Posts Tagged ‘1949 Australian Grand Prix’

(racerviews.com)

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

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

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

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

(Wiki unattributed)
(Wiki unattributed)

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

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

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

(Wiki-unattributed)

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

Credits…

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

Tailpiece…

(D Willis)

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

Finito…

(D Willis)

Bill Cuncliffe, 22 years of age guides his ex-Snow Sefton Strathpine Ford V8 Spl around the wide open spaces of Lowood in 1956…

Dick Willis shared these wonderful, evocative photographs of Cuncliffe at the ex-RAAF Airfield circuit in Queensland’s Somerset Region 70 Km west of Brisbane.

The mountains (you would call them hills in Europe or North America) are the Great Dividing Range which runs down the east coast of Australia from ‘top to bottom’.

Cuncliffe poses at home after purchase from Sefton, note Dad’s Morrie Minor (D Willis)

The 4.2 litre Ford V8 powered device was quite a formidable machine for a young driver- Bill continued to race into the sixties, he finished eighth in the 1963 Bathurst 500 touring car classic aboard a Ford Cortina GT shared with fellow Queenslander Barry Broomhall.

Built by Snow Sefton at his Lawnton Motors garage in Gympie Road, Strathpine, the Ford V8 Spl contested both the 1949 Leyburn and 1954 Southport Australian Grands Prix.

Sefton on the Leyburn AGP grid 1949. From L>R- #22 George Pearse MG TB Spl, #18 Garry Coghlan MG TC Spl, #17 Dick Cobden MG TC Spl, #7 Alan Larsen Cadillac Spl V8 (Willis/Thallon)

At Leyburn Sefton raced this car, his more conventional ‘Strathpine Spl’ V8 racer ‘having competed elsewhere in Queensland with a Ford V8/Jeep hybrid which allowed a choice of either front drive or four- wheel drive’ Graham Howard wrote in ‘The History of The Australian Grand Prix’.

At Southport, Sefton raced ‘basically the same car he had run in the 1949 AGP at Leyburn’ retiring after completing 21 of the 27 lap scratch race won by Lex Davison’s HWM Jaguar.

Ray Bell reports that the special was fitted with a more powerful and reliable ohv Cadillac V8 by the end of the fifties.

Snow Sefton in the Strathpine Ford V8 Spl in Gympie Road Strathpine in the late 1940’s, out front of his garage perhaps. Awesome if somewhat noisy road car (B Pritchard)

Sefton was the proprietor of the Lawnton Motors for more than thirty years, he competed at all of the Queensland venues post-war. ‘Snow was always the crowd favourite at the Exhibition Speedway every Saturday night in Brisbane with his black and white 1936 Ford (the No 36). Snow’s sponsorship deal for the 1936 Ford is a classic story in itself and involved some of Brisbane’s biggest Holden Dealers! He was also famous for thrilling country crowds with his staunt driving at shows all over Queensland up until the early 1960’s’ said the CHACC.

Etcetera…

The photographs below are of Bill Cuncliffe during the 1957-1958 period.

(Willis/Thallon)

Cuncliffe at the Samsonvale Hillclimb where he was second fastest time of the day. Samsonvale is 35 Km north of Brisbane. Looks like a wild place, the rugged special well suited to dirt surface.

Assistance with the owner/drivers lined up below welcome. Sid Sakzewski Porsche 356?

(Willis/Thallon)

The photographs below are at the Strathpine Airfield circuit.

That location is 25 Km from Brisbane to the north and was a major Queensland motorsport venue from the end of the war until the opening of Lakeside in 1961.

Snow Sefton is credited as one of the driving forces in establishing Strathpine, he and fellow enthusiasts ‘borrowed the Pine Rivers Shire Council road making machinery’ to finish the track for the first meeting on 11 August 1946.

‘They worked like beavers all weekend, returned the equipment before dark on Sunday night, then wired the fence back up. (Most of the councillors were farmers who lived out of town and would not have heard the racket)’ the CHACC reported.

The color shots just ooze the atmosphere and vibe of the times, we are uncertain of the meeting dates- quite probably more than one meeting, note the missing radiator cowl in one image.

(Willis/Thallon)

Cuncliffe getting some encouragement from his mates before the off by the look of it! Below the radiator cowl is missing- hors de combat or removed for additional cooling I wonder?

(Willis/Thallon)

Photos above and below are taken on the same Strathpine day it seems, sans radiator cowling, Quentin Miles thinks his father Bill took the photo below in 1957.

(B and Q Miles)

It really is a most agreeable looking race venue isn’t it, got a real picnic hamper feel to it?

(Willis/Thallon)

Credits…

Dick Willis Collection, Don Thallon Collection, Ray Bell, Bill Miles via Quentin Miles, ‘The History of The Australian Grand Prix’ Graham Howard and Others, ‘CHACC’- Classic and Historic Automobile Club of Caboolture magazine article in September 2005

Tailpiece: Cuncliffe, Lowood 1956…

(D Willis)

Finito…