(G Smedley)

Love Geoff Smedley’s caption to the photograph of he and Austin Miller at Bakers Beach, Tasmania, “Now just lean on the loud pedal and you could become famous.”

The car is Aussie’s Smedley modified Cooper T51 Chev, that morning on Monday November 20, 1961 they did indeed set a new Australian Land Speed record at 163.94mph. Click here for a feature on this amazing achievement by a small team of talented men; Aussie’s Land Speed Record… | primotipo…

(D Harvey)

Lets stay at the beach for a minute, above is John Hicks’ Holden FJ, at King Edward Park Hillclimb, Newcastle in 1967 with the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop.

(B Edmunds)

I never thought Mike Goth’s rebodied Surtees TS5 Chev was the most attractive of cars but Barry Edmunds, the photographer and lifelong Alfista, has captured the machine nicely on the Sandown International grid in 1970.

Behind him is Ron Grable’s shovel-nosed McLaren M10B Chev, and to the left John Harvey in Bob Jane’s Brabham BT23E Repco, the race was won by Niel Allen’s M10B, all three of the other cars mentioned were DNFs.

(J McKeown Collection)

Lou Molina bags-em-up at Templestowe Hillclimb in 1959.

The Molina Monza Special was fitted with a supercharged Repco-Hi Power headed Holden Grey-six so it didn’t lack low end grunt!

I love the avant garde Brian Burnett styled and built body, he was a man of great talent. One of these days I’ll get around to writing about this fabulous car, which is extant.

Templestowe 1958 (J McKeown Collection)

Lou at Phillip Island in 1959 (Jim McKeown Collection)

(D Simpson)

Kevin Bartlett leads Leo Geoghegan through the Warwick Farm Esses during the Hordern Trophy Gold Star round in December 1968, Brabham BT23D Alfa Romeo T33 V8 and Lotus 39 Repco.

KB won the race from pole with Phil West, Brabham BT23A Repco second. Leo retired with head gasket failure. See here for a feature on the Brabham; Mellow Yellow… | primotipo… and here for one on the Lotus 39; Jim Clark and Leo Geoghegan’s Lotus 39… | primotipo…

(Getty Images)

Another one of Bartlett, this time in Alec Mildren’s second Alfa Romeo GTA ‘LHD’ coming down the mountain at Mount Panorama circa 1967, with George Garth’s Ford Cortina GT in close attendance. Click here for an epic on the Mildren GTAs; The Master of Opposite Lock: Kevin Bartlett: Alfa Romeo GTA… | primotipo…

Looks like a Covid 19 Australian Grand Prix win for Max Stewart at Oran Park in November 1974, hardly a soul to be seen from this angle, but there was a big crowd in attendance.

He won in his Lola T330 Chev from John McCormack’s Elfin MR5 Repco and Graeme Lawrence, Lola T332 Chev, see here for a report on the race; 1974 Australian GP, Oran Park… | primotipo…

(A Polley)

This one made me laugh, it’s Ed Polley’s crew travelling across the Great Brown Land during the summer of ’77.

It looks pretty dry too- I’m not sure where the long paddock is. Polley raced his Polley EP1/Lola T332 Chev in two Rothmans rounds, 11th at Surfers Paradise was his best result.

(D Smallacombe)

Amazing shot of Joan Richmond aboard her 1920 Ballot 3/8 LC at Brooklands during 1934.

This 3-litre straight-eight machine was second at Indianapolis in 1920 with Rene Thomas at the wheel. The following year Jules Goux won the 1921 Italian Grand Prix in it before it was raced by Sir Malcolm Campbell, and then Jack Dunfee from 1923.

Richmond bought the car from Dunfee, racing it throughout 1934, she matched Campbell’s times of years before but a lack of charity from the handicapper meant she never won outright. The engine threw a rod later in the season at which point she sold the car. There is a bit about Joan here; Werrangourt Archive 6: Safety Beach, Dromana Speed Contest… | primotipo…

The Jim Goldfinch Austin Healey 100S lining up an outside pass on John Taylor’s attractive Taylor-JAP at Port Wakefield in 1958.

100S #AHS3906 had some handy steerers in its day including Stan Jones, Ron Phillips and Goldfinch. Suss Tony Parkinson’s wonderful website on this car; AHS 3906 1955 – Austin Healey 100S

(MotorSport)

Jack Brabham and Jochen Rindt up close and personal at Brands Hatch during the 1970 British Grand Prix.

It’s Paddock, with Jochen making a move up the inside of Jack – absolute trust and respect between these two fellas – Brabham had his measure that day too, passing and then driving away from him until the last lap, last corner hiccoughs due to lack of fuel.

A costly error by Nick Goozee, who had left the fuel mixture on rich after the engine was warmed up, rather than the usual race setting resulted in excessive fuel consumption. See here for a dissection of the cars and race; Jack’s BT33 Trumped by Chunky’s 72… | primotipo…

(MotorSport)

(S Scholes)

Pretty amazing Fishermans Bend shot during the February 1955 meeting in which multiple World Motorcycle Champion Geoff Duke blew the crowd away with the sight, sound and speed of his Gilera 500-4.
Perhaps here he is leading Harry Hinton. The shot below is at Bandiana Army base near Albury in late January and shows the lines of the handsome machine to great effect.

(AMCN)

(J Jarick)

In each of the cities Duke raced he spoke to packed meetings of motor cycle fans, the cover of the program above is for one of those events in Chapel Street, Prahran, in Melbourne’s inner south. See here for a couple of pieces on Geoff, bikes; Geoff Duke, Gilera 500/4, Australia 1954… | primotipo… and cars; Geoff Duke: Norton, Dutch GP, Assen 1952… | primotipo…

Elfins abroad.

The car above is Henri le Roux’s Elfin Mallala Ford in South Africa during 1964, circuit unknown. The montage below is of Australian, Mike Hall and his Elfin 620 Formula Ford in the United States during 1974. See here for a piece on Elfin exports; African Elfins… | primotipo…

(Classic Cars Rhodesia)

Paul Hawkins on the way to a Rhodesian GP win on December 1, 1968. He won the 20 lap race for sportscars in his Ferrari 350 Can Am #0858.

Hawkins bought the Ferrari P4 – converted to Can-Am specifications in later 1967 – from David McKay’s Scuderia Veloce in late 1968 and had a very successful African tour with it in late 1968 and early 1969. See here; Ferrari P4/Can-Am 350 ‘0858’… | primotipo…

(J Ebrey)

Dan Ricciardo on the way to winning the first round of the 2009 British F3 Championship at Oulton Park aboard his Dallara F309 VW on 13 April.

He won both races that afternoon and others at Silvertone, Spa and Brands Hatch that season to win the title by nearly 90 points from Walter Grubmuller’s Dallara F309 Mercedes. Formula Renault 3.5 beckoned on a fast climb to F1 with HRT in 2011.

(Red Bull)

(HMRPR)

Munro Abroad.

I hate vinyl roofs, surely the ultimate Lygon Street woggerisation accessory of the 1970s? Here Dirk Marais puts one to good use at Kyalami, South Africa in 1970. His Holden Monaro GTS350 ran in the Star Production Cars class, assistance welcome Peter Ellenbogen!

(G Smedley)

Grass track racing at the Elphin Showgrounds, Launceston, Tasmania in the 1950s.

The late Geoff Smedley commented, “It was always fun to have a race on the show ground arena after the main cattle parade but a winner could never be picked thanks to all the bullshit!” Geoff’s mount, liberally sprayed with said shit, is a Triumph TR2, I think.

(G Smedley)

(Road Rave)

Fred Foster’s Holden Grey twin-cam dates to late 1952.

Two engines were built, both were used in boats, only this one survives. Fred Foster was a Brisbane engineer, “a self taught and fulltime metallurgical genius”, the design was “based on some $5 plans chalked on his factory floor.”

There were separate castings for each cam cover, another front cover hides the chain driven camshafts underneath, and auxiliary drives. Road Rave wrote that “The two head castings were modelled on the Norton Manx layout, the engine’s capacity was 132.5 square inches and gave 140 bhp with mild camshafts having 270 degrees duration.”

With six carbs, the skiff ‘Fossey’ took the American 135 cubic inch records from the V8/60 Flattie Ford V8s. Oh yes, he made a 132.5cid V12 from scratch, the alloy block and heads of which survive!

Doug McLachlan leads the winner of the 1946 New South Wales Grand Prix at Mount Panorama, Alf Najar.

The machines are MG TA  and  MG TB specials, Hell Corner appears to be covered in lubricant, hence the very wide line taken by the drivers to find some grip. See here for a feature on this October 11 handicap race; 1946 New South Wales Grand Prix | primotipo…

Alf Najar accepts the plaudits of his team after a job well done. The 25 lap race was dominated by MGs, Jack Nind’s TB Special was second and Alby Johnson’s TC third.

(unattributed)

Alan Jones at a soggy Snetterton during his 1973 breakthrough year in British F3, 13 April.

The car is a GRD 373 Ford-Vegantune, he was 11th that day in a race won by Tony Brise’ similar car. AJ finished second in the 1973 British F3 Championship, two points adrift of Brise. Jones had raced in the class since 1970, progressively working to the front of the hard fought proving ground.

The breaks fell his way from that point in Formula Atlantic and in F1 when ex-racer, dual British F3 champion, Harry Stiller, ran a Hesketh 308B Ford for Jones in 1975.

Jones contested the mid-April non-F1 championship BRDC International Trophy at Silverstone before racing in the Spanish, Monaco, Belgian and Swedish Grands Prix with fourth place in the crash shortened race at Montjuïc Parc, Barcelona his best finish.

At that point of the season Graham Hill picked him up. Jones raced the Hill GH1 Ford in Holland, France, Great Britain and Germany, his best placing was a fifth at the Nurburgring.

He later ruefully observed that the two World Champions for whom he raced, Hill and John Surtees were also the two most difficult people for whom he raced, both knew better on car set up than the bloke behind the wheel…

Motor Manual promotional, pre 1956 Albert Park Grand Prix cover with an all Italian front row.

It’s the start on the Moomba weekend Argus Trophy with Reg Hunt, Kevin Neal and Lex Davison up front in #2 Maserati 250F, Maserati A6GCM 2.5 and Ferrari 500/625, Hunt won from Davison and Neal.

Photo Credits…

Geoff Smedley, Dale Harvey, Barry Edmunds, Jim McKeown Collection, Dick Simpson, Getty Images, Adam Polley, David Smallacombe, Stephen Scholes, Joe Jarick Collection, Mike Hall, Classic Cars in Rhodesia, Jakob Ebrey, ‘HMRPR’-Historic Motor Racing Photos and Research, Road Rave, Chris Jewell, AMCN- Australian Motor Cycle News, Tony Parkinson Collection

Tailpiece…

(C Jewell)

Frenchies. Alain Prost and Jacques Lafitte on the front row of the grid, 1982 Australian Grand Prix at Calder. Pole and second on the grid, 100 laps later they finished in that order aboard Bob Janes Ralt RT4 Ford BDAs, Roberto Moreno was third in another RT4.

That year the other internationals were Nelson Piquet, Alan Jones, Paul Radisich and Neil Crang. The Australian Aces of the day were Alf Costanzo, John Bowe and John Smith.

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…

(MotorSport)

The John Whitmore/Frank Gardner Ford GT40 Mk2 chases the GT40 crewed by Peter Sutcliffe/Brian Redman through the leafy Ardennes Forest on May 22, 1966.

Its not the leaves which trouble me, but rather the more substantial trees to which they are attached. The saplings (sic!) to the left are not too much of a worry but their big brothers to the right – like the big hombre at the corners exit point – look a tad more unyielding.

Still, the general idea is to stay on the tarmac, not go off-roading. The group of spectators have wisely chosen to locate themselves on the far side of the trees all the same. They must be Belgians, not young Italians.

(MotorSport)
(AMR)

Alan Mann (with tie) and GT40P/1012 before the off, and under-the-Armco Eau Rouge shot below.

(AMR)

Mike Parkes and Ludovico Scarfiotti won the ’66 Spa 1000 kms in four hours 43.24 seconds from the Whitmore/Gardner Alan Mann Ford, then the Essex Wire GT40 driven by Peter Revson and Skip Scott with Peter Sutcliffe’s car fourth.

The race was held on the same weekend as the Monaco Grand Prix, so GP pilots were rather thin on the ground at Spa. Ford and Ferrari sent one works car each; the Parkes/Scarfiotti P3 was comfortably on pole from Whitmore/Gardner.

Parkes jumped away at the start, 4-litres of V12 led the Revson and Whitmore V8s then Lucien Bianchi, in Ecurie Francorchamps’ Ferrari 365P2. After 12 laps Parkes had lapped the field up to fifth place, by the mid-point it was Parkes/Scarfiotti, Whitmore/Gardner and Revson/Scott, the final race order.

The winning Parkes/Scarfiotti Ferrari P3 (MotorSport)
(AMR)

Down the field there was plenty of scrapping among the Porsche 906s who chased the very quick Maranello Concessionaires Ferrari Dino 206S crewed by Richard Attwood and Jean Guichet. The Dino finished sixth outright ahead of two 3.3-litre 250LM Ferraris and behind the fifth placed Chris Amon/Innes Ireland Ford GT40.

The Gijs and David Van Lennep Racing Team Holland Porsche 906 follows the similar works car of Hans Hermann and Dieter Glemser, 15th and DNF (MotorSport)

Etcetera…

Peter Sutcliffe’s GT40, chassis P/1009, was the same machine he raced with Frank Matich to second place in the 1966 Surfers Paradise 12-Hour, it was the last time he raced it before sale to Ed Nelson.

Credits…

MotorSport, AMR-Alan Mann Racing

Tailpiece…

(AMR)

Majestic is the word which springs to mind. The #48 Jaguar E-Type following ‘our GT40’ is crewed by Mike Merrick and John Harper, it finished 16th.

Finito…

(via Bonhams unattributed)

Jackie Stewart’s Carl Haas/works Lola T260 Chev all cocked up ahead of Denny Hulme’s McLaren M8F Chev at Laguna Seca on October 17, 1971…

Peter Revson won that day in the other works M8F from Stewart and Hulme, it was the second last Can-Am Cup round, the title won by Revson from Hulme and Stewart with five, three and two wins respectively.

I’ve given the Lola and the ’71 series a really good go here in a long epic; Jackie Stewart’s 1971 Can-Am Lola T260 Chev… | primotipo… but the discovery of some great MotorSport testing shots of the car at Silverstone in May and June that year were too good to ignore.

Lola’s 1971 challenger was developed off the back of its quick 1970 T220/T222 raced with great speed by Revvie. They upped the ante the following year with another new car, run by Haas, well funded by the L&M tobacco company and driven by no less an ace than John Young Stewart.

As you will see from the article above, the only things the Lola program lacked – both critical mind you – was sufficient testing and development prior to the championship’s commencement in mid June, and a tad more luck!

(MotorSport)
(MotorSport)

Frank Gardner shaking T260 HU1 down at Silverstone in May, doesn’t it look small in comparison to other Can-Am contenders of the day?

Gardner was Lola’s F5000 and development driver/engineer. He had a busy year extracting a little more pace from the (F5000) T192, and then, together with Bob Marston developed the smash-hit Lola T300 F5000 machine. A mountain of profits flowed into Eric Broadley’s coffers over the ensuing decade as Lola shifted dozens of T300/T330/T332/T333 machines.

Eric Broadley, Bob Marston? and who else folks, Silverstone test June 1971 (MotorSport)

Marston designed the T260 to a brief developed by Broadley. While the car had the same wheelbase as the dominant M8F, the car was narrower in both its front and rear track, and notably shorter in overall length. The car was very twitchy and difficult to drive at the limit, JYS later listed it as his least favourite racing car, by a nose from the 1966/7 BRM P83 H16. The T260 also had an understeer problem the team chased all year with all manner of different aero-treatments, most notably the cow-catcher additional front wing fitted in the final rounds.

(MotorSport)

The inboard mounted coil spring/Bilstein shock units were designed to allow huge, inboard disc brakes but Stewart vetoed that design approach given the failure of a front brake driveshaft fitted to a Lotus 72 Ford caused the death of his best friend, Jochen Rindt, at Monza in 1970.

Jackie later used inboard discs to good effect on the 1973 World F1 Championship winning Tyrrell 005/006s designed by Derek Gardner, but for the moment they were verboten.

(MotorSport)

Two T260s were built, the car shown is chassis HU1, Stewart’s racer all season, while HU2 was an unused spare in 1971.

(MotorSport)

Stewart shelters from the rain at Silverstone in June 1971, I wonder if he managed any dry laps before the car was shipped to North America for the first race at Mosport over the June 13 weekend?

(MotorSport)

The George Folz built, Lucas injected, circa 700bhp 8.1-litre alumium block Chev comes in for a bit of attention at Watkins Glen in late July. Jackie retired with gearbox problems after starting from pole. Revson won from Hulme and Jo Siffert’s Porsche 917/10.

(via Bonhams unattributed)

Credits…

MotorSport, Getty Images, Bonhams

Tailpiece…

Another angle on that radical, extended cow-catcher front wing in an attempt to get better grip at the front. LA Times Grand Prix, Riverside, the final Can-Am round on October 10, 1971. Hulme won from Revson and Howden Ganley, BRM P167 Chev, JYS DNF engine failure.

Finito…

Ford were in diabolical financial trouble almost from the day the Australian subsidiary commenced building the Falcon in Australia…

A late call was made by local management to build the US Falcon rather than the UK Mark 3 Zephyr. It was the right decision, but as a consequence, and blind optimism on the part of the blue-oval-boys, the Falcon was the first and only car built in Australia which was not designed for our rather harsh range of conditions.

Shortly after the launch of the XK Falcon the queue of customers with their sexy new Falcons into service departments with front ball joint, suspension and gearbox dramas began. Warranty claims soared as demand for the cars tanked.

The Falcon soon became the Foulcan. Despite running production line changes, and the XL and XM updates introducing a raft of minor and major changes, private and fleet buyers stayed away in droves. Ford Australia was at risk of being chopped off at the knees by HQ in Dearborn.

Ford Canada’s US born marketing guru, Bill Bourke (later appointed CEO of Ford Australia) was sent to the Australian outpost to assist in ‘saving the company’. His plan, without any regard for the difficulties of the idea was a 70,000 mile endurance test to be completed over nine days of Ford’s You Yangs Proving Ground to demonstrate the toughness and longevity of the cars.

(FoMoCo)

(FoMoCo)

(FoMoCo)

It is hard to imagine a more unsuitable course for such an adventure, in full glare of the media despite its country location, and so it was that Ford’s CEO flagged off the five cars (and one spare which was regularly pressed into service) which achieved the feat despite a totally unsuitable track, totally unsuitable Dunlop SP41 tyres and totally terrible organisation…

I could rehash what others have published in recent times but when a Wheels article written by one of Australia’s greatest motoring journalists/authors in Bill Tuckey is out there why not just go with that, an article written in the day in the context of the time and the pickle Ford were in. The piece was originally published in the July 1965 issue, it is still arguably Australia’s best road car magazine.

I have exercised editorial and creative direction when it comes to the photographs however. I’ve used none of their shots as there is now a much better range of snaps whizzing around the internet inclusive of the opening shot which inspired my interest in the whole amazing exercise of corporate balls, and success despite some pretty skinny organisation other than in the build/preparation of the cars themselves by Harry Firth’s Emporium of Speed in Queens Avenue, Auburn…

‘1965 Ford XP: 70,000 Mile Marathon’

‘In which the equivalent of 140 Armstrong (Bathurst) 500s goes a very long way to demonstrating that there’s a Falcon in Ford’s future.’

‘Ford took a giant step forward in its Australian future when five battered and travel-stained Falcons smashed through a banner at 1.42 am on a rocky Victorian hillside after covering 70,000 miles in nine days. It may be too soon in history to judge the effect of this considerable feat, but it is plain that it had the effect of making just about everybody in the country conscious of Falcons, if only for nine days. Poorly organised and managed as it was, the endurance run came to mean a lot more than normal “record bids” simply because the company stood up beforehand and announced its intention of doing it. This one simply could not be swept under a rug.’

‘The industry and motor sport authorities saw Ford’s announced intention as a little amusing, particularly its intention of averaging 72 mph on a circuit which makes Lakeside look like a roller skating rink. But the equivalent of 140 Armstrong 500s, or nearly four times around the world, or 60 return trips from Melbourne to Sydney later, they had to eat their words. The cars had more endurance than the drivers; extra pilots were hauled unsuspecting from their warm beds at midnight to be rocketed out to the bleak and chill proving ground in the You Yangs to sit over a fire and wonder how they had come to be there, anyway.’

‘The bid, as the “Financial Review” commented acidly, succeeded in spite of the organisation, not because of it. The selection of drivers was very much on the old buddy system, and did not represent the best available in the country, oil company jealousies notwithstanding. One driver had never raced before, let alone held a CAMS Licence and there were some strange faces in the cars that the old motor sport hands could not recognise. Then both Ford and Dunlop grossly underestimated the tyre wear factor for the new SP41, the Ford mechanics initially had too few tools, the tyres were originally fitted without tubes, spectator control was non-existent, and there were not enough crash and fire units around the circuit.’

‘But despite this, and despite the average being lowered in the first few days to ease the rate of tyre wear, the cars came through – with enormous prestige. The 2.25 mile circuit is dreadfully difficult, mainly because it was built to incorporate high vertical and side loadings on wheels and suspensions. New drivers going out for the first time came back in assorted stages of twitching, but after spending time learning it found that one could save half a second here and there by thinking ahead. Nevertheless, they still had to point the cars every foot of the way; for instance, if one came over the top of ·the 4 in 1 hill and started the downhill approach to the esses a foot or so off line, then you ended up 20 ft or so offline at the bottom amid low shrubs and immovable objects called boulders.’

‘The worst time of the day was just before dawn, when fog settled into the dips, windscreens frosted over, and heavy dew made corners quite greasy. The 32 drivers generally worked on the basis of two hours on and four off, but many “iron men”, like Tom Quill, insisted on doing double duty. There was a 24-hour meals service, and the drivers slept either in the 12 caravans available or went 15 miles back to hotels and motels in Geelong (Victoria). The mechanics worked 12-hour shifts and sometimes ate their meals sitting on straw bales lining the pit road. The drivers got quite intense about the car they were crewing, regarding it as “their” car and threatening each crew member with instant disgrace if he bent it. Car 3, the four-door sedan that eventually covered the most miles and was the only one not involved in a shunt, was team senior ”Wild Bill” McLachlan’s pride and joy. Somebody stuffed the red No 1 two-door hardtop, Harry Firth’s baby, into a boulder, and that caused strained relations. Victorian comingman Brian (“Brique”) Reed had a tyre slit on him and bounced into a gully, while various people rolled various cars.’

(FoMoCo)

‘Each time this happened the reserve car – unprepared for the event – was called in and the mechanics jumped in to repair the badly damaged bodies with whatever tools were handy. And they did a remarkable job. Red No 1 set four new records as soon as it got back on the track after being rolled. And the only serious mechanical failures were those caused by the cars going off the road.’

‘But the drivers, by Wednesday, the fifth day, were starting to enjoy the wearying project immensely. Jon Leighton, head of the Birchwood School of Motor Racing, spent his time on the track in experimenting with various lines and techniques, discovering the circuit all over again every few laps. Bruce McPhee concentrated on being as neat and tidy as possible, yet still managed to go extraordinarily quickly. The drivers were signalled every few laps with the lap time which pit managers Les Powell and Max Ward wanted them to maintain, and this was generally around 1:51 or 1:52. Some of the top men were allowed to lap around 1:48 and 1:49.’

‘One or two ran out of fuel on the circuit, but orders were that when the fuel gauge needle covered the “E” sign the driver was to do five more laps, giving the pits progressively five, four, three, two and one toots on his horn as he came past each time. Changing drivers, wheels, fuelling, cleaning windscreens and checking oil levels took around the two minutes, although the pit stops speeded up toward the end. They were refuelling the cars from drums for two days before some bright lad discovered that there were two 1000-gallon drums of Mobil not 100 ft away.’

‘Dunlop’s radial-ply SP41 tyres came in for as much – if not more – torture as the quintet of Ford Falcons. Estimates of wear were way off the mark and on the first day of the nine-day event about 100 covers were used. There was a twofold cause for this, first the surface of the track was highly abrasive, second, the lap speed of well above 70 mph was chewing out tyres quicker than expected.’

‘The nature of the track layout and the ‘green’ top dressing shredded tyres to such an extent that drivers were signalled to ease up. When this was done tyre life was appreciably greater, although 70-plus mph lapping was still being put in. The Dunlops were worked hard all the time, and on occasions grossly overworked. But throughout all the tyre incidents, not once did a cover part company with the rim, even when one driver returned at 60 mph to the pits with its deflated cover on fire. On the third day of the run, at the drivers’ request, tubes were fitted to the SP41s. As the twisting 21-mile circuit became bedded-in, the tyre wear factor improved and a set lasted roughly six hours. By the second last night only one of the five cars needed a tyre change. And this was to the front offside which had suffered punishment for hours.’

‘It also must be pointed out that the Falcons were being driven at racing speeds on tyres never designed for track work. After the run ended layers of shredded rubber could be found on most corners. This had been chewed off by the scrubbing motion of the wheels under 90 mph cornering. An inspection of the track afterwards showed that the bitumen topping had been worn away ‘by the pounding of the cars leaving a hard, quartz surface. About 600 tyres were used in the event. The tyre bill was roughly £6000.’

(unattributed)

(FoMoCo)

Etcetera…

(unattributed)

The driver roll call includes Bob Jane, Allan Moffat, Ern Abbott, Fred Sutherland, Alan Caelli, Barry Arentz, Barry Seton, Harry Firth, Jon Leighton, Bruce Corstorphan, Tom Quill, John Raeburn, bill Mc Lachlan, Brique Reed, Gil Davis, Kevin Bartlett, Bruce McPhee, Geoff Russell and Max Stahl – and more. Do let me know others in order to complete this list.

Credits…

Wheels magazine, practicalmotoring.com.au, Ford Australia

Tailpiece…

The Australian Wheels magazine ‘Car of The Year’ was and still is a highly prestigious award and no doubt was mightily appreciated by the boys in Broady and Norlane when the gong was announced.

Finito…

The cockpits of fifties and sixties sportscars are about as good as it gets, the D-Type Jaguar is hard to toss in looks, feel and functionality.

Its XKD520 by the way. Bib Stillwell, Frank Gardner and David Finch were it’s owners in an illustrious Australian race history from early 1956 to 1961.

(G Molloy)

The prototype Jaguar D-Type, chassis XKC401, at Browns Lane in May 1954 before heading off for the Le Mans test weekend. There, in Tony Rolt’s hands, it broke the lap record by five seconds.

Credits…

Fisken, Sotheby’s, G Molloy in Australian Motor Sports

Tailpiece…

Finito…

Jules Goux and Emil Begin aboard their Peugeot at Indy, 1913 (IMS)

One of my recent obsessions is Ballot cars. These short fanatical phases lead one into all sorts of tangents, the most recent involves Jules Goux, a works Ballot driver, and his victory at Indianapolis in 1913 aboard an epochal twin-cam, four-valve, dry-sump Peugeot L76.

His 6 hour 35.05 minute race was meritorious as a drive of restraint, the Peugeot’s tyres were not up to the particular challenges of Indy’s brick surface. With alternatives which fitted the French car’s Rudge-Whitworth wire wheels unavailable, local driver Johnny Aitken suggested running at a pace to suit the equipment may still be quick enough to win.

(Jules Goux)

And so it was, Goux won with his mechanic Emil Begin by 13 minutes from Spencer Wishart’s Mercer 450, total time 6 hours 35.5 seconds. Ralph de Palma was third in another Mercer. The French duo won the Memorial Day classic in fine style, leading 138 of the 200 laps, with six pit stops at which the crew fortified themselves with swigs of champagne! See this Nostalgia Forum thread for discussion of that point; Jules Goux Indianapolis 500 1913 – The Nostalgia Forum – The Autosport Forums

The other Peugeot driven by Paolo Zuccarelli was out with bearing failure after 18 laps.

Goux quaffs some bubbles before the next stint (IMS)

Georges Boillot’s success in the ground breaking Peugeot in the June 1912 Grand Prix de l’ACF (French Grand Prix), and Peugeot’s May 1913 Indy 500 win made the path of future racing cars clear; smaller, lighter machines powered by smaller, lighter, more efficient, higher revving engines than the the Edwardian behemoths than had gone before.

Checkout this piece of mine about the engine, including period articles about the car; 1912/13 Peugeot GP Car: Especially its Engines… | primotipo… and this superb article by Pete Brock about how rapid Les Charlatans/Peugeot technology transfer to other marques occurred; How the modern race engine was born | Articles | Classic Motorsports

The Goux Peugeot from Caleb Bragg’s Mercer 450, DNF pump shaft failure after 128 laps (chuckstoyland.com)

Credits…

IMS-Indianapolis Motor Speedway archives, chuckstoyland.com

Tailpiece…

(IMS)

Jules Goux during a practice run, note Indy’s new pagoda administration building.

Finito…

Bob Atkin and the SV Ferrari 250LM in 1968, love those works Ferrari overalls (B Atkin)

Australian enthusiasts of a certain age will recall Bob Atkin as David McKay’s partner in Scuderia Veloce, the Sydney based race team and prestige car dealership established by McKay as he evolved from racing driver to entrant/entrepreneur/motor trader, in addition to racing/automotive journalism off to the side.

SVs soon became the team to watch, and Atkin had a front row seat. He took his camera with him to race meetings recording the activities of the team, and other competitors in living colour.

In recent times, his son, Greg Atkin has been uploading his dad’s photographs onto Bob Williamson’s Old Australian Motor Racing Photographs Facebook page. I’ll periodically upload ‘Bob Atkin Collection’ pieces rather than lose these amazing colour time capsules in the bowels of FB, many thanks to Greg for sharing them.

(B Atkin)

This 1968 photograph at Warwick Farm says everything about the fizz SVs created amongst Australian enthusiasts.

The line up is the Ferrari 250LM bought new by McKay first raced for him by Spencer Martin during some of the 1965 Australian Tasman Cup rounds, the ex-Jack Brabham ’67 Tasman mount – Brabham BT23A Repco, and ex-works Ferrari 350 Can Am machine raced throughout 1967 as a P4 enduro coupe before being converted – along with another of its siblings – for Can-Am use in the latter months of 1967 driven by Chris Amon and Jonathon Williams.

I’ve written about these cars before, so lets not double-up, see here; Pete Geoghegan: Ferrari 250LM ‘6321’: Bathurst Easter 1968… | primotipo… here; Bathurst 1969 and Jack’s Tasman Brabham Repcos… | primotipo… and here; Ferrari P4/Can-Am 350 ‘0858’… | primotipo…

(B Atkin)

Bob was obviously a Leo Geoghegan fan, the earliest of his shots is of Leo doing a lap of honour in an official’s Austin Healey at Mount Druitt, Sydney, perhaps on the day be beat Frank Gardner’s Jaguar C-Type in a handicap race aboard his very quick Holden 48-215, the car is shown below in the Mount Panorama paddock in 1958.

(R Reid)
(B Atkin)

Greg Cusack (at far left above) a successful car dealer himself was one of SV’s longest supported drivers.

These two fabulous shots were taken at Mallala circa 1964. It is the delivery session of Greg’s brand new Elfin Mallala Ford twin-cam by Garrie Cooper (in the natty red sox) and the Elfin boys into the care of the Cusacks. That Rice Trailer will shortly be off on the trip home to Canberra.

By the time I raced at Mallala that pit-counter was long gone, so too the aircraft hangar to the right in the shot below.

(B Atkin)

Credits…

Greg Atkin for sharing the Bob Atkin’s photographs, Ron Reid Collection, Alan Edward Giltrap

Tailpiece…

(A Giltrap)

Bob Atkin and David McKay at Warwick Farm, probably not long after the Ferrari 350 Can Am arrived in late 1967. To comply with Australian rules, the car was fitted with headlights – such P4 fitments not required under Group 7/Can-Am rules – and a spare wheel, which SV fitted to the rear of the car aft of the transaxle. It ain’t there when this shot was taken.

“That D-Series Ford truck could take two cars, the Brabham on top and P4 (350 Can Am) underneath, the truck came from Greg Cusack’s Ford dealership in Canberra,” wrote Dominic David.

Finito…

(P Hasenbohler)

I first became aware of Peter Monteverdi and his cars while reading Automobile Year 19. His self-styled and designed, Fissore built, mid-engined Monteverdi Hai 450SS was undoubtedly one of the horn-cars – powered as it was by a Chrysler 6.9-litre/426cid Hemi competition race engine – of 1971, capable of 175mph in great comfort.

The shot above is of Peter racing a Lotus 18 Ford FJ in the National Iceslalom, at Arosa alongside the Obersee, Switzerland in December 1961; third, DNF transmission (go figure).

Of Italian parentage (June 7, 1934-July 4, 1998), Monteverdi was born at Binningen in the Swiss canton of Basel-Landschaft. He joined his father’s small garage and truck business as a teenager, building his first Monteverdi Special, a cycle-winged sports-roadster based on a crashed 1939 Fiat 1100 in 1951 at 17.

Monteverdi Hai 450SS. Heavy box section tubular frame, wishbone front and De Dion rear suspension, Koni shocks, ZF steering, 4-wheel ATE discs. Chrysler engine as per text, ZF 5-speed transaxle, weight 2838lbs unladen. Did not get into series production sadly, several were built (Automobile Year 19)
Peter Monteverdi, date unknown (curbsideclassic.com)

Peter took over the garage in 1954 upon the death of his father. He worked hard to build a reputation as a tuning establishment and along the way acquired concessions for Ferrari, Lancia, Rolls Royce and Jensen. Much later, he relinquished these to focus on BMW.

Piero Monteverdi’s capabilities as a driver helped build the reputation of Monteverdi Binningen Motors – MBM.

Seeing the fun and commercial opportunities in nascent Formula Junior, Monteverdi built DKW and Ford engined MBMs from larger premises alongside the original garage in Binningen-Basel.

Monteverdi in the Solitude paddock, raid of the Porsche parts-bin clear. Pretty car albeit the packaging challenges of the Type 547 four-cylinder 1498cc boxer four and cooling fan apparent (MotorSport)
Monteverdi’s MBM Porsche leads the similarly powered Carel de Beaufort Porsche 718, both DNF, Solitude July 23, 1961 (MotorSport)

Realising that it wouldn’t be too difficult to build a Grand Prix car based on his FJ design, he built a bigger, stronger spaceframe chassis fitted with a 1.5-litre Porsche RSK four-cylinder engine and gearbox.

The attractive looking car qualified last on the grid of the 1961 Solitude Grand Prix held on the dauntingly fast, swoops and dives of the 11.4km Schloss Solitude road circuit outside Stuttgart.

Unfortunately, he had engine trouble in the race, so only lasted two laps, the race was won by Innes Ireland’s works Lotus 21 Climax. The car was written off at Hockenheim shortly afterwards, Monteverdi was badly hurt in the accident and retired from racing. To avoid temptation, he buried the remains of the MBM Porsche in the foundations of a new showroom on his original garage site!

1974-75 Monteverdi range (curbsideclassic.com)

He wasn’t done with fast cars however, building one offs including an Osca powered roadster and the Ford Kent powered MBM Tourismo. The far more serious Chrysler V8 engined, Frua styled machines commenced with the 375S shown at the 1967 Frankfurt Show.

Monteverdi did good business for a couple of decades producing modified, luxurious versions of sedans and 4WDs, and later still had an abortive return to F1 in 1990 with the acquisition, and rapid demise of Onyx F1.

The ever restless racer, designer, engineer and businessman died of cancer in his apartment above his Binningen workshop, aged 64 in 1998.

Etcetera…

Rolf Schild’s sweet looking MBM Type D Formula Junior, 18 of which were built, on the Mitholz-Kandersteg hillclimb, Switzerland in May 1962.

Credits…

Philip Hasenbohler, Automobile Year 19, MotorSport, curbsideclassic.com, Getty Images,

Tailpiece…

(MotorSport)

Oopsie. Peter reassuring himself that he isn’t going to hit any of the ever present Solitude trees. What a track this place would have been to compete upon! See here for a piece on Solitude in 1960. and the perils of it; Surtees in Solitude… | primotipo…

Finito…

(T Marshall)

Graham Hill talks to the lads about his brand-spankers Lotus 49B, chassis R8 in the Pukekohe pitlane during the 1969 NZ GP weekend…

Maybe he is talking about his car, or perhaps the blistering pace of Jochen Rindt, his new teammate.

While it’s a brand new chassis the car is fitted with a ZF gearbox rather than the Hewland DG300 which he had been using in his definitive spec F1 49B in late 1968. Both Hill’s R8, and Rindt’s R9 were concoctions of the original 49, and of the subsequent 49B. Type 49 features included the front-mounted oil tank, use of a combined oil/water radiator, original front rocker arms mounted at 90 degrees to the tub rather than swept forward, the ZF gearbox, and old style rear suspension mounted to ‘fir-tree’ brackets bolted to the DFV.

The main 49B feature adopted was the use of cutouts in the lower rear part of the tub to locate the lower rear radius arms. The cars used high-wings mounted atop the uprights in the same style first used on Jackie Oliver’s R2, and used the wing feathering mechanism pioneered in Mexico at the end of 1968.

There was enormous excitement in Australasia prior to the 1968 Tasman when the quickest cars of the 1967 F1 season, Lotus 49s powered by the 2.5-litre short stroke DFW variant of the F1 3-litre Ford Cosworth DFV were raced by Jim Clark and Graham Hill; chassis’ R2 and R1 respectively.

Jim Clark won the Tasman Cup, his last championship, and the Australian Grand Prix at Sandown, his last GP win before his untimely death at Hockenheim on April 7, 1968.

While there was huge enthusiasm for Graham Hill and Jochen Rindt, the absence of Clark tugged at the hearts of enthusiasts, Jim was such a popular visitor to our part of the world, his first tour was in 1962.

Rindt finally had a car with the speed and occasional reliability – he was hard on it mind you – to post the results he deserved. His first GP win came at Watkins Glen late in 1969, but he perished less than twelve months later at the wheel of a Lotus 72 during practice for the Italian Grand Prix.

Graham Hill did a sensational job in picking up Team Lotus lock-stock-and-barrel after Clark’s death. He filled the leadership void until Colin Chapman clicked back into gear after mourning Clark’s loss. Graham would have a tough season in 1969, Rindt’s pace was apparent from his first laps at Pukekohe, at Watkins Glen Hill had the bad accident which hospitalised him for months.

Team Lotus built two new cars for the ’69 Tasman assault; 49Bs R8 – a new chassis – for Hill, and R9 – the prototype R1 rebuilt – for Rindt which were identical in specifications.

NZ GP Pukekohe 1969, the off. From left Amon with Bell right behind then Leo Geoghegan’s white Lotus 39 Repco, Hill’s Lotus a row back, then Jochen up front alongside Chris and Piers at right in the Williams Brabham BT24 Ford
Gardner, Mildren ‘Yellow Submarine’ Alfa, Hill, Rindt in the Wigram dummy grid in 1969 (CAN)

Chris Amon mounted a very successful 1969 Tasman campaign using the learnings of the prior year. He had Bruce Wilson as lead mechanic again, and an additional car to be raced by Derek Bell with a strict rev limit given the small float of engines available between two cars. Logistics were taken care of by David McKay’s (Sydney) Scuderia Veloce outfit.

Chris opened his account with intent, he won the first two races at Pukekohe on January 4 and at Levin the week later. Jochen was second in the NZ GP whereas Graham had two DNFs, a front suspension ball-joint failed after completing 13 laps in the first race, and driveshaft failure at Levin, this time on lap 12 when running in third place from grid five.

Jochen came to grief at Levin, he spun on lap four whilst leading, and then repeated the mistake two laps later but in more costly fashion, rolling the car atop a safety embankment. Jochen was ok but R9 was rooted, too badly damaged to be repaired away from home base. 49B R10 was despatched to the colonies, much to Hill’s chagrin. It was the first of many Lotus accidents and component failures for the Austrian during the next twenty months, not that the cause of this shunt was the fault of the car.

The ferry trip to the South Island brought better fortune. Hill and R8 finished second in the Lady Wigram Trophy race on the Royal New Zealand Airforce Base outside Christchurch on January 18, but Jochen made good use of his new car from pole setting fastest lap and race time. Jochen was 34 seconds in front of Graham, with Chris Amon another four seconds behind Graham, then Piers Courage another six seconds back in Frank Williams’ Brabham BT24 Ford DFW.

The following weekend Graham was second again at Teretonga near Invercargill, the world’s most southerly racetrack, the winner this time was Courage. This time it was Jochen’s turn for driveshaft failure, interesting given the DFW gave circa 50bhp less than the DFV, with Chris Amon third and looking good for the title as the circus crossed the Tasman Sea for three Australian rounds.

Graham blasting through the Teretonga scrub country. Note the long exhausts of the 2.5 DFW, look how flimsy the wing supports look, and were- Chapman at his worst. Note – look hard – the Lotus aero-screen (LAT)
Early laps at Levin. Piers Courage in a Lotus sandwich, Hill in front with Jochen aboard the ill-fated R9 in third (LAT)
The off at Wigram. Courage, Brabham BT24 Ford and then Graham with Jochen on pole in Lotus 49Bs. Amon behind Jochen, the light coloured car behind Chris is Gardner’s Mildren Alfa V8 (T Marshall)

First stop was on February 2, 1969, at Lakeside, Brisbane, for the Australian Grand Prix.

Graham finished fourth in R8, while Jochen’s R10 had engine failure. Both cars had wing mount failures- Chapman’s In-God-We-Trust engineering of these things was cavalier for so long it is a joke. Only Jochen’s celebrated Come-To-Jesus (whilst I am on religious metaphors) letter after the collisions inflicted upon Rindt and Hill at Montjuic Parc in early 1969 gave Our Col pause to consider his desire to attend another driver funeral.

GLTL then headed south to Sydney for the Warwick Farm 100, basing themselves at the Brothers Geoghegan emporium of fine sportscars in Haberfield, a stones-throw from the Farm at Liverpool.

While practice was dry, Rindt massacred the lap record, then drove away from the field during the race in a mesmeric display of wet weather feel, bravado, pace and dominance winning at a reduced canter by 45 seconds from Derek Bell’s Dino and Frank Gardner’s Alec Mildren Mildren Alfa Romeo 2.5 V8.

Poor Graham’s R8 snap-crackle-‘n-popped its way around the technically demanding course with his ignition very much rain affected. Chris and Piers tangled early in the race which gave the Kiwi sufficient points to win the Tasman Cup.

Hill aboard R8 with Rindt in R10 in the Sandown pitlane, February 1969. Note the open bonnets, spoiler atop the nose of Graham’s  (I Smith)

The final round of the Championship took place at Melbourne’s Sandown Park on February 16.

There Chris drove a wonderful race to win by seven seconds from Jochen with Jack Brabham third in the Brabham BT31 Repco 830 2.5 V8, in Jack’s one off 1969 Tasman race, with Gardner fourth, Bell fifth and then Graham sixth, three laps adrift of Amon.

Jochen’s R10 was airfreighted home to the UK, it was required in F1, whereas R8 returned by ship. In the Spanish Grand Prix both high-winged Lotus 49Bs of Rindt and Hill were very badly damaged in separate accidents triggered by rear wing strut failure over the same high-speed brow on Barcelona’s Montjuic Park circuit- as mentioned earlier. See article here; ‘Wings Clipped’: Lotus 49: Monaco Grand Prix 1969… | primotipo…

While Graham wasn’t hurt, Jochen was severely concussed and was unable to drive at on May 18. Team Lotus lacked a car to replace Rindt’s R9, the chassis of which was consigned to a rubbish skip at Hethel. As a consequence, R8 was rushed off the ship from Australia, fitted with a 3-litre DFV, 1969 roll-over hoop, and fire extinguisher system before being taken to Monte Carlo for substitute driver, Richard Attwood to race.

He had shone in a BRM P126 the year before, setting fastest lap and finishing a strong second behind Graham Hill’s winning Lotus 49B R5.

At Monaco driving R8 with minimal preparation after seven hard races in the Tasman Cup, Attwood finished a fine fourth and set fastest lap in the race again won by Hill aboard 49B R10. With Jo Siffert third in Rob Walker’s Lotus 49B (R7) three of these wonderful cars were in the top four, the only interloper was Piers Courage splendid second place aboard Frank Williams’ Brabham BT26 Ford.

Richard Attwood in h-winged R8 during Friday practice at Monaco in 1969- after the wing ban the car raced denuded of same (R Schlegelmilch)
Attwood, Monaco, race day, fourth place- wonderful result having not parked his arse in the car before practice (unattributed)

Back at Hethel R8 was altered to latest 49B specifications and raced by Hill, nursing a sick neck to seventh in the 1969 British Grand Prix, at Silverstone on July 19.

Meanwhile, Colin Chapman’s four wheel drive Type 63, the proposed Type 49 replacement, struggled to find pace and the support of its drivers, as did the other 4WDs fielded by Matra, McLaren and Cosworth.

Given the choice, World Champion Hill, and Fastest Guy On The Planet Rindt, preferred the conventional rear-drive 49B. To prevent them having the choice Chapman decided to sell Team’s 49s, R8 went to Swedish journeyman owner/driver Joakim Bonnier.

He raced it in the German Grand Prix in August, DNF fuel leak. Jo crashed it after front suspension failure during practice for the non-championship Oulton Park Gold Cup on August 16. Out of love with the car, the damage was repaired at Hethel prior to sale to Dave Charlton for South African national F1 racing in 1970.

Jo Bonnier returning to terra firma, R8, Nurburgring 1969 German GP. (unattributed)
Dave Charlton with R8, now in 49C specifications, during the 1971 Highfeld 100 (N Kelderman)

Charlton used R8 to win the first two of his six consecutive South African national Formula 1 Championship titles between 1970-75.

The car won nine rounds in 1970; the Highveld 100 at Kyalami, the Coronation 100 at Roy Hesketh, followed by the Natal Winter Trophy there, the Coupe Gouvernador Generale at Lourenco Marques, Rand Winter Trophy at Kyalami, False Bay 100 at Killarney, Rhodesian GP at Bulawayo, Rand Spring Trophy at Kyalami and the Goldfields 100 at Welkom.

In 1971 the Charlton/R8 combination won four events of six he contested before switching to a Lotus 72: the Highveld 100 at Kyalami, Coronation 100 at Hesketh, Bulawayo 100, and the South African Republic Festival race back at Kyalami.

R8 was then campaigned to the end of 1972 by South African drivers Piet de Klerk and Mayer Botha. Botha damaged the left side of the tub badly at Killarney in August. Sydney’s The Hon. John Dawson-Damer bought the damaged, dismantled car in late 1975, painstakingly restoring it with the assistance of Alan Standfield.

It was completed in 1982 and was a regular in Australian historic racing, driven by John, Colin Bond and John Smith, until DD’s sad death aboard his Lotus 63 Ford during the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2000. Adrian Newey now owns it.

Dave Charlton in his Scuderia Scribante Lotus 49C Ford during the 1970 South African GP at Kyalami. DNF 73 laps, classified 12th (unattributed)

Credits…

Terry Marshall, LAT, MotorSport, Rainer Schlegelmilch, Nico Kelderman, Ian Smith, oldracingcars.com, ‘Lotus 49: The Story of a Legend’ Michael Oliver

Tailpiece…

(unattributed)

Graham Hill’s R8 butt at Warwick Farm on February 18.

The Brit contemplates a soggy, humid day in the office to be made worse by a misfiring engine and Rindt’s masterful brio behind the wheel of the other Lotus.

The car has the same pissant wing supports as it had at Pukekohe seven weeks before, but note the Hewland DG300 transaxle rather than the ZF unit used at the Tasman’s outset, a fitment which contradicts the history books…

Finito…