Posts Tagged ‘Chevrolet Monza’

(M de Lang)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(K Drage)

In the beginning.

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

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

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

(B Jane)

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

 

(M de Lang)

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

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

Warwick Farm circa 1962 (J Psaros)

 

(M de Lang)

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

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

(B Miles)

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

 

(M de Lang)

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

(unattributed)

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

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

(M de Lang)

 

 

(unattributed)

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

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

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

 

(M de Lang)

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

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

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

(B Williamson)

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

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

(unattributed)

 

(M de Lang)

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

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

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

Warwick Farm, 5 September 1971 (L Hemer)

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

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

 

(M de Lang)

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

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

(unattributed)

Ere we go again…

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

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

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

 

(M de Lang)

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

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

(B Keys)

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

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

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

 

(M de Lang)

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

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

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

(E French)

 

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

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

(C Parker)

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

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

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

(B Jane)

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

Etcetera…

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

Sportscars

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

Single-seaters

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

Tourers

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

Not bad is it- in one lifetime.

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

Image and other Credits…

Martin de Lang- artist, Stephen Dalton

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

Tailpiece…

(M de Lang)

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

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

Finito…