Posts Tagged ‘Paul England’

I love watching busy test sessions such as this.

It’s the Thursday or Friday before the second round of the Australian Formula 2 Championship at Oran Park, New South Wales on August 5 1973.

The Birrana Cars onslaught is underway, Malcolm Ramsay and Tony Alcock’s 272 impressed all in 1972 including Leo Geoghegan who drove the car late in the year and was happily seduced back into single-seaters with a works Birrana 273 Ford-Hart 416-B 1.6 for 1973.

Leo mopped up that year winning six of the seven Australian Formula 2 Championship rounds despite opposition from Tony Stewart and Enno Buesselmann in 273s, Bob Skelton’s Bowin P6 and Ray Winter in the old darlin’- the ex-Gardner/Bartlett Mildren Yellow Submarine. Of these Skelton was quick everywhere and led Leo at Amaroo and Symmons, missed the last two rounds and ultimately could not convert the potential of the variable-rate suspension Bowin.

But all of that is in the future, the flurry of activity centres on Leo’s car and a back to back test between Goodyear and Bridgestone tyres- who is the the Goodyear tech looking closely at the right front- i am being assertive with my identification of people but in some cases ‘i think’ should be used- just letting you know rather than write it ten times.

Check-shirt man is Bruce Cary, the driver at left is Ray Winter, to his right in the short sleeved shirt is Bruce Richardson- the car in front of Leo’s is Tony Stewarts, the guy in the Singapore Airlines T-shirt is Malcolm Ramsay and the car at the end of the pitlane is one of the black Bowin P6s- either Skelton’s or Bruce Allison- Bob liked the car more than Bruce!

Goodyears in the first shot, Bridgies here.

All of the Birranas are superb racing cars- FF, ANF3, ANF2, F Pac and the mid-engined Speedway machine, Adelaide strikes again! Those who have driven both cars either say the 273 was a better car than the tidied up in the body and bracketry 274, or its equal- Bob Muir gave Leo ‘absolute buggery’ in the 274 bodied 273 owned by Bob and Marj Brown in 1974 didn’t he?

Note the mounts on the nose to accept another small wing- in search of more front bite.

Business end with Varley battery and oil catch tank- forward of them is a Hewland FT200 five speed transaxle and the Brian Hart Ltd, Harlow, Essex built ‘416-B’ Lotus-Ford DOHC, two valve, Lucas injected four cylinder motor.

This engine was aimed at the large American Formula B market, where all of the British tuners fought a pitched battle and in much smaller numbers Australian F2.

The ‘ducks guts’ variant was alloy blocked, the late Peter Nightingale, who looked after Leo’s and Geoff Brabham’s Harts amongst others quoted 200bhp @ 8500rpm and 130lb/ft of torque @ 7500rpm for the 1973 iron block variant and a ‘minimum’ of 200bhp @ 8500rpm and 125lb/ft of torque @ 8500rpm for the 1974 alloy block.

Line ball call but the alloy block was lighter and in the very best of hands every liddl’ bit counts.

No idea who blondie is but the vertically challenged fella looking at the engine in front is ex-Repco immensely talented engineer and multiple Australian hillclimb champion Paul England looking at Tony Stewart’s Jack Godbehear built engine.

Oh yes, come raceday Leo won from Peter Brock’s 273 and Bob Skelton, i am intrigued to know what tyres the works 273 raced…

Credits…

Brian Caldersmith, Peter Nightingale on The Nostalgia Forum

Tailpiece…

Leo is ready to boogie- fuel check and off. Bearded Ramsay, tall isn’t he, wandering past.

I’ve often wondered what Tony Alcock could have achieved in his second European stint, as most of you know he was in that plane, on that day, and in those circumstances with Graham Hill in 1975.

Finito…

(W Giles)

Barrie Garner settles himself before unleashing 3 litres of triple-carbed Holden power to the Lakeland tarmac, Bowin P3 Holden 1972…

Lakeland Hillclimb was operated by the Light Car Club of Australia, it was one of several ‘climbs in Melbourne’s outer suburbs or inner countryside depending upon your perspective- the others were Templestowe and Rob Roy, the latter is still operational after some decades of non-use.

Whilst the LCCA ran the meetings the land was owned by Jim Abbott, a motor racing entrepreneur whose interests included AutoSportsman magazine, the Melbourne Racing Car Show held at the Exhibition Buildings, Lakeland and other businesses.

Upon his death the Marque Sports Car Association ran some meetings for a couple of years before the required levels of upkeep became beyond them- ultimately Abbot’s widow sold the land which went to a developer who carved it into smaller rural allotments.

(silhouet.com)

 

Many of us recall the place well as spectators and/or competitors, it was a fun, challenging climb and great for club motorsport given its proximity to Melbourne. Ron Simmonds remembers competing there in his Cooper S in 1963’ish, I ran there in my road Alfa Sprint in either an Alfa Club or MSCA event in 1982/3 albeit by then open-meetings were long finished- i wonder when the last ever meeting was?

There was a time when hill-climbing was huge, attracting big crowds to see the circuit racing stars of the day testing their skills against the hillclimb specialists, perhaps the sport’s zenith was reached around the dawn of the sixties.

Despite that I can recall as a younger kid watching Lakeland on the teev in the early seventies – no doubt the touring car aces such as Peter Brock pulled good ratings.

Most of these photographs were taken by Wayne Giles who posted them on Bob Williamson’s Old Motor Racing Photographs Australia Facebook page well over a year ago. Whilst many of the shots are static, the cars are interesting and Wayne captures the mood, vibe and flavour of the times well.

Jim Abbot’s ex-Alec Mildren Racing Brabham BT23D’ then Oldsmobile powered (W Giles)

It seems apt to start with a photograph of ‘Squire’ Abbott’s Brabham BT23D Oldsmobile.

He positioned it as ‘Australia First F5000 Car’ when he acquired the 1968 Gold Star winning machine from Alec Mildren. It was first raced by Frank Gardner in the 1968 Tasman Series before Kevin Bartlett took it over to win the Gold Star, I’ve written about it before;

https://primotipo.com/2018/11/30/motori-porno-alfa-romeo-tipo-33-tasman-2-5-litre-v8/

Later iteration of the Abbott BT23D again at Lakeland in 1972- Paul King’s Malmark Elfin Vee alongside (P Robinson)

Chris Murphy bought it and modified it further for hillclimb use and died in it, sadly, at One Tree Hill, Ararat.

Restored by Paul Moxham in the nineties the car is now owned by Chas Kelly in Tasmania along with the ex-Clark/Geoghegan Lotus 39 Climax and one or two other nice things.

Frank Gardner in the Alec Mildren Racing Brabham BT23D Alfa Romeo 2.5 V8 at Longford in 1968- the last Longford (R MacKenzie)

 

Murray Bingham’s Bingham Cobra aka Porsche Cobra aka Porsche 904-8 ( W Giles)

Another car which passed through Abbott’s hillclimbing hands was the ex-works/Alan Hamilton Porsche 904-8.

In Abbott’s time it was Ford V8 powered and named ‘Porsche Cobra’- below its seen in wilder configuration, still Ford powered in Murray Bingham’s hands. Its ultimate spec was in ex-Bob Muir injected Chev F5000 form, a transplant which took place about a year after this 1972 photograph, Bingham was a talented driver who won the three round Australian Hillclimb Championship in 1972.

Click here for a feature on this car; https://primotipo.com/2015/08/20/alan-hamilton-his-porsche-9048-and-two-906s/;

Murray at Huntley Hillclimb in May 1973- Bingham the reigning AHC champion at the time, the car by then powered by an injected 5 litre Chev (G Logg)

 

(W Giles)

Another talented driver/engineer was Paul England.

The ex-Repco Research apprentice built the fabulous Ausca Holden sportscar with assistance from his buddies in Sydney Road, Brunswick and after a Cooper racing adventure in Europe he settled back into Melbourne establishing Paul England Engineering in Moonee Ponds. Click here for a bit about Paul;

https://primotipo.com/2015/05/20/aussie-miller-cooper-t41-climax-trevallyn-hillclimb-launceston-tasmania-1959/

Kerry Power keeping an eye on Paul’s takeoff at King Edward Park, Newcastle (D Wilson)

Amongst engine building, and providing support to many young thrusters- Tony Stewart, Larry Perkins and Peter Larner amongst others, England pursued his racing and engineering passions by building his Ausca VW series of supercharged and twin-engine cars- how many did he build?

He was quick too- taking the AHCC in 1970 at Mount Cotton Queensland and again over a four-round series in 1973 and 1974.

Rallycross was big at Catalina Park, in Sydney’s Blue Mountains and Calder to Melbourne’s north-west for a couple of years with the LCCA very kindly creating a hillclimb category to give the pensioned off beasts somewhere to run.

(P Shea)

The Holden Dealer Team Holden Torana LC GTR XU1 supercharged sports sedan/rallycross car is above with Peter Brock at the wheel.

Bob Watson’s 1970 rallycross Renault 8 Gordini below giving the sponsor a run for their money.

Didn’t they make some magic cars at the time? i couldn’t believe how good a 16TS was until I drove a mates ‘students car’ which was hardly in the full flush of youth at the time.

(W Giles)

In similar rally vein the 1972 Dulux Rally, which commenced in Queensland and finished in Melbourne, passed through Lakeland, inclusive of a timed run.

The car featured is David McKay’s Ford Capri RS2600, I wrote a feature about it a while back; https://primotipo.com/2015/04/09/australias-cologne-capris/

(W Giles)

 

(W Giles)

The former Australian Sportscar Champion, single-seater front runner, journalist and Scuderia Veloce owner had not lost his touch and drove his works Ford very well.

It was a winning car in his hands with more luck, the ‘small car big engine’ approach has been such an effective touring car formula down the decades hasn’t it?

David Wilson took this shot of the RS2600 in the Silverdale Hillclimb paddock during the Dulux. Soft plugs out, used driving between events, hot ones in? (D Wilson)

Also from Germany was Paul Older’s BMW 2002Ti- he was quite prominent especially on the circuits helping build the BMW brand in Australia- what became of him I wonder?

It is amazing how quickly BMW took a big slice of the market as they got the dealer network and product right from about circa 1970 and a bit.

(W Giles)

The sedans were ‘quirky’ things until the first 3 Series- the 6 cylinder variants were great cars- to me BMW ‘exploded’ here from about then- say 1979’ish.

And the very happy BMW customer I have been on three occasions. (325is, a sensational little car and now as rare as hens teeth, 325i Coupe manual and X5 tow-car and kiddy-shifter. The X5 was the most car like of trucks and did serious Melbourne to Wye River times being good fun on the Great Ocean Road, a stretch i got to know well in my Wye days)

(W Giles)

Heavy metal racing at Lakeland included two five litre Elfins- the 400 Ford sportscar of Terry Southall and MR5 Ford F5000 of Adelaide’s Stan Keen.

The Elfin 400 has had serious attention by me in two articles, one on Frank Matich’s first delivered car here; https://primotipo.com/2015/05/28/elfin-400traco-olds-frank-matich-niel-allen-and-garrie-cooper/

the other on the Southall chassis which was first owned and raced by Bob Jane and a lengthy roll call of drivers before being sold to Ken Hastings and then Southall- here; https://primotipo.com/2018/04/06/belle-of-the-ball/

(W Giles)

Stan’s MR5 was first raced, not for terribly long though, by John Walker- chassis ‘5724’ was sold before the 1972 Surfers Paradise Gold Star round to Stan when JW acquired a Matich A50 to which he fitted the Repco Holden engine and DG300 Hewland out of the MR5.

The A50 complied with the US L&M F5000 regs (in relation to bag fuel tanks i think) whereas the MR5 did not, Walker raced A50 ‘004’ in the US in 1973.

John Walker Elfin MR5 Repco fourth from Warwick Brown McLaren M10B Chev DNF and Max Stewart’s MR5 Repco DNF during the 1972 Adelaide International Tasman round won by David Hobb’s McLaren M22 Chev (I Smith)

Keen fitted a 5 litre Ford ‘Boss’ engine fed by four 48IDA Webers and raced the car extensively on both the circuits and hillclimbs all over Australia- he made his Gold Star debut in it during the October 1972 Adelaide International Gold Star round finishing sixth.

Did his later ‘Boral Ford’ sporty use many of the running bits of the Elfin or is that my memory playing tricks again?

Nice Lilydale and Dandenong Ranges vista, the Noel Devine LC XU1 exiting The Carousel (W Giles)

I’ve said before surely one of the greatest all-rounder touring cars in the world at the time was Holden’s six cylinder 3 and 3.3 litre Torana GTR XU1?

They won on the circuits, in sprint and endurance events, inclusive of the Bathurst 500, on the dirt- in both rallies and rallycross- Colin Bond won the Australian Rally Championship three times and Peter Lang once, and in the hills where they were the weapon of choice for many club racers.

The LC XU1 below, sponsored by Booran Motors, then a Caulfield Holden dealer in Melbourne was I think driven by Brique Reed- he of Elfin, Farrell and Asp Clubman racing and Elfin Owners Club fame.

(W Giles)

Sundries…

I’ve no idea who the drivers and in some cases what the cars are shown below, but am intrigued to find out if any of you can assist.

(W Giles)

Of ‘first generation’ Formula Vees in Australia the Elfin 500 and Rennmax Mk1 were probably, note the use of that word probably, the best chassis- both cars here are Elfin 500s, the blue one was raced by Jim Hutton and chassis ‘V669’ still owned by his family, whilst the other is in the colours of Ray Kelly- thanks to Sean O’Hagan for the FV identification work.

(W Giles)

Tried to buy a Honda S800 as a fifth or sixth form student, probably lucky I didn’t I suspect!

Way beyond my non-existent practical mechanical, as against theoretical mechanical skills at the time. Owner/driver folks?

(W Giles)

The Ford Escort Twin-Cam has to one of the ultimate road/club cars of the era too, always loved them but never quite got to buy one- 105 Series Alfa’s got in the way. Article here; https://primotipo.com/2017/06/30/twinc/

(W Giles)

No idea what these Clubman beasties are.

‘Blanchards’ (on the rear of the chubbie at left) were a Holden Dealer not far from Sandown, on the corner of Springvale and Dandenong Roads, Springvale. Graeme Blanchard was a punter of touring cars of some repute in the sixties and seventies- don’t know that he raced a Clubman, more likely he sponsored this fellow.

Etcetera…

(Beasy)

Some photographs of Brian Beasy’s self constructed Formula Ford which evolved into a very fast little car as the Kent engines specifications grew wilder and wheels and tyres wider.

Brian, both a racer and engineer of great talent was Lilydale local so no doubt knew Lakeland very well, see some of the LCCA hierarchy in the start shot below- names please- Doug Hicks at left?

(Beasy)

 

(Beasy)

Credits…

Wayne Giles, Richard Rodgers, Peter Shea, David Wilson, Grahame Logg, Rod MacKenzie, Ian Smith, Paul Robinson, Beasy Family Collection, Sean O’Hagan

(R Rodgers)

Tailpieces: Barrie Garner, Bowin P3 Holden…

Having started with Barrie’s immaculate, quick, unique ‘Holden Red’ six-cylinder powered Bowin, lets finish the same way.

The New South Welshman was not a regular visitor to the Victorian Hills so one can assume he was here for a championship event, perhaps a Victorian Hillclimb Championship round in 1972 or 1973.

Garner, Huntley May 1973 (G Logg)

Look out! Coming through kids!

(G Logg)

Again Huntley in May 1973, magic shot from Grahame Logg to finish the article?! The truth of the matter is that Barrie’s goggles are down so his run is over, but let’s not let that get in the way of a good line.

The sheer beauty and preparation of the Barrie Garner owned and prepared, John Joyce designed and built aluminium monocoque P3 is shown to good effect as well as the casual club feel of hill climbing.

Finito…

Repco Record NZ

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

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

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

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

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

repcorecordrear

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

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

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

recoord 1

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

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

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

Repco SCW 03

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

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

Repco Record 2014 PI

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

Specifications…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Repco AMS annual advert

Repco Record contemporary press ad. (Stephen Dalton Collection)

 

repco high power

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

Repco Hi-Power Head…

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

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

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

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

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

RepcoHi-Powerhead_preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

irving and england

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

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

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

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

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

hi power engine design

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

Etcetera…

record 2

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

 

hi power ad

repco record

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

 

repco price list

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

 

 

Credits…

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

Tailpiece…

(D Halpin Collection)

Love this shot of Phil Irving and Charlie Dean trying to keep a straight face during a Repco promotional shoot to promote their new head. FE Holden, lovely head, extractors and twin-Strombergs clearly visible.

Finito…

oz miller cooper tas hillclimb

(Guy Miller)

‘Austin Cooper always drove with enthusiasm’, here it’s written all over his face as he extracts all his Cooper T41 Climax has to offer on the way to achieving FTD…

The quote is attributed to noted Australian Historian John Blanden, this car one of 6 T41’s built for F2 racing in 1956. Chassis F2-2-56 fitted with a 1.5 litre SOHC Coventry Climax FWB engine was raced with some success by Ken Wharton before being shipped to Australia together with his Ferrari 750 Monza and Maserati 250F for the ‘Olympic Grand Prix’ meeting at Albert Park in 1956.

It was later taken to NZ for the 1957 GP meeting at Ardmore, near Auckland where Wharton was tragically killed in the sports car support event when his Monza rolled.

The car returned to the UK and was acquired from The Wharton Estate by roving Aussie engineer/racer Paul England on a racing holiday. He contested F2 events at Snetterton and Mallory Park as well as the 1957 German GP at the Nurburgring.

paul england nurburgring 1957

Paul England contesting the 1957 German GP, Nurburgring in the Cooper T41. DNF. England was a Repco trained engineer, builder of the ‘Ausca’ a fabulous Holden engined sports car special in which he had a circuit racing career ending accident at Phillip Island. He later formed a very successful engineering business, won multiple Australian Hillclimb Championships in self built cars and entered cars for, and assisted drivers such as Larry Perkins. (Unattributed)

At the end of the 1957 season the car was bought by Aussie Miller who was also visiting Europe. The Cooper came into Australia in bits along with various aircraft parts, Miller an agricultural pilot…as in a very good crop-dusting pilot! A Lotus 12 was also imported in bits for Ern Tadgell, the cars taking on the names ‘Miller Special’ and ‘Sabakat’ in the best traditions of motor racing thereby avoiding the ‘fiscal fiends’ punitive import taxes otherwise applicable to imported racing cars…

The Miller Spl first raced in Australia at Phillip Island in 1958, Aussie competed in circuit racing, sprints and hillclimbs achieving class firsts in the Victorian Road Racing Championships and Victorian Trophy.

Austin then progressed to an ex-Stan Jones Cooper T51 Climax, the T41 then passed through many hands and I believe is still in Australia.

Miller fitted a Chev V8 to the Cooper T51 and set an Australian Land Speed Record, that is another vastly interesting story about this amazing racing character, driver, publican and pilot…

miller spl albert park

Aussie Miller kissing the kerb in the ‘Miller Spl’ Cooper T41, Albert Park, November 1958. (Guy Miller)

Credits…

‘History of Racing Cars in Australia’ John Blanden, Guy Miller