Posts Tagged ‘Lola T332 Chev’

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Warwick Brown, Lola T332 Chev, Riverside 1974 (TEN)

‘WB for 73’ was the T-Shirt catch phrase of Warwick Brown’s team during the 1973 Tasman Series…

The good looking, well heeled young bloke from Wahroonga on Sydney’s North Shore had graduated from the relatively forgiving McLaren M10B Chev in which he cut his F5000 teeth in 1972 Australian Gold Star competition to an altogether more demanding mistress for the Tasman  Series, a Lola T300 Chev.

His ex-Niel Allen/Bob Muir car, chassis ‘HU4’ was a very good one, but the T300 was a fast, albeit flexy, twitchy little bugger. With guidance from mentor and engineer Peter Molloy, Warwick quickly adapted well to his new mount.

He didn’t finish the first Tasman round at Pukekohe, the Lola out of fuel but was third behind Graham McRae and Frank Matich in their own designed and built cars, two very hardened professionals at Levin. He was second the following round at Wigram behind McRae. Warwick then went to Australia feeling great despite a poor 7th at Teretonga with undisclosed car dramas.

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WB, Team Target (retail stores) Lola T300 Chev, New Zealand, Tasman 1973

At Surfers Paradise though he became a ‘Lola Limper’ bigtime…

His car got away from him on the fast, demanding circuit spreading bits of aluminium and fibreglass over the undulations of the Nerang countryside and broke both of  Warwick’s legs. He got wide onto the marbles on the entry to the flat out 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.

That September 2nd in 1973 i attended the ‘Glynn Scott Memorial Trophy’, the F5000 Surfers Paradise Gold Star round in 1973, and hobbling around on crutches was Warwick talking to his fellow F5000 competitors and the fans…

He really was struggling just to get about and obviously in pain. Unbelievably, I couldn’t believe it when I saw the race report, he contested the next Gold Star round on October 7, one month later in Adelaide. No way could he get in and out of the car unaided.

To me it was madness, given his state, but to Warwick it was everything. He withdrew his old M10B after 8 laps and spent the following months getting properly fit for the ’74 Tasman but he had put down a marker as one determined, tough hombre!

Pat Burke bought him a new Lola T332 Chev, chassis ‘HU27’, the first production T332 and WB had a very consistent Tasman series in it…

He never finished worse than 7th, only failing to complete the NZ GP at Wigram, and won the final round, the Adelaide International. The ’74 Tasman had depth, the field included Teddy Pilette, Graeme Lawrence, John Walker, Max Stewart, Kevin Bartlett, John McCormack and Graham McRae- Peter Gethin won it in a VDS Chevron B24 Chev.

Warwick, Pat and Peter Molloy had plans to take on the best in the US by taking their Lola to the ‘States, ‘match fit’ as it was after the rigours of the eight race Tasman program.

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WB in ’73 (John Lemm)

In 1974 the SCCA/USAC F5000 field included Mario Andretti, Brian Redman, Jackie Oliver, Sam Posey, Graham McRae, Brett Lunger, David Hobbs, Al Unser, Lella Lombardi, Vern Schuppan, James Hunt, John Cannon and others.

By the time Warwick and his crew got to the Ontario round on 1 September it was ‘Formula T332’- Mario Andretti had won two rounds, Brian Redman a couple and David Hobbs one, all in Lola T332’s, the greatest F5000 car ever.

Brown was 11th at Ontario and then 5th at Monterey in mid-October behind Redman, James Hunt in an Eagle 755, Andretti, and Eppie Wietzes in another T332. In the series final round, the Riverside GP, he was third behind Andretti and Redman.

As a WB fan reading about these performances in Australian weekly ‘Auto Action’ I remember being blown away by his speed in such august company viewed through the prism of just how badly hurt he was- and would be again, he had three ‘Big Ones’ in his pro career. I could see his pain getting around at Surfers.

It takes extraordinary guts to get back into these things after big accidents in which you are hurt. The mind management and sheer courage involved has always intrigued me. Not that he was the only ‘Lola Limper’ in Australasia, Graeme Lawrence and Kevin Bartlett spring readily to mind.

But those three US races in ’74 made him really, he proved to himself he could do it. The crew came back to Oz later in 1974 and Warwick was running away with the AGP at Oran Park until mechanical problems intervened. He then won the ’75 Tasman in a close fought battle with fellow T332 drivers Graeme Lawrence and John Walker and set up a US pro-career for the next few years with Jack McCormack’s Talon nee McRae cars in 1975 and then Team VDS.

It’s not an article about the entirety of WB’s career rather a reflection on mind over matter, toughness, passion, resilience and the fierce desire to compete and win that separates elite drivers like Brown, Lawrence and Bartlett from we mere mortals…

Credits…

oldracingcars.com, Bob Harmeyer, The Enthusiast Network, John Lemm

Tailpiece: Brown winning in the Lola T333CS Chev, Watkins Glen 1978…

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Warwick Brown’s VDS Racing Lola T333CS Chev enroute to a single-seat Can Am win at Watkins Glen on 9 July 1978, he won from Al Holbert and Rocky Moran both also Lola T333CS mounted. The car following WB is George Follmer’s Prophet Chev. Brown was 2nd in the championship that year but the class of the field was his countryman, the 3 years older Alan Jones who took 5 victories and the title in the ‘works’ Carl Haas T333CS. Jones was ‘moonlighting’ in 5 litre cars having gained a toehold in F1 (Bob Harmeyer)

 

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Jackie Oliver’s Shadow DN6 Chev on its way to 2nd place, Road America, 27 July 1975. (Richard Dening Jr)

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Exactly 12 months later Oliver goes one better in the Dodge engined DN6B, winning the Road America race on July 25 1976. (Richard Dening Jr)

Jackie Oliver takes an historic win in his Shadow DN6B Dodge at Road America on 25 July 1976…

Chev engines won every championship F5000 race in the US from Riverside on 25 April 1971 when Frank Matich took a Repco Holden win in his McLaren M10B through until Oliver’s long overdue Shadow victory, the Lola T332 Chevs of Al Unser and Vern Schuppan were second and third.

Whilst the Dodge was more powerful than a Chev it was also heavier making the packaging of the car and its big cast iron V8 a challenge for designer Tony Southgate.

The Lola T332 was their 1974 production F5000 but was continually developed, the subsequent Lola T400 and T430 not quicker cars, a good 332 was as quick as an F1 car on the common circuits upon which both categories raced in North America. ‘Twas a remarkably good, very fast racing car the Shadow was competing against driven by the likes of Brian Redman, Mario Andretti, Alan Jones, Al Unser and others…

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Shadow DN6 Chev. Car based on Tony Southgate’s very quick DN5 1975 F1 contender. Aluminium monocoque chassis. Front suspension lower wishbone and top rocker actuating inboard mounted coil spring/damper. Rear single top link, lower twin parallel links, two radius rods and coil spring/dampers. Adjustable roll bars front and rear. 5 litre cast iron OHV Chev here, Dodge V8 from the Road Atlanta round in August 1975 , Hewlands TL200 gearbox, developed as an endurance racing tranny used rather than the F5000 standard, the ‘brittle’ DG300. Road America July 1975. (Richard Dening Jr)

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5 litre cast iron, mechanical fuel injected, OHV Chev V8 engine developed circa 530bhp@7800rpm. Rocker covers removed here for Road America July 1975 prep, one rocker missing. Magneto, its yellow ignition leads and fuel metering unit all visible. (Richard Dening Jr)

The Shadow DN6 was based on Tony Southgate’s very competitive DN5 F1 design and was first raced in 1975 powered by the ubiquitous Chev V8. Oliver took 4th place in the championship won by Redman’s T332, the car raced well at both Watkins Glen and Road America.

Gordon Kirby in his 1975 season review in Automobile Year said; ‘Almost immediately the Shadow proved to be competitive and in the last part of the season (the last 4 races) it became even more of a threat when after a long development program the team switched to Dodge engines, based on the same powerplant used in NASCAR by Richard Petty’. (in 1975 the Grand National Stockers were compelled by a carburetion ruling to use 355 cubic inch or 5.8 litre engines). The Dodge developed some 30 bhp more than the Chevys’ but was much heavier. The Shadows were not completely tuned and set up and did not win a single race. The whole of the 9 races were taken by the Lola Chevrolets.’

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Jean-Pierre Jarier lines up on the Watkins Glen grid with Brian Redman 13 July 1975. Shadow DN6 Chev and Lola T332 Chev. JPJ DNF with a broken oil line, Brian was 1st, Oliver in the other Shadow also DNF with a blown Chevy. (Gary Gudinkas)

F1 drivers Jean Pierre Jarier, Tom Pryce and Jody Scheckter each raced a second car in three rounds at Watkins Glen, Long Beach and Riverside respectively.

All three qualified in the top 5 but retired with mechanical maladies.

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Business end of the Shadow DN6 Chev. Engine magneto and fuel metering unit, Hewland TL200 gearbox to which the wing is mounted, neat duct for inboard disc and additional oil cooler all visible. Road America July 1975. (Richard Dening Jr)

1976 Season…

The following Shadow press release written by Rob Buller prior to the Mosport round, the second of the 1976 season, reproduced on the My Formula 5000 website outlines changes to the car and program over the 1975/6Winter.

Development work on the DN6 5000 car has continued over the winter under the direction of Chief Mechanic Ed Stone and Engine builder Lee Muir.

Stone joined the 5000 effort late in 1975 and immediately set about making chassis and suspension changes.’Basically the 1975 season progressed with little development, there wasn’t much time.’ Stone said in a recent telephone interview, ‘I was asked to make some suspension changes and the car was more competitive at the last 1975 race at Riverside with Jody Scheckter driving.

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Oliver in the Road America pitlane, July 1976. Shadow DN6B Dodge. (Richard Dening Jr)

‘But the heart of the Shadow development is the new Chrysler power-plant, a joint venture between Shadow and Chrysler’s Plymouth Division. The engine starts life as a 340 cu. in. stock block that is down-stroked to 305 cu. inches. It is fitted with the same injection system that is used on Richard Petty’s NASCAR Dodge.

Chrysler, which is heavily involved in NASCAR and Drag Racing, is new to F5000 racing, a class that has been dominated by the rugged Chevrolet 5 litre engine. As a part of their new kit-car package now under development, Chrysler has contracted with Shadow to do the engine development and sorting.

They supply the engine components to Shadow engine expert Lee Muir, who then hand builds and dyno tests each engine. Chrysler also helps with technical information and advice to Muir, who came to Shadow from McLaren’s engine department.

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Race debut of the Dodge engined Shadow DN6 chassis ‘2A’ at Road Atlanta 31 August 1975. Oliver 4 th, race won by Al Unser’s Lola T332 Chev. Specs; Dodge 340cid V8 taken back to 305cid by reducing the engines stroke. 5 litre cast iron, OHV, mechanical fuel injected V8. Bore/stroke 4.04 inches/2.96 inches, power circa 550bhp@7800rpm. Hewland TL200 ‘box. (unattributed)

‘The first outing in 1976 for the Shadow Dodge DN6 was at Pocono, Pennsylvania for the Series opener. Although they weren’t quite ready for the Pocono race, they were very encouraged with the results. Oliver was lying third in his qualifying heat when a connecting rod developed terminal stretch. As they only had one dyno’d engine a spare practice unit was installed for the feature. However, a fuel pump seal split on the grid and  it took 5 laps to change. By the time he joined the fray Oliver was hopelessly behind but by charging hard he was able to run with the leaders.

With that encouraging performance Stone and Muir returned to Phoenix Racing headquarters in Chicago and started preparation of the Shadow for the Mosport race. Further chassis mods have been made utilizing new springs, roll bars and revised suspension settings. To help weight distribution, the water rads have been moved forward a la McLaren Indy car. Muir will have three completely dyno’d engines ready for Mosport’.

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‘Sponsorship for the F5000 effort is a problem for Shadow. Since the departure of UOP, Nichols has been unable to get the full 5000 program underwritten. Various sponsors are now supporting the Formula One effort on a per race basis while only Goodyear, Valvoline and, of course, Chrysler are behind the 5000 effort. Thus Shadow must watch their budget closely and this, the team feels, will restrict the amount of development they can attempt. Nonetheless the 5000 effort has Don Nichols full support and he won’t field cars unless he can be competitive. And with the driver, new engine and chassis changes he plans to be competitive’.

Oliver lead at Mosport but was held up by a backmarker, Alan Jones snaffling the win, inevitably in a Lola T332 Chev.

Three weeks later he lead at Watkins Glen but a cracked sump ended his race, the Shadow finally won at Road America, Elkhart lake, Wisconsin. It was a good win as Ollie had to overcome diff and flat tyre problems in his heat which meant he started 14th on the grid of the final.

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Oliver on the way to victory, Road America July 1976. Shadow DN6B Dodge. Behind is Al Unser’s 2nd placed Lola T332 Chev. (Richard Dening Jr)

After 16 laps he was 3rd, within 3 laps he was past the Lolas of Al Unser and Brian Redman and took a strong win for the team.

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Oliver took 2nd place at Mid Ohio on 8 August 1976, Shadow DN6B Dodge. 1976 champ Brian Redman won in a Lola T332C Chev. (Richard Dening Jr)

Two second places at Mid Ohio and Watkins Glen secured third place in the championship again won by Redman’s Haas/Hall Lola T332.

With the demise of F5000 in the US at the end of 1976 and its evolution into 5 litre central seat Can Am from 1977 the Shadow’s raced on into 1977 and 1978 but without success, Lola’s T332/T333 the dominant cars in the early years of the class.

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Jack Oliver ready to go Road America 1975. CanAm Champ for Shadow in 1974. (Richard Dening Jr)

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Road America pitlane on a beautiful July 1975, Wisconsin day. Redmans Lola T332 at front. (Richard Dening Jr)

Etcetera…

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Comparison of the specs of the F1 Shadow DN5/7 and F5000 DN6 from the 1975 Long Beach GP race program. (Fred Bernius)

Tailpiece…

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Jackie Oliver Fan Club President? Road America July 1975. (Richard Dening Jr)

Photo and other Credits…Richard Dening Jr, Gary Gudinkas, Fred Bernius, My Formula 5000 website,   http://www.myf5000.com/index.html, Peter Brennan and Glenn Snyder for research assistance

Other F5000 Articles…

Elfin MR8 Chev & James Hunt.

https://primotipo.com/2014/10/15/james-hunt-rose-city-10000-winton-raceway-australia1978-elfin-mr8-chev/

Frank Matich and his F5000 cars.

https://primotipo.com/2015/09/11/frank-matich-matich-f5000-cars-etcetera/

Finito…

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Richard Davison uploaded this YouTube footage of his son Alex’ driving his ex-Holland/Theodore Racing-Alan Jones/Jon Davison Lola T332 Chev ‘HU34’…

Crank up the volume, their is nothing quite like 5 litres of highly tuned fuel-injected Chevy. Very interesting looking at the smoothness of a top-line pro driving one of these beasts at lap record pace. It looks deceptively easy?! Not!

The footage is at the Phillip Island Historic Meeting in March 2015.

Credits…Richard Davison, Motorsportlegends

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Alfa Club of Victoria Concorso…300 Alfa Romeos’ dropping olio onto the Wesley First XI Turf…

The Alfa Romeo Owners Club of Victorias’ annual Concourse and preceding dinner… has become ‘Bigger Than Ben Hur’ in terms of quality of organisation, cars, location, attendance and guest speakers.

This years concourse was held at Wesley College, St Kilda Road, Melbourne on 30 November, the guest speakers at the nearby Parkview Hotel dinner the evening before were former Australian Racing Champions Kevin Bartlett and Alfredo Costanzo.

The ‘dialogue’ with the drivers was ably conducted by Melbourne longtime Alfista and racer John Emery, it wasn’t ‘hard core’ given the audience, too many road car types present for that sadly!, but the following are a few snippets from their comments or quick chats with each of them separately.

Parkview Hotel St Kilda Road

Crappy iPhone shot of Kevin Bartlett left, and Alf Costanzo, right being ‘interviewed’ by John Emery, Parkview Hotel 29 November

I covered KB’s early history in the Alfa GTA article of last week, see https://primotipo.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1037&action=edit …he spoke fondly of his mentor Alec Mildren and the way Alec extracted the best from him which was around advice and encouragement, not actually how to drive, Mildren himself was the Australian Gold Star winner in 1960.

‘I was really lucky he gave me the chance to test, Glenn Abbey gave me the call, I don’t even remember the circuit but there were three or four other guys who also had similar credentials. But I guess they saw potential and a willingness to work hard and learn’.

Bartlett spoke of the evolution of the Lola F5000 cars from the T240 F2 based, twitchy, torsionally floppy T300 through to the T400 and ultimate variant of the T332, the 332C and what a competitive car it was. Costanzo chipped in about that cars understeer and said he, having also owned a T332, preferred the ‘twitchy and slightly more nervous’ T430, the ex-VDS/Brown car Alfie raced for Alan Hamilton so successfully in 1979/80.

Both noted that Warwick Brown happily went back to a T332 after the 430’s were sold despite his success in that model. (Rothmans Series 1977).

Bartlett related a funny anecdote about building a twin-turbo Jaguar XJS for Australian media magnate, the late Kerry Packer.

Kerry wanted to drive the ‘weapon’ from Sydney to Canberra, KB confessed that the gearbox whilst up for sprint meetings wouldn’t survive that journey…so Packer had his ‘chopper shadow the car on the trip, as you do!

Inevitably the car ‘cacked itself’ near Bowral, the chopper scooping up the legendary KP and delivering him to the capital on time. KB organising for his most wealthy clients car to be returned to Sydney…the silver lining in this relationship the very successful ‘Nine Network’ sponsorship of Bartlett’s Camaro in Touring Car Racing after his second F5000 ‘Big One’ when his Brabham BT43’s rear wheel failed at Sandown in 1979 made continued single seater racing not such a good idea.

Bartlett Sandown 1979 Brabham BT43 Chev

Bartlett in the Sandown pitlane 8 September 1979. Saturday practice, the following day KB had a rear wheel failure cause another big accident going thru ‘The Causeway’ breaking his legs, hospitalising him, destroying the car and ending his cherished single seater career…there were, however, touring cars to conquer. Car now has rear/side, rather than front mounted water rads’, Lola airbox, a variant of the nosecone used on KB’s T400 Lola and later rear wing. Jim Hardman in black anorak listening to KB’s issues and together working out the necessary tweaks! (Mark Bisset)

I asked KB whether Alec considered commercial sponsorship of his team to assist with the budget, as an alternative to ‘Alec Mildren Racing’ withdrawal from the sport but ‘it simply wasn’t his style’ so KB and Max Stewart were ‘on their own’ from 1971 both continuing to be successful but clearly the ‘Mildren Family Team’ was special in every way not least it’s competitiveness and influence on the professional teams which followed its lead.

Bartlett and Alfie are 3 years apart in age, KB born in 1940, Alf 1943. Their careers have ‘reverse parallels’ in some ways, KB a paid professional at 25, and on his own at 30, Alf on his own until 1979, when at 36 he became a paid professional…Unsurprisingly the ‘sweet spots’ in their careers were as paid professionals able to focus on just the driving rather than the more difficult commercial and organisational elements necessary in running your own team.

KB had an opportunity to test F1 for Brabham in 1970, ‘yes we should give him a run’ Ron Tauranac said but the fee was $60000 even then, as KB said, ‘I didn’t have $6k let alone $60k back then’ it’s a shame as the BT33 was a rocket in 1970 and still ok in 1971.

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Bartlett in the one of a kind Brabham BT43 Chev ahead of Alf and John Walker at Oran Park , Rothmans Series 1978, both in Lola T332’s, Walker in KB’s old car. Warwick Brown won in another T332C, or rather a T333 Single-Seat CanAm car converted to F5000 for our Series before returning to the US whence it was converted back. See this shot of the Brabham in its original form here, mind you the nose had already been changed at this point…with the car in its final form above. (Glenn Moulds)

Two blokes who took to F5000 in Australia, having come out of smaller single-seaters like ‘ducks to water’ were Alf and Bruce Allison, immediately competitive…and both in Lola T332’s, Allison in the car KB sold to buy his T400, ‘HU22’. (KB’s T330 ‘HU22′ rebuilt after its Pukekohe early ’74 shunt around a 332 tub)

Not everybody who drove these animals of cars, mastered them…’it always focussed my mind the day before wherever I raced these cars because they could always bite you’, said KB.

One wag at the Parkview Hotel after listening to Alf speak, very amusing he was too, and who watched many of his early racing efforts said that ‘he bounced that Mono (Elfin Mono) off every fence in Victoria, he didn’t even book overnight accommodation at the country circuits as he never expected to race on Sunday!’

By 1975 he had the car in which to strut his stuff finishing second in the AF2 Championship that year in the Birrana 274 Ford Leo Geoghegan drove to the series win in 1974. Geoff Brabham won the title in a similar 274.

‘At the end of the year I sold the car and bought the ex-Bob Evans 1974 European F5000 Championship winning T332 ‘HU36′ for a lot less than I sold the Birrana! Brian McGuire had a good season in it in the UK in 1975 and was to race it again and then the Brits admitted F1 cars to their series so he bought one of those and sold the Lola cheap, all race prepared and ready to go. I even won a couple of KLM tickets late in the season so got a trip to the UK as well’

In a sad ending for Aussie McGuire, he died in the Williams FW04 he bought instead due to a component failure at Brands in 1977.

‘The T332 was a great car, I did well in it but I preferred the T430 which was a bit more nervous, the turn in was better. The McLaren was better again, no quicker than the Lola in a straight line but it put its power down much better, it was quicker through the corners.’

Costanzo, McLaren M26 Chev Sandown 1981

Costanzo at the old Sandown pit counter 1981. Mclaren M26 Chev, Jim Hardman in the white top. A talented engineer, his self designed and built Hardman JH1 Ford victorious in the 1980 AF2 Championship in Richard Davisons’ hands. Car @ rear is the Bryan Thomson owned Mercedes Fowler/Chev sports sedan then driven by John Bowe.

The McLaren Costanzo spoke of was the M26 F1 car converted to ground effect F5000 specification by Tiga Cars and raced by Alan Hamiltons’ Porsche Cars Australia Team in the dying days of F5000 in Australia.

These are a few vignettes in two phenomenal careers, it was a pleasure to meet them both and watch them work an audience in the same way they used to work the spectators on race day!

Racers both and great blokes to boot…

TZ1 and 6C 1750

All the fun of the fair..big crowds, this is early in the day. Alfa TZ1 Replica beside 6C 1750 Zagato. ‘Lola Limper’ Bartlett checking out the cars in brown shirt and cap.

Lawson and Little Alfa

John Lawsons’ Alfa 6C 2300 Spl left, with the ex-Lex Davison ‘Little Alfa’, shortened 6C1750 ‘Normale’ chassis’ , supercharged. Successful and famous Aussie special raced by Davo from circa 1946 to 1952. car originally Davisons’ fathers road car.

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Giuliettas’, St Kilda Road buildings at rear

Park scene Wesley

Swag of ‘105’s…a very pleasant Concourse location, Wesley College, Melbourne…

Photo Credits…

oldracephotos.com, Glenn Moulds