Posts Tagged ‘Australian Motor Racing History’

(B King Collection)

Hope Bartlett and Harry Odewahn, in the practice of the day at Harold Park in the mid-thirties…

Bartlett ran a bus service in Nowra, it must have been a ripper business to fund an impressive fleet of racing cars including a pair of Bugatti Brescias, he used them on dirt speedways, concrete saucer at Maroubra as well as a GP Sunbeam and others.

‘Hope Bartlett had an exceptional racing career from the early twenties to post war years when he raced the Dixon Riley’ was Bob King’s caption when he posted these shots. Time to do a feature on Hope I think.

Hope and Harold Bernard Odewahn, his riding mechanic in Bugatti Type 13 chassis ‘1399’ probably, given the marking on the car Maroubra (B King)

 

Frank Gardner on the way to winning the 1972 New Zealand Grand Prix at Pukekohe in his works Lola T300 Chev- one of ‘the’ great Formula 5000 cars and first in a dominant model range comprising T300-332-332C-400-430.

Gerard Richards posted this and wrote ‘Photo here by Jack Inwood graced the cover of Kiwi Motor Racing Magazine ‘Motorman’ in January 1973. Aussies had a good run in the NZGP from 1970-1973 but Kiwis ultimately won the Tasman Series for those years…’

For the record, the Tasman Cup winners in those years are easy- Graeme Lawrence aboard a Ferrari 246T in 1970 and Graham McRae from 1971-1973 in McLaren M10B, Leda GM2 and McRae GM3, all Chevrolet powered respectively.

Winners of the NZ GP at Pukekohe are more varied- Frank Matich in 1970, McLaren M10A Chev, McRae the following year in an M10B Chev, then FG in his T300, John McCormack in his somewhat long in the tooth but still quick Elfin MR5 Repco-Holden, and again the following year at Wigram and finally Warwick Brown in 1975 racing his Lola T332 Chev, ‘HU27’ the very first T332.

FG on the Warwick Farm 100 Tasman grid in 1972 and looking as ‘snug as a bug in a rug’.

Many of will realise there is a connection between the first two images in that Hope Bartlett was Frank Gardner’s uncle.

He brought FG up after the death of his parents- whilst keeping it in the family there is a more distant familial link between the next photograph of Kevin Bartlett and Hope Bartlett. Hope was KB’s grandfather’s cousin.

(B Thomas)

KB being chased hard by the equally evergreen Bob Holden at Lakeside’s Shell Corner in May 1966

The Alfa Romeo GTA is ‘LHD’ the first of the two Mildren GTAs, the second was ‘RHD’ which appeared not too long after this, Bob’s car is an immortal Morris Cooper S, one of THE competition cars of the sixties and top five for bang for buck and most versatile?

(P Weaver Motorsports Photography)

Alfredo Costanzo in his Tiga FA81 Ford BDA at Torana Corner, during the September 1982 Sandown Gold Star round.

Costanzo failed to finish the race but prevailed over John Bowe and a shedload of other Ralt RT4’s in that seasons Gold Star, Alf won three races, JB two with the placegetters, Alf 41 points from Bowe on 38 and Andrew Miedecke, 25 points.

In Australia we pretty much missed the peak years of Formula Atlantic in terms of multiple competitive chassis, by the time we finally parted with F5000 the class was pretty much Formula Ralt RT4, wonderful gizmos as they are. We should be thankful to Alan Hamilton, Alfie and Jim Hardman for persevering with their Tigas by providing something different to look at.

The mighty little driver was going away from the field in the 1983 AGP only to have the crown wheel pinion shit itself in the Hewland Mk9 gearbox, I did shed a quiet tear that day.

(T Johns Collection)

Quite an historic occasion, the first timed run up Rob Roy Hillclimb, 1 February 1937- the Austin 7 driven by either Mr O’Neill or Morphet.

Rare shot from the Terdich Family Collection via an article written by Bob King in the VSCC ‘Racers and Rascals’. ‘The Austin looks like a sports body built on standard chassis. No Ulsters here’ Tony Johns observed.

He continued ‘It is a good photo as it shows the track surface and also that the Austin was not travelling fast enough to to extinguish the cigarette’ to which Bob King responded, ‘It must have been a quick climb for an A7 or there would have been longer ash.’ LOL etc.

An important piece of Australian hillclimb history my friends.

(Neil Stratton)

Peter Geoghegan up front of the Rothmans in Laurie O’Neil’s Porsche 935 at Oran Park in 1978, Rothmans F5000 round.

From memory the first 935 in the country, I did see the big fella race it at Phillip Island, but the car wasn’t raced that much from memory, is it still in Australia?

Graham McRae’s McRae GM3 Chev is front and centre amongst the black 911SCs with Warwick Brown hidden also on the front row. Warwick Brown won the Oran Park 100 from Bruce Allison and Graham- Lola T332, Chevron B37 and the GM3. A bit about McRae’s cars here; https://primotipo.com/2018/09/06/amons-talon-mcraes-gm2/

(unattributed)

Aussies Abroad.

Its all too easy after all these years to forget about gruff, tough and oh-so-fast Paul Hawkins.

I bracket him with Frank Gardner as an engineer/mechanic/driver entrepreneur who parlayed his talent as a works driver for Ford, Lola and here Porsche but who also ran his own team, racing cars for start and prizemoney.

Here he is winning the 1967 Targa Florio in a works Porsche 910 he shared with Rolf Stommelen. Paul is an intensely interesting character, click here for a short piece; https://primotipo.com/2020/09/25/hawkeye/

(unattributed)

 

(unattributed)

This pair of photographs is all about the snapper, whose details I have managed to lose in the Facebook vortex- do get in touch if you can help me credit the man.

Its Oran Park, circa 1967- Fred Gibson in the Lotus Elan 26R whilst the smart sports-racer is I think Ted Proctor’s Manx, wonderful shots of a different time and place aren’t they?

 

BRM used the 1968 Tasman Cup as an opportunity to win the prestigious series and failing that test its P126/133 V12 machines.

The Bourne outfit raced these Len Terry designed cars in F1 in 1968 and gave them a Tasman run with 2.5 litre variants of the new V12 in addition to 2.1 litre V8 engined versions of the ‘old faithful’ P261s. Click here for a feature on these machines; https://primotipo.com/2018/01/25/richard-attwood-brm-p126-longford-1968/

 

(J Lemm)

Barry Randall, Rennmax Repco 830 V8 from Bill O’Gorman, Matich SR5 Waggott TC-4V during the 1974 Australian Sportscar Championship round at Adelaide International

The cars initially caught my attention but the magic in the shot is in some ways the backdrop- the spectators doing different versions of Oz ‘chillin.

Randall again below in a car now loved to death by Jay Bondini, a favourite car of mine since it’s Gibson family days.

(J Lemm)

 

(N Stratton)

Graham McRae on a day for the ducks- the Warwick Farm 100 Tasman round in 1973.

The car is his self-built McRae GM1 Chev- one of THE F5000s of 1972 with Graham himself winning the Tasman Cup

And below hs is togging up before the off with plenty of his own tweaks to the setup of his Bell Star to give some semblance of vision in the race won by Steve Thompson’s Chevron B24 Chev- GM was a distant third behind Thompson and Frank Matich.

(autopics.com)

 

 Michael Robinson (thanks Dick Willis) in the ex-Whiteford/Bailey/Collerson Talbot-Lago T26C in 1969

A famous car in Australia courtesy of back to back AGP win for Doug Whiteford at Bathurst in 1952 and Albert Park in 1953. See here; https://primotipo.com/2019/03/16/1953-australian-grand-prix-albert-park/

 

(L Morgan)

Love this Bakers Beach, Tasmania run in the early fifties.

Lesley Morgan said of the shot ‘Mum filling in for Geoff Quon, Dads normal passenger with me present as a very small foetus’ ! ‘The 7R AJS outfit clocked 89.1mph even with an inexperienced woman passenger.’

 

Rally Australia 2016

Aerobatics of the Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul Hyundai i20 WRC on the first day of the event at Coffs Harbour, New South Wales on 18 November.

The due finished third in the testing event won by the Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger VW Polo R WRC and the similar car of Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia.

 

Aussies Abroad

I think we should claim Selwyn Francis Edge even if he was really only born here- the pioneering motorist’s career was entirely in the UK, but let’s claim him all the same.

A topic for another time.

 

(N Stratton)

John Walker from Chris Amon and John Goss during the 1975 Oran Park Tasman Cup International

Lola T332 Repco Holden, Talon MR1 Chev and Matich A53 Repco Holden- they finished third, fourth and DNF that day, the race won by Warwick Brown, Lola T332 Chev from Graeme Lawrence’s similar T332.

I witnessed a cracker of a tustle for the series win that February at Sandown when the championship went down to the wire three weeks later. It was decided in that final race between Lola drivers Walker, Brown and Lawrence- click here to read about JW’s lucky, unlucky day; https://primotipo.com/2015/03/12/the-mother-and-father-of-lucky-escapes-john-walker-sandown-tasman-1975/

Brown, Walker and Lawrence on the front row of the grid at Surfers in 1975- Lola T332 times three. Walker won from Ken Smith and John Goss that weekend (N Laracy)

 

(Getty)

Donald Campbell, Bluebird Proteous CN7, Lake Eyre 10 May 1963

‘Returns after an attempt to break the Land Speed Record’, read all about this wonderful, extravagant ‘Boys Own’ adventure and ultimately successful enterprise, here; https://primotipo.com/2014/07/16/50-years-ago-today-17-july-1964-donald-campbell-broke-the-world-land-speed-record-in-bluebird-at-lake-eyre-south-australia-a-speed-of-403-10-mph/

The shot below is Bluebird K7 on its way to a water LSR setting run at Lake Dumbleyung, Western Australia in December 1964. Details of the NSW registered Commer? truck folks?

(F Bathgate)

 

Daniel Ricciardo leads the chasing Oulton Park F3 pack in 2009.

His weapon of war is a Carlin Motorsport run Dallara F309 Volkswagen- it is the first round of the British F3 Championship on Easter Monday 13 April.

Ricciardo won both races/rounds that weekend and 6 of the competitions 20 races. He took the title with two races to spare from Walter Grubmuller and Renger van der Zande both aboard Hitech Racing Dallara F309 Merecedes.

He progressed to Formula Renault 3.5 in 2010, finishing second in that title in a race to the wire in the final round with Mikhail Aleshin by 2 points. Into F1 with Hispania Racing in 2011.

 

It’s loose champ! And worn.

Jack Brabham ponders the Trokart allocated him for some type of curtain/fund raiser- Innes Ireland by the look at that helmet is behind him which promises mayhem at the first corner!

Jack’s lid makes me think it’s 1960 but i’m happy for a definitive date and place if any of you have it?

 

(oldracephotos.com)

Garrie Cooper, Elfin MR9 Chev from Bruno Giacomelli, Alfa Romeo 179 at Calder during the ‘F Libre’ 1980 Australian Grand Prix.

They were seventh and second in the race won by Alan Jones’ Williams FW07B Ford. GC had a shocker of a debut weekend in the worlds only bespoke ground-effects F5000 car, battling structural shortcomings induced by the grip caused.

A story in itself, we never saw this car fully developed and at its best, here Garrie is at Calder again, this time in March 1982 not long before the great Australian’s untimely death by heart failure. Bob Minogue’s ex-Brown/Costanzo Lola T430 Chev is under brakes on the back straight behind.

I’ve lost track of the ownership of this car and it’s proximity to a race some day?

(oldracephotos.com/NHammond)

 

(unattributed)

Lex Davison and Bib Stillwell contested the Le Mans 24 Hour classic in 1961 in John Ogier’s Essex Wire Racing Aston Martin DB4 Zagato, ‘2VEV’ car #3 here.

1VEV was raced by Jack Fairman and Bernard Consten, but both cars were out early due to incorrectly tensioned head studs which caused popped head gaskets. A bumma.

I wouldn’t mind betting the gent in the blazer and cap almost at far right is Lex Davison talking to the punters, perhaps one of the Davos can set me straight?

See here for a piece on the Victorian’s 1961 Euro Tour; https://primotipo.com/2015/09/22/aston-martin-db4gt-zagato-2vev-lex-davison-and-bib-stillwell/

 

(H Dennison)

Albert Park, Moomba Tourist Trophy, March 1956

Tony Parkinson quotes AMS April 1956 in his wonderful auslinhealey100s.com.au. ‘Came the patter of running feet, the whirring of starter motors, the roar as the motor burst into life, an occasional  crunch as the over eager hurriedly select first gear: the cars surged forward into now what seemed to be a never ending melee as they sorted themselves out and streamed off towards Melbourne Corner.’

The shots are not of the front of the grid, where some more potent Jaguar engined machines resided, note Bib Stillwell’s new #44 D Type- Tony Gaze won in his HWM Jag from Stillwell’s D Type and then Ron Phillip’s Austin Healey 100S third. Hard luck story of the race was Stan Jones run in his new ex-Whitehead Cooper T38 Jaguar. He built a commanding lead having started well behind the field when the big-six failed to fire on command, but the machine over-heated with a radiator inlet clogged with Albert Park leaves.

(H Dennison)

 

(A Patterson Collection)

Marvellous shot of Nina Jones (below) aboard her Alfa Romeo 6C1750 Zagato at Bondi in June 1930, wonder who her co-pilot was?

About as good a ‘customer’ racing Alfa as there was, this car raced on in Australia continuously into the sixties in Ford V8 engined form before restoration for another lady racer, Diana Gaze in the eighties.

Jones did FTD of 18 2/5 seconds on the tricky, wet, slippery-concrete flat but slightly curved Bondi main-drag. Obstacles included an errant dog on one run, Jones thankfully missed the dog and crowd in avoidance. 10,000 spectators were estimated to have attended the winter gig.

64 cars entered, they raced in pairs over a quarter-mile course in a knock-out series of contests, ‘the first time races of this sort had been held in Australia’ the Sydney Morning Herald reported. Bill Thompson’s 1930 AGP winning Bugatti T37A was second quickest in 19 1/5 seconds. See here for a feature on this car; https://primotipo.com/2018/02/15/mrs-jas-jones-alfa-6c-1750-ss-zagato/

(A Patterson Collection)

Credits…

Bob King Collection, Jack Inwood, Brier Thomas, Peter Weaver Motorsports Photography, Neil Stratton, Vittorio Del Basso, Terdich Family Collection via Tony Johns, Lesley Morgan, Neil Stratton, Neil Laracy, Adrian Patterson Collection, Sydney Morning Herald 30 June 1930, austinhealey100s.com.au

Tailpiece…

(A Patterson Collection)

Stunning 1926 Maroubra shot which captures the atmosphere of the place in a way most photographs of the challenging concrete saucer rarely do.

Hope Bartlett’s GP Sunbeam is the scratch car, car ‘B’ is Don Harkness in ‘Whitey 2’ an Overland, thoughts on the car in front?

Finito…

(J Dallinger)

Jack Phillips and Ted Parsons looking happy with themselves aboard their Ford V8 Special having won the Interstate Grand Prix at Wirlinga, Albury on 19 March 1938.

The Ford V8 found its way into all kinds of Australian specials both pre and post war, this was one of the most beautifully built and successful of them all. See here for a piece on this race; https://primotipo.com/2019/01/11/interstate-grand-prix-wirlinga-albury-1938/

These two mates were business partners in a motor dealership in Wangaratta which distributed Ford and other brands. I wonder if one of the admiring, capped kids is Jack’s son Ron Phillips who was a star in an Austin Healey 100S and Cooper T38 Jaguar in the mid-fifties to early sixties?

It’s pretty boring writing about familiar stuff, the journey of discovery is far more engaging. I think a lot about racing in the context of the times, how people lived, what they did with their leisure hours but it’s not necessarily easy to find the right photographs.

Not so this time, John J ‘Jack’ Dallinger ran a photography business, which still exists in Albury. Along the way, he and his staff recorded the daily lives of the citizens of the border city and surrounds, I’ve chosen some images of typical life justaposed with racing shots. All of the photographs were taken by Dallinger and his team in Albury in the thirties, unless attributed otherwise.

Locomotive’3623’ leaves Albury Station during the thirties. Obviously some sort of special occasion for the train to be decorated as it is

 

Albury Show wood-chopping competition, takes me back to watching the O’Toole brothers on Channel 7’s Sunday ‘World of Sport’ in the sixties

 

Motorcycle racing blazed the trail for cars in just about every sphere of competition in Australia, speedways included.

This is Aub Boyton aboard a Douglas, perhaps a 500cc DT5 or DT6- Douglas being one of the most popular and successful speedway bikes of the era.

 

 

Jim Boughton, Morgan at Wirlinga in 1938.

A year later this car had morphed into a single-seater in time for the Australian Grand Prix at Lobethal the following January, he failed to finish the race won by Allan Tomlinson’s MG TA Spl s/c. Better still, the Morgan remains extant.

Boating on Lake Hume, 1940s

 

Out and about in an Austin 7, this one is fitted with a James Flood built two seater sports body.

Of all steel and ash construction, the machine used a factory supplied radiator cowling forward of which was a fairing covering dummy dumb irons onto which was painted the registration number. The running gear comprised a production Austin chassis and mechanicals with a raked steering column.

Large flowing wings kept the elements from the occupants. ‘As was fashionable with many Australian models of this period, fixed split front windscreens were mounted on the scuttle with no provision of any weather protection’, many thanks to Tony Johns on this little Austin.

Keen spectators taking a look at competitors in the Wirlinga paddock prior to the 1938 Interstate Grand Prix.

Car #3 is Tim Joshua’s Frazer Nash, not too far from being restored, alongside is former Maroubra ace Hope Bartlett’s MG Q Type and then car #6, the winning Ford V8 Spl of Phillips/Parsons.

Cricket match near Tallangatta

 

Billycart race in Pemberton Street, Albury 1940s.

Too much roll stiffness? is that right front taking some air. I wonder if either of these two young tyros progressed to motorised competition?

I’m sure one of you will be able to help with the Dodge Ute model year, 1930s, i’m also intrigued to know the address of Albury Motors Pty. Ltd.

The CA Williamson Chrysler ahead of G Winton, AC and L Evans Vauxhall, Wirlinga 1938.

 

Waterskiing on Lake Hume

 

Golden Arrow on display in Albury, a bit on the machine here; https://primotipo.com/2019/06/04/wot-the-bloody-ell-is-that/

Bill Boddy, in MotorSport, wrote that after an exhibition tour of Australia the car returned to England, that line is written in such a way which implies the car made the trip here after setting the Land Speed Record at Daytona at 231.446 mph on 13 March 1929. So, its later in 1929, the machine was owned by the Wakefield Company, clearly a lot of Castrol lubricants were sold here at the time.

Sir Henry Segrave was later killed aboard ‘Miss England II’ on 13 June 1930 after raising the Water Speed Record to 98.76 mph at Lake Windemere.

Albury Gift finish 1939

 

‘NBN man’ on the road- make, model and year folks?

Credits…

John J Dallinger, Tony Johns Collection, Terdich Collection-VSCC scanned by Graham Miller and shared by his son David via Tony Johns

Etcetera…

(Terdich Collection via VSCC and Graeme and David Miller)

After upload our friend Tony Johns got in touch with these photos, ‘Having read your post i now understand the origin of these two photos in the Arthur Terdich Collection (winner of 1929 AGP @ Phillip Island). I was not aware the Golden Arrow ever came to Australia’ nor was I.

Some quick work on Trove reveals the car did a comprehensive tour of Australia in April-May 1930 taking in the west, and eastern seaboard, with over 70,000 people reported as seeing the car in Sydney’s showgrounds.

23.9 litre Napier Lion VIIA W-12 engine produced 930bhp @ 3,400rpm. Designed by John Samuel Irving and built at Kenelm Lee Guinness’ Robinhood Engineering Works Ltd, at Putney Vale, in 1928. First run in January 1929, LSR of 231.362mph at Daytona on March 11, 1929.

Terdich was a Melburnian so the above photograph was probably taken at the Royal Exhibition Buildings in the first week of May, ‘Motorclassica’ is held there these days, car shows continue at the marvellous old venue.

Checkout the rare, period cockpit shot of Bluebird below, it is not clear if Bluebird was touring at the same time as Golden Arrow.

‘Not sure that a current F1 driver would have time to read all the instruments’ Tony wryly observes. There are ten gauges to take in whilst travelling over 200mph- tach, petrol, blower (pressure or temps?) , one obscured, a clock!, then to the left are a car club and St Christopher badges?, then an adjustable knob on the chassis rail itself. On the right are axle temp, water, another temp gauge with another two at the bottom, plus Malcolm Campbell Ltd and Blue Bird brass plates.

(Terdich Collection via VSCC and Graeme and David Miller)

Tailpiece: Albury Sports Ground 1930s…

Finito…

 

(B Henderson)

Peter Macrow, McLaren M4A Ford FVA leads Kevin Bartlett, Mildren Alfa Romeo 1.6 four-valve, Glynn Scott, Bowin P3 Ford FVA and Brian Page, Brabham BT2 Ford twin-cam, across The Causeway at Warwick Farm on 8 September 1968.

24,000 people were at the ‘farm that Sunday, Pete Geoghegan delivered to expectations by winning the one race, 34 lap, 76 miles Australian Touring Car Championship from Darrel King’s Cooper S and Alan Hamilton’s just ‘orf the boat Porsche 911S/T. Peter Wherrett’s ‘Racing Car News’ race report reveals one of the best tussles of the day was the 15 lapper for racing cars.

The Four Valve Assemblage was not quite complete, the fourth member of the growing group of 1.6 litre Euro F2 cars in Australia, Niel Allen, didn’t race his ex-Piers Courage McLaren M4A FVA. A bumma, because that would have added to the show.

KB settles himself into the Mildren Alfa, note spoilers, ‘new.uw’ is local 2UW radio station (B Henderson)

 

Lovely portrait of Glynn Scott, Niel Allen is telling Glynn how much more expensive the FVA is to maintain compared with the 5 litre Chev in his Elfin 400…(B Henderson)

Macrow was the ‘newbie’ to the front rank having shown great form in Tony Osborne’s Argo Chev sportscar since taking over its wheel early in the year after Ian Cook accepted Bob Jane’s offer to drive his Elfin 400 Repco and crossed town from Brunswick to East Malvern.

Osborne realised that the limits of the Cooper T53 based Argo had been reached, and acquired Kiwi, Jim Palmer’s McLaren M4A after Allen beat him to the punch to buy Courage’s quick 1968 Tasman mount. Palmer’s car was Bruce McLaren’s own machine, chassis ‘M4A-1’, the first of the breed raced by the chief throughout the 1967 European F2 Championship. Piers was ‘well represented’ on this grid, Glynn Scott’s motor was Courage’ Tasman Cup spare.

Kevin Bartlett was the ace present, but the Mildren Alfa, built on Bob Britton/Rennmax Engineering’s Brabham BT23 jig, was ‘spankers and unsorted. Mildrens dynoed the Alfa Romeo 1.6 litre, four-valve, Spica/Lucas injected engine at 197 bhp @ 8,500 rpm, whereas about 210/215 bhp was claimed for a decent FVA, so it promised to be a good race with Bartlett on pole from Macrow and Scott.

Mildren Alfa, KB. Copy Brabham BT23 spaceframe, Hewland FT200 5-speed transaxle. Alfa Romeo 1598 cc four-valve, alloy block, injected Euro F2 engine. At 280 pounds the Italian engine is lighter than a Lotus-Ford twin-cam? It sits taller in the frame? (B Henderson)

 

Bartlett at the end of Pit Straight turning into Paddock (B Henderson)

 

(B Henderson)

Peter got the jump, which was impressive in Bartlett’s backyard, from KB and Glynn and then a gap to to the 1.5 litre cars led by Brian Page, Brabham BT2 Ford, Clive Millis, Elfin Mono Ford, Maurie Quincey, Elfin 600B Ford, Ray Cary, Elfin Ford and the rest.

On lap 2 KB had a crack at Macrow going into Creek but spun on oil on the inside of the track, KB recovered and chased Peter and Glynn in the spectacular tail-out style which was his hallmark. By lap 8 he was up Glynn’s clacker and passed him but further progress was impeded by the chassis undertray coming loose, Scott took back second place.

Scott chased Macrow hard but the Victorian held on to take the biggest win of his career to that point from Scott and Bartlett, Tony Osbornes’s Argo Racing Equipe delighted with a well earned victory.

Credits…

Bryan Henderson took all the wonderful photographs. ‘Racing Car News’ October 1968

Tailpiece…

(B Henderson)

Nice portrait of 28 years old Kevin Bartlett getting his head sorted on the Warwick Farm dummy grid before the off. It was a great year for the Sydneysider, he won his first Gold Star at the wheel of Mildren’s Brabham BT23D Alfa Tipo 33 2.5 V8.

This chassis did not use the Alfa engine for long, Max Stewart raced it from 1969 fitted with Waggott TC-4V 1600 cc, 1760 cc and 2 litre motors with great success.

Finito…

(Brabham Family)

Brabham’s Cooper T23 Bristol was billed as the fastest car of its type in the world as a Jack’s ongoing development of it with Frank Ashby’s advice and mentoring off to the side.

These images from the Brabham Family Collection were taken at Mount Panorama during the Easter 1954 meeting, the start of the A-Grade scratch race.

Jack’s T23 being tended by Keith Holland in the white overalls and Arthur Gray of Belshaw Foundry in the blazer (Brabham Family)

I’ve done Cooper Bristols and Jack’s T23 chassis ‘CB/1/53’ to death, here; https://primotipo.com/2017/02/24/the-cooper-t23-its-bristolbmw-engine-and-spaceframe-chassis/ and here; https://primotipo.com/2016/06/24/jacks-altona-grand-prix-and-cooper-t23-bristol/

The other two photos are at Mount Druitt, Stephen Dalton reckons June 27 1954 or 8 August 1954, thanks to Stephen and John Medley for photo IDs.

Credits…

Brabham Family Collection, ‘The Jack Brabham Story’ Jack Brabham with Doug Nye, Stephen Dalton, John Medley

Tailpiece…

(Brabham Family)

Finito…

I’ve been lovin’ these S5000 retro F5000 digital imaging of the Ligier JS-F3 S5000 Ford chassis, its been a great way to keep S5000 in the public eye whilst we package up the Covid 19 Dim Sims and send them back to those Wet Market pricks in Choina so we get back to normality.

Finally, they’ve got to Bruce Allison, and what do they dish up? Not the worlds best rip-off of JPS black, but the poofhouse baby-blue hue applied to his Bill Patterson supported Chevron B37 Chev in the summer of ’78. W.T.F. dudes!?

Allison, Chevron B37 Chev, Surfers Paradise 1978, started from the front row but out after 40 laps with lost oil pressure. Brown won in a Lola T333/332 (S5000)

 

Satanic, sinfully sexy black ‘n gold pin-striped Lola T332 Chev @ ‘Torana’ Sandown circa 1976 (I Smith)

My tongue practically stuck to the grass, sick unit that i am, when i spotted Bruce’s favourite (sic) car, the ANF2 Bowin P6 Ford-Hart in the Surfers Paradise paddock so equipped in September 1973. His subsequent Birrana 274, Lola T332 and Ralt RT4 all got a squirt from the same paint can, gold stripes and all, and didn’t they look grouse! Maybe its comin’…

Anyway, its been a while since i had a Brucie Google and some good stuff popped up, shots of the 1978 Aurora British F1 Championship, he initially ran a RAM Racing March 751 Ford but copped a much better March 781 chassis mid-season and achieved some good results including a win at Mallory Park in July, holding out eventual champion, Tony Trimmer, in the process.

This one is rare as rocking horse shite, Allison in Mario Deliotti’s Ensign N175 Ford in practice, he didn’t start the Evening News Trophy at Brands on 27 March which is a pity as he qualified third behind Trimmer and Lees.

Tony Trimmer’s McLaren M23 won from Geoff Lees, Ensign N175 and Emilio Villota’s McLaren M25 Ford.

 

Oulton Park F1 Trophy, held on June 24, March 751 Ford, he qualified fourth and finished second behind Guy Edwards’ March 781 Ford.

 

These two are at Donington during the May 21 ‘Formula 1 Trophy’.

Practice shots, DNF without completing a lap, March 751 Ford, Giancarlo Martini won in a Ensign N175 Ford from Edwards’ March 781 and Bob Evans’ Surtees TS19 Ford.

 

At Mallory on 30 July Bruce put his new March to good use with Trimmer’s McLaren up his chuff for much of the 75 lap race, he finished ahead of Tony and teammate Guy Edwards in the other RAM 781.

Looks like the photographers all share a beer together at the hairpin, Allison from Trimmer.

 

The Brands Hatch Trophy was on August 28, the tenth round, Stephen South stirred things up by popping his March 782 Ford on pole, five cars failed to finish the first lap- South, Teddy Pilette’s BRM P207 (poor bastard), Adrian Russell’s March 762 Ford, Brett Riley’s similar car and Bruce, what happened folks?

The shot below is Bruce and Edwards’ 781s in practice.

 

The Budweiser Trophy at Snetterton on September 24 was the last round of the season, Emilio de Villota McLaren M23 was on pole from Bruce, David Kennedy won in the Theodore Racing Wolf WR3 Ford we saw him race in Australia, from Trimmer and Allison.

The shot below is Allison from Trimmer and one of the Hesketh 308Es.

The title was Trimmers, 50 points ahead of Bob Evans, De Villota, Edwards, Lees and Allison.

Etcetera…

(J Payne)

The first and last of the Allison black beauties.

At Amaroo Park in August 1973 in the ANF2 Bowin P6 Ford-Hart, the rising-rate suspension beauty was not his favourite car, out of the points that weekend, Bruce did far better with a Birrana 274 in 1974.

Having retired too young Allison did a Nellie Melba and contested the first season of Formula Pacific in this Ralt RT4 Ford BDA, winning the 1981 National Panasonic Series, this shot is at Calder in August, he was second and fifth in the two races.

(P Weaver)

Credits…

S5000, autopassion.net, MotorSport, Rich Harman, Ian Smith, Scuderia57, J Payne, Peter Weaver

Tailpiece…

(I Smith)

Love this shot, Bruce tipping the B37 into Shell at Sandown during the 1978 Rothmans round. Grid 5 but DNS with timing chain failure, Warwick Brown’s Lola T333/332 took both the round and the series.

The car did look great in this livery but nowhere near as good as it would have in Allison/JPS black ‘n gold!

Finito…

 

 

 

DB, Brabham BT59 Judd EV V8, AGP 1990 (BA)

It was great to see David Brabham race a Brabham in Adelaide during the 1990 Australian Grand Prix, whilst the BT59 Judd looked the goods it was not a great car, and Brabham was hardly the marque it was during the Brabham/Tauranac and Ecclestone eras.

David qualified 25th and failed to finished after spinning off on lap 19, we saw him again in 1994, when he raced a Simtec S941 Ford HB V8 but that simple car, still fitted with a semi-manual gearbox, remember them, was well and truly under-cooked in amongst the Top-Guns.

And that, sadly, turned out to be the end of David Brabham’s time in Formula 1, mind you, he had a great professional race career inclusive of a 2009 Le Mans win aboard a Peugeot 908 HDi FAP in amongst heaps of sportscar and other victories.

In more recent times, after a legal battle of about a decade, he has gained control of the Brabham name and intellectual property and built the awesome Anglo-Australian Brabham BT62 Ford Hypercar, the first of what will hopefully be a long line of racing and road cars. If ever there was a time for ‘Team Australia’ to climb aboard it is now?

DB, BT62 during the Adelaide Motorsport Festival 2019 (InSydeMedia)

Here is the car during the 2019 Adelaide Motorsport Festival, love the circa 1990 Brabham era livery!

When I think of David Brabham in Adelaide it is the 1987 F1 carnival weekend which sticks in my mind. DB won the 15 lap, ANF2 (1.6 litre, SOHC, two-valve, carbs) one-race Gold Star  Championship event from the back of the grid, finishing ahead of a classy 28 car field including most of the top ten placegetters of the six round Formula 2 Championship which concluded a couple of months before.

In more recent times David has made public his motivation for that great drive. In one of those ‘shit happens’ moments of youth, he had ‘potted’ his girlfriend, and as an expectant father, Jack had given DB the ‘that’s the end of your F1 aspirations’ brush off. #3 son’s drive in Adelaide was an ‘I’ll faaarkin show you mate moment’, and man it was really impressive to watch!

I was rooting for Mark McLaughlin’s Elfin 852 VW as an enthusiast of the marque, and watched with amazement from the East Terrace section of the track as he caught and passed the competition hand over fist. It wasn’t his first race on one of the more technical road courses, Brabham was second in the Formula Ford Championship race the year before, and his Ralt RT30 VW was the right bit of kit, but it was an impressive drive all the same. A portent of what was to come.

DB, Ralt RT30 VW, Adelaide 1987 (driving.co.uk)

 

DB Adelaide 1987 (BA)

 

BT62 launch at the Australian High Commision, London (BA)

Jack Brabham and Ron Tauranac would chuckle with delight at the pragmatism of the BT62.  The car bristles with the latest in technology in some ways but beneath the sinfully edgy and sexy aerodynamically efficient carbon fibre and kevlar body delivering 1,600 kg of downforce, lurks a good old fashioned multi-tubular spaceframe chassis and a wonderful 5.4 litre modular Ford V8 modified to Brabham Automotive specifications.

Brabham and Tauranac won a couple of world titles in 1966-1967 with engines of relatively modest technical specifications and were still winning Grands Prix with spaceframes in 1969 when a change to regulations requiring ‘bag’ fuel tanks effectively mandated monocoques in F1.

The poverty pack BT62 is priced at US $975K plus taxes, whereas the ducks guts BT62 ‘Ultimate Track Car’ hits the road at a giddy US $1.3M, only proprietors of Chinese Wet Markets should apply. Seventy cars only will be built at Brabham’s new 15,000 square metre facility, at Edinburgh Parks, within parent company Fusion Capital’s complex.

(BA)

 

(BA)

The Ford ‘Voodoo’ based, Brabham DOHC, four-valve, fuel injected, flat-plane crank 5.4 litre V8 has a bore/stroke of 94 x 97 mm for a capacity of 5,387 cc giving 700 bhp @ 7,400 rpm and 492 lb/ft of torque. This lot hits the road via a six-speed sequential Holinger transaxle. Suspension front and rear is by way of push-rod actuated upper and lower wishbones and coil spring/dampers with adjustable roll bars at both ends. Brakes are carbon/carbon and carbon/ceramic for race/road.

BT62 has enormous, menacing presence, it is 4,460 mm long, 1,950 mm wide, 1,200 mm high and weighs 972 kg with a weight distribution of 41/59% front/rear.

Brabham delivered its first competition BT62 to Horsepower Racing in the UK in May 2019 to contest the Britcar Endurance Championship, in a wonderful start for the machine it won its first race from pole driven by David Brabham and Will Powell at Brands Hatch last November 9. Great stuff!

(BA)

 

(BA)

There is something wonderful about Brabhams being built in Adelaide’s Edinburgh Parks, only a kilometre or so from Holden’s closed Elizabeth factory. The city has a long history of automotive engineering and manufacturing excellence with such famous/prominent companies as Elfin Sports Cars, Clisby Engineering, Birrana Cars, Globe Products, ASP and many others building racing cars and components since the earliest days of motoring in Australia.

Without drawing too long a bow in making an historic connection between Brabham and Adelaide, Clisby Engineering in Prospect manufactured the 1967-1970 30, 40, 50, and 60 series cylinder heads for the range of Repco-Brabham Engines Pty. Ltd. racing V8s, including those used on the ‘740’ engines which won the 1967 world F1 championships.

Ooops, forgot! Jack’s first national championship speedway win was at Kilburn Speedway on 25 February 1949, 9 km from Adelaide’s GPO, so lets take the Adelaide/Brabham connection as a given.

Fusion Capital, the Brabham Automotive parent company, is based in Waymouth Street, Adelaide, they position themselves as ‘a partner of investors and small business’ and operate in three business sectors; advanced manufacturing and renewables, property and private equity.

Brabham Automotive’s brothers in the advanced manufacturing and renewables division are Precision Buses, Precision Components, a manufacturer of pressed metal and fabricated components, and Heliostat, a business which makes heliostats, mirrors which turn to reflect light in solar energy applications.

(BA)

 

(BA)

Hopefully Fusion Capital has a balance sheet of sufficient strength to allow Brabham to complete the construction of the seventy BT62s in their business plan as the first step of a process which will establish the company as a manufacturer of road and racing cars with a return to F1 at some point.

It is amusing to hear of ScoMo’s mob’s recent interest in the manufacturing sector given the final act of automotive sodomy which destroyed the motor industry was performed by Tony Abbott, a knuckle-dragging, towering monument to intellectual and leadership bankruptcy. In truth the seeds of the industries ultimate failure were established at birth, that is, a total lack of Australian ownership and therefore control. Generational management failure, union and head office greed, governments of both stripes applying economic rationalism since 1972 (and I’ll fess up to supporting such policies) without any ‘societal good’ over-ride and our high dollar did the rest.

The ongoing success of Bolwell in Mordialloc, who have navigated the travails of manufacturing in Australia with nimble skill since the sixties, 35 year old (yes!) Borland Racing Developments closeby, Geelong’s ‘Carbon Revolution’ wheel maker, and now Adelaide’s Brabham Automotive give great cause for optimism in the weird world in which we live, long may these enterprises prosper.

(BA)

Etcetera…

(BA)

 

(BA)

 

(BA)

 

(BA)

Credits…

Fairfax, Adelaide GP FB page, driving.co.uk, InSydeMedia, Getty Images, BA-Brabham Automotive, Fusion Capital

Tailpiece…

(BA)

Match race between David Brabham’s BT62 and Matt Hall in a Zivco Edge 540 V3 aircraft, during the Adelaide Motorsports Festival in 2019.

Finito…

(ANU)

Jack Burton aboard his Vauxhall 30-98 in the Gambier Ranges during his 2,889 mile drive across Australia, from Fremantle to Sydney between December 8-14 1923…

He and Bill Bradley were hoping to do the transcontinental journey in five days but a crash in a deep hole in Meningie necessitated repairs which cost the pair twelve hours of valuable time. They still bagged a new record of six days, 15 hours and 57 minutes, 39 hours less than the previous record and in so doing they also set new marks for Fremantle to Adelaide and Fremantle to Melbourne.

The reputation of these mighty Vauxhalls as robust, beautifully built machines was polished yet again, this car had already done over 40,000 miles in previous attempts.

‘Daily Telegraph’ 15 December 1923

Burton was the husband of famous Australian equestrian, Emma Roach, whilst based in Sydney they travelled the continent to agricultural shows where Roach plied her trade whilst Burton worked in car sales and as a motoring writer. Along the way he was involved in a number of record breaking drives in the pioneering days of motoring in this earliest branch of motorsport in Oz. See here for a feature on this important aspect of Australian motoring history; https://primotipo.com/2018/12/21/city-to-city-record-breaking-and-car-trials/

 

Hi-ho Silver, giddy-up (ANU)

Credits…

Sydney Daily Telegraph 15 December 1923, The Mercury, Hobart 15 December 1923, Dunlop, Australian National University

Tailpiece…

(ANU)

Finito…

Garrie Cooper exported a couple of Elfin sportscars to South Africa in the mid-sixties, both of which were competitive cars. It would be interesting to know how many of the great Edwardstown outfits products left our shores?

The shot above shows the brand spankers Elfin Mallala Ford Cosworth having perhaps its first run at Roy Hesketh, in June 1964 M Lester having a good look at the Smiths tell-tale to ensure Henri le Roux hasn’t buzzed the fresh motor. G Goetzer looks on at left.

The Mallala was essentially a sports version of the Catalina single-seater, five cars were built and delivered between December 1962 and March 1964, Henri’s car, chassis ‘S6418’ was the last of these.

The car sang for its supper immediately, Le Roux entered it in the 1964 South African Sports Car Championship, his first event was the Republic Day Races at Kyalami on 6 June where he won his class and finished second outright. The race report observed ‘Henri le Roux’s Australian Elfin Mallala with Cosworth Ford engine was most impressive and will certainly be a car to watch, though the final drive ratio was wrong and he reached peak revs early in the straight instead of near the end’ a malady rather easy to fix with a Hewland gearbox of course.

Henri raced the car at Kyalami, Roy Hesketh, East London, Killarney and Lourenco Marques with his best results first in class at Kyalami in June, second outright at Laurenco in July and third in class at the Rand GP meeting at Kyalami in December. By 1967 the car was owned and raced by Joss Viljoen, Stephen Knox brought the car back to Australia in the eighties.

Henri le Roux, Elfin Mallala Ford, circuit unknown, assistance welcome. Beautiful shot (R Winslade)

 

McGillewie Elfin 300 Climax at Roy Hesketh 1968- first place in the 15 April SA SCC race

Perhaps the pace of the Mallala inspired Garth McGillewie to acquire the second of seven Elfin 300s built. Chassis ‘SS67-5’ was completed by Elfins in September 1967 and shipped to South Africa shortly thereafter.

Durban motor trader McGillewie, with a careful eye on the local and international class structure, fitted his machine with a 2-litre Coventry Climax FPF four-cylinder engine and five speed Hewland transaxle.

Barry Catford wrote ‘…this car was shipped to South Africa where it performed exceptionally well in the hands of Garth McGillewie, holding many records in its category for some years. In the Capetown 3 Hour race the Elfin finished fourth outright behind a Ferrari P4 and two 6-litre Lola GTs. During the Rand 9 Hour race, driver Tony Jeffries shadowed the Ford GT40s until he was forced to retire after colliding with Frank Gardner and Mike Spence. The Elfin went on to take out the 1968 South African Sports Car Championship.’ McGillewie bought at Chevron B8 to replace the Elfin.

‘The car was later restored for a subsequent owner, Ron Watt of Zimbabwe, by Ivan Glasby who was responsible for returning the car to Australia some years later’ Catford concludes.

(M Hall Collection)

Etcetera: Elfin Exports…

My inquisitive nature usually gets the better of me. Having posed the question as to Elfins exported, i think the number of Garrie Cooper Elfins sold overseas when built is 15 cars of 264 built, the first of which was the Le Roux Mallala.

My methodology was to add the production numbers in the Catford/Blanden book then list those which were exported viz;

1964: Mallala ‘S6418’ Henri le Roux, South Africa

1967: 400 ‘BB67-4’ Andy Buchanan, New Zealand, 300 ‘SS67-4’ Chuck Krueger USA, 300 ‘SS67-5’ Garth McGillewie South Africa

1969: 600C ‘6910’ Hengkie Iriawan Indonesia, Ford FVA engined

1970: 600B ‘7015’ Teddy Yip Macau, 600FF ‘70005’ David Oxton New Zealand, 600FF ‘70009’ Frohlich Golding & Co South Africa

1973: 620FF ‘73421’ Dante Silverio, Toyota engine fitted Philippines, 622 ‘73422’ Dante Silverio Toyota engine Philippines

1974: 620/BFF ‘73430’ Mike Hall USA, ‘73432’, ‘73433’ and ‘73434’ all USA, seemingly Chuck Jones Racing

1977: MR8A-C ‘8783’ Vern Schuppan USA (i appreciate he isn’t American but he was an Oz International then so i am treating the car as such- it bombed in the Can-Am and was also raced in F5000 guise in Oz

So, fifteen cars, as always, happy for input.

(M Hall Collection)

Mike Hall was Elfin’s man on the ground in the US for a bit and i really must give him a call. Elfin 620FF American style, the Americans were running on the same Goodyear slicks we were at the time so the suspension should have worked nicely.

Interesting for FF buffs is that Larry Perkins debuted the 620 in the UK Formula Ford Festival in late 1972 doing well enough at Snetterton to launch his international career- that chassis returned to Oz.

(M Hall Collection)

Bibliography…

‘Australia’s Elfin Sports and Racing Cars’ Barry Catford and John Blanden, ‘Hieronymus’ on The Nostalgia Forum

Credits…

Roy Hesketh Circuit Heritage, Richard Winslade, Michael Hall Collection

Tailpiece…

(Roy Hesketh Circuit Heritage)

Jos Viljoen’s Elfin Mallala Ford alongside Ray Emond’s Lola Mk1 Ford on the Roy Hesketh grid during the Easter 1967 long weekend.

Finito…

Doug Whiteford, Ford V8 Spl leads Lex Davison, Alfa Romeo P3 early in the Vintage Festival Championship, Nuriootpa April 1949 (SLSA)

South Australia’s Barossa Valley, 75 km north of Adelaide is one of the states great wine producing areas.

32 km long and 8 km wide it includes the towns of Lyndoch, Tanunda, Greenock, Seppeltsfield, Angaston and just to its north-west, Nuriootpa.

Somewhat unique in Australia, large numbers of Germans settled in the Adelaide Hills and surrounding areas from the 1840s planting some of the earliest grapevines in the country.

By 1949 the Barossa had 22,000 acres of vines producing 60% of the total South Australian Vintage. Keen to maintain some of the cultural traditions of the old world, in 1947 community leaders organised a festival similar to those held in the Rhine Valley at vintage time, to foster a greater sense of community, raise funds for charitable causes and have fun!

The climax of the two day 22-23 April 1949 celebration was a carnival at Tanunda with dancing sideshows, a draught-horse derby and barbeques of three 600 pound bullocks! Not to forget motor racing…

1949 Festival program

 

Greenock float heading past the Nuriootpa Community Hotel during the 1948 Festival (Advertiser)

 

Nuriootpa circuit map. In terms of the narrative below, the start/finish is in the top right corner

South Australia hosted Australian Grands Prix at coastal Victor Harbor (correct spelling) in December 1936 and on the daunting Adelaide Hills, Lobethal roller-coaster road course in January 1939, Nuriootpa was chosen as the 1950 venue.

In that sense the Vintage Festival race meeting was a ‘warm up’ for the organisers and racers alike- the Nuri road course was only used on those two occasions seven months apart.

Some maps make the track appear a simple square layout around the town but the more detailed drawing above shows the flat 3.1 mile/4.98 km course to be not quite so easy, whilst not on the same planet of difficulty as Lobethal.

The start line was on the Penrice Road/Research Road corner with cars heading clockwise- the top right corner of the map above, the paddock was on parkland on the outside of this corner.

Racers headed down the straight for a fast run into the double-right hand ‘Atze’s Corner’ and then onto Railway Terrace- gently to the right, then a short straight, then a quick left before another hard application of brakes for ‘Tolleys Corner’- the intersection of Railway Terrace and Nuriootpa’s main drag- Tanunda Road/Murray Street.

There the cars kicked away with parklands on the left, gently left over a wooden bridge to clear the North Para River before heading straight- going past the shops then more hard braking for another right-hander at the Penrice Road intersection.

Exiting, the cars gently curved left and gently right before another straight section past the finish line just before the Penrice Road/Research Road intersection and then another lap…

Bill Patterson, MG TC Spl s/c. Plod on this side, St Johns Ambos on the inside. Probably, as many of these shots are, the intersection of Murray Street and Penrice Road- Bill is entering Penrice for the run to the finish line (HTSA)

 

Harry Neale’s Ford V8 Spl at left and Jim Gullan, Ballot Oldsmobile on the right (HTSA)

34 cars and 46 motorcycles entered the meeting, no doubt the poor entry of cars was a function of the traditional Easter fixture at Mount Panorama which took place the weekend before.

Top guns at Bathurst were Lex Davison’s 1934 GP Alfa Romeo P3, Frank Kleinig’s legendary Kleinig Hudson Spl, Bill McLachlan’s Mackellar Spl (Bugatti T37A Ford V8) and Jack Murray’s Day Special (Bugatti T39 Ford V8). The feature event, the 25 lap All Powers Handicap, was won by Arthur Rizzo’s Riley Spl from Curley Brydon, MG TC and Kleinig.

Bathurst contestants who made the trip to South Australia included Davison, Tony Gaze, HRG and Bill Patterson, MG TC Spl s/c.

The Davison and Patterson crews had barely 24 hours to give their cars a tickle in Melbourne before loading up again for the 750 km trip on the Western Highway to the Barossa.

Tony Gaze had an amazing couple of weeks- he drove the HRG from Melbourne to Bathurst, raced it to fifth in the All Powers Handicap feature race won by Rizzo, then drove to Nuriootpa, raced it again for a couple of third places and finally drove it back to Melbourne!

Lex’ machine had misbehaved at Bathurst- he had braking problems, nor would the exotic 2.9 litre twin-cam straight-eight reach maximum revs. Patterson didn’t start his events at Mount Panorama so his boys in Ringwood no doubt had a busy night as well.

Other entries included plenty of MGs- John Nind’s TB Spl, plus four South Australians in TC’s of varying specification- David Harvey, Ron Kennedy, Steve Tillet and Harold Clisby- the prodigiously talented, intuitive, eccentric engineer of 1.5 litre Clisby V6 F1 race engine fame, and much, much more who was making his race debut.

John Crouch raced another HRG, Ken Wylie his clever, fast Austin A40 Spl s/c, Eldred Norman ran his Ford Double-8 Spl- which as the name suggests was powered by two Ford V8’s. Later driver of that car, Harry Neale entered his Ford V8 Spl and Les Robinson the ex-Segrave/Hope Bartlett 1922 GP Sunbeam Ford V8 Spl.

Jim Gullan brought from Melbourne his quick Ballot Oldsmobile Spl with close mate Doug Whiteford there to race his legendary Ford V8 Ute based special ‘Black Bess’- a combination which would win the AGP at Nuri seven months hence.

Lex’ Alfa landed in Australia in February 1948, he was still getting the hang of the car without too many circuits upon which to race it at the time. Theoretically it was the fastest car in the country- in reality Alf Barrett’s older Alfa Monza was the quicker combination but the Armadale blue-blood was at the end of his career at 38, ‘retiring’ in 1948 whereas the 26 year old Lilydale blue-blood was just at the start of his long, distinguished career.

Interestingly, Davo’s car was being looked after by later four-time Gold Star champion Bib Stillwell who, at 22, had commenced his first retail and repair automotive business in partnership with respected, experienced, ten years older than Bib, Derry George in January 1949.

‘Magnette Motors’, or more commonly ‘Stillwell & George’ operated from 121 Cotham Road, Kew, a building owned by Bib’s mother- it was the start of Stillwell’s motor businesses which occupied this and adjoining sites into the 2000s. George learned his craft with Reg Nutt and before that legendary outfit A.F Hollins in Armadale, who would ultimately prepare Lex’s cars with great success upon the recommendation of Tony Gaze.

Australian racing events were mainly run to handicaps at this stage. Bill Patterson’s marvellous Reg Nutt/Doug Whiteford built, Bob Baker bodied MG TC Spl s/c was half a chance. Whiteford’s ‘Black Bess’, continually developed by the talented and driven racer/engineer since it first appeared in 1939 was a well known combination to the handicappers, his challenge would be greater.

Jim Gullan commented about how little time there was to practice and had the opposite braking problem to Davison- his anchors were too good!

With the assistance of Jack Pearce at Paton Brake Replacements (P.B.R. later the Repco Brake Company) Jim and Doug Whiteford had been supplied with a new braking package which comprised light commercial drums, aluminium brake shoe castings copied from Jim’s Ballot, aluminium backing plates and large wire air-scoops which looked great and were no doubt a wonderful psyche!

Gullan found his new brakes so powerful that ‘they were bending the chassis, making the car almost unsteerable on the rough Nuriootpa roads. The only thing to do was to apply them gently.’

Jim Gullan, Ballot Olds in front of a group shortly after the start of the over 1500cc Vintage Festival Championship scratch- #2 Bill Wilcox, Dodge Spl, #11 Harry Neale, Ford V8 Spl then #2 folks and in the dust behind, Robinson’s GP Sunbeam Spl (J Gullan Collection)

 

Davison now in front of Whiteford in their Vintage Festival Championship tussle- from Murray Street and into Penrice Road (HTSA)

A crowd estimated at 30,000 people attended Sunday raceday, the final day of the carnival to see a six event program- it was fine and warm, good conditions for racing.

The lack of practice Gullan commented on was because practice was scheduled to start on raceday at 6 am but there were still revellers from the night before in Murray Street, so the circuit didn’t open until 6.40 am and was then made over to the bikies at 8 am.

The only incidents were spinners John Crouch and John Nind- who bent his front axle in the process.

Whilst the 48 mile, 8 lap Barossa Valley Handicap was nominally the feature event, the Vintage Festival Championship scratch race for the over 1500cc cars was probably the thriller of the day with a wonderful scrap between Davison and Whiteford.

Contrary to modern practice, the fastest cars started from the back of the grid. Whiteford’s Black Bess made the best start, then came Gullan, Ballot Olds, Davison’s P3 and Harry Neale in his Ford V8 Spl.

He was followed by Melburnian Bill Wilcox in the Gullan designed Dodge Special- a Dodge six-cylinder engine and Lancia gearbox clad in a sexy Bob Baker built body of Mercedes Benz GP style, and then Mount Gambier’s Les Robinson in the GP Sunbeam Ford V8.

During lap 2 Davo passed Gullan and ranged up behind Whiteford, Wilcox was close to Neale but behind Robinson.

It took Davison 3 laps to get past the hard driven Bess, which was not as quick in a straight line as the Alfa (Davo did 144 mph on Conrod aboard the P3 in 1949 whilst Doug did 121 mph in Bess in 1950) but stopped better and had Doug’s cornering brio- and then stay ahead of Whiteford. Positions then remained the same to the end of the race, Davison won from Whiteford, Gullan, Neale and Robinson.

Graham Howard wrote that Davison’s win was an important milestone, it was his first victory after only two and a half years racing, discounting a ‘club level’ win on the grass at Nar-Nar-Goon in Victoria.

Davison in front of Whiteford in Nuriootpa village- Murray Street into Penrice Road corner (HTSA)

 

Ken Wylie, Austin A40 Special s/c (1250cc) on the Murray/Penrice corner- note the ever present, cast iron/concrete ‘Stobie’ poles distinctive to South Australia. Lex Davison famously bent one of these whilst destroying wife Diana’s MG TC Spl at Lobethal in January 1948- and lived, a bit bruised, to tell the tale! (HTSA)

The car racing program opened with the Motors Ltd Championship under 1500cc scratch event over 8 laps, 24 miles.

Crouch’s HRG led for the first lap- Patterson spun with the Tillet and Harvey TCs, Gaze’ HRG and Ken Wylie, Austin A40 Spl coming through in a bunch.

Patterson worked through to the front, overcoming his spin and led from Crouch and Wylie- then Wylie passed Crouch and set the fastest lap of the race, and came to within 12 seconds of Patterson but the Wylies and Gaze cars faded with overheating, the latter having lost its fanbelt.

Patterson won from Crouch, Gaze, Wylie- then Tillett, Kennedy and Harvey having a ball in their TCs then R Head, Riley Spl and I Jackson, GN.

John Crouch had a good year, he won the 1949 Australian Grand Prix that September in his ex-John Snow Delahaye 135CS on the Leyburn ex-RAAF base runways in Queensland- he was 5 minutes ahead of the pursuers led by Ray Gordon’s MG TC Spl.

Tony Gaze would soon return to the UK, having had a distinguished flying career during the war, to say the least, for the ‘serious’ part of his racing career in Europe. Jim Gullan and his wife Christine joined Tony and Kaye Gaze for the early part of that trip, 1951- an interesting story for another time.

In the Barossa Valley Handicap 16 lap feature, Bill Patterson won off 4 minutes 25 seconds.

The cars initially ran in handicap order with Head, Clisby and Ravdell Ford A Model Spl s/c early retirements. After 8 laps Keith Rilstone led in a Morris Minor from the Howard Austin Ulster then the MGs of Tillett, Kennedy and Ohlmeyer (TA).

Patterson was past Crouch, Harvey and Wilcox whilst Davison passed the Ford Double-Eight driven by Eldred Norman- ‘…while Norman was out on the dirt passing Harvey, Davison was dancing from one side of the road to the other, behind them, shaking his fist in search of an opening, Nuvolari style’ AMS reported.

Jim Gullan passed Tony Gaze whose car was boiling, with Patterson taking the lead on lap 14- at this point Rilstone was second from Tillett, Kennedy and Howard.

With 2 of the 16 laps to run Patto had consolidated his lead whilst Tillett was within striking distance of the Rilstone Morris then Wilcox, Dodge and Howard, Austin.

Doug Whiteford only gets a mention towards the end of the AMS report but consistent laps in the 2 minute 30 second mark saw him finish fourth behind the top three- Patterson, Tillett and Wilcox. Kennedy’s TC was fifth, then Gullan, the Crouch HRG, Rilstone, Ohlmeyer’s TA, R Howard’s Austin Ulster, the Harvey TC, Harry Neale’s Ford V8 Spl and the Nind TB Spl.

Bill Patterson first raced a modified MG TC before switching to his new racer (below) which was built in late 1948- he first competed in it at Rob Roy in January 1949, so the Sports Car Club of South Australia handicappers did not have much to work with in the way of results, always handy!

25 year old Bill Patterson in the Nuriootpa paddock after his first big win- the Barossa Valley Handicap in the ‘Patterson’ MG TC Spl s/c’. His ascent as a driver was commensurate with better cars, itself a function of the growing success of his outer eastern Melbourne, Ringwood Holden/truck dealership. Won the Gold Star in a Cooper T51 Climax in 1961, his pace was apparent from the start of his career (R Townley Collection)

 

Stobie pole growing from the cockpit of the Patterson TC- fine lines, driven and developed further by Curley Brydon after its sale by Patto in 1950 (HTSA)

To qualify for the last event of the day, the Consolation Handicap 6 lapper, entrants had to have not won more than forty pounds in any of the previous races!

For the first 4 laps the lead was swapped between Rilstone and later Australian Tourist Trophy winner, Derek Jolly’s Austin 7 Spl with the race won by  Ron Kennedy from Steve Tillett both in MG TC’s and then John Crouch’s HRG which had a very consistent weekend, then came Gaze, Gullan, Wilcox and Davison who set the fastest race time and a lap record of 75 mph.

Then was Ohlmeyer, TA, Jolly, Austin 7 Spl, the Nind TB Spl, Harry Neale, Ford V8 Spl and the N Jackson GN.

Harold Clisby made the local papers after losing control of his MG TC and backing it into a fence. The Clisby family account is that ‘…he was leading the race until another car cut him off on a corner sending him careering over a bridge with only the fencing wires preventing him ending up at the bottom of a creek.’

Jim Gullan, Ballot Olds, the chassis rails of which have been copiously drilled for lightness, no doubt at the cost of torsional rigidity which probably was not great before he started. Which corner? Dunno. Stobie pole marks the apex (unattributed)

Etcetera…

Jim Gullan and Doug Whiteford were close friends, as noted above, in the best traditions of the day, after the 1950 Nuriootpa AGP ‘…we drove each others car around Albert Park one evening, both previously having driven the other’s car a short distance’ wrote Gullan.

‘My impression of the Ford was it had more power and torque than the Ballot, with a rougher engine. The brakes had a very hard pedal and poor retardation, the steering was light and spongy. The car was tail light, tending to wander at speed, difficult to drive at racing speeds.’

‘Doug’s impression of the Ballot, very smooth high revving (6000 rpm) engine, steering and brakes too sensitive, difficult to drive!’

Gullan, mused over the changes to ‘the scene’ in 1950 with drivers getting faster imported cars and ‘nearly half the field in the 1950 Grand Prix had been made up of MG’s, which made for interesting under 1500cc Scratch Races.’

He concluded that the Ballot had reached the limit of its development without a new chassis fitted with independent suspension.

By the time he returned to Australia after twelve months in Europe, in early 1952, air-cooled Coopers were plentiful, Stan Jones was racing Maybach 1, Doug Whiteford had his first Talbot-Lago T26C and much, much more- the times were changing with much of the evolution due to the growth of scratch racing, to win one needed the equipment to do so.

 

Yet one more shot of the Davison/Whiteford dice, Doug almost wholly obscured by Davo and the Stobie (HTSA)

 

(State Records SA)

 

(SLSA)

This is the only clear motorcycle shot I can find, John Medley identified the rider as South Australian, Les Diener, his machine is a Velocette 350 MkVIII KTT.

He had a great weekend, winning the 5 lap Barossa Junior TT and finished third in the Senior event despite giving away capacity to most other entrants.

Diener and Lloyd Hirst had a good go in the Junior event, Hirst leading for the first 2 laps, in the Senior TT Laurie Boulter’s Norton and Hirst’s Vincent-HRD finshed in front of Diener.

Check out this fascinating article about Les Diener- what a talented rider and engineer he was; https://www.shannons.com.au/club/bike-news/old-bikes-australasia-the-eldee-velocettes/

After the final race the crowd swarmed into Nuriootpa’s main street- Murray Street for the start of a procession of sixty decorated floats. At the end of the day 25,000 people converged on Tanunda Oval above, ‘to see the most lavish spectacle ever staged in a South Australian country town.’

The Barossa Vintage Festival is now held biannually with a week long calendar of events including wine workshops, heritage events and church services- the Barossa’s Lutheran leanings reflect its German heritage, which is about where we came in…

Otto Stone’s copy of the race program, programme I should say! from Stephen Dalton

Bibliography…

‘Lex Davison: Larger Than Life’ Graham Howard, ‘Bathurst: Cradle of Australian Motor Racing’ John Medley, ‘As Long As It Has Wheels’ James Gullan, ‘Harold William Clisby: The Life of a Restless Engineer’ on clisby.com, Australian Motor Sports 16 May 1949 via the Bob King Collection, Stephen Dalton Collection

Photo Credits…

‘HTSA’ History Trust of South Australia, State Records of South Australia, Adelaide Advertiser, State Library of South Australia, Richard Townley Collection

Tailpiece…

(State Records SA)

Grape pickers during the 1949 Festival- its seventy years ago my friends. Lots of happiness and optimism in those pretty smiling faces.

Finito…

(N Henderson Collection)

MG on Mount Tarrengower, Maldon, Victoria circa 1946-1947…

Its funny what ya find sometimes, this was a random catch found sitting in front of the tello whilst searching for something else.

The photograph, from artblat.com, is part of the Nicholas Henderson Collection and thought to be Tarrengower given the preponderance of Maldon shots in the collection- further evidence cited the surrounding box-ironbark trees.

We had a country drive to Castlemaine, Kyneton and Maldon inclusive of a cruise up the mountain again six months ago-Tarrengower it is i suspect.

I am no pre-war expert but the stance of the machine and its grille reek of MG, perhaps not a supercharged one mind you, so that narrows the model choice somewhat- but it’s no more than a guess, perhaps it’s Peter Vennermark’s Maserati 4CL?

Below are two more cars, one sporting and the other not- love to know what they are, bonus points for the drivers and the date of the meeting.

(N Henderson Collection)

For some of you the dress of the spectators may help give us a fix on the date, as perhaps will the model year of the most recent car built- perhaps the sedan below.

Another car (not shown) in the same batch of photos had a registration expiry date of February 1947 and was therefore indicative of the approximate timing of the photographs to the curator of artblat.com, Dr Marcus Bunyan.

(N Henderson Collection)

 

1947 postcard of the meeting that year shows the spectator car park at the bottom of Mount Tarrengower- horse and cart is a nice touch!

 

A little bit more research shows there was an event in 1947, not sure about 1946, the climb has been pretty much in continuous use since the dawn of motoring in Australia, the ninetieth anniversary of the first event was held last year- 2019.

The climb had not been used for a couple of decades until the Vintage Sports Car Club ran an event on 29 February 1964, FTD that day went to Bill Leach in an E Type Jaguar. The club returned that October when FTD was set by no less than Lex Davison’s Cooper T62 Climax 2.5 Tasman car in 50.34 seconds, Davo was a very experienced hill climber with an Australian Championship amongst his many racing achievements, see here; https://primotipo.com/2019/03/05/mount-tarrengower-hillclimb/

I’ve never raced there competitively but I did run my Elfin Crusader Formula Vee up the hill during an Elfin Owners Club run from Bendigo to Mount Tarrengower and back in November 1993- about 40 cars did that event from Peter Brennan’s MR8C Chev F5000 ‘down’ to one or two Vees- a Gendarme up front in a fast pursuit car ensured speeds were civil but quick on 80km of public highways. What fun it was.

Jim Hawker and George Wightman aboard the awesome Chamberlain 8, Tarrengower April 1947 (The Chamberlain)

 

Later 1960’s shot of a Geneer Outlaw VW, I think, gives perspective on the open nature of the tourist road and surrounding terrain (Ken Bolitho)

 

Peter Vennermark, Maserati 4CL 1.5 at Tarrengower, 4 March 1951 (Maldon Museum)

 

Lex Davison, Cooper T62 Climax, Tarrengower October 1964- Davo in collar and tie (M Williams Collection)

The climb is about 1500 metres long, the bitumen is narrow, patchy and rough at the edges- the shot above of Lex in 1964 is not that much different to now, it is a tourist road with a lookout at the top. It’s a very fast open climb, a big challenge, I notice that a chicane half way up was used last year which is a bummer in some ways but probably makes good sense.

My first visit to Mount Tarrengower was as an official with a mate in 1978. We camped overnight and took up our post about two thirds of the way up the hill on Sunday, a beautiful clear, hot day. What impressed was the speed of the more powerful cars but the dangers were great given the unguarded edges and unforgiving trees awaiting those who goofed.

During the afternoon we heard the unmistakable wail of a Porsche flat-six off the start line- it was the very impressive Dr Will Darvall’s 2.7 RS mounting another assault. The rise and fall of the engine note indicated his commitment and rapid progress until about 100 metres or so below us the throttle closed rapidly, then followed a sickening series of dull-thuds as the gorgeous car pinged from eucalypt to sheoak. I will never forget that sound.

We looked at one another and said in unison ‘He’s fucked!’ It seemed and sounded that bad. But the good doctor recovered, I know this as he was ‘me mate Big Bad Brucie’s GP in Heidelberg, but he was a sick boy for a long while. The car was rooted, but it too lived to fight another day after bulk dollars were spent on its resurrection around a new shell.

The point to be taken here is that there is no ‘good place’ to leave the road on this challenging mountain.

Maldon High Street 1934 (Maldon Museum)

 

Maldon High Street circa 1975 (Ellen Hansa-Stanyer)

 

Maldon High Street 2019, refreshingly little change over the last eighty years or so (Maldon FB)

The Central Goldfields area of Victoria is quite beautiful and so named as a consequence of the 1850’s Gold Rush which attracted massive numbers of fortune seekers from around the world.

The ‘Golden Triangle’ area marked by the towns of Ballarat, Maryborough and Bendigo yielded massive amounts of the precious commodity, Mount Tarrengower is a couple of kilometres from the tiny village of Maldon at the Triangle’s northern end- short walks around and from the village allow this wonderful history to be seen and experienced- the steam train ride is a beauty for ‘big kids’ too.

Maldon is a must visit for any Victorian international tourists list, the town was classified by the National Trust way back around 1970 so the streetscape now is little different to the way it was during that 1947 hillclimb weekend.

Peter Holinger on the line aboard the very fast Holinger Repco ‘620’ 4.4 V8 circa 1978, the dimensions of which were provided by Jack Brabham’s 1969 Tasman contender- Brabham BT31 Repco (John Bowring)

Etcetera…

 

(M Bisset)

A couple of happy-snaps of the Elfin ‘Tour To Tarrengower’ in November 1993 I mentioned.

The five red cars are Catalina, Mono, Mallala sports, Mono and Catalina, then a white and blue pair of 620s- this is in Bendigo.

Below is Pete Brennan’s MR8 F5000 and the arse of his 400 Chev at right, the big white monster is the ex-Schuppan MR8 in Can-Am dress, now owned by Bill Hemming, it is in F5000 guise. The other white sporty is a 360, a personal favourite.

(M Bisset)

Peter Brennan on the way to FTD circa 1982 in his Elva Mk8S BMW 2 litre.

(P Brennan Collection)

 

(A Tracey)

Another crop of Peter Vennermark’s Maserati and a report on that meeting below, Easter Saturday 24 March 1951- where he had an off.

Chassis #1555 was later sold to long time racer Cec Warren who alighted the machine during the March 1954 Fishermans Bend meeting for adjustments, collapsed with a heart attack and died.

 

(A Tracey)

 

(D Zeunert)

Lovely photo of the vibe in the ‘modern era’, crowd and carpark in the background, 1982 with Stuart Anderson on the line, Maserati 4CM 1100, above and below.

(D Zeunert)

 

(G Thomas in L Sims Collection)

Bob King has his money on our opening car being the Lindsay Head driven Riley Austin Spl, here being driven over Skyline at Rob Roy in 1946- without its lights, it is a possibility’

Photo and other credits…

Nicholas Henderson Collection on artblat.com, Maldon Museum, Maldon Facebook, Ellen Hansa-Stanyer, Max Williams Collection, The Chamberlain, Tony Johns Collection, ‘Bentley Specials and Special Bentleys’ Ray Roberts, John Bowring, Ken Bolitho, Peter Brennan Collection, Ashley Tracey Collection via Tony Johns, George Thomas in the Leon Sims Collection, David Zeunert/Collection

Tailpiece…

Bentley in High Street, Maldon circa 2018, Tony Johns tells me it’s a 1950 Mk6 rebodied coupe. The Mount Tarrengower road and car park is well worth a visit on race weekend and a tootle up from Melbourne for the day anytime.

The many closed shops in town at the moment are a bit of a worry, I have not seen the place so depressed in all the years of regular visits since 1978.

Back to the Bentley, with a bit of assistance from John’s copy of ‘Bentley Specials and Special Bentleys’.

The car was designed by Queensland graphic designer Ian Shaw who was considerably influence by the Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic.

The chassis (#B4JO) ‘was reclaimed from an earlier touring body conversion’, seven inches were taken from the frame, the engine moved aft twelve inches and lowered- whilst the ‘X brace’ part of the chassis was removed other cross members were added to restore and enhance torsional rigidity.

Mechanical upgrades include dual boosted hydraulic brakes, Koni shocks, sixteen inch wires and a smaller than standard MkVI steering wheel.

The steel body was built to Ian’s full scale drawings by Venkat, Bodrog and Evans around one inch by one inch steel tubing and incorporates highly modified MkVI front wings, a shortened radiator shell and bonnet.

Initially a 4.25 litre Bentley motor was used, this was later replaced with an ‘S type’ 4.887 litre straight six which was blueprinted and modified by the incorporation of a higher lift cam with the head ported and fitted with larger valves.

This beautiful looking 2+2 motor car is a credit to the fine eye of its creator, it first ‘broke cover’ over the 1998 Bay to Birdwood weekend in Adelaide and is now good for 125mph which would make it a fine interstate express.

Finito…