ‘Jumbo’ lifted it from the saucepan whereupon, with a penetrating whistle, a fine spray of heated methanol shot out as if from a garden sprinkler. That airborne spray was instantly ignited by the lighted gas ring.

Deafened, dazzled by the flash, the kitchen staff stumbled around, tall hats blown off. And – worse – the blast had filled the air with floating ash, which began to settle on those exquisitely crafted hors d’oeuvres. The panic was like a Marseilles bus queue in the rush hour.

And from it all strode the majestic, Britannic, figure of ‘Jumbo’ Goddard, triumphantly clutching his dry, and empty, carburettor float in those borrowed tongs.

Within minutes his Bugatti was running clean – which is more than could be said for the Chateau Hotel’s kitchens.

Finito…

image
(GP Library)

Robert Benoist’s Delage 2LCV passes the Dunlop Bridge during his run to third place, Grand Prix D’Europe, Lyon, France on August 3, 1924…

100,000 people watched the 500 mile race, 35 laps of the 14.4 mile road course took winner Giuseppe Campari seven hours, five minutes and 34 seconds to complete in his supercharged 2-litre Alfa Romeo P2 straight-eight. Albert Divo and Benoist were second and third in normally aspirated Delage 2LCV V12s.

The 2-litre Grand Prix formula utilised between 1922 and 1925 was a noteworthy period of innovation. Its key elements included engines of no more than 2-litres, a minimum weight of 650kg, a minimum body width of 80cm and obligatory riding mechanics.

Paddock panorama (MotorSport)
All the fun of the fair, start-finish straight, Lyon 1924 (MotorSport)
Segrave, Sunbeam GP, fastest lap and fifth place after magneto dramas was a good result (MotorSport)

The European GP meeting was a major carnival which included races for motorcycles, bikes, cyclecars and touring cars in its program.

Twenty cars took the rolling start of the race, gridded two-by-two in race number order, at 9am on the Sunday. Two motorcycles led the way, then turned off the course as the cars took the flag lowered from the timekeepers grandstand.

At the end of the first lap Henry Segrave’s Sunbeam straight-six s/c, led by four seconds from Antonio Ascari’s Alfa, Kenelm Lee Guiness’ Sunbeam, then Campari’s Alfa, Pietro Bordino’s Fiat 805 straight-eight s/c, Divo’s Delage, Louis Wagner’s Alfa and Chassagne’s Bugatti T35 straight-eight – on the debut of a car destined to become the greatest ever production GP car.

Antonio Ascari, Alfa P2 from Albert Divo, Delage 2LCV – the unsupercharged V12 of which gave about 120bhp @ 6000rpm – then #7, the Jean Chassagne driven Bugatti T35 (MotorSport)
Les Sept Chemins corner (MotorSport)
‘Move over champ!’ mechanic Carignano exclaims to Felice Nazzaro, a tight Fiat 805 cockpit fit. #20 is Onesimo Marchisio (MotorSport)

By the end of lap three Bordino led, a position he held on lap four before being passed by Ascari who then led Guinness, Bordino, Campari, Wagner, Dario Resta’s Sunbeam and Divo. Ascari’s average lap-time was 12m05sec.

After six laps, Bordino had retaken the lead in a high speed battle with Ascari – he held it for a further six laps. After 11 laps it was the two red cars then Guinness, Campari, Divo, Wagner, Resta, Costantini, Bugatti T35, Benoist, and Pastore, Fiat 805.

Ascari then led when Bordino pitted to work on his front brakes for over 30 minutes. Resta pitted, so too Count Louis Zborowski’s privately entered Miller 122 straight-eight, and three Bugattis – Ascari led from Guinness, Campari and Divo.

‘Count’ Louis Zborowski, Miller 122 – with SCH Davis alongside – from Henry Segrave’s pursuing Sunbeam. Zborowski’s car used a 120bhp @ 5000rpm unsupercharged, DOHC, two-valve straight-eight jewel designed by Harry Arminius Miller in Los Angeles. After Lou’s fatal ’24 Italian GP Mercedes crash, 122 chassis 2302-X (probably) was sold and raced briefly in the UK, then NZ for several years, then sporadically in Australia. Restored by Lance Dixon’s Melbourne team in the mid-1970s, it was sold to a US collector shortly thereafter (MotorSport)
image
Louis Wagner’s Alfa P2 in fourth, leads Dario Resta’s Sunbeam GP in 10th (MotorSport)
Bugatti pit with no shortage of new alloy wheels to hand (MotorSport)

Guinness led after Ascari pitted for fuel and rear wheels on lap 17, while Zborowski retired when the Miller’s front axle worked loose from its chassis. Campari led at the end of the lap from Guinness, Divo, Ascari, Benoist and Wagner. Bordino retired. When Campari stopped for fuel on lap 19 Ascari led from Campari, Guinness and Divo, fourth.

Guinness retired with a Sunbeam gearbox hors ‘d combat on lap 21 – the order was then Ascari and Campari in Alfa Romeo P2s, Divo and Benoist, Delage, Wagner, Alfa and Segrave, Sunbeam until lap 25. The perils of riding mechanics were made clear when Segrave changed his on lap 22 after M Marocchi was badly hurt by a tread thrown up by another car, as did Divo on lap 24 after M Fretet was over-worked. Down in sixth place Segrave set a 11m19sec lap record – 122.71km/h. After 695km/30 laps, the remaining 11 car field comprised Ascari, Campari, Divo, Benoist, Wagner, Segrave, Rene Thomas’ Delage, Chassagne and Fridrich in Bugatti T35s, Resta, and Garnier in the fifth Bugatti T35 which took the start.

Battle of Bugatti T35s: Leoncio Garnier from Pierre De Vizcaya (MotorSport)
Giulio Ramponi pushed Antonio Ascari’s P2 vigorously after a lengthy stop, but it won’t fire late in the race. Vittorio Jano’s design had a straight-eight, supercharged, DOHC, two-valve 1987cc engine giving about 140bhp @ 5500rpm (MotorSport)

On lap 33 Ascari slowed with engine dramas, ceding the lead to Campari, then Divo also passed Antonio who pitted on lap 35. There, Ascari and Giulio Ramponi, his riding mechanic, changed plugs and added water, but the car refused to fire despite valiant attempts by the intrepid mechanic to push-start the ailing P2 slightly uphill.

The crowd cheered Giuseppe Campari home in 7hr 5min 34.6sec – Alfa Romeo had won an emphatic first international victory, the beautiful Alfa P2 was designed by recent Fiat escapee, Vittorio Jano. Then came Albert Divo just over a minute later, and Robert Benoist’s Delage 2LCVs, then Louis Wagner, P2, Henry Segrave’s Sunbeam and Rene Thomas’ 2LCV.

image
The winner Giuseppe Campari celebrates with one-metre long Italian sausage, Alfa Romeo P2 (unattributed)
Campari’s winning P2 at rest (MotorSport)

That year the other major race wins were shared. The Alfa Romeo P2 won the Circuito di Cremona and Italian GP with Antonio Ascari at the wheel, while Enzo Ferrari was victorious in Pescara’s Coppa Acerbo aboard an RLTF24 3.6-litre straight six.

Christian Werner won Targa on a Mercedes TF24 2-litre four, Giuseppe Morandi, the Circuito del Mugello in an OM 665S 2-litre six, and Henry Segrave the GP de San Sebastian aboard a Sunbeam GP. Finally, Guido Meregalli won the Circuito del Garda in a Diatto 20S 2-litre four in November.

Etcetera…

(MotorSport)

The French wallopers keep an eye on Ettore Bugatti’s flotilla of 2-litre unsupercharged, SOHC, two-valve 90bhp straight-eight Type 35s.

The best placed of the five cars entered were Chassagne, seventh, and Fridrich, eighth – with plenty more to come globally over the following decade. #18 is the Pierre de Vizcaya car, #13 Ernst Fridrich and #22 Meo Costantini.

(MotorSport)

Henry Segrave through a quick right-hander, and Dario Resta in the paddock below.

The 1924 GP Sunbeam had a 4inch longer, and 2 1/2 inch lower chassis than the ’23 model. Its six-cylinder DOHC, two-valve 1988cc Roots supercharged engine gave 138bhp @ 5500 rpm, compared with its normally aspirated sibling’s 106bhp in 1923.

(MotorSport)

After the Great War, the race organisers, l’Automobile-Club de France turned the oldest GP into an invitational race, Germans and Austrians were not invited that year.

Pietro Bordino, Fiat 805, DNF brakes (MotorSport)

While none of the Fiat 805s finished the race, these epochal designs cast a long shadow. They were the first to win a Grand Prix using a 146bhp @ 5500rpm supercharged engine when Carlo Salamano triumphed in the 1923 European GP at Monza. The bulk of the grid followed their lead in 1924 – the dominant template of race winning GP cars was set until 1951; front-engined machines powered by supercharged, straight-eight, DOHC, two-valve engines, with all exceptions duly recognised!

Fiat pit, Onesimo Marchisio 805, DNF engine. Note the stepped seating positions of driver in front, and mechanic behind the pilots left shoulder (MotorSport)

Credits…

GP Library, MotorSport Images, Hans Etzodt’s wonderful race report in kolumbus.fi

Tailpiece: The course…

image
(unattributed)

The 37.63km Lyon-Givors circuit was used for the 1914 French GP but was shortened to 23.14km for 1924.

The start was about 14km south of Lyon on the RN86. From there the course headed south on short straights passing the outskirts of Givors, where the road turned right, south-west, twisting along the River Gier valley before a right-turn then uphill to Pont Rompu.

The course then turned right again on a high-speed return straight heading north-east. At the end, after 6km, there was a sharp right turn leading to the famous Piege de la Mort, a difficult left turn and Les Esses, followed by a few twists before Le Sept Chemins a right hairpin shortly before the start-finish line, grandstand and pits.

Finito…

(L Hemer)

If a 5-litre 500bhp McLaren M10B Chev F5000 is a Big Mac – it is – then a liddl’ 1.6-litre 210bhp F2 McLaren must be a Little Mac.

“Niel Allen in the perfect little McLaren M4A FVA, the sweetest sound I ever heard…in The Esses at Warwick Farm on Saturday afternoon, December 6, 1969,” and so say all of us Lynton Hemer!

Niel qualified fourth in this meeting, the final 1969 WF Gold Star round, and finished third behind the Bartlett/Stewart Alec Mildren Racing speedsters.

Chassis M4A/2 is a famous little jigger, driven with great success in the 1968 Tasman Series by Piers Courage. His giant-killing performances against the 2.5-litre cars – including a win at the Longford final round – pretty much re-launched a career which had stalled a bit; by the end of 1969 he had vaulted into the F1 Top Ten.

Niel Allen bought the M4A after Piers returned to Europe, doing well with it but also having a huge, high speed crash at Lakeside. Re-tubbed by John Joyce at Bowin Cars it also provided the platform for Warwick Brown to strut his stuff before he stepped up into…a Big Mac!

Some further reading, here on Courage at Longford; Longford Tasman: ‘South Pacific Trophy’ 4 March 1968 and Piers Courage… | primotipo… and here on the M4A in Euro F2 in 1967 The Wills ‘BARC 200’, F2 Silverstone, March 1967… | primotipo…

Credit…

Lynton Hemer

(L Hemer)

Finito…