Posts Tagged ‘Alberto Ascari’

spanish grand prix

Maurice Trintignant’s 1953 type Ferrari 625 from Harry Schell’s Maserati 250F and victor Mike Hawthorn’s 1954 type Ferrari 553 on the picturesque Pedralbes road circuit at Barcelona, 24 October 1954…

This event was famous for the race debut of the Lancia D50’s in the hands of Alberto Ascari and Gigi Villoresi, both were quick and Alberto led convincingly from Fangio’s Mercedes W196 until a clutch hydraulic failure caused his retirement.

The three drivers above had a great dice and all led at different points with Hawthorn taking the victory. Schell retired after a spin damaged his car and Trintignant with a fractured oil pipe. Hawthorn’s win was a good one made slightly easier by the problems Fangio was dealing with in his Benz, his W196 spraying oil into the cockpit.

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The Ascari #34 and Villoresi #36 Lancia D50’s, just unloaded at Pedralbes for an event which showcased Vittorio Jano’s design brilliance as well as the sublime skills of Alberto Ascari. Such a pity Lancia ran out of money! Still a world title as a Lancia Ferrari D50, and drivers title for Fangio in 1956 was a great reflection on the original design even if it had ‘evolved’ a bit by then (unattributed)

I’m leaving Australia’s winter for 3 weeks in France and Spain including Barcelona so look forward to retracing the street circuits of  Montjuic Park and Pedralbes whilst based in one of my favourite cities. My posts will be shorter over this period.

YouTube Race Footage…

Photo Credit…Yves Debraine

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Gino Valenzano’s Lancia D24 passes Reg Parnell’s Aston Martin DB3S in the early morning Brescia fog, the action captured by Louis Klemantaski aboard the Aston as both navigator and ‘snapper. Mille Miglia 2 May 1954…

It wasn’t to be a happy event for either car, they both failed to finish as a result of accidents. The competitiveness of Vittorio Jano’s newish D24 design was underlined by Alberto Ascari’s win in another of the cars in a time of 11 hours 26 minutes and 10 seconds. Vittorio Marzotto’s 2nd placed Ferrari 500 Mondial was 34 minutes in arrears.

Piero Taruffi’s Lancia led the race early from Brescia, that year fog replaced the more usual rain, he was first into Ravenna with a lead of 1.5 minutes. Castellotti retired his Lancia by Rome, soon Piero’s car developed an oil leak so he too retired. Ascari then assumed the lead but on the home leg north his throttle return spring failed, a rubber band provided a temporary repair. By Florence he was ready to retire but was prevailed upon to continue, then by Bologna all of the quick Ferrari’s had retired so the final 200Km into Brescia was a ‘cruise’ if the final hours of a race lasting 11 plus hours can be so described!

Gianni Lancia and Vittorio Jano created some stunning sports and racing cars in the early 1950’s, at least the Lancia heir could look back on them as a legacy when he was forced to cede management of the company such was its parlous financial state into 1955.

The new D24 ended 1953 with a stunning 1-3 in the November Carrera Panamericana in Mexico; Fangio won from cars driven by Piero Taruffi and Eugenio Castellotti. Felice Bonetto’s death in a D24 during the event somewhat muted the joy the team felt in victory, to say the least.

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Brescia 1 May 1954: Lancia D24’s are islands in a sea of people. #541 Valenzano DNF distributor, #602 Ascari’s winning car and  #540 Castellotti DNF accident (unattributed)

The D24 evolved from the D23 Spyder, itself begat by the D20 Coupe design. Jano’s development times were short, the D23 made its race debut at the Monza GP on 28 June (2nd Bonetto) and the D24 at the Nurbugring 1000Km on 30 August (Taruffi/Manzon and Fangio/Bonetto both DNF). The wheelbase of the D24’s tubular steel spaceframe chassis was marginally reduced. The quad-cam, chain driven, 2 valve, triple Weber 46DCF3 fed, 60 degree V6 engines capacity was increased from the D23’s 3102cc to 3284cc with power in the range 240 to 270bhp @ 6500rpm for each of the two engines.

The cars late 1953 speed carried through into 1954 with the Taruffi/Manzon D24 leading the Sebring 12 Hour until an engine failure about an hour before the end. Despite that the car completed 161 laps compared with the 168 of Stirling Moss and Bill Lloyd in the winning OSCA MT4.

Wins at the Targa by Taruffi, not a championship round in 1954, and 4th & 6th in the Tourist Trophy gave Lancia 2nd place in the Manufacturers Championship with 20 points to Ferrari’s 38 despite not entering Le Mans.

Lancia did get plenty of promotional rub-off for their considerable investment in Italy with the cars winning a swag of races and hillclimbs in ’54. Castellotti won the Treponti-Castelnuovo, Coppa Firenze-Siena, Bolzano-Passo Mendola and the Aosta-Gran San Bernardo. Taruffi took the Giro di Sicilia, Catania-Etna and Coppa d’Oro di Sicilia and Villoresi the Oporto GP.

Lancia’s F1 program absorbed plenty of resources, the D50’s first race  was the final ’54 championship round on 24 October, the Spanish Grand Prix at Pedralbes, Barcelona. Alberto Ascari’s jewel of a Lancia D50 started from pole and led until clutch problems caused him to retire on lap 9.

Lancia D24 cutaway: essential elements of Vittorio Jano’s car. Multi-tubular steel spaceframe chassis, Pininfarina designed and built aluminium body, 60 degree DOHC, 3284cc 270bhp V6, independent front suspension, de Dion rear suspension, leaf springs and tubular shocks. Gearbox 4 speed mounted at rear. Inboard drum brakes front and rear. Weight 740-760Kg (Betti)

Despite the competing GP car program Jano evolved the D24 design later in the year by increasing the capacity of the V6 to 3550cc for which 300-305bhp @ 6500 rpm was claimed. Two of these cars dubbed D25 were entered for Ascari/Villoresi and Fangio/Castellotti  at the Tourist Trophy, Dundrod in September but both retired with diff and engine failure respectively. Taruffi/Fangio and Manzon/Castellotti were 4th and 6th in D24’s.

The timing of the GP debut was unfortunate as the D24 was a mighty fine, fast car which deserved to have been the primary competition focus of Lancia that year.

The D50 changed the course of GP history in terms of its brilliant design, it’s contribution to Lancia’s fiscal disaster and of course giving Ferrari a car which won the world drivers championship for JM Fangio in 1956. But the D24 could conceivably have won Lancia a sportscar manufacturers championship in 1954 had the necessary, exclusive effort been applied to that campaign.

Wonderful hindsight of course, one of my strengths!…

Credits…

Louis Klemantaski, STF, Bruno Betti

Tailpiece: Alberto Ascari’s Lancia D24 chassis ‘006’ of nine cars built, in Rome and ‘heading for home’ 2 May 1954…

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(STF)

 

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(Ken Devine)

Doug Green blasts his oh-so-famous ex-Ascari/Gaze/Davison Ferrari 500/625 chassis #5 down a suburban West Australian, Bunbury street on 26 December 1960, a far cry from the European circuits on which it won Alberto’s two World Championships in 1952 and 1953 …

Western Australia has a rich history of racing on street circuits; Albany, Collie, Katanning, Mandurah and Narrogin in addition to Bunbury all had street racing at one time or another.

Bunbury’s racing history is particularly long. The Indian Ocean port city services the farm, mining and timber industries of Western Australia’s South West 175 Km south of Perth and had car and motorbike racing ‘around the houses’ up until 1988.

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Ray Barfield’s ex-works/David McKay Aston Martin DB3S ‘9’, at Carey Park, Bunbury, December 1960 (Ken Devine)

Racing commenced there in 1938 with the running of the ‘Bunbury Flying 50’ on a large circuit in the town itself, Allan Tomlinson the victor…

The first event, held over 25 laps of the roughly 2 mile course on 14 November 1938 was won by Allan Tomlinson’s MG TA Spl s/c in 63 minutes. The race, a handicap as was the case for much of Australian motor racing for decades, such was the relative paucity of racing cars let alone vehicles of equivalent performance, was a big success. Norm Kestel and Jack Nelson were 2nd and 3rd in MG TA and Ballot V8 respectively with Kestel, in a TA similar to Tomlinson’s pushing him hard all the way.

The 22 year old Tomlinson was a very fast, skilful and thoughtful driver, his performance in Bunbury, off a handicap of 40 seconds and setting the fastest race lap at 2:24.0 was indicative of his pace.

In fact he was a ‘child prodigy’ by the standards of the day having only started racing aged 18 at Lake Perkolilli in 1936. He drove a Ford V8 in the stock car handicap and scored an excellent win. Subsequently he raced a midget at Claremont Speedway and then bought the MG TA for regular racing and competition work.

He was employed in the family business, the Tomlinson & Co foundry and engineering shop and applied those resources and his own mechanical skills well. The TA arrived shortly before the premier race in WA, the Albany GP, in 1937 and was quickly fitted with a Marshall blower and stripped of all superfluous parts. Allan drove well but the cars brakes failed on lap 16, he sailed through the barriers of Salvation Army Corner, unharmed!

During 1937 he continued to perform strongly at track meetings at Dowerin, with a couple of wins and in the WA Car Clubs Hillclimb at Victoria Reservoir.

Tomlinson’s winning MG TA ahead of  Jack Nelson’s Ballot V8 2nd, Albany GP 18 April 1938. Note the difference in the body of the Tomlinson car here and as a monoposto below (Terry Walker)

His first major success was in the 1938 Albany GP, that Easter he won off a handicap of 3 minutes 30 seconds from Jack Nelson’s Ballot V8 and Kestel’s quick MG TA. The handicappers were onto him though, his Bunbury handicap was 40 seconds but the youngster and his team were further modifying the MG away from the gaze of authority. Tomlinson, Bill Smallwood and Clem Dwyer carefully rebuilt the engine and clad the racer in a light, pretty, aerodynamic monoposto body which was painted blue. Extensively tested, the car was running perfectly, the race win the reward for careful attention to detail.

Tomlinson and the teams fanatical attention to the preparation of the car was unusual and remarkable for the day. They were about to show the east coast ‘big boys’ just how to prepare for, and drive a motor race.

Allan Tomlinson winning the 14 November 1938 ‘Bunbury Flying 50’ in his light, powerful, highly developed, 1340cc supercharged MG TA Spl (Terry Walker)

In early-December the team loaded the little 10/6 Marshall Rootes supercharged, aluminium bodied MG onto a ship in Fremantle for the short voyage to Port Adelaide.

On 2 January 1939 Tomlinson won the Australian Grand Prix on the immensely demanding, 8.6 mile long Lobethal road course in the Adelaide Hills.

The team had a spare T Type for Tomlinson to explore and master the swoops, dives and blind corners of the place. He also walked the roads, studying the gradients and topography closely. Historians still debate the speed of the little MG on that day, with its trick axle ratio it was good for 130mph, with Tomlinson claiming later speeds close to 140! There were some much faster cars in the race, Jano straight-8 Alfa Romeos and others, but whilst many drivers were on the brakes or a trailing throttle Tomlinson used skill and circuit knowledge to go flat where others were not…

Allan returned triumphant to WA aboard the ‘Kanimbla’ and was given an informal reception at the Albany Council Chambers on 8 January. The team then returned to Perth and on to another big victory, this time the ‘Great Southern Classic’ at Pingelly over 25 miles- ‘his fourth successive motor racing win in twelve months’ The West Australian reported.

Disaster struck at the Tomlinson foundry in East Perth on 4 May 1939 when Allan, whilst fixing an oil blower to a piece of machinery, had it explode, badly damaging three fingers on his left hand; two were later amputated in Perth Hospital, the lacerated index finger recovered. A ‘rock star’ in Perth by this time, his progress was covered daily in the local press. Tomlinson recovered but did not race again in 1939, the winds of war were blowing by then of course.

Sadly the Lobethal course that gave him his greatest win bit him very badly during the New Years Day 1940 ‘South Australian Hundred’.

The young driver was lucky to escape a very high speed trip through the countryside; he accidentally tagged the back of a Morgan, left the road and went through the bush, down an embankment and ended up against a tree in a roadside camping area. He broke his ribs, received internal injuries, shock and a long stay in Royal Adelaide Hospital. Whilst the car was not badly damaged-the body was dented and the wheels buckled, but the engine and chassis were undamaged according to Bill Smallwood.

As to Tomlinson, a highly promising career was over. After 5 months in hospital Allan returned to Perth with intentions to race but with the outbreak of war, motor racing ceased. Post-war Tomlinson had a lifelong involvement in the WA Sports Car Club and VSCC. He died aged 95 having lived a full life.

Now, where was i?! Back to Bunbury!

The Bunbury town circuit layout was used again post-war in November 1946 albeit the cars raced in the opposite direction to 1938. In 1950 the Australian Motor Cycle TT was held on the same layout.

The relative isolation of Carey Park, a suburb 3.5Km south east of Bunbury allowed the ‘Bunbury Flying 50’ to take place again in 1960. Competing vehicles were mainly production sports cars, the exceptions Green’s Ferrari 500 and Jack Ayres 1.5 litre, supercharged GP Alta. Ray Barfield’s ex-works Aston Martin DB3S was a sports car of considerable performance too.

The race was also called the ‘Carey Park Flying 50’, whatever it’s name results have been hard to find although photographer/historian Ken Devine believes the feature race, these photos are from that event, was won by Green’s Ferrari. If any of you have a race report I’d welcome you getting in touch.

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Jack Ayres, Alta ‘010’, starting the turn into Ecclestone Street from Forrest Avenue, pretty car, nicely proportioned lines, nose of the original car modified locally (Ken Devine)

Jack Ayres’ GP/F2 Alta s/c ‘010’…

Geoffrey Taylor’s first Alta sportscar was built in 1929.

He decided to build a 1.5 litre, supercharged GP car post-war, the  first of which appeared in 1948. The three cars built had ladder-frame chassis and wishbone suspension with rubber as the spring medium. The third of these cars, ‘GP3’, bought by Irish motor trader and wheeler-dealer Joe Kelly in 1950 was powered by a DOHC, 1496cc, SU fed, two stage Rootes type supercharged engine developing 202bhp at 6000 rpm. It contested non-championship F1 races and both the 1950 and 1951 British GP’s at Silverstone in Kelly’s hands finishing over 15 laps in arrears of the winners in both years.

Later ‘GP3’ was fitted with a Bristol engine by Kelly to contest F2 events, the sophisticated supercharged engine was then fitted to Alta ‘010’, a hitherto F2 chassis raced by Robert Cowell in 1949/50. The story of father and ex-Spitfire WW2 pilot Cowell is an interesting one as he became she; Roberta Cowell was the very first transgender Brit, the operation took place in 1951.

The car was bought and imported into Australia in 1956 by Gib Barrett of Armadale, Melbourne. Gib and Alf Barrett were formidable racers for decades both pre and post-War, Alf Barrett one of the all time greatest Oz drivers.

The car was fettled and finished 1oth in the post Olympic Games 1956 Melbourne GP at Albert Park in Gib’s hands, it was sold soon thereafter to Perth’s Syd Anderson in 1957. And so began an intensive period of racing for ‘010’ in WA. Syd raced it in the 1957 AGP at Caversham near Perth but retired, the race was won by Lex Davison and Bill Patterson in the Ferrari 500/625 also featured in this article.

Jack Eyres then bought ‘010’ racing extensively in the West in all kinds of events, he was 5th in the ‘WA Trophy’ Gold Star round in December 1960, that race won by Alec Mildren’s Cooper T51 Maserati. By the following August, Caversham Gold Star round Ayres had moved on to a Cooper MkV powered by a 1.1 litre Ford engine, with the Alta raced by new owner, Jim Ward.

The old car had by the early sixties become uncompetitive and dilapidated, the cars restoration was commenced by Jim Harwood in WA in the later 1960’s and finished by Lotus doyen John Dawson-Damer in outer Sydney. Graham Lowe owned it before it passed to Peter Briggs museum at York in WA, which was fitting given the cars WA racing period. ‘010’ was fully restored and always looked a treat when it appeared at Australian Grands Prix and other special events. Sadly the car left Oz some time ago, it recently appeared at Retromobile, offered for sale.

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Touring Car action at the ‘Highway Corner’, Bunbury 1960 (Jodie Krikkie)

Ferrari 500/625 Chassis #5, 3 litre…

Ferrari 500 #5 is said to be the most successful Grand Prix car of all time; it won 6 of the 7 championship Grand Epreuves held in 1952 and 9 in 1953 to win Ascari’s two drivers titles.

I don’t plan to cover the detailed history of this car now, it seems appropriate to do so in an article about Lex Davison who achieved so much Australian success in it; the 1957 and 1958 AGP’s, the very first Australian Drivers Championship, the ‘Gold Star’ in 1957 to name a few.

Lex eventually sold his beloved car to West Australian Doug Green in 1960. It had finally become uncompetitive in the eastern states but still had a year or so of relevance in WA.

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Doug Green proudly displays his Ferrari 500/625. Caversham, WA (Terry Walkers)

Davison wasn’t done with front-engined GP cars though, he very narrowly lost by a cars length the 1960 AGP at Lowood, Queensland to Alec Mildren’s Cooper T51 Maserati in a superb Aston Martin DBR4 before finally changing to ‘the mechanical mice’ as he described Coopers, winning his fourth and final AGP at Mallala, South Australia in a T51 Climax in 1961.

Davison bought the Ferrari off his friend, Tony Gaze, after the NZ summer races in 1956, Gaze had success with it in 1954 and 1955 having acquired it from the factory fitted with a 3 litre sportscar ‘750 Monza’ engine for the Formula Libre events common globally at the time.

The Fazz was eventually bought by Tom Wheatcroft in the late 1960’s, the first car for his famous Donington Collection, it’s  identity as Ascari’s chassis unknown at the time Tom acquired it. The car had chassis number ‘0480’ when bought by Gaze. During the restoration of the car the provenance of it was investigated by Doug Nye amongst others and confirmed after careful ‘forensic examination’ and in communications with Ferrari.

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Doug Green’s Ferrari 500/625, Carey Park, Bunbury 1960 (Ken Devine)

Doug Green bought ‘5’ in 1960, having graduated from an 1100cc Cooper. He got to grips with it, racing extensively in WA, soon improving upon Davo’s times in it at Caversham. He contested the Caversham Gold Star rounds in 1960 and 1961 finishing 4th and 2nd in thin fields, respectively. He sold the car in 1963 upon retirement from racing.

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Rare colour photo of the engine bay of Ferrari 500/625 #5 at Bunbury in 1960. I just about blew a head gasket when I saw the opening photo and this one, color shots of this car are rare, I’ve seen few of its engine bay let alone one with the ‘atmospherics’ Ken Devine has composed and captured here. 3 litre 750 Monza DOHC inline 4 cylinder engine produced circa 290 bhp. Local kids fascinated by the exotic, and still contemporary enough, racer (Ken Devine)

The Ferrari 500, designed by Aurelio Lampredi, used a ladder frame chassis typical of the period, suspension at the front was double wishbones and coil spring /dampers. A De Dion rear axle was used, the gearbox mounted to the diff and connected to the engine by a short propshaft.

The F1 2 litre engine was a 1985cc in line 4 cylinder engine with DOHC and 2 valves per cylinder. Magneto’s provided the spark and Weber 58DCOA3 carburettors the fuel, the engine gave around 185/190bhp@7500rpm. When acquired by Tony Gaze a 3 litre Monza engine was fitted, this gave circa 290bhp. Power is quoted from 245-290bhp depending upon the source.

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Doug Green, Ferrari 625/500, Caversham 1960, he eventually lapped faster in the car, having got the hang of it, than Lex some years before (Julian Cowan)

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Keith Rilstone’s Zephyr Spl having just passed! Greens Ferrari 500/625, the supercharged car very potent, it was a different thing under brakes, Murray Trenbath in the Alta Repco Holden further back. 1960 Caversham (Ken Devine)

Bunbury Circuits…

Bunbury probably won’t be known to most Aussies other than those who have visited the Margaret River region in which case you may have made a fuel ‘pitstop’ on its outskirts.

My brother lives in Perth and has a place at Gnarabup, Margaret River so I know the place a bit, but its motor racing history had passed me by until seeing these fabulous photos posted on ‘The Nostalgia Forum’ by Ken Devine. On a future visit I’ll drive the circuit(s), which you can still do.

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The Carey Park track itself, for Perth readers and visitors who may want to drive it, used Clifton, Victoria, Arthur, Stirling, Wittenoon and Prinsep Streets, Upper Esplanade then Wellington, Wittenoon and Carey Streets. The map below will make more sense of it when you visit.

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In fact the Carey Park road circuit, 3.5Km from the centre of town was only one of many used down the decades in greater Bunbury.

Racing started on the ‘Bunbury Central Circuit’, which as the name suggests was in the centre of town. Car racing ceased between 1947 to 1960 but motorcycle racing continued on this circuit and then the ‘Bunbury Moorelands Little Circuit’, also known as the ‘Glen Iris Circuit’. This track was laid out on public roads next to the Preston River and was ideal as the area was rural and so caused little drama to the public. The Bunbury Motorcycle GP meeting was held annually there from December 1963 to Easter 1974.

‘TQ’ Speedway cars raced on the ‘Carey Park Short Circuit’ of .95 of a mile in late 1958 ‘The South Western Times’ in its article before the meeting helpfully advised spectators to ‘…take the greatest possible care while watching the (5) races…under no circumstances should they cross the road while races are in progress’. So ‘Carey Park’ was used by speedway cars in advance of road-racers two years later for the 1960 ‘Bunbury Flying 50’.

In March 1975 the Bunbury Motorcycle Club hosted heats for the WA Road Racing Series around the streets of Davenport, Bunbury’s industrial area, 6.5Km from the town centre. This layout was also confusingly called ‘The Ring Road Circuit’ as it incorporated the new Busselton By-Pass and North Boyanup Road, well known to Perthies visiting ‘down South’ as they call a visit to Margaret River and beyond.

Wayne Patterson thrilling the crowds in 1988; Yamaha TZ350, Bunbury Back Beach circuit (Patterson)

This fairly ugly locale was used in 1975/6/7 before the move to the altogether more visually attractive and challenging ‘Bunbury Back Beach Circuit’ in 1980. In Australian Beach Lingo a ‘Back Beach’ is a surf beach and a ‘Front Beach’ is calmer water, I’ve no idea from where this derives! This fairly wild looking circuit overlooking the Bunbury break was used from 1980 to 1988. Then there are the local drags and speedway venues- they like their motor racing down south!

Ray Barfield’s Aston Martin DB3S chassis #9 was a car of impeccable provenance and specification…

The car was one of two built for works use in 1956, chassis #10 the other, whilst the successor design, the 1959 Le Mans winning DBR1 was in development.

DB3S/9 was first raced in the GP of Rouen as a warm up to Le Mans on 8 July 1956. Peter Collins raced it to retirement with bearing problems but Moss was 2nd in DB3S/10 behind the winner, Eugenio Castellotti’s works Ferrari 860 Monza and ahead of the 3 litre Maser 300S of Jean Behra.

At Le Mans on 28/29 July, ‘9’ was driven by Moss/Collins, the lead factory car was ahead of the field but finished 2nd after gearbox problems slowed it. Ninian Sanderson and Ron Flockhart won, a lap ahead of the Aston in an Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar D Type. The AM ‘LM6’ 2922cc engine fitted for Le Mans developed 219bhp @6000rpm- good for 150mph at La Sarthe.

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Ray Barfield Aston Martin DB3S into the right hander into Ecclestone Street (Ken Devine)

Moss won in the car at Oulton Park in August, and at Goodwood on 18 Septenber Roy Salvadori was 2nd to Tony Brooks in another DB3S. The last appearance of DB3S’9′ as a works entry was at Goodwood on 22 April 1957 driven by Brooks, he was 3rd.

The car was rebuilt and offered for sale by Aston’s as they focussed their attention on the new DBR1 and was bought by David McKay, the Australian racer/journalist keen to acquire a works car having owned an earlier customer DB3S, chassis ‘102’ a car David raced as part of ‘The Kangaroo Stable’. This group of three DB3S Astons raced by Australians David McKay/Tony Gaze, Tom Sulman/Jack Brabham and Les Cosh/Dick Cobden in 1955 is a story in itself.

Australian oil company Ampol provided financial support for the purchase, the car immediately became the fastest sportscar in Australia, winning upon its debut at Bathurst in October 1957. David won 8 of 9 races in it finishing 2nd only once, to Doug Whiteford’s Maser 300S in the Tasmanian TT at Longford. McKay’s last race in DB3S/9 was at Bathurst in October 1958 when he won the 100 mile Australian TT from Derek Jolly’s Lotus 15 Climax and Ron Phillips Cooper T33 Jaguar.

The car passed through Stan Jones hands in Melbourne, he only raced it once, before being bought by Barfield in mid-1959. The Mount Helena racer used it regularly in the West through to the Christmas Cup meeting at Caversham on 22 November 1963, fittingly, he won the 5 lap sportscar scratch race.

In 1956 when built the DB3S was pretty much the state of the sportscar art in terms of specification, it was closely derived from a road car and could, fairly easily be driven on the road. By 1963 the long distance racing paradigm was perhaps best defined by the specialist racing, mid-engined Ferrari 250P- a 3 litre V12 engined car which was far from a ‘roadie’ however much Enzo Ferrari tried to position the 250P’s cousin, the 250LM as such. The point here is just how focussed sports-racing cars became and how much racing technology changed in a very short period of time.

Barfield then retired from racing, it was fitting that the wonderful ex-works Aston won its last race however insignificant a 5 lapper at Caversham in 1963 was relative to 24 hours at Le Mans in 1956!

Ray retained the car inside it’s Rice Trailer on his farm outside Perth, famously keeping the engine fully submerged in a container of oil, having discovered a crack in the crankshaft, for 25 years.

Many people knocked on his door to buy it over the years including David McKay on more than one occasion but all were aggressively turned away. Finally a big wad of cash allowed Sydney’s Kerry Manolas to buy it, sight unseen, and it was not a pretty sight when he did see all of its components in October 1987! The car was superbly restored by Gavin Bain’s ‘Auto Restorations’ in Auckland. I wonder where in the world it is now?

Oh to have seen the Ferrari, Alta and Aston race on the Carey Park streets in the ‘Bunbury Flying 50’ all those years ago. Three amazingly interesting and diverse cars in the one race, and all so far from ‘home’!

Bibliography…

The Nostalgia Forum particularly the contributions of Terry Walker, Ray Bell and Ken Devine. 8Wforix.com, ‘Historic Racing Cars in Australia’ John Blanden, oldracingcars.com

Photo Credits…

The Ken Devine Collection, Julian Cowan, Terry Walkers Place, Jodie Krikkie, Wayne Patterson Collection

Tailpiece: Vin Smith, Alpha Peugeot 1.5 s/c…

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Vin Smith at the Highway Hotel Hairpin, Bunbury 1960. This effective, pretty little special was one of several built and raced by Smith from the mid-fifties to the mid-sixties. So much of Australiam motor racing was reliant on ‘specials’, usually very fast ones at that! for 50 years (Ken Devine)

 

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(Maurice Jarnoux)

The Mercedes Benz 1955 1,2; Fangio and Moss in W196, 22 May 1955…

Mercedes had three 1/2 finishes for the year; at Spa and Zandvoort when Fangio led Moss and at Aintree where Moss led Fangio. At Monaco things were looking good for another but JM’s car broke a rear axle on lap 49 and Moss had an engine failure in the closing laps of the race (lap 80 of 100).

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(Jarnoux)

Maurice Trintignant (above) took a somewhat lucky, but well deserved win in his Ferrari 625 from Eugenio Castellotti’s Lancia D50, the Italian putting in a charge in the final stages of the race trying to catch the Frenchman.

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Ascari and Castelotti in D50’s ahead of Behra’s 250F, later in the race but before lap 80 when Alberto took his afternoon swim (Jarnoux)

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Moss discussing the Mercedes teams prospects with its legendary engineer/test driver Rudy Uhlenhaut during Monaco practice. This car was comprehensively rooted later in the day when Hans Hermann had a bad accident, hurting himself as well as the W196. Andre Simon was brought into the team to race the spare (GP Library)

This was the famous race in which Alberto Ascari crashed his Lancia D50 into the harbour perhaps distracted by Moss’ engine problems in front of him late in the race. He popped to the surface unharmed but was killed several days later testing a Ferrari sportscar at Monza.

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Ascari’s D50 cruises past Lance Macklin’s Maser 250F, DNQ. Ascari 2nd on the grid (unattributed)

 

It was a pivotal time in the history of GP racing; Ascari’s death robbed Lancia of the driver around which its GP campaign was built and Gianni Lancia’s lavish race program was quickly driving his company into insolvency.

The famous ‘handover’ of Lancia assets to Ferrari occurred later in the year, solving Enzo’s immediate need of competitive cars. The ‘sponsorship’ in the form of an annual contribution to the Scuderia’s budget from Fiat laid the foundations of a strategic partnership which, via ownership of the road-car division from 1969 and ultimate acquisition of the company upon Enzo Ferrari’s death continues today.

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Louis Chiron 6th let’s teammate Gigi Villoresi 5th Lancia D50 past whilst Jean Behra’s equal 3rd placed (with Cesare Perdisa) Maser 250F threatens (GP Library)

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Farina’s Ferrari 625 4th about to be swallowed by Ascari’s Lancia D50 (GP Library)

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That! high speed Mercedes transporter, Monaco 1955 (GP Library)

Credits…

Maurice Jarnoux, GP Library

Tailpieces…

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Moss heading up the hill from Ste Devote,  Monaco 1955, Mercedes W196 (unattributed)

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The master in the lead; Fangio led from pole until transmission dramas intervened on lap 49, Benz W196, Monaco ’55 (unattributed)

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Alberto Ascari takes a quick look over his shoulder during the 1951 Italian Grand Prix…

His car is a Ferrari 375, the photo taken between the two ‘Porfido’ corners, now the Parabolica, 16 September 1951. The car being passed is an Alfa 159, not sure which one though.

Alfa Romeo hit back with a win for Fangio in the non-championship GP event on the 3.45 mile road course at Bari on Italy’s southern Adriatic coast on 2 September. Ferrari had won the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, their breakthrough win at championship level taken by Froilan Gonzalez on 14 July and again at the Nurburgring on July 29th when Ascari was first home…

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Ascari’s 375 ahead of Stirling Moss HWM Alta and Luigi Villoresi Ferrari 375, San Remo Grand Prix 25 April 1951. Ferrari 375 won a good many of the non-championship ’51 GP’s, mind you Alfa and Ferrari largely avoided each other at these events! (Hutton)

The Italians were out in force in their home race of course at Monza.

Fangio initially lead but soon yielded to Ascari’s normally aspirated 4.5 litre V12 Ferrari, Fangio regained the lead after fitting new tyres, the two-stage supercharged 1.5 litre straight-8 both powerful and its chassis far from as modern as the Ferrari’s. In concept they were of similar thinking mind you.

image

Ascari, Monza 1951, rare color shot of this combination, superb, butch lines of the Ferarri 375 shown to great effect (unattributed)

Gonzalez (Ferrari) was 2nd after Farina and de Graffenried (Alfa) were early retirements. Fangio ‘tigered’, his attempts to catch the Ferrari’s thwarted by a misfire. Then Farina in Bonetto’s Alfa took up the fight passing Villoresi for 3rd but his fuel tank was leaking forcing additional stops, the race won by Ascari from Gonzalez and Felice Bonetto; Ferrari 375 V12, Ferrari 375 V12 and Alfa 159 S-8 supercharged.

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Farina’s 159 Alfa engine going ka-boomba early in the race (unattributed)

And so the ‘51 championship went down to the wire to the final round at Pedralbes, Barcelona on 28 October, that race and the title won by JM Fangio. For Alfa Romeo it was their last, to date, F1 championship race let alone title win. And perhaps more significantly it was the last forced induction GP championship series victory until Brabham’s 1.5 litre, turbo-charged, 4 cylinder BMW powered win in 1981…

image

Farina Alfa Romeo 159, Italian GP practice 1951 (unattributed)

Credits…

Klemantaski Collection, GP Photo, Hutton

Tailpiece: Ascari has a steer of Gonzalez’ 375 during Monza practice, a mighty fine racing car!…

image

(GP Photo)

 

 

gonzalez silverstone

(Louis Klemantaski)

Froilan Gonzalez plays with the limits of adhesion of his victorious Ferrari 375 V12 at around 140mph. Copse Corner, Silverstone, 14 July 1951…

The dominant force in Grand Prix racing in the immediate post-war period was Alfa Romeo, the pre-war ‘Alfetta’ voiturettes progressively modified to remain winners; they had not been beaten since 1946.

Ferrari had achieved success at Le Mans, the Mille Miglia and the Targa Florio and now took an alternative Grand Prix design path to Alfa and BRM for the 1951 season in building cars powered by a normally aspirated 4.5 litre V12 rather than the supercharged straight 8/V16 route of his rivals. Instructive had been the reliability and speed of the Talbot-Lagos despite the cars relative lack of sophistication given the French machines road-car origins.

gonz

Gonzalez, Silverstone 1951, Ferrari 375, the burly Argentinian master of this car. Note exhaust system of the V12 and twin radius rods locating rear axles (unattributed)

Ferrari’s Type 375’s were first entered at the Pescara Grand Prix on 15 August 1950, but were not ready. The cars made their championship debut at Monza on 3 September 1950 with entries for Alberto Ascari and Dorino Serafini. Ascari qualified 2nd and was dicing with the lead group of Fangio and Farina both 158 mounted, before retiring on lap 21 with engine overheating.

Click here for an article on the Type 375 i wrote a while back;

https://primotipo.com/2014/11/10/vi-gran-premio-del-valentino-april-1952-ferrari-375/

In order to test the cars over a full GP distance,375’s for Ascari and Serafini were entered for the GP do Penya Rhin, at Pedralbes, Barcelona on 29 October. The cars finished 1/2, no Alfa’s were entered but the cars completed a GP distance without problems. With further development over the winter the 375’s were ready for 1951.

british alfa pit

Alfa Romeo pit British GP, Silverstone 1951 (unattributed)

By 1951 the supercharged Alfa’s, designated ‘159’ developed around 410bhp from their supercharged 1.5-litre engines, while Ferrari had been working on a twin-plug version of the 4.5-litre V12. It wasn’t as powerful as the Alfa but it was more efficient, less fuel meant less pit stops.

Alfa ignored most of the early season non-championship races. In their absence Ferrari 375’s won at Siracuse and Pau on 11 and 26 March, Gigi Villoresi the winning driver on both occasions. Ascari won the San Remo GP on 22 April.

The Alfa’s finally appeared for the ‘BRDC International Trophy’ race at Silverstone on May 5, but the works Ferari 375’s did not. Fangio and Farina each won a heat for Alfa with the final held in torrential rain led by Reg Parnell’s Ferrari 125/375 when the race was ended after 16 minutes on lap 6.

alfa 159 engine

Engine and brake detail of the Alfa Romeo 159, Silverstone 1951. 1.5 litre two-stage supercharged straight-8 (unattributed)

The first 1951 Championship GP was at Berne for the Swiss Grand Prix. Ascari was suffering from a burn to the arm received during a Formula 2 race at Genoa the weekend before and Villoresi slid off the road in wet conditions. Progress was indicative of Taruffi’s Ferrari second place splitting the Alfas of Fangio and Farina, first and third.

At Spa, a jammed wheel at a pit stop cost Fangio his second successive win, Farina took Belgian GP win for Alfa Romeo from Ascari and Villoresi in Ferrari 375’s.

The French Grand Prix was a furious battle between Ascari and Fangio, both of whom changed cars with Fangio taking the win for Alfa. Ascari’s 375 had gearbox failure and Froilan Gonzalez, who had led the race briefly and pitted to refuel, was asked to hand his car over. Fangio took over Luigi Fagioli’s Alfa, JM’s car failed on the first lap of the race. This was Gonzalez’ first race for Ferrari. Just before the French Grand Prix, Enzo Ferrari had approached him to replace the unwell Piero Taruffi. The Fagioli/Fangio car won the race from the 375 of Gonzalez/Ascari.

gonzalez french

Gonzalez in his first Ferrari drive, he lead the French GP at Reims before offering his 375 to Alberto Ascari, the pair finished 2nd to the Fangio/Fagioli Alfa 159 (unattributed)

Froilan recalled the French GP in Gonzalez ‘The Pampas Bull’; ‘The dream was to be very brief. I was utterly determined to make my mark at Reims in the Grand Prix de France and after a tough battle I managed to lead the race. But when I stopped at the pits to refuel (Ferrari Team Manager) Ugolini told me to hand over my jewel to Alberto Ascari who had walked back to the Ferrari pits after his own car had broken down’.

‘Recalling it now I suppose it was understandable. Ascari was more experienced in the Grand Prix arena than I, and since he was now available, it was obviously more sensible to let him take over. But at the time I was mystified and wounded. I assumed I had in some way failed one of Ferrari’s mysterious tests. Yet nobody would tell me where I had failed’.

‘I was just as puzzled when Enzo Ferrari sent for me. Puzzled and timid, for Ferrari was a powerful experienced man of the world while I had only recently arrived in Europe I had no idea how to address the ‘sacred monster’ of the motoring world when I was led into his office. I managed to say ‘Good morning’ in Spanish and then stood there speechless, wondering why I was there and what to do next. Don Enzo, realizing my embarrassment, helped me out by smiling and shaking my hand. And to my utter amazement he – the greatest figure in world motor racing – actually congratulated me for what I had done at Reims. I was even more astounded when he suddenly asked me: ‘Would you like to sign a contract to drive for the Ferrari team?’ I can feel even now the almost painful thumping of my heart. This just isn’t true, I told myself.’
british ascari

Ascari cruising the Silverstone pitlane, Ferrari 375 during practice DNF lap 56 with ‘box failure (Getty Images)

Alfa Romeo brought 159’s to Silverstone for Fangio, Farina, Consalvo Sanesi and Felice Bonetto. Ferrari brought three Type 375s for Ascari, Villoresi and Gonzalez with Peter Whitehead in Tony Vandervell’s  ‘Thinwall Special’ Ferrari…

Talbot returned with three T26C 4.5-litre, straight-6 cylinder cars. Maserati relied on ageing 4CLTs for David Murray and John James, while Philip Fotheringham-Parker raced an older 4CL. ERA had Bob Gerard and Brian Shawe-Taylor and Joe Kelly was in his Alta.

british ferrari drivers

Scuderia Ferrari drivers Silverstone 1951; Gigi Villoresi left, Alberto Ascari and Froilan Gonzalez, all remarkably ‘well-nourished’ by driver standards of today! And older of course (Getty Images)

BRM turned up on the morning of the race having missed practice. Reg Parnell and Peter Walker started from the rear of the grid as a consequence.

british walker

Peter Walker’s BRM Type 15, 7th being given a shove during practice (unattributed)

John Bolster of Autosport commented about Gonzalez’ speed and technique; ‘Thursday found me walking round the circuit, trying to work out how on earth these boys get round the corners the way they do. My stopwatch was busy in my hand, and I had a conversion table, so it was with immense excitement that I observed that Froilan Gonzalez had lapped at 99mph. His next tour looked even faster and, yes, the magic 100mph had been topped at last!’

‘The interesting thing is that he brakes later than anybody else, actually enters the corner faster, and gets through in an immensely long drift. He has none of the ease in the cockpit that Farina exhibits, and certainly does not follow the same path every time. Unlike all the other drivers, he changes down without gunning his motor, and yet there is no clash of gears and the box stands up to the treatment. John Wyer and I listened to this for lap after lap at Woodcote, and were fair amazed. A phenomenon, this Froilan!’ Bolster observed.

gonzalez portrait

Froilan Gonzalez Ferrari 375, Silverstone 1951, lovely portrait of the Argentinian Champion (unattributed)

Gonzalez lapped Silverstone in 1 minute 43.4 seconds and was on pole, a second quicker than Fangio’s Alfa. On Friday the track was damp and those times prevailed. Froilan’s time was set without the latest the latest twin-plug V12 fitted to Ascari’s car.

Gonzalez; ‘Ferrari had the gift of instilling confidence in its drivers. Although I was still very inexperienced I arrived at Silverstone for the 1951 British Grand Prix feeling that I really belonged in the Scuderia Ferrari, feeling eager also to pit my car’s power against the almost unbeatable Alfa Romeos – and my own skill against the world’s greatest racing drivers. Silverstone was the meeting place for international statesmen, industrialists, and millionaires, all looking for excitement’.
british program

Silverstone was the first time an Alfa Romeo had not been on pole position since the world championship began the year before…

Around 50,000 spectators arrived at the Northhamptonshire circuit on the Saturday, eager to see a great contest between Alfa, Ferrari and BRM.

start

Start of the GP with Gonzalez, left on pole Fangio and Ascari #11 on the outside. Ferrari 375, Alfa 159, Ferrari 375 (unattributed)

Felice Bonetto made the best start from seventh, the front row delayed with excessive wheelspin,  and lead at the end of lap 1 but Gonzalez took over with Fangio chasing.

Gonzalez; ‘As we passed the pits for the first time I noticed that both the Alfa and Ferrari team managers were signaling the same instructions, which were in effect that we should drive our own race. The alarming start meant that team tactics must be abandoned. ‘Go for the lead’ came the urgent message and soon as I saw that I went flat-out. By the next lap I was leading’.

british bonetto

Felice Bonetto Alfa being chased by #12 Gonzalez Ferrari and #1 Farina Alfa 159 with #11 Ascari Ferrari just in shot (unattributed)

‘I could not hear them but I had the feeling that the British crowd had forgotten their usual restraint. They were jumping and waving and, it seemed to me, yelling like mad. ‘Pepito. You are ahead of the Field Marshals,’ I thought, and kept my foot hard down on the accelerator pedal. Then suddenly my rear-view mirror showed a red car, growing bigger and bigger. A signal from my pit as I shot past told me it was Fangio’s Alfa Romeo. ‘Pepito. Don’t do anything foolish. Don’t panic. Even Fangio will have to do a re-fuel.’
Within 15 laps, Fangio was five seconds ahead of Gonzalez. the duo were 44 seconds ahead of third-Farina who was scrapping with Ascari from Bonetto and Villoresi. It was Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari. The fuel stops would settle the issue.
british gonz color

Nice color panned shot of Gonzalez on the way to victory. Shows the big, butch lines of the Ferrari to good effect, the delicacy of touch required to drift the thing at 140mph readily apparent, and appreciated!  (unattributed)

Gonzalez hit the straw-bales at Becketts but gradually closed on Fangio to retake the lead on lap 39. At the end of lap 48, Fangio pitted and Gonzalez came in 13 laps later. Ascari had retired with gearbox trouble and Gonzalez climbed from his car and offered it to his team-mate.  Ascari refused and urged Gonzalez to continue. The stop took 23 seconds, Fangio’s 49  seconds, JM had his rear wheels changed and his fuel tank filled. The gap between the leaders was then 1 minute 19.2 seconds.

british pitstop

Pitsop for the thirsty Parnell BRM Type 15 ; passing is the Farina Alfa being closely watched by Alberto Ascari, astride the white line, retired from the race. The balding Raymond Mays looks away from the BRM , to Mays right beside ‘the copper’ is journalist and racer John Bolster (unattributed)

‘When Fangio caught me in the 10th lap I let him overtake, placing myself directly on his tail. We traveled in tandem, our two cars seeming to be roped together. Even when he increased speed we remained like this, driving like men pursued by the Devil himself. There was a moment of danger around the 25th lap when I took Becketts Corner too fast and hit the straw bales. But this made me keener than ever and I set off again after Fangio. I began to close on him, having been perhaps 5 or 6 seconds behind him with both of us averaging about 97 mph until, on the 39th lap, I eventually took him. Towards the end of the race I was more than a minute ahead of him’.

british gonz fangio

Gonzalez leads Fangio during their great Silverstone race (unattributed)

‘Motorsports’ August 1951 issue described the events as follows: ‘Try as Fangio could and did, it was over. Gonzalez came round, crash hat and visor in his left hand, waving them to the crowd.

‘Ferrari with the unblown 4.5-litre had at last broken the might of the two-stage supercharged 159 Alfa Romeo, as they have been threatening to do since Monza last year. Froilan Gonzalez had driven impeccably and is now in the front rank.

‘Fangio drove like the master he is, but couldn’t catch the Ferrari, nor could his longer pit-stop explain the 51 second gap and he was the meat in the Ferrari sandwich. And how these Argentinians drive!’

british win

Froilan Gonzalez takes the Silverstone chequered flag to record an historic personal and team win, Ferrari 375 (unattributed)

Villoresi was third after Farina retired at Abbey Curve, with smoke billowing from the engine compartment but the failure reported as ‘clutch’. Bonetto was a further lap behind the Ferrari in fourth.

british farina

Farina’s Alfa 159 hors ‘d combat on lap 75 with a failed clutch (unattributed)

Reg Parnell was 5th in the BRM with Walker 7th. The BRM drivers completed the race burned by their exhausts and dazed by fuel vapours. In the hurry to complete the cars for the race, the exhausts hadn’t been properly insulated and the drivers were ‘cooked’.

brm

The BRM Type 15′ s get away at the start; Walker left 7th and Reg Parnell #6 5th (unattributed)

‘It was very confusing’ said Gonzalez aftewards, ‘But very exciting. Everyone was shouting and talking; the mechanics saying over and over again that the Alfa Romeos had been beaten. Then I was taken to meet the Queen and given a laurel wreath. Of course, I understood little of what was said but it was a very nice feeling to have all those people congratulating me.

‘On the winners podium I was embraced warmly by Fangio. That meant a lot to me. Then they played the Argentine National Anthem. I had never experienced anything like this before. When I saw my country’s flag being hoisted, it was just too much for me and I cried. That moment will live with me for ever.’

british wife

Gonzalez being congratulated by his wife and crew after the historic win, the enormity of it all still to set in (unattributed)

Enzo Ferrari’s dogged determination to win Grands Prix with his own cars was achieved against Alfa Romeo, for whom for many years he lead their pre-War racing programs. It was the first time the Alfas had been beaten since the first post-war French Grand Prix in 1946.

At the end of the season, Alfa Romeo applied for a significant increase in their government grant, the company still within the control of the agency which took it over after its insolvency pre-war. It was refused and the team withdrew from Grand Prix racing, a return finally made with the provision of engines in 1970 and more wholistically as a team in 1979.

In his Richard Williams biography, Enzo Ferrari said of his first Ferrari GP victory: ‘I cried for joy. But my tears of enthusiasm were mixed with those of sorrow because I thought, today I have killed my mother’…

Etcetera…

alfa paddock

Alfa’s in the Silverstone paddock; #3 Consalvo Sanesi 6th, #1 Farina DNF (unattributed)

start 1

Front row makes a poor start; #12 Gonzalez, Farina  better away and Ascari #11 on the right with Fangio’s Alfa almost beside Ascari and Felice Bonetto, Alfa coming up quickly behind Fangio (unattributed)

ascari farina

Alberto Ascari from Giuseppe Farina Ferrari 375 and Alfa 159, Silverstone 1951, both DNF (unattributed)

pitstop

Gonzalez supervises his Ferrai pitstop whilst Ascari, right, looks on having sportingly declined to take the car offered to him by Froilan allowing him to take the well deserved win (unattributed)

Bibliography…

f1fanatic.co.uk, grandprixhistory.org, Team Dan, silhouet.com, J Perez Loizeau and Ors ‘Jose Froilan Gonzalez:The Pampas Bull’

Photo Credits…

Louis Klementaski, Getty Images, Michael Turner art

Tailpiece…

britsi art

Painting depicts Gonzalez’ pursuit of Fangio with a blue Talbot-Lago T26 ahead (Michael Turner)

 

 

merc staub

(Max Staub)

Mercedes Benz returned to Grand Prix racing with a vengeance at Reims in 1954, here Fangio leads Karl Kling in the W196 Streamliners…

Mercedes had a habit of re-entering racing in the French Grand Prix every 20 odd years, when doing so bringing new standards of engineering excellence with them.

In 1914 the 4 cylinder SOHC 4483cc engined Mercedes 18/100 of Sailer, Lautenschlager, Salzer, Pilette, and Wagner crushed the opposition at Lyon just before The Great War. The course was 37.6 Km long, 20 laps of it took the winner Christian Lautenschlager 7 hours 8 minutes!

1914

Three of the 1914 French GP winning Mercedes team cars at Unterturkheim post event. L>R #28 Lautenschlager 1st, #39 Salzer 3rd, #40 Wagner 2nd. (unattributed)

In 1934 Auto Union and Mercedes came to Monthlery with cars which would largely sweep the board until War again intervened.

Although on that day an Alfa Romeo triumphed. Louis Chiron won in a Scuderia Ferrari Alfa P3 from Achille Varzi similarly mounted, the three 2.9 litre supercharged straight-8 Mercedes W25 of Rudi Caracciola, Manfred von Brauchitsch and Luigi Fagioli retiring with a variety of maladies.

1934

1934 French GP, Montlhery. Rudy Caracciola Mercedes W25 DNF, from Avhille Varzi Alfa P3/Tipo B, 2nd. (unattributed)

And so it was that Mercedes returned to racing after a break of 15 years at Reims on the weekend of July 4th 1954, 40 years after Lyon and 20 after Monthlery…

fangio reims

JM Fangio, Mercedes Benz W196, Reims victor 1954. (Jesse Alexander Archive)

cutaway 1

The W196 was a triumph of complex engineering, the 2.5 litre straight eight cylinder car had the following new features; Direct injection of fuel into the cylinders for more precise ignition of the incoming fuel charge, the engine lying on its side only 20 degrees from the horizontal to allow a lower bonnet line and the driveshaft to pass beside the driver rather than him sitting on it.

Desmodromic or mechanical operation of the valves allowed higher rpm than the valve springs of the day could handle, 4 wheel independent suspension using a new type of swing axle at the rear, inboard brakes front and rear to lower unsprung weight and a streamlined all enveloping body helped the car to quicker thru ze air.

The very experienced pre-war engineering team of Dr Fritz Nallinger and Rudy Uhlenhaut were in control of the conception, design, development and testing of the new car.

french paddock

Reims 1954 paddock shot. #18 Fangio and #22 Hans Hermann Mercedes W196 Streamliners being prepared for the race. Open bodies used from Nurburgring 1954 onwards, Streamliner body about 60 pounds heavier than the ‘Nurburg’ slipper/open wheeler bodies. (unattributed)

The purpose of this article is not to write in detail about a car which has had everything written about it, rather the words are a support to the wonderful painting and cutaways originally published in that splendid annual, Automobile Year, in this case the 1955 edition.

cutway 2

(Automobile Year)

In his Automobile Year technical review of the 1954 season noted journalist/Le Mans Winner/GP driver Paul Frere explains in great detail the technical advances of the car but also makes clear all of the Benz victories in ’54 were scored by Fangio, saying that the cars speed was partially a factor of Fangio’s dominance as a driver rather than it being a function of the cars speed itself. He and Alberto Ascari were the standout drivers at the time.

The W196 won four of five 1954 races entered, impressive with a new car; Frere also makes clear that the development potential of the car was obvious and subsequently reinforced in their 1955 season!

french start

French GP Start; #18 Fangio, #20 Kling Benz W196, #10 Alberto Ascari Maser 250F #2 Gonzalez Ferrari 553, #12 Marimon Maser 250F, #46 Prince Bira Maser 250F, #22 Hans Hermann Benz W196, #6 Hawthorn Ferrari 553, #4 Maurice Trintignant Ferrari 625, #34 Robert Manzon Ferrari 625, #14 Luigi Villoresi Maser 250F. (unattributed)

At Reims Fangio was on pole with his young German teammate Karl Kling alongside and Alberto Ascari in a factory Maserati 250F. Alberto and Onofre Marimon were ‘loaned’ to Maserati by Gianni Lancia given his new D50 GP car was still not raceworthy and the drivers otherwise unemployed for the weekend.

Ascari’s race was over on lap 1 due to either gearbox or engine failure depending upon the report you read, this left Fangio and Kling to run away with the race.

Hawthorn and Marimon scrapped for 3rd before the Argentinian stopped for a plug change and dropped to the back of the field.

start 2

Fangio left, and Kling Mercedes W196 well clear of Ascari’s Maser 250F shortly after the start. (unattributed)

Pre-war Thai driver Prince Bira drove a great race in a customer 250F dropping to 4th having run out of fuel and losing time switching to his auxiliary tank, and his 3rd place, so Robert Manzon was 3rd in a Ferrari 625.

Hans Herrman in the other W196 took fastest lap early in the race before over-revving the engine leaving its telltale at 9100rpm!

So, a dominant Mercedes start to a run which sadly only lasted until the end of the 1955 season before their modern era return and the dominance of 2014/5…

fangio thillois

Fangio, Thillois Hairpin, Reims 1954. MB W196. (unattributed)

Etcetera…

grid shot

Front row pre start. Fangio, Kling and Ascari. Hawthorn fiddling with his goggles on row 3. (unattributed)

cutaway 3

(Automobile Year)

merc w 196

Nice section of the W196 cylinder head and operation of its desmodromic valve gear. (Automobile Year)

Race Footage…

Credits…

Max Staub, Automobile Year, Jesse Alexander Archive

duck

(Jesse Alexander)

Alfonso de Portago practices his Ferrari 625 prior to the 1955 Pau Grand Prix, a race won by Jean Behra’s factory Maser 250F…

These superb images are from the Jesse Alexander Archive. The factory Maserati’s of #14 Behra, #16 Roberto Mieres and #18 Luigi Musso are in line astern in the Pau paddock, Saturday 10 April 1955.

pau

(Jesse Alexander)

Jean won the race from Eugenio Castellotti in a Lancia D50 and teammate Roberto Mieres in third. de Portago was 8th and the best placed Ferrari, no factory cars were entered by the Scuderia after a poor showing at Turin a fortnight before.

Ascari had the race in hand after a great dice with Behra early but with 20 laps to go had braking problems, the Lancia mechanics did a work around which gave him brakes on the front and allowed him to finish, Jean taking a lucky win.

castellotti

Eugenio’s Lancia being warmed up by the team, you can feel the staccato-blast of that lovely basso-profundo 2.5 litre V8!? (Jesse Alexander)

de 50 front

The nose of Lancia Team Leader Alberto Ascari’s Lancia D50. Pau 1955, he was 5th. Alberto died only 6weeks later at Monza in a tragic testing accident. (Jesse Alexander)

pau_1

(Jesse Alexander)

No sign of the admiring duck this time but again its de Portago in his Ferrari, not sure who it is behind, factory Ferrari GP drives would come his way in time.

Sensational shots of a great track, and thankfully still in use.

Photo Credits…

Jesse Alexander Archive, http://www.jessealexander.com

 

Ascari Cooper Jap

Alberto Ascari looking dapper in shirt and tie but a little uncomfortable at the wheel of the new-fangled mid-engined Cooper…

Its rare to see the 1952/3 World Champion in anything other than an Italian car. The Cooper must have seemed tiny in comparison with his Grand Prix Lancia D50 but the opportunity to have a steer of Gilomens’ car during a Racing Driver School in Switzerland in 1954 was too good to miss…his critique of the car unrecorded.

See the article i wrote about these fabulous 500cc/F3 cars a while back.

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

Photo Credit…

Rodolfo Mailander

stan longford

Wonderful shot of Stan Jones winning the 1959 Australian Grand Prix. Tannery Corner, Longford, Tasmania. Maserati 250F (B Dunstan via Ellis French)

The Ascaris’, Jones’, Hills’ and Villeneuves’…

When Alan Jones won the 1980 Australian Grand Prix at Calder, he and his father Stan joined the Ascaris as the only father/son combination to win their home Grands’ Prix.

Antonio Ascari won the 1924 Italian Grand Prix in an Alfa and his son Alberto won it in 1949, 1951 and 1952 for Ferrari.

Stan won the 1959 AGP at Longford in his Maserati 250F, the last AGP won by a front engined car.

Graham and Damon Hill both contested the British Grand Prix, Damon winning in 1994 aboard a Williams Renault, whilst Graham came close he never had a hometown win. His luck in the UK as bad as it was good in Monaco where he won five times!

Similarly, Gilles and Jacques Villeneuve both contested the Canadian Grand Prix but only Gilles took a win, for Ferrari in 1978.

Sadly, all four fathers had one thing in common, they all died before their sons achieved Grand Prix success. Alberto and Gilles in testing/race accidents, Graham in the light aircraft he was piloting together with his team and Stan of natural causes at the very young age of 49.

Foreword…

Like so many of my articles, the one on Stan started with a photo, the one above at Longford. I figured the article would be short but the more I dug, and there is not a lot of information available on Jones, the more interested I became in him and the series of Maybach cars which were such an important part of his career.

So, it’s ended up rather long! but I hope of interest to some.

I leaned heavily for the information on the Maybach phase on Malcolm Prestons’ great book ‘From Maybach to Holden’, sadly, Malcolm died a month or so ago. He was very kind and helpful to me with the article on John McCormacks’ McLaren M23, that article in many ways the inspiration for starting this blog, so I dedicate this article to him. RIP Malcolm Preston.

Stan Jones…

stan 2

Famous shot of Stan Jones shaking hands with Otto Stone, his engineer after the 1959 Longford AGP victory in his Maserati 250F. Alan is 12 in this shot, John Sawyer, the other technician wears the flat cap…Stan a justifiably happy-chappy after so many years trying to win this event! (Unattributed)

Much has been written about Alan of course but not so much about Stan, one of the great drivers and characters of Australian motor racing in the immediate post war years until the dawn of the 1960’s.

He was raised in Warrandyte, then a rural hamlet 24Km north-east of Melbourne, still semi-rural now, by his mother and grandfather. He served in the Australian Armed Forces based in Darwin during World War 2. He married Alma O’Brien circa 1940, Alan was born on November 2 1946.

Stan commenced motorsport after being encouraged by Otto Stone, a racer and engineer who would later make a great contribution to his success as an elite driver. He competed in his MGTC at Rob Roy Hillclimb, at Christmas Hills, not far from where he grew up in 1948.

Stan was soon a keen competitor in all forms of the sport including trials twice winning the Cohen Trophy awarded to the best trials driver of the year by the Light Car Club of Australia.

His MGTC was supercharged, as so many of them were, his first circuit meeting was at Fishermans Bend, Melbourne in late 1949. He did well, finishing seventh against more experienced opposition. In need for more speed, he bought an HRG chassis to which a local monoposto body was fitted, achieving success with the car  in 1949 and 1950. His first road racing event was at Woodside, in the Adelaide Hills, he finished 2nd in the ‘Onkaparinga Class handicap’ in November 1949. ‘Australian Motor Sports’ reported that it was the first appearance of one of the new production monoposto racing HRG 1500’s.’

In 1951 he also bought an Allard J2.

These faster cars were funded by ‘Superior Cars’ a dealership he opened in Richmond, yards in Coburg and South Yarra followed, northern and inner eastern Melbourne suburbs respectively.

Stan Jones Allard

Jones Allard J2 in the Bathurst paddock, 1951. (Ray Eldershaw Collection)

Charlie Dean, Repco and Maybach…

Maybach Carlton

Charlie testing Maybach circa 1950 on the road, in the grounds of ‘Willsmere’ the hospital for mental illnesses in Kew not far from Charlies home. His other testing venue was’Princes Pard Drive’ behind the Melbourne General Cemetery in North Carlton. This ‘track’ was conveniently close to Repco Research in Sydney Road, Brunswick. What a super car it was/is! (Dacre Stubbs Collection)

The turning point in Stans’ career was the association with Charlie Dean, the ‘Maybach’ racers which Dean built and the ‘Skunkworks’ at Repco, which continued to develop the car and its successors after Jones acquired it.

Charlie’s business named ‘Replex’, manufactured large industrial transformers. He became involved in the Australian Motorsports Club, and using his wartime knowledge of sophisticated German engines, sought a suitable motor to form the basis of a special. A friend who operated a war surplus wrecking yard was briefed and Charlie was soon the owner of a ‘Demag’ half-track armoured personnel carrier. Critically, it was powered by a Maybach 6 cylinder 3.8 litre SOHC, cross flow engine. The block was cast-iron, the head aluminium, the crank ran on 8 main bearings, and in standard form the engine produced 100bhp at 2800rpm but the engines performance potential was clear to Dean.

Initial modifications involved fitment of twin Amal carbs to a fabricated manifold, increasing the compression ratio to 8:1 by planing the head, fitment of a Vertex Magneto and a re-ground cam to increase valve lift and duration.

At about the time Dean started to build ‘Maybach 1’, he sold his business to Repco, being retained to run it, this gave him both time for his hobby and access to Repco’s resources…

The engine was fitted into a tubular chassis, the basis of which was 2 4 inch diameter 10 guage mild steel tubes to the front of which was mounted suspension mounting framework. Front suspension comprised a transverse leaf spring with suspension arms and stub axles from a 1937 Studebaker Commander. Rear suspension was of conventional semi elliptic leaf springs, Luvax lever-arm shocks were used. A Fiat 525 gearbox drove an open prop-shaft to a Lancia Lambda 7th series rear axle. A Jeep steering box was used.

Standard Studebaker brakes and wheels were used at the front, and Lancia brakes, hubs and wheels at the rear.

It was a quick sports car and was soon developed further for competition use, Charlie debuting it at Rob Roy Hillclimb in 1947.

The car was clothed in a metal body built by fellow Repco Engineer Frank Hallam, the body made from surplus metal ‘Kittyhawk’ aircraft fuel belly-tanks. (made by Ford)

Charlie raced the car in the 1948 AGP at Point Cook, an ex-RAAF base in Melbournes’ inner West. He retired on lap 12 from magneto failure in a race of attrition in searing heat, victory going to Frank Pratts’ BMW 328. ( in those days the AGP was Formule Libre and handicaps were applied)

Maybach Rob Roy

Charlie Dean with Jack Joyce as ballast competing at Rob Roy Hillclimb, Christmas Hills, outer Melbourne in March 1949. Maybach 1 ‘evolution B’ in the cars never ending developmental cycle. (Dacre Stubbs Collection)

The development of Maybach was constant and ongoing, the ‘program’ having strong Repco support due to its promotional value and development of its engineers. In 1950 Dean was appointed to head up a Research Centre for the Repco Group, located at the ex-Replex premises at 50 Sydney Road, Brunswick…from acorns do great oaks grow.

In June 1951 Jones, looking for an outright class winning car, bought the car for a nominal sum, the Repco involvement continued with the cars preparation, development and use by Repco for product development and testing. The car was engineered at Repco Research. Deans business and family commitments had made ongoing motor sport participation difficult. Jones lived in the Melbourne eastern suburb of Balwyn, in Yongala Road, not far from Dean’s home in Kew so communication was easy despite the lack of email and iphones…

By the time Stan bought ‘Maybach 1 Series 3’ the body was still a 2 seater. 3 feet of rear chassis rails had been removed from the original, it had rear axle mounted trailing quarter elliptics with radius rods.The engine was 4.2 litres and used 3 2 3/16 inch SU carbs, had a compression ratio of 9:1, and a reliable (sic) Lucas magneto. After the SU’s were fitted the engine developed 200bhp @5000rpm. Tyres were 16×6.50 touring type.

A 1922 American truck ‘Power Lock’ ‘slippery diff’ was adapted in the Lancia housing which was modified to suit. The brakes had also been changed substantially using 16 inch/ 14 inch drums front/rear.

Racing Maybach…

southport 1954

Doug Whitefords’ Lago Talbot leads Jones’ Maybach  onto the main straight at Woodside in October 1951, Whiteford won the race, Stan second. Just look at the nature of this road circuit; telephone poles, fence posts, railway crossing etc. A tragic accident in a motor-cycle handicap race where an early starter completed his first lap before the scratchmen had gotten away, killing 2 people in the starting area caused the ban on racing on public roads in South Australia (Clem Smith via Ray Bell)

Stans’ first race in the car was at Gawler, South Australia, the main scratch race setting the pattern for the season with Jones and Doug Whiteford in the Lago Talbot fierce rivals, the two cars passing and repassing before Whieford won the event.

Jones then raced the car at Bathurst in October 1951, winning a 3 lap scratch race but finishing second to Whitefords Talbot-Lago in the 50 lap handicap. The following week Jones again finished second to Whiteford at Woodside, a road circuit in the Onkaparinga Valley in the Adelaide Hills.

ralt and mybach

Stans’ Maybach chasing Ron Tauranacs’ Ralt Jap through Parramatta Park, Sydney on 28 January 1952. You can see the energy being expended by the drivers in getting everything from the two, dissimilar cars. (Unattributed)

He adapted to the car quickly and well having progressed from a low powered road going TC to one of the fastest cars in the country in less than 3 years, his money allowed it but he still had to extract all the car had to offer. Which he did from the start.

He next raced the car at the Ballarat Airstrip in rural Victoria, winning both the Victoria and Ballarat Trophies from Lex Davisons Alfa P3.

Maybach Rob Roy

Maybach 1 at rest. Rob Roy Hillclimb early 50’s. (unattributed)

As Stan became used to the car he became quicker and quicker, it was a considerable step up for him in terms of the performance of his preceding cars, he was the favourite to win the AGP at Bathurst in 1952, but excessive tyre wear resulted in a victory for Whitefords’ Lago, Stan finishing second having stopped 6 times to replace rear tyres, the 6 ply touring tyres used on the 16 inch wheels, running hotter than 4 ply racing tyres.

The racing Pirellis on order had failed to arrive on time, it’s interesting to reflect on ‘supply-lines’ in those far off days between Australia and Europe.

Stan Jones Bathurst 1951

Maybach at Bathurst, October 1951, exiting Hell Corner and heading up Mountain Straight (Malcolm Preston)

The car won three Victorian Trophy’s, the big race on the Victorian calendar, all at Fishermans Bend, another airfield circuit in Melbournes’ inner West. The first was in 1952 the car beating Whiteford with specially made 4 ply tyres for Maybach.

In 1952 stan also raced a newly acquired Cooper Mk 4 Jap 1100, successful on both the circuits and the hills.

On New Years weekend 1953 the new Port Wakefield circuit opened with Jones taking another win, he had been unbeaten in all but a couple of minor handicap races since the ’52 AGP, the sensation of the weekend the blowout of a tyre on Davisons Alfa and multiple roll over.

He was a lucky boy as only a week later Davo, Jones and Tony Gaze set off to Europe to compete in the 1953 Monte Carlo Rally. The racers were competitive, finishing 64th, at one stage having been in the top 10 amongst much faster cars in a field of 440 far more experienced teams in a Repco prepared Holden FX or ’48-215′.

Graham Howard describes this as ‘one of the great feats of Australian motoring, this trio clean-sheeted from Glasgow to Monaco and then finished 64th after minimal reconnaissance, in the final elimination, with Jones working stopwatches while sitting sideways across the front bench seat so he could use his feet to brace Davison behind the wheel’.

Stan Jones Monte Carlo Rally 1953

Jones/Davison/Gaze Holden FX,somewhere in Europe…Monte Carlo Rally 1953 (unattributed)

Stan lead the 1953 AGP at Albert Park… its inaugural meeting, by lap ten he was ahead of Whiteford by thirty seconds, by lap fourteen he and Whiteford had lapped the field, indicative of both their pace and dearth of outright contenders in Australian racing at the time.

The Maybach needed fuel and a replacement water pump drive belt. Jones then had to vacate the cockpit when he was splashed by methanol. Sluiced with water he rejoined the race, only for clutch failure to end a brave run, Doug Whiteford won in his Lago Talbot.

Some compensation for Jones was fastest lap at 2 mins 03 seconds, an average of 91.46MPH, imagine that Victorians who can remember the ‘circuit’ in its pre-modern era format?

image

L>R front row: Davison HWM Jag, Jones Maybach, Whiteford Lago Talbot, start of the 1953 AGP at Albert Park, its first meeting. Cec Warren #6 Maser 4CLT, Frank Kleinig #7 Kleinig Hudson, W Hayes #10 Ford V8 Spl and a smoking Ted Gray #11 Alta Ford V8. (Peter D’Abbs)

Stan Jones AGP 1953 Albert Park Maybach 2

Profile of Maybach 2 during the ’53 race (unattributed)

New Zealand Grand Prix Victory 1954…

rebuild

The tension on the faces of his team is palpable as Jones fires up the engine after the monumental job in rebuilding it onernight. 10.30AM Sunday January 9 1954, Shorter Bros workshop in Auckland. Team is Don Busche, Dean in tie!, Bib Stillwell and Jack Joyce (Malcolm Preston)

Stan was said to be hard on his cars, but he also had poor luck, but everything finally came together for Jones and Maybach with a win in the first NZGP at Ardmore in 1954.

He beat a class field which included Ken Wharton in the BRM P15 V16, Peter Whitehead Ferrari 125, Horace Gould and Jack Brabham in Cooper Bristols and Lex Davison and Tony Gaze, both driving HWM’s.

It was a triumph over adversity as the car threw a rod in practice punching a sizable hole in the crankcase and damaging a cylinder bore. Dean ‘phoned Australia for spares which could not be delivered in time. Undeterred, the team; Dean, Otto Stone, Jack Joyce, Bib Stillwell and Don Busch scoured town, patched the crankcase and machined both a GMC rod whose weight was carefully matched to the originals, and a new cylinder liner.

The engine was running by 10.30AM on Sunday morning. Stan catching some ‘beauty sleep’ to be raceready, the races duration 2 hours and 45 minutes, the patched Maybach and Jones doing justice to the ingenuity and resilience of their small team.

stan nz

The spoils of victory for Jones, winner of the 1954 NZGP. Close up shot showing the quality of fabrication and build of the car . ‘Maybach 1’ in its ultimate form (KE Niven & Co)

Maybach 2…

stan 4

Stan, Maybach 2 and Charlie Dean, venue unrecorded, but early 1954. Big drums by Patons Brakes a Repco Subsidiary, big ‘Lago’ SU’s, exhaust not fitted in this shot (Unattributed)

When they returned from NZ the team began work on a new monoposto, the chassis similar in layout to Maybach 1 but adapted for the narrower and lower body.

The rear axle was of ‘speedway type’ which allowed a lower propshaft and easier change of gear ratios. Monroe Wylie tubular shocks were fitted at rear. Front suspension used Chev upper control arms. The new rear axle was attached to quarter elliptic springs but with revised control arms and a Panhard rod. Les Tepper built the chassis, Brian Burnett and Bob Baker the body.

Great attention was paid to reducing weight, aluminium was used for the body, the cars’ weight reduced from 19.5 to 16Cwt.

The engine was rebuilt with a capacity increase to 4250cc by increasing the bore to 91mm. Power was 257bhp @ 5200rpm and torque 288lb ft @ 3000rpm. The compression ratio was 11:1 and the 110 octane fuel was an intoxicating brew of 60% methanol, 20% benzol and 20% av gas. The fuel tank fabricated by Burnett held 25 gallons.

The same brakes were used with the addition of air scoops to the front backing plates and a dual master cylinder supplied by Patons Brakes.

Peugeot rack and pinion steering replaced the earlier Jeep cam and roller setup.

The first race for Maybach 2 was the Victorian Trophy at Fishermans Bend in March 1954. Jones won the race lapping the entire field with Brabhams’ Cooper T23 Bristol 3 miles behind!

stan 2

Jones victorious Maybach 2 in the Victorian Trophy at Fishermans Bend, an airfield circuit in Melbournes’ inner industrial west. March 1954. (VHRR Archive)

Further preparation for the AGP was the ‘Bathurst 100’ at Easter, 18000 spectators attended the event, one of the ‘most successful meetings ever stage at the circuit’ according to ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’. Jones won a preliminary race on Saturday but broke the gearbox in a handicap event late in the day. W Clark’s HRG won the handicap ‘100’ from Brabhams Cooper Bristol and Stan. Jones won a 3 lap scratch race in the morning, the Maybach was timed at 132.6 mph over the flying quarter-mile. Not a bad reward for the mechanic who drove back to Melbourne overnight to collect a spare ‘box!

Maybach 2 was also raced at Altona twice and again at Fishermans Bend in October in the lead up to the AGP, achieving success in the first of the 2 Altona meetings in May. He lost to Brabhams’ Cooper T23 Bristol in the handicap at Altona in June and had gearbox failure at Fishermans Bend in October.

Demonstrating his versatility as a driver, Stan competed in the 1954 Redex Round Australia Trial in the Repco ‘prepped Holden FJ navigated by CAMS co-founder Don Thomson, finishing equal fifth.

He also continued to compete in the Cooper with at least 3 wins on the circuits and again success in the hills, including lowering the Rob Roy record which had stood for 3 years.

1954 AGP…

Stan Jones Maybach 3, AGP Southport 1954

Stan Jones drives Maybach 2 onto the main straight at Southport 1954 AGP, early in the race. A road course and a very rough one at that. These now well paved roads can still be driven. (Malcolm Preston)

The 1954 AGP was held on public roads at Southport on the Gold Coast not far from Surfers Paradise.

The roads were bumpy, were recently sealed, having loose gravel shoulders some humps and two defined ‘no-passing’! sections. The crcuit was 5.7 miles long with a race distance of 155 miles or 27 laps. It promised to be a tough event.

Jones lead from the start, initially from Davisons HWM Jag and Brabhams Cooper , Malcolm Preston in his fantastic book ‘From Maybach to Holden’ records ‘…Jones was reportedly maintaining a furious pace and consistently lifting all four wheels off the ground over one of the humps…On lap 14, whilst negotiating the S bends the Maybach ran onto the gravel. As Jones endeavoured to steer the car back onto the road it spun and careered backwards into the roadside trees at an estimated 100mph…passing between 2 large trees, one tree caught the side of the engine, ripping the carburettors and front suspension from the car, whilst the body containing Jones continued a little further on its side . Jones emerged uninjured from the wreckage apart from a small cut on his lip’.

Their are mixed accounts as to the cause of the accident, those sympathetic to Repco suggest that failure of a front suspension frame weld did not occur and that Stan made a driving error. Graham Howard in his book, ‘The History of The Australian Grand Prix’ concludes, drawing on contemporary sources, that a weld failure caused the accident.

Brian Burnett who built the chassis at Repco ‘explained that the two main chassis rails, of 4 inch 16g chrome molybdenum alloy steel , passed through holes in the diaphragm-type front crossmember and were completely electrically welded into position. These welds crystallised and cracked, and in the course of the Grand Prix one chassis tube eventually broke away and touched the ground. It was a problem as simple, as enormous, as unfamiliarity with new materials and techniques’ Howards book says.

Jones was tight lipped at the time, and it was a gentler age when journalism did not go hard at a large corporate such as Repco. From Stans’ perspective it made no sense to bite the hand which fed him and be forthcoming in a manner damaging to Repco.

The race continued and was won by Davisons’ HWM, the first of his four AGP wins, from Curly Brydon and Ken Richardson in MG Spl and Ford V8 Spl respectively.

Brian Burnett, Maybachs’ body builder, Preston records, told Jones at the team de-brief at the Chevron Hotel that ‘he had driven too fast and recklessly’, Jones responded by flooring him with one punch! Out of character for a bloke who was generally the life of the party and a favourite with the ‘babes’, but perhaps reflecting Jones view that the destroyed car was not his fault.

Jones was awarded the ‘Australian Driver of The Year’ in 1954 for his NZGP, Victoria Trophy, Bathurst 100 and Victorian Hillclimb Championship title wins.

prang

Maybach 2 on the trailer for the trip back to Melbourne. Car was destroyed by the voyage backwards through the Southport trees at high speed Main frame members clear, front suspension torn from the car. Mechanical failure or driver error? (‘History of  The AGP’ G Howard)

Maybach 3…

Shortly after returning from Southport Charlie Dean hired Phil Irving, already a famous engineer for his work on Vincent motorcycles and later the designer of the Repco ‘RB620 Series’ V8 which won Jack Brabhams 1966 World Drivers/Manufacturers Championships.

Whilst Maybach 3 was being built Stan bought Jack Brabhams ‘Redex Special’ Cooper T23 Bristol when Jack left for the UK, his businesses continuing to prosper and funding some wonderful cars.

superior cars

At Fishermans Bend in February he qualified the Cooper on pole but finished third behind Davisons’ HWM and Hunts’ Maserati. He ran the car again in the Argus Trophy at Albert Park in March finishing second to Hunts’ Maser and Whitefords’ Lago.

He also raced the Cooper 1100 and a Cooper T38 Jaguar in sports car events, winning in the latter at Fishermans Bend in February and also racing it on the hills.

Jones Cooper Jag

Jones added a Cooper T38 Jag to his stable winning in it on both the circuits and in hillclimbs. (motorsportarchive.com)

Early in 1955 construction of the new Maybach commenced, to lower the bodywork the engine was canted at 60 degrees, offsetting the engine and driveshaft to the right, allowing a driving position left of centre.New rear axle housings and steel gearbox housings were built to Irvings’ designs.

The remaining stock of 110mm stroke cranks were cracked, so a 100 mm one was used, with a 90mm bore the engines capacity was 3800cc. The special SU carbs could not be readily replaced so 6 Stromberg side draft carbs were used, the engine developing 240bhp @ 5000rpm.

A similar suspension layout to Maybach 2 was used. Brakes were made from flat plate steel rolled into circles and then welded at the ends, the drums were machined internally and externally for attachment to the hubs. Brian Burnett again built the body which was inspired by the contemporary Merceds Benz W196 GP car.

The car was finished in April 1955 and entered for the ‘Bathurst 100′ at Easter.It was timed at 145mph but had severe handling problems causing a spectacular spin, and finishing second to Hunts’ Maserati A6GCM. The car also had a severe flat spot and was not run in the ‘100’, Stan winning the Group B Scratch race in his Cooper 1100.

It was found that the front cross member was flexing under braking affecting the steering. Irving rectified the flatspot by devising a fuel injection system using the Stromberg throttle bodies, part throttle flow regulated by a Lucas ignition distributor with fuel delivered by an aircraft fuel pump, when dynoed the engine produced 250bhp.

Dean tested the car at Templestowe Hillclimb and Jones won the A.M.R.C Trophy at Altona, Melbourne in May from Ern Seeligers’ Cooper Bristol.

Jones raced the Cooper Bristol at Mount Druitt in Sydney in August, losing a wheel in practice but winning the preliminary race only to have the cars chassis snap in the 50 mile main race, fortunately bringing it to a halt without hurting himself.

1955 Australian Grand Prix, Port Wakefield, South Australia…

AGP 1955 Port Wakefield

Start of the race with Hunts Maser A6GCM and Stan in Maybach 3 alongside, front row. Jack Brabham and Doug Whiteford on the second row in Cooper T40 Bristol ‘Bobtail’ and Lago-Talbot (Malcolm Preston)

The car was fully rebuilt prior to the October 10 race and run in a preliminary event at Fishermans Bend the week before, Jones second to Hunt but happy with the cars performance.

Jack Brabham was racing a Cooper Bristol T40 he built himself and hitherto fairly unreliable, won the race from Hunt, who had lead in his Maser A6GCM before breaking a rocker and Jones whose clutch failed. Doug Whiteford was third in his Lago.

gnoo-blas-stan-jones-website

Stan competing at Gnoo Blas, Orange in the ‘South Pacific Championship’. Maybach DNF with a broken conrod in the race won by Hunt’s Maser 250F from the Brabham and Neal Cooper Bristols. (Gnoo Blas Classic Car Club)

Maybach was next raced at Gnoo Blas, Orange, in January 1956 in the South Pacific Road Racing Championship meeting. Hunt took the lead by a small margin, Jones second having lapped the field, Brabham a distant third. On lap 23 the Maybach broke a conrod, locking the wheels the car spinning down the road. Hunt won from Brabham.

Upon examination the block and crank were badly damaged, there were little of Deans’ original cache of spares left and in any event the more modern cars from Europe, readily available at a price meant it was increasingly difficult to develop the Maybach to the required levels of competitiveness.

After all those years Dean and Stan decided the cars ‘elite’ racing days were over.

Maserati 250F…

caversham 2

Stan Jones applying some gentle correction to his Maserati 250F ‘2520’ , AGP Caversham WA 1957 (David Van Dal)

Maybach 3 was never really competitive and Reg Hunt ‘upped the local ante’ when he imported an ex-works Maserati A6GCM in late 1954. Lex Davison followed suit with his ex Ascari/Gaze Ferrari Tipo 500/625 3 litre, Stan having the resources, invested 10000 pounds to acquire a Maserati 250F, chassis #2520 and spare 3 litre 300S engine.

Stan despatched Charlie to Modena to do the deal, ‘2520’ was built in late 1955 to ’56 spec and used by Frolian Gonzalez and Pablo Gulle in the 1956 Argentinian and Buenos Aires GP’s respectively, (DNF and 8th) before being shipped to Melbourne arriving on the ‘SS Neptunia’ on April 22 1956.

In a 1981 issue of ‘MotorSport’ magazine Alan Jones describes his joy in ‘unwrapping the car’ at Port Melbourne but also his disappointment as a 9 year old that the car was a Maserati, real Italian racing cars being Ferrari’s…

In any event Stan had the ‘ducks guts’, the most competitive customer Grand Prix car of the period, a tool with which he would demonstate his mastery over the following three years.

Australian Grand Prix , Albert Park 1956…

Jones raced the car for the first time at Port Wakefield, coming second in the wet to Stillwells’ D Type in the ‘SA Trophy’. He raced the car again in September at Bathurst winning both the 3 lap curtain raiser and ‘NSW Road Racing Championship’ later in the day setting a lap record in the process.

Stan Jones & Owen Baileys cars AGP 1956

Jones’ 250F in the foreground and Owen Baileys’ ex-Whiteford/Chiron 6 plug Lago-Talbot @ rear of the Albert Park Paddock, AGP 1956. Young mechanic in the brown overalls is noted Australian engineer/fettler Ian Tate ( Rob Bailey Collection)

Melbourne hosted the Olympic Games in 1956, the AGP at Albert Park that November is still regarded as one of the greatest ever, certainly the best to that point in the races long history. Its the event which changed the face of motorsport in Australia, such was the calibre and competitiveness of the entry and scale of the event.

The meeting was a ‘double-header’ featuring the ‘Australian Tourist Trophy’ for Sports cars on the first weekend and the AGP the following one, with support races of course, the AGP still famous for those!

The overseas entry was headed by the factory Maserati team which brought 5 cars, 3 250F’s and 2 300S sports cars for Stirling Moss and Jean Behra. They based themselves at the Esplanade Hotel nearby in St Kilda, (still there, the ‘Espy’a great pub and band venue) the cars themselves housed in Maserati driver and local Holden dealer Reg Hunts’ premises in Elsternwick, also close to the circuit.

Moss Maser AGP 1956

Moss heads out to practice the spare 250F…3 chassis came to Oz, 2 of the latest spec cars with offset driveline, lower seating position and revised bodywork, and this earlier car. Hunt tested it in practice and Brabham was entered to race it but ran his Cooper T39 Climax instead.(unattributed)

So close that the 300S were driven to and from the track, adding to the cosmopolitan atmosphere. The large local Italian community, many of whom migrated post-war turned out in force to support the red cars.

Other Maserati 250F’s were entered by Ken Wharton, Stan and Reg Hunt with Kevin Neal in Hunts’ old A6GCM. Ferraris were entered for Peter Whitehead and Reg Parnell, 555 Super Squalos’ with 860 Monza 3.5 litre 4 cylinder engines.

The strong field would test the local talent who were in cars in more or less equal performance to the vistors; Jones and Hunt in their 250F’s, Davison in his venerable 3 litre Ferrari Tipo 500. By that stage Whitefords Lago was long in the tooth, but he ran his 12 plug 26C as did Owen Bailey in Dougs’ old, successful car.

Behra and Moss AGP 1956

Jean Behra, Stirling Moss and cuppa tea! Albert Park pits AGP 1956 (unattributed)

Moss disappeared into the distance from Behra with local interest the battle of the ‘Melbourne drivers’ Jones, Hunt and Davison. Moss initially lead Behra, Whitehead, Parnell, Davison, Hunt, Neal and Jones. Baileys’ half shaft failed on the line. Jones was fast early, passing Hunt with Wharton, Parnell and Davison dropping back.

Rain started to fall with the Jones/ Hunt dice continuing until Jones eased with smoke coming from under the Masers long bonnet, post race this was found to be a broken crankcase breather pipe leaking onto the exhaust. Rain started to fall heavily with 10 laps to go Neal crashing the A6GCM into a tree breaking both of his legs and the those of the official he collected in the process. Moss won by nearly a lap from Behra, Whitehead, Hunt, Jones, Parnell and Davison.

The duel between Hunt and Jones was the first and last in similar cars, Hunt shortly thereafter retiring from racing, neither Stillwell or Glass as competitive in the car subsequently.

Jones continued to also compete in Rallies finishing second in the ‘Experts Trial’ and getting hopelessly bogged in the wastes of North Queensland in the ‘Mobilgas Trial’ co-driven by Lou Molina, legendary Melbourne racer, restauranteur and raconteur.

Jones and Hunt AGP 1956

Jones and Hunt during their spirited early AGP race 250F dice. Such a shame Hunt retired shortly thereafter, the battles between Jones, Hunt, Davison and Ted Gray in the Tornado Chev would have been megga. The other ‘maybe’ would have been Doug Whiteford in an ex-factory 250F rather than the ex-factory 300S he bought from the Maserati Team immediately after the meeting…Bob Jane bought the other 300S and sadly all 3 250F’s left the country. (unattributed)

1957 Australian Gold Star Series…

Stan shipped the Maser to NZ for the Grand Prix at Ardmore in January hoping to repeat his earlier success, the race included internationals Reg Parnell, Peter Whitehead and Jack Brabham, Stan qualified well and in a tough 240 mile race of 3 hours 7 minutes !, finished third in a typically gritty drive from Parnell and Whitehead both in Ferrari Super Squalo 555’s fitted with 3.5 litre ‘Monza’ engines. Stans 250F, 2.5 litres.

Bib Stillwell raced the ex-Hunt 250F, Reg having retired and depriving the sport of more Hunt/Davison/Jones battles.

The Maserati also gave Stan a lot of unreliability grief, his fortunes in it changing when Otto Stone took over its preaparation after the 1957 AGP held in searing 104 degree heat at Caversham in WA.

Jones was initially awarded victory after a stunning drive, on a lap count back, 2 days later, Davison got the win albeit with Bill Patterson as his co-driver, tough-nut Stan driving the distance on his own…Alec Mildren also thought he (Mildren) had won the race.

caversham

Stan Jones in practice , AGP Caversham WA 1957. Superb David Van Dal shot…makes the car look very long and low. Maserati 250F. Davisons year 1957, winning the AGP, Gold Star and Victorian Trophy in his Ferrari Tipo 500 (David Van Dal)

Lex Davison won five rounds of the championship that year winning the Gold Star from Tom Hawkes Cooper T23 Holden and Stan. Jones only Gold Star win for the year was in Queensland winning the ‘Lowood Trophy’ in August. At Bathurst a UJ broke, at Lowood a spur gear, at Bathurst the clutch failed.

Stan entered the Maser in the Victorian Trophy meetings, over two consecutive weekends in March, winning a preliminary event from the Davison Ferrari 500/625 and Brabhams’ F2 Cooper T41 Climax, but his engine let go in a big way in the 100 mile ‘Trophy’ race whilst chasing and catching Davison in the lead. A conrod broke carving the block in half after setting fastest race lap on this ‘big balls’ circuit.

Davison won from Brabham and Hawkes.

Stans businesses continued to expand, he was awarded a Holden franchise, ‘Stan Jones Motors’ was located at 408 Victoria Street, Richmond/Abbotsford. Many of his fellow ‘elite racers’ were also motor-traders including Bib Stillwell, Lex Davison, Bill Patterson, Alec Mildren, Arnold Glass, Stan Coffey and Reg Hunt.

Stan Jones 'Victorian Trophy' Albert Park 1957

Wet practice session for the Maser, ‘Victorian Trophy’ at Albert Park in March 1957. (Rodway Wolfe Collection)

AGP pit entry

Australian Gold Star Champion 1958…

Stan won at the Victorian Tourist Trophy Meeting at Fishermas Bend in February 1958 from Arnold Glass in a Ferrari Super Squalo and Doug Whiteford in an ex-works Maserati 300S sports car acquired from the Maserati team after the ’56 AGP.

In a consistent year with the now well prepared and reliable Maser Stan also won the final round of the championship, the Phillip Island Trophy race, and scored second places at Gnoo-Blas, (Orange NSW), Longford and Lowood, Queensland and won the title from Alec Mildren and Len Lukey in Coopers T43 Climax and T23 Bristol respectively.

Jones and Gray AGP 1958

Jones leads Ted Gray across the top of Mount Panorama, AGP 1958. Maser 250F from Tornado Chev. (Alan Stewart Collection)

Davo took the AGP at Bathurst in October 1958 in a thriller of a race, Jones lead for the first 17 laps with Davo in close company until the Masers’ clutch failed, and several laps later the engine. Ern Seeliger finished second in Maybach 4 (see below for specifications) with Tom Hawkes third in his Cooper T23 Bristol

AGP Bathurst 1958

Start of the ’58 GPs’ preliminary race: Ted Grays’ Tornado from Davison # 12 Ferrari Tipo 500/625 and Stan. (Bernie Rubens)

In a year of relative consistency Stan amassed enough points to win CAMS coveted ‘Gold Star’ for Australias’ Champion driver.

It was a fitting reward for one who had contributed so much to the sport and been a drawcard from the moment he stepped into Maybach 1.

agp 1958

Grid of the 1958 AGP Mount Panorama, Bathurst. Front row L>R Davison #12 Ferrari Tipo 500/625, Tom Clark Ferrari 555 Super Squalo, Ted Gray blue Tornado, row 2 L>R, Alec Mildren Cooper T43 Climax, Merv Neil Cooper T45 Climax and Curley Brydon Ferrari Chev, Tornado red clad crew well to the fore. (David Van Dal)

Jones AGP 1958

Jones, Hell Corner Bathurst AGP 1958, this shot taken from the inside of the corner the following one from the outside. These shots show the truly challenging nature of the place in the 50’s in 250bhp plus GP cars…(Ed Holly Collection)

Jones Maserati Bathurst 1958

Jones wheels his 250F into Hell Corner Bathurst 1958 AGP (Bernie Rubens)

The Australian Grand Prix win he had strived for for so long… was finally his with a win on the power circuit of Longford in Tasmania 1959.

Stans 250F was at its peak, lovingly and skilfully prepared by Otto Stone, Stan beat Len Lukeys’ Cooper T43 Climax at just the right moment…

The day of the front engined GP car was over in Australia, a bit later than in Europe. Stan was fortunate their were no 2.5 litre Coventry Climax engined Coopers in Australia at that stage, Lukeys’ little 2 litre did not quite have the ‘mumbo’ to do the job on Longfords long straights, but if anyone deserved some luck Stan certainly did!

Stan Jones AGP Longford 1959

Stan being pushed to the start in front of Arnold Glass in the ex Hunt/Stillwell 250F. Otto Stone beside Stan, fair haired Sawyer pushing Masers’ pert rear…(Walkem Family/Ellis French)

Jones lead from the start followed by Lukey and Whiteford, Whitefords Maser 300S did not survive the landing off the railway line spraying copious amounts of oil over Lukey.

Start, Longford AGP 1959

Ellis French shot as the flag has dropped catches all the ‘fun of the fair’ of country Tasmania in much simpler times…Jones from Lukey, Glass and Whiteford in the 300S. Blue colored sports car at rear is Ron Phillips’ Cooper T38 Jag…F Libre event (Ellis French)

The lap record was taken by Jones, Lukey and Glass. Lukey lead for 6 laps, Jones regained the lead , tapping Lukeys’ Cooper past the Prince of Wales Hotel. Glass made a bid for the lead, getting right up to Jones, but had to use the escape road at Mountford Corner, his brakes locking. He recovered, joining the circuit still in third in front of Mildrens’ Cooper.

Jones worked his away back to the front again, and built a small lead over Lukey, winning by 2.2 seconds from Lukey, Glass 2.5 minutes behind them and Mildren 39 seconds behind Glass.

Ted Grays’ Tornado, the other outright contender had troubles in the qualifying heats and ran a bearing in the fabulous Lou Abrahams built Australian Specials, Chev V8 on lap 4.

Jones jumping at Longford 1959

Amazing shot of Jones and Lukey ‘yumping’ their cars over the railway line towards Tannery Corner on the outskirts of Longford township (Charles Rice)

stan and len

Stan Jones and Len Lukey in their epic 1959 AGP Longford dice, the cars touched here on lap 9 (oldracephotos-ed steet)

Stan contested the Gold Star Series again in 1959 winning at Port Wakefield in Maybach 4, the car, still owned by Jones, was modified by Stans friend Ern Seeliger by fitment of a Chev Corvette 4.3 litre V8, de Dion rear suspension, a 30 gallon fuel tank and less weight.

The dry sumped Chev was fitted with 2 four barrel Carter carbs and developed 274bhp at 6000rpm and 300ft.lbs of torque.

The last victory for the car was that race at Port Wakefield, in March, in back to back wins with his AGP triumph.

port w

Stan in Maybach 4 Chev alongside Alec Mildrens’ Cooper T43 Climax. Stan won the Gold Star round at Port Wakefield in March 1959, mixing drives in the Maser and Maybach that year . Relative size of the ‘old and new’ apparent, Mildrens Cooper tiny in comparison! (Kaydee)

The 1959 Gold Star Series was very long at 12 rounds Len Lukey winning it in Coopers T23 and T43 Climax from Alec Mildren in Coopers T43 and T45 Climax and Stan.

stan and al 1959

Alan and Stan Jones, Phillip Island circa 1959. Car is Maybach 4 Chev, still owned by Stan but modified by fitment of the Corvette V8, fettled and mainly raced by Jones’ mate Ern Seeliger. PI track surface not quite what it is today…(Fan.one)

Coopers…

The Maser was advertised for sale at 4500 pounds (selling some years later for circa 2000 pounds) , Maybach 4 pressed into service at the AGP held in 1960 at Lowood, Queensland in June. The Chev engine failed after four laps, Alec Mildren taking a fanastic win by less than a second after a race long dice with Lex Davisons’ Aston DBR4/300.

Mildrens’ car was a clever combination of Cooper T51 chassis and Maserati 250S engine taken out to 2.9 litres, deservedly, he finally won the Gold Star that year, and then retired, forming a race team and over the following decade putting far more back into the sport than he ever took.

The mid engined way forward was clear, Stans new Cooper T51 2.2 Climax arrived in time for the NZ Grand Prix at Ardmore in early January 1960. Stans’ practice times were fifth quickest of a grid which included Stirling Moss, David Piper, Denny Hulme and Len Lukey all driving Coopers.

Jones finished fourth behind Brabham and McLaren in works Cooper T51 and T45 Climax 2.5’s, and Stillwell, like Stan in a new Cooper T51 but 2.2 Climax engined

Stan contested the ‘Craven A International’ at Bathurst in October 1960. He retired the car in a lap one accident, the race won by Jack Brabham, also Cooper T51 mounted.

Bathurst International 1960

Merv Bunyan photo

Bathurst Gold Star 1960

50000 people turned up to see Jack Brabham win the ‘Craven A International’ at Bathurst in 1960. Front row L>R Jones, Mildren, Brabham. The red car on row 2 is Stillwell, the yellow behind Austin Miller, the white behind him Patterson..all in Cooper T51 Climax’. The Glass 250F is clear, third row outside. (Australian Motor Racing Museum)

Grand Prix Racing changed from a 2.5 to 1.5 litre Formula in 1961 but many internationals contested our summer races…bringing 2.5 litre ex-GP cars, the ‘Tasman Series’ still 3 years away. Stirling Moss, Innes Ireland, Dan Gurney, Graham Hill, Ron Flockhart as well as our Jack raced in Australia that summer.

Stan missed the opening Gold Star round at Warwick Farm but was the fastest of the locals, making a particularly big impact on Dan Gurney at the ‘Victorian Trophy’ meeting held at Ballarat Airfield in mid February.

He was fourth, bested only by Gurney and Hill in their BRM P48’s and Ron Flockharts’ Cooper T51 Climax 2.5. Jones lead home the locals Stillwell, Mildren, Glass and Miller all in Cooper T51’s.

The oldracingcars.com commentary of the ’61 season asserts that Jones was the quickest of the Australians at the start of ’61 but only won later in the year at Lakeside in July.

coopers

Stan in his Cooper T51 Climax alongside Bib Stillwell in Aston DBR4/300. Stans’ BRDC badge proudly displayed on the Coopers side. Longford practice, March 1961 (Ron Lambert Collection)

At the ‘Longford Trophy’ in March he had a DNF on lap 4, the race won by Roy Salvadoris’ Cooper T51 Climax. At the ‘Queensland Centenary Road Racing Championships’ at Lowood in June he finished 3rd behind Bill Patterson and Mildren, both Cooper T51 mounted.

In April he contested the ‘Craven A Gold Star’ event at Bathurst finishing 2nd to Pattersons winning Cooper T51, Pattos’ Cooper and the 4 behind Jones 2.3 Climax all 2.5 litres in capacity or bigger.

But for Stan difficult times had begun…In 1961 their was credit squeeze in Australia as the Menzies Governement tightened monetary policy to control inflation with the usual brutally fast consequences of an instant drop in consumer demand. Cars included.

Sales on Jones’ multiple sites dropped and continued to decrease as consumers kept their wallets in their pockets or could not obtain consumer credit, nowhere near as sophisticated or as common as it is today. Superior Motors was sold in 1960.

If you were highly geared, as Stans businesses were, you were in trouble, his assets were progressively sold as his cashflow could not keep up with creditors demands.

Stan initially raced on and won the ‘Lakeside Libre Race’ in the Cooper in July, ahead of Arnold Glass’ Cooper T51 Maser and the Lotus 18 Ford FJ of Bruce Coventry.

He didn’t start the 1961 AGP at Mallala, South Australia, the race won by Lex Davison in a Cooper borrowed from Bib Stillwell, David Mckay was penalised for a jumped start and lost a race many believe he should have won, Davos’ AGP luck legendary!

The Gold Star was won by Patterson from Davison, Jones equal third with Bib Stillwell despite not competing at most rounds and having his mind on much bigger issues, his financial survival.

That unfortunately was the end of Jones’ racing career, he simply no longer had the financial means to compete, the fastest Australian at the start of 1961 was effectively retired twelve months later.

Stan Jones, Calder 1962

Stan Jones, John Sawyer and Otto Stone with the Cooper, Calder 1962. A drive of the car at this stage was no doubt some relief from the financial issues Jones was dealing with. (autopics)

Jones retained the Cooper, racing it at local Calder, Victoria, events several times into 1962. Whilst for sale, the 250F had not sold, Stan ran the car in an historic demonstration event at Sandown in November 1963, which seems to have been his last competition outing. By 1965 the car was sold and running in historic events in the UK.

Stan was ‘ a player’, his marriage to Alma ended in divorce, Stan gaining custody of Alan and moving to The Boulevard in Ivanhoe, a more salubrious address than Yongala Street, Balwyn. By the mid-sixties all of Stans businesses had been sold and he was struggling to find an income, all of this tumultuous for Alan, by then in his late teens.

Stan Maybach early 60's

Stan and Jack McDonald in Maybach 1, mid 60’s in the Calder or Sandown paddocks. Fit and well at this point pre-strokes. (Graham Thompson Collection)

Jones suffered two debilitating strokes in the mid-sixties. Alan, after an initial trip in 1967 moved to the UK to pursue a racing career in 1969, Stan moved there to live with Alan and Beverley, AJ’s first wife.

He died in a London hospital in March 1973 just short of his 50th birthday. He was a shadow of his former self but a family friend who visited the Jones’ in London spoke on the ‘blogosphere’ of Stan using two walking sticks but still looking dapper and smart.

Sad as this was, he would have been proud of Alan as 1973 was his breakthrough year in the UK. He had been competing in F3 for several years, winning a lot of races in a GRD 373 in 1973 and finally broke free of F3, getting his first F1 drive in the Harry Stiller owned Hesketh in 1975…

Champion Racers both, Stan and Alan…and in elite company with Antonio and Alberto Ascari.

cooper bathurst

Stan Jones Cooper T51 Climax Bathurst Gold Star , March 1961 (John Ellacott)

Where Does Stan Jones rate in the Pantheon of Local Australian drivers of The Period?…

It is much harder to rate the drivers of the period as they raced mainly cars of different performance. It isn’t like today when drivers come through controlled junior formulae and into controlled senior formulae including F1! Telemetry and the like making the job of picking who is fastest easier.

The competitor set includes Doug Whiteford, Lex Davison, Jack Brabham, (whom i have excluded from this analysis given he went overseas) Reg Hunt, Ted Gray, Alec Mildren and Len Lukey. Guys like Bib Stillwell peaked later and David Mckay wasn’t in single seaters until the very end of Stans’ career so lets say that is the ‘elite group’, based either on results or speed. (Ted Gray an example of the latter)

Whilst their is some chatter about the merits of Jones on the ‘blogosphere’ of more relevance are contemporary reports of those there in the day and assessing the drivers of the day in the context of the day.

‘Australian Motorsport Yearbook 1958/9’  refers to Jones ‘two most important overseas appearances have done more to put Australia on the map than many other drivers’. His ‘finest achievement must still be driving an Australian Special against International drivers in works cars in the first NZ International GP.’ ‘On the results of these experiences (the other being the Monte Carlo Rally) Jones should then have spent one season overseas; his potential as a racing driver, was superior, at the time to Jack Brabham’.

This did not happen primarily due to his family and business commitments so ‘..it is therfore not surprising that when he has recently driven against overseas drivers, he has been unable to match their skill…’

‘It has been suggested Stan is a car killer. This is not true. Jones is the first to admit that when he began motor racing he had little knowledge of what went on under the bonnet, but on the credit side he has the ability to give the mechanics details of incorrect symptoms…’

‘It must be admitted Jones is a hard driver…This determination to win has been one of the most important factors contributing to Jones’ success…his record shows he has rarely been unplaced when completing a race.’

‘Jones has been a complete all rounder…He is not temperamental and like many similar drivers his easy friendliness off the track is only matched by his determination once a race has started.’

Stans adaptability is mentioned above, that was not unique at the time as circuit events were not as common as now so drivers with the means had to be prepared to travel interstate and to do trials, rallies and hillclimbs to get their ‘racing fix’.

Jones had the financial means to race, but so too did the ‘competitor set’ above, all sucessful businessmen/racers with the wherewithal to match their skill.

As the oldracingcars.com analysis earlier states, Stan was the quickest local driver in 1961…Dan Gurney stating after racing against him at Ballarat Airfield, ‘wow he is some driver that Stan Jones’. He successfully made the change from front to mid-engined cars, he was as adept in his Cooper Climax as Maybach 4, both entirely different beasts raced successfully in the same year.

Ray Bell, noted Australian motor racing journalist and ‘Racing Car News’ contributor talks about Jones on ‘The Nostalgia Forum’ as ‘..the dominant figure of his day. He probably won the 1957 AGP at Caversham denied by poor lapcharting by the organisers. He stood out amongst drivers of the fifties, Brabham shot off to the UK to really make an impact’. ‘At Albert Park in 1956 only two drivers took Golf Links Bend flat, Moss and Jones’

Was he our fastest of the period? Probably.

Its a pity Whiteford bought a 300S rather than a 250F from the visiting Maser factory team post the ’56 Albert Park GP, equally its a shame Hunt retired…those battles would have been interesting and perhaps conclusive.

Was he the best in the period? Possibly.

Perhaps mechanical sympathy, important at the time a slight negative.

With Davison the other ‘best’ contender and an honorable mention to Hunt who really wasn’t around long enough in outright cars to call it, he definitely had a car advantage when the A6GCM arrived, raising the bar and forcing others to buy ‘Red Cars’.

The final word to John Medley another racer/enthusiast of the period also on ‘TNForum’. He said of Stan, ‘He was an impressive operator, a determined and at times exuberant driver and usually with good equipment. Alan Jones was not the only goer in the Jones family. Stan was a serious goer full of fire and brimstone.’

Jones Maybach 4

Jones returns to the pits, final victory in Maybach 4 Chev, Port Wakefield, SA Gold Star round March 1959. (Kevin Drage)

 


 

Etcetera…

Charlie Dean…

Charlie Dean c 1972

Repco PR shot of Charlie Dean circa 1972 (Malcolm Preston)

The importance of the Research & Development ‘Skunkworks’ Dean created at Repco post-war is important to recognise.

Its existence and focus on development by racing attracted an incredible number of talented engineers who graduated from the ‘Repco University’ and achieved much within Repco or more often outside it.

Repco engineering alumnus include Ivan Tighe, Paul England, Peter Holinger, Nigel Tait, Michael Gasking, George Wade, Don Halpin, Frank Duggan, John Brookfield, John Judd, John Mepstead, David Nash, Ian Stockings, Ken Syme, Brian and Norm Wilson and many others. Phil Irving is not on this list as he was already of world renown when he joined Repco.

This unit within the company lead to the Coventry Climax FPF maintenance program in the early ’60’s, this and the capabilities of the engineers made possible taking on the Jack Brabham request to design and build the 1966/7 World Championship winning ‘RB620 and 740’ Series of engines, a program supported and sponsored by Dean, by that time a Repco Board member.

Board membership was a considerable achievement in Deans career as Repco were for many years an Australian Stock Exchange Top 200 company. Even though by then he wore a suit, by thought, word and deed he was a ‘racer’ to his core and a fine engineer to boot.

As a Repco Director he retired compulsorily at 60 in 1973, then doing a variety of engineering projects, and some property refurbishment work. He died suddenly in 1984 after suffering a fatal blood clot following surgery after a fall moving a concrete slab at his home.

To my knowledge his story has not been fully told but it is well covered in Malcolm Prestons’ great book referred to in the bibliography.

c dean maybach 194 geo thomas

Charlie Dean, Maybach 1, Rob Roy 1948. (George Thomas)

Etcetera…

Gaze, Davison and Jones Monaco

Tony Gaze, Lex Davison and Stan Jones with their Holden, Monaco quayside, Monte Carlo Rally 1953 (unattributed)

1958 AGP Bathurst

1958 AGP, Mount Panorama, Bathurst…Stan in his 250F from Ted Grays Tornado Chev and Davison in the Ferrari 500/625, first lap. Hell Corner from the inside, beginning the run up the mountain…(Peter Wherrett Collection)

Bibliography…

Barry Green ‘Glory Days’, Malcolm Preston ‘Maybach to Holden’, Graham Howard ‘History of The Australian Grand Prix’, ‘Australian Motorsport Yearbook 1958/9’, ‘The Nostalgia Forum’

Photo Credits…

David Van Dal, John Ellacott, Ron Lambert, oldracephotos.com, Rodway Wolfe Collection, Merv Bunyan Collection, Bernie Rubens, John Ellacott, Charles Rice, Ellis French, B Dunstan, Ed Steet, Walkem Family, KE Niven & Co, Peter Wherrett Collection, Australian Motor Racing Museum, Rob Bailey Collection, Kevin Drage, Dacre Stubbs Collection, motorsportarchive.com, Graham Thompson Collection, Ray Eldershaw Collection, Alan Stewart Collection, Ed Holly Collection, fan.one, George Thomas, VHRR Archive

Finito…