Posts Tagged ‘Alec Mildren’

Front wishbone and lever arm shock and lower transverse leaf spring. Chev Corvette 283 cid V8 topped by 2 Carter 4 barrel carbs, note how the engine and drivetrain are offset to the right with the driver sitting nice and low to the left rather than above the prop-shaft. Bob Burnett built this body as he did the other Maybachs. Handsome brute (Q Miles)

Stan Jones, Maybach 4 Chev in the Lowood, Queensland paddock, June 1959…

I love Quentin Miles wonderful clear period photo of the fun of the fair and especially the business end of the last car built in the most famous range of Australian Specials- not that the ‘Special’ descriptor does justice to the quality of the design and construction of the Maybachs under Charlie Dean’s leadership at Repco Research in Sydney Road, Brunswick, in Melbourne’s inner north.

In essence my article about Stan Jones is also a piece about Maybach- it together with the 1954 Southport Australian Grand Prix feature provide plenty of background on the cars and their progressive evolution from Maybach 1- the 1954 NZ GP winner, the shortlived Maybach 2 which should have won the ’54 AGP but instead died a violent death during that race, and the replacement Mercedes Benz W154 inspired Maybach 3- the final iteration of the Maybach 6-cylinder engined machines. Maybach 3 became Maybach 4 when Ern Seeliger skilfully re-engineered aspects of the car to accept the new, lightish Chev, 283 cid ‘small-block’, cast-iron, pushrod OHV V8. Click here for Stan and Maybach;

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

and here for the ’54 AGP;

https://primotipo.com/2018/03/01/1954-australian-grand-prix-southport-qld/

Jones’ forceful speed and the ongoing evolution of the Maybachs kept the cars at the forefront of Australian single-seater racing into 1955 but game-changers were the arrival of modern ‘red cars’- Lex Davison’s acquisition of Tony Gaze’ Ferrari 500/625, Reg Hunt’s Maser 250F powered A6GCM and his subsequent 250F to name two.

Stan gave up the unequal struggle and acquired a 250F, ultimately doing very well with it- winning the ’58 Gold Star and the ’59 AGP at Longford, thank goodness he finally won the race in which he had deserved to triumph for the best part of a decade.

Even though the Maser was his front line tool he was not averse to giving Maybach a gallop, as here on the Queensland airfield circuit.

Jones at speed on the Lowood airfield circuit, Maybach 4 Chev, June 1959 (Q Miles)

As Stanley focussed on the Maserati, Maybach 3 languished in a corner of Ern Seeliger’s workshop in Baker Street, Richmond. Ern was a successful racer, engineer/preparer and a close friend of Jones. With a view to selling it Stan handed Seeliger the car telling him to ‘do what he liked with it’.

The essential elements of Maybach 3 were a chassis built up from two 4 inch diameter steel tubes, the Maybach 3.8 litre, 260 bhp, SOHC 6 cylinder engine fitted with a Charlie Dean/Phil Irving designed and carefully cobbled together fuel injection system, the engine laid down at an angle of about 60 degrees to the left to lower the bonnet line, like the W196- the car was also styled along the lines of that Benz. The cars front suspension comprised upper wishbones and a lower transverse leaf spring and at the rear utilised quarter elliptic leaf springs and radius rods. Brakes were PBR drums and the gearbox a 4 speed manual.

Towards the end of its life the limiting factor of Maybach 3’s performance was the end of Charlie Dean’s supply of Maybach engines, no more power could be squeezed from them- and there were none left in any event!

In addition there were now plenty of competitive well sorted cars. The only locally built racer capable of running with Hunt, Davison and Jones was the Lou Abrahams owned and built, Ted Gray driven Tornado Ford V8- and from late September 1957, Tornado Chev V8. There is little doubt that Ern looked long and hard at a machine that was prepared only 1.5 Km from his own ‘shop for inspiration. Click here for the Tornado story;

https://primotipo.com/2015/11/27/the-longford-trophy-1958-the-tornados-ted-gray/

Pretty soon a 283 Chev was on its way to Australia, Seeliger modified the 4.6 litre V8 by fitment of two Carter 4-barrel carbs, the cylinder heads and valve gear were ported, polished and lightened, with the oilways modified and the unit dry-sumped. The motor produced about 274 bhp @ 6000 rpm and had a truckload of torque- around 300 lb feet of it at 3500 rpm. Ern and his band of merry men did not just plonk the engine into the space formerly occupied by the German straight-six however.

Seeliger thoroughly overhauled the machine, lengthening the chassis to accept the de Dion rear end he designed to better put the cars power and torque to the road. The W196 was of course fitted with such a setup. A transverse leaf spring was installed instead of the quarter elliptics and an anti-roll bar used at the front incorporating brake torque rods. The rear track was widened by an inch and a larger 30 gallon fuel tank fitted to feed the thirsty Chevy.

Seeliger designed and built a multi-plate clutch which used the existing Maybach 4 speed ‘box and diff albeit modified with shortened axles and cv joints to mate with the de Dion tube.

Stan Jones and Alec Mildren at Port Wakefield in 1959. Maybach 4 Chev and Cooper T45 Climax (K Drage)

Ern made the cars debut in this form at Fishermans Bend in March 1958, his bid for victory came to an end with stripped tyres- the car was quick right out of the box, Seeliger a mighty fine design and development engineer.

Whilst a very good driver he was not in Stan’s league- Jones was stiff not to win the ’58 AGP at Bathurst aboard his 250F- as was Ted Gray unlucky to dip out in Tornado 2 Chev, but Seeliger finished 2nd in the Maybach with Lex Davison, always a lucky AGP competitor, the winner. Be in no doubt my friends Maybach 4 Chev in Jones hands was a winning car- had he felt so inclined in 1958 but he was busy winning the Gold Star aboard the 250F in any event.

Into 1959 Maybach 4 was still competitive in Ern’s hands, and Stanley took a win in the Gold Star, South Australian Trophy event at Port Wakefield in late March and 3rd place in the Lowood Trophy race as pictured in this article behind the Cooper Climaxes of Alec Mildren and Bill Patterson. Before too long Stan would show his speed in a Cooper T51.

The reign of the ‘Red Cars’ was quickly coming to an end In Australia but lets never forget the dark blue Tornado 2 and silver/blue Maybach 4- Chev V8 engined locally engineered devices very much as quick as the more sophisticated, twin-cam, exotic, expensive factory cars from Italy’s north…

Photos/References…

Quentin Miles, Australian Motor Sports Review 1959 & 1960

Tailpiece: Winners are Grinners: Stan, Maybach 4, Port Wakefield 1959…

(K Drage)

Finito…

 

stan jones

(Pat Smith/oldracephotos.com)

Stan muscling his big Maserati 250F around Longford in 1959 en-route to his one and only Australian Grand Prix win…

The win was timely, he was monstered all the way by Len Lukey’s Cooper T43 2 litre, the way of the future of course. ‘Twas the last AGP win for a front engined car, mind you Lex Davison came within metres of winning in an Aston Martin DBR4 at Lowood, Queensland in 1960.

Stan’s was a well deserved victory, he and his team lead by Otto Stone had a car which was consistently and reliably fast. Perhaps his driving now had a more measured approach to match the fire and pace which was never in doubt.

The Stan Jones story is an interesting one, click here to read it;

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

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Jones at the wheel of his Maser, 1956 AGP Albert Park. Lovely portrait of the guy and looking quite the pro driver he was! (unattributed)

Jones gave his Gold Star defence a red hot go in 1959 having won the title in 1958, he raced four cars in his quest.

He didn’t race in the season opening event in Orange, NSW. Jack Brabham won in a Cooper T51, but he wheeled out his Maybach for Fishermans Bend’s ‘Victoria Trophy’ on 22 February. He finished second t0 Alec Mildren’s Cooper T43.

Stan hadn’t raced the Maybach for years but had retained it. His friend and fellow racer Ern Seeliger evolved the car by replacing the Maybach engines which had been at the core of Maybach’s 1-3 with a Chev Corvette 283cid V8. The car also had a De Dion rear end and other clever modifications.

He swapped back into the Maser, winning the AGP at Longford on 2 March.

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Stan in the big, now blue Maybach 4 Chev beside Alec Mildren’s Cooper T43 Climax at fairly desolate Port Wakefield, SA, March 1959. (Kevin Drage)

He switched back to the Maybach for the ‘SA Trophy’ at ‘Port Wakefield’ on March 28, winning the race. Crazily, the next round of the title was at Bathurst on 30 March, two days later. Very hard for contestants to make that trip from SA to Central NSW now, let alone with the road system of 1959!

Stan flew to Bathurst to drive the Maser. Whilst he won his heat he had engine dramas in the final and failed to finish, victory was taken by Kiwi Ross Jensen in another Maserati 250F.

He used the Maybach again at Lowood on June 14, he was third, then swapped back to the Maser for the next round, again at Lowood on 30 August, hitting a strawbale and failed to finish.

The reasons for the choice of car at each meeting would be interesting to know but are probably a function of vehicle availability and suitability. Which was the primary and which the secondary factor meeting to meeting no doubt varies…

‘Mid-engined inevitability’ was clear though despite none of the Australian Cooper exponents being able to secure a full 2.5 litre FPF Coventry Climax engine…yet. The ‘mechanical mice’ as Lex Davison christened the Coopers were only going to get quicker.

Whilst his fellow competitors were back at Port Wakefield for the 12 October meeting Stan was doing a deal with Bib Stillwell to buy his Cooper T51 2.2 FPF, chassis ‘F2-20-59’, the first of several T51’s Stan raced.

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Stan Jones, Cooper T51 Climax, Caversham, WA October 24 1959. (Dave Sullivan Album)

He soon got the hang of the car, after all he had been an ‘air-cooled’ Cooper exponent earlier in the decade, finishing second to Len Lukey’s Cooper at Caversham, WA.

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The Jones #3 Cooper T51 beside Len Lukey’s earlier model T43, Caversham August 1959. Lukey the Gold Star winner in 1959 driving both Cooper T43 and T23 Bristol. (Dave Sullivan Album)

The final rounds of Australia’s longest ever Gold Star series were Phillip Island’s ‘Westernport Cup’ and ‘Phillip Island Trophy’ races on 22 November and 13 December respectively.

Jones brought his ‘roster of cars’ to four for the year when he drove Ern Tadgell’s Sabakat (Lotus 12 Climax) after damaging his Cooper in a collision with Lukey. The Cooper was too badly damaged to start, as was Lukey’s but Stan, very sportingly was lent the Sabakat by Tadgell.

Lukey won the 1959 title from Alec Mildren by 2 points with Jones a distant third. Mildren’s time would come in 1960 with fabulous AGP and Gold Star wins in a new Cooper T51 Maserati he and his team built over the summer.

Sadly it was the ‘last full-blown’ Gold Star campaign for Jones, economic pressures from 1960 on meant he did a few title rounds but was not a serious title contender, although still a tough competitor in any individual race he entered.

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Stan settles into his Cooper T51 at Caversham. (Dave Sullivan Album)

Photo Credits…

Pat Smith/Oldracephotos;  http://www.oldracephotos.com/content/home/

Dave Sullivan Album, Kevin Drage

Tailpiece…

equipe stan

Equipe Jones at Albert Park during the 1956 AGP won by Moss’ 250F. International truck and the ‘Rice Trailer’, was the ‘ducks guts’, still a few of these around and highly prized (unattributed)

Finito…

 

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Jack Brabham dipping under brakes as he approaches ‘Pub Corner’ in his Cooper T51 Climax on the first lap of the ‘Longford Trophy’ in  March 1960, wonderful Ellis French shot…

Jack returned to our Australian summer as the reigning World Champion, he didn’t disappoint the Tasmanian crowd winning the race from the similar MkIV T51’s of Alec Mildren and Bib Stillwell.

In those pre-Tasman 2.5 litre Formula days Australian National F1 was run to Formula Libre rules, by 1960 Coopers of various models and capacities were the dominant marque. There were still sports cars amongst the single-seaters though including Doug Whiteford’s ex-works Maserati 300S, sold to Doug after the 1956 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park when five Masers made the long trip south to Australia.

The Australian Motor Sports Annual Review 1960/61 has a report of the 1960 Longford Trophy and notes with superb understatement that ‘Possibly no circuit in Australia offers so many scenic attractions and quite so large a variety of racing hazards as that at Longford in Northern Tasmania.’

 The article continues ‘Although racing has been carried out at Longford for several years, it was only the selection of the circuit for a Gold Star race in 1958 that Longord became known to Australians outside Tasmania…One of the advantages Longford holds over any other mainland circuit is full government and community support. Unlike other states where motor racing is viewed with concern for safety or as a niose disturbing nuisance and a Sabbath breaker, Tasmania views motor racing as a vital tourist attraction and as such, gives it the fullest support’.

 Improvements to the track since the 1959 meeting resulted in a faster, more even surface with a softened approach to the railway crossing in Longford township.

Longford 1960 grid shot

John Ellacott shot of the front 2 rows gridded up: Brabham #4, Stillwell #6, Miller in yellow, all Cooper T51 Climaxes, and Arnold Glass in the Maserati 250F…evocative!

The main event of the 1960 meeting was the Australian Tourist Trophy whivh was won by Derek Jolly’s ex-works Lotus 15 Climax FPF 2 litre. Jack Brabham was secured by the organisers, the just crowned World Champion bringing the Cooper T51 Climax FPF 2.5 with which he had won the NZ GP at Ardmore in January for the Longford Trophy Formula Libre event.

 Jack’s practice time of 2:38 was a second clear of Bib Stillwell’s 2.2 litre T51. A welcome addition to the grid was Alec Mildren’s new Cooper T51 Maserati, the frame of the car was adapted by Mildren and mechanic Glenn Abbey to fit a 4 cylinder DOHC Maser 250S sportscar engine running on methanol. The soon to be 1960 Australian Gold Star champion did 2:46.

Longford Trophy 1960 start

Stillwell gets the jump off the line, Glass at rear, Brabham on this side (John Ellacott)

Stillwell got the jump from the start and lead for the first three-quarters of a lap before Brabham passed him in his more powerful Cooper.

On lap 3 Jack did a 2:34, an average of 105.19 mph, on the following lap Jack recorded a top speed on the Flying Eighth Mile of 157.9 mph. Brabham reduced his pace and led comfortably from Stillwell, Mildren and Arnold Glass’s ex-Hunt/Stillwell Maserati 250F.

The punch of Mildrens Maserati engine was demonstrated when he sailed past Stillwell’s Coventry Climax engined T51 on the Flying Mile. At about the same time Bill Patterson’s 2 litre T51 passed Glass with Jon Leighton’s Cooper T45 Climax being challenged by Glynn Scott’s similar ex-Mildren machine, both of these cars were powered by 2 litre Climaxes.

 Towards the end of the 17 lap 45 minute 40 second race Brabham allowed Mildren to close up to within 100 yards of his car. Magneto failure spoiling Patterson’s good run in his 2 litre T51.

 Brabham won from Mildren, Stillwell, Glass, Leighton and Scott, the Glass Maserati the only interloper amongst the dominant mid-engined Coopers.

Brabham Cooper T51 Longford 1960

Brabham in his Cooper T51 Climax at Longford in 1960. I think the gent in braces at the rear is Jacks’ father, this chassis 1 of 2 he used in his successful 1959 GP season (oldracephotos)

Allen Browns’ wonderful archive ‘oldracingcars.com’ states that the car Jack drove at Longford was probably the first of two cars he used in his succcessful 1959 F1 season, chassis ‘F2-4-59’. He drove it in the early part of the year, it then became a spare when ’27-59′ appeared at Zandvoort.

When Jack’s Australian season ended the car was sold to Bib Stillwell who then had two T51’s to choose from, his Gold Star campaigns had started to become more serious and ultimately were very successful.

Brabham returned to Europe to successfully defend his world title, the domestic Gold Star series was won in 1960 by Mildren in his new, locally adapted Maserati 250S, 2.5 litre DOHC engined Cooper T51.

Longford scene 1960

Kevin Drages’ panoramic view of part of the Longford paddock in March 1960, looking across to Mountford corner with the Pit Straight on the right. Cars are green Derek Jollys’ Lotus XV Climax and the ‘Kenley Vincent Spl’.

Etcetera…

Brabham Longford media interview 1960

‘Modern media scrum’, Jack tells the press how it was post race. JB’s British Racing Drivers Club badge proudly worn on his overalls. Car is a Humber ‘Super Snipe’, in those days British prestige cars were very popular in Australia, the Germans steadily whittling them back by the early 70’s…(Kevin Drage)

Bill Patterson Cooper T51 Longford 1960

Bill Pattersons’ Coopers T51 x 2… Patterson went on to win the Gold Star in 1961, retired from driving but supported others for decades via his Ringwood, Melbourne, Holden Dealership. (Ellis French)

Jack Brabham and BIb Stillwell, Longford 1960

Jack Brabham and Bib Stillwell swapping Cooper set-up notes…or Bib is buying Jacks car!? Stillwell was a good Brabham customer over the years acquiring many Coopers including the car Jack drove at Longford that weekend and, later Brabham’s. Both men very successful drivers and businessmen (Kevin Drage)

Bib Stillwell Cooper T51 Climax Longford paddock 1960

Bib Stillwells’ Climax engine being fettled in the Longford paddock. Cooper T51 (Ellis French)

Jack Brabham Cooper T51 Climax on the approach to Pub Corner Longford 1960

Tailpiece: Lets finish on the same note as we started, an Ellis French shot of Brabham, this time ‘panned’ into the braking area on the entry to ‘Pub Corner’, Longford 1960…

For international readers Tasmania is a wonderful place to visit. The scenery is stunning on all of its coasts, the mountains in the middle worth climbing, the ‘Overland Trail’ in the Cradle Mountain- Lake St Clair National Park worth walking. Hobart is a centre of culture and ‘Foodie Stuff’ is worth a stop for ‘Mona’ alone, a gallery of contemporary art…and you can still see a lot of the Longford circuit including the ‘Country Club Hotel’ with heaps of racing memorabilia.

Photo & Reference Credits…

Ellis French, John Ellacott, oldracephotos.com, Kevin Drage, ‘Australian Motor Sports Annual 1960/61’

oldracingcars.com

Finito…

bartlett

Mildren ‘LHD’ GTA, Kevin Bartlett, Lakeside, Queensland 1966 (John Stanley)

Kevin Bartlett explores and exploits the laws of physics in the Alec Mildren Racing Alfa Romeo GTA , Lakeside, Queensland, Australia, circa 1966…

Some years later American F5000 driver, Sam Posey competing in the Tasman Series and observing KB’s Lola  at close quarters described Bartlett as the ‘master of opposite lock’.

It was an aspect of his driving which worked for him and we spectators throughout his career regardless of car he drove ; sedans, sports cars or single seaters.

Alec Mildren Racing and Kevin Bartlett…

mildren 2

Team Mildren Warwick Farm 1966, not 1967 i think…Big Professional Team 60’s Style! Cars are Mildren LHD GTA, TZ2 and  the Brabham BT2/6 Ford raced by Bartlett at that stage. WF Tasman Meeting 13 February 1966. (Allegerita)

AMR were one of Australia’s first professional teams, the basis of the team formed around a nucleus of talented people who fettled Alec Mildrens cars during his own single seater campaigns, he won the Australian Gold Star Championship and Australian Grand Prix in a Cooper Maserati in 1960.

Shortly thereafter Mildren retired from driving to concentrate on his business interests which primarily involved the retail car trade, he was the first dealer of Alfa Romeos in New South Wales, and his race team which employed great drivers including Frank Gardner, Kevin Bartlett and Max Stewart.

Mildrens’ passion was single-seaters but the team also raced Alfas, notably 2 GTA’s, TZ2 and later ‘105 Series’ Coupes of various capacities in ‘Series Production’ events as those grew in stature in the late 1960’s.

team mildren

Alec Mildren Racing and the laid back nature of the Tasman series circa 1967…Bartlett is sitting on the wheel of his Brabham BT11A Climax 2.5 Tasman car, the Alfa is the prototype TZ2 referred to in the B &W shot above. The smiley chap at right rear is a young Fred Gibson, then racing a Lotus Elan 26R. Circuit is Warwick Farm, New South Wales. (Peter Windsor)

Kevin Bartlett started racing in his mothers Morris Minor and very quickly the young mechanic made a name for himself as a fast driver with strong mechnical knowledge and sympathy.

By 1965 he was driving an Elfin Imp FJ owned by the McGuire family and an Austin Healey Sprite and TVR for others. He recalls that ‘Alec and Glenn Abbey (Mildrens Engineer/Mechanic) were always on the lookout for talent, Ralph Sach and Charles Smith who drove for them at the time were getting older and i performed well against them in cars with much less capacity. They also took into account that i could drive different types of cars and do as well as i could’.

‘ I got to race the Alfas’ and then the little Brabham BT2/6 which was powered by a pushrod Ford engine and in mid 1965 the Mildren Maserati, which was the first really powerful car i drove, racing it at Lowood and then winning the 1965 Victorian Sportscar Championship in it at Sandown’.

The Mildren Maserati was a car bulit by Bob Britton of Rennmax Engineering, essentially a Lotus 19 clone using some of the running gear from Alec Mildrens 1960 Gold Star Championship winning Cooper T51 Maserati, particularly the gearbox and 2.9 litre 250S Maser engine.

KB made his presence felt in that race beating Bib Stillwells’ Cooper Monaco Buick V8 and Spencer Martins’ ‘Scuderia Veloce’ Ferrari 250LM amongst others. He had well and truly ‘arrived’.

Mildren GTA’s…

There were two, first a LHD and later a RHD car, Bartlett drove both in their competitive ‘heyday’ and both ended up racing in WA…

viaduct

Bartlett in ‘LHD’ entering the Viaduct at Longford and leading Allan Moffats’ Lotus Cortina, 1966. (Ellis French)

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Bartlett at it again…Leger Corner , Warwick Farm 1966 ‘RHD’ Mildren GTA (autopics)

Autodelta…

autodelta works

The Autodelta factory, Milan circa 1967, car is a GTA ‘Stradale’ or road spec GTA. (Pinterest)

The original ‘step front’ Alfa Giulia Sprint GT was penned by Giorgetto Giugiaro at Bertone and has to be one of the most beautifully balanced, delicate designs of the 60’s.

Autodelta was the factory Alfa racing subsidiary, formed by famed ex-Ferrari engineer, Carlo Chiti and Ludovico Chizzola in 1963 after the closure of ATS, the Grand Prix team formed by ex-Ferrari staff after a purge by the Commendatore in 1961.

In 1964 Alfa acquired Autodelta and moved it to Milan, near its HQ.

The Giulia sedan was race developed and did well, in Australia winning the Sandown 6 Hour in 1964, but it was too heavy against the Lotus Cortinas so development started on the Giulia Sprint GT in 1964.

The GTA was built to compete in Sedan racing globally, ‘Group 2’ under FIA rules, which boomed in the 60’s. On 18 February 1965 the first Giulia Sprint GTA was unveiled at the Autosalon in Amsterdam.

It was followed by the GTA Junior 1300 in 1968 and later the 1750/2000 GTAm.

GTA 1600 Tipo ‘105.32’ Specifications…

The car featured lightweight bodies, utilising ‘Peraluman 25’ a light alloy comprising aluminium, magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc. The superstructure remained steel, including the sill panels. The roof, bonnet, boot lid, rear inner support panel and spare wheel well, dash, parcel shelf support panels and rear seat support were all made from the material.

Lightening continued with minimal sound deadening, Perspex side and rear windows on Corsa (race) cars, the GTA lost 205kg compared to the Giulia Sprint GT for a total of 820kg.

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Interior of Australian owned GTA ‘Stradale’

Alfa had to build 1000 cars to qualify for the FIA’s Group 2 Touring Car regulations, the Stradale (road) version helped, being built on Alfas normal, Arese production line. Race prepared cars were taken after completion at Arese, to Autodelta, exact specifications of each car built to the order of customers.

The cars engine was a twin-plug highly tuned version of Alfas famous DOHC engine. The head was ported and polished, higher compression pistons, high lift cams, lightened flywheel were fitted and all reciprocating parts were balanced,  increasing power to in excess of 175BHP. An oil cooler and deeper sump aided reliability.

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The engine/bay of the ‘RHD Mildren GTA’ as restored. Philip Island 2013. (Flickr)

A limited slip diff and ‘sliding block’ rear axle locating system was fitted. The standard 5 speed gearbox had a greater range of ratio choices, similarly the diff ratio was ‘to choice’ from homologated alternatives.

Front suspension was modified with adjustable top arms to allow negative camber to drivers choice.

The cars were immediately and immensely successful winning the first round of the European Touring Car Challenge in March 1966. Andrea De Adamich winning the Division 2 Drivers Title and Alfa the European Manufacturers title. In the US Jochen Rindt won the SCCA Trans American Sedan Championship race at Sebring, many championships throughout the world followed.

The GTAm won Alfa’s last championship for the ‘105’, the ETCC Manufacturers Championship in 1971, the cars competitive for a long time with ongoing development.

Arnaldo Tonti, Autodela mechanic attributed the success of the car in ‘Octane’ magazine to ‘… a perfect balance between a very good chassis, with a very low centre of gravity, and a very strong, powerful and reliable engine. The Autodelta sliding block for the rear suspension was a work of art lowering the car and making it quicker and more stable through the corners and giving its characteristic raised front wheel. The engines were capable of 6800/7000 RPM…’

In Australia Mildrens’ LHD car Landed in Mid 1965…

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Bruce Wells shot of Kevin Bartlett at Warwick Farm in 1966, in LHD Mildren GTA

The car was raced in the Sandown 6 Hour race in November 1965 by Alfa factory driver Roberto Businello and Ralph Sach, Businello testing the car at Balacco before it was shipped to Australia. It was a ‘trick’ GTA, very light having an aluminium floor which relatively few had.

It lead the race until lap 99, victory going to Bartlett and Gardner in the Mildren Giulia Super Ti which was also victorious the year before.

Businello Sandown 1965

Businello in the GTA, Sandown 6 Hour 1965 (cooper997collection)

Gardner and Bartlett then raced the car in supporting events during the 1966 Tasman Series, Gardner winning outright at Warwick Farm and Sandown and Bartlett first in class at Longford.

‘It was a pleasant car to drive, KB recalled recently. We ran the car at Bathurst, had a win there against Bob Janes’ Mustang on that power circuit. I preferred the LHD car (to the RHD car) as it had the right-hand change which was what i was most familiar with given the sports-car and single-seaters i was racing.

Their was not much difference in the performance of the two cars, although the LHD was a semi-works spec car.

We could knock off the big cars at Warwick Farm but it was much harder at Sandown and the like’.

‘The under 1600cc closest competitors to the GTA were the Mini Coopers who were giving away capacity to us, they were great handling and very quick with the right guys such as Brian Foley and Peter Manton at the wheel’.

‘The LHD was sold as it was getting a little long in the tooth in terms of miles, Alec sold it to a guy named Stephenson in WA’.

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Kevin Bartlett coming off Long Bridge, Tasman meeting, Longford, Tasmania in early 1966 (Ellis French)

Used mainly in State level events the car also contested the Australian Touring Car Championship in 1966, in those days a one race championship. In 1966 the event was held at the Easter Bathurst meeting Bartlett doing well to finish third to the big V8’s of Pete Geoghegan and Norm Beechey in Ford Mustang and Chevy Nova respectively.

The race was run over 20 laps or 75 miles of Mount Panorama, what the GTA lacked in top speed up and down the mountain was largely made up across the top and under brakes.

KB was victorious at Warwick Farm in May and that month also won the Queensland Production Touring Car Cahmpionship at Surfers Paradise. He also took a race win at Lowood, Queensland in June before  the car was sold to Frank Cecchele, a Perth Alfa dealer and raced for him by Gordon Stephenson. It was rolled at Caversham in 1967.

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Wonderful, evocative Caversham shot by Paul Boxsell in 1968. Stephenson in the ‘LHD Mildren GTA’, gridding up with Kitz Kohout and Jeff Dunkerton in Porsche 911S and Mini Cooper S respectively, the rest of the field moving forward out of shot. This was the last year for Caversham. (Paul Boxsell)

‘LHD’ competed regularly in WA state events and the annual 6 Hour race held at Caversham ; ’67 DNF Stephenson, ’68 DNF Stephenson, and at Wanneroo Park ’69 DNF Stephenson/ Cooper,  ’70 7th Ricciardello/Zampatti, ’71 DNF and finally in 1972 4 th outright and 1st in the ‘1600’ class for Ricciardello/Cooper.

The car was all but destroyed at Mt Brown Hillclimb and from the remains Ricciardello built a V8 engined Sports sedan, initially Ford 302 and later Chev 350 powered, Cooper buying the ‘RHD Mildren Alfa’, which he later owned in partnership with Ricciardello.

Current ownership is unknown.

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‘LHD’ , 1966 at Mount Brown Hillclimb out of York where it was in later years all but written off, this was the end of the car in its original form (Allegerita)

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LHD at Caversham in 1967 when raced by Gordon Stephenson (Allegerita)

The Mildren RHD GTA, Chassis # 752 561…

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Brian Foleys’ Cooper S chasing Frank Gardners’ new ‘RHD Mildren GTA’ at Warwick Farm in early 1967…Foley acquired the car 6 years later. This shot a wonderful example of oversteer and understeer respectively! (Bruce Wells)

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RHD in the Surfers Paradise 12 Hours 1967. DNF, KB driving with Doug Chivas, KB has passed the Munyard/Crawford/Calvert Holden FJ!, at rear the winning Scuderia Veloce Ferrari 250LM of Bill Brown/Greg Cusack approaches (Ray Bell)

The LHD chassis number is lost in the mists of time…RHD was built in July 1965 and first raced by Gardner at Warwick Farm in December 1966. He then raced the car in numerous supporting events for the 1967 Tasman Series, winning at Warwick Farm and Longford. Bartlett then took the car over and had wins at Bathurst and Surfers Paradise.

Bartlett again contested the one race 1967 ATCC, that year held at Lakeside, another power circuit, and whilst Pete Geoghegans Mustang won again, this time second and third places were secured by the Cooper S’ of Brian Foley and Peter Manton.

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Bartlett fourth in the 1967 ATCC held at Lakeside, Pete Geoghegan victorious in the one race event (Graham Howard History of the ATCC)

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‘Racing Car News’ Ad for the sale of the RHD GTA, March 1968 edition. The Brabham Intercontinental is a Brabham BT11A Climax…prices are right! (Racing Car News)

The car was sold to John French in Queensland in 1968 who raced the car and continued to develop it until bought by Brian Foley in 1972.

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Mildren RHD GTA further developed by John French in terms of wheel/tyres, roll bar, and engine (Unattributed)

Foley had raced an Alfa GTAm in 1971 in the ATCC , and in 1972 as a Sports Sedan, converted from LHD to RHD and fitted with an Alfa Tipo 33 2.5 litre V8, rather than the 2 litre, twin plug DOHC 4 cylinder engine of this factory GTAm.

The T33 V8 was from Mildrens Brabham and Mildren ‘Yellow Submarine’ single seaters raced by Gardner and Bartlett. I will write about the GTAm separately.

The GTAm was a ‘pork-chop’ compared with the GTA, as it lacked the earlier cars aluminium panels, it was around 200 Kg heavier.

Foley, a Sydney Alfa dealer reasoned a more competitive mount for 1973 would be a lightened and modified GTA , so off to Bowin Designs the car went for major surgery by John Joyce to its suspension, structure, brakes, engine mounting etc. When completed, the car powered by a 16 valve 2 litre Alfa engine developing 225BHP, weighed 636Kg.

See the Bowin Website for ‘P9’ the Foley GTA Project…

http://www.bowincars.org/mediawiki-1.6.12/index.php?title=%28P9%29

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Brian Foley in the RHD Mildren GTA now further developed and lightened by Bowin Designs and raced as a Sports Sedan in 1973. Its very easy to confuse this car with Foleys GTAm which raced in the same livery, and was converted from LHD to RHD when converted to Tipo 33 2.5 V8 in 1973…(autopics)

The car was fast, but V8’s were coming into the category in increasing numbers, so after a prang at Oran Park in late 1973 the car was sold to Peter Brown in Canberra. Foley essentially retired from racing after a fine career.

Brown, an Alfa racer from way back fitted a Mazda Rotary engine then sold the car to Neville Cooper in Western Australia, where all exotic Alfas’ seem to end up! The ‘LHD Mildren GTA’ having been damaged too much in race accidents to continue with it. A Ford V8 was fitted, the car was then sold to Peter Gillon who raced it for two years before being acquired by Ricciardello and Cooper in Partnership.

It was raced very successfully including a win by Cooper in the 1979 Wanneroo 300Km race, the car was always competitive in WA Sports Sedan competition during this period.

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Ultimately the much raced GTA was acquired by a Sydney enthusiast who had owned GTA’s before and was aware of the cars provenance, a long restoration followed, the car is now a regular entry in Historic events across Australia.

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For the Sake of Completeness…

It appears there were two other GTA’s which raced in Australia ‘in period’.

The ‘MW Motors GTA’ was raced by Syd Fisher and Frank Porter for MW who were the Victorian Alfa Distributor, sold to Mario Marasco, who raced the car as a Sports sedan and wrote it off at Hume Weir. It is presumed lost.

The ‘Gulson LHD GTA’ was restored from a ‘fire wreck’ in Western Australia.

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Frank Porter driving the MW Motors GTA at Sandown, Melbourne for a successful challenge on a 12 hour national record attempt in 1968 (Allegerita)

 


 

Etcetera…

 

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Copy of the first page of the long homologation papers for the GTA (Allegerita)

cutaway

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Autodelta factory 1965, GTA’s and a Giulia Super Ti on ‘the line’.Completed cars were delivered from Alfa’s Arese production line and then modified to customer order. (Pinterest)

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Alfas’ test track Balacco, circa 1966. TZ2’s and GTA’s, drivers unknown…(Pinterest)

Etcetera ‘LHD’…

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Roberto Businello in Pit Straight Sandown Park November 1965. The car lead the Sandown 6 Hour for 2.5 hours, retiring at 99 laps (Allegerita)

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The start at Longford 1966. Pete Geoghegan Mustang, Bartlett in ‘LHD’ and Allan Moffat in the Lotus Cortina (Ellis French)

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‘LHD’ at Caversham, WA 1967 (Allegerita)

Etcetera ‘RHD’…

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Kevin Bartlett in ‘RHD’ , Warwick Farm 1966 (Roderick MacKenzie)

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‘RHD’ in Mildren ownership, the old Sandown Paddock circa 1967 (Flickr)

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John French to a large extent made his name in ‘RHD’, here at Lakeside early in his ownership in 1968 (Unattributed)

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John French in ‘RHD’ , Lakeside 1970, sandwiched by two Torana GTR XU1′ s, Dick Johnson in his formative Holden days! on the nearside. (Alfa Bulletin Board)

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Brian Foley in ‘RHD’, Oran Park 1973. This is post Bowin modifications, car has later single headlight ‘1.6 Junior’ front clip rather than early ‘Stepfront’. Very easy to confuse the car with the ex-Foley GTAm which by this stage was in Perth…(Dale Harvey)

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‘RHD’ in Neville Coopers hands, WA. (Wells/Neville Cooper)

 

autodelta lolgo

Special thanks…Kevin Bartlett

For his recollections of the two cars

Sources and Photo Credits…

The Nostalgia Forum, Alfa Bulletin Board, John Stanley, autopics, Bruce Wells Collection, The Roaring Season, Howard/Wilson ‘History of The ATCC’, peterwindsor.com, Paul Boxsell, Roderick MacKenzie, Neville Cooper Collection, Yen Yoshikawa cutaway, Dale Harvey, Ellis French, Ray Bell, ‘Allegerita’ by Tony Adriaensens

The End…