Posts Tagged ‘Frank Gardner’

Bruce McLaren setting up a selfie before the Lady Wigram Trophy, Tasman Series, 23 January 1965…

Sorting his goggles in any event, Cooper T79 Climax. The cars in the background are the #9 Bill Thomasen Brabham BT4 Climax and Red Dawson’s Cooper T53 Climax ‘Lowline’.

What stood out on an initial scan of this bunch of photos are those big tall white-wall Firestone tyres on large fifteen inch wheels. It’s the start of the tyre-war; Firestone and Goodyear had just entered the domain which had been a cosy little monopoly for Dunlop for the previous few years.

Bruce won the first Tasman Cup in 1964 with the ‘first McLarens’- the Cooper T70’s Bruce and Wally Willmott constructed at the Cooper factory in Surbiton the year before were Dunlop shod machines. Click here for a piece on these cars; https://primotipo.com/2016/11/18/tim-mayer-what-might-have-been/

Admirers of the Clark Lotus 32B monocoque chassis, Wigram (A McKee)

It was going to be tough to knock Jim Clark’s Dunlop shod Lotus 32B Climax off in 1965- Bruce and Phil Hill’s campaigns were said to be sluggish at the series outset until Bruce and his boys adapted the suspension geometry and settings to the American tyres. Mind you, a close look at the results suggests Bruce was not far off the pace from the get-go.

The commercial relationship with Firestone was an important one for the entrepreneurial Kiwi as he assembled the technical partners and funding to take his nascent team forward- Bruce McLaren Racing’s first F1 season was in 1966.

Jack Brabham signed with Goodyear from 1965, that year of learning with the Akron giant was a critical foundation piece for Brabham Racing Organisation’s successful tilts at the 1966 and 1967 F1 championships for drivers and constructors.

Jim Clark had one of the greatest of seasons any driver ever had in 1965- he won an F1 drivers title, the Indy 500, the Tasman Cup plus a sprinkling of F2, touring car and other wins- the breadth of his achievements in that twelve month period has never been matched, or is ever likely to be I expect.

The start of that lot was in New Zealand- whilst Graham Hill won the first Tasman round, the NZ GP at Pukekohe in David McKay’s Scuderia Veloce Brabham BT11A Climax, Clark won the next two on the trot at Levin, where he won from the scrapping Frank Gardner and Jim Palmer aboard BT11A and BT7A’s respectively, and here, on the Wigram Airfield on 23 January from McLaren and Palmer- Jim acquired Clark’s series winning Lotus at its end. Bruce was obviously getting the hang of the Firestones mind you- he matched the lap record Clark set in the preliminary race in the championship event.

Off to Teretonga – famously the most southerly race track on the planet – Clark won again from McLaren and Phil Hill in the other Bruce McLaren Racing Cooper- an updated T70 raced by Bruce and the late Tim Mayer the year before.

Jim at the wheel, 32B ‘beetle-back’ all enveloping bodywork, ZF gearbox. #49 in the background is the Peter Gillum Cooper T67 Ford FJ (A McKee)
The off. Bruce with Frank Gardner’s distinctive Alec Mildren Racing yellow Brabham BT11A Climax alongside (A McKee)

That Bruce was getting the chassis/tyres sorted was further indicated by his pace- he pulled alongside Clark on lap 20, but Jim had enough in hand to pull away- taking the duo clear of Hill, Grant (ex-Jack 1962 AGP Brabham BT4 Climax, a car later to put John McCormack on the map) and Palmer.

The summary of the balance of the series is this; Clark won from grid three at Warwick Farm on 14 February whilst Bruce was Q5 and DNF engine. Brabham joined the Series in Sydney aboard a new BT11A- he was second from Q4. Matich was third from pole.

At Melbourne’s Sandown a week later, Jack won from pole with Jim second from Q2, Phil Hill third from Q6 and Bruce fourth from Q4- Goodyear, Dunlop, Firestone, Firestone if you like…

The seven round series ended at Longford with the Australian Grand Prix on 1 March 1965. Bruce won from pole from Brabham, Hill P and Hill G, Bruce Sergent observed that ‘Longford saw the McLaren cars come resoundingly into their own with good short-stroke engines and the small frontal area and shallow tread of the Firestones on this ultra fast circuit.’

Clark’s second half of the series was not as dominant as his first half. This was in large measure due to Jack’s presence and the pace of the McLaren Coopers- he won three races in New Zealand and once in Australia, but took the 1965 Tasman Cup with 35 points from McLaren’s solo victory and 24 points, then Jack with a win and a points haul of 21 from only three races. Brabham certainly would have given Jim a run for his money had he contested the championship in full. Gardner, Phil Hill and Jim Palmer were equal fourth…Or Dunlop, Firestone, Goodyear, Goodyear, Firestone and Dunlop.

Wigram Shell Team compound, from this end; Bruce Abernathy Cooper T66 Climax, John Riley Lotus 18/21 Climax, Andy Buchanan #8 Brabham BT6 Ford 1.5 twin-cam, perhaps the Scuderia Veloce Graham Hill Brabham BT11A Climax and uncertain closest to the truck (A McKee)

Those early years of the F1 tyre war rolled as follows; Dunlop shod Clark’s 1965 winning Lotus 33 Climax and Stewart’s 1969 winning Matra MS80 Ford. Goodyear bagged back to back titles in 1966 and 1967 on Jack’s Brabham BT19 Repco and Denny’s Brabham BT24 Repco, while Firestones were on the Lotus 49 Ford Cosworth DFV used by Graham Hill in 1968, and Jochen Rindt’s Lotus 72 Ford in 1970.

Dunlop bailed from F1 at the end of 1970, leaving the two American giants. Then Michelin came in etcetera…and now of course we have same, same, same coz same, same, same is what is mandated by the commercial, sorry, sporting powers that be.

It was a bit different in the Tasman where Dunlop shod Clark’s winning Lotus 32B Climax and Stewart’s 1966 BRM P261, but then it was all Firestone on both Clark’s 1967 Lotus 33 Climax, 1968 Lotus 49 Ford DFW and the Ferrari Dino 246T raced by Chris Amon to victory in 1969, and Graeme Lawrence in 1970.

The Goodyear shod Mildren/Gardner Brabham BT11A Climax (A McKee)

Etcetera…

(A McKee)

Andy Buchanan awaits the off in his immaculate Brabham BT6 Ford 1.5 twin-cam, top left in white is Graeme Lawrence’s similar machine. These cars were immensely successful 1.5-litre racing cars in Australasia, and at right the red ex-Tony Shelly Lotus 18/21 of John Riley.

Credits…

Bruce Sergent on sergent.com, oldracingcars.com, Ian Smith Collection

(I Smith Collection)

Tailpiece…

Brabham went like a rocket at Longford, the 1965 Tasman’s final round, he made a cautionary stop after giving Roly Levis a love-tap when the Kiwi locked a brake going into Mountford.

In a race of new lap records, McLaren, Brabham and Phil Hill all set new marks, Jack eventually fell short of McLaren by a little over three seconds, Bruce was impeded in changing gears without a clutch in the latter stages of the race. Click here for a piece on this race; https://primotipo.com/2019/09/27/longford-1965/ and here on the 1965 Tasman Cup and Clark’s Lotus 32B; https://primotipo.com/2017/11/02/levin-international-new-zealand-1965/

Finito…

Frank Gardner takes the chequered flag after winning the December 3, 1967 Hordern Trophy, traditionally the season ending Gold Star round at Warwick Farm…

Frank’s habit was to finish his European racing season and then head back to his home city, Sydney, and contest the final Gold Star round as a warm up for the seven or eight round Tasman Series which followed in January/February.

He raced the event for Alec Mildren Racing from 1965 to 1968, winning two of the four events in the Brabham BT23D Alfa in 1968 and Brabham BT16 Climax FPF in 1966. He led the 1968 race in the Mildren Alfa Yellow Submarine but pulled out with fuel metering unit problems. His other start was in Alec’s Brabham BT2 Ford/Lotus twin-cam 1.5 in 1965, his 1965 Tasman mount, for the sake on completeness was a Brabham BT11A Climax which was not ready at the time of the Hordern.

Gardner in The Esses (oldracephotos.com.au/Phillips)

Bartlett cucking the BT11A around in the style which always made him a crowd pleaser- and quick. This car was at the end of its third full season of racing in late 1967- debut by Gardner in the 1965 Tasman (oldracephotos.com.au/Phillips)

The 1967 Hordern Trophy was disappointing in a way, that year Spencer Martin and Kevin Bartlett slugged out the Gold Star in identical Brabham BT11As; Spencer’s was owned by Bob Jane and KB’s by Alec Mildren. Click here for more; https://primotipo.com/2018/04/27/kbs-first-bathurst-100mph-lap/

Bartlett had to win the penultimate round at Symmons Plains the month before, November 12, to stay in the hunt at the Hordern, while he led in Tasmania, a broken oil line ruined his chances. Greg Cusack took the win in David McKay’s Brabham BT23A Repco from John McCormack – not really racing outside Tasmania at that stage – in his ex-Jack 1962 Caversham AGP mount, a Brabham BT4 Climax, and David Sternberg’s Alexis Mk6 Ford ANF1.5.

Martin won the Gold Star at Symmons despite failing to finish, observing a self-imposed 6800 rev limit, he had cam-follower failure. As already planned and announced, he retired. John Harvey took the seat from the Hordern Trophy, racing very successfully for Bob Jane for the next five or so years in a range of single-seaters, sportscars and tourers.

(oldracephotos.com.au/DKeep)

Martin above, and Bartlett below before the off at Symmons, Brabhams BT11A times two.

In the preliminary, KB led Spencer and Greg away with Cusack up to second before being clobbered by a rock in his visor, Martin retired with a duff plug, KB took the win.

In the main race Kevin led until lap 12, from Cusack and Martin before the oil line broke. After Glen Abbey fixed the problem KB gave the crowd a show by taking to the circuit and driving the last 34 laps flat-knacker, dropping the lap record to 56.4 seconds and being rewarded with a point.

(oldracephotos.com.au/DKeep)

The Repco V8 engined Cusack car, Jack Brabham’s 1967 Tasman machine, Leo Geoghegan’s ex-Clark Lotus 39, or John Harvey’s Ron Phillips owned, converted F2 Brabham BT14, all powered by 640 or 740 series 2.5-litre V8’s coulda, shoulda taken the Gold Star from the Climaxes that year but unreliability prevented them doing so. And the sheer, raw pace of Martin and Bartlett.

Leo Geoghegan was so miffed with his Repco engine he fitted a Coventry Climax back into his Lotus for the Hordern Trophy, that didn’t work for him either, he was outed with overheating despite a good third grid position.

Greg Cusack sussed his tyres with the Firestone man during the Hordern Trophy weekend. Scuderia Veloce Brabham BT23A Repco

Leo Geoghegan at Longford in March 1967- just before John Sheppard and Bob Britton converted the ex-Clark Lotus 39 from Coventry Climax FPF to Repco 640 V8 power (oldracephotos.com.au/Harrisson)

(RCN)

This race summary draws heavily on Peter Wherrett’s January 1968 RCN coverage and that of Australian Autosportsman’s Ray Finnerman and Warwick Robbins. There were some amazing differences in the reports, where there were such the Wherrett view is my favoured one!

Gardner started the Hordern from pole having done a 1:29.6 seconds, the only man under 1:30.

KB jumped into an early lead but Gardner passed his teammate going into the Northern Crossing, and led for the balance of the 45 lap journey in an impressive display in what was a brand-spankers, new car.

Bartlett and a couple of other cars have just cleared the Western Crossing on the first lap- KB, Gerdner, Harvey, Stewart, Geoghegan, West, Gibson, Cooper out wide at left and the rest with Cusack well back (DBird/RCN)

KB ran very hard in second place leading Harvey and Geoghegan in Climax cars, Stewart’s ANF1.5 Rennmax BN1 Ford Twin-cam and the Repco engined Cusack Brabham who was making up ground hand over fist as a consequence of missing dry practice; he boofed the car at The Causeway which required workshop repair.

After Cusack came Phil West in Mike Champions’ ‘old chassis Brabham’ BT2 ANF1.5, Fred Gibson in Niel Allen’s ex-Gardner Brabham BT16 Climax, Glyn Scott, Lotus 27 Ford, Garrie Cooper, Elfin Mono Mk2D Ford, Alf Costanzo, Elfin Mono Mk2B Ford, Alex Lazich, Pirana Ford 1.1, Brian Page Elfin Mono Mk1 Lancia V4 and Milton Lambert, Elfin Mono Mk1 Ford.

“The spins came early with Costanzo who got the ball rolling with a big one on the second lap…Cary, Elfin FJ Ford 1.1 was having troubles of his own and was in the grass more than once early in the race and dropped back to last place” wrote PW.

Alf Costanzo, Elfin Mono Mk2B Ford gives Bartlett plenty of room into The Esses (oldracephotos.cm.au/Phillips)

Cusack took a win in the single-seater support during the AJC Trophy meeting at Warwick Farm in July 1967- beautifully on line here at Homestead Corner, Brabham BT23A Repco

So it was Gardner comfortably from Bartlett, he too not being hard pressed by Harvey and Geoghegan, Stewart, Cusack and Phil West.

Max comfortably led the ANF1.5’s and led that title chase. The ANF1.5 Championship was run concurrently with the Gold Star rounds to ensure adequate fields of both, especially the 2.5’s which were thin on the ground outside the Tasman Series.

Greg bagged Max on lap 3, “Cusack’s Repco V8 sounded great and he was noticeably faster than all but Gardner and Bartlett,” wrote Wherrett.

Stewart lost his clutch on the fifth lap from which point West was all over him.

By lap 9 FG led from KB by thirteen seconds in turn still well ahead of Harvey who ‘was very at ease with the old Martin car and was enjoying the renowned Climax reliability’. The latter comment probably a dig at the difficulties Harvey, Phillips and Peter Molloy had with the Brabham BT14 F2 car, converted earlier that year from 1760cc Ford Twin-Cam to 2.5-litre 640 Repco V8 form.

I know from comments made by (the late) Harves on social media in recent years that the team did get the BT14 going very quickly once the suspension was fully sorted- to the extent of a single-seater feature race ‘Diamond Trophy’ win at Oran Park and good race/qualifying pace in the Surfers, Sandown and Mallala Gold Star rounds. In fact I see his qualifying time at the first Gold Star round at Lakeside in June was just under 1.5 seconds away from Cusack’s pole time, so arguably the thing was thereabouts in pace, if not reliability pretty much from the start.

Quite why Bob Jane, who bought the BT14 Repco from Ron Phillips, then pulled the engine and ‘box from the then sorted, fast BT14 and plonked them into the back of the BT11A for the ’68 Tasman only for Harvey to go through the sorting process all over again makes no sense to me at all.

Back to the Farm.

Cusack passed Geoghegan who shortly after spun on some lose stuff in The Causeway. After another spin he gave up the battle with overheating and handling problems, when Leo departed the race after 11 laps he was piped-out by Creek Corner’s famous trumpeter who played the Last Post!

Gardner from the Elfin Mono (oldracephotos.com.au/Phillips)

John Harvey, Brabham BT11A Climax monstering Fred Gibson in Niel Allen’s ex-Gardner Brabham BT16 Climax. The Esses (oldracephotos.com.au)

Alfie spun on laps 14 and 16, Glyn Scott had a loop on lap 11 losing his spot to Elfin Chief GC Cooper Esq. Clearly there was a lot of muck on track- perhaps due to the rain the day before.

With plenty going on for the spectators, Fred Gibson pitted the Allen Brabham BT16 with braking problems on lap 14. The brake line had severed so the crew sent him out 5 laps later after the rear brakes were disconnected. Brave boy.

Cusack closed within four seconds of John Harvey, then spun at The Causeway without hitting anything this time, he didn’t lose a place in the process but had to do the hard work to bridge the gap to Harves all over again.

By now Phil West had passed Max Stewart but that was not a drama for The Big Fella from Orange, he had the points needed to bag the first of his many national titles.

With Gardner up front of Bartlett by about a half minute the Alfa Romeo V8 sung its song impressing all with its speed- FG tickled the thing into some delicate slides demonstrating the chuckability for which these Brabhams were famous.

‘Bartlett’s Brabham buried deeply in straw and Armco after its Causeway lose. Surprisingly the car was not badly damaged- nor was Bartlett. But he was sure annoyed! wrote Wherrett (D Bird/RCN)

Then KB lost it going into Polo on lap 27- the engine cut out and by the time he got going again he was back to fourth. “Then he did it again and it seemed the engine was going cold between gear changes” is Wherrett’s somewhat mysterious observation. Bartlett covered one more full lap without drama but then got onto some of the lose stuff and charged straight ahead through the straw bales and into the Armco.

So John Harvey was up to second place keeping a good eye on Cusack further back, the Canberra motor dealer narrowed the gap down to five’ish seconds but then had another spin, at Polo and this time put Harvey beyond his reach in the remaining laps to the finish. Wherrett reported that Harves had a half-lose in The Causeway too, but he caught it and drove to the finish behind Gardner.

West and Stewart diced hard for the balance of the race, Phil getting over the line only “with a lead of only one second” from Max- I notice the oldracingcars.com result credits West with 43 laps and Max 42- whatever the case it was a very fine showing by West who had stepped up from an FJ/F2 1100cc car to a Ford/Lotus Twin-Cam powered ANF1.5 for the very first time at this meeting.

Within months he was offered the Scuderia Veloce Brabham BT23A Repco seat vacated by Greg Cusack after his high speed 1968 Longford Tasman shunt hospitalised him and hurt him badly.

Phil West, Brabham BT2 Ford 1100cc, at Oran Park during 1967 (D Simpson)

Phil West on the way to a Bathurst 100, Easter Bathurst Gold Star win in 1969- Scuderia Veloce Brabham BT23A Repco (P Cross)

When Gardner passed Harvey on lap 42 he had lapped the field, at the end of the race there were only two he hadn’t lapped twice.

FG won by a lap and 1.8 seconds from John Harvey in a very strong first race for Jane, Brabham BT11A Climax, then came Cusack, Brabham BT23A Repco a minute behind Harvey, a lap ahead of West, Brabham BT2 Ford, Stewart, Rennmax BN1 Ford and Costanzo, Elfin Mono Mk2B Ford. Then came Garrie Cooper, Elfin Mono Mk2D Ford, Glyn Scott, Lotus 27 Ford, Brian Page Elfin Mono Mk1 Lancia and Fred Gibson, Brabham BT16 Climax to round out the top ten.

FG with the Hordern Trophy- grand isn’t it!?

And on the Ferrari lap of honour below with friend and long time Mildren engineer/mechanic Glenn Abbey alongside- is that the flat-capped Alec in the passenger seat perhaps. Ferrari 275 GTS maybe.

There were three future Gold Star Champions in this race- KB, Max and Alfie. That the 1.5’s were so well up is indicative of the paucity of 2.5 machines outside the Tasman.

Gardner was probably feeling pretty good about his 1968 Tasman chances that day, but the competition was tough that year; Clark and Hill in Lotus 49 Ford’s, Amon’s works Dino V6, two BRM’s both P261 V8 and P126 V12 driven by Rodriguez, Irwin, Attwood and others, lets not forget Piers Courage’ F2 McLaren M4A Ford FVA.

I guess the Light Car Club’s annual Victorian Trophy which pre-dates the Gold Star, first held in 1957, and the Hordern Trophy awarded by the Australian Automobile Racing Club were the most prestigious and longest lived of the Gold Star awards?

Sydneysiders are well aware of the enormous wealth generated by the Hordern family who arrived as free-settlers in in the mid-1820’s and grew an enormous retail empire from their first Mrs Horderns drapery store at 12 King Street.

At its height the massive Anthony Hordern and Sons Ltd ‘The Palace Emporium’, built in 1905, occupied a whole Sydney block bounded by George, Liverpool, Pitt and Goulburn Streets. The company employed over 4,000 and dealt in ‘everything from a needle to an anchor’ which were either made in its Sydney factories or imported by its agents. The company was taken over by Waltons Ltd in January 1970.

Sir Sam Hordern (1876-1956) was an early member of the Royal Automobile Club of Australia and twice its President. The RACA Club Trophy was introduced by Sam Junior to coincide with the opening of Warwick Farm. It was contested throughout the sixties with ‘traditional events at Wallacia (hillclimb) and standing quarter mile tests at Castlereagh Airstrip’ whilst simultaneously the Sam Hordern Trophy, usually abbreviated to Hordern Trophy was provided to the winner of the AARC’s Warwick Farm Gold Star event.

Bib Stillwell in a year he didn’t win! 1964 Hordern Trophy, Brabham BT4 Climax DNF lap 15 with Coventry Climax engine failure. The ANF1.5’s of Leo Geoghegan and Greg Cusack, Elfin Catalina Ford led the field home (B Wells)

The other three-time Hodern Trophy winner, Kevin Bartlett, in Alec Mildren’s Brabham BT23D Alfa Romeo, he also won the Gold Star in this machine in 1968 (unattributed)

There were twelve Hordern Trophy events from 1961 to 1972, Bib Stillwell won the first in a Cooper T53 Climax F Libre and Frank Matich the last in his Matich A50 Repco F5000.

Stillwell and Bartlett won three times, Gardner and Leo Geoghegan twice, with singleton wins for John Youl and Matich. The winningest marque was Brabham with four chequered-flags, the engine with the most notches in its sump was the good ‘ole Coventry Climax four-cylinder, DOHC FPF with five victories.

Late lamented Warwick Farm’s last open meeting was the July 15, 1973 Australian Touring Car Championship meeting, and the very last an AARC Clubbie on the Farms short circuit, August 12, 1973.

Peter Brock, Holden Dealer Team Group C Holden Torana GTR-XU1 during the final WF open meeting- the final round of the 1973 Australian Touring Car Championship on 15 July which Brock won from the similar Torana of Bob Morris and Pete Geoghegan’s Valiant Charger RT E49 (unattributed)

Etcetera: Brabham BT23D Alfa Romeo…

Brabham BT23D ‘1’ was a one-off car built on Ron Tauranac’s F2 BT23 jig to the specific requirements of Alec Mildren- specifically fitment of an Autodelta Tipo 33 2.5 litre engine.

Mildren was an Alfa dealer, the new motor allowed him to join the Tasman V8 brigade and get some promotional rub-off in terms of car sales.

The car was built in the Motor Racing Developments factory in Weybridge with the engine installation carried out the Mildren Racing ‘shop in Sydney by Glen Abbey and the team. The Brabham BT23 family of Tasman cars is covered in this article;

https://primotipo.com/2016/09/29/bathurst-1969-and-jacks-tasman-brabhams/

The car had a multi-tubular spaceframe chassis with conventional outboard suspension front and rear. Wishbones top and bottom at the front with coil spring damper units and an adjustable roll bar. At the rear was an inverted lower wishbone, single top link, two radius rods and again coil spring/dampers and an adjustable ‘bar. Suspension uprights were cast magnesium front and rear- the front Alford and Alder units were given the flick with the introduction of the BT23!

(M Feisst)

The engine was a beauty and came to Mildren via Autodelta’s long Tipo 33 sportscar program which ran well into the mid-seventies and yielded an F1 flat-12 engine along the way; not to forget 3-litre F1 versions of the T33 V8s.

Kevin Bartlett has said Mildren had three of the V8’s along the journey from late 1967 to late 1970, which were fitted to the Brabham BT23D and Len Bailey designed, Alan Mann Racing built Mildren Yellow Submarine, the monocoque jewel which succeeeded the Brabham (as in Gardner’s 1969 Tasman weapon and KB’s car for the 1969 Gold Star and beyond- and ultimately fitted with a Waggott TC-4V 2-litre moteur).

Engine number ‘AD001’ was variously quoted at 2,464 and 2,472cc and was a 90 degree, DOHC, chain-driven, two-valve, twin-plug, Lucas injected, Marelli sparked V8 giving around 285 bhp; about the same as was quoted for Amon’s Dino in three-valve spec in 1968 (yes he raced four-valvers in Australia in 1968 too).

The gearbox was the ubiquitous Hewland FT200 five-speeder.

Teretonga- BRM’s Tim Parnell (seated) grabs a Coke with the Mildren lads- wonder who the cutie is at left? Front and rear suspension as per specs in text below. A beautiful bit of kit which FG exploited to the full (Ian Peak)

Arguably the BT23D Alfa was the best car Gardner ever drove in a Tasman, the ‘Sub’ was a better car but was neutered in part by its sub-optimal wing package in 1969.

Frank’s problem was the depth of the 1968 field too. With Clark, Hill, Amon, Hulme (emasculated with an F2 Brabham BT23 that summer) Rodriguez and Brabham, albeit Jack only did some of the Oz rounds, his race record, in that context is strong.

Pukekohe (NZ GP) Q4 and second. Levin Q2 and DNF after running wide on the fast sweeping left-hander, boofing the car and damaging the suspension after hitting a bank. Wigram, Q3 on the airfield circuit and DNF head-gasket. Teretonga, Q4 on the world most southern track and third.

Off to Australia.

Surfers Q4 and DNF- not sure why. Warwick Farm Q8 and DNF camshaft. Sandown Q6 and fourth. Longford, his qualifying time is not clear in the shemozzle over starting the sodden race but third was a good race result.

Gardner flirted with Grand Prix racing, he was happier doing a mix of touring cars, sports prototypes, F2 in most years, some F1 and an annual Tasman summer. He did great against the greatest, lets not forget the Lotus 49 Ford is one of racing’s greatest GP cars, Amon’s Dino was a works machine too, run by Amon’s local Kiwi crew.

It would have been very interesting to see how FG would have gone in a decent GP car, circa 1966 to 1969 when he was in his peak.

As it was BT23D gave Bartlett his first of two Gold Stars, the Sub the other. Then it became ‘our first F5000’ car when Jim Abbott bought it from Mildren and gussied it up as such as a display car to promote the class he believed in.

Into hill-climbing the chassis was modified and used by Abbott. Later Chris Murphy died in it at One Tree Hill, Ararat. Eventually restored by Paul Moxham, beautifully so too, the car now lives in Tasmania owned by the sympathetic Chas Kelly. The full history of the car is a topic for another time.

More on Alfa’s race 2.5 V8’s here; https://primotipo.com/2018/11/30/motori-porno-alfa-romeo-tipo-33-tasman-2-5-litre-v8/

Etcetera: Symmons Plains Gold Star 1967…

(oldracephotos.com.au/DKeep)

Greg Cusack confers before the off. His only Gold Star win was that day at Symmons, in some ways Greg’s small-bore single seater promise was not fulfilled in BT23A results.

(oldracephotos.com.au)

Cooper in the ‘ultimate spec’ Mono- his factory outboard suspension Mk2D. GC used this chassis and a 600 to jointly win the ANF1.5 title shared with Max Stewart in 1968.

(oldracephotos.com.au/DKeep)

Credits…

oldracephotos.com.au, Royal Automobile Club of Australia, oldracingcars.com, Australian Autosportsman, Dick Simpson, Mike Feisst and Ian Peak on The Roaring Season, Paul Cross, Racing Car News, D Bird

Tailpiece: All Australian boy and all round sportsman…

(unattributed)

(Fairfax)

The black and white version, almost, of the opening photo which is ripped off from the cover of FG’s ‘Castrol Racing Drivers Manual’!

Finito…

(D Simpson)

There is no such thing as too much Alec Mildren Racing; the man himself, the cars and their colour, drivers – the lot…

So, here we go again! I got a chuckle out of the first three photos which were uploaded onto social media within a couple of days of each other a while ago.

The wry amusement was about the car, Mildren’s Frank Gardner and Kevin Bartlett driven Brabham BT23D-1 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 2.5 V8 – particularly its evolution from wingless beauty to appendaged warrior over the period of several months – between Easter and July 1968 to be precise.

The car arrived in Australia in late 1967, seven months before wings first appeared in F1. Ferrari and Brabham were arguably the first over the July 7, 1968 French GP weekend at Rouen. The performance dividend of wings cascaded across the single-seater world. Lets not forget Jim Hall ‘started it’ with his gorgeous Chaparral sports-racers, to give credit where it is due.

Dick Simpson’s ripper shot (above) is Kevin Bartlett traversing Hell Corner at Bathurst during the Easter ’68 Gold Star weekend, as is the one below at Forrests Elbow. The stationary shot is the car in its final 2.5-litre Tasman form during the Warwick Farm Tasman round in 1969 with KB at the wheel in the form-up area/dummy grid.

(P Maslen) 
(K Bartlett)

Treat this piece as a pictorial of BT23D-1’s short life as a front line tool. It was sold after the ’69 Tasman sans engine to Melbourne publisher/motor show promoter Jim Abbott to become his display F5000/hill-climb car. In this form it was fitted with an ex-Frank Matich Oldsmobile V8 and ZF five speed transaxle. Abbott was part of the push to adopt F5000 as the replacement for the Tasman 2.5 ANF1, the modified Brabham was a tool to advance that cause.

Hordern Trophy, Warwick Farm, December 1967…

Frank Gardner took a great win upon the cars debut at the December 3 Hordern Trophy Gold Star final round at Warwick Farm, from John Harvey’s Brabham BT11A Climax.

The car didn’t have the ultimate pace during the Tasman Cup of the works Lotus 49s or Chris Amon’s Ferrari 246T.

(AutoSportsman)

Warwick Farm 1968…

When Gardner headed back to Europe, Bartlett stepped into the car having raced Mildren’s Brabham BT11A Climax throughout 1966 and 1967.

In close hand-to-hand-combat with Spencer Martin’s Bob Jane Racing BT11A, KB ran Spencer close, but Martin took the Gold Star honours in those two years.

The shot above is at the Farm after The Esses exit during the July 14, 1968 weekend, BT23D’s last wingless meeting.

“Frank (Gardner) sent us a drawing of a rear-wing from Europe. Alan Stanfield fabricated it for us together with Glenn Abbey. We took the car out to Oran Park to test, it was so such more stabile and quick” Kevin Bartlett recalls.

“That was just before the Gold Star round at Lakeside in July. We raced the car there with the wing fitted and became the first local team to win a race with a rear wing fitted.” KB shared pole with Leo Geoghegan’s Lotus 39 Repco, and comfortably won from Phil West’s Brabham BT23A Repco and Peter Macrow’s McLaren M4A Ford FVA.

Things Go Better With Coke! It seems.

KB’s own shot of his car with its new wing in the Lakeside paddock that July 4 weekend. Lets focus on the wing, not the engine, which is covered here; https://primotipo.com/2018/11/30/motori-porno-alfa-romeo-tipo-33-tasman-2-5-litre-v8/

The shape of the wing – via Frank Gardner as noted above – was based on contemporary European practice. The vertical mounts locate on the chassis inner spring mounts. The triangular horizontal stays are simple bits of engineering Lotus chief, Colin Chapman should have had a gander at. Note the pivot atop the roll bar, and simple means of altering the wings angle of attack, or incidence.

Surfers Paradise, Gold Star, August 1968…

(P Maslen)

A month after Lakeside, the circus returned to (or stayed in) Queensland.

Bartlett won the race by over 20 seconds from Leo Geoghegan’s Lotus 39 Repco- it too was the was subject of much aero experimentation by John Sheppard and Geoghegan – and Glyn Scott’s Bowin P3 Ford FVA.

(Rod MacKenzie)
(Rod MacKenzie)

Mallala, October 1968…

(Alexis Scott)

Leo has wings too – but not Phil West in the SV Brabham BT23A Repco – behind Geoghegan’s evergreen Lotus 39 Repco.

Leo out-qualified KB by a second and won from the Brabham and Glyn Scott’s Bowin P3 Ford FVA. The car alongside West (fifth) is John Walker, a Gold Star and AGP winner a decade and a bit later, in an Elfin Mono Ford, DNF. Glyn Scott is behind Bartlett at the off, he finished third.

Hordern Trophy, Warwick Farm, December 1968…

(Rod MacKenzie)

Bartlett won the Hordern Trophy and the Gold Star by 20 seconds from West and Fred Gibson in Niel Allen’s F2 McLaren M4A Ford FVA.

(D Harvey)

Warwick Farm Tasman February 1969…

(R Thorncraft)

Look closely and you can see that KB can’t- see that is. He has put aside, or more precisely pulled down his goggles away from his eyes in an endeavour too see where he is going.

Jochen Rindt won the race in famous fashion- it’s a drive remembered by all who attended that race weekend.

Sandown Park Cup, Tasman Series, February 1969…

(oldracephotos.com.au)

Bartlett’s last race in BT23D-1 was in the final round of the 1969 Tasman, with exhaust problems he was out after five laps in the race won by Chris Amon’s Ferrari Dino 246T.

Frank Gardner was fourth in the Mildren Alfa Romeo ‘Yellow Submarine’, a car KB would take over after Gardner returned to Europe. The aerodynamic experimentation continued in a car which KB raced to his second Gold Star, and the Macau Grand Prix, a story for another time.

Two hands are for beginners on the exit of Peters Corner, Sandown.

Credits…

Dick Simpson, Kevin Bartlett, Peter Maslen, Alexis Scott, Russell Thorncraft

Finito…

(L Hemer)

Kevin Bartlett, Lola T300 leads the ‘Angus & Coote Trophy’ from John McCormack, Elfin MR5 Repco, Oran Park 1972…

Allan Horsley, the promoter of Oran Park Raceway in Sydney’s outer west, was an energetic, creative guy. Even though this event wasn’t a Gold Star Championship round he attracted a good field of F5000’s to drag in the punters. The Angus & Coote Trophy was provided by a retail chain of jewellers.

The 500bhp V8 roller-skates were spectacular at the (then) short circuit, with Lynton Hemer there to capture the action, his wonderful photos are the inspiration for this article.

Interesting bunch of three Elfin MR5 Repco shots, this one of John Walker with the just visible Max Stewart up his clacker and Garrie Cooper’s works MR5 at rear. Four MR5’s were built, the Ansett Team Elfin cars of Cooper and McCormack and customer cars for Walker and Stewart, all were built to identical specifications fitted with Repco Holden F5000 engines. Walker’s car has the aero as the cars were first built, the Cooper and McCormack (shot below) cars have the ‘Tyrrell nose’ first fitted from the ’72 Warwick Farm Tasman round. Garrie has an airbox fitted, Mac does not. JW, an Elfin man through and through didn’t race the MR5 for long though, he jumped into an A50 Matich which complied with the American regss – the Elfin did not- John did some L&M rounds in the A50. Walker, Matich, Muir, Stewart and Bartlett all competed in the US in 1973 (L Hemer)

McCormack from Muir’s T300. J Mac got quicker and quicker didn’t he? Of the four MR5s, this chassis 5711 was the most successful- ’73 Gold Star and NZ GP win etc. It was a triumph of driving and Mac and Dale Koenneke’s development of what was not the most advanced F5000 design. Mac was further up the Repco queue once Matich retired (L Hemer)

Walkers MR5 5724  note aero comments above. Blade front wing, Walker developed into a very fast F5000 pilot- ’79 AGP and Gold Star winner, the difference in him pre ’73 L&M and post was significant. Confidence is such a big thing! (L Hemer)

With the exception of Frank Matich and his Matich A50 Repco, Lynton has many fine, close-up shots of the ‘Australian F5000 Class of 1972’- I wonder why FM wasn’t present, he was a Sydney boy after all? The answer is probably that he didn’t bother with this non-championship event on May 21, given the Belle Magazine Trophy Gold Star round was only a month hence, here in June.

By then he was on the way to comprehensively belting the Gold Star opposition- he won at Sandown, Oran Park, Surfers Paradise and Warwick Farm with Kevin Bartlett winning at Adelaide International in his Lola T300, and John McCormack at Symmons Plains aboard his MR5. FM won the Gold Star with 36 points from Bartlett and McCormack on 24 and 20 points respectively.

This lengthy article on Matich and his cars focuses a lot on 1971/2 so is useful context to the Australasian F5000 scene of the time, so have a look rather than repeat myself here; https://primotipo.com/2015/09/11/frank-matich-matich-f5000-cars-etcetera/

McCormack from Bartlett (L Hemer)

John McCormack (above) led from the start of the 25-lap event from Kevin Bartlett and Gary Campbell in Lola T300 Chevs. KB’s was a new chassis (HU16) acquired after the Tasman Series, in which he raced his venerable ex-Niel Allen McLaren M10B.

Gary Campbell, ex-Gardner first production T300 HU1 (L Hemer)

Gary Campbell (above) stepped up from the Waggott 2-litre engined ANF2 Elfin 600B/E he raced in the Australian 1972 Tasman rounds into the T300 (HU1) Frank Gardner raced in the Tasman, Campbell took delivery from the final, Adelaide round.

Gardner had notionally retired from single-seater racing but did an event or two in the UK later in 1972 as he track tested the very first Lola T330 HU1, a car purchased by Max Stewart and oh-so-successful in his hands.

Interesting side profile shot of Bob Muir’s T300 accentuates the relative ride height of the T300 with the T330/2 which followed. The presentation of this car had to be seen to be believed. The T300s were always set up with plenty of ride height, as you can see here, Kevin Bartlett observed “It was to do with the wishbone angles, roll centre, etc. The cars were usually set up very soft as the old F2 tub flexed a lot into the bargain. You could feel the strain when the grip was at its best, which wasn’t too often” (L Hemer)

Bartlett passed McCormack for the lead on lap three, with Muir passing Campbell on the same lap.

Muir became a very fast exponent of F5000, perhaps his best work was in the ’73 L&M rather than at home. Bob’s Reg Papps & Sons prepared T300, chassis HU4- ex-Niel Allen after a practice crash ended Allen’s planned racing comeback, was easily one of the most beautifully presented and prepared racing cars in Australia, visually stunning- I waxed lyrical about it here; https://primotipo.com/2014/11/18/my-first-race-meeting-sandown-tasman-f5000-1972-bartlett-lola-and-raquel/

Muir and KB sluggin it out (L Hemer)

Muir passed Bartlett (above) and ran out the winner from Kevin, John Walker’s Elfin MR5 Repco and Gary Campbell with KB setting a new lap record of 40.2 seconds.

In many ways the story of Australian 1972 F5000 racing- the championship Gold Star Series and non-championship Calder based ‘Repco Birthday Series’ (fiftieth birthday by the way) was FM’s absolute preparedness for the season.

His Matich A50, so named in honour of sponsor, Repco’s fiftieth birthday had won on debut at Warwick Farm’s November 1971 AGP, but then had a disappointing Tasman Series, which he lost to arch-rival Graham McRae’s Leda LT27/GM1 Chev, Graham took four wins to FM’s one.

Frank Matich, Matich A50 Repco from John McCormack’s Elfin MR5 Repco at Surfers Paradise during the 1972 Tasman round, 3rd and DNF in the race won by McRae’s Leda GM1 Chev. Matich won the ’72 Gold Star in the same chassis- A50 ‘001’ (unattributed)

However, Matich was well and truly ready-to-rock at the domestic seasons outset with a very well developed car. Bartlett and Muir were more than capable of giving their fellow Sydneysider a run for his money, but neither had their T300’s early enough to have them honed to the fine pitch Matich had A50 ‘001’.

I suspect Matich did more test miles at Warwick Farm, paid for by Goodyear – he was both a contracted driver and their agent in Australia – than the rest of his fellow F5000 competitors added together. His 1972 results reflected just that.

( L Hemer)

I wonder why Max Stewart (above) raced ye-olde-faithful Mildren Waggott, his ’71 Gold Star winner rather than the Elfin MR5 Repco he had run since the ’72 Tasman?

Maybe the distinctive yellow MR5 wasn’t ready or ‘praps he wanted to give the Mildren Waggott a gallop to showcase its potential to would-be purchasers, Allan Grice bought it shortly thereafter. Maybe he was inspired to do so by Max’s performance at this meeting? In any event this amazing, popular machine was finally outpaced by the post-McLaren M10B series of smaller, lighter F5000’s despite the efforts of its oh-so-talented, lanky pilot.

There are so many shots of the utterly-luvverly Lola T300 in this article it seems smart to expand a bit upon this seminal F5000 machine…

The Lola T190 F5000 wasn’t Lola’s best design but Frank Gardner evolved it into the longer wheelbase, and modified in many other areas T192- and won plenty of races in it in Europe and Australasia.

The car was far from uncompetitive into 1971 too- FG won at Warwick Farm during the Tasman Series, and European F5000 championship races at Silverstone, Mondello Park and Castle Combe. The old racer ran with and beat youngsters such as Brian Redman, Mike Hailwood, McRae and Allan Rollinson.

Gardner on the way to Warwick Farm 100 Tasman victory on 14 February 1971. Lola T192 Chev ‘190/F1/6’ or ‘HU14’- note the winglets aside the cars chassis. WF Esses, car following probably the Matich M10B Repco, brave ‘snapper is Lance Ruting. Car stayed in Oz- sold to Colin Hyams, then to US in 1972  (J Ellacott)

But the laconic racer/engineer wanted something smaller and lighter to stay ahead of the chasing pack, including the new McLaren M18/22, Surtees TS8 and coming Leda GM1.

In a moment of wham-bam-thankyou-maam pragmatic inspiration, he and Lola Engineer, Bob Marston, married the existing Lola T240 F2/Atlanic chassis with a 5-litre Chev and DG300 Hewland transaxle.

The production variant of the prototype became the T300 we F5000 nut-bags know and love. After some testing, the prototype ‘T242’ made its race debut at Thruxton on August 1, 1971.

FG plonked it on pole and finished third behind McRae’s highly developed McLaren M10B, and Hailwood’s works Surtees TS8. It was a statement of intent, the cars performance and looks were the subject of all he paddock chatter that weekend. The queue at Huntingdon started the morning after.

T242 was renamed T300 from the following Silverstone round on August 14, Gardner was again behind Hailwood, this time in second position.

(J Ballantyne)

The photos above show the car in the Snetterton paddock on August 30, 1971.

The chassis was destroyed in an argument over real-estate that very weekend between Gardner, and Redman’s M18 McLaren on lap eight. The T242/300 was badly damaged, rooted in fact – sad as that particular Lola was a very significant one for the company and F5000 as a class.

The key elements of the design- its overall size and packaging, hip-mounted radiators, wedge shape and aerodynamics are all clear.

Lola T300 drawing, poor in quality but useful all the same. Gardner’s prototype machine (Pinterest

Autosport proclaims Gardner/Lola’s ’71 Euro F5000 victory

Gardner raced his replacement car, the first production T300, chassis HU1 (the car he brought to Australia later that year, boofed in practice for the Warwick Farm AGP, was repaired and then contested the ’72 Tasman before sale to Gary Campbell as above) to its first win at Hockenheim on 12 September, in front of Emerson Fittipaldi’s F1 Lotus 56B Pratt & Whitney turbine, and Teddy Pilette’s McLaren M10B Chev.

I hope Eric Broadley paid those two fellas, Gardner and Marston a bonus in 1971 because they created, arguably, the first of the most successful and profitable family of production racing cars ever.

Lola built ‘a million’ T300/330/332/332C/332CS/333 cars and spares, those machines won countless F5000 and single-seat Can-Am races in the hands of just as many champions, journeymen and amateur drivers for well over a decade.

(G Ruckert)

The photo above is the business end of Bartlett’s T300 HU16 at Surfers Paradise in 1972, that’s Bartlett’s red driving suit and John Harvey’s purple crutch alongside!

Key elements of the machine are the injected 5-litre 500bhp Chevy V8, note the magneto and fuel metering unit. The rear of the aluminium monocoque chassis is to the right- the car was designed as an F2, it was a bit floppy.

Torsional rigidity was improved with the T330/332 which followed, but these were not machines in which to have a front-in shunt, as Bartlett experienced at Pukekohe aboard his T330 in early 1974. He was an early member of the Lola Limpers Club joining fellow Australasians Graeme Lawrence and Warwick Brown- all three came to grief in T300’s.

The gearbox is of course the ubiquitous Hewland DG300. Originally designed for ‘effete’ F1 engines, the prodigious torque of 5-litre motors made the ‘box marginal. Sticking to maintenance and lifing cycles of gears, dog rings, crown wheel and pinions was critical to avoid DNFs. The Hewland in yer little namby-pamby Formula Ford (Mk9/LD200) or Formula Pacific (FT200) was ‘set and forget’ to an extent, not so in one of these big, heavy muvvers.

The uprights are magnesium, disc brakes inboard at the rear and suspension period typical- single upper links and inverted lower wishbones, two radius rods- you can see one on the right threading the exhaust system. The adjustable rear roll bar is clear as is the engine oil tank to the right of the left exhaust outlet.

A superb, fast, race winning bit of kit in every respect but nowhere near as forgiving, if that is ever a word to be used in the same sentence as F5000- as a McLaren M10B KB notes…

Bartlett, Harvey and T300 from the front. Not sure if this is the ’72 Glynn Scott or ’73 Tasman weekend (G Ruckert)

Etcetera: The T300 and it’s father before the 1971 AGP @ Warwick Farm…

This is a pre-race publicity shot by Fairfax media.

The only trouble was Frank Gardner boofed HU1 in practice so did not start the race- he would have given Frank Matich a run for his money that day given the speed of the T300 in Europe. But ‘ya gotta be in it to win it’, and FG was not that weekend, despite a stellar record of prior success at The Farm.

The car was rebuilt in Oz around a new tub freighted in from Huntingdon, and raced to an NZGP win at Pukekohe, and three second places during the 1972 Tasman before being sold to Campbell, as related earlier, after the Sandown round.

(R Davies)

Speaking of chassis Robert Davies has superbly captured this rare photo of a nude T300 Chev- its the Allen/Muir/Brown ‘HU4’ in the Sandown paddock during 1972.

I won’t repeat the technical summary from above- devoid of bodywork the small light aluminium monocoque and minimal front impact protection is abundantly clear. The only deformable part of a racing car of this period was the body of the driver…

(unattributed)

Far-canal, that really is a mess. Its the same chassis HU4 shown above.

If you thought about the physics involved in a Formula Ford shunt you probably wouldn’t do it, but Jesus the big single-seaters of this period- F1 and F5000 really were lethal devices.

Balls of steel to race them springs to mind.

I don’t usually publish shots of rooted racers but this one had a happy ending- and adds some color and reality to the glib ‘Lola Limper’ line used earlier on.

Young Australian thruster Warwick Brown graduated from the McLaren M10B Chev with which he cut his F5000 racing teeth in 1972, to the ex-Allen/Muir Lola T300 prior to the 1973 Tasman- third at Levin and second at Wigram showed his mettle and immediate pace in a competitive car. It all came undone at Surfers, the first of the Australian Tasman rounds.

His car got away from him on the fast, demanding, circuit spreading bits of aluminium and fibreglass over the grassy undulations of the Nerang countryside and broke both Warwick’s legs. He got wide onto the marbles on the entry to the flat in fifth right-hander under Dunlop Bridge, and bounced across the grass into the dirt embankment surrounding the circuit.

The light aluminium tub folded back, in the process doing horrible things to Warwick’s feet and lower limbs. He had a very long recovery, made somewhat easier by the promise of a new car from his near-neighbour patron, mining millionaire Pat Burke. In that T332 HU27 he won the 1975 Tasman Series, the only Australian ever to do so.

It’s a story for another time but WB had another two Lola ‘big ones’ in the US in a T332C and T333. If there was a President for Life of the Lola Limpers Club I suspect it was Mr Brown.

Balls of steel, and mind over matter…

Click here for a piece on WB; https://primotipo.com/2017/03/09/wb-for-73/

(T Marshall)

The photo above is of WB at Levin only a couple of weeks prior to its Surfers demise.

Terry Marshall has captured the Sydneysider nipping a right-front during the 13 January Levin International. Warwick was third behind McRae’s GM1 and Matich’s A50- two of the toughest of F5000 nuts.

(unattributed)

Calder in 1972- Bob Jane had no Gold Star round that year but did promote the ‘Repco Birthday Series’ for F5000 and ANF2.

By the look of the clothes of the hardy Victorians it is winter’ish- Calder in the Winter is not a particularly pleasant place usually, i’m figuring the October 15 round with the assistance of oldracingcars.com though.

It looks as though Gary Campbell #4, has made a corker of a start and is seeking a way past KB #5 but then again maybe KB got off like a rocket and and Gary is giving him room as KB jinks right for a way past John McCormack’s Ansett Elfin MR5 Repco.

Over by the aptly placed Repco sign is the Repco-Holden F5000 engined Matich A50 #25 of John Walker- perhaps some of you American readers saw JW race this car in several L&M rounds in 1973 so well?

Bartlett won this 30 lapper in a smidge under 21-minutes from Walker and McCormack, then came Stewart, Elfin MR5 Repco and Campbell.

Bartlett won this five round series from Matich and Muir.

L Hemer)

Who would have throughout the T300 as a rally car?

KB negotiates the Warwick Farm paddock during the famously wet 1973 Warwick Farm 100 Tasman round, Steve Thompson Chevron B24 Chev won that day.

(unattributed)

The angle on the dangle.

And they are all angles, just the wildest looking thing at the time – even the Lotus 72 looked conservative alongside one of these babies.

Bartlett on the Calder grid alongside Mc Cormack during the 15 Ocober meeting referred to above.

Photo Credits…

Lynton Hemer, John Ballantyne, oldracephotos.com.au, Graham Ruckert, Terry Marshall, Pinterest, John Ellacott, Fairfax Media

References…

oldracingcars.com, The Nostalgia Forum

Tailpiece: Double T300 Trouble- Muir from Bartlett, Oran Park 1972…

(oldracephotos.com.au/DSimpson))

Finito…

(B Jackson)

c’mon Alec won’t even notice, our helmets are much the same. Its gotta be quicker with that Eyetalian V8- lookout ‘yerv fried the left front though FG…

Denny Hulme trying to convince Frank Gardner to give him a few Warwick Farm laps in FG’s new Mildren Racing Brabham BT23D Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 V8.

The new World Champ raced a Brabham BT23 that summer too- albeit a Ford FVA powered F2 chassis which really didn’t cut the mustard amongst the 2.5s.

Denny was fifth in the 1968 Warwick Farm 100 won by Jim Clark’s Lotus 49 Ford DFW, while Gardner’s Italian motor busted a camshaft.

That Italian engine: Tipo 33 2.5-litre DOHC, two-valve, twin plug, injected all alloy V8

After Gardner returned to Europe Kevin Bartlett drove BT23D to victory in the 1968 Australian Gold Star Championship, and in winged-form, very competitively in the 1969 Australian Tasman rounds.

The perky rump of FG’s new Brabham (below) on the way to Hordern Trophy victory on the cars race debut in the Warwick Farm Gold Star round in December 1967.

Spencer Martin took the second of his two titles that year after a spirited contest between he and his Brabham BT11A Climax, and the similarly mounted Alec Mildren entry driven by Bartlett.

(unattributed)

Photo Credits…

Brian Jackson via Glenn Paine, The Roaring Season, John Ellacott

Tailpiece: Gardner, Brabham BT23D Alfa, Warwick Farm Tasman, February 1968…

(J Ellacott)

Finito…

(G Gauld)

‘Its like a rocket Jack’. ‘It should be, you put it together champ’, the boss responded.

Frank Gardner and Brabham BT2 Ford on the BARC 200 Formula Junior pole at Aintree on April 28, 1962. John Bolster is hovering behind contemplating putting the bite on Jack for a track-test.

The lanky, laconic Aussie didn’t do quite so well with (perhaps) ‘FJ-2-62’ in the race. He ran out of road at Tatts Corner after 7 of the 17 laps ending up amongst the hay-bales close enough to the Pits for Jack to wander over just as he was recovering the car.

(B St Clare-Tregilgas)

 

Jack didn’t have a great day either. He raced Lotus 21 and 24 whilst Ron Tauranac toiled away on the first F1 Brabham, the BT3 Climax FWMV V8. The gears on his Lotus 21 Climax FPF stripped, the race was won by Jim Clark’s Lotus 24 Climax from Bruce McLaren’s Cooer T55 Climax.

The FJ race was won by Peter Arundell’s Lotus 22 Ford in a classy field which included Tony Maggs, John Love, Mike Spence, Richard Attwood, Denny Hulme and Alan Rees.

Etcetera…

(J Hendy)

It’s amazing to think of FG as a budding ‘young driver’ contesting Formula Junior races at Monaco in 1962. He was 31 when he lined up that May, a veritable geriatric by today’s standards when F3 pilots are barely shaving. He was racing a D Type before he left Australia. None of that counted for much when he landed in the UK of course. Sometimes you have to go down to go up, so to speak.

Frank was fourth in the first heat won by Peter Arundell’s works Lotus 22 Ford and failed to finish the final with clutch failure. Up front it was Lotus 22 Fords in first to third – Arundell from Mike Spence and Bob Anderson. All progressed to GP racing, as did Frank of course.

Aintree program in relation to Brabham (and Ausper) FJs (S Dalton)

Another shot of FG below, this time in BT2’s close relation BT6. Not at Aintree, but another horse-racing track, ‘God’s Acre of Motor Racing’, Warwick Farm in Australia.

Gardner had the system beaten. He did his thing in Europe each year and then had summer in the sun back home in Australia where he raced for Alec Mildren.

In 1964 he raced this chassis, ‘FJ-9-63’, Denny’s 1963 works FJ mount, by then fitted with a Lotus-Ford 1.5 twin-cam in the Australian Tasman Cup rounds.

(E Holly Collection)

His best result in the four races was fourth in the Lakeside 99, meritorious amongst the 2.5 FPF Climax powered opposition. Twelve months later he raced Alec’s BT11A FPF in an assault on all of the eight rounds. Frank used BT11As in 1965 and 1966, the shot below is again at Warwick Farm where Gardner was third behind Jim Clark’s Lotus 39 Climax and Graham Hill’s BRM P261.

(unattributed)

Photo Credits…

Graham Gauld, Brian St Clare-Tregilgas, John Hendy, Ed Holly Collection, Stephen Dalton Collection

Tailpiece…

Tattersalls Corner, where FG came to grief, is at bottom right.

Finito…

(B Jackson)

Alec Mildren Racing prepare their steeds prior to the 1968 ‘Warwick Farm 100’ Tasman round held on 18 February 1968…

That’s Kevin Bartlett steering his Brabham BT11A Climax through the dummy grid area back into the paddock- the car in the distance is Frank Gardner’s Brabham BT23D Alfa Romeo.

35,000 people attended the meeting on a glorious Sydney summers day during which Jim Clark led from pole and won from his teammate Graham Hill aboard Team Lotus Lotus 49 Ford DFWs- I’ve done this meeting to death already here; https://primotipo.com/2015/04/14/warwick-farm-100-tasman-series-1968/

and here; https://primotipo.com/2018/08/01/warwick-farm-100-1968-take-three/

but these photographs uploaded by enthusiast Glenn Paine on behalf of the late ‘snapper, Brian Jackson were too good to waste.

(B Jackson)

 

Bartlett and Mildren plotting the next chassis adjustment (B Jackson)

As most of you know, KB graduated to the BT11A after ‘Frank had finished with it’- and went like a jet in it, click here for a story about that; https://primotipo.com/2018/04/27/kbs-first-bathurst-100mph-lap/

The one-off Brabham BT23D Alfa was Alec Mildren’s response to the growth of multi-cylinder engines, as in more than four, in the Tasman Cup, as an Alfa Romeo Dealer Autodelta were more than happy to build some special 2.5 litre versions of their Tipo 33 sportscar V8- that engine story is here; https://primotipo.com/2018/11/30/motori-porno-alfa-romeo-tipo-33-tasman-2-5-litre-v8/

FG looks happy enough, note the ‘Buco’ helmet and driving gloves, Glenn Abbey is the lanky chap attending to the car. BT23D was a one-off but built on Ron Tauranac’s F2 BT23 spaceframe chassis jig. Conventional outboard suspension front and year, no belts- they would become common throughout this year though (B Jackson)

 

Business end- Hewland FG200 five speed transaxle and twin distributors to fire two plugs per cylinder in amongst the shade (B Jackson)

There are not too many folks around at all- perhaps its the Thursday prior to the meeting. A quick look at the Australian Motor Racing Annual race report covers plenty of tyre drama pre-race as a shipment of Goodyears had not arrived in Australia which meant that Goodyear contracted drivers such as FG and Jack Brabham plumped for Firestones come raceday. Both the Mildren cars are fitted with Goodyears in these shots but that delay left ‘Bartlett and Hulme as the only Goodyear equipped cars’.

It wasn’t a great race for the team- KB started from row five with Geoghegan, Lotus 39 Repco and Attwood, BRM P126 V12 and retired with half-shaft failure at Polo on lap 34 whereas FG started from row three alongside Greg Cusack, Brabham BT23A Repco and John Harvey, Brabham BT11A Repco, and, having run as high as fifth retired on lap 40 ‘with a very oily-looking rear end’.

Abbey and BT23D, Mildren were a BP sponsored team throughout, nice Holden EH- it’ll be either light brown or light green with that white roof Holden fans? (B Jackson)

Etcetera…

(B Jackson)

KB swapping notes with Jim Clark and Graham Hill with his back to us- is that Rana Bartlett at right? The Team Lotus duo raced Lotus 49s fitted with Ford Cosworth 2.5 litre ‘DFW’ engines that summer.

Credits…

Brian Jackson

(B Jackson)

These engines were very successful for Mildren- they never took a Tasman round victory but Bartlett won the Gold Star in the BT23D in 1968 and the Mildren Yellow Submarine in 1969- albeit that year the Waggott TC-4V engine also chipped into the pointscore- not to forget KB’s 1969 Macau GP win.

All alloy 90 degree, Lucas fuel injected 2.5 V8 with twin, chain driven overhead camshafts per bank and two valves per cylinder, twin plugs per cylinder fired by Marelli distributors. Note the oil filter, very tricky pipe work to get the exhausts to the right length and clear the frame tubes and tachometer drive off the end of the camshaft.

Tailpiece…

(B Jackson)

Finito…

‘XKD520’ was the seventh production D-type, it was ordered through the ‘Brysons’ Bridge Road, Richmond, Melbourne Jaguar dealership- the two storey glass sided showrooms housed lots of lovely curvaceous Jags and was well known to several generations of Melbourne enthusiasts…

The building is still there but houses ‘Dan Murphy’s’, a national booze outfit these days. The order for the racer was placed in June 1955 by Kew driver/dealer Bib Stillwell, who later recalled: ‘I purchased the car new from Jaguar and it arrived in Melbourne, Australia in January 1956. I competed with the car for two seasons and had numerous successes with it. Click here for a short but fascinating bio on Jack Bryson, the man who brought Jaguar to Australia; ‘http://www.johnbryson.net/memoirs/jack-bryson-an-uneducated-man

In the later stages of his racing career Stillwell developed into a driver of world class who was competitive with the generation of internationals who raced in Australasia during the immediate pre-Tasman and Tasman Cup (commenced 1964) years- he was the winner of Australia’s Gold Star, the national drivers championship for four years on the trot from 1962 to 1965 in Coopers and Brabhams. After retiring from racing his local and global business career in car retailing and aviation was even more successful, click here for a bit on the amazing Bib; https://primotipo.com/2015/03/10/bib-stillwell-cooper-t49-monaco-warwick-farm-sydney-december-1961/

Citizens of Melbourne’s leafy eastern suburbs will easily pick the location of the ‘Sports Cars and Specials’ (good magazine by the way, haven’t got many of ‘em but wish I had more) shot of Bib and his new car as on Kew Boulevard not too far from the Chandler Highway intersection- that’s Willsmere ‘nut house’ as my Dad useter delicately call the local mental health facility, in the distance. That stretch of road does not look that much different sixty-five years later.

Sir William Lyons and Jack Bryson, date and place unknown, mid fifties perhaps (J Bryson)

 

Stillwell slices into Longford’s Viaduct on the way to second place in the 1963 South Pacific Championship race- Brabham BT4 Climax 2.7 FPF, the winner was Bruce McLaren, Cooper T62 Climax (K Devine)

 

Bib Stillwell and Australian Jaguar concessionaire, Jack Bryson during XKD520’s debut weekend, Albert Park Moomba meeting March 1956 (unattributed)

The car was signed off for delivery by Jaguar’s famous test driver Norman Dewis as ok for delivery on 15 November 1955, it’s build was completed in September.

Australia’s ‘wharfies’ or waterside workers, were renowned for their militance, when the car arrived from the UK it was during one of their infamous occasional strikes, only a great deal of sweet talking by Bib ensured the precious cargo was unloaded and processed to make its planned local debut at Albert Park during the March Labour Day, Moomba long weekend, Reg Hunt’s Maserati 250F was on the same ship, perhaps they put together a fund to appease the burly toilers to do the right thing…

There, he did very well, finishing second to Tony Gaze’ HWM Jaguar in the Moomba Tourist Trophy and on the second weekend of the carnival, gearbox dramas sorted, took the machine to victory in the Argus Cup in front of Stan Jones’ Cooper T38 Jaguar in a classy field- over 100,000 spectators are quoted as attending on each of the two days of this meeting.

(T Scott)

 

Jones, Cooper Jaguar, Stillwell, Jaguar D Type and Tony Gaze at right in his HWM Jaguar, Albert Park Moomba meeting, March 1956- beautiful atmo shot, note the man with the king-sized Oz flag(unattributed)

 

Jones driving with all the brio for which he was famous, Cooper T38 Jaguar only 12 months old itself, pushing Bib’s ‘spankers’ D Type hard at the Park, March 1956 (Ed Steet)

At the Easter Bathurst meeting the three recently acquired ‘outright cars’ new to the daunting circuit were the Hunt and Stillwell machines plus Lex Davison’s Ferrari 500/625 he had acquired from good mate Tony Gaze after the end of the New Zealand internationals that summer- and so it was that the feature race, the Bathurst 100, was won by Davison from Hunt and Stillwell- Bib stopped the timing clocks on Conrod at 148.6mph.

 

Bib chasing the Brabham Cooper T39 Bobtail Climax during the 1956 ATT at Albert Park- heading through Jaguar Corner. Moss won the race- Bib was second behind Pitt in the ‘resident Australians’ classification and Jack was first in the under 1500cc class (unattributed)

 

Stillwell’s Jag being fuelled at Albert Park during the November/December 1956 AGP meeting (B Hickson)

 

Stillwell’s D Type at Bathurst on its first appearance at Mount Panorama, Easter 1956- lapping the J Martin MG Spl during the Bathurst 100 in which he was third (unattributed)

 

Bib, Bathurst Easter 1956, who is that alongside? (unattributed)

 

Shortly after Bathurst, on April 29, Bib set a new open class record at outer Melbourne’s Rob Roy Hillclimb ‘with his Jaguar D Type which can hardly be classed as an ideal hill-climb machine. His time of 27.48 seconds was exceptionally fast’ AMS reported.

Stillwell and his crew took the car to Port Wakefield, north of Adelaide and had an easier time of it than his closest competitors in the Formula Libre 30 lap South Australian Trophy- the race was held in wet conditions and as such his mudguards made it easier to see!, he won from Stan Jones’ Maserati 250F and Eldred Norman’s stunning Zephyr Special s/c.

AMS in its August issue noted that ‘Bib Stillwell should find the D Jaguar a better behaved car on its next outing, as the factory, impressed with his many wins, have sent him out the latest type rear-end assembly. He will be closer now than ever to the GP machinery!’

Stillwell raced the car at Port Wakefield again in early October and had success- third in an A Grade Scratch race which was won by Ted Gray’s Tornado 2 Chev, a win in the 20 lap Sportscar feature- the main event on the card, and fourth in the Racing Car Handicap.

Then it was back to the team’s longtime Kew headquarters in Cotham Road to prepare for the Fishermans Bend meeting in mid-October. This short trip yielded a win in the Sports and Saloon 8 lap event from Paul England’s Ausca Holden and Doug Whiteford in an Austin Healey 100S.

Travelling much further afield near Toowoomba, north of Brisbane, Stillwell took on Bill Pitt’s D Type on home ground at Lowood in the Queensland Tourist Trophy held over 1 hour on November 4. Pitt won the 76 mile race from Bib who had expected the Geordie Anderson owned car to retire after it experienced gearbox problems earlier in the day, this was only rectified moments before the race commenced.

 

Port Wakefield, October 1956- Bib, another car and white Austin Healey 100S of Ron Phillips (unattributed)

 

Stillwell on the front row at Phillip Island in December 1956 alongside the G Baillieu Triumph, Derek Jolly, Decca Mk2 Climax and Paul England, Ausca Holden

 

Australian Tourist Trophy 1956, Albert Park- a row back from the leading Maserati 300S of Moss and Behra are the Stillwell, at left and Bill Pitt D Type Jaguars, with part of Brabham’s Cooper Bobtail at far left, then the Phillips AH 100S and Tom Sulman’s Aston Martin DB3S (unattributed)

 

Back at Albert Park in November for the 1956 AGP ‘Olympic Meetings’ he was fifth in the Australian Tourist Trophy behind the factory Maserati 300S’ of Stirling Moss and Jean Behra, then came Ken Wharton aboard the Ferrari 750 Monza he would roll to his death in New Zealand a couple of months hence, and Pitt’s D Type.

Bib determined that his next logical racing step was into an outright Formula Libre single-seater and at the end of the meeting it was reported he had agreed to buy Reg Parnell’s Ferrari 555 Super Squalo. Reg raced the car in Australia and then the New Zealand internationals throughout the summer of 1957 before heading back to England and a new job, having retired from the cockpit, as Aston Martin’s Team Manager.

The deal fell over, but Bibs path was set, the near new Jaguar was advertised for sale in AMS, and before too long Bib bought Reg Hunt’s Maserati 250F when that mighty fine driver retired way too early to focus on his Melbourne motor dealerships through which he amassed a fortune- he is still with us too.

Stillwell raced the Maserati for the first time in New Zealand- DNF in the NZ GP after 50 laps, the race was won by the very car Bib was purported to be buying- Parnell’s Super Squalo- his racing of the 250F is a tangent I will leave for another time.

Bib’s last run in the D Type was at the Phillip Island opening meeting on 15 December 1956, he was second in the Bill Thompson Memorial Trophy 12 lap feature, thirty seconds adrift of Jack Brabham- home for some summer Australasian racing in a Cooper T41 Climax, and fourth in the Formula Libre race also won by Jack.

 

AMS January 1957

At the end of the year ‘XKD 520’ was sold via dealer and former AGP winner John Crouch to the Ampol Oil Company for Jack Davey, a colourful and immensely popular radio personality for over thirty years.

John Andrew Davey was a Kiwi, after education at Kings College, Auckland he came to Sydney in 1931 and performed as a crooner with two radio stations- he was soon employed as an announcer on another network, possessed of a quick wit and a mellifluous voice Davey was away; click here for a summary of a marvellous life; http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/davey-john-andrew-jack-9905

He was a lifelong car enthusiast who contested the first Redex Reliability Trial around Australia in 1953 in a Ford Customline with co-driver Lou Moss, finishing 91st.

Jack’s health was in decline, despite family and friends not wanting him to compete he again ran in 1954, but it was too much for him, he collapsed and was admitted to St Lukes Hospital not long after the event. Whilst his doctors, no doubt supported by friends and his commercial associates, ‘banned him’ from the 1955 event he did run in 1956 in another Customline and in 1957 and 1958 in Chryslers- in ’58 he achieved his best result, eighth in the Ampol Trial sharing the Chrysler Royal AP1 V8 with Eric Nelson and Bill Murison.

When Davey took delivery of XKD520 he had it repainted red, using it as a roadie and for promotional purposes, a passenger windscreen was also fitted. The D-type was left in the care of Bill Murray, whilst he was driving the car back to Sydney probably for use as part of the 1957 Ampol Round Australia Trial pre-promotion, the 1947 AGP winner lost control at high speed not too far from the Harwood Ferry which crossed (until 1966) the Clarence River on the Pacific Highway 650km from Sydney, and smashed into the back of a timber laden semi-trailer- both the D-type and Murray were badly hurt, this was in June 1957. The car was written off for insurance purposes, Murray, even after a long recovery process had ongoing health problems.

Jack Davey’s radio career went all the way to his untimely death from cancer at St Vincents Hospital in Darlinghurst, Sydney in October 1959. Such was his following that somewhere between 100,000-150,000 people stood in pouring rain outside St Andrews Cathedral to pay their respects.

 

Jack Davey with his D Type out front of his Gold Coast Ampol Servo- Davey had diverse business interests, this dovetailed nicely with Ampol support of various of his radio shows. Address folks?

 

Jack Davey and team at the Sydney Showgrounds start of the 1954 Redex Round Australia Trial DNF (unattributed)

 

Jack Davey applying suntan lotion to the lovely Sabrina’s chassis, doin the mutual celebrity thing in 1958. That teeny-weeny striped bikini seems to have no ‘rear suspension’, the wonders of photoshop in those days. Those 42 inch titties were insured against shrinkage for 100,000 pounds apparently- a drop to a petite 38 inches, if maintained for two months secured the businesswoman a payout of 5000 pounds, every inch lost after that paid another 2500 pounds.  The process of assessment in relation thereto would have been an interesting and enjoyable task. She was in Australia in 1958-9, Davey organised digs for her in Point Piper. Where else but primotipo could you learn useless shit like this? (nylon.net)

 

Frank Gardner across the top of the mountain, Bathurst, Easter 1956, 6 lap sportscar scratch. ‘On new disc pads, the Jaguar was at times almost brakeless and finished second (behind David McKay’s Aston DB3S). Frank obviously hadn’t read his 1970s book of advice to budding racing drivers!’ wrote John Medley. He won the last race of the weekend- the 6 lap sedan and sports handicap (unattributed)

 

Gardner and XKD520 looking all very nice, Mount Druitt, Sydney 23 May 1958. John Ellacott recalls FG did a 14.57 standing quarter in this sprint event (J Ellacott)

 

In the Bathurst paddock, Easter 1958 with FG looking across to David McKay, helmet on just about to jump aboard his Aston Martin DB3S- who is the slim driver in between? (unattributed)

 

FG is of that professional generation of drivers who started with an MG T Type, a TA his Uncle Hope Bartlett lent him at 17 to run at Marsden Park, NSW in 1949 and finished in ‘serious stuff’ with Lolas in the early seventies- a couple of races in the T330 in 1972 were his last events in single-seaters. What a vast ‘progression of technology’ he was a part of, noting his touring car career went for a number of years after that in Australia. He is aboard an F5000 Lola T300 here (unattributed)

 

Following the theme above, FG testing the Lola T260 Chev Can-Am car raced by Jackie Stewart as a Carl Haas works entry in 1971- no doubt the 7 litre Chev engined beastie felt somewhat different to XKD520 but it was part of what he called his ‘Big Cars’ progression. JYS would have preferred far more testing of this car before it jetted to the US BTW, an M8F McLaren it wasn’t…(D Phipps)

 

Lynton Hemer has captured FG beautifully on The Causeway during the Warwick Farm 100 Tasman round in 1972. This is Frank and Lola’s Bob Marston’s whoosh-bonk F5000- take a T240 F2 tub- give the FVA and FT200 the arse, then bolt in a Chev and DG300 where they were, pop the radiators where they will fit, put some swoopy bodywork over the top, hey-presto T300- and instantaneously create a successful car- and one of the sexiest of the decade. It wasn’t quite that simple but you get the drift (L Hemer)

In mid-1957 ‘XKD 520’ was sold to the up and coming Frank Gardner via his friend Bill Graber who was in the insurance industry- there will be a ring to this to some of you as FG’s C Type Jaguar had also been involved in a bad (fatal) accident, and was then written off before rescue by Gardner and resurrection as a very competitive mount.

The D Type was restored to sparkling good health at the Sydneysider’s Whale Beach Service Station at Avalon on Sydney’s Northern Beaches- several of Frank’s mates were involved in the process including Jack Myers who worked on the chassis, Clive Adams the body, and Alan Standfield who built a new bonnet to the latest D Type long-nose style. Click here for a link to an article about FG’s C Type; https://primotipo.com/2014/08/05/gnoo-who-gnoo-blas-circuit-jaguar-xkc-type-xkc037/

Gardner raced the car continuously from his first meeting at at Schofields, NSW in March 1958 where he won- the car was painted white, just like the C Type and had its engine sleeved to 3.8 litres.

Frank added further laurels to ‘XKD 520’s history including a second at Easter Bathurst, first at Mt. Druitt, and third in both heats at Gnoo Blas, Orange, NSW- in a MotorSport interview with Simon Taylor FG claimed 25 wins out of 26 starts for his two Jags.

He sold the car to David Finch after deciding to leave Australia to race in Europe, selling a five year lease on the Avalon garage- that was his time frame to make it or not in search of fame and fortune- which he very much achieved until returning home to race for several more years in late 1974.

Finch is a Sydney fellow who had cut his racing teeth in an MG TF throughout 1955 and then progressed to an Austin Healey 100-4 he ran at Mt Druitt and Bathurst in 1956-1958, before taking the big step up from a production sportscar to one of the fastest racing cars of the day- handling the more demanding machine with considerable skill.

 

This group of three photographs are of David Finch in ‘XKD520’ during the Gnoo Blas, February 1960 meeting. Lovely family scene, it could almost be a BP advertising shot! (Kelsey)

 

Huge grid for the sportscar feature. Derek Jolly, Lotus 15 Climax, Frank Matich in the ex-Gardner Leaton Motors Jaguar C Type, Finch in ‘XKD520’, on row two the ex-Kangaroo Stable Aston martin DB3S of Warren Blomfield #122 and Tom Sulman and the rest (D Finch)

 

Gnoo Blas as above (Kelsey)

 

Beautiful shot of David Finch on the way to a win in the 1961 Queensland Tourist Trophy at Lowood (unattributed)

Finch raced the D Type for the next three years, eventually fitting a factory-supplied 3.8-litre block after the original 3.4-litre ‘added its expiration to the fitting name of Bathurst’s engine-testing Con Rod Straight’ wrote the Fisken copywriter- in fact a piston collapsed and a rod punched two nice holes in the block.

He won the 1961 Queensland Tourist Trophy at Lowood with the new engine, ‘an encounter with a fence at Warwick Farm (September 1961) exceeded the ductility’ of the original bonnet and local aluminium ace Alan Standfield, again stepped in, and created a distinctively-shaped version of Jaguar’s long nose bonnet.

Australian drag racing pioneer and purveyor of ‘luxury’ American sedans, Ash Marshall was the next owner of ‘XKD 520’ from May 1962.

‘Flash Ash’ had come through speedway sedans, a sprintcar, rallying and raced on the circuits for a bit before a business trip to the US exposed him to Drag Racing for the first time- his key contact, Bob Fuerhelm took him along to a meeting and organised a ride in a super stocker which went 11.7 seconds over the quarter mile, he went for it hook, line and sinker.

Marshall imported two Plymouth super-stockers (’63 Plymouth Savoy Max and ’64 Plymouth Belvedere), first racing these at Castlereagh in November 1964, he then ‘doubled up’ by bringing in an outdated Rail called ‘The Vandal’- a short 137 inch wheelbase, full-length body, dropped l-beam front axle with transverse spring  American dragster.

Marshall was immediately a ‘headliner’ and very quickly applied his commercial skills to the business of motor racing, doing very well on and off the track for the balance of the decade, other cars- ‘The Scorcher’ and rear-engined ‘Soapy Sales’ followed Vandal.

Marshall was the first to break 200mph in Australia in February 1969 at Castlereagh and the first to go into the 6 second bracket- he did 6.98 seconds in 1972 at Castlereagh but the run was disputed and eventually disallowed.

Ash was involved in Pyramid Selling Schemes in Australia and the UK before moving to the US- in each country being one step in front of the authorities as such practices were made illegal, he settled in the US and ‘returned to his roots’ as a motor trader buying and selling exotics for high-flyers. He became involved again in the sport as the nostalgia scene developed in the nineties and died in January 2019.

Back to the D Type, when Ash and his team turned their attention to the Jaguar, they embarked upon a plush restoration complete with chromed accessories, XKSS style side exhaust and heat shield, plenty of polished aluminum, a carpeted interior and ‘a glass-like finish’ as described in Sports Car World‘, the car carried NSW registration ‘ASH 222’- Stan Brown worked on the body and Clive Adams painted it.

(T Scott)

 

Marshall loads up in front of a fascinated crowd at Riverside, during the first Nationals in October 1965. Vandal was the only USA ‘Top Fuel’ dragster in Australia at the time- troubles with the Chrysler Hemi intervened that weekend (D Cook)

 

Eddie Thomas’ Chrysler powered rail alongside Vandal in the fire-up road at Riverside during the ‘first’ nationals- there are claims by two events at Riverside in 1964, in October 1965. This pair never raced when Ash’ problems occurred (Street Machine)

 

Ash Marshall in the Vandal, this side and Jack ‘Fizzball’ Collins ‘Road Runner’ at Riverside, Fishermans Bend, October 1965 (moondog.net.au)

 

Later owners of XKD520 in Australia include Peter Bradley and Richard Parkinson who advertised it for sale in the September 1966 issue of Racing Car News magazine. Frank Gardner and Paul Hawkins contemplated purchase during their visit to Australia to race in the Surfers Paradise 12 Hour but decided against it when they became aware that Richard Attwood wanted to buy it.

In 1967 ‘XKD 520’ moved to the UK, bought by the former Jaguar apprentice, Grand Prix driver and future 1970 Le Mans 24 Hours winner. He had it worked on by Jaguar’s Brown’s Lane facility and then displayed it in his Wolverhampton Mercedes-Benz showroom for many years before selling it in 1977- since then it has had numerous owners.

There was considerable passionate discussion between the Author and Art Director as to the layout of this piece- whether to mix and match the new photographs of XKD520 with the old or separate them. So heated was the exchange that The Editor intervened to avoid a most unpleasant fracas- such are the pressures of a small office in Covid 19 times like these- photo credits for the modern ‘XKD520’ material are to Fisken and Sotheby’s unless otherwise attributed.

 

David Finch closest, and Jack Murray. D Types by two at Mount Panorama in October 1960 (unattributed)

 

Etcetera…

 

 

Jaguar D Type cutaway published in AMS (HG Molloy)

 

(D Finch)

David Finch testing on Mount Druitt airstrip in 1958- a good reason to smile!

 

 

 

(unattributed)

Stillwell jumps aboard ‘XKD520’ at Lowood, alongside is Bill Pitt’s D Type, ‘XKD526’ which won this 1956 Queensland Tourist Trophy event, complete with Le Mans start.

 

 

(D Finch)

Jack Murray in the silver Jack Parker owned D Type ahead of David Finch heading through Murrays Corner at Mount Panorama in October 1960- the NSW Sports Car Championship race won by Frank Matich in the Leaton Motors Lotus 15 Climax. Murray was fifth, Finch unplaced.

By Easter 1961 David had the rhythm of the car, he was on the front row of the Bathurst sportscar grids alongside Frank Matich’ Lotus 15 and John Ampt in the ex-everybody Cooper T38 Jaguar finishing fourth in the 3 lapper and third in the 10 lap main sportscar race- progress indeed.

 

(unattributed)

Stillwell heading up Mount Panorama during the 1956 Easter meeting.

 

 

(HG Molloy)

 

David Finch at Lowood, on the weekend in which he won the Queensland Tourist Trophy in 1961.

 

 

Bib at the Phillip Island opening meeting on 15 December 1956- only Jack Brabham’s presence ruined his party. Touch of the opposites, not sure exactly where he is on a circuit I know rather well.

 

 

(unattributed)

Bib at Bathurst in October 1956.

He contested the 13 lap NSW Road Racing Championship for sportscars, a handicap event in the manner of the day, finishing sixth but did the fastest race time. He was unplaced in the sedan and sportscar handicap at the end of the weekend’s proceedings but again did the fastest race time.

Bathurst had a great tradition of a parade lap of competitors sans helmet at slow speeds- below are Stillwell and Bill Pitt leading this group in their beautiful D Types- other cars and drivers folks?

(unattributed)

 

 

Arcane with no semblance of relevance…

Hot rodding started in Australia just as it did in the US, in the depression years, when young men without any money created ‘specials’ from the amalgamation of parts of different makes- more often than not cast off bits and pieces. Sometimes V8s provided the power, into the 1940s American Hot Rod magazines started to jump the Pacific, this had an impact on hotting-up Holdens- doubtless the Repco Hi-Power cylinder head for the Holden Grey was a commercial response to that demand.

Street racing was a reality of course in Australia as elsewhere with ‘The Brickies’ on the present site of the Olympic sports precinct at Homebush Bay, the Mad Mile at Deadman’s Creek outside Liverpool and in Melbourne, Newlands Road, Coburg and Doherty’s Road, Altona North well known spots for ‘da boys’ in the day- each state had their favourite spots too- it was far from just an East Coast thing.

Getting these activities off the public roads was important of course, the Penrith Emergency Airstrip (west of Sydney, Penrith Speedway was a hallowed racing site between the wars) had been used for sprint racing pre-war and it was there during the 1959 NSW Sprint Championships that Ray Walmsley, of, amongst other things Alfa Romeo P3 GMC fame, first ran a Dragster in Australia- his Corvette powered ‘rail’ did a 14.04 second quarter mile pass.

Ash Marshall in his ’64 Plymouth Belvedere against a hot-rod at Castlereagh in July 1965, ‘known locally as Ramchargers, this and his ’63 Plymouth were way ahead of anything else with doors when they landed at the end of 1964’ (Street Machine)

 

Vandal at Surfers Paradise in 1966, note the commercialism disallowed on the circuits at the time (D Hill)

 

Marshall, crew, Miss Valvoline and Vandal at Riverside in 1965- see chassis and front suspension detail (Street Machine)

In Victoria the use of Pakenham Airstrip made things a tad more kosher from 1958 but the big step forward, with Victoria Police support, was the use of another former racing venue- Fishermans Bend, for drag racing from 1962, very quickly ‘Riverside Dragway’ became the first home for the sport in Australia with Eddie Thomas setting a local record of 10.07 seconds.

Riverside hosted the first nationals on October 2 and 3 1965, Ash Marshall’s Vandal made its first public appearance that day but ended up a fizzer when engine maladies intervened, ‘Top Eliminator’ was Jack ‘Fireball’ Collins ‘Road Runner’ over Eddie Thomas’ machine- the speed shop impresario a story himself.

Penrith, taken over by the NSW Hot Rod Association in 1965 and re-named Castlereagh International Dragway soon replaced Riverside as the home of drag racing in Australia, with Calder its ‘Victorian base’.

‘Eddie Thomas deploys the laundry in his first Greg Goddard built car at Riverside in 1965- Australia’s first parachute’ wrote Street Machine. Its interesting to look at Riverside, Lorimer Street Fishermans Bend and reflect upon its close proximity to the Melbourne’s CBD, and the houses closeby in Garden City for that matter- not something yerd see these days! (Street Machine)

Bibliography…

Sports Cars and Specials August 1956, various issues of Australian Motor Sports magazine from 1956-1960, ‘Historic Racing Cars in Australia’ John Blanden, ‘Bathurst: Cradle of Australian Motor Racing’ John Medley, Street Machine article on Ash Marshall

Photo Credits…

Kelsey Collection, Barry Hickson, The David Finch Collection, John Ellacott, Fisken, Sotheby’s, Tony Scott, Street Machine, moondog.com.au, D Cook, nylon.net, Lynton Hemer

Technical drawings/cutaway by HG Molloy in AMS June 1956

(unattributed)

Finish where we started, a photograph of Bib Stillwell upon XKD520’s first race at Albert Park’s Moomba meeting in March 1956- the raucous straight-six singing along Pit Straight with plenty of spectators in attendance.

Tailpiece…

Whilst it is a photograph it looks like a drawing- unattributed crop from a KLG sparkplug ad- it, too, is during Bib’s victorious Argus Trophy run during the 1956 Moomba meeting at Albert Park. Nice I think.

Finito…

(R Thorncraft)

Kevin Bartlett and Frank Gardner, McLaren M10B Chev and Lola T300 Chev, ‘Warwick Farm 100’ F5000 Tasman round, 13 February 1972…

 

Great mates both and former members of Alec Mildren Racing where FG was a mentor to KB in his formative days in the team from 1965. Both the Brabham 1.5 Ford and Mildren Maserati sporty Kevin first raced were cars FG also drove so he had much to pass on to the youngster who had raw talent, speed and car control to burn. Here the guys are deep into the Creek Corner braking area at the end of Hume Straight- the noses of their steeds close to the bitumen as the pitch angle increases.

 

By 1972 Gardner was about to step back from single-seaters, in fact he ‘retired’ from them after the following weekend at Sandown selling the works machine to Gary Campbell and sitting out the final Adelaide round. Mind you he did a race in the prototype T330 in late 1972 (third at the October Brands European F5000 championship round behind Redman’s Chevron B24 and McRae McRae GM1) just to make sure this masterpiece of an F5000- the greatest ever, was behaving as its designers intended. That chassis T330 ‘HU1’ is well known to Aussies as Max Stewart’s car, a very successful machine which is still in Oz.

 

(R Thorncraft)

 

Whilst the benchmark F5000’s from 1969 through 1971 (M10A and the refined M10B) the ex-Niel Allen chassis ‘400-02’ was getting a bit long in the tooth by the time KB acquired it after the 1971 Tasman Series from Allen. But the 1971 NZ GP winner was an astute purchase by KB as a trick/schmick M10B with all of the works and some home-grown developments and which had been beautifully prepared by Peter Molloy.

 

Bartlett pedalled it hard too, he was the only M10B driver to take a ’72 Tasman round win amongst all the newer kit- the Teretonga round at Invercargill. Thirds at Wigram and Warwick Farm were his other best results with four DNF’s out of the eight rounds. F5000’s always were brittle things, it was only unreliability which cost him the ’71 Gold Star Series, a championship won by his other Mildren Racing mate, Max Stewart in a reliable 2 litre Mildren Waggott TC-4V. By the start of the 1972 Gold Star in mid year a new T300 was in Kevin’s workshop back in Oz but not before he took in the first US ‘L&M’ round at Laguna Seca in the M10B (fifth) before switching to the Jones Eisert Racing T300 for subsequent US races.

 

Gardner didn’t have a great Australasian summer in T300 ‘HU1’- he boofed it during the AGP weekend at Warwick Farm in November 1971, after repair he won the NZ GP in it at Pukekohe in January 1972 and then his engine cut-out at high speed causing a big accident at Levin. He missed the balance of the Kiwi rounds whilst the car was re-tubbed around a fresh monocoque flown out from Huntingdon. The car was plenty fast though- he was second at Surfers Paradise, Warwick Farm and Sandown.

 

KB from FG on the exit of Creek (R Thorncraft)

 

The ‘Farm round was won by Frank Matich in his Matich A50 Repco from FG and KB but ‘the star’ of that series was Graham ‘Cassius’ McRae in his Len Terry designed Leda GM1 Chev aka McRae GM1. His Louis Morand Chevy powered car was both reliable and fast with wins at Levin, Wigram, Surfers and Sandown. It is fair to say the GM1 was the most successful F5000 car of 1972 with McRae also taking the US ‘L&M’ F5000 Championship- he was also third in the European title taking five of the fourteen rounds despite not contesting all of the them. More of the Warwick Farm Tasman in 1972; https://primotipo.com/2018/11/02/australias-mr-and-mrs-motorsport/

 

 

(R Thorncraft)

 

Credits…

 

All photos by Russell Thorncraft

 

Tailpiece: FG did get in front- KB’s McLaren from FG in front of a marvellous crowd…

 

(R Thorncraft)

 

Finito…

 

‘Start ya bastardo’ seems to be the expression on Glen Abbey’s face…

He and the other Alec Mildren Racing boys are trying to get Frank Gardner’s Brabham BT16 Climax alive for the start of the New Zealand Grand Prix at Pukekohe on January 7 1967.

It was a tough series for the Sydney crew- 1967 saw the V8 engines multiply that summer, the poor old, venerable Coventry Climax FPF 2.5 litre four potter- Tasman engine de jour for so long was overwhelmed by Repco-Brabham, Coventry Climax and BRM V8’s, the trend started the year before of course.

More would come in 1968 with the Ferrari V6 and BRM V12 adding to the onslaught but by then Mildren had a supply of Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 V8’s- not that they ever quite did the trick in the Tasman, but they were pretty handy at Gold Star level.

Wigram 1966, FG’s Brabham BT11A Climax 2.5 DNF accident, being hosed off by the 1.9 litre BRM P261 V8’s of Dick Attwood #2 2nd and Stewart #6 winner (unattributed)

 

FG and BT16 in New Zealand 1967, circuit unknown (E Sarginson)

In fact the little F2 based BT16 gave Gardner his best Tasman result ever, equal second.

Jim Clark won in a Lotus 33 Coventry Climax FWMV 2 litre, his yield was five wins, three in Tasman Cup championship events and 45 points, whilst equal second were Jackie Stewart, BRM P261 V8 2.1, two wins, Jack Brabham, Brabham BT23A Repco ‘640’ V8 with one and Frank who was winless but consistently quick throughout.

He was third at Lakeside, Warwick Farm and Sandown- three weekends in a row actually, and fourth at Levin, Wigram and Longford- his only DNF’s were in the NZ GP opening round at Pukekohe and Teretonga with engine and oil line problems respectively. Click here for Tasman 1967; https://primotipo.com/2014/11/24/1967-hulme-stewart-and-clark-levin-new-zealand-tasman-and-beyond/

So the paddock photo is representative of dramas which came in the 21 lap preliminary on GP morning when a valve and piston came into contact- that was it for FG’s weekend. Stewart won the NZ GP from Clark and Richard Attwood’s BRM P261.

Back to Mildren and Gardner’s plans for the 1967 Tasman.

Frank and Alec figured they needed something light in all the circumstances so an F2 frame into which they could pop their FPF and Hewland HD5 gearbox made sense- FG had raced Alec’s Brabham BT11A’s in the 1965 and 1966 Tasmans, one of them was raced by Kevin Bartlett. In fact 1967 would be KB’s first full Tasman, as against just running the Australian rounds.

Frank’s European commitments didn’t extend to full F2 seasons in 1965 and 1966 but he did a ‘halfa’ season or thereabouts in 1965 racing several cars- a John Willment Lotus 35 Cosworth SCA, Ken Tyrell Cooper T75 BRM P80 and Midland Racing Partnership Lola T60 BRM P80. In 1966 he raced MRP Lola T60 and T61 BRM’s.

Whilst Mildren’s were a ‘Brabham and Alfa Romeo Shop’ (yes i know not exclusively) and the chassis selection may have been a foregone conclusion, perhaps FG’s closeup view- ‘up the clacker’ of Jochen Rindt’s Winkelmann BT16 at Reims for an hour and a half in July 1965 convinced him Ron’s chassis was the go. Jochen won the Reims GP in 1:33.55.7 from FG on 1:33.55.9 in the Midland Lola.

And so it was they did a deal to buy the John Coombes ‘F2-8-65’ BT16 which had been raced by Graham Hill in 1965 and 1966 in Euro F2 until Coombes replaced it with a new-fangled monocoque Matra MS5 midyear. Click here for articles on Euro 1 litre F2;

Lotus 35, SCA and P80 engines; https://primotipo.com/2017/11/06/jim-clark-lotus-35-and-the-cosworth-sca-f2-engine/

and Brabham Hondas; https://primotipo.com/2015/07/30/xxxii-grand-prix-de-reims-f2-july-1966-1-litre-brabham-hondas/

and the F2 Matras; https://primotipo.com/2019/05/24/surtees-matra-1966-and-thereabouts/

FG in Brabham BT19 Repco ‘740’- Jack’s 1966 ‘620 Series’ powered championship machine during the Oulton Park Gold Cup in 1967 (M Hayward)

 

Gardner, Ford GT Mk2, Le Mans 1967 (D Friedman)

‘F2-8-65’ was soon in Australia and made race ready by Glenn Abbey for the Hordern Trophy, for some years the traditional Gold Star Championship final, December, Warwick Farm round. Frank won from Kevin Bartlett and Spencer Martin in ‘identical’ Brabham BT11A’s entered by Mildren and Bob Jane.

The 1967 Tasman result was outstanding for FG and Mildren’s, it was again a reminder of his speed, consistency and maturity.

At the end of the summer off he went to Europe for what by then had become his ‘usual cocktail’ of touring cars, sports-prototypes and sportscars, F2 and occasional, usually non-championship F1 drives. To me FG had it all-what a mix of cars, and paid well to do it!

Bartlett in the Mildren Brabham BT11A Climax at Warwick Farm during 1967

The BT11A was one of Kevin Bartlett’s all-time favourite cars so it was no surprise Mildren sold BT16 instead- KB and Spencer went at it hammer ‘n tongs again in 1967- a battle between two mates told here; https://primotipo.com/2018/04/27/kbs-first-bathurst-100mph-lap/

Niel Allen was the purchaser albeit the car was usually driven for him by Fred Gibson. From Niel- I think he sold it when he bought Piers Courage’ McLaren M4A Ford FVA at the end of the ’68 Tasman, it went to Col Green then Neil Rear in Perth, in the US now innit for quite some while?

Etcetera…

(D Logan)

FG has crested ‘Lukey Heights’ and is plunging left towards Dandenong Road during the 26 February 1967 ‘Sandown Cup’, he was third behind Jim Clark’s Lotus 33 Climax FWMV 2 litre V8 and Leo Geoghegan’s Lotus 39 Climax FPF 2.5.

Credits…

Doug Shaw Collection, Euan Sarginson, Duncan Logan, oldracingcars.com

Tailpiece; c’mon baby, please!…

Glenn, Stu Randall and Ian Gordon (?), note the nose of the ‘Scuderia Veloce’ 250LM at left, at that stage the custodian was Kiwi racer Andy Buchanan.

Its a period typical Brabham, skinny (albeit not at all so by the standards of a modern Formula Ford) and sturdy spaceframe chassis with upper and lower wishbones and outboard coil spring/shocks with an adjustable roll bar. Alford & Alder steel uprights- you beaut cast magnesium ones arrived with the 1967 BT23/24.

Wonderul bits of chuckable kit straight outta the box- design by Tauranac and final suspension settings by John Arthur Brabham.

Finito…