Posts Tagged ‘Charlie Dean’

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(K Harris)

The Northern Territory entered Jaguar Mk7 of B Kingston and a Holden 48-215 line up for fuel at Bonds Chalet, Alice Springs during the 1953 Redex Round Australia Trial on 9/10 September…

It’s a quintessential Alice Springs scene, the red-brown parched soil and mid-green eucalypts framed in the distance by the MacDonell Ranges. Most of us of a certain age attended Primary Schools with artwork by Albert Namatjira, in these hues, hanging on the classroom walls.

Adelaide based Bonds Bus Tours provided ‘Parc Ferme’ and refuelling facilities for the rally in Alice Springs. These amazing photos were taken by a longtime employee, Kevin Harris. Rolled gold they are too, even though they are of the cars at rest, with one exception.

The post-war pent-up demand for entertainment, in those much simpler times was massive. Bouyed by an economy which was starting to boom, Australians turned out in their thousands to watch the progress of the 187 participants in the 1953 Redex Round Australia Trial.

In part it was because most roads west of Adelaide were challenging to say the least. The fact that the rules provided that cars were largely unmodified meant that the average man in the street could see how his car, or the one he aspired to own went created some interest. Cars were stock other than for underbody protection, carburettor, exhaust, lighting and instrument modifications.

Many of Australia’s better racing drivers competed, not that they were all household names by any stretch, but many were by the end of the decade in part due to their trial exploits in the years to come. The media, by the standards of the day provided massive coverage also fuelling the fire of public interest.

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Stan Jones Holden 48-215 and O Yates Austin A40 Atlantic, Stan a tough nut purpose built for an endurance event like this, even if his press-on style was not (K Harris)

Fifty thousand people lined the streets of Sydney from the start at the Sydney Showgrounds at Centennial Park on 30 August and lined the route through the major cities the circus traversed. Whilst the event was styled as a reliability trial it was effectively a race as we shall see. So there were plenty of acts of derring do and accidents aplenty.

Name drivers included ‘Gelignite Jack ‘Murray, the ‘Preston Holden Team’ of Holden 48-215’s driven by Lex Davison, Stan Jones and Charlie Dean. David McKay and ‘Curley’ Brydon ran Austin A40’s and Jack Brabham a Holden 48-215. Norman (father of Alan) Hamilton, the Porsche importer entered a 356, Frank Kleinig a Morris Minor. Jack Davey ran a Ford Customline- the popular radio show host broadcast on local radio stations along the route and had a can of hairspray in the glovebox to look his best at all times. Bill McLachlan ran a Customline, Don Gorringe a Jowett Javelin, Peter Antill, a trials ace raced a Plymouth with Eddie Perkins in a Rover 75, Laurie Whitehead ran a Citroen and John Crouch a Peugeot 203, Ken Tubman another.

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Norman Hamilton, Porsche 356, I wonder if this car still exists? (unattributed)

The entry included all of the above as well as an Allard, Vauxhall Velox, Mercedes 200D diesels, MG TD’s, De Soto, Humber Super Snipes and a swag of big, strong 1948 Ford V8’s. In addition were Peugeot 203, Jaguar Mk7, Chrysler Airflow, Hudson Terraplane, Ford Anglia, Zephyr and Consul, Singer 9, Simca, Vanguard, Hillman, Riley and so on!

It isn’t my plan to cover the trial in detail but rather to showcase the Kevin Harris  photographs taken during the Alice Springs stopover on September 9 and 19 1953. A summary of the trial, a heavily truncated version of a couple of other articles follows.

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B Gurdon Austin A40 and Lex Davison Holden 48-215- the ever versatile Victorian racer/businessman was quick in anything or any sort of event from Trials to GP cars (K Harris)

Ted Hoy’s Chrysler Airflow, car #1 later to play a critical part in the result of the event, was the first to leave the showgrounds at 2pm, the last to travel along Driver Avenue was a Queenslander, Miss J. Hill aboard a Renault 750 at 11.33pm.

150,000 people lined the streets through Sydney’s northern suburbs to Hornsby to watch the start of this amazing 6500 mile adventure, the second longest event of this type in the world at the time. The first breakdown was a Jaguar Mk7 which died near the Hawkesbury River only 52 Km from the start!

The leaders averaged about 50 mph (80 km/h) up the Pacific Highway to Brisbane, with mechanical failure taking points from some of the novices. The first bad accident happened near Gin Gin, when Patience/Binks hospitalised themselves after rolling their Ford V8 down an embankment.

The field didn’t strike unsealed roads until after clearing Rockhampton. The challenges began with corrugations, culverts, cattlegrids, washaways, dry creek beds and everything else the vast brown land could throw at them. McLachlan, one of the favourites, lost two hours 15 minutes with water pump failure on his Customline, but still made the Mackay control on time.

In 24 hours’ rest at Townsville, the organisers counted 177 cars in control with 128 clean-sheeters.

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The Antill Chrysler Plymouth, no idea where (unattributed)

At this point the trial stopped being a rally and became a road race.

Word went thru the field that the organisers had decided that if several crews reached Sydney without loss of points, their times on the TownsvilleMt. lsa and Alice SpringsAdelaide sections would decide the winner. They were given 16 hours to cover the 609 miles (980 km) from Townsville to lsa. It was ‘game on’ amongst the racers.

Peter Antill’s Plymouth was fastest with an incredible 13:22. The first car to reach Mt. Isa was Possum Kipling’s, 14 hours 12 minutes after leaving Townsville. He had to get the control officials out of bed, he was so early!

Behind him was a nightmare of crashed cars, irate police and horror stories. Half the field was spread across most of Queensland. Bill McLachlan was directed wrongly in the middle of the night and drove 136 miles (219 km) off course before getting back on the right road, only to hit a cattle grid that had been de-guttered by the field. Stan Jones hit the same grid.

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Bonds Alice Springs vista ( K Harris)

Bill Murray rolled his Plymouth, Hamilton’s Porsche hit a kangaroo and deranged its front suspension, driving the rest of the way into the Isa on the undertray. The last car, Anderson in a Skoda, staggered into town after a 24 hour 44 minute trip following a trail of wreckage

The next stage over bitumen to Darwin, was 1098 miles (1760 km) the average set at 44 mph (71 km/h). Antill hit a galah (indigenous bird) which took out his windscreen, his car already had a cracked chassis.

McLachlan had broken his Customline’s diff housing, but the medium-sized cars, like the Holden of Kipling, who was second into Darwin, and the Rover of Perkins, 3rd into control, were in good shape.

‘Wheels’ magazine in its report of the trial wrote: ‘The myth that the only car suited for Australian conditions was the large American vehicle had been exploded’.

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‘Parc ferme’ #114 Charlie Deans Holden 48-215, the master engineer taking time away from his Repco Research/Maybach race preparation duties but no doubt keeping some kind of eye on his driver S Jones Esq in one of the other ‘works’ Holdens. Stan very much one of the quickest guys in Australia at the time and stiff not to win the Australian Grand Prix in Maybach 1 that November with mechanical problems ( K Harris)

From Darwin 132 cars set out for an easy drive down the bitumen to Alice Springs  for servicing and repairs at Tennant Creek, then on to the Alice.

At Alice Springs the field stopped at Bonds facilities as shown in the photographs. The cars were scheduled in from 8.51am on Saturday the 9th, and out, commencing 12.01am on the 10th.

Of the 41 clean-sheeters who departed Darwin, 38 were there when the field lined up for 368 miles (592 km) of desert to Kingoonya.

This stretch was considered impossible to cover in less than 48 hours- the organisers had set a time of 15 hours 10 minutes. In addition the field were given only one hour’s rest at Kingoonya before despatch for the 424 mile (682 km) run to Adelaide, an an average of 42 mph (68 km/h).

Lex Davison arrived in Kingoonya in an unbelievable 13 hours 39 minutes. Second was Possum Kipling in another Holden in 14:10. Tom Sulman, prominent racer, was fastest in his Humber Super Snipe when he emerged from the desert and drove south to Adelaide.

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Magic scene, the Cusso framed between the truck wotizzit? and old Shell bowsers. Driver is S Levy, NSW (K Harris)

By Adelaide there were 11 clean-sheeters. Crews had to be lifted from their cars after up to 60 hours at the wheel without a break!

 The road had decimated the field, who limped in with hair-raising tales of tying up rear suspensions with tyre chains, living underground at the opal mining settlement of Coober Pedy, jamming coir matting into a broken front end to keep going and crew members going crazy from the dust and heat.

The field of 11 clean-sheeters who left Adelaide faced only bitumen roads through to the finish in Sydney via Melbourne. They were Davison, Kipling and Davies in Holdens, Perkins (Rover), Tubman (Peugeot), Sulman, Ken Robinson and Jack Masling (Humber Snipe), Antill (Plymouth), Nelson (Vanguard) and David McKay (Austin A40).

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HR Smith, Pug 203 from WA, no idea where the crossing is (unattributed)

The journey was easier given the sealed roads and by this stage the police were very stroppy ‘about the crazy high speeds’. As a consequence the organisers threw in a special section or stage to help break up the field.

An 11-mile (17.7 km) stock route was chosen between Marulan and Bowral in NSW, part of a 30-miles (48 km) long elimination section which included a flooded river crossing, Paddy’s River. It was a metre deep with several cars being washed downstream.

Some drivers stopped and fitted protection in front of the radiator before entering the water, but the winner of the event, Ken Tubman was one who elected to drive right through. He stalled, but the 203’s engine restarted.

The Paddy’s River crossing and the strange action of Hoy, the man who had retired his Airflow at Mount Isa, got bogged, with the whole field held up for at least 30 minutes. The drivers naturally tried anything to get around him and save points.

No-one is quite sure what happened to whom or who set up the stage. The contest was so tight it took five hours for the Australian Sporting Car Club to work out that 37 year old Ken Tubman and his navigator, John Marshall won in their Peugeot 203 by 25 seconds from the Robinson Humber Super Snipe- 25 seconds after 10,500 kilometres of murderous country!

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Ken Tubman and John Marshall take the chequered flag in Sydney. Results not announced until some 5 hours later. Peugeot 203 (unattributed)

In one of those ‘Win On Sunday, Sell on Monday’ moments the victory caused a sales rush on Peugeots- every new Pug in the country was sold within a week.

The first Redex Trial went down in the annals of Australian automotive history as one of the harshest long-distance events ever run. It had everything- characters, heroes, bravery, stupidity, crashes, ingenuity and mayhem!

Off the back of its 1953 success, 31 203’s were entered in the 1954 Redex, that year won by Jack Murray’s Ford. Ken Tubman competed in rallies well into his sixties winning a re-run of the trial from ‘Gelignite Jack’ Murray in 1974. He also took part in a 1983 anniversary re-run in a Peugeot 505. He died at his Maitland, NSW home in May 1993.

Bibliography…

Redex.ru, Unique Cars and Parts

Photo Credits…

Kevin Harris

Tailpiece: End where we started with the Kingston Jag Mk7, here  lifting its skirts as it leaves Alice Springs…

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(State Library of South Australia)

 The carefree nature of the 1950 Nuriootpa race paddock is contrasted by the formal attire of the day, young boy in the ‘Pith Helmet’ impressed by Charlie Dean’s Maybach 1…

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1950 AGP Program cover. (Stephen Dalton Collection)

The first post war AGP in South Australia was held in the Barossa Valley…

Not on the daunting Lobethal road circuit where the 1939 event had been held, but just down the road, the circuit was basically a square layout of 3 miles on flattish land. A permit for ‘Loby couldn’t be obtained but one for ‘Nuri was with the intervention of some prominent local businessmen including John Hill-Smith of the Yalumba wine family.

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Nuriootpa Road Circuit Map (‘History of The AGP’)

Graham Howard’s ‘History of The AGP’ described the circuit…

‘There was a slight uphill section along the (Nuri) Main Street, followed by a right hand corner onto a downhill section back into the countryside…This lead to an Ess at a narrow bridge, after which the road ran straight to an intersection around which were collected the finish line, the pits and-on the next straight after the intersection-the start line. There was a vineyard to the left…but enough grazing paddocks for parking etc…’

The starting straight lead to two fast right hand sweeps after which the road then lead west by way of a pair of gentle Esses …to a T Intersection…then via a left-right sweep across another narrow bridge, into the Main Street again. There were some very bumpy parts…the roads just wide enough for two cars to pass readily…’

The Sporting Car Club of SA ran the event to the Australian Automobile Associations decree, the winner was the competitor finishing in the fastest time but otherwise in the best traditions of the AGP at the time, the event was a handicap and awards were made on that basis. Geddit?

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Lex Davison takes to the circuit, Nuriootpa paddock in the background. Alfa Romeo P3/Tipo B. (unattributed)

The main contenders for the race are primarily cars I have written about in primotipo before so I won’t go through the detail, but provide links if you want to refresh your memory; The Maybach, driven by its creator Charlie Dean; https://primotipo.com/2014/12/26/stan-jones-australian-and-new-zealand-grand-prix-and-gold-star-winner/

‘Black Bess’, the Ford Ute V8 Spl driven by its builder, Doug Whiteford; https://primotipo.com/2015/05/05/doug-whiteford-black-bess-woodside-south-australia-1949/

The ex-Alf Barrett Alfa Romeo Monza now owned and driven by relative novice Rupert Steele. https://primotipo.com/2015/02/20/alf-barrett-the-maestro-alfa-romeo-8c2300-monza/

Lex Davison, who would later win 4 AGP’s started his Alfa Romeo P3. The scratch man was Tony Gaze’ 1935 2 litre supercharged Alta, although he was not to start after dramas in a preliminary race. All these racers were Melburnians.

Fastest resident South Australian was Harry Neale in Eldred Norman’s, extraordinary ‘Double 8’ which married the chassis of a weapon carrier and a pair of single carb Ford V8’s from army trucks. It had independent suspension on all four corners, 7834cc in total and was rated a good chance on a ‘point and squirt’ course like Nuri with slow corners and long straights. See the section below on this amazing car.

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Australian Motor Sports described the race day scene…

‘Brilliant sunshine made the competitors paddock a colourful spectacle with racing cars in different hues, tender vehicles ranging from furniture vans and in which the Steele cars had been brought from Melbourne to the luggage trailer which Peter Damman had towed behind his racing Hudson the same distance. In a handy position near the course Motors Ltd’s mobile service van was in constant demand with its stock of racing oils, spares and field workshop’.

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The build up to the start of the 34 lap, 100 mile race AMS described thus…

‘Between the finish of the under 1500cc scratch race and the start of the Grand Prix, there was a brief interval for luncheon; then, as 1.30 drew near, cars were lined up in the continuation of the crossroads behind the starting straight, in preparation for the big race. Two spectators climbed up stepladders which they had brought to the course for private grandstands, and the three limit men were away…’

The race itself was diminished by the inability of Gaze to start, Davison’s retirement on lap 1, having lost compression on two of the Alfas 8 cylinders and Dean’s withdrawal on lap 21 with magneto, overheating and braking problems.

What was absorbing was the battle between the ‘Aussie Battler’ garage proprietor Whiteford in his carefully evolved and very well driven Ford V8 Spl, and the ‘Silvertail’ from Toorak, Rupert Steele in the aristocratic Alfa.

The latter had the edge on top speed but the Ford, with more supple suspension, was better suited to the South Australian country roads. Whiteford was a hard man as a driver, but the novice Steele was no slouch, he must have been ‘a natural’ to adapt to the GP car with experience limited to a few hillclimbs and speed events in a Bentley road car.

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Rupert Steele in his ex-Alf Barrett Alfa Monza, drove an exceptional race as a relative novice against the tough Doug Whiteford. (John Blanden Collection)

On lap 13 Steele ran out of road having passed a gaggle of MG’s- he spun the big Alfa and stalled. He lost about 1:49 seconds, hand cranking the supercharged straight 8 back into life but his race was effectively run.

Whiteford won the race from Steele’s Monza and Jim Gullan’s Ballot Olds, the latter first on a handicap basis from David Harvey and Ron Kennedy, both in MG TC Specials. Steele’s sporting focus was on horses for the rest of his life, sad really as his potential as a driver was clear, the Alfa was sold by the end of 1951.

Whiteford of course went on to enjoy two more AGP wins and a career which went well into the seventies as a Works Driver of Datsun Sedans and Sportscars.

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Doug Whiteford, victorious in the 1950 AGP at Nuriootpa, in Black Bess’ his self constructed Ford V8 Spl. (John Blanden Collection)

The stimuli for this article were several shots I found in the State Library of South Australia archive- of the Dean Maybach, McKenna BMW 328, Jones HRG and other cars.

I’ve done the Maybach to death in the Jones article referenced above, here are some notes about the other cars, John Blanden’s ‘Historic Racing Cars in Australia’ has provided some of the detail.

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Peter McKenna’s BMW 328 in the Nuri paddock Car was the winner of the 1948 AGP, at Point Cook, Victoria driven by Frank Pratt. (State Library of SA)

McKenna’s BMW 328 was raced by him all over Australia at Rob Roy, Fishermans Bend, Ballarat, Port Wakefield, Albert Park’s initial meeting in 1953 and as far afield as Southport on Queensland’s Gold Coast for the 1954 AGP, when he overshot a corner and rolled.

The car passed through many hands before leaving Australia in the early 2000’s, chassis # 85136 was brought into the country by John Snow, who acquired the car on one of his regular trips to Europe in 1937. The car was bought from a German General on behalf George Martin, president of the Light Car Club of Australia in Melbourne.

The car finished the 1938 AGP at Bathurst in 10th, see my article on Peter Whitehead’s ERA which covers this race, Martin sadly had a fatal accident in it near Wagga Wagga on the return trip to Melbourne.

Their were two ‘racing 328’s in period, and sadly both were involved in fatal road accidents, the other killing very talented racing driver Colin Dunne and his wife Billie at Phillip Island. Not a race accident mind you, an accident which took place on the circuit between motor-cycle events.

By 1947 the 328 had passed into the hands of champion Geelong motorcyclist and dealer Frank Pratt. Pratt famously won his first car race, the 1948 Australian Grand Prix held at Point Cook! He was aided by a favourable handicap and excellent driving. Whilst new to car racing he was well familiar with intense competition. The cars preparation by multiple AGP winner Les Murphy was also a factor…some reports say Murphy was extremely pissed off, he was originally entered to drive the car, and then was supposedly sharing it with Pratt, whose intention to drive the race solo soon became clear to Les once the arduous event was underway!

McKenna had a handicap of 9 minutes at Nuriootpa, but was not classified.

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Stan Jones, HRG ‘Bathurst’, Nuriootpa AGP meeting 1950. Jones cooked his engine in a preliminary race so was a non-starter for the GP. (State Library of SA)

HRG ‘Bathurst’ Model…

Tony Gaze brought the first HRG to Australia in 1947, the car was uncompetitive. Gaze specified future cars to be light, sports/open wheelers with easily removable lights and guards so the cars could run as sports or racing cars in local events.

Brown and Dureau, a Melbourne trading firm who ‘Gaze was with’ imported the first car to these specs in 1949, Stan Jones the purchaser of the 1.5 litre, 4 cylinder car. (car had no chassis number).

He first raced it at Rob Roy in June, it was soon supercharged running 12 pounds boost, he didn’t race it for long before offering it for sale. He raced it at Corio in late 1949 before entering the AGP at Nuriootpa.

In one of the preliminary races for under 1500cc cars Jones had a furious dice with fellow Melbourne motor trader/racer and later champion Bill Patterson. Bill MGTC Spl mounted, both cars retired with overheating maladies. Jones car didn’t take the AGP start and Patto retired with head gasket failure. Not a successful trip to the Barossa for either of them.

The car was sold later in 1950 to Alan Watson, was badly damaged by him but driven by Sil Massola in the 1952 AGP at Bathurst, and according to the ‘Blanden Bible’ was/is still in Australia.

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Silvio Massola in the ex-Jones HRG. Victoria Trophy, Fishermans Bend 21 March 1954. (VHRR/State Library of Vic)

Blurry Maybach in the Nuri Paddock…

The shot is a bit fuzzy but still included for the atmosphere it shows, Charlie Dean in the paddock, ‘Copper’ keeping an eye on proceedings, Fiat Topolino behind the Maybach.

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Charlie Dean, Maybach, Nuriootpa AGP meeting January 1950.(State Library of SA)

Other Entrants…

Curran Ford V8.

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Dennis Curran, Curran Ford V8 3920cc (State Library of SA)

Regarded as one of the most specialised Ford side valve V8 specials built in Australia, Dennis Curran as an apprentice made many of the cars advanced features including its independent front suspension and modified Minerva braking system. The attractive body appears to be in the style of the Alfa ‘Alfetta’ 158/159 GP cars of the period.

The car was raced by Curran at the 1951 Narrogin AGP in WA, then in Bill Wilcox hands in the 1953/4/5 AGP’s as the ‘FLS’.

The car was then further modified by Frank Murphy on behalf of owner, Melbourne car dealer Harry McLaughlin by fitment of Lancia Lambda rear end, Jag XK120 gearbox and a new body. A 5 litre Ford V8 was fitted inclusive of Offenhauser heads and induction manifolds, it competed in this form at the 1956 ‘Olympic’ AGP won by Stirling Moss at Albert Park. It was then known as the ‘Marchel’, the car disappeared , was found by Noel Tuckey in 1980, restored and is now known as the ‘CWM Ford V8 Spl’ an amalgamation of the surname initials of the contributors to the cars evolution; Curran, Wilcox, Murray.

Bugatti Dodge.

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L Robinson, Bugatti Dodge, Nuriootpa 1950. Interested to know more about this car if anyone has any information on it.  (State Library of SA)

Ballot Oldsmobile.

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Jim Gullan, Ballot Olds, AGP Nuriootpa 1950. (State Library of SA)

Jim Gullan replaced the Ballot Ford he had been racing in 1944 with a 2 litre Ballot bought nearby to his families garage in South Melbourne. The Ballot engine was sold and replaced by an Olds 6 cylinder engine and ‘box. The chassis was shortened by 2 feet and narrowed by 6 inches, the chassis also lightened, you can see the holes made in its longerons to do so.

A body was made by Bob Baker in Melbourne, he built many racing bodies at the time, this Ballot credited as the first. The sports 2 seater was registered and commenced racing in 1946. It won the 1950 AGP handicap class as above.

Noted journalist and historian Ray Bell wrote about this car on ‘The Nostalgia Forum’ here is his detailed account of the construction and development of the car.

‘Jim Gullan’s Ballot will always rank as one of those cars that looks the part of an Australian Special. The raked nose, the heavily drilled chassis, steering wheel close to the chest and mandatory straps over the bonnet, its wire wheels carried a car that mixed European and American as well as any other. Fortunately the early life of the car is well detailed in Gullan’s book, ‘As Long As It Has Wheels,’ and there was plenty to write about as the Ballot Olds was to bring Gullan a number of successes.’

‘The car was bought in 1944, almost on a whim, it seems, after Gullan had sold the Indianapolis Ballot (by now fitted with Ford V8) early in the war.  A 2-litre model with sohc engine and knock-on wire wheels (more important, according to Gullan), it had a poor body. He mentions 4-wheel brakes with Dewandre servo, making it a 1926/28 model 2LT.

Soon after buying it a workmate offered money for the engine, gearbox and radiator to fit into a Bugatti chassis.  Said Gullan: “I suppose any engine was better than none..’  Having just the chassis left, he thought he’d build a copy of his favourite car, the ERA. He was reluctant to go for another Ford, having had bad experiences with the V8, so an ad for an Oldsmobile engine and box (unused spares purchased for a Taxi) overcame his problems. It was to have triple Ford carbies and extractors.

The chassis was made into a copy of a Bugatti chassis, was shorter and narrower, designed to be ‘strong in the middle,’ boxed and drilled liberally ‘as on the SSK’ for lightness. The original hubs were retained, but laced to smaller rims, the spring shackles were located at the front instead of the rear as Gullan drew on all the modern technology he could identify.’

‘Bob Baker built the body round an angle iron frame, which was screwed to the chassis with small reject aircraft bolts. A deliberate effort was made to reduce frontal area, hence the car’s low appearance. Quick-fill petrol and radiator caps were fabricated and instruments (like the carbies) came from army disposals’.

‘The Ballot name was retained, even though virtually only the axles and wheel hubs remained, because it made it simple to register the car. Just roll up and pay the money!’

‘Springs were fitted outside the chassis and there were torque stays to the front axle, with finned alloy drums off a spare 2-litre Ballot Jim had bought and sold. The first race was at Ballarat at the beginning of 1947, after which hydraulic shocks were fitted front and rear (‘to the horror of the Hartford purists!’) and hydraulic actuation of the brakes was arranged. For Lobethal 1950, (the event which is the subject of this article) which the car was to win on handicap, a specially made 3.5:1 diff replaced the original 4.1:1 unit. Jim had to do the design work for the gear cutter.’

‘Gullan was in business with one of his major opponents on the track, Doug Whiteford, and when Doug imported an Edelbrock cam and heads (he’d melted a pair of alloy heads at Lobethal in 1940!) Bruce Rehn copied the cam profile and lift for the Olds. By the time of the Point Cook AGP (1948) there was yet another higher lift cam and special ratios in the gearbox. As a result of the heat at Point Cook, with the Olds running so cool and well, the engine was bored 3/16”, while both cars were fitted with enlarged sumps with cooling tubes fitted. Then for Nuriootpa’s opening meeting in 1949 PBR made up special alloy brake shoes and backing plates. These were found to be bending the chassis, so some more work was required’.

‘The car was Gullan’s expression of all he’d learned from observing racing and running his own Salmson, Wolseley, Austin and Ballot V8. It was considered by Whiteford to be ‘too sensitive in the steering and brakes, difficult to drive.’ Gullan adjudged Black Bess to be ‘tail light, tending to wander at speed, with light and spongy steering and poor brakes.’

‘Considering just how it came together – the bits that just happened to be there, the chance acquisitions – it worked very well. Gullan was a handicap specialist, with his wife Christine timekeeping and acting as strategist, and they beat the handicaps with monotonous regularity. He comments that he just had to keep on making the car quicker to keep on beating them, so it was well developed when sold to Alan Watson.’

‘He mentions getting airborne over the top of the hill approaching Lobethal at 110mph, touching 116mph on the straight and holding it flat all the way from Lobethal to within sight of the pits at that early stage of its development. By the time it won the handicap section of the 1950 AGP it must have been a fairly quick car’ (Ray Bell)

The car passed through many hands over the next 20 years, raced as late as 1963 at Calder, Victoria. It has been used since 1970 in historic events, is still alive today, i believe in Frank Moore’s Collection of Australian Specials in Queensland.

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Jim Gullan in his Ballot Olds at Rob Roy,Victoria in 1946. This provides a clearer view of the car. (George Thomas)

Double 8.

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Eldred Norman in the ‘Double 8’ during the 1950 Nuriootpa, AGP. DNF on lap 2. (TNF)

The following truncated account of this car is by ‘theotherharv’ from ‘The Nostalgia Forum’.

‘In 1946 Eldred was purchasing ex-army vehicles left behind by the Americans and selling them in Adelaide. While visiting Papua-New Guinea , he acquired a war-surplus Dodge weapons carrier chassis along with a host of Jeeps and Blitz trucks at an auction in Port Moresby.

Eldred used the Dodge to construct a race car – the ‘Double Bunger’, or more commonly ‘Double V8’. The Double V8 was built from bodywork from aircraft and a tubular steel chassis.

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Scratchy shot of the 2 Ford V8 engines. Double 8. (TNF)

Power came from two Ford Mercury 239ci flathead V8 engines for a total capacity of 7,800cc. These engines were good for 100-110bhp each when run independently, giving Eldred some 200bhp in the Double V8. Engine cooling suffered, despite radiators both in front and behind the driver, with a tendency to overheat on long races. The engines were coupled flywheel-to-crank snout with a four-row chain drive. The engines were timed to fire as a V16, with a Scintilla magneto providing the spark.

This large 2500 lbs machine had independent suspension and water-cooled drum brakes supplied by 4 US made Toronto fuel pumps. The drum brakes produced spectacular clouds of steam as he applied them, despite being undersized for the task. The rear brake drums were built inboard, operating on the back axle and additionally cooled by a fan worked by the tail shaft.

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Eldred Norman aboard his road registered ‘Double 8’ attractive body, truck wheels betraying cars weapon carrier underpinnings! Two seater form here, this evolved over the cars life. (TNF)

Road-registered, Eldred was frequently seen driving the Double V8 around the Adelaide hills, with trade number plates tied with string or a strap around his neck. Between 1948 and 1951 he drove the car successfully in hill-climbs and various race tracks in three States. The vehicle was also driven long distances to compete at tracks such as Fisherman’s Bend, Victoria, a 900-mile round trip journey sans mufflers.

In addition to circuit racing, Eldred also raced the it at Sellick’s Beach, South Australia where racing was undertaken between mile posts. An annual speed trial and motorcycle races were held on three kilometres or more of sand along Aldinga and Sellick’s Beaches up to 1953. The Double V8 won both the unlimited scratch race and over 1500cc handicap race held at the beach by the Racing Drivers Association of South Australia in April 1950. This event drew more than 5,000 spectators. One incident with Harry Neale at the wheel of the Double V8 ended with the Double V8 deposited into the sea, ripping off the bodywork and leaving Harry sitting on the chassis, wet but unhurt.

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Eldred Norman ‘Double 8’, Woodside 1949. (State Library of SA)

Eldred’s can do, larrikin spirit was also evident in the way he once retrieved the telephone cables laid out for communication between officials at each end of the Sellick’s Beach strip… by fitting a bare rim to the Double V8 rear axle and firing up the twin V8s to power what must have been Australia’s most powerful fishing reel.

The Double V8 marked the start of Eldred’s entries into the Australian Grand Prix. The January 1950 Nuiootpa Australian Grand Prix, Eldred’s Double V8 retired after only two laps.

d 8 woodside 2

‘Double 8’ in the Woodside, SA paddock 1949. (State Library of SA)

The 1951 Australian Grand Prix was again run as a Formula Libre event in March at a 4.4 mile ‘around the houses’ road circuit at Narrogin, Western Australia. Eldred entered the Double V8. While leading on lap 7 of 24 it again broke down (this time due to suspension failure), leading to Eldred’s retirement from the race.

The car was sold in 1951 to Syd Anderson, proprietor of the Sydney Anderson Automotives used-car dealership in William Street Western Australia. During both Anderson’s and subsequent ownerships the car was modified repeatedly.

Anderson raced the Double V8 extensively, including the following West Australian meetings; The Great Southern Flying 50 meeting at Narrogin in March of 1952, winning the scratch race for over 1500cc.The Northam Flying 50 meeting at Northam in April, winning the three-lap scratch race for over 1500cc. The Goomalling Speed Classic at Goomalling road circuit in June. He was 4th in the 15 lap handicap for Racing Cars, 1st in the 3 lap scratch race for Racing Cars over 1500cc and 1st in the 5 lap handicap race for Racing Cars.

d 8 2

Wonderful color shot of Syd Anderson racing the Double 8 at the ‘Goomalling Speed Classic’ at Goomalling WA in 1952. 2 1st places at the meeting. Note truck wheels drilled for relative lightness. (TNF)

Anderson entered the Double V8 in the 1953 Johore Grand Prix in Malaya. He retired from the race due to overheating.

The Double V8 was then sold by Anderson to James Harwood, a navy veteran, musician and motor enthusiast in Perth. Harwood tossed a penny with Anderson to decide the purchase price – either £50 or £100. Harwood won. The vehicle was then towed to Harwood’s business premises where Bill Strickland removed the two Ford V8 engines, which were sold. The Double V8 body was then placed outside James business as advertising, though was removed a few days later at the request of Perth City Council.

In the period of 1955-1957 Toby Carboni raced the car extensively in Western Australia.

Keith Windsor bought the Double V8 body in 1957 and installed a V12 Lincoln Zephyr.

Lincoln produced these engines from 1936-1948, ceasing production nearly a decade before Windsor’s repowering of the Double V8. I’m not certain if Windsor used the 267ci, 292ci or 306ci engine (110-130bhp), though in any case was a marked reduction from Eldred’s 478ci (~200bhp) double V8 powerplant.

Windsor debuted the V12 Double V8 in the Christmas Cup at Caversham in late November 1958, competing in the five-lap racing car scratch race for over 1500cc, though did not place in the top three positions. Sadly, Windsor found the V12 vehicle was not manageable and subsequently scrapped it.

After the Double V8, Eldred then bought a 1936 Maserati Type 6CM.’

Such a shame that this amazing car did not survive.

MG K3…

(S Jonklaas)

Otto Stone’s car, out after completing only one lap.

Healey Elliott…

healey elliott

Another State Library of SA shot, its not clear from the caption if the car is competing or otherwise. Car behind is a Nash Ambassador. Donald Healey built 101 of these cars, Elliott refers to the body builders, Healey provided the ladder frame chassis to that firm to clothe, engine was a Riley 2.5 litre pushrod 4, the car for a time the fastest 4 seater in the world. Built from 1946 to 1950. Suspension trailing arms at the front and live axle at the rear, coil springs front and rear.

Etcetera…

Rupert Steele.

steele bentley

Rupert Steele contesting a Rob Roy Hillclimb in his Bentley devoid of bodywork in 1948. The step up from this lumbering tourer, he only did one circuit race in the car, to the GP Alfa Monza must have been immense. (George Thomas)

 

whiteford paper article

‘The Adelaide Advertiser’ 3 January 1950.

Bibliography…

Graham Howard ‘History of The Australian Grand Prix’, John Blanden ‘Historic Racing Cars in Australia’, Australian Motor Sports January 1950, Stephen Dalton Collection, Motormarques, Ray Bell, The Nostalgia Forum (TNF), The Adelaide Advertiser 3/1/1950

Photo Credits…

Publications as above, State Library of South Australia, John Blanden Collection, George Thomas, The Nostalgia Forum, Stuart Jonklaas Collection

Tailpiece…

Don Cant from Ron Kennedy, both in MG TC Spls, finished in fourth and third places respectively.

Finito…

Repco Record NZ

The one and only ‘Repco Record’ in surreal surroundings, the Wairakei geothermal field near Taupo in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island in 1959…

After the end of Maybach’s useful life, the racing brainchild of Charlie Dean well covered in my article on Stan Jones, the talented Repco Engineer looked for a new project. https://primotipo.com/2014/12/26/stan-jones-australian-and-new-zealand-grand-prix-and-gold-star-winner/

Dean, Head of Repco Research, the large transnationals ‘Skunkworks’ turned his attention to the creation of a road car which would form a test bed for the companies products, a promotional tool and an expression of Repco’s innovative capabilities.

Dean recruited Tom Molnar (Chief Engineer of Patons Brakes) and Wally Hill (Repco Research) to assist with development of the car; Molnar with its engineering and brakes, Hill built the body with some assistance from Bob Baker to Deans design, a process completed in Dean’s spare time at his Kew, Melbourne kitchen table!

The cars construction took 4 years, the yellow coupe made its debut at the 1959 Melbourne Motor Show, where it was ‘The Starlet’ painted a distinctive shade of yellow.

repcorecordrear

The ‘Repco Experimental Car’ as it was then unimaginatively called was a mobile test bed designed to trial the groups products, but that didn’t stop contemporary reports speculating about series production. In the context of its time it was a highly specified, comfortable high speed car of potentially modest cost using largely production based components.

When originally built it was fitted with a Ford Zephyr engine with a Raymond Mays cylinder head Dean bought to fit to his company car, and an MG TC gearbox. A Holden engine was slotted in when the Repco ‘Hi-Power’ head was developed, a David Brown Aston Martin ‘box replaced the MG unit at the same time.

‘Sports Car Worlds’ Peter Costigan tested the Record with Dean on board and raved about its comfort, performance, roadholding and handling. Less impressive was the David Brown ‘box and brakes which faded after repeated high speed applications. The car cruised comfortably at 100mph with a top speed of 120 mph, the Repco modded Holden engine in ‘touring tune’. Heavier shocks, improved brakes and an oil cooler were suggested improvements.

recoord 1

Repco shot with the car posed in front of Repco Research’ new home in Dandenong, Victoria. Late 50’s. (Repco/From Maybach to Holden)

The pretty Coupe was used during the filming of ‘On The Beach’, a Hollywood movie shot in Australia featuring Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner and Fred Astaire during 1959.The film was based on a novel by British/Australian author Nevil Shute.

The car was one of several used in the productions racing scenes filmed at Phillip Island. It was during breaks in filming that SCW magazine drove the car, it was about this time someone dubbed the car ‘Repco Record’ a name never officially endorsed by Repco but an appellation which stuck!

Repco SCW 03

Repco ‘Hi-Power’ headed Holden ‘Grey Motor’ 2.3 litre OHV 6 cylinder, cross-flow engine fed by 2 Weber carbs. Circa 133 bhp with a ‘cooking cam’ and extractors. (SCW Magazine)

After testing of various Repco subsidiary components and the changing of the cars livery and especially rear window treatment the Record was sold after a few years into private hands, it is still in Australia, last sold several years ago and pops up occasionally at historic events.

Repco Record 2014 PI

Contemporary shot of the Repco Record at Phillip Island in 2014, changed frontal treatment not for the better. (Stephen Dalton)

Specifications…

The Record used the then contemporary (1948-1962) Holden 6 cylinder ‘Grey Motor’ bored to 2360cc. It featured a cast iron block, 4 bearing crank fitted with Repco Hi-Power crossflow, OHV semi-hemispherical cylinder head, 2 Weber 36 DCLD7 downdraught carburettors. On a compression ratio of 8.7:1. the engine developed circa 133bhp@5500 rpm and 141lbs/ft of torque@4000 RPM. For more on the Repco Hi-Power head see the separate section below.

The chassis was of integral construction with a tubular backbone, the steel body was welded to the frame to provide stiffness.

Suspension comprised modified Holden components; wishbones, coil springs and telescopic dampers at the front. At the rear a Holden live axle, quarter elliptic leaf springs and telescopic dampers was used. Rear axle was ENV spiral bevel, its ratio 3.66:1, Gearbox was a David Brown 4 speed manual with synchromesh.

Brakes were hydraulic drums front and rear with a Repco PBR booster, Steering by recirculating ball. Tyres: 6.40-13 on steel wheels

Fuel Capacity: 42 litres (9.5 gal) Height: 1320 mm (52 in) Length: 3810 mm (150 in) Weight: 1018 kg (2240 lbs) Wheel Base: 2286 mm (90 in)

Max. Speed: 120 m.p.h. (1st gear: 48 m.p.h., 2nd gear: 66 m.p.h., 3rd gear: 98 m.p.h., 4th gear: 120 m.p.h.) Acceleration: 0-60 m.p.h. in 10.5 secs. 0-100 m.p.h. in 21.2 secs. Standing quarter mile: 17.2 secs.

Repco AMS annual advert

Repco Record contemporary press ad. (Stephen Dalton Collection)

repco high power

Repco Hi-Power headed Holden engine complete with optional aluminium rocker cover. Engine variously named ‘HighPower’ ‘Hypower’ and ‘Hi-Power’ the latter the name it was finally marketed as…notwithstanding the name on the rocker cover! (Maybach to Holden)

Repco Hi-Power Head…

All countries have production car engines which, with tuning provide a staple for road going sedans, racing or sportscars, sometimes all three!

The BMC ‘A and B Series’, Ford 105E through Kent engines, the small block Chev and Ford V8’s and more recently Ford Zetec and Toyota 4AGE engines spring to mind. In Australia the Holden ‘Grey’ and ‘Red’ 6 cylinder engines were the tuners weapon of choice for 2 decades starting in the early ’50’s.

Repco were active in racing throughout this period, largely starting with the efforts of Charlie Dean and his Repco Research colleagues based in their Sydney Road, Brunswick, inner Melbourne base.

Phil Irving of Vincent and Repco Brabham RB620 Engine fame, his exploits well covered in the articles I have written about the 1966 World Championship wins by Brabham and Repco, designed the ‘Hi-Power’ cylinder head to meet market needs and exploit the knowledge Repco had gained about improving the performance of Holden’s 2200cc, 6 cylinder, iron, 4 bearing, OHV engine which in standard tune gave, according to Irving, a claimed and real 62 BHP at 4000 rpm. Click here for an article about Irving’s 1966 F1 Championship Winning Repco engine;

https://primotipo.com/2014/08/07/rb620-v8-building-the-1966-world-championship-winning-engine-rodways-repco-recollections-episode-2/

RepcoHi-Powerhead_preview

Contemporary ‘horsepower press’ ad from ‘Wheels’ magazine July 1962 edition. (Wheels)

Irving, a noted author himself wrote about the Repco head in Barry Lake’s late, lamented and sadly shortlived ‘Cars and Drivers’ magazine in 1977, this piece is based on Irving’s article, the quotes are just that…

Irving’s simple proposal to Dean was to design a head which would increase the engines power, Dean agreed on the basis that the design be interchangeable with the original head, inexpensive and simple enough to be machined with little or no special equipment. In effect this precluded the head being made of aluminium so cast iron it was.

‘The valves were arranged in two rows with the 1.375 inch exhaust valves vertical and on the near side, while the inlets were inclined at 25 degrees on the opposite side, their heads being 1.56 inches in diameter’.

‘The 6 circular exhaust ports were short and direct, while the rectangular shaped inlets were arranged in two groups of 3, springing from the 2 galleries, these formed partly in the head and partly in the manifolds. The manifolds were simple open sided castings, made in several types to suit vertical or horizontal carburettors’.

The pressed steel side plates were replaced by an aluminium plate. ‘This feature enabled the head to be widened to give room for desirably long inlet ports and inclined rockers which oscillated on a hollow bar… Another bar carried the exhaust rockers, both bars mounted to pedestals integral to the head and thus free from flexure under load.’

Cost pressures meant the rockers were made of nodular iron, hardened locally and proved failure free.

Most of the development work was done by Repco subsidiaries; Warren and Brown the patterns, Russell foundry the head castings, Brenco the heavy milling and Repco Research the final machining.

‘There was no fancy work done on the ports, the first head was slapped on an FE Holden engine that was fired up in the middle of the night…after playing about with jet sizes and ignition settings we obtained 85bhp with a single Holden carburettor on a mocked up manifold’

‘The compression ratio was only 7.5:1 to suit the 90 octane fuel of the day which most people today (1977 at the time of writing) wouldn’t even put in their lawn mowers!’

‘It was an encouraging start with 100bhp, it was enough to push a road car along at over the ton…but more was needed for serious racing…which wasn’t difficult to get by changing camshafts, raising the compression ratio and boring .125 oversize…with each carburettor supplying 3 cylinders it was discovered the induction system came into resonance at around 4000rpm’.

irving and england

Ropey shot of Phil Irving and Paul England, ‘Racers’ in thought word and deed both! They are fettling the first Hi-Power head on the Russell Manufacturing Co dyno, Richmond, Melbourne. This was the same cell in which the first RB620 F1/Tasman engine burst into life in 1965. This first head was fitted to England’s Ausca sportscar, the car very successful, a car i must write about. (P Irving/Cars and Drivers magazine)

The bolt on kit was priced at £150, a fully rebuilt engine with camshafts and carburettors of the clients choice was £450. ‘The most popular choice was the 140bhp version with 2 double choke progressive Weber down-draft carburettors which gave a road speed (in a Holden sedan with three ‘on the tree’ speed gearbox) of 114mph’.

‘The harmonic balancer was the weak link with bad, critical oscillations at 6200rpm…crankshafts were prone to break if run consistently near 6200rpm…’

103 heads were made most going into road cars or speed boats ‘In a couple of seasons Hi-Power heads just about dominated sedan racing with drivers like John French, the Geoghegans, Stan Jones, Bob Holden and Ray Long on top of the pile’. Lou Molina fitted one to his MM Sportscar, (later supercharging the engine), Tom Hawkes to his Cooper in place of the Bristol original for a while holding the Phillip Island lap record together with Lex Davison’s Ferrari 500/625.

‘General Motors failed to evince any interest in our design which would have kept them ahead of the game for years…The end of the engine was hastened by the advent of big V8’s…and by a change in (racing) regulations which prohibited replacing the heads on production cars’.

hi power engine design

Phil Irving’s drawing of a cross section of his Repco Hi-Power head, his notes self explanatory. (P Irving/Cars and Drivers magazine)

Etcetera…

record 2

The Record worked hard as test bench, promotional tool and ‘function starlet’, here at such a function. The controversial and ever evolving rear fin is well shown in this shot. In the context of its time, an attractive car, front on view arguably its best angle? (Repco/From Maybach to Holden)

hi power ad

repco record

‘Repco Record’ at the Phillip Island Classic in 2008. Front treatment has changed along the way, not for the better! (Dick Willis)

repco price list

Repco Hi-Power head and related parts price list 1956. (From Maybach to Holden)

Credits…

Stephen Dalton and his collection for the provision of ‘Sports Car World’ March 1960, ‘Australian Motor Sports’ May 1959 and ‘Modern Motor’ January 1960 as reference sources, Dick Willis, ‘Maybach to Holden’ Malcolm Preston, ‘Cars and Drivers’ Magazine Number 2 1977 Phil Irving Repco Hi-Power head article.

Finito…

lex balcombe

Lex Davison’s ‘Little Alfa’ leads Lyndon Duckett’s Bugatti Type 35 Anzani, the brand new body of the Alfa gleaming in the Winter sun, Balcombe Army Camp, Victoria, Australia 12 June 1950…

The ‘race meeting’ at Balcombe was a small but historically significant part of Australian Motor Racing history, this wonderful shot is from the Dacre Stubbs Collection.

Balcombe paddock with Lyndon Duckett’s Bugatti T35 Anzani and the Davison Little Alfa in foreground (G McKaige)

It goes something like this, as reported in Barry Greens fine book ‘Glory Days’ which records the history of Albert Park in the 1950’s.

The army were keen to raise money for their canteen fund and asked the Light Car Club of Australia (LCCA) to run a race meeting using the grounds of their camp. The race meeting was a financial success, but key to the creation of a circuit was closure and use of a section of the Nepean Highway, the main road between Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula- permission was not forthcoming from the relevant authority

So the Balcombe meeting occurred as more of a sprint event given track limitations with two cars on the track at a time, and a series of eliminations on the day to determine the winners of the various classes.

Charlie Dean in Maybach 1- handsome and fast beast that it was, sold to Stan Jones a year or so later but maintained and developed by Charlie and his boys at Repco Research in Brunswick in the years which followed. Winner of the 1954 New Zealand GP in Jones’ hands. Recreated by John Sheppard in the eighties (G McKaige)

‘The Royal Australian Signals Corp Sprint’ for under 1500cc, ‘The Survey Corps Sports Sprint’ for over 1500cc and ‘Balcombe Apprentice School Trophy’ for outright cars were catchy names indeed!

Doug Whiteford won the outright final in his 1950 Australian Grand Prix Winning Ford V8 Spl, ‘Black Bess’, from Bill Patterson’s supercharged MG TC and Stan Jones HRG. All three were subsequently Australian champions and AGP winners.

Reg Hunt’s Hunt JAP ‘Flying Bedstead’ Spl, it’s engine installation pictured below. By 1955 he had raced 500’s for a year in the UK and was one of the fastest combinations back in Australia aboard a Maserati A6GCM- stiff not to win the AGP that year at Port Wakefield (G McKaige)

 

(G McKaige)

The historically significant bit is that when Bill Leech, lifelong competitor, car collector and LCCA President at the time discussed the meeting and its shortcomings as a circuit sans Nepean Highway with the Commander of Army Southern Command, he was asked ‘what can we use as an alternative’? Whereupon Leech replied ‘what about here?’. Here being Albert Park where Southern Command were based, and the rest as they say is history and covered a while ago in another post.

https://primotipo.com/2014/10/01/1956-argus-trophy-albert-park-reg-hunt-and-lex-davison-maserati-250f-and-a6gcm-ferrari-tipo-500/

Hobart Mercury 14 June 1950

In an amusing end to the weekend the Hobart ‘Mercury’ reported that the Melbourne Traffic Police Chief described many motorists returning from Balcombe as ‘reckless road-hogs’- harsh language indeed.

‘Many of them drove like whirlwinds’ in attempts to emulate the skilled drivers with several booked for speeding at 75 miles an hour. The racers themselves were spared the blame- perhaps the ‘need for speed’ stretch was the straight road from Mornington along past Sunnyside to Mount Eliza? I guess Pt Nepean Road is what we now know as the Nepean Highway.

Little Alfa aroca concourse

‘Little Alfa’ engine bay at AROCA Spettacolo, 2014. (M Bisset)

Balcombe will be well known to Melburnians of a certain age…

It was towards the top of the hill on the Nepean Highway as you leave Mornington and enter Mount Martha and these days is the site of a school, Balcombe Grammar and housing. The last army training units left the area in 1983.

For international readers Mount Martha, of which Balcombe is a part are on the shore of Port Phillip Bay, the vast expanse of water one can see in the distance on the AGP telecasts from Albert Park. The Mornington Peninsula, both it’s beaches and wineries are worthy additions to your tourist agenda when you visit!

The US Marines also played a part in construction of the circuit being credited with building both Uralla Road through the camp and Range Road locally to access a rifle range.

As World War 2 approached countries globally prepared for the inevitable, the 4th Division of the Australian Army were located at a camp in Balcombe on 209 acres of land compulsorily acquired from local landowners to defend Port Phillip and the Morninton Peninsula.

Tony Gaze, Alta Sports (G McKaige)

 

Derek Jolly, Austin 7 Spl over from Adelaide- road registered, I wonder if he drove his racer across? (G McKaige)

The army presence had a huge local impact, at the time their were 104 houses in Mt Martha- by mid 1940 over 3000 militia soldiers of the 4th division- trainees were located at four temporary campsites between the Nepean Highway and the coast just south of Bay Road.

Press reports at the time the camp was built said it was the most pleasant site for an army camp in the country, a point not lost on the ‘Army Brass’ one suspects, the Peninsula then as now is a popular summer playground.

The 1st US Marine Division, relieved from the strategically critical Coral Sea campaign at Guadalcanal, arrived in 1942 and used Balcombe Camp as a rehabilitation centre.

It became headquarters for the 1st Division of the USMC in 1942, the corp trained in the area including carrying out beach landing exercises using the ship ‘HMAS Manoora’.

Post war the Army Apprentices School was located there until 1983, and once, just once, it was used as a race track!

Davison ‘Little Alfa’…

duckett and davison rob roy 1946

Lyndon Duckett and Lex Davison, right, with their collections of cars at Rob Roy Hillclimb, Christmas Hills, Melbourne 1946. L>R. Ducketts’ 1908 Isotta Fraschini, Bug T35 powered by an R1 Anzani DOHC engine and Davisons’ ‘Little Alfa’ in 2 seater form as first modified by Barney Dentry, Mercedes SSK (Culture Victoria)

Lex Davison was one of Australia’s greatest drivers, the winner of four Australian Grands’ Prix and father and grandfather of two generations of racing drivers- grandsons Will and Alex are V8 Supercar Drivers and James an Indycar racer competing currently in Australia and the US respectively.

In 1950 Lex was still four years away from his first AGP win, he competed in everything everywhere and had just acquired an Alfa P3 in a progression which would take him to be a consistent front runner in the decade to come.

‘Little Alfa’ started life as a Tipo 6C 1500 ‘Normale’- chassis #0111522 was imported by Lex’ father in 1928 in chassis form as a road car. The original fabric body by Martin and King was replaced with a steel body built by Terdichs’ in 1945, both Melbourne firms.

Lex took over the car after the death of his father, Barney Dentry, a top driver of the day himself, stripped it and Kellow Falkiner built a two-seater body.

lex davo little alfa 11 th rob roy

Always an exciting driver, Davo contests the 11th Rob Roy 1946. This wonderful shot by George Thomas shows the lines of the car to good effect after its first evolution from Tourer to Racer (George Thomas)

 

lex cape schanck

Lex slightly! sideways at the second hairpin, Cape Schanck Hillclimb on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula in 1946. ‘Little Alfa’ here in ‘evolution 2’ not its final spec (Cars and Drivers #1)

 

Little Alfa, Balcombe 1950 (G McKaige)

John Blanden records that the car became well known over the following years and was set aside when Davison acquired a Mercedes SSK. Dentry again ministered to the car and before it was completed the P3 arrived from the UK…as a consequence the 6C1500  became henceforth the ‘Little Alfa’.

Dentry shortened the chassis, lightened the brakes, replaced the rear axle with one from a 1750 SS Alfa, fitted a Rootes cabin mounted blower and moved the engine back 6 inches.

The chassis was then taken to renowned race body-builder Bob Baker who constructed a derivative but distinctive aluminium single-seater body with a pointed tail.

The cars first outing was at Balcombe as recorded above, coming second in its semi-final. The Alfa didn’t race much, the P3 was the front line car until the AGP winning HWM Jag was acquired/built later.

The Little Alfa was retained by the Davison family and moved from property to property before finally being restored by Nick Langford’s restoration business in Castlemaine. It made its debut in December 1979.

little alfa amaroo

Lex’ son Chris driving in the car, with daughter Claire, post restoration, Amaroo Park Historics 1986. (Gordon Graham)

Little Alfa’ was run in historic events by Diana Davison, Lex’ widow and quite a driver in her own right, son Chris and WW2 Spitfire Ace and post war racer Tony Gaze, who married Diana in 1977. Chris, a very quick Formula Ford racer in period and historic competitor now, recalls with great fondness the car…

‘It was a massive honour for me to drive ‘Little Alfa’. The car was purchased by my grandfather in 1928 and used as the family car until his death in 1942. It was only then that Lex got hold of it and started racing it. Of course this is the same car that Lex and Di drove to Bathurst for their honeymoon and also became one of his first racing cars. But he only did a handful of races in it. I am not sure that it was going to be competitive and he got the opportunity to purchase the P3, or ‘Big Alfa’ as it was known in our house. This is why the cars were known as the ‘Little Alfa’ and the ‘Big Alfa’.

‘In terms of actually driving it, i am taller and broader than average so it was a real squeeze to fit in. We took out the seat and I sat on the floor on an old sheep skin. The first thing you notice is that it has an accelerator pedal in between the brake and the clutch, and this does take some time to get used to. With no actual fuel pump, you must ‘pump up’ the air pressure in the fuel tank with a dash mounted pump and if you get busy around the circuit its easy to forget to do this and next thing the engine starts to die from lack of fuel. The alcohol fuel used to cause problems with the supercharger freezing up, so it was very important to get the fuel mixture right’.

‘Being a tight fit in the car, I used to feel the chassis rails flex whenever I went around a corner or hit a bump.With no seat belts or roll bar, driving the car flat out up the back straight at Sandown was one of the most dangerous things I have done in motorsport, especially as I was virtually held in the car by a low piece of bodywork and hanging onto the steering wheel for grim life’.

‘The term ‘brakes’ could be described as an overstatement, ‘restrainers’ more accurate. The car weighed 1500kgs and with a blown 1500cc engine on alcohol, you picked up quite a bit of pace down the long straights. I did give the fence a whack at Sandown once when I arrived at the end of the old pit straight and had ZERO brakes. The mechanic had forgotten to adjust the length of the brake cable and the shoes were barely even touching the brake drums’.

‘The best the car ever drove was at the 1986 Amaroo Historic Meeting, i could actually get some attitude and drift going. Frank Gardner spoke to me after one of the races, he had been standing right on the start of the pit apron, where you would aim the car at the turn in point for the corner onto the straight. He commented that seeing the car in a full drift coming straight toward where he was standing sure got his attention!’

‘The biggest problem I had at that meeting was once I really got the car going well, the speed up the straight and through the kink was such that both front wheels vibrated very badly, which was a real concern when you were so close to the old quarry wall. In the wet the car was a nightmare with levels of understeer that could only be described MASSIVE. With very old tyres and little adjustment on the car, I used to use the handbrake on turn in to try and get the rear end to generate some changes of direction. But I walked a fine line and really had to get the timing right, requiring a flick into the corner, quick pull on the handbrake to get the rear to slide and power on to keep up some attitude. If you got it slightly wrong it was back to uncontrollable understeer and all I could see from the cockpit was a VERY long red bonnet and two front tyres wasting their time with massive levels of lock’.

‘It was fabulous to see Mum and Tony on the circuit in the ‘Little Alfa’ but Mum did find it difficult to drive. So we ‘retired’ the car after the 1986 Amaroo meeting satisfied that we had actually seen the car fire a shot in anger’.

davo amaroo 86 little alfa

Chris and Claire Davison in the ‘Little Alfa’ at the 1986 Amaroo Park meeting Chris speaks about in the text. These days Claire is a mum, she, husband Johnny and Chris race a team of 3 Reynard FF’s in Australian Historic Racing. Lex’ ‘Ecurie Australie’ races on…(Chris Davison)

http://www.theweeklyreview.com.au/geelong/well-read/cover-story/7082-motorsport-bloodline/?nav=Y2F0X2lkLzIyNg==

‘Little Alfa’ remained in the Davison family until sold some years ago but thankfully remains in Australia in the hands of a caring Alfista, the car has an entirely Australian history since it’s departure from Italy in 1928.

Chris Davison…’I know that all of our family are delighted to see Trevor Montgomery now driving the car at most of the historic race meetings in the south. I feel that he understands and respects our family’s connection to this unique car and unique piece of Australian motorsport history’.

gaze nd davisons rob roy

Paddock scene from gentler more relaxed times, Tony Gaze, Diana Davison and Lex, Rob Roy Hillclimb 1950. (Dacre Stubbs Collection)

 

little alfa sandown 2009

‘Little Alfa’ current custodian Trevor Montgomery and Chris Davison at Sandown Historics November 2009…looking as pristine as it did in 1950. (Chris Davison)

Etcetera- Balcombe…

(G McKaige)

Derek Jolly’s Austin 7 Spl, he later won the 1960 Australian Tourist Trophy- a decade hence aboard an ex-works Lotus 15 Climax. I wrote about he and his cars a while back.

 

(G McKaige)

 

(G McKaige)

Love these these two shots above of Lyndon Duckett and George McKaige preparing the Anzani Bugatti before the event on a frosty Melbourne day in ‘Duckett’s Lane’- Towers Lane behind Duckett’s Towers Road, Toorak home. Road car is a Rover P3.

(G McKaige)

 

(G McKaige)

MG K3 and Engine above- here unsupercharged.

Credits…

Chris Davison, many thanks for the recollections of driving the car and photos from the family collection

John Blanden ‘Historic Racing Cars in Australia’, Barry Green ‘Glory Days’, ‘Cars and Drivers’ magazine, Dacre Stubbs Collection, Culture Victoria, George Thomas, Gordon Graham, Hobart Mercury 14 June 1950, George McKaige via his son Chester

(G McKaige)

Tailpiece: The New and the Old…

The Keith Martin (John Medley thinks) Cooper Mk IV JAP 1000- which must have looked ‘other worldly’ to the good citizens of the Peninsula in 1950.

The modern as tomorrow Cooper is nicely juxtaposed with Doug Whiteford’s self-built #4 pre-war ‘Black Bess’ Ford V8 Special which won that years AGP at Lobethal six months before- and on the day at Balcombe. There were no Coopers at Lobethal but two made the long trip to Narrogin, down south of Perth for the 1951 AGP, Martin’s car and a later MkV driven by John Crouch.

#1 is Tony Gaze’s Alta and to its right Maybach with the bonnet covered- there was plenty of life in the front-engined cars at that stage of course, but the mid-engined era was underway from that little factory in Surbiton.

Finito…

stan longford

Wonderful shot of Stan Jones winning the 1959 Australian Grand Prix. Tannery Corner, Longford, Tasmania. Maserati 250F (B Dunstan via Ellis French)

The Ascaris’, Jones’, Hills’ and Villeneuves’…

When Alan Jones won the 1980 Australian Grand Prix at Calder, he and his father Stan joined the Ascaris as the only father/son combination to win their home Grands’ Prix.

Antonio Ascari won the 1924 Italian Grand Prix in an Alfa and his son Alberto won it in 1949, 1951 and 1952 for Ferrari.

Stan won the 1959 AGP at Longford in his Maserati 250F, the last AGP won by a front engined car.

Graham and Damon Hill both contested the British Grand Prix, Damon winning in 1994 aboard a Williams Renault, whilst Graham came close he never had a hometown win. His luck in the UK as bad as it was good in Monaco where he won five times!

Similarly, Gilles and Jacques Villeneuve both contested the Canadian Grand Prix but only Gilles took a win, for Ferrari in 1978.

Sadly, all four fathers had one thing in common, they all died before their sons achieved Grand Prix success. Alberto and Gilles in testing/race accidents, Graham in the light aircraft he was piloting together with his team and Stan of natural causes at the very young age of 49.

Foreword…

Like so many of my articles, the one on Stan started with a photo, the one above at Longford. I figured the article would be short but the more I dug, and there is not a lot of information available on Jones, the more interested I became in him and the series of Maybach cars which were such an important part of his career.

So, it’s ended up rather long! but I hope of interest to some.

I leaned heavily for the information on the Maybach phase on Malcolm Prestons’ great book ‘From Maybach to Holden’, sadly, Malcolm died a month or so ago. He was very kind and helpful to me with the article on John McCormacks’ McLaren M23, that article in many ways the inspiration for starting this blog, so I dedicate this article to him. RIP Malcolm Preston.

Stan Jones…

stan 2

Famous shot of Stan Jones shaking hands with Otto Stone, his engineer after the 1959 Longford AGP victory in his Maserati 250F. Alan is 12 in this shot, John Sawyer, the other technician wears the flat cap…Stan a justifiably happy-chappy after so many years trying to win this event! (Unattributed)

Much has been written about Alan of course but not so much about Stan, one of the great drivers and characters of Australian motor racing in the immediate post war years until the dawn of the 1960’s.

He was raised in Warrandyte, then a rural hamlet 24Km north-east of Melbourne, still semi-rural now, by his mother and grandfather. He served in the Australian Armed Forces based in Darwin during World War 2. He married Alma O’Brien circa 1940, Alan was born on November 2 1946.

Stan commenced motorsport after being encouraged by Otto Stone, a racer and engineer who would later make a great contribution to his success as an elite driver. He competed in his MGTC at Rob Roy Hillclimb, at Christmas Hills, not far from where he grew up in 1948.

Stan was soon a keen competitor in all forms of the sport including trials twice winning the Cohen Trophy awarded to the best trials driver of the year by the Light Car Club of Australia.

His MGTC was supercharged, as so many of them were, his first circuit meeting was at Fishermans Bend, Melbourne in late 1949. He did well, finishing seventh against more experienced opposition. In need for more speed, he bought an HRG chassis to which a local monoposto body was fitted, achieving success with the car  in 1949 and 1950. His first road racing event was at Woodside, in the Adelaide Hills, he finished 2nd in the ‘Onkaparinga Class handicap’ in November 1949. ‘Australian Motor Sports’ reported that it was the first appearance of one of the new production monoposto racing HRG 1500’s.’

In 1951 he also bought an Allard J2.

These faster cars were funded by ‘Superior Cars’ a dealership he opened in Richmond, yards in Coburg and South Yarra followed, northern and inner eastern Melbourne suburbs respectively.

Stan Jones Allard

Jones Allard J2 in the Bathurst paddock, 1951. (Ray Eldershaw Collection)

Charlie Dean, Repco and Maybach…

Maybach Carlton

Charlie testing Maybach circa 1950 on the road, in the grounds of ‘Willsmere’ the hospital for mental illnesses in Kew not far from Charlies home. His other testing venue was ‘Princes Park Drive’ behind the Melbourne General Cemetery in North Carlton. This ‘track’ was conveniently close to Repco Research in Sydney Road, Brunswick. What a super car it was/is! (Dacre Stubbs Collection)

The turning point in Stan’s career was the association with Charlie Dean, the ‘Maybach’ racers which Dean built and the ‘Skunkworks’ at Repco, which continued to develop the car and its successors after Jones acquired it.

Charlie’s business named ‘Replex’, manufactured large industrial transformers. He became involved in the Australian Motorsports Club, and using his wartime knowledge of sophisticated German engines, sought a suitable motor to form the basis of a special. A friend who operated a war surplus wrecking yard was briefed and Charlie was soon the owner of a ‘Demag’ half-track armoured personnel carrier. Critically, it was powered by a Maybach 6 cylinder 3.8 litre SOHC, cross flow engine. The block was cast-iron, the head aluminium, the crank ran on 8 main bearings, and in standard form the engine produced 100bhp at 2800rpm but the engines performance potential was clear to Dean.

Initial modifications involved fitment of twin Amal carbs to a fabricated manifold, increasing the compression ratio to 8:1 by planing the head, fitment of a Vertex Magneto and a re-ground cam to increase valve lift and duration.

At about the time Dean started to build ‘Maybach 1’, he sold his business to Repco, being retained to run it, this gave him both time for his hobby and access to Repco’s resources.

The engine was fitted into a tubular chassis, the basis of which was 2 4 inch diameter 10 guage mild steel tubes to the front of which was mounted suspension mounting framework. Front suspension comprised a transverse leaf spring with suspension arms and stub axles from a 1937 Studebaker Commander. Rear suspension was of conventional semi elliptic leaf springs, Luvax lever-arm shocks were used. A Fiat 525 gearbox drove an open prop-shaft to a Lancia Lambda 7th series rear axle. A Jeep steering box was used.

Standard Studebaker brakes and wheels were used at the front, and Lancia brakes, hubs and wheels at the rear.

It was a quick sports car and was soon developed further for competition use, Charlie debuting it at Rob Roy Hillclimb in 1947.

The car was clothed in a metal body built by fellow Repco Engineer Frank Hallam, the body made from surplus metal ‘Kittyhawk’ aircraft fuel belly-tanks. (made by Ford)

Charlie raced the car in the 1948 AGP at Point Cook, an ex-RAAF base in Melbournes’ inner West. He retired on lap 12 from magneto failure in a race of attrition in searing heat, victory going to Frank Pratts’ BMW 328. ( in those days the AGP was Formule Libre and handicaps were applied)

Maybach Rob Roy

Charlie Dean with Jack Joyce as ballast competing at Rob Roy Hillclimb, Christmas Hills, outer Melbourne in March 1949. Maybach 1 ‘evolution B’ in the cars never ending developmental cycle. (Dacre Stubbs Collection)

The development of Maybach was constant and ongoing, the ‘program’ having strong Repco support due to its promotional value and development of its engineers. In 1950 Dean was appointed to head up a Research Centre for the Repco Group, located at the ex-Replex premises at 50 Sydney Road, Brunswick…from acorns do great oaks grow.

In June 1951 Jones, looking for an outright class winning car, bought the car for a nominal sum, the Repco involvement continued with the cars preparation, development and use by Repco for product development and testing. The car was engineered at Repco Research. Deans business and family commitments had made ongoing motor sport participation difficult. Jones lived in the Melbourne eastern suburb of Balwyn, in Yongala Road, not far from Dean’s home in Kew so communication was easy despite the lack of email and iphones…

By the time Stan bought ‘Maybach 1 Series 3’ the body was still a 2 seater. 3 feet of rear chassis rails had been removed from the original, it had rear axle mounted trailing quarter elliptics with radius rods.The engine was 4.2 litres and used 3 2 3/16 inch SU carbs, had a compression ratio of 9:1, and a reliable (sic) Lucas magneto. After the SU’s were fitted the engine developed 200bhp @5000rpm. Tyres were 16×6.50 touring type.

A 1922 American truck ‘Power Lock’ ‘slippery diff’ was adapted in the Lancia housing which was modified to suit. The brakes had also been changed substantially using 16 inch/ 14 inch drums front/rear.

Racing Maybach…

southport 1954

Doug Whitefords’ Lago Talbot leads Jones’ Maybach  onto the main straight at Woodside in October 1951, Whiteford won the race, Stan second. Just look at the nature of this road circuit; telephone poles, fence posts, railway crossing etc. A tragic accident in a motor-cycle handicap race where an early starter completed his first lap before the scratchmen had gotten away, killing 2 people in the starting area caused the ban on racing on public roads in South Australia (Clem Smith via Ray Bell)

Stans’ first race in the car was at Gawler, South Australia, the main scratch race setting the pattern for the season with Jones and Doug Whiteford in the Lago Talbot fierce rivals, the two cars passing and repassing before Whieford won the event.

Jones then raced the car at Bathurst in October 1951, winning a 3 lap scratch race but finishing second to Whitefords Talbot-Lago in the 50 lap handicap. The following week Jones again finished second to Whiteford at Woodside, a road circuit in the Onkaparinga Valley in the Adelaide Hills.

ralt and mybach

Stans’ Maybach chasing Ron Tauranacs’ Ralt Jap through Parramatta Park, Sydney on 28 January 1952. You can see the energy being expended by the drivers in getting everything from the two, dissimilar cars. (Unattributed)

He adapted to the car quickly and well having progressed from a low powered road going TC to one of the fastest cars in the country in less than 3 years, his money allowed it but he still had to extract all the car had to offer. Which he did from the start.

He next raced the car at the Ballarat Airstrip in rural Victoria, winning both the Victoria and Ballarat Trophies from Lex Davisons Alfa P3.

Maybach Rob Roy

Maybach 1 at rest. Rob Roy Hillclimb early 50’s. (unattributed)

As Stan became used to the car he became quicker and quicker, it was a considerable step up for him in terms of the performance of his preceding cars, he was the favourite to win the AGP at Bathurst in 1952, but excessive tyre wear resulted in a victory for Whitefords’ Lago, Stan finishing second having stopped 6 times to replace rear tyres, the 6 ply touring tyres used on the 16 inch wheels, running hotter than 4 ply racing tyres.

The racing Pirellis on order had failed to arrive on time, it’s interesting to reflect on ‘supply-lines’ in those far off days between Australia and Europe.

Stan Jones Bathurst 1951

Maybach at Bathurst, October 1951, exiting Hell Corner and heading up Mountain Straight (Malcolm Preston)

The car won three Victorian Trophy’s, the big race on the Victorian calendar, all at Fishermans Bend, another airfield circuit in Melbournes’ inner West. The first was in 1952 the car beating Whiteford with specially made 4 ply tyres for Maybach.

In 1952 stan also raced a newly acquired Cooper Mk 4 Jap 1100, successful on both the circuits and the hills.

On New Years weekend 1953 the new Port Wakefield circuit opened with Jones taking another win, he had been unbeaten in all but a couple of minor handicap races since the ’52 AGP, the sensation of the weekend the blowout of a tyre on Davisons Alfa and multiple roll over.

He was a lucky boy as only a week later Davo, Jones and Tony Gaze set off to Europe to compete in the 1953 Monte Carlo Rally. The racers were competitive, finishing 64th, at one stage having been in the top 10 amongst much faster cars in a field of 440 far more experienced teams in a Repco prepared Holden FX or ’48-215′.

Graham Howard describes this as ‘one of the great feats of Australian motoring, this trio clean-sheeted from Glasgow to Monaco and then finished 64th after minimal reconnaissance, in the final elimination, with Jones working stopwatches while sitting sideways across the front bench seat so he could use his feet to brace Davison behind the wheel’.

Stan Jones Monte Carlo Rally 1953

Jones/Davison/Gaze Holden FX,somewhere in Europe…Monte Carlo Rally 1953 (unattributed)

Stan lead the 1953 AGP at Albert Park… its inaugural meeting, by lap ten he was ahead of Whiteford by thirty seconds, by lap fourteen he and Whiteford had lapped the field, indicative of both their pace and dearth of outright contenders in Australian racing at the time.

The Maybach needed fuel and a replacement water pump drive belt. Jones then had to vacate the cockpit when he was splashed by methanol. Sluiced with water he rejoined the race, only for clutch failure to end a brave run, Doug Whiteford won in his Lago Talbot.

Some compensation for Jones was fastest lap at 2 mins 03 seconds, an average of 91.46MPH, imagine that Victorians who can remember the ‘circuit’ in its pre-modern era format?

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L>R front row: Davison HWM Jag, Jones Maybach, Whiteford Lago Talbot, start of the 1953 AGP at Albert Park, its first meeting. Cec Warren #6 Maser 4CLT, Frank Kleinig #7 Kleinig Hudson, W Hayes #10 Ford V8 Spl and a smoking Ted Gray #11 Alta Ford V8. (Peter D’Abbs)

 

Stan Jones AGP 1953 Albert Park Maybach 2

Profile of Maybach 2 during the ’53 race (unattributed)

New Zealand Grand Prix Victory 1954…

rebuild

The tension on the faces of his team is palpable as Jones fires up the engine after the monumental job in rebuilding it onernight. 10.30AM Sunday January 9 1954, Shorter Bros workshop in Auckland. Team is Don Busche, Dean in tie!, Bib Stillwell and Jack Joyce (Malcolm Preston)

Stan was said to be hard on his cars, but he also had poor luck, but everything finally came together for Jones and Maybach with a win in the first NZGP at Ardmore in 1954.

He beat a class field which included Ken Wharton in the BRM P15 V16, Peter Whitehead Ferrari 125, Horace Gould and Jack Brabham in Cooper Bristols and Lex Davison and Tony Gaze, both driving HWM’s.

It was a triumph over adversity as the car threw a rod in practice punching a sizable hole in the crankcase and damaging a cylinder bore. Dean ‘phoned Australia for spares which could not be delivered in time. Undeterred, the team; Dean, Otto Stone, Jack Joyce, Bib Stillwell and Don Busch scoured town, patched the crankcase and machined both a GMC rod whose weight was carefully matched to the originals, and a new cylinder liner.

The engine was running by 10.30AM on Sunday morning. Stan catching some ‘beauty sleep’ to be raceready, the races duration 2 hours and 45 minutes, the patched Maybach and Jones doing justice to the ingenuity and resilience of their small team.

stan nz

The spoils of victory for Jones, winner of the 1954 NZGP. Close up shot showing the quality of fabrication and build of the car . ‘Maybach 1’ in its ultimate form (KE Niven & Co)

Maybach 2…

stan 4

Stan, Maybach 2 and Charlie Dean, venue unrecorded, but early 1954. Big drums by Patons Brakes a Repco Subsidiary, big ‘Lago’ SU’s, exhaust not fitted in this shot (Unattributed)

When they returned from NZ the team began work on a new monoposto, the chassis similar in layout to Maybach 1 but adapted for the narrower and lower body.

The rear axle was of ‘speedway type’ which allowed a lower propshaft and easier change of gear ratios. Monroe Wylie tubular shocks were fitted at rear. Front suspension used Chev upper control arms. The new rear axle was attached to quarter elliptic springs but with revised control arms and a Panhard rod. Les Tepper built the chassis, Brian Burnett and Bob Baker the body.

Great attention was paid to reducing weight, aluminium was used for the body, the cars’ weight reduced from 19.5 to 16Cwt.

The engine was rebuilt with a capacity increase to 4250cc by increasing the bore to 91mm. Power was 257bhp @ 5200rpm and torque 288lb ft @ 3000rpm. The compression ratio was 11:1 and the 110 octane fuel was an intoxicating brew of 60% methanol, 20% benzol and 20% av gas. The fuel tank fabricated by Burnett held 25 gallons.

The same brakes were used with the addition of air scoops to the front backing plates and a dual master cylinder supplied by Patons Brakes.

Peugeot rack and pinion steering replaced the earlier Jeep cam and roller setup.

The first race for Maybach 2 was the Victorian Trophy at Fishermans Bend in March 1954. Jones won the race lapping the entire field with Brabhams’ Cooper T23 Bristol 3 miles behind!

stan 2

Jones victorious Maybach 2 in the Victorian Trophy at Fishermans Bend, an airfield circuit in Melbournes’ inner industrial west. March 1954. (VHRR Archive)

Further preparation for the AGP was the ‘Bathurst 100’ at Easter, 18000 spectators attended the event, one of the ‘most successful meetings ever stage at the circuit’ according to ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’. Jones won a preliminary race on Saturday but broke the gearbox in a handicap event late in the day. W Clark’s HRG won the handicap ‘100’ from Brabhams Cooper Bristol and Stan. Jones won a 3 lap scratch race in the morning, the Maybach was timed at 132.6 mph over the flying quarter-mile. Not a bad reward for the mechanic who drove back to Melbourne overnight to collect a spare ‘box!

Maybach 2 was also raced at Altona twice and again at Fishermans Bend in October in the lead up to the AGP, achieving success in the first of the 2 Altona meetings in May. He lost to Brabhams’ Cooper T23 Bristol in the handicap at Altona in June and had gearbox failure at Fishermans Bend in October.

Demonstrating his versatility as a driver, Stan competed in the 1954 Redex Round Australia Trial in the Repco ‘prepped Holden FJ navigated by CAMS co-founder Don Thomson, finishing equal fifth.

He also continued to compete in the Cooper with at least 3 wins on the circuits and again success in the hills, including lowering the Rob Roy record which had stood for 3 years.

1954 AGP…

Stan Jones Maybach 3, AGP Southport 1954

Stan Jones drives Maybach 2 onto the main straight at Southport 1954 AGP, early in the race. A road course and a very rough one at that. These now well paved roads can still be driven. (Malcolm Preston)

The 1954 AGP was held on public roads at Southport on the Gold Coast not far from Surfers Paradise.

The roads were bumpy, were recently sealed, having loose gravel shoulders some humps and two defined ‘no-passing’! sections. The crcuit was 5.7 miles long with a race distance of 155 miles or 27 laps. It promised to be a tough event.

Jones lead from the start, initially from Davisons HWM Jag and Brabhams Cooper , Malcolm Preston in his fantastic book ‘From Maybach to Holden’ records ‘…Jones was reportedly maintaining a furious pace and consistently lifting all four wheels off the ground over one of the humps…On lap 14, whilst negotiating the S bends the Maybach ran onto the gravel. As Jones endeavoured to steer the car back onto the road it spun and careered backwards into the roadside trees at an estimated 100mph…passing between 2 large trees, one tree caught the side of the engine, ripping the carburettors and front suspension from the car, whilst the body containing Jones continued a little further on its side . Jones emerged uninjured from the wreckage apart from a small cut on his lip’.

Their are mixed accounts as to the cause of the accident, those sympathetic to Repco suggest that failure of a front suspension frame weld did not occur and that Stan made a driving error. Graham Howard in his book, ‘The History of The Australian Grand Prix’ concludes, drawing on contemporary sources, that a weld failure caused the accident.

Brian Burnett who built the chassis at Repco ‘explained that the two main chassis rails, of 4 inch 16g chrome molybdenum alloy steel , passed through holes in the diaphragm-type front crossmember and were completely electrically welded into position. These welds crystallised and cracked, and in the course of the Grand Prix one chassis tube eventually broke away and touched the ground. It was a problem as simple, as enormous, as unfamiliarity with new materials and techniques’ Howards book says.

Jones was tight lipped at the time, and it was a gentler age when journalism did not go hard at a large corporate such as Repco. From Stans’ perspective it made no sense to bite the hand which fed him and be forthcoming in a manner damaging to Repco.

The race continued and was won by Davisons’ HWM, the first of his four AGP wins, from Curly Brydon and Ken Richardson in MG Spl and Ford V8 Spl respectively.

Brian Burnett, Maybachs’ body builder, Preston records, told Jones at the team de-brief at the Chevron Hotel that ‘he had driven too fast and recklessly’, Jones responded by flooring him with one punch! Out of character for a bloke who was generally the life of the party and a favourite with the ‘babes’, but perhaps reflecting Jones view that the destroyed car was not his fault.

Jones was awarded the ‘Australian Driver of The Year’ in 1954 for his NZGP, Victoria Trophy, Bathurst 100 and Victorian Hillclimb Championship title wins.

prang

Maybach 2 on the trailer for the trip back to Melbourne. Car was destroyed by the voyage backwards through the Southport trees at high speed Main frame members clear, front suspension torn from the car. Mechanical failure or driver error? (‘History of  The AGP’ G Howard)

Maybach 3…

Shortly after returning from Southport Charlie Dean hired Phil Irving, already a famous engineer for his work on Vincent motorcycles and later the designer of the Repco ‘RB620 Series’ V8 which won Jack Brabhams 1966 World Drivers/Manufacturers Championships.

Whilst Maybach 3 was being built Stan bought Jack Brabhams ‘Redex Special’ Cooper T23 Bristol when Jack left for the UK, his businesses continuing to prosper and funding some wonderful cars.

superior cars

At Fishermans Bend in February he qualified the Cooper on pole but finished third behind Davisons’ HWM and Hunts’ Maserati. He ran the car again in the Argus Trophy at Albert Park in March finishing second to Hunts’ Maser and Whitefords’ Lago.

He also raced the Cooper 1100 and a Cooper T38 Jaguar in sports car events, winning in the latter at Fishermans Bend in February and also racing it on the hills.

Jones Cooper Jag

Jones added a Cooper T38 Jag to his stable winning in it on both the circuits and in hillclimbs. (motorsportarchive.com)

Early in 1955 construction of the new Maybach commenced. To lower the bodywork the engine was canted at 60 degrees, offsetting the engine and driveshaft to the right, allowing a driving position left of centre. New rear axle housings and steel gearbox housings were built to Irvings’ designs.

The remaining stock of 110mm stroke cranks were cracked, so a 100 mm one was used, with a 90mm bore the engines capacity was 3800cc. The special SU carbs could not be readily replaced so 6 Stromberg side draft carbs were used, the engine developing 240bhp @ 5000rpm.

A similar suspension layout to Maybach 2 was used. Brakes were made from flat plate steel rolled into circles and then welded at the ends, the drums were machined internally and externally for attachment to the hubs. Brian Burnett again built the body which was inspired by the contemporary Merceds Benz W196 GP car.

The car was finished in April 1955 and entered for the ‘Bathurst 100′ at Easter. It was timed at 145mph but had severe handling problems causing a spectacular spin, and finishing second to Hunts’ Maserati A6GCM. The car also had a severe flat spot and was not run in the ‘100’, Stan winning the Group B Scratch race in his Cooper 1100.

It was found that the front cross member was flexing under braking, affecting the steering. Irving rectified the flatspot by devising a fuel injection system using the Stromberg throttle bodies, part throttle flow was regulated by a Lucas ignition distributor with fuel delivered by an aircraft fuel pump, when dynoed the engine produced 250bhp.

Dean tested the car at Templestowe Hillclimb and Jones won the A.M.R.C Trophy at Altona, Melbourne in May from Ern Seeligers’ Cooper Bristol.

Jones raced the Cooper Bristol at Mount Druitt in Sydney in August, losing a wheel in practice but winning the preliminary race only to have the cars chassis snap in the 50 mile main race, fortunately bringing it to a halt without hurting himself.

1955 Australian Grand Prix, Port Wakefield, South Australia…

AGP 1955 Port Wakefield

Start of the race with Hunts Maser A6GCM and Stan in Maybach 3 alongside, front row. Jack Brabham and Doug Whiteford on the second row in Cooper T40 Bristol ‘Bobtail’ and Lago-Talbot (Malcolm Preston)

The car was fully rebuilt prior to the October 10 race and run in a preliminary event at Fishermans Bend the week before, Jones second to Hunt but happy with the cars performance.

Jack Brabham was racing a Cooper Bristol T40 he built himself and hitherto fairly unreliable, won the race from Hunt, who had lead in his Maser A6GCM before breaking a rocker and Jones whose clutch failed. Doug Whiteford was third in his Lago.

gnoo-blas-stan-jones-website

Stan competing at Gnoo Blas, Orange in the ‘South Pacific Championship’. Maybach DNF with a broken conrod in the race won by Hunt’s Maser 250F from the Brabham and Neal Cooper Bristols. (Gnoo Blas Classic Car Club)

Maybach was next raced at Gnoo Blas, Orange, in January 1956 in the South Pacific Road Racing Championship meeting. Hunt took the lead by a small margin, Jones was second having lapped the field, Brabham a distant third. On lap 23 the Maybach broke a conrod, locking the wheels and sending the car spinning down the road- Hunt won from Brabham.

Upon examination, the block and crank were badly damaged, there was little of Deans’ original cache of spares left and in any event the more modern cars from Europe, readily available at a price meant it was increasingly difficult to develop the Maybach to the required levels of competitiveness.

After all those years Dean and Stan decided the cars ‘elite’ racing days were over.

Maserati 250F…

caversham 2

Stan Jones applying some gentle correction to his Maserati 250F ‘2520’ , AGP Caversham WA 1957 (David Van Dal)

Maybach 3 was never really competitive and Reg Hunt ‘upped the local ante’ when he imported an ex-works Maserati A6GCM in late 1954. Lex Davison followed suit with his ex Ascari/Gaze Ferrari Tipo 500/625 3 litre, Stan having the resources, invested 10000 pounds to acquire a Maserati 250F, chassis #2520 and spare 3 litre 300S engine.

Stan despatched Charlie to Modena to do the deal, ‘2520’ was built in late 1955 to ’56 spec and used by Frolian Gonzalez and Pablo Gulle in the 1956 Argentinian and Buenos Aires GP’s respectively, (DNF and 8th) before being shipped to Melbourne arriving on the ‘SS Neptunia’ on April 22 1956.

In a 1981 issue of ‘MotorSport’ magazine Alan Jones describes his joy in ‘unwrapping the car’ at Port Melbourne but also his disappointment as a 9 year old that the car was a Maserati, real Italian racing cars being Ferrari’s…

In any event Stan had the ‘ducks guts’, the most competitive customer Grand Prix car of the period, a tool with which he would demonstate his mastery over the following three years.

Australian Grand Prix , Albert Park 1956…

Jones raced the car for the first time at Port Wakefield, coming second in the wet to Stillwells’ D Type in the ‘SA Trophy’. He raced the car again in September at Bathurst winning both the 3 lap curtain raiser and ‘NSW Road Racing Championship’ later in the day setting a lap record in the process.

Stan Jones & Owen Baileys cars AGP 1956

Jones’ 250F in the foreground and Owen Baileys’ ex-Whiteford/Chiron 6 plug Lago-Talbot @ rear of the Albert Park Paddock, AGP 1956. Young mechanic in the brown overalls is noted Australian engineer/fettler Ian Tate ( Rob Bailey Collection)

Melbourne hosted the Olympic Games in 1956, the AGP at Albert Park that November is still regarded as one of the greatest ever, certainly the best to that point in the races long history. Its the event which changed the face of motorsport in Australia, such was the calibre and competitiveness of the entry and scale of the event.

The meeting was a ‘double-header’ featuring the ‘Australian Tourist Trophy’ for Sports cars on the first weekend and the AGP the following one, with support races of course, the AGP still famous for those!

The overseas entry was headed by the factory Maserati team which brought 5 cars, 3 250F’s and 2 300S sports cars for Stirling Moss and Jean Behra. They based themselves at the Esplanade Hotel nearby in St Kilda, (still there, the ‘Espy’a great pub and band venue) the cars themselves housed in Maserati driver and local Holden dealer Reg Hunts’ premises in Elsternwick, also close to the circuit.

Moss Maser AGP 1956

Moss heads out to practice the spare 250F…3 chassis came to Oz, 2 of the latest spec cars with offset driveline, lower seating position and revised bodywork, and this earlier car. Hunt tested it in practice and Brabham was entered to race it but ran his Cooper T39 Climax instead (unattributed)

So close that the 300S were driven to and from the track, adding to the cosmopolitan atmosphere. The large local Italian community, many of whom migrated post-war turned out in force to support the red cars.

Other Maserati 250F’s were entered by Ken Wharton, Stan and Reg Hunt with Kevin Neal in Hunts’ old A6GCM. Ferraris were entered for Peter Whitehead and Reg Parnell, 555 Super Squalos’ with 860 Monza 3.5 litre 4 cylinder engines.

The strong field would test the local talent who were in cars in more or less equal performance to the vistors- Jones and Hunt in their 250F’s, Davison in his venerable 3 litre Ferrari Tipo 500. By that stage Whiteford’s Lago was long in the tooth but he ran his 12 plug T26C as did Owen Bailey in Dougs’ old, successful car.

Behra and Moss AGP 1956

Jean Behra, Stirling Moss and cuppa tea! Albert Park pits AGP 1956 (unattributed)

Moss disappeared into the distance from Behra with local interest the battle of the ‘Melbourne drivers’ Jones, Hunt and Davison. Moss initially lead Behra, Whitehead, Parnell, Davison, Hunt, Neal and Jones. Baileys’ half shaft failed on the line. Jones was fast early, passing Hunt with Wharton, Parnell and Davison dropping back.

Rain started to fall with the Jones/ Hunt dice continuing until Jones eased with smoke coming from under the Masers long bonnet, post race this was found to be a broken crankcase breather pipe leaking onto the exhaust. Rain started to fall heavily with 10 laps to go Neal crashing the A6GCM into a tree breaking both of his legs and the those of the official he collected in the process. Moss won by nearly a lap from Behra, Whitehead, Hunt, Jones, Parnell and Davison.

The duel between Hunt and Jones was the first and last in similar cars, Hunt shortly thereafter retiring from racing, neither Stillwell or Glass as competitive in the car subsequently.

Jones continued to also compete in Rallies finishing second in the ‘Experts Trial’ and getting hopelessly bogged in the wastes of North Queensland in the ‘Mobilgas Trial’ co-driven by Lou Molina, legendary Melbourne racer, restauranteur and raconteur.

Jones and Hunt AGP 1956

Jones and Hunt during their spirited early AGP race 250F dice. Such a shame Hunt retired shortly thereafter, the battles between Jones, Hunt, Davison and Ted Gray in the Tornado Chev would have been megga. The other ‘maybe’ would have been Doug Whiteford in an ex-factory 250F rather than the ex-factory 300S he bought from the Maserati Team immediately after the meeting…Bob Jane bought the other 300S and sadly all 3 250F’s left the country. (unattributed)

1957 Australian Gold Star Series…

Stan shipped the Maser to NZ for the Grand Prix at Ardmore in January hoping to repeat his earlier success, the race included internationals Reg Parnell, Peter Whitehead and Jack Brabham, Stan qualified well and in a tough 240 mile race of 3 hours 7 minutes !, finished third in a typically gritty drive from Parnell and Whitehead both in Ferrari Super Squalo 555’s fitted with 3.5 litre ‘Monza’ engines. Stans 250F, 2.5 litres.

Bib Stillwell raced the ex-Hunt 250F, Reg having retired and depriving the sport of more Hunt/Davison/Jones battles.

The Maserati also gave Stan a lot of unreliability grief, his fortunes in it changing when Otto Stone took over its preaparation after the 1957 AGP held in searing 104 degree heat at Caversham in WA.

Jones was initially awarded victory after a stunning drive, on a lap count back, 2 days later, Davison got the win albeit with Bill Patterson as his co-driver, tough-nut Stan driving the distance on his own…Alec Mildren also thought he (Mildren) had won the race.

caversham

Stan Jones in practice , AGP Caversham WA 1957. Superb David Van Dal shot…makes the car look very long and low. Maserati 250F. Davisons year 1957, winning the AGP, Gold Star and Victorian Trophy in his Ferrari Tipo 500 (David Van Dal)

Lex Davison won five rounds of the championship that year winning the Gold Star from Tom Hawkes Cooper T23 Holden and Stan. Jones only Gold Star win for the year was in Queensland winning the ‘Lowood Trophy’ in August. At Bathurst a UJ broke, at Lowood a spur gear, back at Bathurst the clutch failed.

Stan entered the Maser in the Victorian Trophy meetings, over two consecutive weekends in March, winning a preliminary event from the Davison Ferrari 500/625 and Brabhams’ F2 Cooper T41 Climax, but his engine let go in a big way in the 100 mile ‘Trophy’ race whilst chasing and catching Davison in the lead. A conrod broke carving the block in half after setting fastest race lap on this ‘big balls’ circuit.

Davison won from Brabham and Hawkes.

Stans businesses continued to expand, he was awarded a Holden franchise, ‘Stan Jones Motors’ was located at 408 Victoria Street, Richmond/Abbotsford. Many of his fellow ‘elite racers’ were also motor-traders including Bib Stillwell, Lex Davison, Bill Patterson, Alec Mildren, Arnold Glass, Stan Coffey and Reg Hunt.

Stan Jones 'Victorian Trophy' Albert Park 1957

Wet practice session for the Maser, ‘Victorian Trophy’ at Albert Park in March 1957. (Rodway Wolfe Collection)

 

AGP pit entry

Australian Gold Star Champion 1958…

Stan won at the Victorian Tourist Trophy Meeting at Fishermas Bend in February 1958 from Arnold Glass in a Ferrari Super Squalo and Doug Whiteford in an ex-works Maserati 300S sports car acquired from the Maserati team after the ’56 AGP.

In a consistent year with the now well prepared and reliable Maser Stan also won the final round of the championship, the Phillip Island Trophy race and scored second places at Gnoo-Blas, (Orange NSW), Longford and Lowood, Queensland and won the title from Alec Mildren and Len Lukey in Coopers T43 Climax and T23 Bristol respectively.

Jones and Gray AGP 1958

Jones leads Ted Gray across the top of Mount Panorama, AGP 1958. Maser 250F from Tornado Chev. (Alan Stewart Collection)

Davo took the AGP at Bathurst in October 1958 in a thriller of a race, Jones led for the first 17 laps with Davo in close company until the Masers’ clutch failed, and several laps later the engine. Ern Seeliger finished second in Maybach 4 (see below for specifications) with Tom Hawkes third in his Cooper T23 Bristol

AGP Bathurst 1958

Start of the ’58 GPs’ preliminary race: Ted Grays’ Tornado from Davison # 12 Ferrari Tipo 500/625 and Stan. (Bernie Rubens)

In a year of relative consistency Stan amassed enough points to win CAMS coveted ‘Gold Star’ for Australias’ Champion driver.

It was a fitting reward for one who had contributed so much to the sport and been a drawcard from the moment he stepped into Maybach 1.

agp 1958

Grid of the 1958 AGP Mount Panorama, Bathurst. Front row L>R Davison #12 Ferrari Tipo 500/625, Tom Clark Ferrari 555 Super Squalo, Ted Gray blue Tornado, row 2 L>R, Alec Mildren Cooper T43 Climax, Merv Neil Cooper T45 Climax and Curley Brydon Ferrari Chev, Tornado red clad crew well to the fore. (David Van Dal)

 

Jones AGP 1958

Jones, Hell Corner Bathurst AGP 1958, this shot taken from the inside of the corner the following one from the outside. These shots show the truly challenging nature of the place in the 50’s in 250bhp plus GP cars…(Ed Holly Collection)

 

Jones Maserati Bathurst 1958

Jones wheels his 250F into Hell Corner Bathurst 1958 AGP (Bernie Rubens)

The Australian Grand Prix win he had strived for for so long was finally his with a win on the power circuit of Longford in Tasmania 1959.

Stans 250F was at its peak, lovingly and skilfully prepared by Otto Stone, Stan beat Len Lukeys’ Cooper T43 Climax at just the right moment.

The day of the front engined GP car was over in Australia, a bit later than in Europe. Stan was fortunate their were no 2.5 litre Coventry Climax engined Coopers in Australia at that stage, Lukeys’ little 2 litre did not quite have the ‘mumbo’ to do the job on Longfords long straights, but if anyone deserved some luck Stan certainly did!

Stan Jones AGP Longford 1959

Stan being pushed to the start in front of Arnold Glass in the ex Hunt/Stillwell 250F. Otto Stone beside Stan, fair haired Sawyer pushing Masers’ pert rear…(Walkem Family/Ellis French)

Jones lead from the start followed by Lukey and Whiteford, Whiteford’s Maser 300S did not survive the landing off the railway line spraying copious amounts of oil over Lukey.

Start, Longford AGP 1959

Ellis French shot as the flag has dropped catches all the ‘fun of the fair’ of country Tasmania in much simpler times…Jones from Lukey, Glass and Whiteford in the 300S. Blue colored sports car at rear is Ron Phillips’ Cooper T38 Jag…F Libre event (Ellis French)

The lap record was taken by Jones, Lukey and Glass. Lukey lead for 6 laps, Jones regained the lead, tapping Lukeys’ Cooper past the Prince of Wales Hotel. Glass made a bid for the lead, getting right up to Jones, but had to use the escape road at Mountford Corner, his brakes locking. He recovered, joining the circuit still in third in front of Mildrens’ Cooper.

Jones worked his away back to the front again, and built a small lead over Lukey, winning by 2.2 seconds from Lukey, Glass 2.5 minutes behind them and Mildren 39 seconds behind Glass.

Ted Grays’ Tornado, the other outright contender had troubles in the qualifying heats and ran a bearing in the fabulous Lou Abrahams built Australian Specials, Chev V8 on lap 4.

Jones jumping at Longford 1959

Amazing shot of Jones and Lukey ‘yumping’ their cars over the railway line towards Tannery Corner on the outskirts of Longford township (Charles Rice)

 

stan and len

Stan Jones and Len Lukey in their epic 1959 AGP Longford dice, the cars touched here on lap 9 (oldracephotos-ed steet)

Stan contested the Gold Star Series again in 1959 winning at Port Wakefield in Maybach 4, the car, still owned by Jones, was modified by Stans friend Ern Seeliger by fitment of a Chev Corvette 283cid V8, de Dion rear suspension, a 30 gallon fuel tank and less weight.

The dry sumped Chev was fitted with 2 four barrel Carter carbs and developed 274bhp at 6000rpm and 300ft.lbs of torque.

The last victory for the car was that race at Port Wakefield, in March, in back to back wins with his AGP triumph.

port w

Stan in Maybach 4 Chev alongside Alec Mildrens’ Cooper T43 Climax. Stan won the Gold Star round at Port Wakefield in March 1959, mixing drives in the Maser and Maybach that year . Relative size of the ‘old and new’ apparent, Mildrens Cooper tiny in comparison! (Kaydee)

The 1959 Gold Star Series was very long at 12 rounds Len Lukey winning it in Coopers T23 and T43 Climax from Alec Mildren in Coopers T43 and T45 Climax and Stan.

stan and al 1959

Alan and Stan Jones, Phillip Island circa 1959. Car is Maybach 4 Chev, still owned by Stan but modified by fitment of the Corvette V8, fettled and mainly raced by Jones’ mate Ern Seeliger. PI track surface not quite what it is today…(Fan.one)

Coopers…

The Maser was advertised for sale at 4500 pounds (selling some years later for circa 2000 pounds) , Maybach 4 pressed into service at the AGP held in 1960 at Lowood, Queensland in June. The Chev engine failed after four laps, Alec Mildren taking a fanastic win by less than a second after a race long dice with Lex Davisons’ Aston DBR4/300.

Mildrens’ car was a clever combination of Cooper T51 chassis and Maserati 250S engine taken out to 2.9 litres, deservedly, he finally won the Gold Star that year, and then retired, forming a race team and over the following decade putting far more back into the sport than he ever took.

The mid engined way forward was clear, Stans new Cooper T51 2.2 Climax arrived in time for the NZ Grand Prix at Ardmore in early January 1960. Stans’ practice times were fifth quickest of a grid which included Stirling Moss, David Piper, Denny Hulme and Len Lukey all driving Coopers.

Jones finished fourth behind Brabham and McLaren in works Cooper T51 and T45 Climax 2.5’s, and Stillwell, like Stan in a new Cooper T51 but 2.2 Climax engined

Stan contested the ‘Craven A International’ at Bathurst in October 1960. He retired the car in a lap one accident, the race won by Jack Brabham, also Cooper T51 mounted.

Bathurst International 1960

Merv Bunyan photo

 

Bathurst Gold Star 1960

50000 people turned up to see Jack Brabham win the ‘Craven A International’ at Bathurst in 1960. Front row L>R Jones, Mildren, Brabham. The red car on row 2 is Stillwell, the yellow behind Austin Miller, the white behind him Patterson..all in Cooper T51 Climax’. The Glass 250F is clear, third row outside (Australian Motor Racing Museum)

Grand Prix Racing changed from a 2.5 to 1.5 litre Formula in 1961 but many internationals contested our summer races…bringing 2.5 litre ex-GP cars, the ‘Tasman Series’ still 3 years away. Stirling Moss, Innes Ireland, Dan Gurney, Graham Hill, Ron Flockhart as well as our Jack raced in Australia that summer.

Stan missed the opening Gold Star round at Warwick Farm but was the fastest of the locals, making a particularly big impact on Dan Gurney at the ‘Victorian Trophy’ meeting held at Ballarat Airfield in mid February.

He was fourth, bested only by Gurney and Hill in their BRM P48’s and Ron Flockharts’ Cooper T51 Climax 2.5. Jones lead home the locals Stillwell, Mildren, Glass and Miller all in Cooper T51’s.

The oldracingcars.com commentary of the ’61 season asserts that Jones was the quickest of the Australians at the start of ’61 but only won later in the year at Lakeside in July.

coopers

Stan in his Cooper T51 Climax alongside Bib Stillwell in Aston DBR4/300. Stans’ BRDC badge proudly displayed on the Coopers side. Longford practice, March 1961 (Ron Lambert Collection)

At the ‘Longford Trophy’ in March he had a DNF on lap 4, the race won by Roy Salvadoris’ Cooper T51 Climax. At the ‘Queensland Centenary Road Racing Championships’ at Lowood in June he finished 3rd behind Bill Patterson and Mildren, both Cooper T51 mounted.

In April he contested the ‘Craven A Gold Star’ event at Bathurst finishing 2nd to Pattersons winning Cooper T51, Pattos’ Cooper and the 4 behind Jones 2.3 Climax all 2.5 litres in capacity or bigger.

But for Stan difficult times had begun…

In 1961 there was a credit squeeze in Australia as the Menzies Governement tightened monetary policy to control inflation with the usual brutally fast consequences of an instant drop in consumer demand. Cars included.

Sales on Jones’ multiple sites dropped and continued to decrease as consumers kept their wallets in their pockets or could not obtain consumer credit, nowhere near as sophisticated or as common as it is today. Superior Motors was sold in 1960.

If you were highly geared, as Stans businesses were, you were in trouble, his assets were progressively sold as his cashflow could not keep up with creditors demands.

Stan initially raced on and won the ‘Lakeside Libre Race’ in the Cooper in July, ahead of Arnold Glass’ Cooper T51 Maser and the Lotus 18 Ford FJ of Bruce Coventry.

He didn’t start the 1961 AGP at Mallala, South Australia, the race won by Lex Davison in a Cooper borrowed from Bib Stillwell, David Mckay was penalised for a jumped start and lost a race many believe he should have won, Davos’ AGP luck legendary!

The Gold Star was won by Patterson from Davison, Jones equal third with Bib Stillwell despite not competing at most rounds and having his mind on much bigger issues, his financial survival.

That unfortunately was the end of Jones’ racing career, he simply no longer had the financial means to compete, the fastest Australian at the start of 1961 was effectively retired twelve months later.

 

Stan Jones, Calder 1962

Stan Jones, John Sawyer and Otto Stone with the Cooper, Calder 1962. A drive of the car at this stage was no doubt some relief from the financial issues Jones was dealing with (autopics)

Jones retained the Cooper, racing it at local Calder, Victoria, events several times into 1962. Whilst for sale, the 250F had not sold, Stan ran the car in an historic demonstration event at Sandown in November 1963, which seems to have been his last competition outing. By 1965 the car was sold and running in historic events in the UK.

Stan was ‘a player’, his marriage to Alma ended in divorce, Stan gained custody of Alan and moved to The Boulevard in Ivanhoe, a more salubrious address than Yongala Street, Balwyn. By the mid-sixties all of Stans businesses had been sold and he was struggling to find an income, all of this tumultuous for Alan, by then in his late teens.

Stan Maybach early 60's

Stan and Jack McDonald in Maybach 1, mid 60’s in the Calder or Sandown paddocks. Fit and well at this point pre-strokes (Graham Thompson Collection)

Jones suffered two debilitating strokes in the mid-sixties. Alan, after an initial trip in 1967 moved to the UK to pursue a racing career in 1969, Stan moved there to live with Alan and Beverley, AJ’s first wife.

He died in a London hospital in March 1973 just short of his 50th birthday. He was a shadow of his former self but a family friend who visited the Jones’ in London spoke on the ‘blogosphere’ of Stan using two walking sticks but still looking dapper and smart.

Sad as this was, he would have been proud of Alan as 1973 was his breakthrough year in the UK. He had been competing in F3 for several years, winning a lot of races in a GRD 373 in 1973 and finally broke free of F3, getting his first F1 drive in the Harry Stiller owned Hesketh in 1975…

Champion Racers both, Stan and Alan…and in elite company with Antonio and Alberto Ascari.

cooper bathurst

Stan Jones Cooper T51 Climax Bathurst Gold Star , March 1961 (John Ellacott)

Where Does Stan Jones rate in the pantheon of local Australian drivers of the period?…

It is much harder to rate the drivers of the period as they raced mainly cars of different performance. It isn’t like today when drivers come through controlled junior formulae and into controlled senior formulae including F1! telemetry and the like making the job of picking who is fastest easier.

The competitor set includes Doug Whiteford, Lex Davison, Jack Brabham, (whom i have excluded from this analysis given he went overseas) Reg Hunt, Ted Gray, Alec Mildren and Len Lukey. Guys like Bib Stillwell peaked later and David McKay wasn’t in single seaters until the very end of Stan’s career so lets say that is the ‘elite group’, based either on results or speed- Ted Gray an example of the latter.

Whilst their is some chatter about the merits of Jones on the ‘blogosphere’, of more relevance are contemporary reports of those there in the day, assessing the drivers of the day in the context of the day.

‘Australian Motorsport Yearbook 1958/9’  refers to Jones ‘two most important overseas appearances have done more to put Australia on the map than many other drivers’. His ‘finest achievement must still be driving an Australian Special against International drivers in works cars in the first NZ International GP.’ ‘On the results of these experiences (the other being the Monte Carlo Rally) Jones should then have spent one season overseas; his potential as a racing driver, was superior, at the time to Jack Brabham’.

This did not happen primarily due to his family and business commitments so ‘..it is therfore not surprising that when he has recently driven against overseas drivers, he has been unable to match their skill…’

‘It has been suggested Stan is a car killer. This is not true. Jones is the first to admit that when he began motor racing he had little knowledge of what went on under the bonnet, but on the credit side he has the ability to give the mechanics details of incorrect symptoms…’

‘It must be admitted Jones is a hard driver…This determination to win has been one of the most important factors contributing to Jones’ success…his record shows he has rarely been unplaced when completing a race.’

‘Jones has been a complete all rounder…He is not temperamental and like many similar drivers his easy friendliness off the track is only matched by his determination once a race has started.’

Stans adaptability is mentioned above, that was not unique at the time as circuit events were not as common as now so drivers with the means had to be prepared to travel interstate and to do trials, rallies and hillclimbs to get their ‘racing fix’.

Jones had the financial means to race, but so too did the ‘competitor set’ above, all sucessful businessmen/racers with the wherewithal to match their skill.

As the oldracingcars.com analysis earlier states, Stan was the quickest local driver in 1961…Dan Gurney stating after racing against him at Ballarat Airfield, ‘wow he is some driver that Stan Jones’. He successfully made the change from front to mid-engined cars, he was as adept in his Cooper Climax as Maybach 4, both entirely different beasts raced successfully in the same year.

Ray Bell, noted Australian motor racing journalist and ‘Racing Car News’ contributor talks about Jones on ‘The Nostalgia Forum’ as ‘..the dominant figure of his day. He probably won the 1957 AGP at Caversham denied by poor lap-charting by the organisers. He stood out amongst drivers of the fifties, Brabham shot off to the UK to really make an impact’. ‘At Albert Park in 1956 only two drivers took Golf Links Bend flat, Moss and Jones’

Was he our fastest of the period? Probably.

Its a pity Whiteford bought a 300S rather than a 250F from the visiting Maser factory team post the ’56 Albert Park GP, equally its a shame Hunt retired- those battles would have been interesting and perhaps conclusive.

Was he the best in the period? Possibly.

Perhaps mechanical sympathy, important at the time was a slight negative.

Lex Davison is the other ‘best’ contender and an honorable mention should be made of Hunt who really wasn’t around long enough in outright cars to call it- he definitely had a car advantage when the A6GCM arrived, raising the bar and forcing others to buy ‘Red Cars’.

The final word goes to John Medley, another racer/enthusiast/historian of the period also writing on ‘TNForum’. He said of Stan, ‘He was an impressive operator, a determined and at times exuberant driver and usually with good equipment. Alan Jones was not the only goer in the Jones family. Stan was a serious goer full of fire and brimstone.’

Jones Maybach 4

Jones returns to the pits, final victory in Maybach 4 Chev, Port Wakefield, SA Gold Star round March 1959 (Kevin Drage)

 


 

Etcetera…

Charlie Dean…

Charlie Dean c 1972

Repco PR shot of Charlie Dean circa 1972 (Malcolm Preston)

The importance of the Research & Development ‘Skunkworks’ Dean created at Repco post-war is important to recognise.

Its existence and focus on development by racing attracted an incredible number of talented engineers who graduated from the ‘Repco University’ and achieved much within Repco or more often outside it.

Repco engineering alumnus include Ivan Tighe, Paul England, Peter Holinger, Nigel Tait, Michael Gasking, George Wade, Don Halpin, Frank Duggan, John Brookfield, John Judd, John Mepstead, David Nash, Ian Stockings, Ken Syme, Brian and Norm Wilson and many others. Phil Irving is not on this list as he was already of world renown when he joined Repco.

This unit within the company lead to the Coventry Climax FPF maintenance program in the early ’60’s, this and the capabilities of the engineers made possible taking on the Jack Brabham request to design and build the 1966/7 World Championship winning ‘RB620 and 740’ Series of engines, a program supported and sponsored by Dean, by that time a Repco Board member.

Board membership was a considerable achievement in Deans career as Repco were for many years an Australian Stock Exchange Top 200 company. Even though by then he wore a suit, by thought, word and deed he was a ‘racer’ to his core and a fine engineer to boot.

As a Repco Director he retired compulsorily at 60 in 1973, then doing a variety of engineering projects, and some property refurbishment work. He died suddenly in 1984 after suffering a fatal blood clot following surgery after a fall moving a concrete slab at his home.

To my knowledge his story has not been fully told but it is well covered in Malcolm Prestons’ great book referred to in the bibliography.

c dean maybach 194 geo thomas

Charlie Dean, Maybach 1, Rob Roy 1948. (George Thomas)

Etcetera…

Gaze, Davison and Jones Monaco

Tony Gaze, Lex Davison and Stan Jones with their Holden, Monaco quayside, Monte Carlo Rally 1953 (unattributed)

 

1958 AGP Bathurst

1958 AGP, Mount Panorama, Bathurst…Stan in his 250F from Ted Grays Tornado Chev and Davison in the Ferrari 500/625, first lap. Hell Corner from the inside, beginning the run up the mountain…(Peter Wherrett Collection)

 

Jones and 250F at Phillip Island circa 1959 (Peter D’Abbs)

Bibliography…

Barry Green ‘Glory Days’, Malcolm Preston ‘Maybach to Holden’, Graham Howard ‘History of The Australian Grand Prix’, ‘Australian Motorsport Yearbook 1958/9’, ‘The Nostalgia Forum’

Photo Credits…

David Van Dal, John Ellacott, Ron Lambert, oldracephotos.com, Rodway Wolfe Collection, Merv Bunyan Collection, Bernie Rubens, John Ellacott, Charles Rice, Ellis French, B Dunstan, Ed Steet, Walkem Family, KE Niven & Co, Peter Wherrett Collection, Australian Motor Racing Museum, Rob Bailey Collection, Kevin Drage, Dacre Stubbs Collection, motorsportarchive.com, Graham Thompson Collection, Ray Eldershaw Collection, Alan Stewart Collection, Ed Holly Collection, fan.one, George Thomas, VHRR Archive, Pter D’Abbs, Historic Racing Car Club of Tasmania

Tailpiece: Happy Stan, no doubt a relieved Stan, in the Longford paddock post 1959 AGP win, Maserati 250F…

(HRCCTas)

Finito…