Posts Tagged ‘Australian Motor Racing History’

Bill Downie, HRG, Caversham, Western Australia circa 1960 (K Devine)

Ignorance is bliss! Until now I’d assumed Brabham’s 1966-1968 Repco F1 V8 engine rebuilds/freshen-ups were done back at RBE’s Maidstone, Melbourne base, but that’s not the case

“When we started to use the Repco Brabham V8s (the very first race for the new engine was the January 1, 1966, non-championship South African Grand Prix) it was clear to Jack that sending them back to Melbourne for rebuilds wasn’t going to work given the time it would have taken,” recalls Bob Ilich.

The Australian mechanic/technician worked for Jack Brabham Conversions, Motor Racing Developments (MRD-constructors of Brabham cars) and the Brabham Racing Organisation (BRO-Jack’s race team) during the 1965-1967 glory years.

“There just wasn’t the time between race meetings to fly engines backwards and forwards between England and Australia, the logistics just didn’t work.”

In 1966 BRO contested nine championship GPs and four non-championship events (remember those!), and in 1967 11 championship GPs and five non-championship races; Race of Champions at Brands, Spring Cup and International Gold Cup at Oulton Park, the BRDC International Trophy at Silverstone and the Spanish GP. This intense program yielded world drivers championships for Brabham and Hulme, and manufacturers titles for MRD/Brabham Repco in 1966-67.

In short, the season was very full from early January until the Mexican GP in late October.

Jack had a ready-made machining solution when the H.R.G. Engineering Co Ltd – founded by Major Edward Halford, Guy Robins and Henry Ronald Godfrey in 1935 – ceased trading in 1966.

HRG built 241 sports and racing cars in addition to their core general engineering work. In 1956 they stopped building cars, their engineering clients included Cooper, and later Brabham.

“When Jack moved BRO from the Canal Yard, Byfleet Road, New Haw Surrey premises (which had been shared with Motor Racing Developments) to Guildford in early 1966, ex-HRG machinist Ron Cousins and his equipment, lathe, milling machines etc were already there doing work for Jack Brabham Conversions which operated from an Esso Service Station in Woking.”

“Conversions did general service and tuning work, fitted Coventry Climax engines to Triumphs and Austin Healeys, made performance modifications, and later did the development work on the Brabham Vauxhall Viva/Torana.”

“The Guildford premises had administration offices upstairs including a drawing office for John Judd, who was back at BRO after his stint with RBE in Maidstone. He was in constant touch liasing with Norman Wilson, RBE’s Chief Engineer in Melbourne.”

“Downstairs was the Brabham Conversions Parts Department, a large workshop where the racing cars were prepared and the transporter parked, Ron Cousins’ machine shop and an engine rebuilding workshop for Jack and myself,” Bob recalled.

“After the first couple of runs in South Africa and testing in England, the engines had oil leaks Jack said we needed to fix. The first rebuilds were to address this, over time of course we did freshen-ups as required.”

Bob Ilich with gasket kit at BRO, New Haw circa March-April 1966. Brabham BT17 sportscar coming together behind him and Holden EH abroad (unattributed)

“All the components we needed were sent from Australia including the new for 1967 700 Series blocks. I remember replacing three 600 Series blocks with the much stronger Repco 700 block, the three Olds F85 based blocks were still in a corner of the workshop when I left. If anything needed machining, Ron Cousins did it,” Bob recalls.

“By the end of the 1967 racing season the only thing we hadn’t mastered was the timing chain cover which still leaked a bit, but those 740 engines were otherwise bullet proof.”

“None of the engines were ever sent back to us for rebuilds,” confirms Michael Gasking, long-time RBE, Maidstone, Melbourne engine fitter and chief dyno test pilot.

“We sent engines and components over as they were needed, Jack and Frank (Hallam, RBE General Manager) were on the ‘phone all the time discussing updates and problems discovered at the track we needed to fix or enhance.”

So, there you have it, a little tidbit of RBE history not in Repco press releases or the history books.

Thanks Bob Ilich, I’m not sure quite how it popped into our conversation, but very much appreciated!

 Etcetera…

HRG

Among HRG’s products/enterprises were the original UK import rights for Weber carburettors, twin-cam HRG (Singer) engines, the Stuart Proctor designed crossflow cylinder head, inlet manifolds and rocker covers for BMC B-Series engines (usually marketed by VW Derrington rather than HRG themselves) and overhead-cam Ford 105E conversions.

HRG originally operated from Tolworth, Surrey and later Oakcroft Road, Chessington, also located in Surrey.

The then HRG director/shareholders, having reached retirement age closed their solvent, profitable business in 1966. Derringtons took over the drawings, patterns and moulds to manufacture cylinder heads and Jack Brabham acquired or absorbed the machine shop equipment and Ron Cousin into his group…

The main-man out front of Jack Brabham Motors, Hook Road, Chessington (unattributed)

Brabham Premises

There is plenty of interest in Brabham, Jack Brabham, Ron Tauranac and Repco Brabham Engines at quite a granular level.

With an imminent trip to the UK, I’ve a couple of Brabham Sacred Sites at which I’m going to pay homage, with that in mind here is a list fellow Brabham Tourists may find of interest.

Please treat it as work in progress, I’m keen to hear from any of you with additional information to add, or corrections which should be made to this list.

United Kingdom

.Jack Brabham (Motors) Ltd : 248 Hook Road (cnr Hook Road and Somerset Avenue, Chessington, Surrey.

Established circa 1959, ESSO garage, Rootes Group dealership. Phil Kerr ran the business, until his departure to McLaren. Ron Tauranac lived in a Bed-Sit in these premises when he first arrived from Australia and built the MRD (the first Brabham Formula Junior machine ) in a lock-up downstairs.

.Repco UK : Victoria Road, Surbiton, Surrey.

Circa 1957 at the Earls Court motor show. Repco’s marketing division and warehousing facility which sold garage and wheel balancing equipment, and later engine rebuilding, reconditioning and balancing equipment etc.

Space was sub-let to MRD to build Brabhams. The MRD, and Brabhams until when?, were constructed at these premises.

.Motor Racing Developments Ltd (MRD) : Canal Yard, Byfleet Road, New Haw, Weybridge, Surrey.

Circa 1962, manufacturer of Brabham cars and later Ralt cars

Shop floor at Motor Racing Developments circa 1966 (Repco)
Brabham Racing Organisation in 1970, Guildford. Jack’s F1 Brabham BT33 Ford being prepared (D Phipps/MotorSport)

.Jack Brabham Conversions Ltd : 131-139 Goldsworth Road, Woking, Surrey.

ESSO service station, modifications to Sunbeam Rapiers and other cars inclusive of fitment of Coventry Climax FWE engines to Triumph Herald, Austin Healey Sprites etc

.Brabham Racing Organisation Ltd (BRO) :

Initially co-located with MRD.

In early 1966 BRO moved to Weyford House, Woodbridge Meadows, Guildford, Surrey as outlined in this article.

High Performance Exhaust Systems Ltd (Directors Len Lukey and Brabham) sold and fitted Lukey Mufflers for cars, trucks and tractors from this location

BRO moved – partially – back to New Haw (MRD) circa 1968. Allan Ould recalls building the BT25 Indycars in the BRO workshop at MRD that year.

The F1 car prep and machining ‘shops remained at Guildford.

Jack Brabham (Worster Park) Ltd : 33-51 Central Road, Worster Park, London.

Vauxhall dealership in the-day, redeveloped in more recent times as the residential ‘Brabham Court’.

Jack Brabham Ltd : 23 Stoneleigh Broadway, Epsom, Surrey.

?

Jack Brabham (Ewell) Ltd : 5 Ruxley Lane, Ewell, Epsom, Surrey.

Circa 1965. Appears to have been the site of another car dealership?

Engine Developments Ltd (Judd Power) : Leigh Road, Swift Valley, Rugby.

Partnership of John Judd and Jack Brabham which commenced in 1971.

.Brabham family home.

3 Ashcombe Avenue, Surbiton, Surrey, from 1965 Greater London, below.

(P Stockden)
Repco Brabham Engines, Mitchell Street, Maidstone premises early 1967 during the Tasman Series (Repco)

Australia

Repco Brabham Engines Pty. Ltd.

This entity was the Repco subsidiary incorporated circa 1965 to design and construct the Repco Brabham race engines

A small team was initially located in a small part (the engine laboratory) of Russell Manufacturing Pty Ltd at 85-91 Burney Street, and 26-34 Doonside Street, Richmond. The first V8s were built there.

Nigel Tait picks up the story, “The engine lab that was at the back of Russell Manufacturing (Doonside Street, Richmond) was to service the then current Repco factories producing engine parts.”

“Once the Repco Brabham project started to outgrow that small lab, a decision was made to relocate it over to the Maidstone site that had been purchased from the original Automotive Components Limited company some years earlier. One of the four or five factories on that site was cleaned out and early in 1966 the manufacture and assembly of the RB engines was progressively transferred from Richmond.”

“The new company, Repco Brabham Engines Pty Ltd was incorporated, the Repco Ltd (parent company) Director responsible was Bob Brown, the General Manager was Frank Hallam.”

“Eventually a new test centre was built out the back, it was very sophisticated and state of the art with two dynamometers compared to what we had in Richmond.”

Michael Gasking testing RBE620-E2 2.5 V8 on the Heenan & Froude GB4 dyno in the old Myers garage – corrugated iron tin-shed – Doonside Street Richmond Engine Lab. The distinctive long-inlet trumpets allows easy identification of this engine as that used by Jack at the 1966 Sandown and Longford Tasman rounds. Mike is testing it either before the Sandown round, or immediately after it. The engine suffered oil pump failure and had to be quickly rebuilt before being sent to Longford…so it’s either mid-February or 28-29 February 1966 (Repco)
More sumptuous surrounds at Maidstone circa 1967. Very well equipped, RBE were set up to build engines with great precision in numbers. That two axis Cincinatti Vertical Acramatic milling machine (in the middle of the photo) is claimed by the man who sold it to Repco to be the first numerically controlled machine tool sold in Australia. The timing cover case lying flat this side of the vertical tape reader (the light coloured cabinet) was made on this machine (Repco)

“So, from about mid to late 1966 (the move started during the Xmas summer break of 1965-66) the whole of the racing engine project was at Maidstone and the engine lab in Richmond continued to service the Repco engine division.”

“Later, the same dynamometer set up was used for the (1969-1974) Repco Holden F5000 project.”

“In the meantime Repco started to move some of the piston and ring manufacturing plant over to the Maidstone site and for a while both sites operated as Repco Engine Parts – Richmond Plant and Maidstone Plant.”

“Then in 1986 Repco sold off the Engine Division to a management buyout and the same products continued to be made at the two plants though eventually all were consolidated at the Maidstone site, Richmond having been sold.”

“The management buyout company didn’t have a name and Repco kindly allowed it to be called Automotive Components Limited (ACL), so the wheel turned full circle,” Nigel Tait recalled.

The Richmond (art deco) buildings are extant, Maidstone became a housing estate close to a decade ago, below.

(N Tait Collection)
(N Tait Collection)

“The memorial at Maidstone was the brainchild and project of a local councillor about 2015. We had Michael Gasking and (now the late) Don Halpin (above) to cut the cake at the unveiling ceremony,” Tait recalled.

“Michael was at Richmond when I joined Repco as a cadet engineer, and I was assigned to work with him as his assistant on Repco Brabham with engine assembly and running the engines on our dynamometer (Heenan and Froude GB4).”

“Michael was (is) a good man, very skilled, a good teacher and very thorough. The engines he built won the 1966 championship and probably half of 1967 (Denny) as well.”

“Don, sadly now gone, was an amazing engine builder, worked in my team after Repco Brabham and the F5000 Repco Holden days on alternative fuel projects for the government, and post retirement built customer racing engines until the end. I miss Don…” recalls Nigel of his colleagues and friends.

Credits…

Bob Ilich, Nigel Tait, Ken Devine Collection, Paul Stockden

Tailpiece…

Yeah, yeah, yeah, of course there are Jack’s businesses in Australia too (both before he went to the UK and after he left to return home) in the automotive, aviation and rural sectors but my focus is just those of the Repco-Period.

If we widened the lens we would be going for weeks I suspect…

Finito…

(The Age)

Doug Whiteford is as pleased-as-punch after winning the 1953 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park aboard his self-prepared Talbot Lago T26C (Course).

It was too good to be true, he had won his second AGP at Bathurst 17 months before aboard the same machine. He took victory in the 250 miler in the park from Curley Brydon’s MG TC Spl s/c and Andy Brown’s MG K3. The dude with the fag at the far-left is Bill Wilcox who retired his Ford V8 Spl after 37 of the 64 laps.

I’ve written about this race before, the appearance of this high-resolution shot from The Age/Fairfax archive stimulated this reprise. 1953 Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park… | primotipo…

The photograph is so sharp you can see the instruments, quadrant for the four-speed Wilson pre-selector gearbox, chassis plate and front suspension.

#110007 was part of Paul Vallee’s Ecurie France team between 1948-1950 before being sold, via Henry and Peter Dale, to Geelong’s Tom Hawkes in 1950 and shortly thereafter to Whiteford. See Bob King’s article on the Dales and their contribution to the number of European racers which came to Australia; ‘Words from Werrangourt’ 1, by Bob King… | primotipo…

Louis Chiron jumps away from the rest of the field at the start of the April 1949 Jersey Road Race at St Helier aboard 110007. From the left, Raymond Mays’ ERA B-Type, Peter Whitehead’s Ferrari 125, and the Maserati 4CLT-48s of Gigi Villoresi, Bira and Emmanuel de Graffenried. Gerard won from De Graffenried and Mays Chiron DNF brakes (MotorSport)
110007 in the Silverstone pitlane during the July 1949 British GP meeting. Q15 and DNF universal joint for Chiron, up front De Graffenreid’s Maser 4CLT-48 won from Bob Gerard’s ERA B-Type and Louis Rosier’s T26C (MotorSport)

Strong results for 110007 before coming to Australia was Louis Chiron’s 1949 French GP victory and Harry Schell’s second place at the Coupe du Salon at Montlhery that October.

The car had chassis rails derived directly from Talbot sports car pattern. Front independent suspension was by lower transverse leaf spring and upper pressed steel rockers while at the rear a simple rigid axle was suspended by semi-elliptic leaf springs. Friction and hydraulic shocks were fitted as were Bendix cable operated brakes. A Wilson pre-selector gearbox was used.

The arrival of this modern straight-six cylinder 4482cc, 210bhp @ 4500rpm triple Zenith/Stromberg fed F1 car (4.5-litres unsupercharged, 1.5-litres supercharged) heralded the need for topline Australian competitors to have cars capable of outright wins as the sport evolved away from handicap events in our premier class.

Doug Whiteford passes the abandoned Jack O’Dea MG Spl aboard 110007 during his victorious ’53 AGP run at Albert Park (The Age)
1949 Talbot Lago T26C cutaway by Leslie Cresswell

Technical Specifications…

The head and block of Walter Vecchia’s 4482cc six were of aluminium alloy. The engine was considerably undersquare with a bore/stroke of 93x110mm. Its two camshafts were located halfway up the block with short pushrods operating two valves per cylinder, the cost-effective design had some of the advantages of a more traditional twin-cam layout.

It produced circa 240bhp @ 4700rpm in the early stages of development, rising to 280bhp @ 5000rpm in 1950 when fitted with a twin-plug, twin-magneto cylinder head.

Carburation was by triple downdraught Zenith-Strombergs with two rocker covers proclaiming the name Talbot-Lago. A Scintilla magneto provided the spark, initially to one centrally located plug per cylinder.

Engine shot of Yves Giraud-Cabantous T26C #110006 in the 1949 Silverstone paddock. That motor swallowed a piston after 39 of the 100 laps (MotorSport)

A Wilson preselector gearbox was used, while heavy it was reliable and favoured by the drivers. The prop-shaft was offset to the right to allow a low seating position.

Front independent suspension incorporated top rockers, a lower transverse leaf spring and friction shock absorbers. The rear axle was suspended by good old fashioned semi-elliptic leaf springs, funds didn’t allow development of an independent design; the T26 was the last GP car to use semi-elliptic cart-springs.

Chiron watches while his car is readied at Silverstone in 1949 (MotorSport)

Credits…

The Age/Fairfax Archive, Peter Valentine’s Old Melbourne Town FB page, oldracingcars.com, Leslie Cresswell, Adam Gawliczek

Tailpieces…

(MotorSport)

A swarm of Talbot Lago T26Cs during the 1949 British GP.

‘Our’ 110007 in Chiron’s hands is at left, #17 is Yves Giraud-Cabantous machine (110006), DNF piston and Louis Rosier’s third placed machine #110001 at right.

In mid 1954 Whiteford sold the car after updating to the twin-plug headed T26C #110003. The car was raced by Rex Taylor, Ken Richardson, Owen Bailey and Barry Collerson in-period before becoming a historic racer. Bernard Charles Ecclestone has owned it since the early 1980s.

Whiteford heading up Mount Panorama on the way to victory in the 1952 AGP

Finito…

(S Dalton Collection)

Bluebird Proteus CN7 and its little brother, Elfin Catalina Ford chassis #6313 during the 1963 unsuccessful attempt to set the Land Speed Record at Lake Eyre, South Australia…

The driver of the Elfin Catalina is Ted Townsend, a Dunlop tyre fitter. The car was built by Garrie Cooper and his artisans at Edwardstown, an Adelaide suburb for Dunlop Tyres to use on the Lake Eyre salt to assist in determining certain characteristics of the tyres fitted to Donald Campbell’s Bluebird during 1963/4.

The Elfin Catalina’s normal use was in Formula Junior or 1.5-litre road racing events. In LSR test application it was fitted with miniature Bluebird tyres and driven over the salt to determine factors such as the coefficient of friction and adhesion using a Tapley meter.

“The Tapley Brake Test Meter is a scientific instrument of very high accuracy, still used today. It consists of a finely balanced pendulum free to respond to any changes in speed or angle, working through a quadrant gear train to rotate a needle round a dial. The vehicle is then driven along a level road at about 20 miles per hour, and the brakes fully applied. When the vehicle has stopped the brake efficiency reading can be taken from the figure shown by the recording needle on the inner brake scale, whilst stopping distance readings are taken from the outer scale figures.”

It’s generally thought the Elfin was running a (relatively) normal pushrod 1500cc Cortina engine with a Cosworth A3 cam and Weber DCOE carburettors for the Bluebird support runs.

And yes, the number of Elfin’s chassis was 6313. Was Donald Campbell aware of this? Certainly that could explain to the deeply superstitious man how on earth torrential rain came to this vast, dry place where rain had not fallen in the previous 20 years.

Dunlop’s Ted Townsend aboard the company Elfin Catalina. Car fitted with 13 inch versions of the 52 inch Bluebird wheels and tyres. Photo at Muloorina Station perhaps (Dunlop)
(S Dalton Collection)

Australian motoring/racing journalist, racer and rally driver Evan Green project managed the successful July 1964 record attempt on behalf of Oz oil company Ampol, who were by then Bluebird’s major sponsor. He wrote a stunning account of his experience that winter on the Lake Eyre salt which was first published in Wheels April 1981 issue.

His account of Andrew Mustard and his teams contribution to the project is interesting and ultimately controversial from Campbell’s perspective.

Andrew was Dunlop’s representative during the 1963 Lake Eyre campaign, he returned in 1964 as a contractor with the very large responsibility for the tyre preparation and maintenance of the circa 22 km long salt track.

Green describes the incredibly harsh conditions under which the team worked “…Mustard…spent weeks with his men on the salt, working in the sort of reflected heat that few people could imagine let alone tolerate…Men frozen at dawn were burned black at midday. Lips were cracked and refused to heal. Faces set in leathery masks, creased by the wrinkles of perpetual squints.”

Evan Green picks up the challenges the track team faced, “The maddest thing is what’s being done to the track,” said Lofty Taylor, the gangling leader of the refuelling team. Lofty worked for Ampol, and I’d known him since the Ampol Trial days. l had enormous respect for his opinion. He was practical, versatile, prepared to move mountains if asked and yet able to detect the faintest whiff of cant at long distance.

He admitted he knew nothing about grading salt but pointed out that neither did anyone else, for the science of building record tracks on salt lakes was in its infancy. And he reckoned he knew as much about it as anyone else.

“They’ve been cutting salt off the top all the time,” he said. “All that grading and cutting is weakening it, and bringing moisture to the top.”

“What would you do, Lofty?” “Leave it alone for a while. Let the crust heal and harden.”

The track squad was ruffled. The problem, they said, was due to the constant interruptions to their work. They couldn’t get the surface right with the car (Bluebird) running every other day and cutting grooves in the salt. So runs were suspended. Andrew Mustard’s team would pursue their theories and have a clear week to try to bring the track up to record standard. Donald took some of the crew to Adelaide, for a few days break and all seemed calm. In fact, a major storm was brewing.

Massive 52 inch wheels and Dunlop tyres, the weight was huge, note the neat hydraulic lift to allow their fitment (unattributed)
(F Radman Collection)
Andrew Mustard aboard the Elfin on the salt- note Catalina’s rear drum brakes (Catalina Park)

“Mustard had brought an Elfin racing car to the lake. It was fitted with tyres that had scaled-down versions of the tread being used on Bluebird. He drove it to test such things as tread temperature and the coefficient of friction of the salt surface at different times of the day.

He usually drove the little single-seater down the strip before Campbell made a test run. On one occasion, he was driving the Elfin up the strip when Campbell was driving the Bluebird down the strip and the world’s highest speed head-on collision was avoided by a whisker, with a sheepish Mustard – spotting the rooster tail of white salt spray bearing down on him – spinning off the track.”

“One day during the lull, Ken Norris (Bluebird’s designer) and I went to the lake to see how the track work was progressing. To our astonishment, we found the CAMS (Confederation of Australian Motor Sport) timekeepers and stewards assembled at their record posts,” wrote Green.

“Andrew’s going for his records,” one of them said, and, seeing our bewilderment, gave us that ‘don’t tell me you don’t know about it look’. It seemed there had been an application made for attempts on various Australian class records for categories suiting the Elfin. Neither Ken nor I knew anything of it. Nor, it seemed, did Campbell, and when he returned that night there was an eruption. The track squad was sacked and Lofty Taylor given the job of preparing the strip.”

“What do you suggest?” I asked Lofty. “We should all go away for a couple of weeks and let the salt alone.”

Enjoy Greens full story of this remarkable endeavour of human achievement, via the link at the end of the article, but lets come back to Mustard and the Elfin, he wasn’t finished with it yet!

When the 1964 Bluebird record attempts were completed, Mustard, of North Brighton in Adelaide bought the Elfin from Dunlop.

It was in poor condition as a result of its work on the Lake Eyre salt, with the magnesium based uprights quite corroded. It was repaired over the end of 1963-64 and a single Norman supercharger fitted.

The car was then raced at Mallala race and for 1500cc record attempts in 1964 using the access road alongside the main hangars at Edinburgh Airfield (Weapons Research Establishment) at Salisbury, South Australia. The northern gates of the airfield were opened by the Australian Federal Police to give extra stopping distance. By then the specifications of the Norman supercharged Elfin included;

• a single air-cooled Norman supercharger driven by v-belts developing around 14psi. The v-belts were short lived, burning out in around thirty seconds,

• four exhaust stubs, with the middle two siamesed,

• twin Amal carburettors,

• a heavily modified head by Alexander Rowe (a Speedway legend and co-founder of the Ramsay-Rowe Special midget) running around 5:1 compression and a solid copper head gasket/decompression plate. The head had been worked within an inch of it’s life and shone like a mirror. The head gasket on the other hand was a weak spot, lasting only twenty seconds before failing. As runs had to be performed back-to-back within an hour, the team became very good at removing the head, annealing the copper gasket with an oxy torch and buttoning it all up again inside thirty minutes.

The Norman supercharged Elfin, operated by Mustard and Michael McInerney set the following Australian national records during it’s Salisbury runs on October 11, 1964:

• the flying start kilometre record (16.21s, 138mph),

• the flying start mile record (26.32s, 137mph), and

• the standing start mile record (34.03s, 106mph).

This was not 6313’s only association with Norman superchargers. The Elfin was later modified to have:

• dual air-cooled Norman superchargers (identical to the single Norman used earlier), mounted over the gearbox. The superchargers were run in parallel, with a chain drive. The chain drive was driven by a sprocket on the crank, running up to a slave shaft that ran across to the back of the gearbox to drive the first supercharger, then down to drive the second. The boost pressure in this configuration had risen to 29psi,

• two 2″ SU carburettors (with four fuel bowls) jetted for methanol by Peter Dodd (another Australian Speedway legend and owner of Auto Carburettor Services),

• a straight cut first gear in a VW gearbox. The clutch struggled to keep up with the torque being put out by the Norman blown Elfin, and was replaced with a 9” grinding disk, splined in the centre and fitted with brass buttons, it was either all in, or all out!

In twin Norman supercharged guise the racer was driven by McInerney to pursue the standing ¼ mile, standing 400m and flying kilometre records in October 1965. Sadly, the twin-Norman blown Elfin no longer holds those records, as the ¼ mile and flying kilometre (together with a few more records) were set at this time by Alex Smith in a Valano Special.

The day after the 1965 speed record trials (Labour Day October 1965), McInerney raced the twin-Norman supercharged Elfin at Mallala in Formule Libre as there was insufficient time to revert the engine back to Formula II specifications. The photo above shows McInerney at Mallala.

The car was used for training South Australian Police Force driving instructors in advanced handling techniques, and was regularly used at Mallala and other venues (closed meetings for the Austin 7 club, etc).

It was sold by Mustard to racer/rally driver Dean Rainsford in 1966, by then without the Norman supercharger it ran a mildly tuned Cortina engine. In the ensuing 26 years it passed through nine more owners before Rainsford re-acquired it in 1993. After many years of fossicking he found the original 1965 Mustard/McInerney supercharged engine but sadly without it’s Norman supercharger.

The Elfin is retained by Rainsford and is often on display in his Adelaide office. The car made a rare public appearance at Melbourne’s 2014 Motorclassica to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of Campbell’s land and water speed records set in Australia. The car was amongst other Campbell memorabilia.

Evan Green: ‘How Donald Campbell Broke The World LSR on Lake Eyre’…

https://www.whichcar.com.au/features/classic-wheels/classic-wheels-donald-campbell-and-his-bluebird-car-world-speed-record

Etcetera…

Credits…

Article by Evan Green originally published in Wheels magazine April 1981, Andrew Mustard thread on The Nostalgia Forum particularly the contributions of Stephen Dalton, Fred Radman, Theotherharv and Mark Dibben. Stephen Dalton, Fred Radman and Catalina Park Photo Collections, Dunlop

Tailpiece: Elfin Catalina Ford ‘6313’, Motorclassica 2014…

(Pinterest)

Finito…

(G Smedley)

Love Geoff Smedley’s caption to the photograph of he and Austin Miller at Bakers Beach, Tasmania, “Now just lean on the loud pedal and you could become famous.”

The car is Aussie’s Smedley modified Cooper T51 Chev, that morning on Monday November 20, 1961 they did indeed set a new Australian Land Speed record at 163.94mph. Click here for a feature on this amazing achievement by a small team of talented men; Aussie’s Land Speed Record… | primotipo…

(D Harvey)

Lets stay at the beach for a minute, above is John Hicks’ Holden FJ, at King Edward Park Hillclimb, Newcastle in 1967 with the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop.

(B Edmunds)

I never thought Mike Goth’s rebodied Surtees TS5 Chev was the most attractive of cars but Barry Edmunds, the photographer and lifelong Alfista, has captured the machine nicely on the Sandown International grid in 1970.

Behind him is Ron Grable’s shovel-nosed McLaren M10B Chev, and to the left John Harvey in Bob Jane’s Brabham BT23E Repco, the race was won by Niel Allen’s M10B, all three of the other cars mentioned were DNFs.

(J McKeown Collection)

Lou Molina bags-em-up at Templestowe Hillclimb in 1959.

The Molina Monza Special was fitted with a supercharged Repco-Hi Power headed Holden Grey-six so it didn’t lack low end grunt!

I love the avant garde Brian Burnett styled and built body, he was a man of great talent. One of these days I’ll get around to writing about this fabulous car, which is extant.

Templestowe 1958 (J McKeown Collection)

Lou at Phillip Island in 1959 (Jim McKeown Collection)

(D Simpson)

Kevin Bartlett leads Leo Geoghegan through the Warwick Farm Esses during the Hordern Trophy Gold Star round in December 1968, Brabham BT23D Alfa Romeo T33 V8 and Lotus 39 Repco.

KB won the race from pole with Phil West, Brabham BT23A Repco second. Leo retired with head gasket failure. See here for a feature on the Brabham; Mellow Yellow… | primotipo… and here for one on the Lotus 39; Jim Clark and Leo Geoghegan’s Lotus 39… | primotipo…

(Getty Images)

Another one of Bartlett, this time in Alec Mildren’s second Alfa Romeo GTA ‘LHD’ coming down the mountain at Mount Panorama circa 1967, with George Garth’s Ford Cortina GT in close attendance. Click here for an epic on the Mildren GTAs; The Master of Opposite Lock: Kevin Bartlett: Alfa Romeo GTA… | primotipo…

Looks like a Covid 19 Australian Grand Prix win for Max Stewart at Oran Park in November 1974, hardly a soul to be seen from this angle, but there was a big crowd in attendance.

He won in his Lola T330 Chev from John McCormack’s Elfin MR5 Repco and Graeme Lawrence, Lola T332 Chev, see here for a report on the race; 1974 Australian GP, Oran Park… | primotipo…

(A Polley)

This one made me laugh, it’s Ed Polley’s crew travelling across the Great Brown Land during the summer of ’77.

It looks pretty dry too- I’m not sure where the long paddock is. Polley raced his Polley EP1/Lola T332 Chev in two Rothmans rounds, 11th at Surfers Paradise was his best result.

(D Smallacombe)

Amazing shot of Joan Richmond aboard her 1920 Ballot 3/8 LC at Brooklands during 1934.

This 3-litre straight-eight machine was second at Indianapolis in 1920 with Rene Thomas at the wheel. The following year Jules Goux won the 1921 Italian Grand Prix in it before it was raced by Sir Malcolm Campbell, and then Jack Dunfee from 1923.

Richmond bought the car from Dunfee, racing it throughout 1934, she matched Campbell’s times of years before but a lack of charity from the handicapper meant she never won outright. The engine threw a rod later in the season at which point she sold the car. There is a bit about Joan here; Werrangourt Archive 6: Safety Beach, Dromana Speed Contest… | primotipo…

The Jim Goldfinch Austin Healey 100S lining up an outside pass on John Taylor’s attractive Taylor-JAP at Port Wakefield in 1958.

100S #AHS3906 had some handy steerers in its day including Stan Jones, Ron Phillips and Goldfinch. Suss Tony Parkinson’s wonderful website on this car; AHS 3906 1955 – Austin Healey 100S

(MotorSport)

Jack Brabham and Jochen Rindt up close and personal at Brands Hatch during the 1970 British Grand Prix.

It’s Paddock, with Jochen making a move up the inside of Jack – absolute trust and respect between these two fellas – Brabham had his measure that day too, passing and then driving away from him until the last lap, last corner hiccoughs due to lack of fuel.

A costly error by Nick Goozee, who had left the fuel mixture on rich after the engine was warmed up, rather than the usual race setting resulted in excessive fuel consumption. See here for a dissection of the cars and race; Jack’s BT33 Trumped by Chunky’s 72… | primotipo…

(MotorSport)

(S Scholes)

Pretty amazing Fishermans Bend shot during the February 1955 meeting in which multiple World Motorcycle Champion Geoff Duke blew the crowd away with the sight, sound and speed of his Gilera 500-4.
Perhaps here he is leading Harry Hinton. The shot below is at Bandiana Army base near Albury in late January and shows the lines of the handsome machine to great effect.

(AMCN)

(J Jarick)

In each of the cities Duke raced he spoke to packed meetings of motor cycle fans, the cover of the program above is for one of those events in Chapel Street, Prahran, in Melbourne’s inner south. See here for a couple of pieces on Geoff, bikes; Geoff Duke, Gilera 500/4, Australia 1954… | primotipo… and cars; Geoff Duke: Norton, Dutch GP, Assen 1952… | primotipo…

Elfins abroad.

The car above is Henri le Roux’s Elfin Mallala Ford in South Africa during 1964, circuit unknown. The montage below is of Australian, Mike Hall and his Elfin 620 Formula Ford in the United States during 1974. See here for a piece on Elfin exports; African Elfins… | primotipo…

(Classic Cars Rhodesia)

Paul Hawkins on the way to a Rhodesian GP win on December 1, 1968. He won the 20 lap race for sportscars in his Ferrari 350 Can Am #0858.

Hawkins bought the Ferrari P4 – converted to Can-Am specifications in later 1967 – from David McKay’s Scuderia Veloce in late 1968 and had a very successful African tour with it in late 1968 and early 1969. See here; Ferrari P4/Can-Am 350 ‘0858’… | primotipo…

(J Ebrey)

Dan Ricciardo on the way to winning the first round of the 2009 British F3 Championship at Oulton Park aboard his Dallara F309 VW on 13 April.

He won both races that afternoon and others at Silvertone, Spa and Brands Hatch that season to win the title by nearly 90 points from Walter Grubmuller’s Dallara F309 Mercedes. Formula Renault 3.5 beckoned on a fast climb to F1 with HRT in 2011.

(Red Bull)

(HMRPR)

Munro Abroad.

I hate vinyl roofs, surely the ultimate Lygon Street woggerisation accessory of the 1970s? Here Dirk Marais puts one to good use at Kyalami, South Africa in 1970. His Holden Monaro GTS350 ran in the Star Production Cars class, assistance welcome Peter Ellenbogen!

(G Smedley)

Grass track racing at the Elphin Showgrounds, Launceston, Tasmania in the 1950s.

The late Geoff Smedley commented, “It was always fun to have a race on the show ground arena after the main cattle parade but a winner could never be picked thanks to all the bullshit!” Geoff’s mount, liberally sprayed with said shit, is a Triumph TR2, I think.

(G Smedley)

(Road Rave)

Fred Foster’s Holden Grey twin-cam dates to late 1952.

Two engines were built, both were used in boats, only this one survives. Fred Foster was a Brisbane engineer, “a self taught and fulltime metallurgical genius”, the design was “based on some $5 plans chalked on his factory floor.”

There were separate castings for each cam cover, another front cover hides the chain driven camshafts underneath, and auxiliary drives. Road Rave wrote that “The two head castings were modelled on the Norton Manx layout, the engine’s capacity was 132.5 square inches and gave 140 bhp with mild camshafts having 270 degrees duration.”

With six carbs, the skiff ‘Fossey’ took the American 135 cubic inch records from the V8/60 Flattie Ford V8s. Oh yes, he made a 132.5cid V12 from scratch, the alloy block and heads of which survive!

Doug McLachlan leads the winner of the 1946 New South Wales Grand Prix at Mount Panorama, Alf Najar.

The machines are MG TA  and  MG TB specials, Hell Corner appears to be covered in lubricant, hence the very wide line taken by the drivers to find some grip. See here for a feature on this October 11 handicap race; 1946 New South Wales Grand Prix | primotipo…

Alf Najar accepts the plaudits of his team after a job well done. The 25 lap race was dominated by MGs, Jack Nind’s TB Special was second and Alby Johnson’s TC third.

(unattributed)

Alan Jones at a soggy Snetterton during his 1973 breakthrough year in British F3, 13 April.

The car is a GRD 373 Ford-Vegantune, he was 11th that day in a race won by Tony Brise’ similar car. AJ finished second in the 1973 British F3 Championship, two points adrift of Brise. Jones had raced in the class since 1970, progressively working to the front of the hard fought proving ground.

The breaks fell his way from that point in Formula Atlantic and in F1 when ex-racer, dual British F3 champion, Harry Stiller, ran a Hesketh 308B Ford for Jones in 1975.

Jones contested the mid-April non-F1 championship BRDC International Trophy at Silverstone before racing in the Spanish, Monaco, Belgian and Swedish Grands Prix with fourth place in the crash shortened race at Montjuïc Parc, Barcelona his best finish.

At that point of the season Graham Hill picked him up. Jones raced the Hill GH1 Ford in Holland, France, Great Britain and Germany, his best placing was a fifth at the Nurburgring.

He later ruefully observed that the two World Champions for whom he raced, Hill and John Surtees were also the two most difficult people for whom he raced, both knew better on car set up than the bloke behind the wheel…

Motor Manual promotional, pre 1956 Albert Park Grand Prix cover with an all Italian front row.

It’s the start on the Moomba weekend Argus Trophy with Reg Hunt, Kevin Neal and Lex Davison up front in #2 Maserati 250F, Maserati A6GCM 2.5 and Ferrari 500/625, Hunt won from Davison and Neal.

Photo Credits…

Geoff Smedley, Dale Harvey, Barry Edmunds, Jim McKeown Collection, Dick Simpson, Getty Images, Adam Polley, David Smallacombe, Stephen Scholes, Joe Jarick Collection, Mike Hall, Classic Cars in Rhodesia, Jakob Ebrey, ‘HMRPR’-Historic Motor Racing Photos and Research, Road Rave, Chris Jewell, AMCN- Australian Motor Cycle News, Tony Parkinson Collection

Tailpiece…

(C Jewell)

Frenchies. Alain Prost and Jacques Lafitte on the front row of the grid, 1982 Australian Grand Prix at Calder. Pole and second on the grid, 100 laps later they finished in that order aboard Bob Janes Ralt RT4 Ford BDAs, Roberto Moreno was third in another RT4.

That year the other internationals were Nelson Piquet, Alan Jones, Paul Radisich and Neil Crang. The Australian Aces of the day were Alf Costanzo, John Bowe and John Smith.

Finito…

Braydan Willmington’s S5000 data-gathering laps at Mount Panorama over Easter 2021, whetted many appetites with anticipation (D Kalisz)

Australia has been starved of top level single-seater racing for years.

After a difficult birth, a full-field of Ligier JS F3-S5000 Ford 5.2-litre V8s faced the starter at Sandown in September 2019. Background to that point is provided in this article; Progress… | primotipo… More here too; Tasman Cup 2021… | primotipo… Not to forget this of course; Ligier JS F3-S5000 with Matich A50 F5000 Twist… | primotipo…

Covid 19 destroyed the 2020 season, but the category owners, Australian Racing Group ran a well supported four round (Symmons Plains, Phillip Island, Sandown and Sydney Motorsport Park), 12 race Gold Star (the Australian Drivers championship) between January and May 2021.

Rubens Barrichello testing at Phillip Island in advance of his participation in the first race at Sandown Park, in early September 2019. His opinion of the cars, free of the usual PR-crap, would be interesting (D Kalisz)
James Golding in his GRM S5000 at Baskerville in January 2021. This chassis raced, or rather demo’d sans mufflers on the Saturday – the music was awesome! (D Kalisz)

The very talented Joey Mawson was a worthy and popular winner with three race victories in a Garry Rogers Motorsport entry from dual Gold Star winner, Tim Macrow’s self-engineered and prepared car. Tom Randle and James Golding were third and fourth in other GRM cars.

Plans were announced later in the year for a three round Tasman Cup, reviving a revered competition won by some of the sport’s great names, for 2.5-litre and F5000 cars, from 1964-1975.

After the Covid induced cancellation of the Gold Coast 500 on the Surfers Paradise road course, the championship was contested over two rounds, at Sydney Motorsport Park and Mount Panorama.

There were three race winners at SMP, Tim Macrow, Roberto Merhi and Aaron Cameron.

Two French-American Onroak-Ligier built Ligier JS F3-S5000 chassis about to be mated to Ford Coyote V8s at Garry Rogers Motorsport in late 2019. In recent times, three years after creation of the class, ARG decided the completed assemblage of bits shall be referred to officially as the Rogers AF01/V8 Ford. Catchy ‘innit (S5000)
The versatile and very fast Aaron Cameron dives down The Mountain during his Tattslotto/Dodgem-car Bathurst weekend (D Kalisz)

A fortnight later the teams arrived at Mount Panorama for four races from November 30 to December 4. The last time a 5-litre V8 single seater raced at Bathurst was when Niel Allen’s McLaren M10B Chev F5000 set a longstanding lap record during the Easter 1970 weekend.

Open wheeler enthusiasts relished the prospect of Australia’s fastest racing cars – with their power reduced for the weekend by 85bhp to an FIA mandated 470bhp to meet the requirements of the circuit licence – doing battle on the ultimate road racing track.

Unfortunately, the large number of driver induced high speed accidents did little but prove the sound engineering of their racing/dodgem cars. At the end of the three-race-clusterfuck – the fourth and final race was abandoned – Aaron Cameron was presented with the Tasman Cup in a Lotto-type result devoid of karma.

Tim Macrow is a fabulous blend of speed and finesse to watch in these demanding cars. Here in his self-run, Chris Lambden owned Ligier at Phillip Island in March 2021. He won a round, together with Joey Mawson and Tom Randle that weekend (D Kalisz)
Mountain Straight freight train at Bathurst 2021 (D Kalisz)

Other names etched into that cup are Bruce McLaren, Jim Clark (three wins), Jackie Stewart, Chris Amon, Graeme Lawrence, Graham McRae (three wins), Peter Gethin and Warwick Brown.

The 2022 Gold Star is being held over six rounds between February and September, the Tasman Series comprises three rounds in October-November. In 2023 a Tasman round is planned for New Zealand, this is great to justify requisition of a revered name for a race series which was contested on both sides of The-Ditch (Tasman Sea).

I was lucky enough to see these fantastic cars race at Symmons Plains and perform demonstrations at Baskerville the week later, twelve months ago. In a perfect world there would be a set of rules and a mix of chassis and engine manufacturers, but as the Covid Alchemists continually prove, the world isn’t perfect. So, a mix of 15 or so identical 5.2-litre DOHC, four-valve, fuel injected Ford V8 powered, Ligier JS F3 chassis shakes the ground quite nicely for me.

Australian international, James Davison, Albert Park 2020 before the Covid plug was pulled (D Kalisz)
Tim Macrow about to exit stage left at Sandown’s first turn, September 2019. Tim won a heat, John Martin the other, Macrow won the meeting overall. Yellow nose is James Golding’s GRM machine (D Kalisz)

ARG are to be congratulated for the media coverage, Supercar Maxi-Taxis suck the life out of all other race categories in Oz, but S5000 got a fair crack of the whip.

The media includes photography by Daniel Kalisz, a mighty-talented young ‘snapper whose work is posted onto the S5000 Facebook page. This article is a tribute to his creativity, remember that name. Buy his work. I chose shots with panoramic backdrops devoid of grubby advertisers hoardings, Kalisz proves it can still be done, at some circuits anyway!

Southern Loop at Phillip Island must be a sphincter-puckering experience in these missiles. Bass Straight is the backdrop, next stop Tasmania, or perhaps King Island (D Kalisz)

Credits…

S5000 Group Facebook page

Tailpiece…

(D Kalisz)

On man, this shot by Kalisz! The wow factor when I saw and published it early in 2021 was mega. It is a beautifully composed and executed shot of Tom Randle at Baskerville, a stunning natural amphitheater just north of Hobart, Tasmania. My Oz shot of the year…

Finito…

(R Schlegelmilch)

David Walker lined up for the final of the Monaco F3 GP, May 22, 1971.

He won his heat and the final in a race which was something of a metaphor of an incredible season aboard his works Lotus 69 Novamotor-Ford 1.6. Giancarlo Naddeo, Tecno 69 Ford was second, and Patrick Depailler’s Alpine A360 Renault, third.

The grid that year also included Steve Thompson, Jean-Pierre Jabouille, Roger Williamson, Rikki Von Opel, David Purley, Bob Evans and Francois Migault.

Walker’s F3 year included wins at Silverstone and Cadwell Park in April, Brands Hatch, Zandvoort (Dutch GP F3 race) and Oulton Park in May, and Silverstone in June. Early July brought victory in the French Grand Prix support race at Paul Ricard. That month got better with a win at Croft which ensured the Sydneysider was razor-sharp over the British GP weekend at Silverstone, Walker also won that blue-riband support event.

But there was no break for the team, the following day he won the the Cadwell Park BARC British F3 Championship round. August yielded wins at Thruxton and Croft, while Mallory Park fell to Walker in September and Snetterton in October.

Dave Baldwin’s F3 Lotus 69 design (there were also F2, FB and FF 69s) had a spaceframe chassis based on his Lotus 59, disguised with the bodywork and beefed up front suspension of the 69 F2 car. 1.6-litre Novamotor Lotus Ford twin-cam, Kugelfischer injected via air restrictor Walker again at Monaco (R Schlegelmilch)
Oh-so-period cockpit! Leather bound wheel and a dash full of Smiths instruments. Wonderful. Monaco (R Schlegelmilch)

In one of the most dominant ever seasons of F3 racing Walker won most of the big races and two of the three British F3 Championships – the BRSCC/MCD and BARC – with Roger Williamson taking the other, the BRSCC/MCD Lombard.

For the sake of completeness, Walker’s season commenced with the ‘Torneio Internacional de Formula 3 do Brasil’ (Brazilian F3 championship) run at Interlagos and Taruma during January.

Dave raced his (1970) works Lotus 59A Ford to third, second, 12th and first in the four round series, placing third overall behind Wilson Fittipaldi and Giovanni Salvati in Lotus 59A, and Tecno TF70 respectively.

Walker, Lotus 59A Holbay Ford, (1-litre 100bhp ‘screamer’) Interlagos, Brazil, January (FL Viviani)

Walker was the most successful of the 1971 Gold Leaf Team Lotus drivers, Emerson Fittipaldi and Reine Wisell had a lean year in Grand Prix racing, Lotus failed to win a GP for the first time in over a decade.

F1 proved a much harder nut for Walker to crack, and that story is a good deal more nuanced than most pundits would have you believe…one for another time.

Walker during a much tougher 1972

Credits…

Rainer Schlegelmilch, Fabio Luiz Viviani, F2 Index, Allen Brown in Oldracingcars.com

Tailpiece…

Finito…

(S Van den Bergh )

It’s an interesting car badge, don’t you reckon?

One of our friends in Belgium, Stef Van den Bergh, bought it recently and wants to know more about it. ” I am curious who made it. I suppose it was Honda since Brabham isn’t even mentioned on the badge. How many were made and were they sold, or given as a present?”

So there is the challenge folks. Was it made by Honda, the Albi GP organisers or their merchandise people, or perhaps a ‘renegade’ wanting to cash in on Honda’s presence in F2 as well as Grand Prix racing?

The real McCoy – and below fitted to the nose of Denny Hulme’s Brabham BT18 at Montlhery in September 1966. That weekend Jack Brabham won from Jim Clark’s Lotus 44 Cosworth SCA with Denny third, having started from pole. That season, many races were Brabham-Hulme one-two’s

When Richie Ginther won the 1965 season – and 1.5-litre formula – ending Mexican Grand Prix, Honda bagged it’s first of many F1 successes.

Honda entered F2 with Brabham that year, see here for an earlier piece I wrote about this topic; ‘XXXII Grand Prix de Reims’ F2 3 July 1966: 1 Litre Brabham Honda’s… | primotipo…

Brabham raced a BT16 powered by S800 Honda engines at four meetings in March and April 1965; Silverstone, Oulton Park, Snetterton and at Pau with poor results. Honda set to work to produce an engine which wasn’t so peaky from May to August, then Brabham reappeared at the Oulton Park Gold Cup and the GP Albi later in September. He retired with clutch dramas at Oulton but was right on the pace at Albi, finishing second to Clark’s Lotus 35 Cosworth SCA by six-tenths of a second after nearly two-hours, and 309km of racing…Honda were in town!

1965 Honda RA300E F2 engine in a Brabham BT16 chassis : 1-litre (72×61.2mm – 996cc) all alloy, DOHC, four-valve, fuel injected circa 135bhp @ 10000rpm (1965 RA302E 150bhp @ 11000rpm) four cylinder engine. Weight 145kg (Brabham Family Archive)
Jack from Denny at Goodwood during the Sunday Mirror Trophy on April 11, 1966. Brabham BT18 Hondas one-two (Honda Racing)

The calibre and depth of F2 grids then is shown by looking at the Albi field, in order of finishing (or not); Jim Clark, Jack Brabham, Denny Hulme, Jochen Rindt, Alan Rees, Mike Spence, Frank Gardner, Bob Bondurant, Jo Schlesser, Jean Vinatier, Brian Hart, Trevor Taylor, Silvio Moser, Guy Ligier, Mike Beckwith, Graham Hill, Geki Russo, Peter Revson, Henry Grandshire, Eric Offenstadt, Ludovico Scarfiotti, Paul Hawkins and Richard Attwood. Five world champs, a couple of Indy winners, three Le Mans victors and two Can-Am Cup champions.

Ron Tauranac and Jack Brabham had plenty of balls in the air during 1965, apart from the usual manufacture of production racing cars and the running of works teams (Motor Racing Developments and Brabham Racing Organisation) in F2 and F1. They had nascent engine programs with Honda (F2) and Repco Brabham Engines (Tasman and F1), and in addition were helping Goodyear develop tyres which were critical to Brabham, MRD, BRO and RBE’s two 1966 F1 championship wins; the manufacturers and drivers championships.

Jack Brabham, Brabham BT16 Honda during practice for the cancelled BARC Senior Service Trophy at Silverstone on March 20, 1965. The race was cancelled due to excessive amounts of water – visible – on the circuit
Ron Tauranac at left with stopwatch board, and Jack attend to changes during practice at Montlhery during the September 11, 1966 weekend. Brabham BT21 Honda. Brabham won by three seconds from Jim Clark’s Lotus 44 Ford SCA with Hulme two seconds behind Jim

The European F2 Championship commenced in 1967, the first year of the 1.6-litre F2. Despite the lack of a title in 1966 (although Brabham won the six round French F2 Championship) Brabham Honda were absolutely dominant. Of 16 major races held in Europe, Brabham won 10; Goodwood, Pau GP, GP Barcelona, GP Limborg, the London Trophy at Crystal Palace, GP Reims, the Kanonloppet at Karlskoga, Finland GP, GP de L’ille France at Montlhery, and the GP Albi. Six of these events were Brabham Honda one-twos, with Denny bringing his car home behind his team-leader. Hulme won two races as well, the GP Rouen and Trophee Craven A on the Le Mans, Bugatti circuit.

Credits…

Stef Van den Bergh, F2 Index, Getty Images, Brabham Family Archive, Honda Racing, MotorSport

Tailpiece…

(MotorSport)

A couple of happy-chappies after the conclusion of the Pau GP on April 17, 1966. Jack and Denny finished in line astern aboard Brabham BT18 Hondas, with five-tenths of a second between them. Back in third, nearly 1 1/2 minutes adrift was Graham Hill in John Coombs’ Brabham BT16 BRM P80. Brabhams filled six of the top ten placings.

Finito…

(B Daley)

A Bill Daley photograph of Hawkesbury hill climb, circa 1948.

How many of these cars ran in an Australian Grand Prix, is the question which pops into my mind?

In the absence of a programme for the event, this classic study of racing cars taken at Hawkesbury Hillclimb has left the experts unable to identify all the cars; we call on our readers to fill the gaps.

The photograph came from the VSCCA (NSW) collection, per favore of Richard Walton. Note the spectating ladies with their handbags; they look as though they may have come straight from church.

Surprisingly, the owner of the Jowett Bradford van has been identified. John Medley says it belonged to Bob Pritchett – familiar to many of us as the ‘RBP’ of ‘Spotlight’ in Australian Motor Sports (R. Beal Pritchett). Kent Patrick describes the van as: “The bronchial Jowett Bradford – (which will) roll over with its engine stopped”. Within coughing distance to the right of the van is the unmistakeable shape of the Sulman Singer (#32) as it appeared pre-war in Tom Sulman’s hands. Kent speculates that the Riley, next in line (#28), might be Len Masser’s Lynx Sprite. I guess the next is a ubiquitous Ford A ute.

The nearest line of cars, backed up to the fence, pose some real problems. The car to the left of the tree is a mystery; the one to the right has an external exhaust on the left side – what is it? We then have the ex-Bill Thompson K3 MG (with bonnet open) – Kent suggests it might have been owned by Ken Tubman around this time. Ken was a graduate of Fort St School, a pharmacist, and is best remembered for winning the first Redex Round Australia Trial in a Peugeot 203. He still had the K3 in the sixties; we recall him bringing it to the Geelong Speed Trials as a spectator.

The first Grand Prix Bugatti with the folded full width windscreen is probably the Type 37 of Frank Lyell, chassis number 37160. This car had been discovered abandoned in a shed behind the Federal Hotel in Narromine a few short years before – it changed hands for 10 pounds! To its right is Type 37, chassis number 37209 owned by Irwin ‘Bud’ Luke, who was very competitive in the car; he finished seventh in the Australian Grand Prix at Leyburn in 1947. Kent thinks it might be Bud attending to the front wheel with his partner Ida at the rear of the car.

The touring bodied Bugatti bears elegant coachwork by Carrosserie Profilée and is chassis number 4264. It was probably owned by Doug Helsham and likely powered by a Chrysler Six. ‘Gelignite’ Jack Murray’s Day Special is next (second car from the right), a Ford V8 powered Type 39 Bugatti, chassis number 4607, which won the 1931 Australian Grand Prix driven by Carl Junker. The last parked car appears to be an Austin ‘7’ special, possibly Frank Lyell’s car. Of course, the car leaving the starting line (partially obscured at the bottom) is Frank Kleinig in his eponymous special.

Since writing this, Cummins Archive (Paul Cummins) have posted on Facebook a 1948 programme for Hawkesbury hillclimb. It is not ‘our event’ as the numbers on recognizable cars differ – viz. Sulman Singer 32 in the photo and 44 in the published programme. This programme might help with the identification of some of the other cars – could Riley number 28 be the Rizzo Riley and the last car, which appears to be an Austin ‘7’ special be that of Ted Ansell? The list of competitors, which is a virtual Who’s Who of immediately post-war NSW racing drivers, appears to confirm Kent Patrick’s suggestion that the K3 MG is that of Tubman – see his listing under ‘Additional Entries’.

(Cummins Archive)
(Cummins Archive)
(Cummins Archive)
(Cummins Archive)

Credits…

Bob King Collection, Cummins Archive via Paul Cummins

Finito…

(L Hemer)

If a 5-litre 500bhp McLaren M10B Chev F5000 is a Big Mac – it is – then a liddl’ 1.6-litre 210bhp F2 McLaren must be a Little Mac.

“Niel Allen in the perfect little McLaren M4A FVA, the sweetest sound I ever heard…in The Esses at Warwick Farm on Saturday afternoon, December 6, 1969,” and so say all of us Lynton Hemer!

Niel qualified fourth in this meeting, the final 1969 WF Gold Star round, and finished third behind the Bartlett/Stewart Alec Mildren Racing speedsters.

Chassis M4A/2 is a famous little jigger, driven with great success in the 1968 Tasman Series by Piers Courage. His giant-killing performances against the 2.5-litre cars – including a win at the Longford final round – pretty much re-launched a career which had stalled a bit; by the end of 1969 he had vaulted into the F1 Top Ten.

Niel Allen bought the M4A after Piers returned to Europe, doing well with it but also having a huge, high speed crash at Lakeside. Re-tubbed by John Joyce at Bowin Cars it also provided the platform for Warwick Brown to strut his stuff before he stepped up into…a Big Mac!

Some further reading, here on Courage at Longford; Longford Tasman: ‘South Pacific Trophy’ 4 March 1968 and Piers Courage… | primotipo… and here on the M4A in Euro F2 in 1967 The Wills ‘BARC 200’, F2 Silverstone, March 1967… | primotipo…

Credit…

Lynton Hemer

(L Hemer)

Finito…

Herbert Johnson were one of the preferred purveyors of bash-hats to racing’s elite in the pre-Buco, pre-Bell early-mid 1960’s era.

The company, founded in 1889, made its name for its silk-velvet top-hats. By the outbreak of World War 1 its output was dominated by the demands of the military. Goldie Gardner was the first racer to commission a ‘protective hat’ from then proprietor, Geoffrey Glazier. Stirling Moss was a later customer as demand for the firm’s race products grew.

(K Devine)

Lex Davison is shown so equipped at Caversham, near Perth in November 1962. It’s the Australian Grand Prix meeting, the four-times AGP winner is shown on the dummy-grid – looking very pucka in Herbie Johnson with British Racing Drivers Club badge on his overalls – about to jump aboard Len Lukey’s Ford Galaxie in a mixed touring/sportscar support race. The nose of the Elite belongs to Anthony Osborne.

Credits…

Ad from Motor Racing 1948-1949 BRDC Yearbook, Ken Devine

Tailpiece…

‘If yerv’ got a $10 head wear a $10 helmet’ was Bell’s compelling mid-sixties tagline. A mix of technology and innovation, quality, marketing and a great distribution network ensured the Bell Corporation did their bit to improve the safety of our sport. Dan Gurney’s Eagle depicted is his 1966-68 F1 Mk1 Weslake V12

Finito…