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

Competitor (who and what?) in the 1918 Coot-tha Classic (Brisbane Times)

“Car racing in Queensland is practically unknown. Occasionally speed carnivals are held at which a race for cars is part of the programme, but the car racing track has still to be built in this state,” said the motoring reporter of Brisbane’s The Telegraph on November 5, 1929.

“The popularity of sporting events at which cars and their drivers are the performers has been proved many times.”

“Mount Coot-tha and Mount Gravatt (8 km and 10 km from Brisbane’s CBD) have been visited by huge crowds for the hillclimbs organised by the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland, and special tests on Southport Beach (on the Gold Coast) have drawn thousands of spectators.”

Henry Horstman and Maldwyn Davies – Queensland Bugatti importer – on the way to FTD in the RACQ hillclimb at Mount Coot-tha on April 1, 1928, Bugatti T37. His time of 1 min 20 sec was eight seconds clear of the rest of the field (speedwayandroadracehistory.com)
Folks take in the Mount Coot-the sun, circa 1920 (alamy)

“Sydney has dirt and concrete saucer tracks which will take cars. Except for isolated races (for cars) at Deagon (Speedway 20km north of) Brisbane in recent years has not seen cars at speed work on the track.”

“In America, and England, and on the continent, there are famous speed tracks. America has the Indianapolis brick track where the classic ‘500’, henceforth to be known as the Indianapolis Grand Prix is held. All the world knows of Brooklands. In England, and in the past few years high speeds have been made at Montlhery, outside Paris.”

(The Telegraph, Brisbane, November 5, 1929)
Motorcycle racing at Deagon in 1926 (T Webb Collection)

Some context of motor racing progress elsewhere in Australia is that the Aspendale Park Speedway opened in outer Melbourne in 1906, the Olympia Motor Speedway at Maroubra, Sydney in 1925. The first Australian Grand Prix was held at the Goulburn Racecourse (Neddies), 200 km south of Sydney in 1927, and the first AGP on a road-course at Phillip Island in 1928. Viz; 1928 100 Miles Road Race, Phillip Island… | primotipo…

Geoff Meredith aboard the Bugatti T30 in which he won the speedway style 1927 AGP at the Goulburn Racecourse (Goulburn Post)

Given the relative population of Queensland to Victoria and New South Wales, the banana-benders (Queenslanders) weren’t lagging behind too much. What is interesting is the popular press ‘pushing’ for creation of a local venue. It wasn’t until 1949 that an AGP was held in the Sunshine State, at Leyburn, a former Royal Australian Air Force base. See Aspendale here; Werrangourt Archive 11: DFP ‘The Greyhound of France’ by Bob King… | primotipo… and Leyburn here; 1949 Australian Grand Prix, Leyburn… | primotipo…

(ABC via M Hubbard)

Alec Jewell aboard the Willys Overland which won “Australia’s first land speed record” in a competition with a Studebaker Six driven by Fred Eager on the Surfers Paradise sand, Christmas Day, December 25, 1916.

The cars had a number of runs, Jewell’s best was a time of 21.4 seconds between the measured marks, 84.5mph as adjudged by Automobile Club of Queensland officialdom.

Etcetera…

Deagon was established as a horse-racing venue in the early 1880s. It was first used for motorised events with ‘The Great Motor Cycle Carnival’ in November 1921. The card that day included 3 and 20 mile races for solos and a 5-miler for sidecars. 24 meetings were held from 1921-1931 including 14 state, and six Australian/Australasian Championships. Cars were never the mainstay of racing at Deagon, but were occasional guests on the bike’s-card.

Credits…

Brisbane Times, The Telegraph, Brisbane, November 5, 1929, Old Bike July 2015, Alamy, Goulburn Post, speedwayand roadracehistory.com, Tony Webb Collection, ABC via Murray Hubbard, Bob King

Tailpiece…

(T Webb Collection)

Deagon Speedway commentators doing it the hard way in the mid-1920s. I wonder if hats will ever make a comeback?

Finito…

(A Wootton Family Collection)

Albert Valentine ‘Archie’ or ‘Bert’ Turner and A ‘Ossie’ O’Connor, Itala, before the start of their record breaking circa-560 miles Sydney-Melbourne run on Sunday February 24, 1924. Corner of Macquarie and Bridge Streets.

Regarded in-the-day as one of Australia’s best drivers, Turner and O’Connor left the Sydney GPO at 5.15am and arrived at the Melbourne equivalent at 5.49pm. The 12 hours 34 minutes journey equated to an average of 47mph, and knocked 25 minutes off the existing record held by Norman ‘Wizard’ Smith’s Essex.

It was the third occasion within 15-months Turner had taken the record, in tit-for-tat fashion with his competitors, on the two previous runs in 1923 he drove a Delage C02.

Turner aboard a Delage CO2 4.5-litre OHV six cylinder, before breaking the Sydney-Melbourne record in February 1923 – 16 hours 47 min. Chassis number folks, does it currently exist? Was he flogging Delages at the time or were the drives paid ones? The sponsor is Plume Motor Spirit! (C Blundell Collection)
James Flood and his wife alongside AV Turner’s “record setting Itala”, here (where??) with Albert Vernon at the wheel in 1921. I note the car – if it is the same Itala – is now fitted with four-wheel brakes, rather than the two in the opening shot. Not so sure about the year quoted (James Flood via C Nicholes)
The Luigi Lopez works Itala Tipo 51S before the start of the 1922 Targa Florio. Five of these 2.8-litre four cylinder racers were entered, the best placed was Antonio Moriondo’s 12th placed machine, albeit he was second in the 2-3 litre class. Lopez was 25th and last, the winner was Giulio Masetti’s 1914 Mercedes 4.5-litre 18/100 GP car. I’m not suggesting Turner’s car was an ex-works machine, but rather including it for the sake of completeness and begging the question as to what, exactly, AVT’s car was… (Bibliotheque nationale de France)

The Turner Itala is variously described in contemporary newspaper reports as a 17.9hp or 15hp Floria (sic), it’s perhaps a 2.8-litre, four cylinder 55bhp @ 3200rpm engined Type 51 Sport with a Targa Florio style body, built by James Flood in Melbourne. Details of the car from a marque expert appreciated, inclusive of present whereabouts.

Turner was then the New South Wales agent for Itala and Bugatti operating from large premises in Castlereagh Street. He promoted both marques via competition, a medium at which he rather shone.

The Sydney Sunday Times reported that “The average speed of 47mph, fast as it sounds (the main road, between Sydney and Melbourne then was little more than an unmade goat-track), included all stops for supplies and refreshments, the running time average was about 50mph.”

“During the journey the exhaust pipe broke, blowing stupefying exhaust gases into the faces of driver and passenger. Mr O’Connor was rendered well-nigh unconscious by the fumes and arrived in Melbourne much the worse for the experience.”

“Mr Turner’s throat was so sore from the same cause, that he could hardly speak audibly. At one stage of the trip he was compelled to drive for several hundred miles on the hand throttle alone.”

“Speeds in excess of his latest accomplishment are unlikely, in view of the present state of the roads, which he states precludes the reasonable possibility of a higher average being maintained. Mr Turner has many successes to his name, but his latest ranks among the highest,” the Sunday Times concluded in the wonderful narrative style of the day.

AV Turner at Aspendale, Melbourne, a banked dirt track, on the way to winning the “blue riband 25-miles Australian Championship” from Carlo Massola’s Diatto on April 21, over the Easter 1924 long weekend (hyperracer.com)
Turner and somewhat energetic crew – perhaps that fella has had enough? – during their victorious 1921 Alpine Trial run. Itala Tipo 51 tourer powered by a 2.8-litre, two side-valve 50bhp @ 3000rpm four cylinder engine. Four speed ‘box (melbournecircle.net)

Turner had plenty of success on Italas in all kinds of events, including a win in the first RACV 1000 Miles Alpine Trial/Victorian Reliability Contest – aka The Alpine Rally – in 1921. This caused much consternation among the Victorian blue-blazer-clad RACV mob as he was the only New South Wales driver in the tough event contested over the difficult Alpine terrain of north-eastern Victoria. He was second in 1922 aboard the same Itala Co Australia owned car (entered by a Mr A Hoette), his arch-rival Wizard Smith triumphed that year on an Essex.

By 1924, Itala (Itala Fabbrica Automobili), founded by Matteo Ceirano and five partners at Via Guastalla, Turin in 1903, was in receivership. Ex-Fiat general manager Giulio Cappa was appointed by the Italian Government’s Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale. This entity took control of insolvent Italian businesses deemed too-large-to-fail from 1933 to 2000, Alfa Romeo is a case in point. After his rein, an interesting story in itself, the company was bought by truck maker Officine Metallurgiche di Tortona (OM) in 1929, and the remains sold to Fiat in 1935.

Poor Turner died from injuries sustained contesting an inconsequential hill-climb in North Curl Curl, quite close to his Darley Road, Manly, home. He interrupted a tennis game to run his (later 1927 Australian Grand Prix winning) Bugatti Type 30 #4087 on May 15, 1926 and died in Manly Cottage Hospital later that day. I’ve a feature article 95% complete on that car and its in period-piloti, Messrs Turner, Geoff Meredith and Jack Clements, I really must finish it.

Turner was quite a driver…

(The Argus, Melbourne, December 1921)
Turner winning the ‘Australian Championship’ at Aspendale, Easter 1924 (The Herald, Melbourne)

Credits…

Angela Wootton Family Collection, Colin Blundell Collection, Bibliotheque nationale de France, melbournecircle.net, Sydney Sunday Times March 2 1924, James Flood Book of Early Motoring via the Chris Nicholes Collection, various newspapers via Trove, John Medley, Ray Bell, manlylocalstudies.blogspot.com, Pedr Davis Collection via the Murdoch Family Collection-Neill Murdoch

AVT ready for the off, Bugatti T30 #4087, North Curl Curl, May 15, 1926 (P Davis Collection via N Murdoch)

Etcetera…

The hillclimb in which Turner died – above, immediately prior to the fatal run – was a circa 700 yard straight run up (now) Harbord Road from about the corner of Abbott Road, North Curl Curl. The finish line was on or about the corner of Harbord Road and Brighton Street, North Manly, with Turner’s crash site on that corner or “the vicinity of ” 151 Harbord Road, Freshwater. It was on this corner, or this property, on, or just after the finish line, where AVT came to grief.

Tailpiece…

Turner’s Itala racing a Farman bi-plane, probably piloted by Major Harry Shaw – a prominent racer himself – at Aspendale circa 1921, it was a dead-heat apparently. Exact date appreciated.

Finito…

(racerviews.com)

One row of the 28 starters of the 35 lap, 150 mile, 1949 Australian Grand Prix – or more likely the supporting F2 race – at Leyburn, Queensland, await the drop of the flag on September 18.

The first two cars are MG TCs, Col Robinson’s #32, and J Hillhouse in #30. #17 is the more focused TC Spl of Dick Cobden, then Peter Critchley’s fourth placed ex-Alf Najar MG TB Spl, and on the far side, Arthur Rizzo’s Riley Spl, who finished third on the RAAF airfield track.

A race day crowd estimated at 30,000 people saw John Crouch’s Delahaye 135S win from Ray Gordon’s TC Spl, the shot below shows Crouch on his winning run.

John Snow imported the 1936 3.6-litre, six-cylinder Delahaye (chassis # 47190) from France to Australia in time for the 1939 AGP at Lobethal, with the talented Crouch finally realising its potential.

(Wiki unattributed)
(Wiki unattributed)

For so long the fire-and-brimstone Frank Kleinig had been an AGP favourite. 1949 was really his last chance to do well as the quality of our fields improved and his oh-so-fast Kleinig Hudson Spl slipped down the grids, its development potential by then having pretty-much peaked.

Kleinig led Crouch for seven laps – they shared the fastest lap of the race 2’52 seconds/90mph – but then had the first of three pitstops which led to his retirement after completing only 21 laps.

Dick Cobden’s shapely, quick, Gordon Stewart built, Bob Baker bodied, 1946 MG TC (#3306) ‘Red Cigar’ single-seater was out early after only six laps with undisclosed dramas.

(Wiki-unattributed)

Thanks to Terry Sullivan for pointing out this interesting article about the machinations and difficulties associated with the staging of this race; The AGP When Any Airfield Would Do – The Race Torque

Credits…

Wikipedia, racerviews.com, Rob Bartholomaeus, Stephen Dalton, Dick Willis

Tailpiece…

(D Willis)

Racers both: Charlie Smith and John Crouch at the launch of Alec Mildren’s biography at Frank Gardner’s Norwell facility on April 18, 1999.

Finito…

harves red

(autopics.com.au-R Austin)

John Harvey’s 2.5-litre Repco V8 powered Brabham BT11A shrieks it’s way around Warwick Farm on 18 February 1968…

Looks a treat doesn’t it? Nose up out of Leger Corner onto Pit Straight, it was first meeting for the car with its Repco engine.

By 1968 IC-4-64 was an old-girl, albeit a very successful one. It was raced by Graham Hill in the 1965 Tasman Series for David McKay’s Scuderia Veloce, winning the 1965 NZ GP at Pukekohe on its race debut.

hill Hill won the ’65 NZGP at Pukekohe on 9 January 1965 from Frank Gardner’s similar BT11A and Jim Palmer’s earlier model BT7A, all 2.5 Coventry Climax FPF powered (sergent.com)

It then passed into the capable hands of Spencer Martin, initially driving for McKay, and then Bob Jane for whom Spencer won two Gold Stars in 1966 and 1967. Click here for an article on Martin and his exploits in this car; https://primotipo.com/2015/04/30/spencer-martin-australian-gold-star-champion-19667/

The 2.5-litre Coventry Climax FPF four cylinder engine was struggling against the V8’s by then, so Bob bought a 740 Series Repco 2.5-litre V8 to plonk in the back of the BT11A.

John Harvey, Martin’s successor at Bob Jane Racing, contested the Australian rounds of the 1968 Tasman Series so powered. Jim Clark’s works Lotus 49 Ford DFW won the Tasman that year, it was the final championship he won before his untimely death at Hockenheim that April.

harves engine 740 Series Repco 2.5 Tasman V8 engine. 700 Series Repco block and 40 Series ‘between the Vee’ heads’, the ’67 World Championship winning SOHC, two-valve engine in 2.5-litre Tasman spec as against its 3-litre F1 capacity.  Repco claimed 275bhp @ 8,500rpm for the 2.5, and 330bhp @ 8,400 rpm for the 3-litre variant. Lucas injection trumpets, Bosch distributor and plenty of chrome and cadminium plating in shot (P Houston)
image Harvey in the BT11A Repco at Longford, 1968. The attention Bob Jane placed on the presentation of his cars is clear. Note the seatbelt, six-point? (oldracephotos.com-H Ellis)

Harves’ did three Australian rounds, only finishing the wet, final Longford event. By the start of the Gold Star series he slipped into Jane’s new Brabham BT23E which had been Jack’s 1968 Tasman mount.

Harvey raced the final round of the 1967 Gold Star Series in IC-4-64 after Martin announced his retirement. He was already well familiar with Repco power, the 740 Series Repco had been shoe-horned into his Ron Phillips owned BT14 F2 Brabham.

Third place at Sandown was his only finish in the car. John commented in a Facebook exchange about this car “…On handling, Peter Molloy and I were still developing the chassis setup, however in the Diamond Trophy race in 1967 (pictured below) at Oran Park I set a new outright record on the last lap”, so they were improving the car.

The engine and Hewland ‘box was removed from the BT14 which Jane acquired, and popped into the BT11A which it was figured would better cope with the power than the BT14 F2 frame and related hardware.

IC-4-64 is still alive and well, as part of the Bob Jane Estate, in FPF engined form.

harves wf pitlane Harvey in the WF pitlane, Tasman meeting ’68. The BT11A has a vestigial spoiler and a few ducts the it didn’t have when CC FPF powered. Jewels of things these ‘Intercontinental’ Brabhams, very successful ones at that (B Williamson)
harves wf from inside At the Warwick Farm Tasman meeting again (J Stanley)
harvey repco Competitor view of the BT11A and its luvverly Repco RB 740 2.5-litre 275 bhp V8 (P Houston)

Credits…

autopics.com.au-Richard Austin, John Stanley, Peter Houston, sergent.com, Bob Williamson, oldracephotos.com-Dick Simpson, Harold Ellis and Harrisson, oldracingcars.com, Stephen Dalton Collection

harvey repco (P Houston)

Brabham BT14 FL-1-65 Repco, Angus & Coote Diamond Trophy, 27 September 1967…

The shot of Harvey in the Ron Phillips owned Brabham referred to above, on the way to victory in the Diamond Trophy at Oran Park.

John made his name in speedway and transitioned into road racing in an Austin/Morris Cooper S, and then into open-wheelers in this ex-Bib Stillwell car. The Brabham received progressively bigger Lotus-Ford twin-cams, with Harvey going quicker and quicker, before the machine copped its Repco V8 Birthday between the 1967 Tasman and Gold Star Series. Rennmax’ Bob Britton performed the surgery to pop the Repco into the BT14 frame, creating a BT14 jig in the process.

It wasn’t that successful in Repco form; DNF/DNS at Lakeside, Surfers, Mallala and Symmons Plains, third place in the Sandown Gold Star round in September was the car’s best, behind Leo Geoghegan’s Lotus 39 Repco and Spencer Martin aboard BT11A IC-4-64.

Harvey during the Diamond Trophy meeting at Oran Park (oldracephotos.com-Dick Simpson)

Harvey’s Bob Jane drive commenced aboard IC-4-64 in the final Gold Star round, the Hordern Trophy, at Warwick Farm in December 1967.

So…Harvey in 12 or 14 months drove quite a few different Brabham/engine combinations! BT 14 Ford, BT14 Repco, BT11A Climax, BT11A Repco, and then BT23E Repco for the ’68 Gold Star Series. Mind you he missed the ’68 Gold Star.

The ‘noice new Brabham crashed after a rear suspension upright failed in practice for the opening Bathurst round. Harvey’s big accident and subsequent recovery kept him away from racing for the rest of the year.

Harvey aboard the Jane Racing Brabham BT23E Repco 830, during the Symmons Plains Gold Star round in March 1970, at the end of its competitive life. He won the race from Leo Geoghegan’s Lotus 39 Repco and Kevin Bartlett’s Mildren Waggott (oldracephotos.com-Harrisson)

Tailpiece…

(S Dalton Collection)

The July 1965 Oran Park meeting program shows Harvey’s Austin Cooper S ahead of George Garth’s Ford Cortina GT during the OP May 1965 meeting.

Finito…

bruce

(R Schlegelmilch)

Bruce, Tyler Alexander and and Alastair Caldwell…a new set of Goodyears for McLaren’s M7A. He put them to good use, qualifying sixth on the fast swoops of Rouen…

I’m drawn to the papaya McLarens thanks to their visual splendour and absolute respect for Bruce the man, engineer, test driver, racer and motivator of men.

He was the full-enchilada with the lot as a package, as well rounded a racer as it’s possible to be.

Here Chris Amon is tootling past him in the pitlane, his fellow Kiwi no doubt hoping the Firestone shod Ferrari 312 will cope with the fast swoops of Rouen better than Bruce’ M7A, a mighty fine design which carried the Ford Cosworth DFV.

I’ve posted a piece on this race before so don’t want to dwell on the awful fiery accident which cost Jo Schlesser’s life early in the event. Jacky Ickx took his first GP win in a Ferrari 312 from John Surtees’ Honda RA301 and Jackie Stewart’s Matra MS10 Ford.

The shot below is Graham Hill’s Lotus 49B Ford in grid slot nine surrounded by other fellas. The flash of blue to his left is Jean Pierre-Beltoise’ V12 powered Matra MS11 (ninth), Surtees Honda, with the blue flash down his white helmet and Chris Amon’s Ferrari, see its distinctive, white, between the Vee exhausts.

1968 was the last time an F1 GP was held at the wonderful 6.542Km road course near Orival and Rouen. The track was used for European F2 Championship races until 1978 and French national events after that, economic forces resulted in its 1994 closure.

hill lotus 49

French GP, Rouen 1968 (Schlegelmilch)

Credit…

Rainer Schlegelmilch

Finito…

917 brands rodrig

There are drives which are spoken of in reverential terms down the decades, Pedro Rodriguez’ victory in the Brands Hatch 1000km in 1970 is one of those…

Here #10, the John Wyer entry is set to pounce on #11 Vic Elford out of Druids in another factory (Porsche Salzburg) Porsche 917K, the Brit was of course no slouch on slippery surfaces himself. He was European Rally Champion aboard a Porsche 911 in 1967 and Monte winner similarly mounted in 1968 before going circuit racing.

Acknowledged wet weather ace Jackie Ickx raced a factory Ferrari 512S in a Brands Hatch field full of F1 drivers who in those days also contested the sportscar endurance classics. But Pedro was in a class of his own on that sodden Kent afternoon finishing five laps ahead of the second placed 917K of Elford and Denny Hulme, and eight laps ahead of another 917K driven by soon to be 1970 Le Mans winners Hans Hermann and Richard Attwood, both in similar equipment to Pedro…

Photo Credit…Bruce Thomas

Finito…

image

Denny Hulme delights the flaggies and ‘snappers and fries a set of Goodyears on entry to Warwick Farm’s Esses during the February 1967 Tasman round…

John Ellacott’s evocative shot at the ‘Farm catches Hulme in his Brabham BT22 Repco during practice, well cocked-up before the apex. He didn’t finish the Australian Grand Prix, his radiator hose came loose on Sunday, the race was won by Jackie Stewart’s BRM P261 from Jim Clark’s Lotus 33 Climax.

Click on this link to read my article about the ’67 Tasman Series won by Clark’s Lotus; https://primotipo.com/2014/11/24/1967-hulme-stewart-and-clark-levin-new-zealand-tasman-and-beyond/

Credit…

John Ellacott

Finito…

1961 Ardmore Sports Car Trophy race – Le Mans start (B Hanna)

“The Le Mans start of the Sports Car Trophy Race (above) at Ardmore, 7 January 1961 (the VIII New Zealand Grand Prix meeting) seen from the pit lane. Angus Hyslop is aboard his Jaguar #100 and Doug Lawrence in the Cooper Bobtail #55 seem to be a couple of steps ahead of Malcolm Gill in the 5.2-litre four cylinder Lycoming Special #37. But Gill ran out the winner, with Hyslop second.”

Angus Hyslop was a champion Kiwi driver who shone brightly before returning to his farming career, see here for an article which provides some context to what follows; 1962 Lakeside International and Angus Hyslop… | primotipo…

The late Bill Hanna was Hyslop’s team manager/mechanic during 1961 when Angus was awarded the NZ Driver To Europe Scholarship. In between his fettling and organisational responsibilities Bill shot these marvellous colour transparencies in New Zealand and in Europe. Thanks to the efforts of Alec Hagues – Bill’s son-in-law – we can now tell the tale and share these never-before-seen Hanna family photographs.

This is the first of three articles written by Alec I’ll upload over the next month. A million thanks to him and his family for choosing primotipo to share these words and pictures publicly. They are magic timepieces from motorsport and lifestyles-of-the-day perspectives. I’ve fiddled with the photo captions in a few cases to flesh-out car model/specs, any errors are mine. Enjoy! Over to Alec…

“Meanwhile, having collected a 1958-built Cooper T45-Climax 1964cc from Syd Jensen in Kairanga at the end of 1960, Angus ran both the Cooper and his Jaguar D-Type XKD534 in the 1961 New Zealand Championship meetings.”

“The grandstand in the background identifies this as Levin, most likely on 14 January 1961, the Cooper and two Jaguars belonging to the Hyslop team are pictured above.

The 2nd Levin International that day was won by Jo Bonnier – and his distinctive 2.5-litre Cooper T51 Climax #2 creeps into the corner of this shot below, probably taken from the same spot as that above, but in the opposite direction to the first.”

(B Hanna)

“Conditions at Wigram on 21 January 1961 were less than ideal for photography, but given Angus’s famous performance in the Lady Wigram Trophy (third place to Jack Brabham and Stirling Moss and first Kiwi home) and the appearance of the Cooper’s former owner, Syd Jensen, Bill can’t let the day go unrecorded! Angus and Syd (left) are shown below with the speedy Cooper T45 on a frosty, soggy Kiwi summer day.”

Syd Jensen and Angus Hyslop (B Hanna)
Angus’s Cooper T45-Climax on Andersons Bay Road, Dunedin (B Hanna)

“Andersons Bay Road, Dunedin, the Festival Road Race on 28 January 1961. The Bob Smith or Frank Shuter Ferrari 555/625 (help folks) #46 and Arthur Moffatt’s Lotus 15 Climax #41 are behind Angus’ Cooper in the roadside pits.

Brian Prescott’s race ended against a brick wall on lap 29; this is his (formerly shark-nosed) Piccolo Maserati 250F #29 shown below.

The introduction to the NZ National Film Unit’s ‘New Zealand Grand Prix’ short film was shot in Dunedin that day, with the Sports Car and Feature races both covered – in the film we see Denny Hulme cross the line in first place in the latter event. New Zealand Grand Prix | Short Film | NZ On Screen

Accident damage to Brian Prescott’s Maserati 250F (B Hanna)
#19 Pat Hoare, #20 Denny Hulme, #3 Jo Bonnier, #1 Angus Hyslop, #33 Len Gilbert (B Hanna)

“The front row at Teretonga, 4 February 1961: Pat Hoare, Ferrari 246/256 3-litre V12 #19, Denny Hulme, Cooper T51 Climax 2.5 #20 and winner, Jo Bonnier’s Cooper T51 Climax 2.5 #3. Just behind them are Angus #1 and Len Gilbert, Maserati 250F #33. Other colour pictures of this race have been seen online, but this shot is simply too good to leave out.

The sports car race on the same day below with Ivy Stephenson’s Buckler Le Mans #38 prominent, but the ubiquitous Lycoming, Doug Lawrence’s Cooper Bobtail, Ross Jensen’s Daimler Dart, F P Harris’s MG TF and David Young’s Jaguar C-Type are in there with Angus’s Jaguar too.”

(B Hanna)

“Waimate on 11 February 1961 was another meeting held in the wet… and it seems that Bill didn’t feel like getting his camera out. Pat Hoare won the third Waimate 50 in his Ferrari V12, Denny Hulme already had the Gold Star in the bag so didn’t participate.”

Fay, Bruce Webster’s Cooper-Porsche, the Hyslop Cooper-Climax and Jaguar D-Type, Ahuriri 18 February 1961 (B Hanna)

“Back home now to South Pond paddock at Ahuriri for the Napier Road Races of 18 February 1961.

In the Hastings team corner, above, we see Bruce Webster’s Cooper-Porsche and again Angus’s Cooper and Jaguar. That’s Bill’s wife Fay, a familiar face at motor racing events at this time. Note the somewhat crude last-minute number changes to #111 and #151 – Angus obviously wasn’t keen to be #46 as suggested by the day’s programme. Pat Hoare entered too late to be in the programme, but ended up winning the feature race in his awesome ex-works F1 Ferrari Dino 246 powered by a 3-litre V12.

This is surely later the same day below… but what happened?

Angus sold XKD534 to Simon Taylor after the next meeting at Ohakea on 25 February 1961 and ended the New Zealand season with third place in the Gold Star and second in the Sports Car Championship to Malcolm Gill. Angus and Bill pack the Cooper up for the long voyage to Europe…and it is never seen in New Zealand again.”

(B Hanna)

To be continued, trust me, if it’s possible, the photographs get even better…

Credits…

Photographs, the late Bill Hanna, words Alec Hagues

Finito…

Note ‘bi-hi’ wings mounted to the rear uprights, and front top suspension inner mounting point. Hewland FT200 gearbox (P Strauss Collection)

“A photograph is everything!” Doug Nye told a group of us several months ago when we were arguing the toss about some knotty identification problem...

My Repco Brabham Engines buddy, Rodway Wolfe and I wrote the ‘definitive article’ on Jack’s Brabham BT31 Repco, his 1969 Tasman mount years ago. You’d think that would be easy enough given it only raced twice in-period, see here for the masterpiece; Brabham BT31 Repco: Jacks ’69 Tasman Car…by Rodway Wolfe | primotipo…

We thought the car was assembled and run for the first time in Australia a couple of days after Rodway helped Jack unpack the wooden MRD box in which BT31-1 was shipped to Port Melbourne, and put it together at RBE’s Melbourne factory between February 12-14, 1969.

But no!

Photographs from Peter Strauss’ collection, custodian of BT31 for 15 years or so, clearly show that the car was tested (by Jack) at Goodwood in late 1968 before being pulled apart, packed into the wooden box then shipped far-far away for Jack and Rodway to open at Maidstone on February 12, 1969.

(S Dalton Collection)

This short UK BT31 chapter was covered by Autosport in their January 3, 1969 issue, found by my friend, ace researcher/writer Stephen Dalton.

“The Brabham BT31, MRD’s (Motor Racing Developments – Brabham) new Tasman car, is based on the BT28 F3 design but with 1.75 ins more wheelbase, larger brake discs and calipers, a different engine bay to accommodate the four-cam (actually SOHC, two-valve) 85mm x 55mm Repco RB830 V8 engine, and twin side fuel tanks. The RB830 develops 290bhp at 9000rpm and uses twin Mallory distributors.”

“The engine top bay tubes detach to facilitate engine removal, and side radiator outlets are included. Wheels are 13-ins diameter with 9-ins front rims and 14-ins rears. The car has been tested at Goodwood, and a full kit of suspension, chassis, gearbox and body components has been sent to Australia to be built up locally for Jack Brabham to drive at the Warwick Farm and Sandown rounds of the Tasman Series.”

Over the years Peter told various people his car had run in the UK. Those-in-the-know, including yours truly, thought Strauss had his-hand-on-it (a colloquial Australian expression suggestive of the telling of a porky-pie).

“When I bought the car off the previous American owner a lot of photographs came with it including those two. I was told the pit-shots may have been Snetterton, it will be interesting to find out where they are.” A learned group of British historians confirm the circuit as Goodwood.

I’ve got to know Peter quite well during Covid, it’s funny how many new-Covid-buddies I have. We dealt with the business of the day recently, then he showed me his BT31 photo album, he flicked through the first few pages, then paused on one particular spread…

“Fuck me dead!” I said, rather loudly. It’s another vulgar colloquial expression, of surprise actually. I might add that I wasn’t issuing an invitation to poor Peter.

I couldn’t believe my eyes, but instantly knew what I was looking at! What was it that nice Mr Nye said about photographs as a source of fact rather than the written word?…

(P Strauss Collection)

Postscript…

Peter has three Brabhams, BT31, a BT11A Climax 2.5 FPF and an FJ BT6 Ford Cosworth 1100, lucky bugger. Along the way he met Messrs Brabham and Tauranac, individually and collectively quite a few times.

Brabham is on-the-record – a number of times in conversations with different individuals and groups of people – as saying that had they (MRD, BRO and Repco Brabham Engines) stuck with another simple SOHC, 3-litre V8 in 1968 rather than raced the under-developed, four-cam, 32-valve 3-litre 860 V8 powered BT26 they could have won another world title. That is three-on-the-trot, 1967-1968, rather than two in 1966-1967.

I don’t doubt that Jack said it but the notion doesn’t stack up. Ford Cosworth V8 engined Lotus, McLaren and Matras won every round of the 1968 World Championship with the exception of the French GP which went to Ickx’ Ferrari 312 V12.

In fact the Brabham Racing Organisation did race a simple SOHC BT24 740 (BT24-3) on several occasions in early ’68 while awaiting BT26 to come on stream. At Kyalami it was Q5 and DNF engine for Brabham, in Spain Q9 and DNF oil pressure for Rindt, Monaco Q5 and DNF accident for Rindt. At Zandvoort Dan Gurney returned to the Brabham fold for just that meeting. Dan popped the car 12th on the grid but DNF with throttle problems. For the sake of completeness, Jochen used it at Brands during British GP practice before Kurt Ahrens raced it at the Nurburgring to 12th place under the Caltex Racing Team banner.

So, to Jack’s point, the Brabham Racing Organisation raced a simple SOHC car in 1968 on five occasions, the best the circa 330bhp machine could do among seven or eight 400bhp Ford Cosworth V8 engined cars was a couple of fifths on the grid…

(P Strauss)

Strauss picks up that vein, relating a conversation he had with Ron Tauranac “At Eastern Creek about 2014. While Ron Tauranac (above) was trying to figure out how to make BT31 run cooler, he mentioned that he had built a few cars (sic!) but recalls that they (MRD) were building a car for the ’68 (F1) season, smaller than usual to save weight and make it more slippery. He found out that fuel cells were going to be mandatory which meant that the BT31 would not comply as the tanks were wrapped around chassis members and could not fit bladders.”

A 3-litre 830 engined BT31 is an interesting theory/coulda been but RBE mechanics/engineers have long said that no 3-litre 830 V8 was ever built by RBE in-period, they were all Tasman 2.5s. Some 3-litres (and larger) were built in the modern era by Don Halpin and perhaps others.

Further, the F1 bag-tank rules RT alluded to were mandated from the start of 1970, not 1968 or 1969. This FIA requirement effectively forced Tauranac to part with the spaceframes he had hitherto used to such good effect in F1. His 1970 monocoque BT33 was rather a good thing too, whilst noting his 1968-69 BT25 Indycar used an aluminium monocoque too.

Credits…

Peter Strauss, Autosport, Stephen Dalton

Tailpiece…

(P Strauss Collection)

Brabham at Bathurst during the Easter 1969 Gold Star round, won convincingly by Jack who practiced with various wing combinations and permutations but raced BT31 as above.

One of the various what-ifs about this car is whether, suitably updated, he could have won the 1970 Tasman Series with it? This ignores the fact that his Repco deal was over and Betty probably would have shot him if he had raced that summer rather than chilled with the kids at the beach…

It was quick enough to win the ’70 Tasman Cup mind you.

Maybe.

Finito…

(B King Collection)

Peter Stubberfield applying all of the energy to his Bugatti T35B Monoposto for which he was famous, “its probably at Prescott, perhaps Pardon Hairpin,” reckons Bob King.

The good doctor’s (King’s) study continues to be an Aladdin’s Cave of automotive treasures, this time the British Racing Drivers Club 1948-1949 yearbook.

Stubberfield hailed from Cliveden View Cottage, Cookham, Berkshire just over the hill from my old mate Chris Stops, I am a regular visitor from the colonies to his ‘Bourne End Hilton’, god’s own country it is too.

Stubberfield at Prescott (cookham)

Chassis #4840 was ex-George Easton and Faye Taylour. In modified monoposto form, with twin rear-wheels and fairly standard engine specification, the combination was prodigiously fast in the British hills in the 1930s and early post-war years.

Apart from information in period documents such as this one, I find the ads fascinating in style or substance. The two below are those of Wade Superchargers and Herbert Johnson, Bond Street purveyors of headgear to the gentry.

Its funny what you find!

I was Googling away to find information on our friend Peter Stubberfield, and what should be for sale but Peter’s old helmet! Not one made by Herbert Johnson mind you, but rather by S Lewis & Co of Carburton Street, London.

It’s a shellac composition shell with fixed peak, moleskin-lined leather side and neck protection – note the Bugatti enamel badge affixed to the front. Also in the shot are Stubberfield’s lightweight racing goggles, a photo of him in the T35B and another with his ‘equally famous pet mascot’ together with two early post-war Prescott programs.

(Bonhams)

Credits…

BRDC Motor Racing Annual 1948-1949 – Bob King Collection, Bonhams

Tailpiece…

Finito…