Tim Schenken, Merlyn Mk11 Formula Ford and his rivals at Brands Hatch, 20 September 1968…

Chris Steele, Tim’s tuner/entrant dispenses advice to the Formula Ford ‘flock’ comprising Ray Allen, Brian Smith, Dave Morgan and Tony Trimmer. No doubt it’s a press shot to promote an upcoming race meeting; two of these fellows made it through to Formula 1- Schenken and Trimmer, the well of talent in Formula Ford has been deep in every season including its first couple.

Schenken cut his racing teeth in Australia, initially with an Austin A30 and later a Lotus 18 Ford FJ. By the time he contested some F3 races in an old Lotus in the UK in 1967 he had plenty of experience- the step ‘back’ into the new Formula Ford class paid off in spades with wins in both the 1968 British Formula Ford and Lombank F3 Championship- as a consequence he carried away the main 1968 Grovewood Award.

Tetsu Ikuzawa Brabham BT21B from Tim Schenken Chevron B9 Ford, Martini International Meeting Silverstone 1968 (M Hayward)

In 1970 he broke into Grand Prix Racing with Frank William’s De Tomaso 505 Ford, that ride arose as a result of Piers Courage’ death during the 1970 Dutch Grand Prix.

His promise was confirmed with drives in the year old Brabham BT33 Ford for Ron Tauranac in 1971, his first career mistake was jumping out of Brabham as BC Ecclestone acquired it at the end of ’71. Surtees was far from the worst place to be at the time but staying put would have been better.

Tim was as quick as Mike Hailwood at Surtees but the slip down the F1 totem pole was quick once he left and the climb back up is even harder.

I don’t think we ever saw his best in Grand Prix racing but point scoring races and an F1 podium, not to forget his F2, European GT Championship  and works Ferrari 312PB sportscar wins form part of a CV any of us would be rather happy to have.

Schenken, Brabham BT33 Ford, Canadian GP 1971 DNF (unattributed)

Tim’s best results in F1 were sixth and third placings for Brabham in 1971 at Hockenheim and the Osterreichring and fifth, seventh and eighth for Surtees in 1972 at Argentina, Mosport and Spain. In non-championship F1 he was third in the BRDC International Trophy at Silverstone and third in the 1972 International Gold Cup at Oulton Park.

Schenken aboard his Merlyn Mk11 FF in 1968

Credits…

Getty Images, Mike Hayward Collection, Victor Blackman, LAT Images

Other Tim Schenken Article…

https://primotipo.com/2016/04/03/frank-williams-and-tim-schenken-austrian-grand-prix-1970/

Schenken testing the Merlyn at Brands during 1968 (LAT)

Tailpiece: Ron Tauranac, Tim and Hill G with Hill’s Brabham BT34 Ford, Silverstone, British GP weekend July 1971- note the rig to attach a camera, the GoPro is still a while away…

Finito…

 

(DIMIA)

Queensland single-seater pilot Henk Woelders adjusts his helmet, probably Lakeside, 1967…

I was musing online with some ‘Nostalgia Forum’ buddies the other day about the effectiveness of the Castrol liveried brothers Geoghegan racers of the late sixties and early seventies. The commercial message was delivered well because of the elegant simplicity involved.

Woelders, Elfin 600E Ford Waggott, Calder 1971. Engine is a Merv Waggott prepped Lotus-Ford twin-cam (J Lemm)

Henk Woelders’ Elfin 600 liveries are other fine examples of ‘getting it right’.

He raced two of the spaceframe cars, both ANF2 machines, the second to the 1971 Australian Formula 2 Championship, taking four of the six rounds in his Bill Patterson Motors sponsored car. This chassis was a 600E, Garrie’s you beaut late F2 machine which had magnesium front uprights and revised suspension geometry front and rear.

Henk’s cars had Patto’s simple light blue stripe on a white background, Patterson’s own racing colours from his Cooper Gold Star winning days a decade before.

(DIMIA)

 

Sometimes photographs appear from the most unlikely of places, the inspiration for this article was two shots taken by the Australian ‘Department of Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs’- catchy innit?

It seems the DIMIA were running some articles at the time about migrant success stories in Australia, as you may have gathered from the Woelders name he hails from the Netherlands- one of millions who came to The Great Brown Land post-war in a ‘populate or perish’ policy by our national governments. It would be intriguing to know where these photos were first published.

The shots are dated 1967 and refer to Henk with his Lotus Super Seven- which the first opening photo may be but the second most certainly is not. Lotus 20 FJ maybe?- did they have rear drum brakes?, intrigued to know what the car is if one of know what he was racing at the time.

Woelders in his first 600, a 600B chassis ‘6806’ at Calder before the hi-wing ban imposed over the ’69 May Monaco GP weekend. A moveable aerodynamic device too- clever setup has the wing feathered on the straights as here- with incidence created when required- interested to know who engineered this clever setup (B Mills)

What limited information I have indicates Henk was employed by Patterson during the Elfin 600 period, so at some point he moved from Queensland to Melbourne, presumably working at Patterson’s Holden empire based in Ringwood, an outer-eastern Melbourne suburb.

Harry Firth rated him as a driver, Henk and Peter Macrow were the ‘open-wheeler’ duo in the Holden Dealer Team’s first successful, three car 1969 Bathurst 500 assault- Colin Bond and Tony Roberts won, Des West and Peter Brock were with Woelders/Macrow sixth.

Woelders/Macrow HDT Holden HT Monaro GTS350 (R Davies)

Henk’s career seems to have ended after his F2 win but he was reunited with his championship winning 600E ‘7024’ many years later and still retains it, and a very nice car it is too.

Henk and Malcolm Ramsay- in 600E and 600C ‘6908’ get set for the August 1971 Glynn Scott Memorial Trophy Gold Star round at Surfers Paradise. The F2 Championship race was run concurrently with the F5000 cars- Henk won the F2 section finishing 6th and Frank Matich was first outright in his McLaren M10C Repco. Ramsay DNF with a broken throttle cable- both these cars were powered by Merv Waggott built Lotus-Ford twin-cams (S Johnson)

Credits…

Department of Immigration Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, John Lemm, Bruce Mills, Robert Davies, John Stanley, Stewart Johnson

Tailpiece: Woelders, Elfin 600B, Lakeside 1968…

John Stanley’s photo above is of Henk’s first 600 coming out of Lakeside’s Eastern Loop in 1968, he raced this car from 1968 to 1970 before replacing it with the later model.

Elfin 600’s won goodness knows how many F2 races in the hands of drivers like Garrie Cooper, John Walker, Tony Stewart, Ivan Tighe, Maurie Quincey and Australian Championships for Cooper, Woelders and Larry Perkins in Gary Campbell’s 600B/E in 1968 (ANF 1.5 C’ship shared with Max Stewart) 1971 and 1972 respectively.

Elfin’s Australian F2 dominance is amply demonstrated by the 1971 championship table- the first eleven placegetters raced Elfins- Woelders, Tony Stewart, Jack Bono, John Walker, Ivan Tighe, Garrie Cooper, Vern Hamilton, John Ampt, Ken Hastings, Ross Ambrose, Clive Millis and Don Uebergang!

Of those, all raced 600’s with the exception of Ampt who was aboard a Mono- the monocoque Birranas finally rained on the Elfin F2 parade from 1973…

Finito…

Pete Makeham and the King Alfa Spyder at Reims (B King)

‘What you can do with a dodgy camera…

The story really begins in May 1965 in Aden in the Federation of South Arabia (now Yemen) where the ship on which I was travelling as the ships doctor made its first landfall after leaving Australian several weeks earlier.

Aden, then as now, was a hell-hole, but I was advised by the experienced ship’s crew that there were bargains to be had. Hence the cheap, and supposedly new, Practica IVb SLR camera- ‘state of the art’. But something was seriously wrong; was it a reject that found its way to Aden? Anyway, its deficiencies are my excuse for the poor quality of the photographs accompanying this article.

After two European Tours in a VW and then a Minivan, it was time for better things- or at least my future wife thought so- and bought a three year old Alfa Romeo Giulia Spyder 1600. My late lamented friend Pater Makeham and I set off with our first destination being Reims for the Grand Prix de l’ACF. The Alfa gremlins set in early, and with no generator charge, our arrival in the Oort of Dover was lit by the equivalent of two candles.

We camped that night outside Reims on the top of a hill and were able to roll-start the car. It was a Saturday morning and as we approached Reims we had no idea how we would resolve our problem- then suddenly we were confronted by a large Alfa Romeo badge  hanging in the centre of the street- a quick left turn and we were in a large Alfa workshop. In our best French we said ‘dynamo-kaput’ which was sufficient to gain the necessary attention.’

Lorenzo Bandini’s Ferrari 312 being attended to in the Alfa Romeo dealership, Reims (B King)

 

#22 is Mike Parkes’ 312- World Champions in 1966 almost certainly had the kept Surtees within the Scuderia Ferrari, ‘Ifs, Buts and Maybes’ don’t count however (B King)

‘We then noticed that half the workshop was devoted to the Ferrari Formula 1 Team. Hence the grainy images with the Practica. While the GP cars sat idle, it seemed that the whole Ferrari team were devoting their attention to designer Mauro Forghieri’s road car- I think it was a just released 330GTC. With much revving, Mauro would take of around the block, only to arrive back with the car misfiring. About six red-suited mechanics would put their heads under the bonnet and the procedure would be repeated.’

King’s Alfa outside the Champagne cellars in 1966 (B King)

‘I think our problem was resolved before Mauro’s and we were able to depart for a tour of the Champagne cellars. Perhaps if the team had devoted more time to the racing cars, Lorenzo Bandini might not have surrendered his lead to Jack Brabham because of a failed throttle cable!’

Lorenzo Bandini seeks to sort his throttle linkage problem after completing 32 laps- he led the race from Brabham and Parkes to this point (unattributed)

‘What a day it was to go to the races with Jack and Denny first and second in in the F2 support race in Brabham Hondas, and Jack winning the race in the ‘All Australian Repco Brabham’ designed by Ron Tauranac.

We were on the outside of the track at ‘Calvaire’, the fast bend at the end of Pit Straight and Jack was the only driver taking that corner at full noise. This was the last GP to be held at that wonderful circuit.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toto Roche drops the flag and makes his famous leap out of the way, Mike Parkes and Lorenzo Bandini in Ferrari 312’s sandwich the just departed John Surtees in a Cooper T81 Maserati. That’s Jochen Rindt’s Cooper on row two.

(unattributed)

Brabham speeds to victory in his Brabham BT19 Repco, his championship steed throughout 1966- famously the first driver to win a GP in a car of his own design and manufacture- noting the contribution of Ron Tauranac, Motor Racing Developments and Repco Brabham Engines in relation thereto!

Roche, below, flag in hand, pushes the winning car whilst Brabham acknowledges the plaudits of the knowledgeable French crowd. Mike Parkes’ Ferrari 312 was second, Denny third in a Brabham BT20 Repco and Jochen Rindt, Cooper T81 Maserati, fourth.

(unattributed)

‘I was able to buy the Alfa from the proceeds of working 110 hour shifts at Manchester Royal Infirmary. Another benefit of MRI was having access to the Nurses Home, housing many hundred nurses and from where I found my wife to be.

I also enjoyed our proximity to Oulton Park- where I was a regular attendee from 1965-1968. My photos with the Practica were improving; I found the light meter gave more accurate readings if I pointed it to the ground.’

Cor! says the young motor cyclist with the camera. Brabham’s BT20 Repco with new ‘740 Series’ Repco 3 litre V8 making its first race appearance. Brabham’s definitive 1967 chassis, Tauranac’s brand new BT24 is still several races away. Oulton Park 1967- ripper shot just oozes atmosphere of the (chilly) day (B King)

Daily Express Spring Cup, Oulton Park 15 April 1967…

The first European F1 race of 1967 was the ‘Race of Champions’ at Brands Hatch in early March, the race was won by Dan Gurney’s Eagle Mk1 Weslake from Lorenzo Bandini and Jo Siffert in Ferrari 312 and Cooper T81 Maserati respectively. Dan took wins in both of the two heats and the final, wonderful stuff and unfortunately a race which somewhat flattered to deceive.

The last chance for the teams to race test their cars before the European season championship opener at Monaco in May was the Spring Cup at Oulton, where Bob’s photos were taken.

Tony Rudd fusses over his complex and superb, BRM P83 H16. The engine’s only championship win was Clark’s Lotus 43 victory at Watkins Glen in late 1966 (B King)

 

Bruce McLaren sits on his Rover 3500 whilst the boys fettle his F2 based GP McLaren M4B BRM 2 litre V8, by the years end he was using the BRM P101 V12 but his saviour was the Ford DFV which was available to teams other than Lotus from 1968 (B King)

Jackie Stewart popped the BRM P83 H16 on pole from Denny Hulme and John Surtees- in Brabham BT20 Repco and Honda RA273. Brabham and Mike Spence were back on row two in the other BT20 and H16.

Denny won both heats in a portent of his season to come and Jack Brabham the final from Denny, Surtees, Jack Oliver’s F2 Lotus 41B Cosworth FVA, Bruce McLaren’s McLaren M4B BRM V8, Mike Spence’s BRM P83, Bob Anderson’s Brabham BT11 Climax FPF and Graham Hill’s Lotus 33 BRM. Stewart failed to finish in the other BRM after a collision.

The BRO pit with Jack’s 740 V8 engined BT20 front and centre. Circa 340 bhp by the seasons end- just enough to prevail in 1967 aided by Lotus 49 teething pain unreliability. Gearbox is Hewland DG300. Denny’s car devoid of bodywork behind (B King)

The winds of change blew at Zandvoort with the first race of the Lotus 49 Ford DFV at the Dutch Grand Prix but Bob’s photos reasonably convey, with the exception of the Ferrari’s who did not enter the Spring Cup, most of the the state of GP play in early 1967.

(B King)

Surtees’ magnificent, powerful, but oh-so-heavy Honda RA273 V12.

By the seasons end the lighter RA300 ‘Hondola’- the monocoque chassis a variation on Lola’s T90 Indianapolis car, was raced to victory in the Italian Grand Prix, the popular Brit taking a famous victory for the car in a last lap, last corner fumble with Jack Brabham in his BT24 Repco.

(B King)

Etcetera…

Other reading…

1966 GP Season; https://primotipo.com/2014/11/13/winning-the-1966-world-f1-championships-rodways-repco-recollections-episode-3/

1966 Ferrari 312; https://primotipo.com/2017/10/26/surtees-ferrari-312-modena-1966/

Brabham Honda F2 Cars; https://primotipo.com/2015/07/30/xxxii-grand-prix-de-reims-f2-july-1966-1-litre-brabham-hondas/

H16 Engine; https://primotipo.com/2015/02/17/jim-clark-taking-a-deep-breath-lotus-43-brm/

Bruce McLaren’s 1966/7 GP Cars; https://primotipo.com/2016/10/07/mclarens-19667-f1-cars/

(B King Collection)

Bugatti Afterthought: Reims 1929…

Classic Bob King ‘…and I just found this photo from 1929- if you should wish to make a comment about Bugatti being my real thing- it is such a good photo’- and indeed it is a marvellous shot!

The fifth GP de la Marne was staged at Reims over 400 km on 7 July and won by Philippe Etancelin in a Bugatti T35C in 2 hours 54 minutes 14 seconds. The cars above are those of (L-R) Juan Zanelli T35B second, Robert Gauthier T35C fourth, Rene Cadet T35 sixth and another T35 of Derrancourt, seventh.

Credits…

Bob King, Getty Images, Team Dan, silhouet.com

Tailpiece: Bandini, Surtees, Brabham- Reims start 1966…

(Getty)

Finito…

Frank Matich in his new Elfin 400 Olds nee ‘Traco Olds’ at Warwick Farm during the 1966 Tasman Meeting (Russell Thorncraft)

The very best of the seasons greetings to you all, wherever you may be. May all of us get the luck we deserve in addition to a healthy, wealthy, wise and generous 2019…

It was May 2014 when I first started fiddling around with what has become somewhat of an obsession, I have promised myself I will re-commence racing my Van Diemen RF86 Formula Ford in 2019- ‘doing it’ rather than just writing about it!

I have no strategy with primotipo other than writing about what interests me, the article ideas are generated by a photograph and it is in that context that the direction of the thing has shifted much more to an Australian bias this past year.

DIY Davo: Jon Davison looking after a wheel or pressures in the Oran Park pitlane prior to the 1977 AGP. Car is his ex-Walker Matich A50 Repco. Davo become a mighty fine F5000 driver with the purchase of an ex-Teddy Yip/Alan Jones Lola T332 Chev 12 months hence. Behind Jon are the Team VDS entries of race winner, Warwick Brown, Lola T430 Chev and Peter Gethin Chevron B37 Chev (Adam Thurgar)

A limiting factor until recently has been access to lots of interesting Australian photographs. This has changed in that Bob Williamson’s ‘Old Motor Racing Photographs-Australia’ and the ‘Historic Racing Car Club of Tasmania’s’ Facebook pages and meeting Bob King and Ken Devine in recent times has allowed me to explore topics I never would have contemplated without the visual stimulation of ideas provided by their archive/collections.

So special thanks to those organisations/fellows in addition to the photographers who have been very supportive right from the get-go. John Ellacott, Rod MacKenzie, Lindsay Ross, Dick Simpson, Lynton Hemer, Kevin Drage and Dale Harvey. Terry Marshall’s New Zealand work gets a regular run too.

Len Lukey’s Lukey Bristol chases Bib Stillwell, Maserati 250F, Melbourne Grand Prix, Albert Park 1958. Stirling Moss won in a Cooper T45 Climax- Len was 5th and Bib 4th (Simon Wills via Bob King Collection)

Bob King’s ‘Words from Werrangourt’ articles have been very popular, Rod MacKenzie’s and Bruce Polain’s pieces were beauties, and I have unpublished manuscripts from Peter Finlay and Ray Bell to pop up in the coming months- thanks to you all.

Ray, Stephen Dalton and Rob Bartholomaeus have been great ‘sub-editors’ in advising errors post-upload of articles which has helped the accuracy of primotipo big-time. Stephen and Rob have also provided research material which has given me ‘reach’ beyond my own collection. The collective global wisdom of The Nostalgia Forum is also an ongoing source of nuanced information which goes way beyond the books we all have.

Stan Jones and Cooper T51 Climax at Caversham, West Australia in October 1959. WA Road Racing Championships Gold Star round. Len Lukey won the race in the green Cooper T45 alongside, Stan was 2nd. He won the AGP at Longford in March aboard his Maserati 250F (Ken Devine)

The readership has increased nicely again by over 30% with the Australian readership now 30% of the total compared with 17-20% of the last two years. So, it seems you International folks aren’t turned off by the greater Australian content. The top ten countries in terms of readership in order are Australia, US, UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Japan, the Netherlands and Brazil. Exactly the same as last year actually, albeit the order was a smidge different.

Last, but far from least, thanks for reading it!

The balance of this piece are some randomly chosen photographs from the sources above I’ve not published before…

(Chris Robinson)

Bob Skelton contesting the Symmons Plains round of the Australian Formula 2 Championship in September 1973.

He was second to Leo Geoghegan’s works Birrana 273 Ford Hart that weekend and was third in the seven round series behind Geoghegan and Enno Buesselmann in another 273.

Skello first raced this chassis- the very first Bowin P6 built, in the 1972 Formula Ford Festival at Snetterton in the UK before returning home and ditching the Ford 711M Kent motor and Hewland Mk9 gearbox in favour of a Brian Hart built 1.6 litre Lotus-Ford, Lucas ‘416B’ injected engine and five-speed Hewland FT200 ‘box as well as wings and slicks etc.

He did well in 1973, it was a shame he did not race on in the Finnie Ford supported car- without doubt the 1972 FF Driver to Europe Winner (Bowin P4A) had talent aplenty.

Ex-Lotus engineer, Bowin Designs John Joyce’s spaceframe P6 and monocoque P8 designs bristled with innovation having the Lotus 56/72 wedge shape and hip-mounted radiators and JJ’s own very clever variable or rising rate suspension front and rear. Whilst the P6F won an FF title in John Leffler’s hands in 1973, F2 and F5000 Championship success eluded these wonderful cars.

 

(Matt Liersch)

Stirling Moss and minder wander down the new Sandown pitlane with ‘Peters Corner’, the left-hander onto the Back Straight behind them. Notice the kerb, trees and lack of Armco on the outside of Pit Straight and between the circuit and pitlane.

The March 1962 ‘Sandown Park International’ was the track’s first meeting with Moss fifth his Rob Walker Lotus 21. Jack Brabham won from John Surtees and Bruce McLaren- in Coopers T55, T53, and T53- all powered by Coventry Climax 2.7 litre ‘Indy’ FPFs.

(Matt Liersch)

Jack Brabham either pulling into or out of pitlane in the Cooper T55 Climax which was then acquired by John Youl and raced by he and engineer Geoff Smedley with great success over the next couple of years.

(Matt Liersch)

Melburnian’s of a certain age will remember Channel 9 sports broadcaster Tony Charlton here getting the story from Moss and Brabham. He was more a cricket and footy kinda-guy but did a workmanlike job whatever the sport.

https://primotipo.com/2016/04/08/ole-935/

 

(Brian Caldersmith)

Maybach 3 was Charlie Dean’s Repco Research built cars definitive specification in six-cylinder Maybach engine form- Maybach 4 was this chassis modified by Ern Seeliger in various ways inclusive of fitment of a Chev 283 cid small-block V8.

Here the car is showing off its Phil Irving developed fuel injection at Gnoo Blas, Orange during the January 1956 South Pacific Championship weekend.

(Brian Caldersmith)

 

(Brian Caldersmith)

Stan Jones was running well in second position behind Reg Hunt’s new Maserati 250F, and ahead of Brabham’s Cooper T40 Bristol in third when the Maybach motor let go in the biggest possible way on lap 23, an errant rod broke causing the car to spin down the road.

With little in the way of spares now remaining- and the speed of Hunt’s Maseratis (A6GCM and 250F) apparent Jones ordered a 250F and Maybach 3 was put to one side until Seeliger’s mechanical magic was worked upon it.

https://primotipo.com/2014/12/26/stan-jones-australian-and-new-zealand-grand-prix-and-gold-star-winner/

(Chris O’Connor)

Cheetah as a marque all too often slips under the radar, a bit like the car’s designer, builder and driver Brian Shead- he won the 1979 Australian F2 Championship in a Cheetah Mk6 Toyota.

Shead built ANF3 and 2 cars, two Clubmans and a Formula Holden, well over forty cars in all in his small Mordialloc, outer Melbourne bayside workshop. ‘The Two Brians’ Shead and Sampson (above) dominated ANF3 in the mid-seventies, the 1975 Bathurst 1000 winner (together with Peter Brock in a Holden Torana L34) is on the downhill plunge into Dandenong Road corner at Sandown in 1973 or 1974.

The car is a Cheetah Mk4- a spaceframe chassis powered by a pushrod, OHV, ‘Motor Improvements’ modded Toyota Corolla 1.3 litre, twin-42 DCOE carbed 135 bhp engine. Motor Improvements was Sambo’s business in the Nepean Higway St Kilda, at the time ANF3 was a 1300cc OHV/SOHC category.

https://primotipo.com/2018/06/26/anf3/

(Dennis Cooper)

Clark, Amon, Hill: Lotus 49 Ford DFW by two and a lone Ferrari Dino 246T, Longford 1968.

Not the South Pacific Championship Tasman race mind you- that was held in the pissin’ rain and won by Piers Courage’ McLaren M4A Ford FVA. This is the dry Saturday preliminary which was won by Clark.

https://primotipo.com/2015/10/20/longford-tasman-south-pacific-trophy-4-march-1968-and-piers-courage/

Credits…

Russell Thorncraft, Quentin Miles, Adam Thurgar, Simon Wills- Bob King Collection, Brian Caldersmith, Matt Liersch, Chris Robinson, Ken Devine Collection, Dennis Cooper, Chris O’Connor

oldracingcars.com

Tailpiece: Bob Janes and Jaguar E Type Lightweight, Lakeside circa 1965…

(Quentin Miles)

Ron Thorp’s AC Cobra is on the second row, it looks hot so perhaps its the summer Tasman meeting.

The Jag was an interesting choice, it was never going to be an outright machine in the sportscar sprint events which predominated in Australia at the time. The Bib Stillwell Cooper Monaco, Frank Gardner/Ralph Sach/Kevin Bartlett Mildren Maserati, Lotus 23’s and increasingly V8 mid-engined cars ruled the roost.

Nonetheless the E was a welcome addition to the local scene and a car Bob retained in his collection for decades- it shared garage space with a Maserati 300S, Jag D Type, Brabham BT11A Climax, McLaren M6B Repco, Ralt RT4 Ford, Chev Camaro ZL1 and various other bits of mouth-watering kit.

Finito…

(SLSA Searcy Collection)

A couple of intrepid adventurers, Harold Bowman and Murray Aunger about to set off from Adelaide to Mount Gambier, Prince Henry Vauxhall, Saturday 6 April 1912…

Some shots just blow my tiny mind and this is one of them.

The gelatin or glass plate photograph was taken in King William Street, Adelaide, the cities main drag. The GPO, still there, is in the background.

Just look at the sharpness of the shot and the subtlety of greys and darks, the formaility of all of the blokes- they are ALL fellas as far as i can see. What awaits the drivers is a journey of around 1149 miles on unmade dirt roads including clearing the dreaded 95 miles of the Coorong Desert, as it was called then, not too far from Adelaide.

The South Australian duo are part of an amazing event organised to test the time in which a military despatch could be carried by road from the Adelaide Military Commandant to his Sydney based equivalent.

‘From that aspect it became an event of some public importance, but its utility went further, for it provided an instructive comparative test of the three modes of conveyance which were employed’ the Adelaide Advertiser reported.

Contestants were split into three division, there were 30 cyclists, 52 motor cyclists and 12 ‘carists’. The Dunlop promoted and supported event was a relay contest, and in the best traditions of Australian motor-sport for the next four decades or so was also a handicap event.

The Dunlop Company handicappers had the cars concede 6 hours to the motor cycles and 30 hours to the cyclists. When the handicaps were announced there was considerable comment in sporting (betting no doubt) circles that the cyclists had no chance of reaching Sydney first and that they would soon be overhauled by the motorised opposition.

Adelaide Advertiser 11 April 1912

The first two cyclists left Adelaide at 5 am on Friday 5 April with their sealed despatch from Colonel H Mesurier to be delivered to Brigadier General Gordon 1149 miles away in Sydney.

‘Notwithstanding the early hour and already rain, there was an enthusiastic crowd to see the commencement of the most interesting despatch test ever attempted in any country, and amid ringing cheers, the wheelmen set off with all the importance of being on “The King’s business”.

The cycle class was divided into 65 sections varying in length from 10 miles to 28 miles, with two motor cyclists starting at 3 am on Saturday morning, they had 25 sections varying in length from 27 to 72 miles.

‘The motor car, the “King of The Road” by virtue of its superior speed, will have four relays only, each running into hundreds of miles, and if the car drivers hope to be in it at the finish they must average a speed of nearly 30 miles an hour…’, the wheelmen will probably average 16-18 mph and the motor cyclists 23 mph The Melbourne Argus reported.

The motor cyclists were thought to be able to do the course in 46 hours with the cars needing to do the event in 40 hours ‘to come up level with the cycling divisions’. The car records at the time from Adelaide to Melbourne and Melbourne to Sydney were 20 hours 6 minutes and 19 hours 47 minutes respectively, a total of 39 hours 53 minutes so the automobilists had no easy task.

The route traversed good and bad roads, hilly to mountainous tracks, plains and sandy desert sections and ‘therefore it will be an interesting trial and from which military authorities may gather useful data respecting the three classes of transit and the most effective means for rapid mobilisation’.

Bowman and Aunger made a cracker of a start for the ‘car team’, setting off from King William Street at 9 am on the Saturday morning, they ‘startled the motoring world, and the event organisers by driving from Adelaide across the Coorong Desert to Kingston (185 miles) in 5 hours 15 minutes.

Such a feat appears incredible to those who know who now the route from Meningie to Kingston, but the fact remains that Messrs Bowman and Aunger averaged 35 miles an hour in the rain along this section of the relay. Leaving Kingston the limestone road got so slippery that fast pace was unsafe, and, in fact impossible, so, by the time Mount Gambier (303 miles from Adelaide) was reached the Vauxhall was 32 minutes behind the time schedule.

A Wiseman and T Bell then took up the running in a Maxwell and had a shocker of a time driving in pouring rain- they managed to lose their way near Glenburnie, devouring an additional hour in the process. Further hazards of the day were three punctures between Ballarat and Melbourne, a distance of about 70 miles. They finally arrived in Melbourne, still raining, at just before 11 am on the Sunday morning and ‘sorry spectacles they were’!

S Day and P Allen in a Vinot and M Smith and R Lane, FN then stepped up to the plate ‘having an unpleasant 200 mile drive against a head wind and heavy rain’, Albury being reached at 7.18 pm Sunday.

Sandford and Scott then took care of the dispatch from Albury north to Sydney but missed the road at Germanton (re-named Holbrook during the War) and went many miles out of their way. The car dispatch finally reached Sydney at 10.14 am on the Monday morning.

The event was not without incident of course, G Fitzgerald who rode the Kingston to Furner leg on a motor cycle fell heavily on the greasy road and fractured his leg.

 

Syd Barber, Bert Backler, Bob Smith and Charles Smith in Kingston, South Australia during the 1912 relay event (SLSA)

Despite bad weather conditions with slush and howling head winds the cyclists covered the 1149 miles in 69 hours 32 minutes averaging 16.5 mph and delivered their despatch to Sydney 6 hours 18 minutes ahead of the motor cyclists and 7 hours 12 minutes before the car despatch was handed over.

The cyclists performance was remarkable in that they’clung tenaciously to schedule hour after hour and were rarely more than 30 minutes either inside or outside of the timetable, while at Sydney they were just 4 minutes within the figures set for them’.

The motor cyclists took 51 hours 50 minutes averaging 22.5 mph whilst the cars recorded 47 hours 46 minutes an average speed of 24 mph.

A Cairns Post review of the event in 1930 mused about how quickly the times would have improved with the improved inetrstate highways of that time- the 2018 times would be interesting too!

‘No doubt the military authorities will be impressed with the reliability and effiiency of the cycles and motor cycles…One lesson to be drawn from the contest is the proved value of the three types of vehicles for military purposes…Given fair roads in this sprasely populated country, the value of the cycle and the motor vehicle in rapidly mobilising units is inestimable.

The motorists and wheelmen demonstrated that high speed can be maintained on very indifferent roads, and even if the pace did not exceed one third of the average in the respective classes, it would be fast enough to serve all purposes for home defence. The Imperial military authorities are making free use of both cycles and motors in the latest defence scheme, and paying the greatest attention to the roads- a most important factor in military operations.’ The Adelaide Advertiser said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The nascent motor industry realised one means of proving the worthiness of cars was to demonstrate their reliability of by long distance events.

City to city transcontinental success soon evolved into city to city record breaking- the achievements of the cars and drivers was picked up by the print media of the day and the successes of the cars and their suppliers of fuel, lubricants etc were also promoted.

Before too long drivers such as Norman ‘Wizard’ Smith, Boyd Edkins and AV Turner were household names and drew crowds when they were departing and completing one of their adventures.

In parallel, car organisations/clubs were formed to provide the means for like minded motorists to share information and to tour together- there was safety in numbers if for no other reason than to have a mechanic at hand to keep your conveyance moving in the event if it faltered.

Inevitably the more competitive of motorists wanted to test their steeds in competition so Car Reliability Trials evolved from runs to more competitive events. These comprised trips from the city to the country of a navigational nature with speed events within them which typically comprised timed flying quarter/half mile/mile, acceleration tests, hillclimb(s), and what later became gymkhana type events. Normal roads were used which were closed off to other traffic- which was very limited in volume as the Trials were typically well out of town and the PC Plod’s glare. The more public of these events would have complied with the laws of the day in terms of requisite permits but perhaps not so much the smaller ones…

So, it seemed smart to do an article showing some of the cars used in these very early forms of competition in Australia- there was no permanent ‘circuit’ or ‘speedway’ in Australia in 1911. The City to City Record Breaking Era ended in 1930 when such open road ‘events’ were made illegal.

 

(JOL)

Napier Tourer: Brisbane to Toowoomba, Queensland 1912…

Walter Trevethan drove this 1911 or 1912 6-cylinder Napier from Brisbane to Toowoomba, 127 Km in 3 hours 7 minutes, one puncture and missing the railway gates at Redbank cost him a total of 16 minutes. Walter carried three passengers ‘The record has never been lowered although attempts have been made’, the photo caption says.

 

(S Hood)

Armstrong Whitworth: Sydney 1913…

AP Wright of Angus & Son and passenger, probably John Leys ‘in a stripped down Armstrong Whitworth record-breaking chassis in front of the Art Gallery’.

 

(SLSA Searcy Collection)

Vauxhall ‘Prince Henry’: Adelaide to Melbourne 1913…

Two unknown men in a Vauxhall ‘possibly prepared for an Adelaide to Melbourne record run in 1913. The journey is 735 Km.

 

(JOL)

Motor Sports Carnival: Brisbane, Queensland, 10 October 1914…

We do have State based differences in Australia, perhaps this is one of them, a variation on the trials theme perhaps? I wonder what marque of car she has jumped from?

‘A female athlete competing in the motor sports carnival in Brisbane, Queensland 1914’, most intriguing, i can’t find anything more about this event but am keen to know if any of you are descendants of this pioneering, rather attractive young lady. The caption tells us all we don’t need; ‘A woman athlete wearing a knee length dress and bonnet competing in the motor sports carnival at the Brisbane Exhibition Grounds. She appears to be a runner’. No shit Sherlock.

 

 

Essex: Hobart to Launceston and Return, ‘Wizard Smith’ 1923…

Norman ‘Wizard Smith’ acquired his nickname as a result of his speed in all manner of cars but received his label after multiple wins in the Victorian Alpine Trial.

The return trip of 400 Km took 4 hours 19 minutes. Smith left Hobart at 4am, he was at the Launceston GPO at 6.08, and after a minute was heading south again, ‘he arrived at Hobart Post Office at 6.19am, just 4 hours and 19 minutes after he left but in the meantime travelling 244 miles’…’The really remarkable thing about the whole business is that ‘Wizard’ Smith lowered the previous record by 1 hour 18 minutes…Mr Smith stated that his average speed was 56 mph, his maximum speed 101 mph…Our speed visitor holds the record from Brisbane to Sydney…Adelaide to Melbourne…These achievements have all been made on an Essex car’ The Adelaide Register reported.

Its interesting to look at the Essex and its stripped down nature, deviod of running board and mudguards, but fitted with additional wheels and tyres to prepare for punctures which were far more prevalent then than now.

 

(JOL)

Austin Tourer: Reliability Trial, Maleny Queensland 1924…

Austin Tourer, a 4-cylinder car built between 1921 and 1924 during an RACQ reliability trial. Maleny is in the beautiful countryside inland of the Sunshine Coast about 100 Km north of Brisbane. No doubt quite a testing dive in the twenties.

 

(JOL)

 

Overland ‘Whitey’: Fred Eager in Don Harkness’ famous Overland in 1924…

‘Whitey’ was a stripped down 1914 Overland devoid of mudguards and headlights which broke the interstate, 915 Km speed record from Sydney to Brisbane on public roads. Fred Eagers’ company was the Queensland distributor for Willys-Overland’.

The photo caption goes on to state ‘Interstate speed record breaking was very popular after World War 1 into the 1920’s. Record breaking runs wre usually made with a single, specially prepared car with a driver and mechanic. Official timing was established by motoring clubs in the starting and finishing cities, and a great deal of publicity could flow to drivers, sponsors and manufacturers from the speed record attempts. Increasing speeds on the poor roads of the day led to crashes and serious injuries, so by the mid twenties the police were clamping down on these runs, which were eventually banned in 1930’.

 

(S Hood)

Chrysler: Melbourne to Sydney, ‘Wizard Smith’ 1927/8…

Scrutineers check all is good before Smith heads out of Martin Place and then south for the 875 Km journey.

Wizard is alongside what is now the wonderful GPO-Westin Hotel complex, my favourite Sydney CBD place to stay. The old building behind the car is still there in all of its magnificent, restored glory.

 

(Fairfax)

Citroen: Sydney to Bourke, 5 May 1932…

Arthur Barnes about to embark on his 760 Km trip to Bourke in the Darling River country of New South Wales, well supported by Texaco and Rapson Tyres. The photo caption records the attempt as an unsuccessful one.

Credits…

State Library of South Australia Searcy Collection, State Library of New South Wales- Sam Hood, ‘JOL’- John Oxley Library within the State Library of Queensland, Fairfax, The Adelaide Advertiser, Melbourne Argus and Cairns Post April 1912 and other newspapers via Trove

Finito…

 

 

 

 

Mal Simpson, Bill Pitt and a mystery fellow (M Simpson)

The LPS Motors/Bill Pitt Cooper MkV Norton being prepared for the November 1954 Australian Grand Prix, at Southport on Queensland’s Gold Coast…

The above sentence was easy to write, the skill is having the knowledge/research ability/database to be able to identify these mystery photos taken by the late Mal Simpson, a prominent Australian race mechanic of the fifties and sixties whose photo collection was being progressively uploaded onto ‘The Nostalgia Forum’.

Facebook is good fun for ‘light and fluffy’ photo sharing but the serious dudes of motor racing research who hangout on TNF have solved and debunked many racing knotty problems and theories in the last 15 years or so- check it out if you have not.

No less than ‘History of The Australian Grand Prix’ co-author John Medley got the research ball rolling with the first shot posted above- identifying both Cooper models and possible owners as Bill Patterson, Bill Pitt and ‘less likely, John Crouch’.

When John saw the second photo below, uploaded a day or so after the first, with Simpson identified in each shot, it provided more evidence. He felt the ‘pusher’ on the right was Bill Pitt and therefore the probable owner of car #5 as being the Lewis/Swinburne/Pitt- LPS Motors Cooper MkV Norton raced by Bill Pitt. Click here for Pitt’s history; https://primotipo.com/2016/03/18/lowood-courier-mail-tt-1957-jaguar-d-type-xkd526-and-bill-pitt/

Then my friend and Cooper expert Stephen Dalton stepped up to the plate confirming ‘pusher’ Pitt via some earlier photos he had of him and proffered the view that these Queensland cars were both entered in the ’54 AGP meeting- Pitt ran the MkV but blew the engine in practice, racing a Jaguar instead and Charlie Swinburne raced the #2 Cooper Mk IV. Stephen dated the photographs as late 1954 at least- ‘as The Triumph TR in the background (can you see a peek of it in the shot below) helps date the photo to probably late 1954 at the earliest- I think that’s when TR’s first arrived in Oz.’

So, Stephen concludes, ‘…is this the lads preparing the cars at their LPS Motors for Southport?…’

Nice work guys!

Unidentified chappy- help required, Mal Simpson and Bill Pitt with Cooper MkV (M Simpson)

Photo and Research Credits…

Mal Simpson Collection, John Medley and Stephen Dalton on The Nostalgia Forum

More Cooper MkV Reading…

https://primotipo.com/2014/12/08/cooper-mk-v-jap-penguin-hillclimb-tasmania-australia-1958/

Finito…

 

‘Wow!’…

Posted: December 16, 2018 in Fotos
Tags: , ,

wow

The car is a heavy 1950 Alvis TB 14 drophead cruiser…

It’s based on TA14 sedan underpinnings, fitted with an 1892cc four cylinder engine fitted with twin-SU’s- about 68bhp and good for 80mph.

Its not of any interest to you racing lot, but I like the 1953 shot by Inge Morath, a noted photographer of the time. Click here for her interesting obituary;

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/01/31/arts/inge-morath-photographer-with-a-poetic-touch-dies-at-78.html

Credit…

Inge Morath