Posts Tagged ‘Peter Brock’

Who would have thought our ‘Black Jack’ would be a street art star…

 But he is! Even if he looks a bit like his good mate Graham Hill, replete with moustache!

Brabham is depicted aboard his 1966 F1 World Championship winning chassis- the Repco ‘RB620 Series’ V8 powered Brabham BT19, click on the links for articles on this bolide at the end of the article.

The artist didn’t realise just how perfect the placement of this sizable work is. Its on a wall in Richmond only 1.5 Km or so from the Doonside Street, Richmond Repco factory where the first of the RB620 V8’s were built and burst into life prior to the shift of Repco Brabham Engines Pty Ltd to Maidstone, in Melbourne’s inner west, in early 1966.

I came upon the art by accident whilst on a walk, its funny the way sometimes these things happen in a serendipitous kinda way.

‘Dimmey’s was an iconic department store in Swan Street Richmond. Its been redeveloped in the last few years- thank the good lord above that the developer was forced to retain the buildings base structure and façade, with the usual, small dog-box apartments contained therein. The big mural is painted on the side of the Dimmeys building. Initially I thought the work was some sort of history of Richmond but its a timeline depiction of ‘Great Australians’ and Oz icons, of whom our Jack is definitely one.

Melburnians can check out the art and have some nice nosh closeby whilst you do so- see the work on the Green Street sidestreet wall, corner of Swan Street. It won’t last forever mind you, it ain’t guarded like the Mona Lisa, if you want a look do so soon before the ‘taggers’ attack it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It gives me the pip that in popular listings of ‘Great Australian Sportsmen’ Brabham never pops up in the top 10 or 20.

He is a member of the Sport Australia ‘Hall Of Fame’. To me, hopelessly biased as I am, Brabham’s triumphs in 1966/67, lets put to one side his Drivers Championship wins for Cooper in 1959 and 1960, make him the greatest of any Australian sportsman/athlete.

Don Bradman the cricketer is usually rated at #1, big deal, most of you globally will have never seen a game of cricket. You are lucky, it’s a dull, shit-boring invention of the Brits. Often a ‘Test Match’, the elite form of the game, goes for 5 days without a result. Cricket even makes modern Petite Prix racing look exciting!

Brabham, Ron Tauranac and Repco made the ‘bat and ball’ and then they went and belted the best in the world with it. No-one else comes close to Brabham as our #1- not Ken Rosewall, (tennis) Mark Ella, (rugby) Betty Cuthbert, (sprinter) Rod Laver, (tennis) Herb Elliott, (distance runner) Dawn Fraser (swimmer) or Bradman, none of ‘em match his achievements in my book…

Footnote…

In 1966/1967 Jack Brabham and Denny Hulme won the World Drivers Championship aboard Brabham BT19 and BT19/20/24 respectively. Brabham/Motor Racing Developments were the Champion Constructor in both years powered by Repco RB620 and RB740 Series 3 litre V8 engines.

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

https://primotipo.com/2014/11/13/winning-the-1966-world-f1-championships-rodways-repco-recollections-episode-3/

I’ve deliberately not captioned the mural shots- I don’t know all the names of the dudes depicted myself, so I’ve left it to Aussies to have some fun picking those people and events you can and wonder who/what the ones are you can’t identify! It’s great, do take the time to go and have a look.

Tailpiece…

 

 

 

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Colin Bond finessing the Holden Dealer Teams Holden Torana GTR XU1 Repco thru Murrays Corner, Bathurst, Easter 1973…

In fact ‘twas as much Brocky’s as Bondy’s as they tended to drive this Repco Holden F5000 V8 engined ‘Sports Sedan’ (Oz anything goes taxi category) in their home states. Peter Brock in Victoria and Bond in NSW. I ‘spose Holden Dealer Team chief Harry Firth worked out who drove the thing elsewhere.

By that stage Sports Sedans were starting to get a bit more scientific, check out my article on John McCormack’s Chrysler Valiant Charger Repco F5000 which provides both era context and some car specifics.

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This press shot a couple of days before the cars Sandown race debut in April 1973 shows the mid-mounted location of the cast iron Repco Holden F5000 V8, and change for the 4 speed Borg Warner ‘box, the engine cover provided some heat absorption, but not much! (M Bisset Collection/Melbourne Herald)

Harry decided to chase the ‘Toby Lee Sports Sedan Series’ $ at Oran Park and cobbled together this car which was the marriage of an LJ Torana chassis with a Repco Holden 500BHP injected F5000 V8, which was mounted right next to the driver to keep him warm.

Borg Warner T10 tranny, a Rose jointed solid, Watts linkage rear end and wishbone, coil sprung front end were suspension modes. Brakes were F5000 issue calipers clamping HQ Holden rotors front and rear.

The car began life in ’71 as an HDT Bathurst 500 Series Production car and in ’72 was Frank Kilfoyle’s rally car before being gutted for its new role, Chris De Fraga reported in ‘The Age’ before the cars debut as a Sports Sedan at Sandown on 13-15 April 1973.

It didn’t win too much in the way of major events but it was a massive crowd pleaser and fast with two of the countries best steerers twiddling its MoMo.

Back to Bathurst Easter ’73; Col Bond won all three of his races over the weekend in ‘The Beast’ with Peter Brock, in a good meeting for the Holden Dealer Team, sharing the Production Touring Car wins in an XU1 with John Goss’ Ford Falcon GT Coupe.

Credit…

Nigel Tait Collection/ Repco Ltd

Tailpiece: Brock at Calder, LC/LJ Toranas’ such a great looking car, the bellow of this injected V8 one not to be missed. Wheels are by Mawer Engineering in Sydney, very popular on Touring Cars and Clubmans of the day…

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jane

(Bryan Liersch)

Bob Jane leading his champion driver, Spencer Martin onto the Hume Weir dummy grid for his first race in ‘Bob’s baby’, his Elfin 400 Repco 4.4 V8, June Queens Birthday weekend 1967…

Martin was by then the reigning national Gold Star Champion. In fact he was half way through a year in which he won his second title on the trot, and then having achieved his motor racing aims retired from the sport at elite level’.

#85 in the background is the ex-Bib Stillwell, Tony Osborne owned Cooper Monaco Olds V8 driven by Ian Cook.

Click here for an interesting article on Spencer; https://primotipo.com/?s=spencer+martin

The inspiration for this article are a number of great shots of the Hume Weir circuit near the mighty Murray River and border of New South Wales and Victoria. The circuit, closed in 1977 won’t be on the radar of international enthusiasts although Jack Brabham and Roy Salvadori raced there during the Australian International races in the summer of ’61.

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Jack Brabham wins the ‘Craven A International’ in his Cooper T53 Climax in March 1961, love the ‘Fergy’ in the background, Hume Weir  (unattributed)

I knew the circuit, i just missed racing there, it was closed by 1979 when in bought my first Formula Vee, was built in a disused quarry which provided construction stone and gravel material to build the Hume Dam, particularly its retaining wall. Although a Victorian i am a Thredbo skier, a legacy of 9 years working in Sydney and for years summer and winter have driven from Melbourne along the stretch of road from Ebden to Tallangatta with Lake Hume to my left. From Khancoban where the Alpine Way starts is a phenomenal drive to Thredbo Village. This drive, in fact the whole journey from Albury through Corryong, Khancoban, Geehi and Dead Horse Gap to Thredbo is one of Australia’s great drives.

Watch the ‘coppers’ though they police it furiously, the area near Scammells Lookout, a must stop, is an area to stick to the limits in particular!

For years i have driven for miles with Hume Dam on my left and wondered about the Hume Weir project and researched it, some old shots i found are too good not to share.

So, this masterpiece comprises a piece about the building of the Hume Dam, the birth of its Hume Weir Circuit ‘love-child’, the history and some shots of the circuit and a bit about Bob Jane’s Elfin 400 the photos of which at Hume Weir inspired the article.

For my international friends, the ‘where the hell is he talking about?’ question is addressed by the map below, ‘Hume Weir Circuit’ is in red, the road to Thredbo is also there.

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1960’s aerial shot of Hume Weir circuit, dam and dam wall. At the bottom of the shot is ‘Scrub Corner’, the tightest hairpin in the country, then heading ‘up’ is the ‘Back Straight’ into the combination of corners called ‘The Loop’, then left (going down the page again) into ‘The Esses’ past the pit entry and onto the ‘Front Straight’, the start/finish line is at the start of which (Dallinger)

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Dean Street, Albury 1920’s (Dallinger)

Australia is the driest continent on the planet, as a consequence there have been some major infrastructure projects since Federation in 1901 to provide water for irrigation of crops and/or power. The Hume Dam is one, on much bigger scales are the Ord River Scheme in WA and most impressively and significantly the post-war Snowy Mountains Scheme in NSW.

Travelling the roads mentioned above gives some insights into the ‘Snowy the scale of this nation building post-war project, its one of the civil engineering wonders of the world, can only be experienced on the ground, its un-Australian not to experience it at some point in your life!

Explorers Hume and Hovell trekked through the area in 1824, Albury was first settled by Europeans in the 1840’s.

As early as 1863, it was clear that water management was needed to ease the boom and bust flows of the rivers. Lochs and weirs were advocated but when representatives of the three colonies impacted, NSW, Victoria and South Australia met in Melbourne, the talks came to nothing. Not much different to today really, when the Premiers meet. Difficulties with border customs, bridge and punt tolls, along with self interest made necessary compromises between the parties impossible.

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Albury/Bethanga Bridge construction 1920’s (Dallinger)

After Federation (when the colonies joined to form a country) in 1901 a more global view of national priorities was capable of being made and after consideration of 25 sites the present one was chosen.

The factual material which follows is a truncated version of a paper by Joe Wooding for the ‘Albury & District Historical Society’ on construction of Hume Dam.

To build a reservoir, lots of land is needed, in this case, prime river frontage. 15,582 acres in NSW  and 87,268 in Victoria. Not everyone was pleased with the compensation offered, the lawyers were happy though as the courts were ‘chockers’ with disputes for over a decade.

Construction commenced in November 1919, soon tent cities sprang up on both sides of the river. More permanent buildings were soon erected. On the Victorian side, the hamlet of Mitta Junction, became known as Ebden Weir and the site for operations.The higher ground in NSW was called Hume Weir, started from nothing. In 1920, the title Hume Weir was officially bestowed on the whole project in honour of the explorer.
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Relatively early works, 1920’s (Dallinger)

Massive amounts of infrastructure were needed. I must admit to always being amazed at what was built with the equipment available in earlier times. (noting the Pyramids scale of achievement!)
A metalled road from the main road at Wirlinga, now Old Sydney Road was built to the site. A Hume Weir rail siding was established from which vast amounts of stores, equipment and cement were conveyed to the NSW work site by a fleet of 10 solid rubber tyred Thornycroft motor lorries. In Victoria, a branch from the Wodonga to Cudgewa rail line was laid to Mitta Junction. A road bridge to link the two villages spanned the Murray just below the work site.
Two quarries were established. The one in Victoria provided earth fill and clay for the embankment and later the site for the Hume Weir circuit. Originally, 2 steam locos were used to haul trucks along the earthen bank, 8 were added later. The rail tracks were constantly re-laid as the bank grew. Two steam grab cranes were used in early excavation work at the quarry. Two ‘navvies’ were deployed, steam cranes which ran on the rail system. Much of this equipment was brought from Nagambie and Eildon. Over 500 horses were  used to haul monkey-tailed scoops and drays.
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Horses still had a role despite modern construction techniques of the day (Dallinger)

In NSW the stone quarry is on Hawksview Hill. Four steam locos and numerous trucks were brought from Burrinjuck. The rail system was extensive, rails ran to and from the quarry and the Bethanga Bridge site. Rail was also used inside the coffer dam to service the spillway foundation excavations.

Steam power was widely used, some of the machinery was extraordinary. In NSW two huge cement mixers capable of producing 900 cubic yards per day were operated. The crusher was a 30 ton Hadfield made in Sheffield, England. It was unloaded at the weir rail siding and with great difficulty, transported to the quarry by 2 large steam traction engines.
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(unattributed)

A flying fox spanned the river from east to west with a large steel cable 400m long. The cables were attached in such a way allowing coverage of almost the entire work site. 300 tons of concrete blocks were used as ballast on the mobile pylon. A trolley was attached to the cable, enabling loads of up to 10 tons to be placed almost anywhere on the work site. The Bucyrus steam shovel was capable of lifting 3½ cubic yards and the only machine on site using caterpillar tracks.
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(Dallinger)

‘The process of using crushed rock rather than smooth river gravel and adding large rock individually, produces ‘cyclopean concrete’. A 750mm wide concave rubberized conveyor belt carried the concrete, which could be retrieved at any point, by concrete shutes, for placement at the work site. Belts were pressure cleaned for their return journey. The huge rocks, some weighing up to 10 tons, called ‘plums,’ were cleaned with a high pressure hose before being individually craned into the wet concrete. Some were completely buried, but many were left half exposed to ‘key in’ the next batch of concrete. Steel reinforcing was only used near the top of the spillway. The structure is about 17% rock. At its base, the wall is 32m thick and double that if you take in the dissipater wall’.

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Dam wall 1927, looking at the Murray upstream (unattributed)

‘As well as road works in the villages, other amenities were provided. Residences, barracks, stores, recreation halls, a post office and police presence were established. Electricity was installed for lighting only and turned off at 11pm. A Church of England was transported in. A casualty ward, a doctor with a phone and car were provided. Dances and pictures, obviously silent, as ‘talkies’ were not seen in Albury until 1928. The school had 66 pupils in 1921. The baker, milkman, greengrocer and butcher called regularly as did the ice man. Sport attracted many of course’.

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Dam wall work progression (unattributed)

Manual labour was harsh with a 48 hour week, later reduced to 44 hours. Picks, shovels and
bare hands were often the only method of filling drays. Returned soldiers from the Great War
were given preference for employment, followed by married men. Estimated numbers of
workmen employed varies greatly with about 1000 cited. At the peak of construction around 1927, numbers given were Victoria 355, NSW 650, Bethanga Bridge 89. With a large workforce and dangerous working conditions, accidents were a reality, with total fatalities estimated at 6-9 people.
The Weir was officially opened by the Governor-General, Lord Gowrie, on November 21 1936
 ‘by closing an electric valve control circuit which released the water through two giant needle valves…the greatest irrigation work in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the most important in the world. It cost £5,550,000 to construct, and is located nine miles from Albury’ The Albury Banner’ said.
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Dam opening ceremony in 1936 (Dallinger)

In 1957, the Power Station was completed with 2 turbines now capable of producing 58 Mw which is not large in the electricity industry. As a comparison, Albury’s peak demand for summe of 2013 was 110 Mw.

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The 1960s saw a large increase in the weir’s pondage necessitating additional works on the
dam. One aspect was to open the old stone quarry and supply thousands of tons of granite to
stabilize the clay bank of the earthen wall.
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Wirlinga…

Hume Weir wasn’t the first circuit in the Albury area, Wirlinga was.

A public roads layout of 6.79K, roughly rectangular shape using Thurgoona, St Johns and Bowna Roads as well as the Riverina Highway was used. 14km  from the centre of Albury, the track was used several times before WW2. Rather than get lost in that tangent now, tempting though it is, we will come back to Wirlinga another time.

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Car #22 is Alf Barrett’s Morris Bullnose Spl. #3 Tim Joshua’s Frazer Nash TT Replica, #4 Hope Bartlett’s MG Q Type,  #6 Jack Phillips winning Ford V8 Spl, Wirlinga 1938 (Dallinger)

The 150 mile ‘Interstate Grand Prix’ (called the ‘Albury Grand Prix’ in the Sydney Morning Herald report of the 1939 race) was run on 19 March 1938. The ‘Albury and Interstate Gold Cup’ was run on 12 June 1939. Both handicap races were won by local Wangaratta boy, Jack Phillips Ford V8 Spl. The track wasn’t used post war.

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The lower pic shows Les Murphy in the O’Dea MG P Type from Colin Dunne’s similar car and George Bonser’s Terraplane Spl, help wanted in relation to the cars in the upper shot  Wirlinga 1938 (Dallinger)

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‘Sydney Morning Herald’ 13 June 1939

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Typically parched Australian summer, 1970’s. Hume Weir wall middle right and Great Dividing Range clear  (unattributed)

Hume Weir Circuit…

Hume Weir was enormously popular in the immediate area, in fact depending upon the year the locals were served by Tarrawingee, Winton outside Benalla and the ‘Weir.

When the circuit was leased from the Hume Dam authority by the Albury and District Car Club the members initially established an unsurfaced layout which was first raced on 2 November 1959. It was lengthened to 1.1 miles during the year, first used sealed for the Christmas meeting on December 12 1959.

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Cars race at one of the earlier meetings on the original dirt layout, Hume Weir 1959 (unattributed)

The financial support of Gold Star champion Len Lukey’s and his ‘Lukey Mufflers’ business allowed the amenities to be improved sufficiently to hold the 1961 international event. The ‘weir only got the gig, historian Stephen Dalton records as negotiations with PIARC to use Phillip Island fell over.

The 1961 program comprised an ambitious 21 events held on the Sunday and Monday 12 and 13 March, they were mainly short races with the feature ‘Craven A International’s 20 lappers on each day.

The meeting was contested by Brabham, Salvadori, Bib Stillwell, Bill Patterson, Austin Miller and Jon Leighton. It wasn’t a big field; Moss had long since left the country, as had the BRM drivers Hill, Gurney and Ron Flockhart and his Cooper.

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This shot shows the two sections of the track separated by a narrow strip of concrete, March 1961 meeting perhaps (unattributed)

Brabham.

The Internationals that summer were raced at Warwick Farm, Ballarat Airfield in Victoria and Longford and won by Moss Lotus 18 Climax, Gurney BRM P48 and Roy Salvadori’s Cooper T51 Climax respectively.

The Longford meeting was on March 5, Brabham and Salvadori travelled back to Melbourne from Tasmania, the Coopers towed up the Hume Highway, the main Melbourne/Sydney artery to contest the ‘Craven A Internatioanals’ at Hume Weir on 12 and 13 March. No doubt it gave Jack an opportunity to catch up with his family in Sydney.

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Brabham’s Cooper T53 Climax out front of its Albury digs, Gabriel Motors.  (Border Mail)

It was all fairly casual, Jack’s car was accompanied by his mechanic and a driver for the towcar, an FC Holden Station Wagon and was maintained at a local Esso servo/workshop.

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Brabham’s Cooper T53 during his victorious March 1961 weekend (unattributed)

Jack won the race on the Sunday by just 0.9 sec from Patterson the reigning Gold Star champion and Bib Stillwells Cooper T51’s in his T53.’The last 3 laps saw the leaders in the esses together and the crowd was wild with excitement as it was still anybody’s race but Jack Brabham showed championship form and held off the challenge to win’ said the Border Mails report.

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(Border Mail)

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Austin Miller’s distinctive yellow Cooper T51 Climax perhaps chasing Jon Leighton’s Cooper T45 and Roy Salvadori’s T51 during the Sunday race in which they were 4/5/6th (unattributed)

On Monday ‘Brabham streeted the field in the international cup race and set a lap record of 51.2 seconds, a time equated to 147kmh’. ‘Twas again a Cooper 1-3 JB winning from Stillwell and Jon Leighton in Cooper T51 and T45 respectively.

With that both internationals jumped on a plane for the UK, their first event the Lombank Trophy at Snetterton which Jack won in his Cooper T53, Roy was 5th in a similar car.

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Brabham T53 just in front of Patterson T51 in Sunday’s race closing stages (unattributed)

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(Border Mail)

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The short nature of the circuit perhaps mitigated against its use for championship events having said that it hosted a round of the Australian F2 Championship from 1973-76 with later multiple Gold Star winner Alfredo Costanzo setting the all-time lap record in a Birrana 274 Hart 1.6 F2 car on 15 June 1975. In 1976 the circuit also held a round of the Australian Sports Car Championship, fundamentally though it is a circuit which is fondly remembered by club racers of both bikes and cars and spectators of course.

The circuit was essentially ‘killed-off’ by CAMS with ever increasing and more difficult safety requirements which the owner/promoters couldn’t afford. There was a section where the cars passed each other separated by a concrete wall which was of particular concern.

The last race meeting was held on 27 March 1977 although the track was used as part of the Alpine Rally which was run out of Bright, not too far away. Every now and again a ‘comp sec’ of a car club convinced CAMS to issue a permit for a ‘sprint event’ but essentially another circuit was lost, a real shame as the usual causes; noise in a built up area or urban encroachment which simply made the entreaties of property developers irresistible to circuit owners didn’t apply in this rural area.

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(Dallinger)

The photo above nicely juxtaposes the Dam with the circuit which is clear to see above the dam wall in the middle of the picture, plenty of water about in this shot! At present it is as dry as!

Molina Monza Holden Spl.

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You get a sense of just what a magnificent natural ampitheatre the circuit was, most of but not all of the circuit could be seen from one place. This is the Molina Monza Holden Spl, the shot isn’t dated so not sure who the driver is. The car’s specifications are outlined in this article amongst other Oz cars; https://primotipo.com/2015/05/13/shifting-gear-design-innovation-and-the-australian-car-exhibition-national-gallery-of-victoria-by-stephen-dalton-mark-bisset/

Perkins.

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(Dick Simpson)

Larry Perkins in the ‘boonies’ at ‘Scrub Corner’ on 28 December 1969 early in his career, car is characteristically a Perkins Vee. He is looking for a marshall to help him back to terra firma.

He was in F1 in a private Ensign nee Boro in 1975. This is early days tho, his early break was to get one of Bib Stillwell’s Elfin 600FF seats in 1971 taking the ‘Driver to Europe’ series. He stayed in Oz for ’72 and raced an Elfin 600B/E Ford to win the national F2 title. He then took Garrie Cooper’s first Elfin 620FF to the Formula Ford Festival at Snetterton at the end of the year, contesting the Festival with a few other Aussies and then stayed in the UK. F3 in 1973 and the rest is history…

Brock.

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Peter Brock ahead of Lynn Brown’s Cooper S, these are ‘Sports Sedans’, anything goes sedans with Brock and Brown two of the sports finest pracitioners of the art. Brocky is young and made his Holden ‘Red’ 6 cylinder engined A30 sing, his performances in it resulted in Harry Firth, fine judge of talent picking him up as a Holden Dealer Team driver. Brock took his first Bathurst win in 1972.

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Brock, Birrana 273 Ford, Hume Weir 22 April 1973 (Robert Davies)

‘Peter Perfect’ only did one fullish season in single-seaters in this ex-works Birrana 272 Ford, its the very first of Tony Alcock’s monocoque cars. A good car but it didn’t have a Hart Ford engine, and the competition was hot in 1973-5 in F2, Brocky quickly went back to Holdens. A great pity, a natural driver of great smoothness, finesse and throttle control; oh to have seen Brock in a Repco Holden engined F5000 in the 1970’s!

Hansford.

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(unattributed)

Greg Hansford blasts onto the main straight 1977. Kawasaki KR750 water-cooled 2 stroke.

Beechey.

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(Bowdens)

Beechey changed from Holden to Ford running this ex-works Series Production Ford Falcon GTHO Ph3 with some cash from Ford in 1972. Here he is in April, DNF with clutch failure. Ford apparently then changed their minds wanting Norm to return the car and money they paid him, Norm telling them unsurprisingly to ‘jam it’.

Bartlett.

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(Bruce Wells)

Kevin Bartlett in polo-shirt at the wheel of the works Lynx BMC, the Curl-Curl  kid was on his way! Lotus 20 behind i think. Year anyone?

Bikes.

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(John Small)

Jim Budd and Roger Hayes Team Avon Kawasaki’s lead the 1 hour production race at the ‘weir in November 1977. Third is Jeff Parkin and then Alan Hales both on Suzuki’s. Hot work in the heat.

Jane.

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(oldracephotos.com)

Bob giving his factory Shelby built Mustang Trans-Am plenty during the 1970 Christmas ‘Weir meeting. His new Chevy Camaro 427 cannot be too far away, Norm Beechey took the 1970 ATCC in his Holden Monaro GTS350 but Jano won it in 1971/2 in the same car with a 427 in ’71 and ‘tiddly’ 350 small block in 1972.

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(Dick Simpson)

Bob was back with another new toy in 1971, one of his finest, the John Sheppard built Holden Torana into which was slotted one of the 4.4 litre SOHC ‘620 Series’ Repco V8’s once fitted to the Elfin 400 pictured below. CAMS didn’t allow it to compete with the wing for long, check out the Vees in the Weir ‘form up’ or dummy grid area in the background. This car was mainly raced by John Harvey, in ’71 Bob focused on the Camaro and winning the ATCC. The car is still around albeit Chev engined and in need of restoration.

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(oldracephotos.com)

Bob Jane didn’t race his Elfin 400 too much, it was mainly driven by his drivers; Spencer Martin, Ian Cook and Bevan Gibson. Here in early 1968 at Hume Weir Jane is ahead of a Lotus 11, Meyers Manx beach buggy! and, is it an Elva Courier. These big Elfins are sensational cars, i wrote a long article about them a while back, click here to read it;

https://primotipo.com/2015/05/28/elfin-400traco-olds-frank-matich-niel-allen-and-garrie-cooper/

400 rear

It’s interesting to see racing cars in the context of their day to gauge the impact they had on people, how ‘other worldly’ and fast they looked. Seeing them at historic race meetings is not the way the populace saw them at the time.

This shot does that in spades and the fair citizens of Conmurra Avenue, Edwardstown, an Adelaide suburb had seen plenty of cars leave the Elfin factory in their street. This one clearly captured their attention all the same.

That WOW! factor we all still experience at the sight of something really special, mind you, these days it’s usually the ‘WOW! Ugly as a Hatful of Arseholes’ impact rather than ‘WOW! Beautiful’. Such is the impact of cad-cam and the aerodynamicists ‘art’ on free flowing curvaceous forms.

The Mini 850 and Holden ‘EH’ on the typically Aussie outer suburban street nicely juxtapose the body of Elfins first ‘big-banger’ sports car with contemporary ‘roadies’ of the day.

WOW! indeed.

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Elfin built four Elfin 400’s, all with different engines, the first completed was the Frank Matich Elfin 400/ Traco Olds featured in the article link above.

This car is about to be delivered to Bob Jane Racing in Melbourne in early 1967 in time for the sports car events which were a part of each years Tasman rounds.

It’s the first 4.4litre Repco ‘620 Series’ V8 fitted to a car, the engine developed in parallel with the 1966 Championship winning 3 litre variant of the same engine, victorious in Jack Brabhams hands that year.

In fact it is the first customer Repco engine sold, the first fitted to a sports car and the first fitted to a car built in Australia, Brabhams were built in the UK. So, significant in Repco’s’ history.

400 front

The SOHC 2 valve, Olds block, Lucas injected engine produced around 400bhp@8000rpm, enough in Australia, but not elsewhere in the world at the time, where big Chevs were dominant. In 1965/66 the Lola T70 was the ‘ducks guts’ in Group 7 sports car racing but the McLaren M6A appeared in 1967, from that moment the record books were attacked by the McLaren steamroller until the end of 1971 when Porsche ‘rained on their parade’ with the 917/10 and 917/30 turbo’ cars.

As stated above this car was raced by Jane himself, Ian Cook and Bevan Gibson. Unfortunately it was the car in which Bevan flipped on Conrod Straight, Bathurst at the Easter 1969 meeting, killing the promising young driver instantly.

Frank Matich was dominant in his range of sports cars in Australia into 1967, pickings at championship level were slim when FM was present. Matich’s Elfin 400 Traco Olds delivered its promise and his own SR3’s were almost identical in terms of chassis to the Elfin 400 if not the body.

The ex-Jane 400 is now restored and owned by Elfins’ Bill Hemming.

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Hamilton Porsche 906 Spyder, Spencer Martin Elfin 400 Repco and Bevan Gibson Lotus 15 Climax, Hume Weir, Queens Birthday weekend 1967. Somewhat poignant shot given Bevan is to die in the car beside him 2 years later. Gibson made the families Lotus 15 Climax absolutely sing, it was his drives in this old car which earned him the Bob Jane drive (Bryan Liersch)

Bibliography…

Joe Wooding ‘Albury & District Historical Society’ paper on construction of Hume Weir

‘Elfin Sports and Racing Cars’ John Blanden and Barry Catford, Elfin Sports Cars Facebook page

Photo Credits…

Bryan Liersch, Bob Mills Collection, Dick Simpson, John Small, oldracephotos.com, Bowdens, Bruce Wells Collection, Robert Davies, Bowdens

John J Dallinger’s stunning collection of Albury photographs

Tailpieces: Family, fun day out at the Weir…

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(unattributed)

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Hume Weir humpy Holden mayhem (Dick Simpson)

 

moffat capri sandown

Robert Davies captures Alan Moffat is his Ford ‘Cologne Capri’ RS3100, exiting ‘Dandy Road’ upon its Australian debut, at the Sandown Tasman meeting February 1975…

Whilst Alan Moffats’ car is well known by most Australian enthusiasts, the factory RS2600 campaigned by David Mckay in the 1972 Dulux Rally is a bit more obscure, we will come back to Moffats’ car, McKays’ was the first to appear.

mc kay 2 finish of dulux

David McKay with Ford RS2600 Capri, Dallas Brooks Hall, Melbourne at the end of the 1972 Dulux Rally. (David McKays Scuderia Veloce)

David McKay was an ex-racer of world class, the most influential Australian motoring journalist of his time and boss of Scuderia Veloce, retailer of Ferraris’ and other exotica and a team which ran some of Australia’s’ best cars and drivers. https://primotipo.com/2014/07/03/pete-geoghegan-ferrari-250lm-6321-bathurst-easter-68/ and https://primotipo.com/2015/04/02/ferrari-p4canam-350-0858/

The Dulux Rally was a unique event in the World, whilst influenced by the Tour de France was different in that competitors faced both the challenges of dirt rallying and circuit racing. The Rally only lasted 2 years, such was the cost of running an event over 2 weeks commencing in Queensland and finishing in distant Victoria.

The Dulux was promoted and run by the Sydney based ‘Australian Sporting Car Club’ and worked commercially due to the support of ICI Australia, whose research showed the most effective way to promote the name change of ‘Balm Paints’ to ‘Dulux’ to the trade in 1971 was via motorsport. Re-finishers, panel and paint shop proprietors were interested in motorsport, so the key commercial support to get quite a radical event off the ground was made.

dulux rally route

Not exactly the same events as 1971 but similar in 1972, and a lot of ground to cover!

McKay very successfully ran an Alfa 1750 GTV powered by the 2 litre race engine out of his friend Brian Foleys’ ex-factory GTAm circuit racer, a veritable 210bhp wolf in sheeps clothing in 1971…McKay finished 2nd to Colin Bonds’ factory Holden Torana ‘LC’ GTR-XU1. No mean feat as Bond was one of Australia’s most versatile drivers; a winner in open wheelers, on the dirt and on the circuits as both multiple Australian Rally Champion and a winner of the Bathurst 500 and many other circuit races.

mc kay hume weir

McKay racing to victory at Hume Weir circuit near Albury. Compare the ‘race or tarmac spec’ of the RS2600 with the rally shot below. Car sans front spoiler in this shot. (David McKays’ Scuderia Veloce)

For 1972 McKay was keen on a more competitive mount, the nature of the various hats he wore and his capabilities meant he was attractive to all of the local manufacturers/importers. McKay was invited to breakfast with Fords CEO Australia, Bill Bourke, on his departure from Australia who asked if there was anything he could do for McKay in his new appointment elsewhere in the Ford empire.

McKay recalled ‘Ford were running V6 Capris’ in European Rallies and perhaps Bill Bourke could collar one which wouldn’t be missed in time for the ’72 Dulux? This he did together with a mechanic to look after a car which had been run by Ford France. Howard Marsden (head of Fords racing program in Australia) was enthused and turned on his Ford works crew’.

rs 2600 cutaway

Evolution of these cars explained in the text. 1972 spec RS2600; pushrod OHV, fuel injected V6 engine modified by Weslake in the UK. Ultimate race engines produced circa 320bhp@7300rpm from 2995cc, the standard engine 2637cc and 150bhp. 5 speed ‘box, LSD. (Bruno Betti)

hermann mt mc ginn 240z

Edgar Hermanns’ factory Datsun 240Z, the Japanese factory a big supporter of Australian Rallying for a decade or so. Navigator Roger Bonhomme. Here the car is being serviced at the Mt Ginn stage outside Canberra. (Green Machine)

The 1972 Dulux entry was not large at 27 carsbut included International, Edgar Herrmann in a factory Datsun 240Z, Colin Bond and Peter Brock in factory Torana GTR XU1’s both of whom were equally at home on tar or dirt, Australian Rally Champion Bob Watson in a Renault 8 Gordini, Stewart McLeod, XU-1 and Bruce Hodgson, Ford Escort Twin Cam and many other top drivers.

The rally commenced after a run from Brisbane to Grafton at Surfers Paradise Raceway.

The Capri had a high speed miss which cost power, McKay finished 3rd on a track tailor made for the car. Due in Sydney on the second night, David organised the SV Team to be on hand to rectify the problem, there, out of the rain which had accompanied the rally since it’s start, a condenser was identified as the cause of the misfire and fixed.

With full power the car won the Silverdale Hillclimb and night racing at Oran Park, then a circuit on Sydney’s Western outskirts. This put a smile on Ford fans faces and gave General Motors Holden and their Torana’s cause for concern…

McKay also won the Dapto Hillclimb, having time to divert to visit his ailing mother in Bowral Hospital enroute to Canberra!

mc kay mt mc ginn stage

Chassis number of this car unknown but campaigned by Ford France before imported to Australia by Ford Australia for McKays’ use in this event. Car is being fettled to ‘dirt spec’ for the Mt Ginn stage. Note difference in tyres and ride height, later to be an issue. McKay concerned about the surface, tar had been laid on top of dirt elected not to contest the Mt Ginn event which was won by Colin Bonds’ XU-1 Torana. (Green Machine)

brock from hermann

Hermann and Brock had fun, the 240Z in front of Peters’ Holden Torana XU-1. Torana like the Capri, a versatile car at home on track or trail.Winner of both the Australian Rally Championship (Bond) and Bathurst 500 (Brock). Mt Ginn, Canberra. (Green Machine)

McKay ‘passed’ as he put it on the Mount Ginn event, ‘spitting the dummy’ over the condition of the track surface, even protesting the organisers conducting the Mt Ginn activity at all…he could do so as the Capri was comfortably in the lead at the time.

Based in Albury, on the New South Wales/Victorian border for several nights the car won the circuit events at Hume Weir, another lost circuit, and several nights of rallying. ‘The Capri was very quick on dirt surprising both (navigator) Garry Connelly who was doing the navigating and myself but it wasn’t to last’.

‘Apparently the wide Goodyear Ultragrips should have been fitted with tubes to give some protection against deflation over the rocky outcrops and we had tyre problems on one section. On another a rear coil spring became detached from its mountings and pierced a tyre. The final blow was hitting a rocky ridge in the middle of the dirt road with the front cross member and pushing the lot back out of alignment. ‘

‘No-one else had noticed the ridge, all driven safely over it as we had expected to do. In our jubilation after the wins at Hume Weir earlier in the day we had inadvertently forgotten to reset the ride height, consequently we were rallying with race track settings and it took the Ford boys a long time to straighten out the mess’.

rs 2600 warragul

This shot of the Capri being fuelled at Warragul, Gippsland, Victoria, en-route to Phillip Island shows the ‘fun of the fair’ and the interest in the cars during the events long trip from Queensland to Victoria. (motorsportarchive.com)

The Torana’s therefore skipped off into the distance. On the final leg towards Melbourne the Capri won a 20 lapper at Phillip Island, lapping the Torana’s, McKay finally able to use its ‘moonshot 5th gear’ on the Islands’ long main straight.

The event finished at Melbourne’s Dallas Brooks Hall, the two ‘works’ Holden Torana ‘LJ’ XU-1’s first and second from Stewart McLeod third, McKay and Connelly seventh in the exotic Cologne Capri.

The car does not seem to have been rallied again but passed into the hands of Melbournes’ Graham ‘Tubby’ Ritter, a noted engineer/driver who mated the car with donor parts from the March 751 F5000 left in Australia by John Cannon, the engine, gearbox, suspension, and brakes all used in the cars conversion to a ‘Sports Sedan’, the March tub was attached to a VW transmission and sent to New Zealand to deal with the import duty issue which otherwise arose…

If memory serves the cars injected 5 litre Chev was later ‘twin-turboed’, if any reader knows of this RS2600’s ultimate destiny i am intrigued to know.

big_6184_N_Ritt_77

Ex McKay ‘Cologne Capri’ RS2600 after transformation into a ‘Sports Sedan’ by Graham Ritter in Melbourne. Sports Sedans in essence an unlimited Sedan class. Major mechanicals ex-John Cannon March F5000 car. 1977 Sandown Park. (oldracephotos)

1973 RCN cover

RCN’s January 1973 cover featured the ’72 Dulux Rally, cars featured the Bond Torana, Hermann 240Z and, hard to pick RS2600 night racing at Oran Park. (Stephen Dalton)

Moffats RS3100…

Alan Moffat made his name in Australia as one of our greatest touring car drivers but was born in Canada and emigrated to Australia with his father who was posted here for career reasons in the early 1960’s.

Moffat commenced racing in Australia in a Triumph TR3A and progressed to a Lotus Cortina bought from Team Lotus at the end of 1964, Moffat having worked with the team in the United States.

His racing of the Cortinas in both Australia and in the US is a story in itself, suffice it to say that at the end of 1967 he was competitive enough to be invited to join Ford’s KarKraft as a development driver.

moffat lotus cortina texas

Moffat in his ex Allan Mann Racing Lotus Cortina contesting the TransAm race at Green Valley, Texas in 1967. Aussie Lotus Cortina exponent Jim McKeown was assisting Moffat at this stage. (Jerry Melton)

Ford was fully committed to the TransAm Series to promote its image. It was a hotbed of competition with Shelby American representing Ford. Allan co-drove the first two rounds (Daytona 24-Hours, Sebring 12-Hours) of the 1968 Trans Am, with Horst Kwech, the car did not finish either race.

He returned to Australia to work for Bob Jane after Jane purchased a genuine 1968 ex Shelby Trans Am Mustang, Allan returned to Detroit in early 1969 and met with Jack Passino, Ford Racing Director who organised a brand new 1969 Trans-Am Boss Mustang.

Moffat brought the car to Australia and with support from Coca-Cola in one of the first commercial deals of its type in here and raced the car as a professional becoming one of the most iconic car/driver combinations in Australia.

Moffat and the Trans Am won 101 of its 157 starts but ironically not the coveted Australian Touring Car Championship for which it was intended, ATCC rule changes forced the Mustang into the Sports Sedan category. The Mustang was competitive but with new rule freedoms during 1974 wins became fewer, against the mid engined cars now being developed. Moffat, to his eternal credit chose not to ‘hack the car about’, one of only 7 genuine factory 1969 Trans Ams’…but he needed a competitive mount to replace the famous car. His immaculate Ford connections secured one of the works Capri RS3100’s at the end of Fords successful 1974 European Touring car championship campaign…

This is a slightly truncated version of Mark Oastlers tremendous article about the car in ‘Shannons’ magazine…if you have a hankering for Touring Cars its worth signing up to the Shannons site just to get access to Oastlers’ excellent articles, http://www.shannons.com.au/club/

moffat mustang

Moffat in his TransAm Mustang leads Bob Jane in the almost equally iconic Camaro, the latter powered by an aluminium big block Chev…and whether in 427 aluminium or 350 iron block usually had the legs on Moffats smaller, lighter and better handling Boss 302 Windsor  engined Mustang. Occasional 351 outings noted! Oran Park , Sydney circa 1971. (Unattributed)

Why Ford built the ultimate RS

‘The catalyst for creation of the RS 3100 was the 1973 ETCC, when BMW fended off a gallant season-long challenge by Ford’s less powerful RS 2600 Capris to win the prestigious title.

BMW had caught Ford by surprise that year by equipping its 3.5 litre CSL coupe with a huge boot-mounted inverted rear wing, made even more effective by a full-width scoop mounted along the rear edge of the roof to feed it clean air flow for maximum downforce. Not surprisingly, the big CSL coupe soon earned the nickname ‘Batmobile’!

Ford rightly figured that to overcome the CSL challenge in 1974, the Capri would firstly require more power. However, the RS 2600’s German 2.6 litre V6 engine, which had already been bored out to 2.9 litres capacity and was producing around 320 bhp, had reached the peak of its development.

By comparison, the capacity of BMW’s potent 3.0 litre in-line six had been increased to 3.5 litres under the FIA’s liberal Group 2 rules, providing a big power advantage over the Fords. The obvious answer was a switch to the larger capacity 3.1 litre British-built Essex V6 as used in UK-built Capris.

The CSL’s inverted rear wing also provided a considerable edge in traction and high speed stability so Ford had no choice but to join the aero wars with a large rear spoiler of its own. Wind tunnel and track testing of various designs proved how effective a large ducktail spoiler could be.

As a result, Ford committed to production of a ‘homologation special’ called the RS 3100 that would serve as the road-going production basis for its full-house Group 2 competition cars for the 1974 ETCC attack.

Built in a batch of 250 (the minimum number required for FIA homologation) the British-built RS 3100 came with front and rear spoilers and the 3091cc Essex V6. Use of this engine of course would allow the 1974 race car to increase its engine capacity to 3.5 litres to match the BMW.

The small batch of RS 3100 road cars went on public sale in November 1973 with FIA homologation approved on January 1, 1974. Surprisingly perhaps, these rare homologation cars proved hard to sell. Evidence of that fact is that 50 of the 250 built were shipped to Australia as late as June 1974 where they were eventually sold through selected Ford dealers.

ford gaa v6

Ford Cosworth GAA 3.4 litre DOHC, 4 valve fuel injected V6. Circa 420bhp @ 8500 rpm and 280 lb/ft of torque at 7000rpm. Cast iron block, aluminium Cosworth heads.

Cosworth to the rescue

Michael Kranefuss was the man in charge of Ford’s ETCC program. Given Ford’s long and successful association with Cosworth, in particular its 3.0 litre V8 DFV Formula One engine, he approached the Northhampton firm to design the new RS 3100 race engine. Initial discussions between Ford and Cosworth about this engine had started back in 1972.

The Group 2 rules required use of the manufacturer’s standard cylinder block, but a timely change that allowed use of alternative cylinder heads for 1974 left Cosworth with the task of designing new aluminium heads with dual overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder and an initial power target of 400-plus bhp.

The Cosworth GAA-V6 was designed by Keith Duckworth and Mike Hall, featuring cast aluminium heads that could be used on either bank. The four overhead camshafts operating 24 tiny valves were belt driven by toothed pulleys at the front of the engine, with one spark plug per cylinder and Lucas mechanical fuel injection.

Cosworth needed to increase the cylinder bore size of the Essex block, but wayward casting tolerances meant that few of these mass produced blocks survived the machining process.

It settled on 3412cc as the safe limit. Cosworth also beefed up the bottom end with rugged four-bolt main bearing caps.

In-house dyno testing of the new 3.4 litre GAA-V6 began late in 1973 and it produced 420 bhp straight up, instantly meeting Ford’s 400 bhp plus target. With on-going development these engines reached 450 bhp at a spine-tingling 8750 rpm.

The RS2600’s five-speed ZF gearbox was carried over and matched with a rugged Borg & Beck triple-plate clutch in a feather-weight magnesium bell housing.

gaa v6

Ford Cosworth GAA V6 engine detail in Moffats restored car. (spooky21)

The RS 3100 Cologne Capris were built with a win-at-all-costs approach at Ford’s German competitions department in Cologne, under chief engineer Thomas Amerschlaeger. The exotic materials, quality of workmanship and attention to detail evident in the construction of these factory race cars was beyond belief.

The emphasis was on minimising weight, as the lightweight fiberglass doors, bonnets and boot lids used on the RS 2600 were no longer allowed and the new Essex V6 was slightly heavier than the German engine. This resulted in a 50 kg weight increase in the new cars, which would be offset somewhat by the more powerful 3.4 litre Cosworth engine.

They started with standard LHD steel body shells taken from the production line which were rumoured to have spent time in an acid bath to remove some excess metal before they arrived at the workshop.

Large aerodynamically shaped fiberglass wheel arch flares were installed at each corner to shroud huge wheels and tyres and lightweight laminated window glass was fitted throughout the cabin. The large front and rear spoilers, which under Group 2 rules had grown considerably from the road car versions on which they were based, were fitted front and rear.

The increased weight of the Essex V6 altered the car’s critical front to rear weight distribution, which Amerschlaeger’s team addressed by mounting the engine’s dry-sump lubrication oil tank and fuel injection pumps inside the boot area, where the battery and huge 120-litre long distance fuel tank also resided.

Oil cooling radiators for the gearbox and rear axle were also moved to the tail end and mounted directly behind the rear wheels, with oil circulation controlled by a pump driven directly by the tailshaft via a toothed belt and pulley arrangement. The engine oil cooling unit was mounted in the nose where it was fed fresh air through the grille.

The engineers also experimented with a rear-mounted engine radiator but found that there wasn’t sufficient air flow available because of the effectiveness of the huge front spoiler in stopping air from flowing under the car. Amerschlaeger eventually opted for twin side-mounted engine radiators mounted just ahead of the rear wheels.

sandown

Moffat hooks the Capri into ‘Shell Corner’ at Sandown showing the cars exotic bodywork, ducts, rear mounted radiators, LHD format. Superb. (Unattributed)

The standard dashboard pad and door trims had to be retained but the rest of the interior was stripped bare, leaving a full set of competition gauges, remote switch panels, massive roll cage, on-board fire extinguisher system plumbed to every corner of the car and lightweight Nomex covered driver’s seat.

To minimise weight, many suspension components were made from aluminium or magnesium.

Under Group 2, a touring car’s suspension had to keep its original ‘architecture’ so the RS 3100 was equipped with strengthened front suspension towers, Bilstein aluminium McPherson struts with gas-filled adjustable dampers, a wrist-thick anti-roll bar, magnesium hub carriers and solid aluminium replacing rubber in all suspension bushes.

Likewise the Capri’s live rear axle and leaf spring design had to be retained, but Ford got very creative in its rule interpretation. It complied by fitting leaf springs, but they were made from lightweight composite materials and had no springing function at all.

This was performed instead by big coil springs and adjustable gas-filled Bilstein shocks. Ford’s homologation paperwork stated that these coils were simply ‘additional springs’ and the FIA duly agreed!

The rear axle was located fore and aft by upper and lower trailing arms and laterally via a Watts linkage that also allowed adjustment of the car’s rear roll centre.

The brakes were huge with four wheel discs permitted under Group 2, even though the road car had rear drums. The ventilated front rotors measured 12 inches (305mm) in diameter and more more than 1.0-inch thick, clamped by powerful servo-assisted calipers.

The front brakes were also fitted with an automatic water cooling system connected to a large tank in the cockpit which could spray a fine mist onto the disc rotors to cool them down each time the brake pedal was pushed. The rear discs were slightly smaller 10.5 inch diameter units.

The racing wheels and tyres were enormous given the size and weight of the car, capable of generating such huge cornering forces that the works Capris were often seen in the ETCC cornering with their two inside wheels clear off the deck.

German BBS composite rims (magnesium centres with aluminium rims) were secured by a single central locking nut and fitted with tailor-made Dunlop tyres that measured a staggering 16 inches (405mm) wide at the rear and 12 inches (305mm) on the front.

With top shelf drivers the calibre of Niki Lauda, Jochen Mass, Toine Hezemans and Dieter Glemser on the team, Ford was ready for all-out war.

capri sandown

Alan Moffat again at Sandown upon the cars debut in Australia, February 1975. Car limited a bit by the use of locally mandated wheels of no greater than 10 inches in width. Cars lack of power and especially torque relative to local 5 and 6 litre opposition, torque important on our more ‘stop/start’ circuits rather than the fast, flowing circuits for which the car designed a disadvantage. (Robert Davies)

The 1974 ETCC

‘Unfortunately, the timing could not have been worse for what promised to be the battle of all battles for the ETCC crown between Ford’s new RS 3100 Capris and BMW’s mighty CSL ‘Batmobiles’.

The world’s worsening energy crisis, which had been triggered by the Arab-Israel war, forced car companies to quickly change priorities in their marketing and product development strategies. Motor racing programs were hit particularly hard during this time, including Australia where Ford withdrew its factory support in January 1974.

Sadly BMW also began to scale down its racing activities during the ETCC which left easy wins to the new Capris at several rounds. Even so, despite these outright victories and the vast sums of money spent designing, building and developing the new RS 3100s, it was the German Zakspeed-prepared RS 1600 Ford Escorts which ended up winning the manufacturer’s title for Ford due to a points system that was heavily weighted in favour of smaller capacity cars.

The last time an RS 3100 Cologne Capri competed in full works guise was when Jochen Mass and Toine Hezemans were sent to Kyalami in South Africa to compete in a gruelling non-championship 9-Hour endurance race as part of the Springbok series that featured many sports cars. The Capri was fast and faultless again, winning the touring car class and finishing an outstanding fifth outright.

The same car – chassis number GA ECPY19999 – would not return to Germany after the race, though, as it was destined for a very different life in Australia.’

motor racing oz

The Moffat era

‘In late February 1975, GA ECPY19999 arrived at Allan Moffat Racing in Melbourne after being shipped directly from its last race as a works car in South Africa.

Although the stunning European thoroughbred won first time out at Sandown it soon became apparent that the Capri, which was built for long distance racing on high speed European tracks, was going to be doing it hard against lighter and more powerful V8 competition on Australia’s tighter tracks in short sprint races.

Its V6 engine just couldn’t match the explosive power and torque outputs of rival V8s. And it was restricted to the local maximum wheel width of 10 inches, which was a substantial drop in traction given the car was designed to race on massive 16-inch wide rears and 12-inch fronts in Europe.

It was also comparatively heavy given its touring car racing origins, competing against increasingly sophisticated purpose-built local designs that featured mid-mounted V8 engines, space-frame chassis, Formula 5000 suspension and featherweight composite body panels.

Moffat had his sights set on winning the inaugural Australian Sports Sedan Championship (ASSC) in 1976, so when it became clear he would need V8 power to do it he sourced a state-of-the-art DeKon Chevrolet Monza from the US. With 6 litre Chevrolet V8 power, it was immediately more than a match for the best sports sedans in the land.

Even so, the RS 3100 Capri still had an important role to play as the controversial Monza was sidelined midway through the ASSC due to questions over its eligibility. So while that was being sorted out, Moffat dusted off the Capri for two crucial rounds at Wanneroo in Perth (which he won) and A.I.R in Adelaide (where he came second). The Capri proved it was still highly competitive, effectively sealing the title for Moffat and finishing its Australian career on a high note.’

Moffat retained the car, as he did the Mustang for decades before finally selling it to a lucky collector in New Zealand.

gaa v6 2

Another view of Moffats restored Capri in New Zealand. (spooky21)

The Kiwi Connection…

For the sake of completeness there were only two other, I think, ‘Cologne Capris’ which raced in Australia, both originated from the ‘other side of the ditch’, the colloquial name we Australasians give to the Tasman Sea, which separates Australia and New Zealand.

Grant Walker raced the ex-works RS2600 imported into New Zealand by Paul Fahey which won the NZ Touring Car Championship in 1975 converted to Cossie GAA power.

Don Halliday raced the GAA powered car he and his equally talented brother built up in NZ with many factory parts as well as local ingenuity.

Both scored points in the 1976 Australian Sports Sedan Championship, ironically won by Allan Moffat in the Chev Monza which replaced his Capri, as Mark Oastler points out above the Capri did play a vital role in that series victory.

The story of these cars is well told by Steven Holmes on his ‘The Roaring Season’, click on this link for an interesting read.

http://www.theroaringseason.com/showthread.php?1274-Article-Recreating-The-Halliday-Capri

Etcetera…

1975 Sandown Capri

 

Credits…

Robert Davies, Jerry Melton, autopics.com, spooky21, Green Machine, Bruno Betti, oldracephotos

‘David McKays’ Scuderia Veloce’ autobiography, Mark Oastler/Shannons for the RS3100 article, snooksmotorsport.com

The Roaring Season

Stephen Dalton for the research assistance and material