Posts Tagged ‘Australian Motor Racing History’

(A Robinson)

Andrew Robinson worked for Alec Mildren’s Pymble dealership for a number of years, starting as an apprentice motor mechanic in 1977 and was given these discarded photographs which span a decade of Alec Mildren Racing from about 1964 to 1972, many thanks to Andrew for sharing them with us, rolled gold they are too…

I have arranged them pretty much in chronological order- the cars themselves are easy enough to identify but in some cases I don’t know where they are, hopefully Kevin Bartlett or others can assist in that regard!

The first (above) is the Mildren Maserati sports-racer with Alec, long time Mildren race mechanic/engineer Glen Abbey and another dude checking out the car which appears brand new- note the XK150 and Mk2 Jaguars.

After speculating online that the locale was Glenn Abbey’s home in Avalon for a couple of days Kevin Bartlett’s memory kicked into gear ‘The penny has just dropped…its the “Railway Shed” where many of the cars were worked on. It was opposite the Mildren Pymble headquarters on the Pacific Highway alongside the Northern Railway (look closely at the top of the shot and you can see the railway track). I also remember building a pushrod Ford engine for a Brabham in the floor above the workshop. We ceased using it in 1967 when the cars were worked on behind the main building.’

The car was built by Bob Britton of Rennmax Engineering on his Lotus 19 jig around the core mechanical components of Alec’s 1960 Gold Star Championship winning Cooper T51 Maserati- suspension and brakes, Maserati T61 2.9 litre DOHC four cylinder engine and Colotti gearbox. The story of this car is told at the end of this lengthy piece on Alec; https://primotipo.com/2018/06/08/mildrens-unfair-advantage/

(A Robinson)

Beautiful shot of Alec and Marjorie Mildren, Frank Gardner, the tall Glenn Abbey, Bob Grange or Stuart Randall on the pit counter at Warwick Farm circa 1965.

Gardner’s pattern throughout the decade was to race in Europe in F1/F2/Sportscars/Touring cars and then return home in the summer time taking in the Hordern Trophy at Warwick Farm in December as a warm up for the Tasman Series in January, February and just into March against the best in the world before heading back to Europe.

Great work/life balance it seems to me!

(A Robinson)

Mildren Racing became outright Tasman Series contenders with the acquisition of a Brabham BT11A Coventry Climax 2.5 FPF before the 1965 series, the car is chassis number ‘IC-3-64’.

Here Alec at left, is sussing his new racer together with his son, Jeff Mildren and Glenn Abbey in late 1964, probably in the workshop over the road from Alfa Romeo Dealership at 970-980 Pacific Highway, Pymble on Sydney’s Upper North Shore.

The car was first raced in the 1965 Tasman Series opener, the New Zealand Grand Prix at Pukekohe, where he was second to Graham Hill’s identical, Scuderia Veloce machine. No doubt Frank gave it a whirl around the Farm before venturing to the Land of The Long White Cloud- he didn’t run at in the 6 December 1964 Hordern Trophy though, which means either he or the car, or both, were not in the country by then.

Note the the rear of a Hewland gearbox on the bench and rear springs missing from the Brabham at this point- no FPF either BTW. Checkout this article on the ‘Intercontinental’ Brabhams; https://primotipo.com/2018/07/20/matich-stillwell-brabhams-warwick-farm-sydney-december-1963/

The shot below is the same spaceframe chassis unclothed.

(A Robinson)

During 1965, after a very successful Tasman in which FG was equal fourth, Mildren was looking for a Tasman Series ‘Unfair Advantage’ for the coming year. ‘Everybody’ ran the Coventry Climax FPF which was becoming a bit long in the tooth, BRM planned to race their 1.5 litre F1 P261’s with the V8 taken out to about 1.9 litres and Repco announced they were to race their new 2.5 litre V8- which first fired a shot in the Doonside Street, Richmond Repco Engine Lab in March 1965 during the 1966 Tasman in advance of an assault on the F1 World Championship.

Alec found an exotic solution via his old buddies at Maserati.

He was a Maserati dealer and had impeccable connections within the racing side of the company by virtue of his successful Gold Star tilt, Maserati powered in 1960, and so it was he obtained a 2.5 litre Maserati Tipo 58 (250F T2) quad cam, two valve, six-Weber carbed, circa 310bhp V12 which had been lying around Modena since Officine Maserati tested and occasionally raced V12 versions of the 250F in 1957. Fangio won the last of his five F1 championships racing six-cylinder 250Fs that year of course.

(A Robinson)

The engine was shipped to Sydney where it was married to the team’s BT11A ‘IC-3-64’- our friend above, the frame of which was lengthened more than a smidge to suit, a bell-housing was cast to mate the engine to a Hewland HD5 gearbox and away Gardner went in practice for the 1966 Warwick Farm 100- the photo above is on that very day, 12 February 1966.

Frank and Kevin Bartlett tested the car at Oran Park early in the summer, the engine blew, the machine had plenty of power but its delivery- exactly as JM Fangio and Jean Behra experienced in their 250F’s when they tested (and raced in Behra’s case at Monza) them so equipped in 1957, was either ‘on or off’ so Frank raced his Climax engined BT11A ‘IC-2-64’ at the Farm instead, he was third behind Clark’s Lotus 39 Climax and Graham Hill’s BRM P261.

This latter BT11A was the machine Bib Stillwell used to win his final Gold Star in 1965 which was then acquired by Alec when Bib retired, for Frank to use in the NZ Tasman rounds whilst Stu Randall rebuilt the Maserati engine with bits flown in from Italy and re-fitted it to BT11A chassis ‘IC-3-64’ for Frank to use at Warwick Farm, the first Australian Tasman round.

Tested again in practice at Sandown a fortnight later, the Brabham Maserati was put away when the engine blew again and that was that, what became of the engine is uncertain.  BT11A ‘IC-3-64’ was converted back to Climax spec and raced with much success by Kevin Bartlett in 1966, 1967 and the ‘68 Tasman. Meanwhile ‘IC-2-64’ was sold to Kiwi Kerry Grant but not before Bartlett and Jackie Stewart had a ding-dong of a dice in these two BT11A’s at Surfers Paradise in mid-1966, see here;

https://primotipo.com/2015/02/13/jackie-stewart-at-surfers-paradise-speed-week-1966-brabham-bt11a-climax-and-ferrari-250lm/

There is more to the Brabham Maserati story, lots more, but you will have to wait a few weeks whilst I finish a feature…For now salivate about an amazing engineering sidebar in Tasman History- truly a great mighta-been from the little team in Sydney.

(A Robinson)

From one rare beastie to the next.

This time the Mildren Alfa Romeo, not ‘The Sub’ mind you but the first Mildren Alfa, the lesser known one.

Another Bob Britton built car, this one was constructed on Britto’s Brabham BT23 jig and fitted with an uber-rare Alfa Romeo 1.6 litre, four valve, fuel injected European F2 engine and 5-speed Hewland FT200 transmission, both of which are clear as a bell in the shot above.

The car made its race debut driven by Kevin Bartlett at Warwick Farm on 8 September 1968- it raced in Alfa engined form a miniscule number of times before the very first of Merv Waggott’s TC-4V engines was popped into the back of the chassis and raced by Max Stewart who joined the team alongside KB with effect from the start of 1969.

The tale of ‘Max’s’ car is long, successful and slightly tortuous with the appearance of a second chassis, the provenance of which is not in doubt,  in the last decade or so, but is not for now- i did write a ‘quickie’ about it a while back though; https://primotipo.com/2018/05/29/singapore-sling/

(A Robinson)

Speak of the devil, there is the man himself, Max Stewart corner-weighting the Mildren Waggott as it then was in 1969 or 1970.

You can just see the front corner of a ‘105’ Alfa at far left, the race truck out the doorway and the rear of the chassis of Kevin Bartlett’s Mildren ‘Yellow Submarine’ just left of Maxxies midriff.

(A Robinson)

Speak of the other devil, there is KB at Warwick Farm in the ‘Yellow Submarine’ Mildren Waggott TC-4V.

With that circuit, livery, helmet and engine I wouldn’t mind betting the shot was taken during the 7 December 1969 Hordern Trophy Gold Star meeting, KB won the race upon the debut of the 2 litre Waggott engine, what say you Mr Bartlett? Max was second in the 1.6 litre Mildren Waggott and Niel Allen third in his ex-Courage McLaren M4A Ford FVA.

Both these Mildrens are iconic in the pantheon of Australian motor racing, ditto the drivers and entrant.

(A Robinson)

A couple of Mildren Waggott, Max Stewart, Warwick Farm compare and contrasts.

The shot above circuit, livery, bodywork and helmet suggests probably the 1969 Hordern Trophy meeting too whereas the one below is during 1971 by which time Max had acquired the car from Alec, still in the same livery and with support from Seiko- it was the year in which Max ‘nicked’ his first Gold Star from the F5000 fellas, brittle things that they were.

The photo is during the September Hordern Trophy Gold Star race in which Max was third behind KB’s McLaren M10B Chev and Leo Geoghegan’s Lotus 59B Waggott TC-4V.

(A Robinson)

Whilst the unreliability of Kevin Bartlett’s McLaren M10B Chev cost KB the 1971 Gold Star Max had to get with the F5000 strength and bought an Elfin MR5 Repco-Holden which he first campaigned during the 1972 Tasman Series.

Note the retention of Seiko still and the Mildren Yellow colour (take my word for it) despite the commercial relationship between Alec and Max being at an end, Alec Mildren Racing ceased after the conclusion of the 1971 Tasman Series.

(A Robinson)

Here the car is on the grid of the Warwick Farm 100 Tasman round with Teddy Pilette’s Racing Team VDS McLaren M10B Chev alongside in February 1972.

Max didn’t have a happy race, his Repco engine broke its crank after 8 laps whereas Teddy was seventh, the race was won by Frank Matich’s Matich A50 Repco from Frank Gardner, Lola T300 Chev and Kevin Bartlett, McLaren M10B Chev.

Max became an F5000 star of course in a succession of cars- the Elfin and three Lola’s are covered in this article here; https://primotipo.com/2017/10/24/maxwells-silver-hammer/

Credits…

Andrew Robinson Collection, Kevin Bartlett, oldracingcars.com

Tailpiece…

(A Robinson)

Patron Mildren, Glenn Abbey and Don Baker (of Brabham/Dolphin and other such fame) at Warwick Farm- perhaps this shot too is over the 1969 Hordern Trophy weekend…

Finito…

The Arthur Barnes driven TH. Schneider broke the Adelaide-Melbourne record with a time of 12 hours 10 minutes for the wild ride over a very rough roads on 11 April 1925…

Sydney motorist AH Barnes was accompanied by J W (William) McCulloch, in the 25.5 hp French six-cylinder 4.5 litre machine. It was national news, this advertisement was placed in the Sydney Morning Herald on 20 May 1925.

The same car, engine number #29, set a Broken Hill-Adelaide record of 8 hours 3 minutes for that 336 mile journey, an average of 42 mph, on 19 August 1925, ‘speeds of more than 100 mph were attained along the route’- that record was previously held by an Amilcar.

Three veteran and six vintage TH. Schneider chassis are known to have been imported to Australia through agents in South Australia and Victoria- George H Booth and Thomas Mitchell and Co-pre-War, and Domain Motors/Kellow-Falkiner Pty Ltd-both post-war, respectively in each state.

The two photographs below show the 25.5 hp TH. Schneider (variously TH. Schneider, Th. Schneider and both of these without the full-stop- I have used the variant on the badge below) out front of Geo Booth’s premises in Adelaide after the Broken Hill to Adelaide run on 19 August 1925. The crew was again Barnes as driver and McCulloch the mechanic.

George Booth of 411 King William Street Adelaide and Domain Motors of 348 St Kilda Road in Melbourne were the agents for the cars at the time and of course sponsors of the successful record attempts.

(SLSA)

 

(SLSA)

Theophile Schneider first entered the motor industry in partnership with Edouard Rochet to build the Rochet-Schneider at Lyon in 1894, he then moved to a factory in Besancon, east France near the Swiss border to build cars on his own- his first was an 1850cc four cylinder machine with a radiator behind the bonnet, a style later popularised by Renault.

These first ‘Schneiders, fitted with engines from 10 to 35hp were raced circa 1912-1914, the best result second place in the June 1912 Grand Prix de l’Automobile Club de France held on a course based at Dieppe, the car was driven by Rene Croquet with riding mechanic Rene Champoiseau.

After converting to manufacture of components for the war effort the company resumed car production post-war and changed its structure to that of a limited stock company, the record-run car is a type 21.20.1, 25.5hp six cylinder, 4480cc six cylinder, for speed manual with a solid front axle, live rear axle fitted with semi-elliptic springs and two rear wheel brakes, the wheelbase was 3505mm

Three of this model were imported into Australia by Domain Motor Body Builders/Domain Motors. At 1950 pounds they were nearly twice as expensive as the 4.5 litre Bentley of the day, Domain Motors ceased business around July 1926 at a time Th. Schneider themselves were in deep financial trouble at home, having been declared bankrupt in November 1921.

The reputation of the marque allowed the company to trade profitably through the mid-twenties, re-entering racing inclusive of participation at Le Mans in 1926- Pierre Tabourin and Auguste Lefranc were sixth in a 1954cc 25SP and in 1927 when Robert Poitier and Pierre Tabourin DNF accident in a 25SP.

‘White House Crash’ aftermath- the #2 d’Erlanger/Duller Bentley Sport 3 litre at left and #1 Clement/Callingham Bentley 4.5 litre at right- ditto photograph below (unattributed)

 

(unattributed)

The Tabourin driven TH. Schneider is infamous amongst Bentley enthusiasts as the cause of the ‘White House Crash’ which involved three Bentleys. At dusk Tabourin approached the corner too fast, lost control and hit a building close to the road coming to rest and partially blocking the track, Leslie Callingham, following closely, swerved to avoid him and ended up in a ditch on the opposite side of the road, George Duller then hit Callingham, and then Benjafield too hit Callingham in avoidance of Tabourin- Benjafield was able to continue but the race was well over for the other three machines.

No-one was seriously injured but Pierre Tabourin was taken to hospital with broken ribs, the #12 ‘Schneider driven by Chanterelle/Schlitz withdrew from the race out of respect for the injured Tabourin. In a happy ending for Bentley Benjafield and Sammy Davis won the race in the Sport 3 litre ‘old number 7’.

Problems in 1928 led to a second bankruptcy in March 1929 and closure of the Besancon factory doors in early 1930- right in The Great Depression of course.

TH. Schneider’s assets were acquired by French company Societe SADIM, the name continued but was applied to caterpillar tractors- World War 2 saw the end of a once proud marque.

Meanwhile, back in Australia, the insolvency sale of Domain’s assets resulted in four Ansaldos, three Ansaldo chassis and ‘four brand new latest model Schneiders’, of which one was the record breaking car- number ’29’ the other a new DS six cylinder 25hp model changing hands.

The record breaker, which John Bisley has (as of 2015) was never bodied, it was acquired by Watts McNamara and went from Myrtleford to Griffith in 1927- where it remained for most of its life. If any of you can fill in the ownership details of the car since it arrived in Australia please get in touch.

The record breaker at the Cockburn Hotel, in South Australia, not far from Broken Hill near the South Australia-New South Wales border (Richard C)

 

(unattributed)

Even though the cars were small in number in Australia, motorsport was used in attempts to build the brand inclusive of an entry in Australian Grand Prix where a 2 litre TH. Schneider driven by Ernest King contested the 1929 event held on the daunting, dusty, undulating and fast Phillip Island road circuit- King failed to finish having lost a wheel on lap 17 of the race won by Arthur Terdich’s Bugatti T37A.

The photograph above shows King contesting a hillclimb at Wheelers Hill in Melbourne’s outer east in June 1928, six months prior to the 1929 AGP- Th. Schneider 2 litre 25SP.

‘Schneider’s motorsport participation in Australia extended to the reliability trials which were popular at the time and of which I have written in the past. In March 1927, a 7hp car was first in class and fifth outright in a field of about forty cars- the driver was AGP winner Arthur Terdich as below.

(unattributed)

Etcetera…

(unattributed)

Rene Croquet and Rene Champoiseau aboard their TH. Schneider during the second day of the 1912 French Grand Prix on 26 June- the road race comprised 20 laps of a 77km course based in Dieppe, a total of 1540km.

Contestants raced over 10 laps on each day with the results aggregated to produce a winner.

Georges Boillot won in a Peugeot from Louis Wagner’s Fiat S74 and Victor Regal in a Sunbeam with Rene seventh, Rene Champoiseau raced another TH. Schneider but retired.

 

Credits…

SLSA- State Library of South Australia, thschneider.wordpress.com, prewarcar.com, Richard C, F2Index

Tailpiece…

The site of Domain Motors business premises at 348 St Kilda Road- a nice spot right opposite The Shrine of Remembrance, next door to the French Consulate which is apt! and not too far from Albert Park Lake, for international readers, is now, in the best Australian tradition, a block of luxury apartments…

Finito…

(M de Lang)

No Australian racer comes close to owning and racing as many interesting cars as Bob Jane…

The tough nut from Brunswick developed a used car business initially, and shortly thereafter took on new car franchises before creating ‘specialist tyre retailing’ in this country- Bob Jane T-Marts are as iconic now as they were novel in the late sixties when Jane initially rolled the arm over with what was a new concept here.

Bob was the embodiment of ‘living life to the full’, he did not die guessing. Calder Park’s owner collected wives with as much enthusiasm as he did racing cars but found that they are not as easy to unload as last years Holden, the complications of his various ‘families’ screwed the later decades of his life comprehensively, which was a great shame as someone who gave much to many.

Big hitters. Niel Allen, Bob Jane and Frank Matich in Matich’s Firestone Racing Tyres tent at Sandown, circa 1967/8 at a guess. The vented guard belongs to Bob’s Elfin 400 Repco (M Kyval)

I’m not suggesting the man was perfect i might add, but in a motor racing sense he put far more into the sport than he ever took out.

This series of paintings were commissioned of Martin de Lang to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of Bob and Harry Firth’s Ford Cortina GT, Bathurst 500 win in 1963. I’ve set them more or less in the chronological order Bob raced them, there were plenty more Jane owned racing cars than this though, check out the list at the end of the article.

The painting at the article’s outset shows Bob’s Maserati 300S in front of his great mate, Lou Molina’s Molina Monza Holden-Repco from Doug Whiteford’s Maserati 300S and then Bill Pitt’s Jaguar D Type at Albert Park on 23 November 1958- Bob and Lou are about to be lapped by the other duo during the 32 lap, circa 100 mile Victorian Tourist Trophy won by Whiteford from Ron Phillips’ Cooper Jaguar and Pitt, Bob was fifth and Lou unplaced.

(K Drage)

In the beginning.

Kevin Drage’s shot of Bob is at Fishermans Bend on the race debut of his ex-works 300S ‘3059’ in October 1958. Doug Whiteford and Jane (in Bob’s case after Reg Smith had it briefly first) acquired the Officine Maserati cars raced by Jean Behra ‘3055’, and Stirling Moss ‘3059’ during the 1956 Australian Grand Prix/Australian Tourist Trophy weekends in late 1956.

Bob was initially rough and ready in it, even inspiring Reg Hunt to move his boat further out into Albert Park Lake to keep it out of harms way- he did get the hang of this racing caper mind you. Stephen Dalton’s first competition outing for Bob Jane, he believes, was in a Ford Customline at Hepburn Springs hillclimb in October 1956. See here for an article on the 300S;

https://primotipo.com/2015/05/15/bob-jane-maserati-300s-albert-park-1958/

(B Jane)

Another shot of Bob at Albert Park on the same weekend depicted in the opening painting. In a decade of stunningly beautiful racing cars as curvaceous as Sophia Loren, surely the 300S is up there for the title of the prima-donna sportscar of the fifties?

 

(M de Lang)

Jane’s locally developed Appendix J Jaguar Mk2, ultimately raced at 4.1 litres, won his first couple of Australian Touring Car Championships (ATCC) in the days the title was decided in one race- in 1962 at Longford and 1963 at Mallala.

See the article here about the car; https://primotipo.com/2014/10/20/australian-touring-car-championship1962-longford-tasmania-battle-of-the-jag-mk2s/

Warwick Farm circa 1962 (J Psaros)

 

(M de Lang)

The factory Jaguar E Type Lightweight didn’t make a lot of sense given the way it fitted into our local class structure at the time, and given the lack of endurance events in Australia of the type for which the car was built, but who can argue with the beauty and spectacle it provided all the same. Mind you, Bob did win the one race Australian GT Championship at Calder in December 1963, I rather suspect 10 miles could not really be characterised as an endurance event.

This machine, like Bob’s 300S and D Type, he retained for decades but was ultimately sold, global cars that they are- all left Australia, which is a bummer.

(B Miles)

Spencer Martin with the white helmet in hand, John Sawyer and Bob leaning on the delicate aluminium panels of his car at Lakeside before the start of a heat of the Australian Tourist Trophy in 1965- Ron Thorp’s AC Cobra is on the row behind. See here for a piece on Bob’s E Types, he had a couple, as one does; https://primotipo.com/2018/04/15/perk-and-pert/

 

(M de Lang)

Whilst Jane raced single seaters and won in sportscars he was most formidable in all types of touring cars from Series Production machines such as the Cortina GT in which he won at Bathurst in 1963 together with Harry Firth, through to the animal savagery of the Chev Monza Sports Sedan shown further on.

The Jane/Firth pair won three of these 500 mile production car enduros on the trot, the first was the 1961 Armstong 500 at Phillip Island aboard an ‘Autoland’ Mercedes Benz 220SE-they then followed up in a ‘works’ Ford Falcon XL in 1962.

 

Harry Firth behind the wheel of the winning Cortina GT, Murrays Corner, Mount Panorama 1963- that’s Max Volkers in a FoMoCo Cortina 1500 behind (unattributed)

In 1963 the event moved to Mount Panorama as the ‘Islands track surface was too badly damaged by the ’62 event to continue to stage the race- in fact racing came to an end there until Len Lukey bought the facility circa 1964, reopening it in 1967. At Bathurst they won in a ‘works’ Ford Cortina GT.

In 1964 Jane won again in a ‘works’ Cortina GT but this time shared the drive with George Reynolds- all of these ‘factory Fords’ were prepared by Harry Firth and his team in his ‘Marne Garage’ on the corner of Burke and Toorak Roads, Glen Iris in Melbourne’s twee inner east.

 

(unattributed)

Jane’s first 1965 Ford Mustang was locally developed with plenty of goodies bought over the counter in the US, it met an untimely end at Catalina Park in an accident the young entrepreneur was extremely lucky to walk away from.

The shot above shows it in rude good health at Warwick Farm entering Pit Straight, whereas it is in its death throes in Martin’s painting below, 7 November 1965.

(M de Lang)

 

 

(unattributed)

She is well and truly rooted- the angle from the other side is worse but I don’t have a clear, sharp shot from there to pop up. It was a case of pull all the good bits off and start again- Bob is clear with the white blotch on his head, I think its a flaw in the photo rather than Nurse Ratched gone berserk with bandages.

‘Cripes, its gunner need more than bog to fix this lot!’

RF Jane with Nomex shirt reflects upon the remains of a Mustang which was pristine ten minutes before. Leo Geoghegan looks on from behind whilst Bob Jane Racing Chief John Sawyer ponders gathering up the pile of shrapnel and popping it into the truck before the long trip back to Melbourne.

 

(M de Lang)

Bob certainly had a penchant for Mustangs, this is his second, a 1967 GT fitted with a big-block 390cid V8 and also raced later with small-block engines.

It met its maker when Chris Brauer had a very nasty career ending accident in it at Lakeside in 1970. Bob replaced this one with the 1968 Shelby built Trans-Am factory car, it still exists in the US.

The livery and specifications of this car evolved a lot over a short space of time not least driven by the needs of ever widening tyres with the photograph below in the machines at Warwick Farm in 1967.

(B Williamson)

If any Mustang enthusiast can give me details of the evolution of this car’s specifications from 1967 to 1970 please get in touch and i will add them in.

Jane is blasting across the top of Mount Panorama in de Lang’s photo above at a guess, whereas in the photograph below he is exiting Hell Corner, after a change to Shell colours, circa 1967. Perhaps this photo is a Shell shot given the background. The grille evolved to a simpler, later look too making identification of the car and year tricky, especially in monochrome!

(unattributed)

 

(M de Lang)

Pure touring car sex on wheels. Moffat’s Trans-Am, Foley’s GTaM and this John Sheppard built LC Holden Torana GTR-XU1 Repco ‘620’ 4.4 V8 Sports Sedan are my favourite Taxis.

This jigger was brilliant in conception and exquisite in the detail of its execution right down to the ‘standard interior trim’ and an engine compartment which looked as though it was made for a Repco V8 rather than an inline-six. The art shows Bob at Hume Weir circa 1971.

Just brilliant, not to forget the shedload of races Bob and John Harvey won in the thing circa 1970-1972. Bob should be shot for allowing Frank Gardner to commit automotive rape upon the little sweetie when he shoved a 5 litre Chev into it in 1975- although FG did squeeze an extra season up front despite said atrocity…

Warwick Farm, 5 September 1971 (L Hemer)

CAMS took exception to the wing, which was fair enough, it was outside the rules, but didn’t it look even more of a menace in this specification?

Extant but not likely to see the light of day until someone with very deep pockets scoops it up- there is a bit about this car in this article about McCormack’s Charger Repco and Sports Sedans more generally; https://primotipo.com/2015/06/30/hey-charger-mccormacks-valiant-charger-repco/

 

(M de Lang)

Didn’t Jane put the cat amongst the pidgeons with this Chev Camaro ZL1 427 ally blocked weapon! The painting depicts the car at Dandenong Road corner, Sandown 1971.

Looking at it reminds me of the spectacle of ‘full on body contact’ between Bob and Allan Moffat’s Mustang Trans-Am in 1971-2. Bob won the ATCC in 1971 with the big fella fitted and when shafted by CAMS, who changed the rules to eliminate the 427 motor, stuck it up the regulator and won again fitted with the ‘liddl 350 cast iron engine in 1972.  ‘Nice one’, i thought at the time, plenty of lawyers improved their billings for the year by being involved in some serious litigation between RF Jane and the CAMS down the decades.

(unattributed)

Ere we go again…

Did Moffat lose it or did Bob give him a Rock Hudson to assist?

With the splendour of Springvale ‘Triple Fronted Brick Vanilla Slices’- 1950’s cream brick-veneer houses of the type I was brought up in, in the background, Moffat and Jane engage in a territorial dispute under brakes into Sandown’s Dandenong Road- meanwhile Graham ‘Tubby’ Ritter takes avoiding action at right. Cooper S pilot folks? Jane won this race.

‘I still don’t know if he hit the Armco?’ quipped Lynton Hemer @ the precision of this particular apex, 9 July 1972 (L Hemer)

 

(M de Lang)

The HQ Holden Monaro GTS 350 started life as an Improved Tourer in late 1972- its race debut was in John Harvey’s hands that year at Surfers Paradise, but morphed into a most formidable Sports Sedan when Group C replaced Improved Touring as the class to which the ATCC was run from 1973- Pat Purcell modified the car further as the Sports Sedan rules allowed.

Another Sheppo built car originally, it raced in Bob’s hands until 1978 and still exists restored to its original form, the art depiction is probably Oran Park whilst noting the signage isn’t correct.

(B Keys)

Nice and close at ‘Torana’ as it then was or ‘Peters’ as it originally was, corner at Sandown circa 1974/5.

Bob has the Monaro tucked inside John Pollard who has given the faster car room in his Holden Torana L34.

Hallmarks of all of Jane’s cars, whoever was Boss Cocky of the team at the time was the immaculate standard of presentation and preparation. I’ve always been fond of the look of HQ’s, surely one of the most harmonious and fully resolved of all of GMH’s styling exercises- lowered and with plenty of wheel and tyre under the ample guards they were/are mighty fine looking road cars with this beast, and Mal Ramsay’s HQ Kingswood Repco visual delights as racing cars.

 

(M de Lang)

One can easily imagine the excitement around the Jane transporter at race meetings circa 1971 with their bit of the paddock occupied by the Camaro, Torana, Brabham BT36 Waggott 2 litre and this McLaren M6B Repco ‘740’ V8 5 litre- which won a pair of Australian Sportscar Championships in 1971 and 1972.

Excitement around the Bob Jane transporter, or Shell tent anyway, circa 1965. Nose of the Mk2 Jag at left, first Mustang, E Type Lwt and nose of the Elfin Mono at right (M Kyval)

The story of this thing, one of the best looking Can-Am cars ever built, is told here; https://primotipo.com/2019/10/16/sex-on-wheels/ ,the art is of Bob at the wheel, circuit who knows, it could be anywhere, whereas the shot below is of Bob giving John Harvey a lift just after Harves won the Symmons Plains round of the 1972 ASCC- and the championship itself.

(E French)

 

Who could ignore Sports Sedans, even as a devout open-wheeler woofda, with savage beasts like this thing providing quite a show.

Watching Bob drive this car was magic, seeing Peter Brock race it after Bob retired was sensational- he teased everything out of Pat Purcell’s magnificent racer, another painting at Sandown’s Dandenong Road corner.

(C Parker)

Chris Parker caught all the heavies on the grid at Calder August 1982- Australian GT Championship round 6, heat 1- Alan Jones won every race of the nine round championship.

Alan Jones is on pole in the Porsche Cars Australia Porsche 935 alongside Peter Brock in Jane’s Monza, on the row two is Jim Richards’ black BMW 318i turbo and alongside him Tony Edmondson’s Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV Chev and then the white Colin Bond driven PCA Porsche 944 GTR turbo- on his inside is Rusty French’ Porsche 935. On the back row on the inside is Brad Jones’ Mercedes SLC and on this side the Bob Jolly Holden Commodore. They really were the most exciting grids of things at the time even if the 935’s rained on everybody else’s parade…

Everything about this car was big! Originally built by a team led by Pat Purcell it was raced by Bob from 1980, then rebuilt by Pat and Les Small before being raced by Peter Brock in 1982/3, then Allan Grice raced it in 1984 to an Australian GT Championship and then Bryan Thomson to the title the following year. It morphed into a Toyota Supra in 1989- where is it now? Click here for a summary of the car; http://www.scharch.org/Cars/Monza_Racecars/Cars_MonzaAU_Purcell-Jane.htm

(B Jane)

Peter Brock awaits the start at Calder circa 1983- the formidable size of the car evident in this shot- 6 litre Chev V8 upfront and a transaxle at the rear.

Etcetera…

The list of cars Bob owned and raced, or were raced for him by others is as below. It isn’t complete, it’s out of my head, i am happy to add others to the ‘good stuff’, no road cars only racers he owned…

Sportscars

Maserati 300S, Jaguar D Type, Jaguar E Type 3.8 FHC, Jaguar E Type Lwt, Elfin 400 Repco 4.4, McLaren M6B Repco 5 litre

Single-seaters

Elfin T100 ‘Mono’ Ford twin-cam 1.5, Brabham BT11A Climax 2.5, Brabham BT23E Repco V8 2.5, Jane Repco V8 2.5, Brabham BT36 Waggott TC-4V 2 litre, Bowin P8 Repco-Holden F5000, Ralt RT4 Ford BDA F Pac, McLaren M26 Chev F5000

Tourers

Ford Customline, Holden ‘Humpys’, Jaguar Mk2 4.1, Mercedes Benz 220SE, Ford Falcon XK, Fiat 2300, Lotus Cortina, Ford Mustangs- three of em- 1965, 1967 and 1968 Shelby Trans-Am, Ford Falcon GT ‘XR’, Chev Camaro ZL1, Holden Torana GTR-XU1 Repco 4.4, Holden Torana GTR-XU1 Series Prod/Group C, Holden Monaro GTS 350 Imp Tourer/Sports Sedan, Holden Monaro GTS 350 Series Prod, Chev Monza, BMW 635Csi, Holden Torana L34, Holden Torana A9X, two Mercedes Cosworth 190. In addition there were numerous ‘Thunderdome’ thingies

Not bad is it- in one lifetime.

The ‘Jane Estate’- those two words are a catch-all of ‘Jane Family individuals, corporate entities and trusts’, i think, still own the Brabham BT11A, Ralt RT4 and McLaren M6B. I am happy to take advice from those who have the facts rather than ‘i reckon’…

Image and other Credits…

Martin de Lang- artist, Stephen Dalton

Mike Kyval, Kevin Drage, Bill Miles, Chris Parker, Jock Psaros, Ellis French, Lynton Hemer, Bruce Keys, Bob Williamson Collection, Bob Jane Heritage Collection

Tailpiece…

(M de Lang)

Peter Brock in the Porsche 956 he shared with Larry Perkins at Silverstone and Le Mans in 1983- didn’t this ‘Aussies taking on the world attack’ capture us all at the time.

It symbolises a few things not least Bob’s world view and a couple of blokes in a very long list Jane supported from the early sixties…

Finito…

(P Coleby)

Ray Porteous’ JMW leads the John Fleming Austin 7 Spl at Darley, Queens Birthday weekend June 11 to 13 1960…

Darley Army Base, 8km from Bacchus Marsh is a reasonably obscure motor racing venue so Hugh Coleby’s upload of some photographs from his late  father, Peter Coleby’s collection on social media is hugely welcome. Gordon Dobies’s contribution in identifying the cars and drivers is gold too ‘one of the advantages of being old enough to have raced at those meetings and never throwing anything away’ he quipped.

The Preston Motorcycle Club conducted the meeting, whilst I have vaguely heard of the place I thought it was a ‘bikes only venue- clearly that is not so, members of the 250cc and 500cc car clubs were also invited along.

Bacchus Marsh was a tiny rural hamlet when I played in some tennis tournaments there as a kid, I still remember the wonderful lawn courts and Avenue of Honour as you drive into the town which is 60km from Melbourne on the Western Highway- the main road from Melbourne to Adelaide for you internationals.

These days its a big commuter town to Melbourne but when the 4000 members of 4th Infantry Training Brigade, the U.S Marines and others occupied the place they must have wondered what they had struck, Bacchus Marsh let alone Darley would have been microscopic!

Australian, American and Dutch (from the Dutch East Indies/Indonesia) soldiers trained at the camp located on a plateau with rolling hills in the background, before being shipped overseas many of them marryied local gals, the area was used for Citizen Military Force (remember the CMF?) training until the 1970’s.

(AIF)

 

Rifle training at Darley, trusty Lee Enfield 303’s by the look (AIF)

 

(AIF)

Robert Thompson wrote that his late grandfather, Lou Thompson built the camp in 1939- Thompson and Chalmers Pty Ltd took on Simmie & Co as an associate on the large project, Darley Military Camp had over 360 buildings including recreation huts, a Post Office and a 68 bed hospital on 160 hectares of land located at Camerons Road.

When the military moved out post-war most of the infrastructure went as well inclusive of buildings, but, critically, the roads remained, the site soon came to the attention of the Preston Motorcycle Club who were eagerly looking for a venue on which to race.

Ray Porteous, Austin 7 Spl (P Coleby)

 

Extreme narrowness of Darley evident in many of these shots, this one the start of the 1959 Junior A Grade- L>R Eric Hinton AJS 7R, #64 Owen Archibald Norton, #82 Ron Miles Norton, #1 Tom Phillis Norton, #2 Jack Ahearn Velocette. On row 2 are #25 Ray Blackett and Geoff Curley #14 (E Miller)

Working bees of club members soon filled trenches left by the removal of cabling, re-coated the road surface, cleared scrub and removed junk left behind by retreating military forces. By late 1947 the place was ship-shape with the first meeting held on 29 February 1948- the Hartwell and Kew clubs were invited along to join in the fun.

Open meetings soon followed, ‘the main straight, which had a left-hand kink in the middle, was only as wide as a two lane road, while the rest of the rack was even narrower. It made for shoulder to shoulder racing on solos and even closer encounters on outfits’ recorded Old Bike Australia.

Peeling off the Main Straight (Camerons Road) is #8 Alan Osborne, Honda and Tom Phillis Ducati in 1959 (MCN)

 

John Hartnett, Cooper Jap 497cc 1960 (P Coleby)

The Preston club guys were happy to hold a couple of well run meetings a year, fitting many races onto the card without chasing the major titles such as the Australian Tourist Trophy with all of the stars of the day racing there- Frank Mussett, Maurie Quincey, Bert Flood, Jack Ahearn, Keith Brien, Max Stephens, Rex Tilbrook, Alan Wallis, Ken Rumble, Kel Carruthers and others with Quincey the ‘local ace’ in the mid-fifties- he switched to cars later in life remember folks, an ANF2 Elfin 600B Ford twin-cam springs to mind. Max Stephens was another who tried four wheels, he owned and raced the ex-Brabham Cooper T40 Bristol, with some success out of Tasmania.

Easter Monday meetings were common early, the club then settled into a mid-year date on the Kings/Queens Birthday weekend which was usually a frosty, wet experience for both the riders and the punters. The Preston guys were also innovative in running the first one hour race for production machines during the June 1959 program.

Over the years various high profile car racers had a crack at the lap record,  Reg Hunt’s Maserati 250F did a 1:14.1 in 1955 which was bested by multiple Australian Hillclimb Champion Bruce Walton aboard a Cooper Mk9 JAP 1 litre twin in 1960 with a 1:10.8. At that stage the quickest of the bikes was the 1:13.5 achieved by both Eric Hinton and Tom Phillis.

Maurie Quincey and Matchless G80 (C or CS?) on the Darley grid, rider of #1 more interested in the babe behind than the race start!

And below is Quincey aboard an Elfin 600B Ford twin-cam during the 1971 Sandown Tasman meeting, it was after some involuntary aerobatics in this car at Sandown at about this time that he called it quits on his competition career.

By then Maurie was in his late thirties, well after his international bike racing career, inclusive  Isle of Man appearances and running a successful Honda dealership in Moonee Ponds, Melbourne. He died on July 19, 2019 six months ago- see a very interesting article about Maurie here; https://www.oldbikemag.com.au/maurie-quincey-victorian-dominator/

(L Hemer)

 

Maurie Quincey on Bray Hill during the 1955 IOM Junior TT- a splendid fifth aboard a spare works Norton Manx 350. He was offered the bike after going so well on his ‘customer’ 350 and 500 during practice (unattributed)

Back to Darley.

Kel Carruthers appearance on the Honda 250/4 in 1961 would have been really something to see and hear- i bet he frightened the kookaburras flying above the citrus trees in the valley below the track bigtime!  Kel won the Harvey Wiltshire Trophy Lightweight race slicing four seconds off the lap record in the process.

The final meeting took place in 1962, in a thriller of a race Trevor Pound and Ken Rumble passed and re-passed for the whole 15 laps with Pound winning by a bike length, both being credited with a new outright lap record of 1:12.8. Trevor Pound raced in the Manx classic too and never lost his passion for competition, he raced Formula Vees in his dotage.

Whilst plans were being made to race in 1963, on 10 June the farm owner withdrew his permission saying the continued rain in the region had flooded the pit and spectator areas and damaged sections of the track- at late notice the meeting was held at Calder, 30km away.

‘Racing never returned to Darley. A combination of primitive facilities, the narrow and uneven road surface and the remorseless march of civilisation spelled the end of the happy little track. Despite its shortcomings, the circuit had an enviable record for safety and a reputation for slick organisation. With nary a backward glance, the infield area was soon subdivided into building lots and small farms.’

To see the place, drive up Camerons Road, at the top of the hill you are on the plateau, about 100 metres on the right are the remnants of the final corner named ‘St Kilda Junction’ poking at you from a vineyard. At this point you are on the Main Straight with the former pit area- still dotted with concrete slabs from the place’s military past on your left. The straight is about 600 metres long- halfway along is a kink, and opposite that is a monument to Darley Military Camp.

Old Bike Australia concluded a great article with this ‘It takes a little imagination if you weren’t there…but if you stand on the kink and close your eyes, you can still hear the sound of a hundred motorcycles and a dozen or so cars from the 250cc and 500cc Racing Clubs, most with open exhausts warming up.’

‘Wafting through the air is the fragrant  mix of Castrol R and methanol, mingled with the aroma of Hines “Kerosene” pies. The pointed tents of the Hines Catering Company…appear in many of the period photos of Darley, and those who sampled the wares will tell you the kerosene stove that heated the pies produced a pastry of unique taste. A section of canvas behind the servery contained a special nook where the course announcer Frank “Farmac” McDonald and selected others could lubricate their tonsils with a cold ale between races.’

‘Fortunately, on the run back to Melbourne, you won’t have to cope with “Cunningham The Camera Cop”- the notorious plod who used to hide his Thunderbird beside the old stone bridge out of Bacchus Marsh and photograph any who transgressed by crossing the double centre-lines.’

Hasn’t the Old Bike Australia writer painted a wonderful, evocative picture of times long gone?

‘Moe’s Nose’ approach June 1960. South Aussies Ian Hogg and Peter Morgan

 

(C Rice)

Roger Barker leading Ron Miles, note the hay bales and beautiful Darley bush setting.

Barker is on a bike with a ‘Rimond’ fibreglass fairing, a product he helped develop in tests at Ballarat and Darley- these were made in Melbourne by former top clubman racer, Charlie Rice and Bob Edmonds, ‘Rimond’ a combination of their names, about 30 fairings were built. Barker was quoted in the English press as saying they were good for about 12mph or 200rpm using tall gearing. The bike could be a Norton.

The Mudgee born rider, having scored points at the Isle of Man and Assen on Nortons in June, died at Schleiz, Thuringia, East Germany in July 1957 having blacked out in the intense heat of the 500cc race whilst leading aboard a Matchless G45, the conditions were made worse by the engine heat the Rimond fairing trapped. He slid off the bike, hit a tree and died instantly from the impact.

Etcetera…

What to look for on your visit, Camerons Road, Darley 3340.

Credits…

Hugh Coleby, the late Peter Coleby, Gordon Dobie, ‘Old Bike Australasia’ 5 February 2018, Eric Miller, Lynton Hemer, Motor Cycle News, Jim Scaysbrook article on Roger Barker in ‘Old Bike Australasia’, John Wynne Collection

Tailpiece…

(P Coleby)

John Fleming, Austin 7 Spl leading followed by Mel Mason with a couple of unidentified JMW’s in the mix, June 1960. There was a big field of at least eleven cars on this narrow track- intrigued to know the full grid if any of you have a record of the race.

JMW’s were built by John Wynne and his father to fuel John’s passion for racing, click here for an interesting site about the cars; http://members.optusnet.com.au/~pwstone/jmw/jwstory/jmwstory.htm

John Wynne below at Tarrawingee in 1960, the other final shot is of the car at Phillip Island circa 1962.

 

Finito…

lukey

Len Lukeys’ Cooper Bristol, Mount Druitt, NSW in May 1958, having set FTD at 13.53 sec for the standing quarter (J Ellacott)

‘Now that really is a beautiful looking racing car! Wotizzit I wonder’, the young gent seems to thinking…

The smartly attired chap is surveying the lines of Len Lukey’s Cooper T23 Bristol at Mount Druitt in Sydney’s west in May 1958. Len Lukey was both a champion driver and successful businessman, founding ‘Lukey Mufflers’ in the 1950’s, a brand still respected today.

Melbourne born, Lukey started racing relatively late, aged 32 having established and built his ‘Lukey Mufflers’ business from its Nepean Highway, Highett base. Generations of enthusiasts are aware of his name because of the original equipment and performance exhausts and mufflers he produced. No lowered, worked EH Holden with wide ‘chromies’ and twin SU’s was complete without the distinctive Lukey logo being displayed on its exhaust’s for following traffic to know its performance intent.

Lukey started competition in the Victorian hills with a side-valve Ford Mainline Ute, Australia’s ubiquitous workhorse down the decades. It was in this car at the opening Altona meeting in 1954 that he frightened the life out of Stan Jones in Maybach when he spun whilst coming through The Esses, the car looking all the while as though it had lost its way transporting a load of mufflers from Highett to Williamstown. The competition regulator, the CAMS, frowned upon the use of such a utilitarian vehicles in racing so he switched to the first of a series of Ford Customlines.

Len Lukey, Ford Customline, Rob Roy, 1957 (B King)

 

image

Equipe Lukey during the 1959 AGP weekend at Longford, Cooper T45 Climax- unknown, Neil Marsden, Helen Lukey, Claude Morton and Len Lukey (Jock Walkem)

 

Awesome shot at the start of the 1959 AGP at Longford, showing not least how narrow the track was then- the old start line was on The Flying Mile towards Mountford Corner. Winner Stan Jones has the jump in his Maserati 250F, then Len, partially obscured in his Cooper T45 Climax, then Arnold Glass, Maserati 250F, Doug Whiteford, Maserati 300S, Ron Phillips, Cooper T33 Jaguar, Alec Mildren, Cooper T45 Climax and the rest (unattributed, I’d love to know the name of the photographer)

Its interesting to review the stunning march of touring car domination of Australian motor racing and look at the role Len Lukey had in its rise. Australian Motor Sports had this to say in its January 1960 issue, ‘…there can be no doubt that by tuning these massive cars to the highest possible pitch, Len Lukey started the ball rolling towards the day when the term production car racing became such a farce that a special Gran Turismo Class had to be instituted’.

Lukey had some spectacular moments as he learned his craft, a trip through the hay bales at Albert Park and a lucky roll at Phillip Island- there was no rollover protection in those days, both were lucky escapes.

The car was timed at 106mph at Gnoo Blas, Orange in 1956 beating both Jack Myers and the Aldis Bristol. His dices against Jack Myers, the Sydney Holden driver were crowd pleasers in the way Geoghegan/Beechey battles were a little further down the track.

He soon took hillclimb class records at Rob Roy, Hepburn Springs and Templestowe, all in Victoria.

Both Myers and Lukey progressed into single seaters via Cooper Bristols. In Lukey’s case his ascent to the top was quicker than just about any Gold Star winner, and then, he almost immediately upon achieving the prestigious award in the longest ever season- twelve rounds in five states, retired as a competitor but remained in the sport as a circuit owner and sponsor.

Team Lukey during the 1957 AGP weekend at Caversham- Customline and Cooper T23 Bristol (K Devine)

Lukey commenced racing the ex Reg Hunt/Kevin Neal Cooper Bristol in 1956…

He was ninth in the ‘Olympic’ Australian Grand Prix won by Stirling Moss at Albert Park in a works Maserati 250F.

In the 100 mile Victorian Trophy Race he was fifth behind Davison’s Ferrari 500/625 3 litre, Brabham’s Cooper Climax, Doug Whiteford’s Maserati 300S and Tom Hawkes’ Cooper T23 Holden, it was an auspicious open-wheeler debut. He started a campaign to contest the Gold Star the following year- the first time the Australian Drivers Championship had been contested.

The season commenced at Caversham, 16km from Perth, held in searing heat and famously won, after much argument about lap-counting, by Davison’s Ferrari which was shared by Lex and Bill Patterson- Len was fourth in a fast reliable run in the Cooper. He was fifth at Albert Park and then late in the season scored two thirds in the New South Wales Road Racing Championships at Mount Panorama and in the Port Wakefield Trophy held at the South Australian circuit in rough bush country 100km north-west of Adelaide.

He set Australian National Speed Records in both the Cooper- 147.4mph, and the Customline at 123.3mph outside Coonabaraban in north-western NSW in 1957.

The Cusso was timed one way at 130mph, the car that weekend festooned with masking tape, shields over its headlights, an enclosed radiator and sealed doors and boot to squeeze every bit of speed from the beast. Len had to enter the car through the windows, safety again very much to the fore!

The car which ran at Coonabarabran was a new shell, but all the learnings and good bits of the earlier one were transferred across. Len raced it for a further year before being selling it to Melbourne driver Owen Bailey but it was badly damaged in an accident at Albert Park in 1958, Bailey’s first meeting in it.

On the way to winning the ‘South Australian Trophy’, Gold Star round at Port Wakefield in April 1958, Cooper T23 Bristol (unattributed)

 

Lukey at Albert Park during the Melbourne GP in November 1958, Lukey Bristol, Jaguar Corner. ‘Vanwall-esque’ nature of the body clear if not as beautiful in execution (B King)

 

lukey

Len Lukey being congratulated by Derek Jolley for his 2nd place in the October 1958 Victorian Road Racing Champinsghip at Fishernans Bend. Lukey Bristol, Ted Gray won in Tornado 2 Chev (K Drage)

Its amazing to compare and contrast the short four or five round Gold Star contests of later years with the more arduous nature of the series earlier on, particularly given the standard of Australian highways then.

The 1958 award was contested over nine rounds starting at Orange in New South Wales, from there to Fishermans Bend in Melbourne, then south across Bass Straight to Longford, to Port Wakefield north of Adelaide in South Australia, then two rounds at Lowood, Queensland in June and August- so I guess depending upon other race commitments one could leave your car up north- then to Mount Panorama, Bathurst New South Wales for the Australian Grand Prix in October and then, finally two rounds in Victoria- Albert Park in November and Phillip Island in early December.

The 1959 Gold Star was held over a staggering twelve rounds- and so it was that Len committed himself to a couple of serious tilts at the title in 1958 and 1959, the lessons learned in 1958 were applied with great success the following year when he won the title.

Len was third in the opening South Pacific Championship round at Gnoo, Blas Orange in January, Jack Brabham won that event in his Cooper T43 Climax but was ineligible for Gold Star points as a non-resident.

Back home to Victoria Len was then fourth at Fishermans Bend in February and fifth in the Longford Trophy in March. Stan Jones won at the Bend and Ted Gray at Longford in the big ‘booming Chev Corvette 283cid V8 engined Tornado 2.

He scored his first splendid Gold star win in the South Australian Trophy at Port Wakefield in April, winning from Austin Miller’s Cooper T41 Climax and Keith Rilstone in the amazing Zephyr Special s/c.

Then followed a long haul back to Melbourne to ready the car and then a 1650km tow to Lowood Queensland for the two rounds held on the disused airfield circuit.

He bagged a pair of thirds in the Queensland Road Racing Championship at Lowood in June and the Lowood Trophy in August- Alec Mildren won both of these events in his Cooper T43 Climax, with Len looking lovingly and with considerable longing for one of these mid-engined cars, an aim he would realise before the year was out.

Len had developed his own thoughts on how to improve the performance of his Cooper and built a new spaceframe, high-bodied chassis, the ‘Lukey Bristol’ into which the mechanicals of the factory car were fitted.

Ready for the AGP, the car was taken to Bathurst but finished a distant sixth, two laps in arrears of Lex Davison, Ern Seeliger and Tom Hawkes aboard 3 litre Ferrari 500/625, 4.6 litre Maybach 4 Chev and 2.3 litre Cooper T23 Holden-Repco respectively.

The last two round of the championship were back in Victoria, he was fifth in the Melbourne Grand Prix, an exciting race weekend in which Stirling Moss and Jack Brabham scrapped at the front of the field in 2.2 litre Cooper T45 Climaxes- the race was won by Moss from Brabham then Doug Whiteford’s Maserati 300S, Bib Stillwell’s ex-Hunt Maserati 250F and then Len.

Lukey was quickly in discussion with Brabham about purchase of the Cooper T45- the very latest of Surbiton’s machines at the time, and would soon have the 2 litre Coventry Climax FPF engined machine in his workshops providing him with the tool to do the job in 1959.

Len was still active on the hills, winning both a new NSW sprint record and FTD at Mt Druitt in 13.53 seconds, this articles opening photo is at that meeting. In July he spun at the end of Rob Roy when the throttle jammed open, Len was thrown from the car before it rolled to a halt, but it was a lucky escape.

The final Gold Star event was the Phillip Island Trophy on Boxing Day but Len spun the Cooper in a preliminary event damaging the cars suspension enough to non-start the championship race. The Coad brothers sportingly lent him their Vauxhall Special but the car was outclassed, with Lukey third in the Gold Star with 21 points, then Alec Mildren on 23 with Stan Jones deservedly taking the title with 31 points- Stan won two rounds at Fishermans Bend and Phillip Island and was third on three occasions- Gnoo Blas, Longford and the first of the two Lowood rounds.

The Lukey boys push the Cooper T23 Bristol thru the Longford paddock in March 1958, behind is the Lou Abrahams owned, mighty Tornado 2 Chev, victorious that weekend (HRCCTas)

 

Len and Stan Jones on the cover of the March 1959 issue of AMS in recognition of a marvellous AGP dice resolved in Jones’ favour 1959- Cooper T45 Climax from Maserati 250F

After Brabham contested three New Zealand internationals in early January 1959, Lukey bought the car from Jack. It was fitted with a 2 litre FPF rather than one of the 2.2’s Jack had been using- these engines were rare with the full 2.5 litre variants built around new blocks being readied back in Coventry for Cooper, Rob Walker and Lotus’ use in F1 that season- rather successfully so as events transpired.

In 1959, as mentioned above, the Gold Star was contested over twelve gruelling rounds- between 26 January and 14 June, the halfway mark of the season, those on the title chase travelled from their home base, to Orange, then Fishermans Bend, Longford, Port Wakefield, Bathurst and Lowood- Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales and Queensland, with an arduous second half of the season still to come.

The competition was strong- Len and Alec Mildren raced Cooper T45’s, Bill Patterson a T43 with Stan Jones the other racer who had committed to most of the rounds- racing his Maserati 250F, Maybach 4 Chev and later in the season he took delivery of a Cooper T51 Climax as did Bib Stillwell, David McKay and Austin Miller but the latter trio did not race across the continent in the manner Len, Alec and Stan did.

In much the same way that the new-fangled Coopers were challenging the front-engined orthodoxy in Europe so too of course was the case in Australia albeit there was no surprise at the speed of the Coventry Climax engined cars given the giant killing nature of the air-cooled Coopers since the first appeared of one at Bathurst in the dawn of the fifties.

Only two points separated the Cooper T45 Climax duo of Lukey and Mildren at the seasons end- Len won the title with 68 points to the Canberra motor-dealers 66.

Mildren won three rounds- Fishermans Bend and the two Lowood rounds mid-season whereas Len won two- at Caversham and the last round at Phillip Island when the pressure was well and truly on. The Cooper’s differential failed during Saturday practice, Len did not have a spare, Noel Hall did but it was affixed to his car which was in Sydney. Jack Myers removed the gearbox and popped it onto a ‘plane, there the precious cargo was collected from Essendon Airport and then taken to Phillip Island where it was fitted to the car. The machine was finally ready about an hour before the off- Lukey led from the flag and on the final lap equalled the lap record- a memorable win indeed.

Alan Jones quizzing Lukey about the handling characteristics of his Cooper- Otto Stone, racer/engineer/mechanic and fettler of the Stan Jones Maserati 250F at the time is to the right of Alan and Stan is far right but one in the white helmet ready for the off, Phillip Island 1959 (unattributed)

 

Lukey and Jones scrapping through Longford Village, AGP 1959, ‘pub corner’- Cooper T45 and Maserati 250F (oldracephotos.com)

Stan Jones won two rounds as well, notably the Australian Grand Prix at Longford after a race-long dice with Len- it was a classic battle of the time between the powerful front engined 2.5 litre Maserati and the more nimble, but less powerful 2 litre Climax powered Cooper. There was a bit a karma in Stan’s race win as no-one in the field, other than Mildren, deserved an AGP win more and Alec’s time came twelve months afterwards at the conclusion of an even more thrilling dice between Lex Davison’s 3 litre Aston Martin DBR4/300 and Mildren’s 2.5 litre Cooper T51 Maserati at Lowood.

Jones also won at Port Wakefield in March in the big, booming Maybach 4 Chev, stepping back into the car he vacated two years before when he acquired his Maserati 250F. His friend and engineer, Ern Seeliger had replaced the SOHC straight-six Maybach engine with a Chevy V8, and made other changes to what had been called Maybach 3, there was something a bit poetic about a Maybach taking one last win this late in the piece given the front-running nature of this series (of three or four variants of cars depending on how yer do your count) of cars for the best part of a decade.

Bill Patterson, like Mildren and Jones had a very long race CV which he enhanced in 1959 with two wins in his Cooper T43 Climax- arguably a quicker driver than Mildren and Lukey, if not Jones- Patto was also in a run to Gold Star victory, his turn would come in 1961 aboard a Cooper T51 Climax the year after Mildren.

Single round wins that year were taken by Jack Brabham, taking his traditional win at the season opening Gnoo Blas ‘South Pacific Championship’ before heading back to the UK and by Kiwi Ross Jensen’s Maserati 250F in the prestigious Bathurst 100 at Easter but neither qualified for Gold Star points as non-residents.

Bib Stillwell was the other round winner in his new Cooper T51 Climax at Bathurst in October. Bib was perhaps the slowest of all of this generation to mature as a driver at the absolute top level but he won four Gold Stars on the trot from 1962 to 1965 with a blend of speed, consistency and the best of equipment.

What was impressive about Lukey’s win in 1959 was his relative inexperience against the fellows he beat, all of whom had fifteen years to a couple of decades on him in race experience, but it was a close run contest. That year a driver could only count their scores from nine of the twelve rounds, Len and Alec scored in ten rounds apiece, both had to drop a round- both discarded 3 points, and so it was after a long, intense year of racing criss-crossing the vast brown land that Lukey won from Mildren by only 2 points. Amazing really, but the CAMS learned the lesson and the event was never held with that many rounds again.

Lukey only raced once more, in the 1960 NZGP at Ardmore and then sold the car to concentrate on his business interests.

It was a good performance too- seventh on the grid amongst all of the 2.2 and 2.5 litre FPF’s but it all came to nothing after undisclosed dramas after finishing 36 of the events 75 laps- Brabham won from McLaren, Stillwell and Jones- two Cooper 2.5’s from two Cooper 2.2’s rather put the state of play at the time into sharp relief.

No photoshop here, Jones and Lukey during their 1959 Longford AGP dice getting some serious air as the cross the railway line on the outskirts of Longford village on Tannery Straight (C Rice)

 

Left to right, Lukey and Mildren in Cooper T45 Climaxes and Bib Stillwell in his new T51 at Caversham in October 1959- Len took the win (K Devine)

 

(B King)

Whilst Lukey retired from competition to focus on his business, he remained a friend of motor racing until his untimely death in 1978…

He provided financial support to various competitors not least Jack Brabham, the works F1 Brabhams of the sixties used Lukey exhaust systems right into the 1966 and 1967 championship winning Brabham BT19 ‘620’ and BT24 ‘740’- all of the works F1 cars were fitted with Lukey exhaust systems.

Look closely at the rear of one of the Brabham BT24 Repco ‘740’s during the 1967 GP season in the photograph below and you can see the ‘Lukey Mufflers’ made exhausts on the car- and the company name on the chrome plated exhaust endpieces.

In 1962 Len acquired a Holman Moody built Ford Galaxie ‘R Code’ 406cid four-door which was raced initially by Lex Davison, Len no doubt encouraging his purist racing car friend in the direction of the ‘dark side’. The shot below is of Norm Beechey racing the machine against Max Volkers’ Cortina at Lowood in August 1964, I wonder who got the better of this encounter in the wet? The Galaxie still exists.

(B Thomas)

 

 

Brabham BT24 Repco during the 1967 season (unattributed)

The 1962 Armstrong 500 (miles) production car race resulted in extreme circuit damage to the the Phillip Island track, the Phillip Island Auto Racing Club Club (PIARC) could not afford to repair the bitumen out of meagre club funds and as a consequence the track sat idle for two years.

During the initial track fund raising to build the place a decade before, Repco and Olympic Tyres supported bank guarantees for PIARC to a value of £17,000. Without funds to service the loan- no race meetings and therefore no income, Repco and PIARC made the regretful decision to sell ‘The Island’ property.

Shortly thereafter Lukey was chatting to racer/enthusiast George Coad at Essendon Airport whilst awaiting a plane.  Upon learning from Coad that PIARC was forced to sell the facility, Lukey immediately rang the clubs President and offered to buy it for £13,000.

As part of the deal, Len imposed a condition on the club that racing be revived. Lukey would develop the property and PIARC re-build the track and facilities and run four events a year for ten years. Lukey had a passion for the island and the circuit but also knew what it would take to revive and run the place having been a PIARC committee member some years before. PIARC paid Len $2 per year in rent.

The first public race meeting was held three years later in September 1967. The circuit was sold again after Lukey’s death and is now the wonderful facility we all know and love, without Lukey’s timely investment it would not be there today.

The Lukey brand hasn’t been in family hands for decades but lives on as a wonderful reminder of its founder, a great driver of both touring cars and single-seaters, a lifelong enthusiast and supporter of the sport.

Love this shot of the Cooper T23 Bristol during the 1956 AGP weekend at Albert Park, the machine is getting plenty of attention- finned drum brakes and top transverse leaf springs front and rear both clear (G Smedley)

Additional Lukey reading…

Do click on the links for these two short articles- their are some stunning photographs contained within. Here; https://primotipo.com/2018/02/20/teds-tornado-and-lens-cooper/ , here; https://primotipo.com/2016/01/08/stan-jones-agp-longford-gold-star-series-1959/ , and here; https://primotipo.com/2018/10/11/1958-longford-trophy/

Etcetera…

 

 

(unattributed)

These big barges occupy a lot of real estate and did no harm at all to attract the punters- touring cars were on the rise, sadly, even in 1956. Len Lukey from Norm Beechey in Ford Customlines during the 1956 AGP carnival. Is the Holden 48-215 on right front below that of Jack Myers?

(unattributed)

Cooper T23 Bristol..

(unattributed)

 

(B King)

Lukey’s Cooper T23 Bristol blasts past the Army Barrack’s at Albert Park during the 1956 AGP, and below the cockpit of the immaculately prepared Cooper at Templestowe Hillclimb in Melbourne’s east.

(B King)

Doug Nye wrote the history of the 1953 build Cooper Mk2 Bristol chassis’ on ‘The Nostalgia Forum’ in 2003.

He lists ’11 (ish) to 12 (ish)’ chassis. The ‘Lukey’ car is ostensibly numbered ‘CB/9/53’.

‘1953 ‘5’ The Tom Cole Mk2 – in effect totally destroyed in fire at Syracuse

1953 ‘5B’ The Tom Cole Mark 2 rebuilt as above around a fresh frame, driven by Swaters, Cole, Graham Whitehead- to Dick Gibson- sold to Australia probably Reg Hunt. (Reg Hunt’s Mark 2- alleged sold NEW in 1954) for Kevin Neale in Australia- to Len Lukey- Frank Coad- Eddie Clay- Ken Cox- Peter Menere- Jumbo Goddard and to Tom Wheatcroft for The Donington Collection. But this was surely in reality the ex-Tom Cole second Mark 2 of 1953…ex-Gibson’ Nye wrote.

(B King)

Gardening at Templestowe circa 1958- no harm done by the look of it.

(A Lamont)

It would have been a wild ride around Longford, mind you, the forgiving nature of the Cooper Bristol chassis would have made it slightly less challenging than some other cars of the day.

This wonderful shot is during the 1958 Gold Star meeting in March- the first ‘national’ Longford won by Ted Gary in Tornado 2 Chev.

(unattributed)

Len at Albert Park, am guessing in 1957, who and what is that behind him?

(B King)

Lukey Bristol..

(unattributed)

Lukey heads up the Mountain, Mount Panorama during the 1958 Australian Grand Prix in October- well and truly outgunned in his new Lukey Bristol which had made its race debut at the previous Lowood Gold Star round, on a circuit which rewards power and a forgiving chassis.

The Lukey Bristol was an evolution of the factory product, but lighter with a chassis designed by Lukey. It had a more enveloping body clearly influenced by Frank Costin’s Vanwall design and using castings made and machined in Melbourne. The engine from his CB was used, the new machine also had a transverse leaf rear end like the original.

It was advertised for sale in this form as were the various components and body panels which were made of fibreglass.

Bob King believes three of the chassis were built- the Lukey Bristol, ‘Faux Pas’ and a third. Both the cars mentioned are in the hands of David Reid. Do get in touch if you can add more to this.

(B King)

The page above is included for the section about the ‘Lukey Mufflers Chassis’ and related components. I was going to crop and then thought let’s all read it and weep- Frank Shuter’s Maserati 8CM will do me!

The ad makes mention of both front and mid-engined chassis availability- the former were of the type used on the Lukey Bristol, the latter built off a jig created from the Cooper T45 chassis- one of the Cooper experts will be able to hazard a guess as to how many chassis were built using this jig, not the only T45/T51 jig in Australia either!

(B King)

Len Lukey, Lukey Bristol chases Bib Stillwell’s ex-Hunt Maserati 250F during the 1958 Melbourne Grand Prix- they were fourth and fifth respectively. Stirling Moss won the race in a Rob Walker Cooper T45 Climax from Brabham’s similar car- the chassis bought by Len at the end of the summer, and Doug Whiteford’s Maserati 300S.

Look at the lean of the heads into the corner and the relative roll of the Lukey Bristol compared with the Maserati.

(unattributed)

Winning at Part Wakefield in the Cooper Bristol in 1958 and contesting the 1958 AGP at Bathurst the same year, he was sixth. The #56 car behind is Bill Reynolds in the Orlando MG Spl 1.5- Murrays Corner.

(B King)

More Australian Motor Sports, this time incorporating the ad for the sale of the Lukey Bristol.

Cooper T45 Climax..

(G McNeill)

 

(unattributed)

Lukey rounds Stonyfell Corner, Port Wakefield, South Australia in the 1959 ‘Gold Star’ round- Cooper T45 Climax.

The shot below was taken during the Fishermans Bend Gold Star round in early 1959.

(unattributed)

Information about this car is a bit opaque, like so many Coopers of the period but the story goes something like this. Chassis T45 ‘F2-10-58′ was believed to be a factory machine raced by Jack Brabham until it was damaged at the 1958 Moroccan Grand Prix.

It was acquired by Jack after being rebuilt around a new frame, brought to Australia and raced to second place behind Stirling Moss’ similar Rob Walker owned car in the 1958 Melbourne Grand Prix at Albert Park, the last race meeting held at the celebrated circuit in its first iteration as a motor racing venue.

Jack then took it to New Zealand to contest the 10 January Ardmore NZ GP, again finishing second behind the Walker/Moss T45. He was second at Wigram and third at Teretonga behind Ron Flockhart, BRM P25 and Bruce McLaren’s Cooper T45 Climax and then headed back to Europe, Len acquired the car at this point.

The car was then bought by Melbourne’s Jon Leighton who raced it successfully for a couple of years albeit the competiton got pretty tough with so many 2.2 and 2.5 litre FPF engine T51 Coopers on the scene.

It passed into the hands of Melbourne Architect Richard Berryman, and then later to Len Lukey’s widow, the car was an attraction at the Phillip Island museum for many years during the long period the Lukey’s owned the track and was occasionally raced by Keith Lukey, Len’s son.

Robert Shannon, founder of the insurance business well known in Australia was the right kind of owner sensitive to the car and it’s importance- I recall speaking to him about it during Melbourne City Chamber of Commerce meetings on several occasions.

After Robert’s sudden death by heart attack, Ron Walker, ‘father’ of the Albert Park Australian GP’s of today owned it, did nothing with it and then rather blotted his local copybook by selling it via Bonhams in the UK. It would have been rather nice if the Cooper with such a significant Australian history was advertised locally and stayed here.

Do contact me if you can assist in filling the gaps.

Credits and references…

John Ellacott, Kevin Drage, Ken Devine Collection, Bob King Collection- Spencer Wills photographer, ‘History of The Australian Grand Prix’ Graham Howard and others, Doug Nye on ‘The Nostalgia Forum’, oldracingcars.com, Wikipedia, Jock Walkem, Charles Rice, Geoff Smedley, Andrew ‘Slim’ Lamont, Greg McNeill

Special thanks to Bob King for some wonderful photographs and tidbits from his AMS collection

Tailpieces: Lukey with Cooper T23 Bristol sans bodywork, Templestowe circa 1958…

(B King)

 

(B King)

Finito…

(unattributed)

Of all the places to have a motorsport event, Tooronga Park in Malvern, 12km from Melbourne’s CBD is up there with the least likely…

An Austin 7 Special at left and the Campbell McLaren/Halliday Ford A Model Special the two intrepid occupants built.

Right in the heart of Melbourne’s stockbroker belt even in September 1940, the roar of racing engines is somewhat bizarre, but the ‘Malvern Comforts Fund’ staged a five day carnival of activities to raise money to provide luxury items to supplement Australian troops normal, basic rations.

State based organisations of this type were formed during World War 1 and federated- the ‘Australian Comforts Fund’ quickly grew into a fundraising, collecting, sorting and distribution machine to rival the Red Cross- it was dissolved in 1920 but revived in 1939 to again look after the lads and lassies.

Wonder what mutt won the Ugliest Doggie Competition? (R Bell Collection)

Ray Bell sent this amazing flyer to promote the event and most of the photographs in this piece, the one below is of Ron Edgerton’s Alta V8 a Speedway Midget alongside. Is that Tooronga Station in the background of the shot?

Given the crowded nature of the large parklands it seems likely that ‘novelty’ rather than speed events were the go but if any of you have an entry list and details of the contests it would be great to hear from you.

(R Bell)

The car (at left below) is the ex-Lord Selsdon Fraser Nash TT Replica being driven by Earl Davey-Milne, who still owns it. ‘The A Ford Special Midget is not Arthur Wylie’s normal car (Ray Bell’s thought as to the machine at right), so I am not at all sure’ as to the car on the right Bob King comments.

‘Cam McLaren was a hilarious commentator at Rob Roy and Templestowe Hillclimbs keeping up a lively banter with, I believe, John Price- this was before car racing got serious and many of the cars were absurd…’

(R Bell)

‘The Malvern Groups five day carnival in September 1940 was an extravaganza in Great War style, with marches, bands, button sales, dances, recitals and a monster Town Hall finale that included the Coburg Ladies Pipe Band, the Hawaiian Club (WTF?) and pupils of Miss Greenough, danseuse (a female ballet dancer) and J King, magician…’ there is no mention of the light car racing in Lynne Strahan’s account of the carnival.

The scale of this national organisation was enormous, the Malvern Comforts Group (only a small suburb of Melbourne then) alone provided ‘food, hostels, picture units, canteens and parcels of books and games…while over 120,000 skeins (a length of yarn loosely coiled and knotted) of wool and twelve miles of flannel and drill had been consumed for garments fashioned with “motherly care”…’

(R Bell and B King Collections)

Ron Edgerton’s Bugatti T37, with Bob King thinks, Maurie Monk’s GN Special alongside.

It is ironic that the Toorak domicile of this Bugatti, ‘37104’ for the last sixty years or so is three kilometres from one of its last events powered by a Bugatti engine!- see article on the car here; https://primotipo.com/2019/04/25/alexandra-sprints-and-bugatti-t37-37104/

The last serious motorsport event in Australia before competition cars were put away for the war’s duration was the ‘Patriotic Grand Prix’ held in Perth’s Applecross on 11 November 1940. The program comprised four events, the GP was a 12 lap, 30 mile race won by Harley Hammond’s Marquette Special, below.

(K Devine)

Etcetera…

(R Bell)

 

(R Bell)

Campbell McLaren and Mr Halliday at Mitcham Hillclimb, circa 1941, and in the photo above that, building their racer, a project they commenced whilst still at school.

Mitcham is a suburb 17km directly east of Malvern, very much in the sticks then but could almost be categorised as an inner-suburb these days if Melbourne’s eastern outskirts end at Healesville, which it sorta does…

I’d love to know where the ‘climb was, I had an aunt who lived at Mitcham in the sixties and seventies, a bit of cursory research shows the venue was in use from at least 1936- sixty entries raced there that October, but did it survive post-war?

(SLV)

A trip down memory lane for Melbourne’s eastern-suburbanites.

The Glen Waverley line rail-crossing- not even a boom-gate, as long as the operator in the little hut doesn’t go to sleep all is good, at the ‘bottom’ of the Toorak Road plunge down from Glenferrie Road looking east in 1955, this spot is a long drop-kick to Tooronga Park.

By the time i was an ankle-biter visiting my uncle/grandfather’s newsagency on the corner of Burke and Toorak Roads in the early sixties that stand of trees at the top of the hill had become a drive-in theatre. In addition to the gasometers there was a brickworks in this area of flat land, so it was quite industrial for a residential area- the gasometers were removed circa 1980 as natural gas replaced the coal-fired variety.

Its funny the stuff which pops back into yer head. The two ‘clutch-fucker’ hill starts which terrorised me as an 18 year old ‘P-Plater’ in me Mum’s Morrie 1100 was that one at the top of the hill where the trees are- the corner of Tooronga and Toorak Roads, when traffic lights emerged and the Warrigal Road/Riversdale Road muvva in Burwood…i got there eventually!

Into the sixties the first small shopping centre emerged, then re-zoning removed the extractive industries and Coles headquarters moved in, then circa 2010 a bigger shopping centre and shedloads of apartments. Oh yes, there is now a freeway (the Monash) near the railway lines and at present, finally, the powers that be are creating an overpass for the railway line.

Gardiners Creek is there somewhere but maybe its behind where the snapper took his shot, no doubt some folks who attended the Malvern Comforts Fund event fished in that creek all those years ago…

Credits…

Ray Bell and Bob King

Ray Bell Collection (from Campbell McLaren’s photo album), Museums Victoria, ‘A History of The City of Malvern’ Lynne Strahan, Bob King Collection, State Library of Victoria, Ken Devine Collection

Tailpiece…

Finito…

 

(B Miles)

Look at that packed grandstand, grid for the first Lakeside International, 11 February 1962…

Jack Brabham is on pole from Bib Stillwell, Cooper T55 Climax 2.7 ‘slimline’ and T53 2.5 ‘lowline’ respectively, a great performance by the Melbourne Holden dealer. On the second row in the blue #10 Cooper T53 2.7 is Bruce McLaren and alongside the very quick John Youl in a now ageing Cooper T51 2.2. Then its Angus Hyslop’s white Cooper T53 2.5 and a smidge further back you can just see the red nose of Lorenzo Bandini’s Cooper T53 Maser 2.8. Other top-liners on the grid were Lex Davison’s T53, Ron Flockhart Lotus 18 and Arnold Glass in a BRM P48.

Brabham won the short 30 lap race in 30 minutes by a second from Stillwell, Hyslop, Davison, Youl and Bandini.

This photograph is another by Bill Miles, an enthusiast with a fine talent for composition. The eyes of Brabham and Stillwell are riveted on the starter, who is just about to commence his flag upswing with the hatted Judge of The Start ready to pounce on anybody with a jittery clutch foot…

Angus Hyslop with microphone in hand accepts the Presidents Cup for winning the 1962 Renwick 50 (MCC Inc)

I didn’t realise Kiwi up-and-comer Angus Hyslop had raced in Australia- he was sixth at Warwick Farm, fourth at Longford and ninth at Sandown that summer off the back of a pair of sixths at Wigram and Teretonga and seventh in the NZ GP at home.

Even more impressive was his 1963 season in the same Cooper T53- not exactly the latest bit of kit by then.

Q8 and second behind John Surtees’s Lola Mk4A Climax at Pukekohe in the NZ GP was a stunning start, buoyed by that performance he was Q2 behind Brabham’s new Brabham BT4 Climax in the following round at Levin for DNF halfshaft, a rare non-finish. Q5 and fourth at Wigram and Q6 and fifth down south at Teretonga were strong results- in addition all the fast boys were running 2.7 ‘Indy’ Climaxes whereas Hyslop’s FPF was only an ‘F1’ 2.5.

Clearly a driver of promise, the Hastings sheepfarmer went on to win the NZ Gold Star Championship in 1963 and then retired which is a shame as he was clearly a very fast racer who finished motor races

(MCC Inc)

The shot above is a better one of Hyslop’s Cooper T53 Climax- this time its the start of the Renwick 50, a road race held about 6 miles west of Blenheim in New Zealand’s South Island, in November 1962.

Angus’ white Cooper T51 Climax is on pole from Maurie Stanton’s Stanton Chev and then Tony Shelly’s partially obscured Lotus 18/21 Climax. Bob Eade’s Maserati 250F dwarfs the Barry Cottle Lola Mk1 Climax sports, the distinctive nose between and back a bit from these cars is the youthful Amon C, Maserati 250F.

The front-engined car behind Eade’s Maserati is John Histed in a Lola Mk2 Ford FJ and finally at right the Bob Smith’s Ferrari 555 Super Squalo 3.5

Angus won from Chris Amon and Barry Cottle.

Hulme, Amon and Hyslop at Hampton Downs circa late eighties (NZ Classic Car)

 

Angus Hyslop’s Jag D Type sandwiched at left by the Roy Billington Elfo Special (yes, as in the famous Brabham mechanic) and Graham Pierce’ Austin Healey 100S at the Levin Spring meeting in December 1958 (Natlib NZ)

Hyslop, born 1928, first rose to prominence in a Jaguar D Type (XKD534 ex-Jack Shelly/Sam&Bob Gibbons/Hyslop/Taylor/Bremer/Foster) he raced from October 1958 to 1961, successes included twice finishing second in the national Sports Car Gold Star competition.

After the 1961 internationals at home in a Cooper T45 Climax 2 litre FPF he before travelled to Europe to race in a half-dozen or so British FJ events in a ‘New Zealand Grand Prix Racing Team’ Lotus 20 Ford running immediately in the top ten- fourth behind Allan Rees, Gavin Youl and Dennis Taylor on 19 August at Goodwood was indicative of his pace.

During that year he also shared a works Fiat Abarth 850S with Denny Hulme at Le Mans- the pair finished fourteenth in the little car and won their class.

He returned to New Zealand and continued to raced the Cooper T45 in 1961/2 towing it behind the D Type!

The other apocryphal Hyslop/D Type story is that after the wet 1961 Wigram meeting in which Angus finished third behind Brabham and Moss in his 2 litre Cooper T45 but ahead of the 2.5 litre Coopers of McLaren and Hulme his bank manager, who had been staying in the same hotel as Angus to watch the race, complimented him on his wet weather driving whereupon Hyslop responded that he thought the skill had been learned by using the D Type to round up the sheep on his farm…

He ‘hit the bigtime’ when the New Zealand International Grand Prix Executive Committee approved a loan to allow him to buy an ex-Yeoman Credit Parnell Cooper T53- the car carried the same chassis plate as Angus’ T45 in the usual Antipodean manner to avoid import duty- the Cooper was sold to Jim Palmer after Hyslop ‘retired’.

I’m intrigued to know how far he strayed from the sport though- not far is my guess given his fourth place in the 1972 New Zealand International Heatway Rally in an Abingdon prepared Group 2 Mini 1275GT- Andrew Cowan won in the sister car crewed by Jim Scott.

Hyslop died in 1999, aged 71.

Etcetera…

Angus Hyslop and Mike Langley in their works Mini 1275GT, Heatway Rally 1972 (unattributed)

Angus Hyslop and Mike Langley in their works Mini 1275GT, Heatway Rally 1972.

BLMC/New Zealand Motor Corporation went all out to win the event, entering four cars- two 1275GT’s and two Morris Marina 1800TC Coupes, one of which was driven by Jim Richards finished 61st, the other 52nd, both the updated ‘Morris Minors’ had suspension problems.

Jim was unlucky- Cowan had been allocated a Marina to rally but he was having none of that so Jim got the bum seat and Andrew the car he wanted, which he put to rather good effect!

(CAN)

Hyslop at Dunedin in 1961, D Type in a support race.

He qualified second behind Denny Hulme’s Cooper T51 Climax in the feature Dunedin Road Race on the ‘Oval Circuit’ finishing third in his Cooper T45 behind Denny and Pat Hoare’s Ferrari 256 3 litre V12.

Credits…

Bill Miles, Allen Brown’s oldracingcars.com, Marlborough Car Club Inc, Alamy, NZ Jaguar D Type History ‘Nostalgia Forum’ thread

Tailpiece: Hulme/Hyslop works Fiat Abarth 850S, Le Mans 1961…

Finito…