Posts Tagged ‘Maybach 2’

(B Thomas)

Lex Davison’s HWM Jaguar won the Sunday 7 November 1954 Australian Grand Prix at Southport on Queensland’s Gold Coast…

Here, (above) just after the start, Lex is behind Kiwi Fred Zambucka’s Maserati 8CM, with Dick Cobden’s Ferrari 125 behind the HWM and then Jack Brabham’s partially obscured Cooper T23 Bristol ‘Redex Special’.

Race favourite Stan Jones, in the Repco Research built Maybach 2 is already out of shot and some distance up the road ahead of this next group. Stan led until lap 14 when some welds on the chassis of the new car failed causing a very high speed excursion backwards through the Queensland countryside, writing off the car but fortunately without causing injury to the plucky Melbourne motor-trader.

Sydney’s Curley Brydon’s MG TC Spl s/c was second in the Formula Libre, scratch, 150 mile event from Ken Mitchell’s Brisbane built Ford Spl in third place. Davison’s time was 1 hour, 50 minutes and 18 seconds.

After heavy rain in the days before the meeting the race was run ‘on one of the hottest days of the season and drivers had a trying time with the heat and dust’. It was Davo’s fifth attempt at the AGP- a race he was to win four times- in 1954, 1957, 1958 and 1961.

Australia after the initial ‘Phillip Island AGP era’ (1927 Goulburn AGP duly noted) for decades had a wonderful tradition of each of the states hosting the AGP in turn- in that sense ‘everybody got a fair crack of the whip’. The disadvantage was that there was not until the sixties investment in a permanent facility to stage motor-racing let alone events on longer courses of the sort appropriate for events of Grand Prix length. Warwick Farm and Sandown are examples of fine venues and circuits but even then were built within pre-existing horse racing facilities.

The #15 John McKinney MG TC Spl 1.3 DNF lap 11 and Curley Brydon’s MG TC Spl 1.3 s/c, 2nd in a fast reliable run (B Thomas)

Queensland’s first GP was held in September 1949 when 30,000-40,000 people converged on Leyburn, a quiet little hamlet on the Darling Downs- the race was held on a disused wartime airstrip and won by John Crouch in a Delahaye 135S imported by John Snow pre-War.

The venue for the 1954 event was similarly distant from major population centres, an hours drive from Brisbane on a good day, being a road circuit using roads in the Ashmore/Benowa/Bundall areas a mile or so from Southport. International readers are probably aware of the Surfers Paradise location from television coverage of the annual Indycar race, Southport is close by.

These days the Gold Coast City has a population of 560,000, back then before the tourist boom of the sixties the area was a quiet farming and agricultural hamlet adjoining the Pacific Ocean. The organisers, led by the Queensland Motor Sporting Car Club laid out a 5.7 mile course on public roads- the event was contested over 27 laps of the undulating, narrow bitumen surface in sparsely settled, scrubby coastal bush. The local population of 40 swelled to somewhere near 60,000 on raceday!

(Brisbane Courier Mail)

The organisers said the road, much of which had not been sealed before, had a minimum usable width of 22 feet made up of 14 feet of bitumen and at least 4 feet of smooth gravel shoulder on each side. There were two no-passing sections at the causeway leading into the main straight at Boston’s Bend and another about 40 yards long on a narrow bridge at the start of the tight section beside the Nerang River, past Dunlop Bend at the start of the second long straight.

The intersecting two straights as you can see above formed one corner of the triangular course , the section beside the Nerang up to the Courier Mail hairpin was continuously jinking. There were some very quick curves on the return section with a total rise and fall of 60 feet- including several jumps where faster cars became airborne and blind corners with the road overall very bumpy- and surrounded by barbed-wire fences for most of the distance.  The organisers forecast a 90 mph lap average by the faster cars which proved to be quite accurate

The Maybach main men- Stan Jones and Charlie Dean. With the marvellous but shortlived Maybach 2, perhaps at Fishermans Bend in early 1954- cars technical specs as per article linked at the end of this piece. Dean a remarkable fella- engineer, businessman, racer inclusive of several AGP’s and public company Director. No book about him sadly! (unattributed)

The bulk of the racers in the smallish Australian racing scene were based in Sydney and Melbourne so it was a long tow up north for many, but the competitors nevertheless journeyed north to contest the event, the biggest such social occasion ever held in South Queensland to that point.

From Victoria their were six entries including the fast-boys Jones and Davison. The New South Wales contingent of 11 included Stan Coffey in a Cooper Bristol and similarly mounted ‘Pre-race favourite ex-speedway champion Jack Brabham driving a 1971cc Cooper Bristol’, as one of the Brisbane papers saw it. No way did Jack’s 2 litre machine have the mumbo to win this event though.

Redex Round Australia Trial personality/winner Jack Murray added to the gate, he raced an Allard Cadillac V8. Dick Cobdens Ferrari 125 V12 s/c was acquired from Peter Whitehead after the ’54 NZ GP with the wealthy Cobden very quickly getting to grips with the tricky handling of the rear swing-axle suspension car. His dices with Brabham at NSW meetings in the months before Southport were a spectacle all enthusiasts looked forward to at the time with Brabham the better racer but there was little difference in lap times between the two cars.

This paddock shot does not show the muddy conditions competitors endured. #4 is Charlie Whatmore, Jaguar Spl 3.4 7th and #9, the 3rd placed Ken Richardson Ford V8 Spl (D Willis)

The Queenslanders came out in numbers, sixteen in all. The group included Charlie Whatmore’s Jaguar Spl built around a Standard 14 chassis with Jag Mk7 power and Rex Taylor who had bought Doug Whiteford’s dual AGP winning Talbot-Lago T26C. With the replacement Lago a long way off Doug raced ‘Black Bess’, his famous Ford V8 Spl and winner of the 1950 AGP. Arthur Griffiths had just bought the Wylie Javelin.

Much was expected of Kiwi Fred Zambucka’s Maserati 2.9 litre s/c but the very stiffly sprung pre-war machine was all at sea on the very bumpy country roads.

Stan Jones’s new Maybach 2 was a classic single seater built around the same engine and gearbox as Maybach 1 but was shorter, narrower and lighter and was the real favourite for the race. The Melburnian had his tail up as a consequence of his NZ GP win at Ardmore aboard Maybach 1 in January and the speed of Maybach 2 built by Charlie Dean and the rest of the Repco Research team in Bruswick after they returned from NZ. Its pace had been proved from its first appearance in winning the Victorian Trophy at Fishermans Bend in March and was reinforced at Bathurst over the Easter weekend.

The car was without doubt the quickest in Australia at the time, remember too by this stage the AGP was a scratch event (the 1951 Narrogin AGP was started in handicap order but the AGP winner was the car/driver which completed the distance in the fastest time- Warwick Pratley in the Ford V8 powered George Reed Spl) so a machine capable of winning the event on speed and reliability was required. This change had immense impacts on the content of our grids. Very quickly, older or lower powered machines which were half a chance in the handicap days were rendered uncompetitive at AGP level overnight. The time was right for the change mandated by the Australian Automobile Association but that view was hardly one universally held at the time.

Lex Davison, HWM Jag, Southport. Circuit safety aspects clear- crowd close to the action! (Davison)

Lex Davison’s HWM Jaguar had been continuously developed by Ern Seeliger and his artisans over the previous 12 months since it’s unsuccessful debut during the 1953 AGP weekend at Albert Park.

There the ex-Moss/Gaze (then Alta powered) car ran its bearings in practice and did so again shortly after the start of the race. The car was modified terms of its lubrication, oil and water cooling and other areas almost on a race by race basis becoming fast and reliable. The ‘C Type’ spec 3.4 litre engine gave 187bhp on the Repco dyno in early 1954 but the clever car was not as quick as Stan, Jack or Dick’s- it had gained reliability though, a quality which was to be rather a valuable one come raceday.

Despite the new Southport circuit being unfamiliar to the drivers, practice was available for only two one hour sessions on the Saturday, the time was allocated after the longer sessions planned were diminished by clearing up the debris of the Mrs Geordie Anderson driven Jaguar XK120 Coupe which left the track on the fast swerves of the return section of the course and hit a telegraph post. She was not badly injured but the car was substantially damaged.

After a rainstorm cleared,  faster times were recorded in the afternoon session with Cobden a little quicker than Jones. There had been fifteen consecutive consecutive weekends of rain before the meeting, and plenty in between, so the course road shoulders were soft and the paddock areas boggy which made for rather grim conditions for crews and spectators alike.

Only Stan and Dick got under 4 minutes with Cobden the quicker at 3:55, an average of 88mph. Whilst the times were indicative of performance they did not count for grid positions which had been allocated by the organisers at their discretion.

Jack had engine problems running in a fresh Bristol motor which would also play out on raceday whilst Maybach needed repairs that evening to repair a split fuel tank and reportedly to raise the ride height. Davison’s HWM also needed repairs to the underbody and to straighten some suspension parts after an off by Lex, his best time was 4:14.

Whatmore’s Jaguar Spl, Standard 14 modified chassis and fitted with a Jag 3.4 Mk7 engine for this race. Car descended from a Studebaker powered ex-speedway machine he raced in the 1949 Leyburn AGP (HAGP)

Spectators near Skyline Bend, 4.5 miles from the start reported the faster cars were leaping two feet into the air as they crested the top of the hill. Over 5,000 people attended practice causing plenty of chaos to surrounding access roads indicating the challenges of race day access!

The quick guys were worried about the driving standard of some of the locals with Brabham not confident his Cooper would last the race without some sort of chassis breakage.

In an interesting sequence of events which played out during the race the Maybach’s aluminium fuel tank was split during practice, as was Davison’s.

Whilst Brian Burnett had built much of the Maybach body, chassis and other parts he attended Southport as part of Davo’s crew not Jones team so prioritised Lex’s repair over Stan’s. In the end he did not have time to complete the Maybach repair due to an incident whilst working on the HWM’s tank ‘…when Burnett prepared to weld up the crack by following his customary method of clearing fuel vapour out of the drained tank- by waving a lit welding torch inside- the tank exploded. He gathered up the scattered pieces, worked out where they belonged, hammered them back into shape and then, finally, was ready to start welding the tank back together again.’

Between 50,000-60,000 attended on raceday, the early birds camped overnight with day-trippers arriving from 4am. The day dawned bright and sunny in contrast to recent weather patterns… 

‘People dressed in gay holiday clothes, some in swimming costumes, went in transport ranging from a family in a horse-drawn buggy to the latest model sedans’ the Brisbane Courier Mail reported.

‘Farmers let down their fences to allow thousands of vehicles to park…at the township of Benowa people watched the roaring motors from the shade of a church. Others watched from houses, some from the rooftop whilst men and boys perched in the trees. Dairy calves not far away ran into the bush as the quiet bitumen road running through tall green turned into a snorting carrier for Australia’s fastest cars…’

Sounds fantastic to me!

The huge crowd blocked the track between races and strolled across the circuit whilst races were running, the chaos was not helped by the lack of an effective public address system throughout much of the course area.

Brightways and Farren Price Trophy sportscar race- A Mills Jag XK120, leads David Griffiths Triumph TR2 and G Greig’s Austin Healey (E Steet)

The program commenced at 11.15 am with the ‘Brightways and Farren Price Trophy’ 5 lapper won by won by Adelaide’s Eldred Norman in a G.M. 2-71 supercharged Triumph TR2.

Norman was an extraordinary character as a businessman, racer, engineer and specials builder- the twin Ford V8 engined ‘Double Eight’  and Zephyr Special s/c are at the more extreme end of his creativity and speed. Somewhat ironic is that his most conventional AGP mount, the TR2 gave him his best AGP result- he was 4th in the car later in the day.

The TR2 was still hot when he contested the ‘Cords Piston Ring Trophy’ First Division event which he also won, the Trophy was won by Les Cosh in an Aston Martin DB2 who did the fastest time in the Second Division event for closed cars.

At the conclusion of the meeting Eldred loaded up the TR2, the first delivered in South Australia, re-attached a lightweight trailer containing two empty 44 gallon drums of methanol racing fuel, some basic spares, tools, odds and sods to the sportscar and then drove back to his base in Halifax Street, Adelaide. The trip is 2050Km one way, so lets say he did around 6,000 Km in all inclusive of the return trip, a bit of tootling around the Gold Coast, race practice, two race wins…and fourth in the AGP. I’d call that a pretty successful trip up North!

The Grand Prix was due to commence at 2.45 pm, but by that time the program was an hour late for the reasons mentioned earlier. This was then exacerbated by speeches of the Southport Mayor to welcome Queensland’s Deputy Premier- who made a speech formally opening the GP and finally another by the local State MP who gave a vote of thanks to the Deputy Premier. Still, to their credit, the Queensland politicians allowed the race to take place on public roads, a situation which existed only in WA and NSW at the time.

Lex hustling the victorious HWM Jag thru Olympic Corner, preceding the start/finish straight (B Thomas)

The drivers waited patiently and nervously with the start, not based on lap times remember, and a road not nearly wide enough for the 2-1-2-1 grid. Their difficulties now also included the sun which was lower in the sky than would have been the case had the program been running to time.

The two front slots were allocated to the fast Stan Jones/Maybach and the slow Rex Taylor in the fast Lago. Then came Fred Zambucka’s very stiffly sprung pre-War Maser which was said to be almost uncontrollable on the bumpy Queensland country back-roads.

The sprint to the first corner with the quicks Cobden, Davison and then Brabham promised to be interesting whilst Stan, up front was not to be impacted if he got away cleanly.

AMS reported that ‘The two minute board went up, engines were started, then their was a minute to go, then ten seconds, then they were off in a mad frenzy of wheelspin, smoke, haze and dust.’

When the flag dropped Jones and Maybach disappeared, he had a lead of 10 seconds at the end of the first lap. All the front runners survived the first corner unscathed but there was a tangle of mid-fielders which was cleared by the time the leaders emerged 4 minutes later.

Stan led Lex by 10 seconds from Jack 6 seconds back who had already passed Dick Cobden’s Ferrari.

‘The order and intervals reflected the various drivers success at passing Taylor and Zambucka; Brabham and Zambucka’s cars had actually touched’ wrote Graham Howard.

Almost immediately Jack’s Cooper cried enough with re-occurrence of the Bristol engines practice dramas where a camshaft bearing shell rotated in the block, cutting off the oil supply and seizing the camshaft, shearing the timing-gear key, bending valves and pushrods. Jack would take a Bristol engined AGP win at Port Wakefield in his self constructed mid-engined Cooper T40 at Port Wakefield, South Australia in 1955.

John McKinney putting out an Xpag engine fire in his MG TC Spl. He needed assistance to restart so retired (HAGP)

Taylor has just spun the Lago and Jack Murray joins the fun in his Allard- the latter restarting, the former DNF after receiving outside  help, Ferodo Corner (HAGP)

Jack Murray provided early excitement and entertainment in the pits as he arrived very quickly in his Allard soaked with fuel from a failed jerry-rigged auxiliary fuel-tank system.

Murray unzipped his fuel soaked britches to reveal that the fuel had dissolved his nylon jocks- all he was wearing was the elastic waistband of said garment! He got the Allard going, having borrowed a set of overalls, only to retire on lap 8 but not before a half lose spinning and just kissing Taylor’s Lago which had arrived shortly before Murray, see the photo above.

Jones and Maybach 2, on the hop, as ever, Olympic Corner (E Steet)

Meanwhile up front the gaps between the top three cars widened by the end of lap 5 with the Maybach 20 seconds up the road from the HWM and then 40 seconds further back to the Cobden Ferrari.

‘Nonetheless there was a touch of desperation about Stan’s erratic lap times, and reports that the Maybach was again leaking fuel suggested he might have to make a pitstop.’ To be fair the cause of his erratic laptimes was passing back- markers- he was lapping them from lap 3.

Cobden started to speed up from lap 6 with times of around 4:04 sec- shown a ‘faster’ sign by the crew he dropped his times to 3:55 by lap 9 and closed the gap to Davo to 7 secs and Jones to 30.6 seconds. On that circuit, in that car that drive would have been great to see- he barged past the HWM on that lap taking 4 more seconds from Stan’s lead. And did the fastest lap of the race at 3:51.0 seconds.

The speed that thrills…On the next lap passing the Sefton Ford Spl after the no-passing bridge Dick was gone, Cobden was baulked, both cars spun away from the direction of the river with Cobden motoring the 2 litre, supercharged Ferrari into retirement. Sefton was illegally push-started but was not black-flagged until late in the race.

Stan Coffey’s Cooper Bristol ahead of Downing’s Rilry Imp Spl with Lex Davison bearing down on the pair, Olympic Corner (HAGP)

Dick Cobden’s Ferrari 125 #49 passes Rex Taylor’s Talbot-Lago T26C just after the pits at the start of lap 2, Taylor completed only 6 laps and Cobden’s wonderful charge was ruined when a back-marker took Dick’s line on lap 10 (HAGP)

Howard writes that Stan’s press-on style had not abated despite the easing of the threat ‘Stan Coffey had a chip taken out of his Cooper Bristol’s front wheel when Jones slashed past; one magazine reported Jones was black flagged for passing in a no-passing area, but did not stop, and the flag was withdrawn…Jones…in the fast curves of the return section…came through lap after lap, airborne and sideways over a crest at about 115mph.’ Oh to have seen the bellowing six-cylinder Maybach do that too!

AMS reported that Maybach was still leaking fuel and that therefore Stanley was building up sufficient a lead to do a ‘splash and dash’ to get him through the 157 miles. His margin over Davison at half distance was more than 40 seconds.

Howard, on ‘The next lap Jones too was gone. Through the fast sweeps and crests of the return section the Maybach had a major chassis failure, the car became unsteerable, and at well over 100 mph it slithered off the road and disappeared into thick scrub. Spectators rushed to rescue Jones- who was miraculously unhurt- and others manhandled the detached front suspension and wheels off the road.’

The very ill Maybach 2 in the Southport countryside, devoid of ‘front suspension section’ which detached, causing the accident. Its said Stan mowed down 4 trees, some of the more substantial ones in this shot would not have readily yielded to the car and its fearless pilot (HAGP)

The car had chopped down four trees, jumped a six foot deep culvert and finished in a gully under the tangle of uprooted casuarina trees with Stan still strapped in the driving seat, unhurt other than a cut on his face.

Lex drove past the mess- skid marks, dust, debris, scurrying officials and spectators and then did his fastest lap of the race, and then slowed right down at the scene to ensure his friend and Monte-Carlo Motors business partner was ok- and then raced on to victory.

He reduced his pace by about 2 seconds a lap, and other than muffing an upshift passing the pits had a comfortable run to the line having taken 1 hour, 50 minutes and 18 seconds to finish the 157 miles, an average of 83.7 mph. At the time of Jones accident his lead over Curley Brydon’s MG TC Monoposto was 1.5 laps.

#16 Snow Sefton Ford V8 Spl 4.2, being passed by Ken Richardson’s Ford V8 Spl with Owen Bailey’s smoke obscured MG Holden on the inside behind and then Gordon Greig’s Austin Healey. Meanwhile Taylor’s Lago is stranded at left. Ferodo Corner lap 2 (HAGP)

Courier Mail Corner action- #29 Frank Tobin in the Rizzo Riley Spl 1.5, 6th, leads the 10th placed Charlie Swinburne Cooper Mk4 Norton 500 and 5th placed David Griffiths Triumph TR2 (HAGP)

Doug Whiteford’s Black Bess was out mid-race with Ford V8 maladies, Bill Pitt’s Jaguar Spl had a tyre go flat with Whatmore’s Jag engined machine out with head gasket failure.

Survival was the whole story of this race.

On his victory lap Davison stopped at the crash scene and picked up Stan who rode back to the pits astride the tail of the HWM. Stan was a force in all of the AGP’s he contested, he finally took one, most deservedly, aboard his Maser 250F at Longford in 1959 whilst Lex took four as recorded earlier. Both were very fast drivers, both drove very well prepared cars, perhaps Lex was the more mechanically sympathetic of the two. For sure Lex had more AGP luck than Stan.

The remains of Maybach 2 on its trailer ready for the long trip back to Sydney Road, Brunswick in Melbourne. ‘…this photo shows how hard the car hit the trees- parts of the cast alloy cam-cover and upper cylinder head have been broken. Other evidence of the impact is the pile of broken SU pieces (bottom left) near the flattened right-side main tube frame. Closer inspection reveals some telling details: front wheels and nose section have just been dumped as a unit and the spare wheels have been almost thrown onboard, as has the hand operated pump which would have been used to fill a re-fuelling churn’- G Howard (HAGP)

For years Jones ‘carried the can’ for the 1954 Maybach crash until Graham Howard carefully researched the matter in preparing the ’54 Southport chapter of ‘The Bible’- ‘The History of The Australian Grand Prix’.

It seems that in the day it was chosen not to report in accurate fashion Repco’s engineering failure as the accident cause with Stan holding his tongue rather than ‘bite the hand which fed him’ in terms of Repco’s ongoing support.

Howard addresses all of this at length in the 1954 chapter he wrote. Note that this wonderful book was written by a number of writers- Howard, John Medley, Ray Bell….

I’ve included this section of the chapter in full as Stan still seems to get the blame from older enthusiasts for the accident to this day and for international readers who will probably not be aware of the situation, somewhat arcane as it is.

Graham Howard wrote ‘…It is difficult to find the full story of Stan Jones’ Maybach accident, partly because it happened well away from any of the crowded areas, but also- quite obviously – because most writers chose to conceal the truth.

The deservedly respected ‘Australian Motor Sports’- whose report of the race was written by by Bob Pritchett, one of Dick Cobden’s Ferrari pitcrew- offered a number of possible causes, none of them the real one, and a month later recounted what was termed “the correct story told to us by Stan Jones and Charlie Dean” which blamed chassis/axle contact which in turn put the car off line.

Brisbane’s daily ‘Courier Mail’ merely reported that Jones had crashed, and did not offer any possible reasons. General-motoring monthly ‘Wheels’ quoted “the official explanation” and “other probables” while obliquely making the point that “the car was in two pieces”. ‘Modern Motor’ came closest to an outright declaration. “Officials said a broken chassis had caused the accident…” its race report said, observing “the car appeared to split in two.”

Yet if this had happened it was remarkably quickly forgotten, and has never been referred to since in histories of the Maybachs. Without the ‘Modern Motor’ story there would have been no published clue to the real cause of the accident.

Only a remark by Len Allen sparked this book’s enquiry. He remembered how he and a mate had walked around the inside of the course, and had found a great spot to watch Jones, who was so spectacular they chose to wait for several laps purely to watch the Maybach aviate into view. On the critical lap, Allen remembers watching the Maybach touch down and immediately asking himself, “What’s happened to his ground clearance?” Allen and his mate joined the people running after the crashed car, which ended up hidden from the road down a trail of flattened scrub and trees. Allen was adamant something had broken on the car, and – while AMS, the Courier Mail and Wheels gave him no support- Modern Motor’s hearsay evidence suddenly became very credible.

In following up this issue, chapter and verse was willingly provided by Brian Burnett, the man who actually built the chassis at Repco. He explained that the two main chassis rails, of 4 inch 16g chrome molybdenum alloy steel, passed through holes in the diaphragm-type front cross-member and were completely electrically-welded in position. These welds crystallised and cracked, and in the course of the Grand Prix one chassis tube eventually broke away and touched the ground. It was as simple- and as enormous- as unfamiliarity with new materials and techniques.

The Maybach was not rebuilt in its Southport form, but emerged- after another incredibly fast revision- as the inclined-engine, offset driveline Maybach 3 which made its debut at Bathurst at Easter 1955. This car used locally-developed continuous- flow fuel injection, partly because at least two of its three 2 3/16-inch SU carburettors had been broken in the Southport crash. The amazing part was how little else had been damaged- not least the car’s remarkable driver.

Yet it was Stan Jones who became burdened with the responsibility for the accident. It was a situation which, 30 years later, (the AGP book was first published in the mid-eighties) says a lot about the rarity of mechanical failure at the time, and about the veneration which both then and today surrounds those wonderful Maybachs.’ Graham Howard wrote.

From top to bottom- Davison HWM Jag, Cobden Ferrari 125 and Brabham Cooper T23 Bristol (G Edney)

The question which flows from the collective non-reporting or misrepresenting the truth as to the cause of Maybach’s demise is why those choices were made by those who knew the facts?…

 Lets explore that, my ‘educated surmises’ are as follows.

 As Graham Howard wrote, the accident itself happened ‘out in the boonies’ away from the sight of large sections of the crowd or where the pro-photographers situated themselves. In the rush to rescue Jones the focus was rightly on him not so much the car. Not everybody had a camera then as they were expensive and iPhones were in short supply, so there is little in the manner of photographic evidence taken amongst the casuarina trees where Maybach came to rest.

 The racing scene in Australian then was very small with ‘everyone knowing everyone’ and Jones, Dean and all of the Repco crew were part of that scene, liked and respected. It is not the case that, unlike today, that ‘blame’ be sheeted home in a public way. Best we ‘keep it in the family’.

 Repco were the only corporate to provide significant support to motor racing in Australia at the time. Whilst Maybach 1 was built by Dean, the balance of the cars were built by Dean and his team with the tacit corporate support of Repco in the Repco Research premises in Sydney Road Brunswick. In fact this factory was where Maybach 1 was built before ‘Replex’, Dean’s electric transformer business was acquired and absorbed within the Repco conglomerate.

Jones certainly bought Maybach 1 from Dean but the commercial arrangements between Stan and Repco after that have always been opaque, but there is no doubt it was to their mutual advantage. When I say opaque I mean unknown not dodgy. Repco’s press advertisements of the day, on occasion used Maybach in its ads. Dean, a racer, engineer and arch enthusiast- and a Repco senior employee (and a decade or so later a Director of Repco Ltd) would have been intent on that Repco support continuing and therefore keeping quiet the accident. Jones equally wanted the support to race so the form of words given by he and Dean to AMS was a narrative which did not accurately portray what happened but were words unlikely to cause corporate offence or embarrassment to Repco- and at the same time making clear ‘chassis/axle contact put the car off line’ and in so doing sought to get Jones ‘off the hook’, unsuccessfully it seems, as the accidents cause.

 Repco were a major advertiser in the press of the day, that is the daily newspapers, general motoring magazines such as Wheels and Modern Motor and Australian Motor Sports, the racing specialist monthly. It would not have been in those publications commercial interests to put at risk valuable ad revenues by publishing the truth of the accidents cause in the event said ads were pulled as ‘retaliation’ for negative Repco press.

 Motor racing was still very much a fringe sport in Australia in 1954. The authorities (including the police) were downright antagonistic about motor racing generally and specifically about using public roads for that purpose, particularly in New South Wales. Negative racing publicity of any kind at the time was not needed by the sport as it sought to become more prominent, recognised and respected.

 Whilst negative press about motor racing was probably of no issue or concern to daily papers the general motor magazines and especially AMS would have been keen to avoid coverage detrimental to the growth of the sport, and therefore a circumspect approach by them makes sense. For the general press the day after the race they had moved on to the latest bit of death and destruction locally or globally.

 Its easy to take pot shots of course in retrospect. Hindsight is one of my strengths my sons tell me. But what would I have done, what would I have written in publishing the November 1954 issue if I were Arthur Wylie, racer, editor and owner of Australian Motor Sports- knowing the facts of the accident?

 Exactly what he did and wrote my friends in all the circumstances outlined above…

 For Davison the post race celebrations started when he saw the chequered flag, his wife, a noted racer herself was given the flag to greet Lex as he completed his final lap.

After the formalities trackside the HWM was driven on public roads from celebratory gig to gig by the very popular Davo who became increasingly pickled as the evening progressed. Different times, wonderful times.

Things were more serious in the Maybach camp of necessity, their debrief took place at the Chevron Hotel in Surfers. During these discussions Brian Burnett was stupid enough to tell Jones he had driven ‘too fast and recklessly’ only to have Stanley floor him with one punch. In the circumstances he is lucky the pugnacious, tough little nugget from Warrandyte didn’t launch him into the next decade.

Maybach would be back of course, Maybach 3 had more than a nod to the contemporary 1954 Mercedes Benz W196 but alas Maybach never bagged the AGP win one of the cars surely deserved?…

The Maybachs…

The feature I wrote about Stan Jones is as much an article about Charlie Dean’s Maybachs, click on the link below to read about this amazing series of three cars- albeit the cars were under constant evolution! as befits any ‘works’ racers, the cars effectively Repco factory entries.

In my analysis and assessment of Repco’s racing history there were a series of distinct steps which led to Repco-Brabham Engines P/L World Championship success in the mid-sixties. The first is the  ‘Maybach Phase’, the second the shorter ‘Coventry Climax FPF/Repco Phase’ and the next RBE itself. The final bit is the Redco Engine Developments P/L ‘F5000 Phase’ of 1969-1974. So, the Maybach piece is a long, critical foundation component to put its importance into the correct historical context.





Various newspapers via Trove, ‘Australian Motor Sports’ November 1954, ‘The History of The AGP’ Graham Howard and others, ‘Larger Than Life: Lex Davison’ Graham Howard, ‘From Maybach to Holden’ Malcolm Preston, Graham Edney Collection, ‘Wheels’

Photo Credits…

Eddie Steet, Brier Thomas, ‘Larger Than Life: Lex Davison’, ‘The History of The Australian Grand Prix’ (HAGP), ‘From Maybach to Holden’, Dick Willis, The Nostalgia Forum

Tailpiece: If only- Stan Jones, Maybach 2, Southport ’54, pressing on as usual, maybe he was a bit more of a ‘percentage driver’ towards the end of his career, maybe…



stan longford

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Stan Jones…

stan 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

In 1951 he also bought an Allard J2.

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

Stan Jones Allard

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

Charlie Dean, Repco and Maybach…

Maybach Carlton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybach Rob Roy

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

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

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

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

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

Racing Maybach…

southport 1954

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

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

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

ralt and mybach

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

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

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

Maybach Rob Roy

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

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

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

Stan Jones Bathurst 1951

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stan Jones Monte Carlo Rally 1953

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

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

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

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


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

Stan Jones AGP 1953 Albert Park Maybach 2

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

New Zealand Grand Prix Victory 1954…


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

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

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

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

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

stan nz

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

Maybach 2…

stan 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

stan 2

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

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

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

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

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

1954 AGP…

Stan Jones Maybach 3, AGP Southport 1954

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Maybach 3…

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

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

superior cars

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

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

Jones Cooper Jag

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1955 Australian Grand Prix, Port Wakefield, South Australia…

AGP 1955 Port Wakefield

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Maserati 250F…

caversham 2

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

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

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

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

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

Australian Grand Prix , Albert Park 1956…

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

Stan Jones & Owen Baileys cars AGP 1956

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

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

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

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

Moss Maser AGP 1956

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

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

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

The strong field would test the local talent who were in cars in more or less equal performance to the vistors; Jones and Hunt in their 250F’s, Davison in his venerable 3 litre Ferrari Tipo 500. By that stage Whitefords Lago was long in the tooth, but he ran his 12 plug 26C as did Owen Bailey in Dougs’ old, successful car.

Behra and Moss AGP 1956

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

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

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

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

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

Jones and Hunt AGP 1956

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

1957 Australian Gold Star Series…

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Davison won from Brabham and Hawkes.

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

Stan Jones 'Victorian Trophy' Albert Park 1957

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

AGP pit entry

Australian Gold Star Champion 1958…

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

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

Jones and Gray AGP 1958

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

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

AGP Bathurst 1958

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

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

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

agp 1958

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

Jones AGP 1958

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

Jones Maserati Bathurst 1958

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

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

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

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

Stan Jones AGP Longford 1959

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

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

Start, Longford AGP 1959

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

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

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

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

Jones jumping at Longford 1959

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

stan and len

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

Stan contested the Gold Star Series again in 1959 winning at Port Wakefield in Maybach 4, the car, still owned by Jones, was modified by Stans friend Ern Seeliger by fitment of a Chev Corvette 4.3 litre V8, de Dion rear suspension, a 30 gallon fuel tank and less weight.

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

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

port w

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

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

stan and al 1959

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


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

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

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

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

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

Bathurst International 1960

Merv Bunyan photo

Bathurst Gold Star 1960

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

But for Stan difficult times had begun…In 1961 their was credit squeeze in Australia as the Menzies Governement tightened monetary policy to control inflation with the usual brutally fast consequences of an instant drop in consumer demand. Cars included.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stan Jones, Calder 1962

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

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

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

Stan Maybach early 60's

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

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

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

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

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

cooper bathurst

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

Where Does Stan Jones rate in the Pantheon of Local Australian drivers of The Period?…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Was he our fastest of the period? Probably.

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

Was he the best in the period? Possibly.

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

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

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

Jones Maybach 4

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




Charlie Dean…

Charlie Dean c 1972

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

c dean maybach 194 geo thomas

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


Gaze, Davison and Jones Monaco

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

1958 AGP Bathurst

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


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

Photo Credits…

David Van Dal, John Ellacott, Ron Lambert,, Rodway Wolfe Collection, Merv Bunyan Collection, Bernie Rubens, John Ellacott, Charles Rice, Ellis French, B Dunstan, Ed Steet, Walkem Family, KE Niven & Co, Peter Wherrett Collection, Australian Motor Racing Museum, Rob Bailey Collection, Kevin Drage, Dacre Stubbs Collection,, Graham Thompson Collection, Ray Eldershaw Collection, Alan Stewart Collection, Ed Holly Collection,, George Thomas, VHRR Archive