Posts Tagged ‘Austin 1800’

(Eldougo)

Peter Manton, Austin 1800 tow car and his ‘Improved Production Touring’ Cooper S, perhaps at Surfers Paradise in 1970…

Manton is long way from home, the Gold Coast is 1720 kilometres from Melbourne, the Mini aces home base. That cut down Austin 1800 is a really nice rig but I don’t fancy towing that Mini with that car, even if it has a couple of SU’s bolted to the side of the ‘B Series’ head. It lacks the ‘mumbo’ needed for such long tows across our big, brown, parched continent. Nice thing to ponce around Surfers Paradise in mind you.

By 1970 Peter was winding down a long career in the sport which dated back to the thirties. Born in 1922, Gerald Peter ‘Skinny’ Manton began racing at 16 in his mothers Austin 16.

In his formative years he worked at the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation, Fishermans Bend in product engineering leaving to work for John Ould Motors and later Monaro Motors, of which he later became a partner.

Monaro Motors sold MG’s and developed performance parts for the marque. They were agents for Wade superchargers and became sole distributors in Victoria for SU carburettors. ‘Skinny’ progressed to design and research developing many twin-carb manifolds and other bits.

Mac/Manton works MGB ‘HBL129D’, Sebring 1966 (unattributed)

Manton’s reputation amongst the BMC UK hierarchy was such that he was chosen to partner Roger Mac in a works MGB at Sebring in March 1966, it was a successful weekend too, the pair were seventeenth overall in the 12 hour classic and first in the GT 2 litre class- the race was won by the Ken Miles/Lloyd Ruby Shelby American Ford GT40 X-I Roadster.

In a busy weekend Manton also contested the four hour Governor’s Cup for sedans the day before the 12 Hour. He shared a Cooper S with Paddy Hopkirk but the pair’s 1293cc S was outted with a broken timing chain after only 33 laps- Jochen Rindt won in a works Alfa Romeo GTA shared with Roberto Businello. Businello, well known in Australia after his Alfa Giulia TI Super Sandown 6 Hour win with Ralph Sach in 1964, blotted his copybook in all but destroying the car in practice.

Hopkirk/Manton Cooper S during the Four Hour Governor’s Trophy, Sebring 1966 (Friedman)

As the Issigonis front wheel drive BMC products swept the market Manton was in on the ground floor.

In 1962 BMC released the Morris Cooper in Australia but in August 1961 Manton was one of those behind the ‘Morris 850 Sports’, the little brick was fitted with twin-SU carbs and a set of extractors. The car was sold through Peter Manton Motors in Melbourne and P&R Williams in Sydney, whilst a ‘dealership special model’ the cars had the backing of BMC inclusive of the factory warranty.

In terms of his racing Manton swapped his Marshall-blown Morris Major for a succession of Cooper S’ with which he became synonomous. Manton Motors was a well known destination for a generation or so of Melbourne BMC and racing enthusiasts

Was the Mini King of Oz Peter Manton or Brian Foley? Are the honours equally split?, without doubt they were the Mini Kings of Victoria and New South Wales respectively throughout the sixties in any event!

Manton from Bob Holden, Ford Escort Twin-Cam and Brian Foley in Warwick Farm’s Esses 1970 (R Thorncraft)

Etcetera: Sebring 1966…

(Friedman)

Sebring main straight vista with the Mac/Manton MGB to the left and back.

#57 Porsche 904GTS of Ripley/Wetanson in front, MGB of West/Charles, one of the Porsche 906’s to the right and alongside the Shelby GT350 Mustang of Kohler/Reina/Biddle and on his own behind that group of three the Porsche 911 of Ryan/Coleman.

(Friedman)

Hopkirk/Manton chasing the Renault Dauphine of Porath/Van Hoozier, ever present Goodyear blimp up above.

(Friedman)

The Shelby Mustang GT350 of Kohler/Reina/Biddle from Mac/Manton- and below the MGB being monstered by one of the 7 litre Ford GT Mk2’s, no doubt Peter Manton spent as much time looking in his mirrors as he did out the B’s windscreen on the wide expanses of the airfield circuit.

(Friedman)

Flying trio.

Mac/Manton MGB from the similar West/Charles entry and then the Ryan/Coleman Porsche 911. Dave Friedman’s photographic archive is wide, rich and deep.

Photo and Reference Credits…

Eldougo, Dick Simpson, Russell Thorncraft, David Knowles, Dave Westerman, article by Craig Watson in uniquecars.com.au, David Friedman Archive, Peter Longley

Tailpieces: Manton’s Cooper S being monstered by Shell teammate and 1970 ATCC champion Norm Beechey’s Holden HG Monaro GTS350 at Calder…

(Simpson)

 

Peter Longley’s great shot of Manton turning in to Longford’s Viaduct circa 1965.

Finito…

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(Rolls Press/Popperfoto)

Andrew Cowan’s works Hillman Hunter blasts through the never-ending and oh-so-demanding Australian scrub during the last, long, tough leg of the London-Sydney Marathon in December 1968…

I posted an article written by Bruce Thomas a while back featuring some of his photos, but I thought these too good to ignore, click on this link to see the article;

https://primotipo.com/?s=london+sydney+marathon

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Andrew Cowan, Brian Coyle and Colin Malkin alight their BOAC flight at Heathrow, their low budget works Hillman Hunter winners of the London-Sydney, December 1968 (Rolls Press/Popperfoto)

Andrew Cowan shared the drive with Colin Malkin and Brian Coyle, in some ways it was a lucky win but these ultra-long endurance events need a combination of luck, consistency, reliability, high levels of concentration for long periods, driving and navigational skill and resilience to overcome the inevitable dramas large and small.

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The Bianchi/Ogier Citroen DS21 leading the event during the Numeralla Stage. 4 Miles from the end of the Nowra stage, the end of competition, the car with Ogier at the wheel, Bianchi asleep hit a Mini head on travelling against them on the rally road. The Citroen was destroyed with Bianchi suffering leg and chest injuries. Hopkirk’s Austin was first on the scene, immediately returned 4 miles to a radio point to get help (Bruce Thomas)

 

bianchi

Italian born, Belgian domiciled Lucien Bianchi cleans the windscreen of his Citroen, in the lead at the end of the Numeralla-Hindmarsh stage. Disaster struck in the following transport stage. A remarkably versatile driver, he won the ’68 Le Mans with Pedro Rodriguez in a JW Automotive Ford GT40, was third at the ’68 Monaco GP in a works Cooper T86B BRM and should have won the London-Sydney, not bad results in one year in such diverse cars and disciplines! Sadly he died at the wheel of an Alfa T33 during the Le Mans test weekend in March 1969 (Bruce Thomas)

 

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Lucien Bianch’s Cooper T86B BRM V12 ahead of Graham Hill’s Lotus 49B Ford, 3rd and 1st, Monaco GP 1968 (unattributed)

 

 

Cowan was raised in Duns where he established a close friendship with Jim Clark another young local farmer.

‘We each had to have a car. We were able to drive in fields, off road, and of course through all the twisty roads around here where there was practically no traffic in those days. That definitely refined our driving skills. We had advantages that other drivers didn’t.’ said Cowan.

Both men were active in the Berwick and District Car Club during the 1950s, whilst Clark gravitated to open-wheelers Cowan ventured off-road. He soon contested 1960 RAC Rally finishing 43rd in a field of over 200 starters in a Sunbeam Rapier. His father acquired a more powerful Rapier in which he won the 1962 and 1963 Scottish Rallies. As a consequence the Rootes Group invited him to become their ‘works’ driver.

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The works Paddy Hopkirk/Tony Nash driven Austin 1800 ‘Landcrab’ finished an excellent 2nd in the Marathon, here on the Numeralla Stage (Bruce Thomas)

Cowan had much success with both Rootes and subsequently Mitsubishi. He also won the 1977 London-Sydney Marathon in a Mercedes 280E with Colin Malkin again one of the co-drivers. I can still remember the thrill of seeing him and the rest of the field charging through the still, frigid winter air of the sub-alpine control Victorian Alfa Club Members manned north of Mansfield in September 1977.

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Andrew Cowan Benz 280E somewhere in Australia during the ’77 London-Sydney (unattributed)

Cowan was a popular and much respected figure in Australia, he won five consecutive Southern Cross Rallies in Mitsubishi’s (1972–76), the 1977 Rallye Bandama Cote d’Ivoire, the 1976 Scottish Rally Championship and the world’s longest rally, the 20,000-mile South American Marathon in 1978. In the Safari Rally he finished in the top 4 four times in five years. In the Paris-Dakar, his best result was second in 1985. He retired as a driver in 1990.

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Andrew Cowan and Fred Gocentas during their October 1975 victorious Southern Cross Rally win, Mitsubishi Lancer GSR 1600, no helmets. Rally HQ Port Macquarie, NSW (unattributed)

In 1977, he was awarded the British Guild of Motoring Writers’ Driver of the Year Award, the Jim Clark Memorial Trophy for ‘outstanding achievement by a Scottish driver’ and the BRDC’s John Cobb Trophy for a British driver of outstanding success.

After Cowan’s retirement as a driver he established a European base for Mitsubishi. ‘Andrew Cowan Motorsports’ was based in Rugby, Warwickshire and morphed into Mitsubishi Ralliart taking Tommi Makinen to four consecutive World Rally Championship titles (1996-9) and a manufacturers title for Mitsubishi in 1998. He retired in 2005.

falcon

The 6th placed Bruce Hodgson/Doug Rutherford works Ford Falcon ‘XT’ GT, the Vaughan/Forsyth car was 3rd and Firth/Hoinville car 8th giving FoMoCo Oz the team prize. The cars were prepared by Harry Firth and Ken Harper. Not bad for a family car with a 5 litre/302cid V8 designed for the Bathurst 500 rather than Rally Forests! Numeralla stage (Bruce Thomas)

 

munro

The works (GM) Holden Monaro ‘HK’ GTS 327cid V8 powered car of Barry Ferguson, Doug Chivas and Johnson best of the Holdens in 12th. Doug (thrice Australian GP winner)Whiteford/Eddie (father of Larry) Perkins were 14th and David McKay/Reynolds car DNF. Both Ford and Holden fielded well prepared cars and drivers of great experience and depth. The ‘Bathurst’ cars both performed well as rally machines. Whilst the Holden Team was organised by Scuderia Veloce’s David McKay the cars were prepared by Holden and entered in the name of their sponsor ‘Sydney Telegraph Racing’ the Packer owned newspaper for whom McKay wrote his motoring columns, to be clear it was a ‘works’ entry (Bruce Thomas)

 

1968, London-Sydney (unattributed)

Credits…

Rolls Press/Popperfoto, Bruce Thomas, Wikipedia, bobwatsonrally.com.au, southerncrossrallyblogspot.com, ewrc-results.com

Tailpiece: Cowan’s Hillman Hunter, known colloquially as ‘grunters’ in Oz, in 2nd place during the Numeralla to Hindmarsh Station stage, typical Australian sub-alpine terrain and vegetatation…

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(Bruce Thomas)

Finito…