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

Andrew McCarthy Ralt RT4 Ford ahead of Benetton BMW and Cheetah Mk8 Ford at Phillip Island (VHRR)

If Bathurst is ‘The Cradle Of Australian Motor Racing’ (1) then surely  Phillip Island is its ‘Birthplace’, given the early Australian Grands’ Prix held on the road circuit not too far from the permanent track we now all know so well…

I’ve always had a sense of the history of the place, as a competitor you get a twinge of excitement the week before and as you cross the bridge from San Remo to Newhaven on the Island itself your sphincter twitches a tad such are the speeds of the circuit. My top gear at Winton short circuit is third in my Van Diemen Formula Ford at the Island, you are motoring fast there even in a car without a surfeit of power.

The meeting has become ‘Bigger Than Ben Hur’, too many entries actually, yer don’t get a lot of bang for your entry fee buck these days but it’s still one of the great Historic Meetings in Australia. There are always a few ‘furriners’ who double enter their cars at the Island and Albert Park for the F1 Gee Pee historic event so there are plenty of  different cars to see each year.

I’m not racing this year but I have been helping ‘me mate Andrew McCarthy prepare his Ralt RT4 Formula Pacific for the rigors of the weekend.

Ron Tauranac is regarded by many of his peers as the ‘High Priest’ of production racing car designers, ignoring the two World Constructors Championships his bespoke Brabham F1 cars won in 1966/7!

The Ralt RT2/3/4/5 F2/F3/FA-Pacific/FSV cars are one of the great series of customer racers of all time. They were winners for lots of customers in all of these classes across the globe in the 1980’s. The Ralt RT4 pretty much did to Formula Atlantic/Pacific what the Lola T330/332 did to F5000, that is, help weaken the class for a while such was their dominance.

I will get around to writing about these cars in detail eventually, RT4 ‘261’, the 1981 Australian GP winning car driven by Roberto Moreno I owned for a while so I won’t prattle on about the background to these cars now, i’ll save it for the article on Roberto’s racer. For every RT4 driven by a hero ten were sold to normal customers whose bums pointed to the ground in much the same way as yours and mine.

Dan Carmichael, Ralt RT4 Ford ‘354’ at Brainard Intl, ‘Jack Pine Sprints’ National Races, 1984 (Winker)

McCarthy’s car ‘354’ is one of these cars, a 1982 chassis, the first RT4’s were 1980 models; it was sold to Dan Carmichael a ‘doyen’ for decades in American SCCA Club Racing. So in the pantheon of drivers he is somewhere between a hero and a regular customer!

‘Fatlantic’ on TrackForum.com said of Carmichael ‘…without a doubt THE MAN in club racing and perhaps of any sport was Dan Carmichael. He…was still a winner and national champ in the fastest SCCA class of all, Formula Atlantic at the age of 80++!!! But thats not all, Dan was a WW2 fighter ace (Hellcats) and then flew jets in the military until the mid 1960’s when they threw him out because he was too old’.

‘Then he took up racing and for the next 35 years won several championships and races usually in very fast sportsracers and formula cars. But there is more, the very first live televised sports event was a college baseball game in the 1940’s, Dan Carmichael was the winning pitcher for Princeton! In the early 1980’s Dan was the Ohio state amateur golf champion (not just for his age bracket). He had a successful engineering firm and was the president of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce for many years and was a winning tournament racketball player until his 80’s when his knees got too bad’.

‘…Always a true gentleman, when I raced against him if you pointed him by he would politely wave as he blew past you. I used to wait until I knew we were coming up to a busy part of the track, but he never forgot to wave, he must have been driving at 150mph with no hands on the wheel, at 80 years old!!! A TRULY great man and a role model for all of us’. It would be great to hear from any of you who know about Carmichael.

Dan first raced the Ralt in October 1982, crashing it badly enough 12 months later to need a new tub which was built by Mark Bahner in late 1983. The car passed through several hands in the US before being purchased by one of the ‘Doyens’ of Australian Historic Racing, former national Formula Ford Champion Richard Carter circa 2002. Richard ran at the front of the fields in the very well developed car before selling it to Matt Lloyd in WA, Lloyd sold it to Andrew not long before his untimely demise in 2008.

McCarthy is a pretty good mechanic for a stockbroker and prepares the car in his home workshop in a twee inner eastern Melbourne suburb. The setup is small but works fairly well, mind you, the passing parade of lissom young Armadale ladies working out in the park opposite is not particularly conducive to the concentration levels needed for the important car preparation task at hand.

Peter Brennan of ‘Racers Retreat’ fame (click the bar at the top of the site) provides lots of advice, not that he says Andrew listens to much of it, and specialist capability inclusive of engine maintenance. That’s been the major task this week, the Jennings built ‘big valve’ Ford Cosworth BDD 1.6 litre engine ingested a washer which helped retain the air intake ‘snorkel’ to its baseplate at Winton in May last year- whilst huge carnage, ‘nuclear fission’ inside the engine was avoided prudence suggested it was a good idea to pull the engine out and send it off to PB, who is not too far away in Burwood.

The motor needed pistons, rings, bearings and valves. The engine developed 212bhp @ 8500rpm last week with another 700rpm to come. In Melbourne’s heat the thing was getting too hot to give it a ‘big ‘tug’, a full power run on Brennan’s dyno. Click on this link to an article on Formula Atlantic/Pacific, which includes information on the engines used in the class;

https://primotipo.com/2015/10/18/keke-rosberg-attacks-the-pukekohe-chicane-new-zealand-grand-prix-january-1978/

The rear endcase of the Hewland FT200 ‘box is a bespoke Ralt casting which incorporates a mount for the wing support post (Bisset)

McCarthy holding his bell-housing above, RT4 awaits its engine. The engine bay is big, there is plenty of space for a variety of engines and moving them backwards and forwards in the monocoque chassis to alter weight distribution as needed for different classes or as ideas about such things (weight distribution) evolved from year to year. Compare this shot with the one below and note how the whole rear end ‘wheels away’ obviating the need to realign the suspension if time is short- which it is in this case!

Tauranac used aluminium ‘legs’ or extensions either side of the main chassis section to attach the engine rather than a tubular steel subframe. You can see by reference to this shot (below) and the one above where the aluminium cross beam attaches, with the rear end attached, via 4 high tensile bolts each side, to each of the ‘leg extensions’.

See the mechanical tach drive (photo below) off the back of the exhaust cam, 48DCO2 Weber carbs (fuel injection was not allowed by the FA regs) and inlet manifolds which are Jennings own castings. The dry sump tank is to the right of the ‘right leg’ with a red cap. In front of it is the dull yellow coloured plastic oil catch tank, you can just see the slim, red battery mounted flush along the side of the ‘leg’ extension. Clutch is a twin-plate Tilton.

(Bisset)

When the car was rebuilt after its ’83 prang Carmichael fitted ’83 spec RT4 rocker rear suspension (above) rather than the earlier (‘80/1/2) simple conventional coil spring/shock unit which was cleverly done by RT, but the rocker setup cleans up the airflow thru the all important ground effect tunnels even more. Calipers are AP-Lockheed, discs cast iron. Brakes went outboard at the rear in the G/E period again to keep bits and pieces outta the sidepods where they mucked up airflow. See the canisters for the Fox adjustable shocks- this photo shows just how independent from the rest of the car the back bit is.

Gearbox is, of course, a ubiquitous Hewland, the FT200 pretty much de-rigour in F2 since 1967. Andrews is FT200 #1561, I wonder if that means Mike Hewland’s amazing Maidenhead (its worth a visit to the factory folks) outfit had built 1561 of these ‘trannies between 1967 and 1982?! Look closely under the box and you can see the gold coloured frame to which the lower wishbones on either side mount.

McCarthy is a press on kinda driver, feisty as you might expect of a fellow of Irish catholic descent. He is very quick considering how few miles he does. Had a few FF2000 races on a business/pleasure trip to the UK in his youth many decades ago and has competed in historic racing for about 15 years. Nice view of the sidepods and lower rear wishbones, robust tho Tauranac’s chassis are they are not built to withstand Learjet type take-offs and landings. This Winton contretemps creased the chassis quite badly (McCarthy Collection)

This attempt at aerobatics at Winton in 2013, impressive as it is was Andrew, was not conducive to survival of ‘354’s second chassis and so it was off to Mordialloc to have a chat to Mike Borland about repair.

The builder of Spectrum Racing Cars diagnosed a crease from McCarthy’s ungodly rear end assault upon another competitor and other wear over the decades from previous misdemeanours- replacement of the tubs inner and outer aluminium skins was the only option, the quality of the workmanship superb.

As of this Wednesday evening, the car loaded up, so with luck our hero will be on-circuit on Thursday.

Do come and find the red RT4 #112 in the paddock amongst the Group Q and R entries, and say gedday, hopefully it will be a fun weekend…

Credits…

1 ‘Bathurst: The Cradle of Australian Motor Racing’ John Medley, Jerry Winker, VHRR, McCarthy Collection

 

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Warwick Brown, Lola T332 Chev, Riverside 1974 (TEN)

‘WB for 73’ was the T-Shirt catch phrase of Warwick Brown’s team during the 1973 Tasman Series…

The good looking, well heeled young bloke from Wahroonga on Sydney’s North Shore had graduated from the relatively forgiving McLaren M10B Chev in which he cut his F5000 teeth in 1972 Australian Gold Star competition to an altogether more demanding mistress for the Tasman  Series, a Lola T300 Chev.

His ex-Niel Allen/Bob Muir car, chassis ‘HU4’ was a very good one, but the T300 was a fast, albeit flexy, twitchy little bugger. With guidance from mentor and engineer Peter Molloy, Warwick quickly adapted well to his new mount.

He didn’t finish the first Tasman round at Pukekohe, the Lola out of fuel but was third behind Graham McRae and Frank Matich in their own designed and built cars, two very hardened professionals at Levin. He was second the following round at Wigram behind McRae. Warwick then went to Australia feeling great despite a poor 7th at Teretonga with undisclosed car dramas.

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WB, Team Target (retail stores) Lola T300 Chev, New Zealand, Tasman 1973

At Surfers Paradise though he became a ‘Lola Limper’ bigtime…

His car got away from him on the fast, demanding circuit spreading bits of aluminium and fibreglass over the undulations of the Nerang countryside and broke both of  Warwick’s legs. He got wide onto the marbles on the entry to the flat out in fifth right-hander under Dunlop Bridge and bounced across the grass into the dirt embankment surrounding the circuit. The light aluminium tub folded back, in the process doing horrible things to Warwick’s feet and lower limbs. He had a very long recovery, made somewhat easier by the promise of a new car from his near neighbour patron, mining millionaire Pat Burke.

That September 2nd in 1973 i attended the ‘Glynn Scott Memorial Trophy’, the F5000 Surfers Paradise Gold Star round in 1973, and hobbling around on crutches was Warwick talking to his fellow F5000 competitors and the fans…

He really was struggling just to get about and obviously in pain. Unbelievably, I couldn’t believe it when I saw the race report, he contested the next Gold Star round on October 7, one month later in Adelaide. No way could he get in and out of the car unaided.

To me it was madness, given his state, but to Warwick it was everything. He withdrew his old M10B after 8 laps and spent the following months getting properly fit for the ’74 Tasman but he had put down a marker as one determined, tough hombre!

Pat Burke bought him a new Lola T332 Chev, chassis ‘HU27’, the first production T332 and WB had a very consistent Tasman series in it…

He never finished worse than 7th, only failing to complete the NZ GP at Wigram, and won the final round, the Adelaide International. The ’74 Tasman had depth, the field included Teddy Pilette, Graeme Lawrence, John Walker, Max Stewart, Kevin Bartlett, John McCormack and Graham McRae- Peter Gethin won it in a VDS Chevron B24 Chev.

Warwick, Pat and Peter Molloy had plans to take on the best in the US by taking their Lola to the ‘States, ‘match fit’ as it was after the rigours of the eight race Tasman program.

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WB in ’73 (John Lemm)

In 1974 the SCCA/USAC F5000 field included Mario Andretti, Brian Redman, Jackie Oliver, Sam Posey, Graham McRae, Brett Lunger, David Hobbs, Al Unser, Lella Lombardi, Vern Schuppan, James Hunt, John Cannon and others.

By the time Warwick and his crew got to the Ontario round on 1 September it was ‘Formula T332’- Mario Andretti had won two rounds, Brian Redman a couple and David Hobbs one, all in Lola T332’s, the greatest F5000 car ever.

Brown was 11th at Ontario and then 5th at Monterey in mid-October behind Redman, James Hunt in an Eagle 755, Andretti, and Eppie Wietzes in another T332. In the series final round, the Riverside GP, he was third behind Andretti and Redman.

As a WB fan reading about these performances in Australian weekly ‘Auto Action’ I remember being blown away by his speed in such august company viewed through the prism of just how badly hurt he was- and would be again, he had three ‘Big Ones’ in his pro career. I could see his pain getting around at Surfers.

It takes extraordinary guts to get back into these things after big accidents in which you are hurt. The mind management and sheer courage involved has always intrigued me. Not that he was the only ‘Lola Limper’ in Australasia, Graeme Lawrence and Kevin Bartlett spring readily to mind.

But those three US races in ’74 made him really, he proved to himself he could do it. The crew came back to Oz later in 1974 and Warwick was running away with the AGP at Oran Park until mechanical problems intervened. He then won the ’75 Tasman in a close fought battle with fellow T332 drivers Graeme Lawrence and John Walker and set up a US pro-career for the next few years with Jack McCormack’s Talon nee McRae cars in 1975 and then Team VDS.

It’s not an article about the entirety of WB’s career rather a reflection on mind over matter, toughness, passion, resilience and the fierce desire to compete and win that separates elite drivers like Brown, Lawrence and Bartlett from we mere mortals…

Credits…

oldracingcars.com, Bob Harmeyer, The Enthusiast Network, John Lemm

Tailpiece: Brown winning in the Lola T333CS Chev, Watkins Glen 1978…

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Warwick Brown’s VDS Racing Lola T333CS Chev enroute to a single-seat Can Am win at Watkins Glen on 9 July 1978, he won from Al Holbert and Rocky Moran both also Lola T333CS mounted. The car following WB is George Follmer’s Prophet Chev. Brown was 2nd in the championship that year but the class of the field was his countryman, the 3 years older Alan Jones who took 5 victories and the title in the ‘works’ Carl Haas T333CS. Jones was ‘moonlighting’ in 5 litre cars having gained a toehold in F1 (Bob Harmeyer)

 

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(oldracephotos.com/Ellis)

The ‘Longford Trophy’ race start in Tasmania, 5 March 1960 with Jack Brabham and Bib Stillwell in Cooper T51 Climaxes on the front row…

Jack is on the far left, in yellow is Austin Miller’s Cooper T51 Climax then Bib’s red Cooper and far right in red, Arnold Glass’ 4th placed Maser 250F, the beach umbrella atop the starters stand is a nice Oz summer touch, meanwhile the man in the white cap surveys it all and snaps away. Glorious!

I wrote an article about this event a while back, Lindsay Ross recently published the evocative photo above of  a wonderful summers day of a time and place so long ago, too good not to feature.

https://primotipo.com/2015/01/20/jack-brabham-cooper-t51-climax-pub-corner-longford-tasmania-australia-1960/

Brabham won the 17 lap race from Alec Mildren’s Cooper T51 Maserati, Alec and his car were to be Australia’s Gold Star champions that year, and Stillwell 3rd.

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Brabham with Stillwell alongside, then Aussie Miller in yellow beside the Glass Maser. Almost ready for the off (John Ellacott)

Here is publican, crop-duster pilot and racer Austin Miller’s immaculate Cooper T51, 2.2 litre Climax powered, in the Longford paddock amongst the sportscars, he retired on lap 3. How sweet it is. This car, chassis ‘F2-20-59’, driven by the intrepid Austin, later set an Australian Land Speed Record, which then Chevy 283cid V8 powered makes it Australia’s first ‘F5000’, and is a fascinating story for another time…

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(John Ellacott)

Credit…

oldracephotos.com/Ellis, John Ellacott, oldracingcars.com

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The big F3  field gets away on the first lap of of the 1967 ‘Coupes de Vitesse’ on 2 April. Pau such a spectacular race locale…

The race was won by Jean-Pierre Jaussaud from Roby Weber both in works Matra MS6 Ford Cosworth’s, Peter Gethin was third in a Brabham BT21 Cosworth. The field had plenty of talent including Derek Bell, Patrick Depailler and Tico Martini. Amongst the non-qualifiers were Patrick Depailler and Jean-Pierre Jabouille. Their speed would improve!

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The shot above shows green helmeted Henri Pescarolo in another works Matra MS6 having a territorial dispute with Mauro Bianchi in a works Alpine A310 Renault. Henri won the French F3 Championship that season from Jaussaud.

Credits…

Jean Tesseyre

Tailpiece: Frantic Pau…

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Weber from Jausaud, Gethin, Chris Williams and the nose of Pescarolo. Matra MS6 x 2, Brabham BT21 x 2 and Matra MS6 (Tesseyre)

 

 

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(Popperfoto)

Engineers building a production run of these very successful T20/23 series of cars which were important in helping launch the careers of Mike Hawthorn and Jack Brabham amongst others. And positioning Cooper as just not builders of 500’s…

The photos were taken in Cooper’s Surbiton workhop in early 1953, the cars are the CB Mk2 or T23.

The essential difference (there were other improvements as well) between the T20/23 is that the latter used a spaceframe chassis, clear in shot, the earlier car a more traditional box section frame. Note the stack of frames, not yet stove-enamelled on the lower right of the shot.

I wrote an article about the T20 a while back so I won’t repeat myself, click here to read it;

https://primotipo.com/2015/02/10/stirling-moss-cumberland-park-speedway-sydney-cooper-t20-wm-holden-1956/

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Australian Gold Star Champion 1959, Len Lukey’s Cooper T23 Bristol (chassis CBR/2/9/53)  pictured at Mt Druitt, a circuit west of Sydney on 25 May 1958, the car did a 13.53 seconds standing quarter to take FTD. Shot shows the handsome lines of these cars to rather good effect as the gent looking on would attest. Later fitted with a Holden 6 cylinder engine, restored, for a time part of the Donington Collection and still extant (John Ellacott)

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The workshop shots are great, the unclothed cars show the Bristol engine, the chassis and the suspension mix of wishbones and transverse leaf springs front and rear.

Cooper were somewhat maligned over the years about their ‘curvy spaceframes’ by engineering purists but in comparison with other cars of this period, the Cooper is a paragon of modernity if not a perfect example of triangulation!

Doug Nye credits Dante Giacosa’s design of the 1946 Cisitalia D46 for Piero Dusio, as the first modern customer spaceframe car ‘the production racing car trendsetter for an entire generation of designers’.

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Cisitalia factory drawing of the D46 voiturette and its lovely, stiff spaceframe chassis, Fiat 1100cc 62bhp OHV engine. Suspension F/R lower arms/live axle with transverse semi-elliptic springs front and rear, hydraulic drum brakes. Drivers of the cars included the elite, Tazio Nuvolari and down

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Robert Manzon’s 14th placed Cisitalia D46 during the 330Km GP du Comminges, St Gaudens 0n 10 August 1947. Race won by Louis Chiron’s Talbot Lago ’39. The caption with this shot simply says ‘1947 French GP’, which it is not. I have arrived at the above driver/car/event by elimination, some French readers will be familiar with the background, the other hint is the ‘team badge’ on the cars side, let me know if i am wrong or right for that matter! (GP Library)

As stated above the Cooper Bristol Mk1 (T20) used a simple fabricated box-section single plane-ladder frame with tacked on body supports and was very successful.

John Cooper and Owen Maddock’s (Cooper designer/engineer/draughtsman) 1953 Mk2/T23 used a multi-tubular frame which took advantage of the entire cross-sectional area available inside the body ‘and looked more like what would become known as a ‘spaceframe’ design though still sparsely triangulated…this new welded-up chassis frame employed all the same sized round section tube, and it was effectively the forerunner of many more British GP cars ‘spaceframes’ to follow’ Nye said.

So, if the car isn’t the trendsetter Giacosa’s was the Cooper lads were certainly spaceframe ‘early adopters’, very successfully so.

Note the beautiful light alloy Cooper wheels, rudimentary independent rear suspension set up of lower wishbones and top transverse leaf spring which would serve Cooper well till the end of the decade. Double wishbones and coil springs at the front appeared a bit earlier but the transverse top leaf is in use here.

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New Cooper T23 on what is perhaps its first test at Goodwood in late ’52 or early 1953, triple Solex fed 1971cc circa 155bhp spec engine as per text. Frame, neat throttle linkage and beautiful hand formed aluminium body also clear in shot (Popperfoto)

The Bristol/BMW engine develops around 155bhp from its 1971cc in BS4A spec, the engine is worth a paragraph or two. What follows is a summary in relation to the engines race application, not a chronology of the many variants fitted to road cars.

As demand for aircraft and engines eased towards the end of WW2 the Bristol Aeroplane Company decided to diversify into cars. The history of this great company is interesting, click here to read about it; http://www.bristolaero.org/bristol-built/

One of its directors, HJ Aldington, had impeccable BMW connections, another of his companies, AFN Ltd were both the constructors of Frazer Nash cars and the pre-War importers of BMW. The 2 litre engine the subject of this article, was fitted to BMW’s superb 328 sports car, famously the winner of the 1940 Mille Miglia in Huschke von Hanstein’s hands..

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BMW 328 on Avus’ North Curve, Germany on 19 May 1938, driver and event unrecorded (Ullstein Bild)

In the post-war German mess, der Deutschlanders were keener for their technology to be shared with the ‘goodies rather than the baddies’ (the Ruskies), Aldington did a deal via the War Reparation Board which gave the engine technology to Bristol. The Brits fitted the engine to a 326 chassis and dressed the lot in an aerodynamic body similar to the 327 ‘Autenreith’ Coupe.

The first Bristol built engine was fired up on their dyno on 22 May 1946 and was soon fitted to its prototype ‘400’ car.

The engine was tall, slim and short despite its long stroke. The bores were cleverly siamesed within the cast iron block to allow the use of 4, rather than the 7 main bearings considered normal for a straight-six. The head had hemispherical combustion chambers with valves inclined at an included angle of 80 degrees with downdraught inlet ports between them.

Rather than twin overhead camshafts the valves were operated by 18! inclined cross-pushrods. For its success it demanded great engineering precision in its build, something Bristol had in spades. A steel crank ran in Vandervell ‘ThinWall’ lead indium bearings. Dry cylinder liners were of Brivadium alloy-steel so hard that for racing Bristol didn’t consider them run in until the engine had done 8000 miles!

After fitment of three downdraught SU carbs the ’85A’ engine developed 80bhp. The ’85C’ was fitted with three Solexes.

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Bristols; Type 171 Sycamore helicopter and 401 Coupe in 1950 (Hutton Archive)

In 1948/9 Aldington asked Bristol to develop a high performance variant for Frazer Nash, this ‘FNS’ (Frazer Nash Specification) unit with 0.15 larger inlet ports, improved crank counter weights, Delco-Remy distributor rather than the Lucas unit developed 126bhp @ 5500rpm. In the FN Le Mans Rep the engines were very successful.

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The 8th placed Bristol engined Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica of Dickie Stoop and Peter Wilson about to be swallowed by the winning Aston Martin DB3S with Reg Parnell at the wheel, he shared with Eric Thompson, during the Goodwood 9 Hours 22 August 1953 (GP Library)

Encouraged by the Frazer Nash success, Bristol built a new ‘Bristol Sport’ (BS) engine based on the ‘403’ Type 100 spec engine. These had blocks cast in chrome alloy steel. With a 66mm bore and 96mm stroke they displaced 1971cc.

The head was aluminium alloy with inlet valves made of chrome-nickel steel, exhaust valves of austentic-chrome steel. All of the valve gear was very light and polished. The crank was in aviation spec nitriding steel still running in 4 main bearings. A short duplex chain drove from the cranks nose to the high camshaft which ran in four bearings and carried a skew gear driving the distributor and oil pump shafts. High pressure lubrication was used but a wet sump retained. On ‘BS Series’ engines the head was ‘ported and polished’.

These engines, the Mark 2 version used by Mike Hawthorn’s Lavant Cup winning Cooper T20 at the Goodwood Easter 1952 meeting developed 149.8bhp@5550rpm on the Filton dyno before Leslie Hawthorn deployed his secret ‘witches brew’ of nitro-methane to produce more power still.

The ‘BS4A Mk1’ engines  developed 155bhp@6000rpm and 148lb/ft of torque at 5000rpm.

Ultimate versions of the German/British engines were Cooper Bristol driver/engineer Bob Gerard’s de-siamesed port 2.2 litre variants running nitro-methane which developed 180bhp@7000rpm. Bristol’s own de-siamesed engine which ran at Le Mans in its Coupes developed a reliable 160bhp. By that time the 2 litre F2 racing for which these engines were developed was over.

The Cooper Bristols were important cars in the rise of the Surbiton marque and formidable weapons in the right hands if not Ferrari Tipo 500 beaters…

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Cooper T23 Bristol being unloaded from its trailer on a bleak, winter Goodwood day in late 1952 or early 1953. 85km trip from Cooper’s Surbiton ‘shop to Goodwood. These shots (of the mechanics fettling the engine above and the two below) are undated other than 1 January 1953 which will be an approximation, there are no details of the mechanics or driver. My guess is that its a Cooper instigated press shoot, as are the workshop ones above, probably of the cars first test, the ‘stub exhausts’, these engines not usually raced as such, indicative of a ‘quick fix’ overnight to run the car for the first time. If any of you have the details please provide them and i will update the text (Popperfoto)

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Bibliography…

Doug Nye ‘History of The GP Car’, Automobile Year, John Blanden ‘Historic Racing Cars in Australia

Photo Credits…

Popperfoto, John Ellacott, GP Library

Tailpiece: John Cooper, but its just a guess…

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SPA 1907 GP car, 14.75 litre, 4 cylinder engine

Ernesto Ceirano and his mechanic race their SPA during the Brescia road race on 2 September 1907…

The 1907 running of the Coppa Velocita di Brescia was 8 laps of a testing, dusty, gravel 23.4 mile course.

1907 was the second season of Grand Prix racing, events organised that year were the French Grand Prix, Targa Florio, Moscow-St Petersburg, Kaiser Preis, Ardennes Circuit, Coppa Florio and the Coppa della Velocita.

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The road race started in Brescia, Lombardy and then passed through the towns of Montichiari, Castiglione, Lonato, Rezzato and then returned to Brescia. The Automobile Club of Milan organised the event which took 1,100 volunteers to run, it gives some idea of the resources required to run these road events even by the relaxed ‘safety standards’ of the day.

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Cagno in the winning Itala (Getty)

Held on September 2 1907 the race was won by Alessandro Cagno’s Itala from Victor Demogeot in a Darracq with Rene Hanriot third.

Born into modest circumstances Cagno was said to be the third FIAT employee with roles as test driver, Giovanni Agnelli’s personal driver and works racer. He also competed successfully in powerboats and was an entrepreneur-an aviation pioneer who survived to a ripe-old age, he died in 1971.

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J Alezy, Clement Bayard during the Coppa di Velocita. A 1905 Gordon Bennett car- 12.8 litres, T-head developing circa 120bhp @ 1200 rpm (Getty)

Adolphe Clement was a wealthy businessman who owned the rights to manufacture Dunlop Tyres in France. In 1896 he was part of a partnership which took over the Gladiator Cycle Company. A motorised cycle soon turned into the manufacture of cars in 1899, by 1907 the company was building nearly 3000 cars per year

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The CB race team was lead by Albert Clement, Adolphe’s son, who died whilst practising for the French GP in May 1907. The 1907 GP cars used in the Coppa were those built originally for the Gordon Bennett races in 1905. They were 12.8 litre, T-head engines developing a reputed 120bhp at 1200rpm.

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Victor Demogeot, Darracq. Engine 15,268cc, 4 cylinders ‘ bi-cylinder’ blocks, OHV, brake on transmission (Getty)

Pierre-Alexander Darracq (1855-1931) was one of the first to mass-produce cars, his first fortune made from a bicycle business named ‘Gladiator’, the business later acquired by Adolphe Clement and others. In 1904 Darracq were the most successful manufacturer in the world building 1600 cars, but he never learned to drive! For Alfisti his Italian subsidiary is significant in providing the origins of Alfa Romeo.

He sold the company to British interests in 1913 having lost significant amounts of money with cars powered by a Henriod rotary-valve engine design which failed dismally.

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Caricature of M Darracq dated 22 December 1901 (Emile Cohl)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Demogeot’s Darracq at speed (Croci)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Felice Buzio, Diatto-Clement. These cars were created by a partnership of Clement and Diatto, Turin coach builders, between 1905 and 1909. They were Clements built under licence, specification of this car unclear. In 1909 C-B left the business, the cars were renamed ‘Societa Fonderie Officine Frejus’ catchy innit! (Getty)

Etcetera…

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Cagno, Itala

In 1904 Matteo Ceirano left the company he founded with his brothers to create his own marque, Itala. In 1906 he left Itala to create ‘SPA’ Societa Piemontese Auomobili with chief designer Alberto Ballacco. I am not certain of the specification of the car pictured in this articles opening shot, perhaps the car is one of two 6 cylinder models they produced that year, perhaps 4 cylinders. Contributions as to spec gratefully received.

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Credit…

Topical Press, Getty Images

Tailpiece: Cagno again in the victorious Itala, grandeur of the occasion clear!…

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(VHRR Collection)

Murray Carter blasts his Carter Corvette sporty across the top of Mount Panorama in October 1961, just before the daunting drop into Skyline. The cars fuel injected, 5 litre, 300bhp V8 echoed between the eucalypt trees and into the valley below…

Its such a wonderful shot, he looks lean and lithe-he is only a little bloke, you can see the injection trumpets and ‘maggie’, sitting proud of the unpainted, aluminium bonnet fashioned by Murray’s own hands.

Murray was running 2nd in the 75 mile Australian Tourist Trophy on 1 October, behind Bib Stillwell’s 2.5 litre Cooper Monaco Climax and Frank Matich’s Jag D Type before retiring on lap 8 with diff failure in the 19 lap event. Look closely at the photo and you can see the smoke from a differential which is about to cry ‘enough’!

It was a classy field of great depth, the competitiveness of Murray’s self constructed car amongst the factory built Jags, Aston’s, Coopers, Maserati and Lotus’ clear; as was its top speed, 154mph down Conrod during practice! Stillwell won from Matich and Bob Janes Maserati 300S.

Carter has been around forever. Born in 1931, i thought he looked like an old codger at the first race meeting I attended, the 1972 Sandown Tasman round, the ignorance of a 14 year old. He raced his Ford Falcon GTHO Phase 3 at that meeting in the ‘South Pacific Touring Car Championship’, a series of races held throughout the Australian Tasman Rounds.

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Carter racing his Ford Falcon GTHO Phase 3 351 V8, at Hume Weir on the Boxing Day weekend in 1971, this is the car in which I first saw him race at Sandown a month or so later (Dick Simpson)

An out and out racer, he still runs a Corvette C5 in Victorian race meetings the car prepared in his Moorabbin workshop, in Melbourne’s southern bayside suburbs, where all of his cars have been built down the decades.

Murray raced other cars but for years was a Ford stalwart, never a factory driver but the recipient of plenty of assistance from Broadmeadows. He was no slouch either, 2nd in the Australian Touring Car Championship in 1975 in a Falcon GT 351 Coupe and 4th in 1980 in a similarly powered Ford Falcon XD, his best performances. At Bathurst his best finish was 3rd in 1978 in a Ford Falcon XC GT Coupe this time sharing with single-seater ace, Kiwi, Graeme Lawrence.

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Carter pictured in his Ford Falcon XB GT351 Hardtop/Coupe at Hell Corner, Bathurst in 1975. He was 2nd in the ATCC that year in this car, the title won by Colin Bond in a Holden Torana LH SLR5000/L34 5 litre V8. At Bathurst he shared his car with Ray Winter, a very quick F2 driver, Murray qualified the car 7th but DNF after only 53 laps. Brock and Brian Sampson, another driver who has raced until a road accident put paid to his racing, forever, won in an L34 Torana (unattributed)

Like so many drivers he started racing bikes, campaigning a Triumph Tiger 100 at circuits like Fishermans Bend in 1948, aged 17 before switching to cars with a Jaguar XK120.

In search of more speed but as a panel beater unable to afford a factory car he set forth to create a more competitive mount. His original intention was to build a mid-engined single-seater to compete in Gold Star events, Australia’s National Drivers Championship, which was run to F Libre at the time.

Unable to locate a suitable transaxle to cope with the 283cid Chev’s power and torque, Murray placed the relatively light, small block Chev well back in his space frame chassis locating the 4 speed box behind it. He achieving 50/50 front/rear weight distribution that way.

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Murray aboard the car in its original single-seater form at Phillip Island in March 1960. The car was all but destroyed at this meeting after Murray and Bib Stillwell swapped contact. Note the Cooper wheels, vestigial body and short exhausts. Very simple-and fast. Spaceframe chassis, upper and lower wishbone front suspension with coil spring/damper and well located solid rear axle again with coil spring/dampers. Other car on the grid anyone? A Cooper Bristol perhaps? (autopics.com)

The car raced in chassis form with vestigial panels to support a race number at Fishermans Bend in October 1959. It was immediately competitive, even achieving 4th place in the Philiip Island Gold Star round, behind the Coopers in December 1959.

Back at Phillip Island in March 1960, he had an argument about local real estate with Bib Stillwell and came off second best, rolling the car and all but destroying it.

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Murray racing the Carter Corvette in a support event, at the international meeting held at Ballarat Airfield, Victoria in the summer of 1961, 12 February. Is that George Spanos’ Elfin Streamliner Coupe in the pits-he still owns that car 60 years later! The feature race, the Victorian Trophy was won by Dan Gurney from teammate Graham Hill, both in 2.5 litre BRM P48’s (autopics.com)

Looking at the plethora of Cooper T51’s coming into Australia and at the growth of sportscar racing, he decided to rebuild the car as a sportscar constructing the functional aluminium body himself. The Carter Corvette reappeared at in October 1960.

The car was immediately successful, winning races and holding lap records around the country.

When CAMS adopted Appendix K, GT Racing in Australia, Carter modified the car with vestigial coupe bodywork. Whilst it looked as ugly as sin it remained fast finishing the one race 1963 Australian GT Championship in 2nd place at Calder. The event was won by Bob Jane in his factory built LWT Jaguar E Type, a car acquired with rather a greater budget than Murray’s beast!

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Carter in the ‘orrible looking but fast Carter Corvette after the addition of a roof to allow it to comply with new regs introduced by the CAMS. Windscreen thought to be an FE or FC Holden rear window mounted upside down. The boy from Moorabbin was a clever improviser! (Dalton)

Eventually the car fell into disuse but still exists, wonderfully restored by the talented Lou Russo in 2007 or thereabouts, and driven by his son Michael in historic events. Meanwhile, Murray Carter, forever young at 86, races on…

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Carter pictured with one of his old ‘HO’s lovingly restored, in recent times. Car is the Phase 3 HO pictured above at Hume Weir, in its war paint carried during the 1972 Bathurst 500 in which Murray was 10th. Globe alloy wheels homologated not long before the ’72 500 made these beasts look a treat! (carcavalcade.com)

Credits…

VHRR website, Stephen Dalton Collection, Peter D’Abbs/autopics.com

John Medley ‘Bathurst: Cradle of Australian Motor Racing’

Tailpiece: Bob Jane’s lightweight E Type leads the Carter Corvette at Calder…

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(Dalton)

 

 

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Tony Rudd and one of the BRM crew either sorting a problem or firing up Harry Schell’s P25 so the Bourne engineering chief can get back to his hotel, Monaco 1959…

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Behra’s Ferrari Dino 246 you can just see on the left then Moss and Brabham, both Cooper T51, #48 Phil Hill Fazz Dino, #22 McLaren and #32 Trintignant Coopers T51. #16 and #18 Schell and Bonnier in BRM P25’s outside Brooks Dino. #20 Flockhart P25 BRM and behind him Graham Hill’s Lotus 16 Climax (unattributed)

In a sign of the times Jack Brabham won the race from Tony Brook’s front engined Ferrari Dino 246, Jack and third placed Maurice Trintignant in mid-engined Cooper T51 Climaxes. Jack of course took the first of his drivers titles that year and Cooper the constructors.

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Jack on his own on the Monaco quayside in 1959, on his way to his first championship GP win, Cooper T51 Climax. His last the 1970 South African GP at Kyalami (Cahier)

It wasn’t a great weekend for the BRM boys; all three cars retired, Ron Flockhart, Jo Bonnier and Harry with a spin, brake’s and an accident and a split fuel tank the causes respectively.

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Stunning shot of Tony Brooks’ Dino chasing Harry Schell’s BRM into casino Square, Monaco 1959 (Heritage)

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BRM P25; spaceframe chassis, 2491cc DOHC, 2 valve, Weber fed 4 cylinder engine developing circa 275bhp@8000rpm, 4 speed ‘box. Suspension; upper and lower wishbones and coil spring/dampers and De Dion and coil spring/dampers at the rear. Front disc brakes, single disc on the transmission at the rear (C La Tourette)

The team broke through for its well deserved first win in 1959, Bonnier took the next race, the Dutch GP on 31 May, beating Jack and Masten Gregory in Cooper T51’s.

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BRM babes; hard for the mechanics to focus surrounded by this lot. The photo has done the rounds but i’ve never read the identity of said poppets if anyone can advise, BRM P25, Monaco 1959 (unattributed)

Credits…

Klemantaski Collection, Cahier Archive, Heritage Images, C La Tourette

Tailpiece: Harry Schell’s BRM P25 clips the inside of the kerb on entry to a corner in his pursuit of Cliff Allison’s Ferrari Dino 246 at Zandvoort in 1959, JoBo’s P25 took a famous win, Harry DNF, Allison 9th…

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(Rod MacKenzie)

Graeme Lawrence ‘bang on line’ as Kevin Bartlett remarked upon seeing this shot of the Kiwi champions Lola T332 Chev going through Oran Park’s new ‘twiddly bits’ during the 1974 Australian Grand Prix…

There is something great about seeing a racing cars mechanical elements isn’t there? Rod MacKenzie has captured them beautifully in this shot.

These Lola’s are favourites of mine as some of you would know, and a topic about which I have written at length, specifically Peter Brennan’s restoration of Lola T330 ‘HU18’- Lella Lombardi’s old bus. So I won’t bore you with the technical details again, it’s all in this series of articles, attached is the link to the first of them;

https://primotipo.com/2014/06/24/lellas-lola-restoration-of-the-ex-lella-lombardi-lola-t330-chev-hu18-episode-1/

There is so much to see back there starting, of course, with 5 litres of fuel injected Chev, say 520bhp in period. The poor Hewland DG300 5 speed transaxle coped, just, as long as it’s components were adequately lifed, the ‘box was originally designed around ‘effete’ 3 litre F1 engines, not, big, butch Chevs.

The beefy sliding spline driveshafts are clear as are the big inboard brake calipers and ventilated cast iron discs. These Lolas were beautifully finished, all of the steel fabrications were finished in shiny nickel plating.

Suspension is period typical at the rear; single upper link, two lower links, the earlier T330 you will see via the link above had inverted lower wishbones. Uprights were magnesium alloy, fore and aft location provided by radius rods. The shocks are double adjustable alloy bodied Koni’s. Adjustable roll bars were of course also fitted front and rear. Rod MacKenzie’s shot is so sharp you can see Graeme has the rear bar set at full soft, trying to get rear end bite out of Oran Park’s slower turns no doubt.

The big airbox is clear, within 12 months most of the T332’s on the planet had converted to an all enveloping engine cover cum airbox to better flow air over the car and onto the rear wing, this development was first made by the Haas/Chaparral crew in the US on Brian Redman’s car.

Big, wide Goodyears put the power to the road, the wheels are Lola’s own 14 inch diameter cast magnesium jobbies; within 12 months 15 inch American Jongbloed’s were de rigour on these beasts.

A car of beauty indeed!

Graeme was very successful in it; he came within a bees-dick of winning the ’75 Tasman Series in a last round shoot out at Sandown with fellow T332 pilots, Warwick Brown and John Walker, that story is told here, the battle resolved in Warwick’s favour, the only Aussie to win the coveted Tasman Cup;

https://primotipo.com/2015/03/12/the-mother-and-father-of-lucky-escapes-john-walker-sandown-tasman-1975/

Graeme also won the Kiwi Championship, the Gold Star with Lola in 1974/5.

Credits…

Rod MacKenzie, Terry Marshall

Tailpiece: ‘Team Lawrence’ and trusty T332 after a Tasman Levin win in 1975…

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(Terry Marshall)

The circumstances for the upload of these two photos by Rod and Terry Marshall were in honour of the recent passing of Graeme Lawrence’s late father Doug, helping Graeme out of the car above. He was an integral part of his sons motor racing from the start. Clearly there is deep respect and affection amongst former competitors and their crews on both sides of the Tasman for Doug Lawrence. RIP Sir.

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(John Ellacott)

Frank Gardner beside his Jaguar D Type ‘XKD 520’ at Mount Druitt on 23 May 1958, looking fairly relaxed, photographer John Ellacott recalls FG achieved a 14.57 standing quarter mile in the big, powerful car…

Its right at the end of Mount Druitt’s decade long life as a race circuit in Sydney’s western suburbs. FG took FTD in one of the sprint events after the circuit was ‘mortally wounded’ by circuit owner Belf Jones after a spat with its operator the ‘Australian Racing Drivers Club’ in 1958.

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(TR0003)

These wonderful Mount Druitt, 1955 Sydney, New South Wales colour shots (the one above and below) were posted on ‘the Nostalgia Forum’ which, for those of you who haven’t discovered it is something you should do, but be warned you will be lost in interesting motor racing ‘threads’ for years…

http://forums.autosport.com/forum/10-the-nostalgia-forum/

Ace researcher/historian and primotipo contributor Stephen Dalton dates the shots as probably the 4 September 1955 meeting with the Healeys’ driven by #93 C Kennedy and #98 K Bennett. In the background Stephen thinks the #53 tail is an important Australian MG Spl, the ex/Dick Cobden/David McKay/Curly Brydon car.

The red car surrounded by mechanics is perhaps the ex Jack Saywell Alfa Romeo P3 then Alvis powered and driven by Gordon Greig. The covered #4 single seater is Stan Coffey’s Cooper Bristol ‘Dowidat Spl’ and #14 Jack Robinson’s Jaguar Special.

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(TR0003)

All ‘The Fun of The Fair’ or ‘Mount Druitt Motor Racing’ as the case may be…

This article was published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 14 August 1954, it captures the atmosphere of the place and the day and ignorance of the public of motor racing;

THIRTY thousand picnicking spectators in 8,000 cars make a phenomenon in Australian sport and entertainment at Sydney’s monthly motor races at Mt. Druitt.

Cars park two to four deep the whole length of the two and a quarter miles racing track. Spectators drive between races from one vantage point to another over ‘horror stretches’ in the seemingly endless acres of paddocks around the track.

Vendors sell hot water, hot dogs, all the usual provendor of picnics. Children play rounders or football between races.

By the standards of Britain’s famous Brooklands, the informality is extreme for the spectators, but it is typically Australian; sunshine, open air, gum trees.

The Australian Racing Drivers’ Club, however, applies the strictest international rules of competition to its 12 or 14 race program.

Officials on motor cycles patrol the boundary fences. White uniformed officials with international motor racing flags signal the drivers safely through the races-a blue flag waved – ‘a competitor is trying to overtake you’; a yellow flag waved ‘great danger, be prepared to stop’; yellow, with vertical red stripes-‘take care, oil has been spilt on the track.’

A public address system links the whole of the two and a quarter miles of track with the finishing line.

A truck tows breakdowns off the course, often two at a time, ignominiously, like a defeated bull dragged from the ring.

At the end of the day 8,000 cars crowd the Great Western Highway in a colossal traffic jam, in which the ‘hot rodders,’ after a few imitative accelerations, lose their ardour for speed on frustrating miles of bumper-to bumper driving.

What attracts this crowd to a venue nearly 40 miles from the city is the excitement of speeds up to 140 miles an hour and skid turns on hairpin and right-angle bends. The straight of the bitumen track is a wartime airstrip.

The club conducts events for racing, sports, and stock cars and has 60 to 70 competitors at a meeting.

Most of the competitors are owner-drivers-fanatical seekers of perfection in the assembling and tuning of motors. They acquire a car, according to their means and choice. If it is a stock model they remachine and reassemble parts of the motor, and fit new parts, two carburettors, and a ‘blower’ (a supercharger), which gives the ultimate ‘kick.’

In all types of cars running and maintenance costs are high. A set of tyres is good for only 500 racing miles. A car may run half a mile and burn the top out of a piston. An owner may spend £250 on a new cylinder head and find it does not fit satisfactorily.

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Jack Brabham in the Cooper ‘Redex Spl’ Bristol referred to in the text. On the outside is Bill Hudson, Hudson Spl at Mount Druitt in 1955. Jack was later to say he should have taken this highly self developed car to the UK rather than purchase the Cooper Alta he bought in the UK…still it didn’t hold him back in the end! (unattributed)

THE glamour driver of the moment is a 26-year-old motor engineer, Jack Brabham, with his British £4,000 six cylinder Cooper (frame)-Bristol (motor).

He is a former Australian midget car champion, whom some club officials put in ‘world class.’

In the lingo of the fans, he ‘lashes the loud pedal-(accelerator) down to the boards’ and scorns the ‘anchors’ (brakes).

His driving is, indeed, a spectacle as he relentlessly mows down a field, flashes past car after car, and changes gears at 85 to 90 miles an hour.

But the fans are watching a £7,000 Italian Ferrari, with a 12-cylinder two litre engine having a power output of 250 b.h.p. and a top speed around 150 m.p.h. Owner Dick Cobden, a fine driver, has had the car only a few months and is still familiarising himself with its tuning and driving.

The Ferrari is a Grand Prix car, which famous English driver, Peter Whitehead, drove in the Lady Wigram trophy at Christchurch, New Zealand, early this year’.

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Dick Cobden’s ex-Whitehead Ferrari 125 at Mount Druitt, date uncertain. (G & L Liebrand Collection)

Circuit Map…

druitt circuit

(unattributed)

Mount Druitt Aerodrome, 45 Km west of Sydney was built for the Royal Australian Air Force during World War 2. The facility comprised 2 hangars, workshops and a runway 1,524 metres long and 48 metres wide, perfect as the basis of a racetrack postwar.

The first race meeting was held on October 4 1948 on a short track based on the runway established by the Australian Sporting Car Club.

In 1952 Belf Jones built a full circuit, 2.25 miles long using some adjoining land owned by a Mr McMahon, a Sydney businessman. The circuits’ first meeting was on 30 November 1952 organised by the Australian Racing Drivers Club, the main event, a 50 Mile Handicap won by future Australian champion, David McKay’s MG Spl. (one of the cars obscured in the first photo above).

Over the following 5 years over 25 meetings were run with crowd attendances often over 15,000, given the circuits proximity to Sydney. Mt Druitt’s last meeting was on 10 November 1957.

Commercial agreement for the circuits future use could not be reached between the ARDC and Jones, who did irreparable damage to the circuit; Jones cut a trench around the circuit with a digger!

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Another shot of Frank Gardner’s D Type at Mount Druitt on 23 May 1958. (John Ellacott)

The last hurrah for the venue was a number of sprint meetings run in 1958. Victories resulted for Gardner’s D Type Jag, Arnold Glass’ HWM Jaguar and Len Lukey’s Cooper Bristol.

The ‘NSW Speedway Act’ in 1959 and consequent required investment in the facility to meet new safety standards was the final death-knell for this fondly remembered circuit.

The parts of the track added in 1952 remain but the airstrip section is long gone, the area is now known as the Whalan Reserve, it comprises the Mount Druitt industrial estate and Madong Avenue Primary School.

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Current google earth aerial shot of the circuit area. (speedwayandroadracehistory.com)

Bibliography…

The Nostalgia Forum Mount Druitt thread, particularly the contributions of Stephen Dalton and ‘wirra’. Sydney Morning Herald 14 August 1954, speedwayandroadracehistory.com

Photos…

John Ellacott, TR0003, G & L Liebrand Collection

Finito…