Posts Tagged ‘Stan Coffey’

Reg Hunt #5 and Guerino Bertocchi #7 in Maserati 250F’s prior to Saturday practice, Albert Park, Australian Grand Prix, 1 December 1956…

Hunt looks pretty happy with himself whilst Maserati’s legendary tester/mechanic Bertocchi wonders if everything is AOK with the Moss ‘#2501’. To the left of Hunt’s car is Tom Sulman’s Aston DB3S.

James Lineham had a fantastic day at the ‘Park, the sun shone making it ideal for spectators, especially those with cameras. He used his expensive colour film wisely in the paddock, his camera wasn’t sophisticated, so best to take snaps of stationary or near stationary cars. Then he shot off some monochrome action work whilst he walked Albert Parks huge expanse.

Bib Stillwell’s Jag XKD perhaps, on Lakeside Drive looking to the south of Albert Park Lake

James life spanned 1925 to 1997, he was a young enthusiast aged 31 when he attended this meeting. After his death his wife very carefully went through all of his precious belongings, found these photographs and kindly donated them to the State Library of Victoria for enthusiasts like you and i to see, in 2014. Clearly, there are many donations of this type, it has taken four years for James snaps to be catalogued and uploaded onto the SLV’s website- I found them on a regular search I do every few months.

Lets thank James and Catherine Lineham for the photos. Blurry though some of them are, they ooze atmosphere of a weekend spoken about in reverential terms by those fortunate enough to have attended. One of the journalists of the day, I’ve forgotten who, wrote of the weekend as ‘when Australian Motor Racing came of age’- it was an important one in our racing history.

Moss or Behra Maser 300S on the pit or main straight, Aughtie Drive. Race direction these days the other direction, or clockwise

 

Circuit map from the meeting program (G Dobie)

I’m obsessed with a few circuits in Australia in particular- Warwick Farm, Mount Panorama, Longford, Lobethal and Albert Park- Longford and the ‘Park especially. I live in Windsor 750 metres from Albert Park’s Austin Healey Corner/Turn 13, the Union Street/Queens Road second gear right-hander.

I run around it every other day, I think about the fellows who conquered it’s oh-so-quick unguarded challenges in the fifties and do so in much more safety today. I feel its wonderful rhythm, vibe and its sense of history all the time. These snaps gimme that vibe, Albert Park is a wonderful place to be even at 5.15am with only the park’s Daffy Ducks as company!

I was going to package the shots with some other photos I’ve accumulated of that weekend but somehow that didn’t seem the right thing to do. So here is ‘James Lineham’s day at the races’ with some shortish comments about each car/driver. In the event one of you knew James get in touch and I will pop a brief bio into this piece.

Vrrooom in a 6 cylinder 3 litre DOHC kinda way. Moss Maser 300S. Aughtie Drive from the Olympic Tyres Bridge

Attached are links to articles already written about this carnival motor racing fortnight during the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games which ‘put Melbourne, if not Australia on the map’.

In fact James had a big choice that day. He could have taken a vantage point on the Mens Marathon course from Clayton to the Melbourne Cricket Ground via Dandenong Road- Algerian born Frenchman Alain Mimoun won it in 2:25.00 from Franjo Mihalic of Yugoslavia a minute and a half behind him.

The Australian Tourist Trophy;

https://primotipo.com/2016/01/29/1956-australian-tourist-trophy-albert-park/

And Australian Grand Prix

https://primotipo.com/2016/12/27/moss-at-albert-park/

The short story of the race is that Stirling Moss won the 80 lap, 250 mile journey on 2 December 1956 by a lap from teammate Jean Behra, Peter Whitehead’s Ferrari 555 Super Squalo, Reg Hunt’s Maser 250F and Stan Jones similar machine. It was a dominant display from the plucky Brit who was always, and still is immensely popular when he visits Australia.

International representation included the two works Officine Maserati drivers Moss and Behra (#1 above) who brought no less than five Masers with them. They shipped three 250F’s, two of the latest specification and an earlier chassis and two 300S sportscars both of which remained in Australia post event. The cars were based at Reg Hunt’s Holden Dealership just up St Kilda Road on the Nepean Highway in Elsternwick a few kms from the circuit, the 300S’ being famously driven between workshop and racetrack.

Prince Bira and Jean Behra in the Albert Park paddock (S Landrigan)

Jean did not have a great year being comprehensively bested by one of the most gifted drivers in the world, but third places at Buenos Aires, Monaco, Reims, Silverstone and at the Nurburgring is hardly shabby. Over the two weekend Australian carnival it was Moss winning both the AGP and the Australian Tourist Trophy the weekend before.

Moss raced #7 250F chassis ‘2501’ and Behra #1 ‘2522’. The spare car ‘2507’ was driven by both Moss and Hunt during practice and at one point it was thought Jack Brabham may race it, not having an AGP ride that year, but it was not to be. A pity, by that stage Jack had two seasons of racing in Europe behind him so would have given all but Moss and Behra a good go.

Scuderia Ambrosiana entered two Ferrari 555 Super Squalo’s powered by 3.4 litre ‘860’ Monza four cylinder engines, remember that the AGP at this time was run to Formula Libre rules.

The cars (above) were driven by #2 Reg Parnell ‘FL9002’ and #3 Peter Whitehead ‘FL9001’. Whitehead was a regular to Australia dealing with the family wool business and had won the Australian Grand Prix way back in 1938 aboard his ERA R10B- then he was 24 and in 1956 he was 42 years of age.

https://primotipo.com/2015/04/16/peter-whitehead-in-australia-era-r10b-1938/

Whitehead started the carnival well winning the ‘Bryson Industries Cup’ support event to the Australian Tourist Trophy the week before, ahead of Hunt and Kevin Neal, Maserati A6GCM.

Whitehead and Parnell were unlikely to be on the pace of the works Masers but would be good bets as best of the rest, as indeed they were- Peter was third and Reg sixth. The Parnell car remained in Australia, click here to read about it;

https://primotipo.com/2015/08/25/arnold-glass-ferrari-555-super-squalo-bathurst-1958/

Car #9 in the background of the photo above is Lex Davison’s Ferrari 500/625, Alberto Ascari’s 1952/3 dual World F1 Championship winning chassis ‘#0005’- iconic in Australia and winner of the 1957 and 1958 AGP’s at Caversham and Bathurst respectively. The 3 litre car, which then carried chassis number ‘#0480’ was 7th, 5 laps behind Moss with various problems

Ken Wharton (car above) was a well credentialled Brit in both single-seaters and sportscars, but his ‘Ecurie Du Puy’ (John Du Puy was an American resident in Switzerland) silver Maserati 250F was said to be, and looked tired.

Chassis ‘#2521’ had been Behra’s works machine, a new car that season, in eight events earlier in ’56 before being sold to Du Puy. But it really looked ‘in need of a birthday’ before leaving Europe, it was the latest bit of kit, properly prepared the car was a top three contender.

Ken retired the car on lap 19 and then journeyed on to race the Maserati and his Ferrari Monza in New Zealand that summer, unfortunately dying in a tragic accident aboard the Monza on 12 January 1957 at Ardmore during the NZ GP weekend.

The best prepared and equipped of the locals were the well heeled Victorians- motor dealers Reg Hunt and Stan Jones in Maserati 250F’s of similar specification and ‘cobbler’ Lex Davison, who owned a shoe manufacturing and distribution business.

Lex’ Ferrari was older than the 250F’s but was quick with its 3 litre engine and beautifully prepared by Alan Ashton at AF Hollins motor engineers just up the road in Armadale. In fact all three of these cars lived close to the circuit. Hunt was fourth, best of the locals, Jones was fifth and Davison seventh.

Doug Whiteford was another local- very, his dealership/workshop was in Carlisle Street St Kilda, a drop-kick from Albert Park. Whiteford’s first Talbot-Lago T26C, chassis ‘#110007’ was an astute purchase, the robust, simple design was well suited to Australian events. It was beautifully prepared and driven by ‘Dicer Doug’ who won two of his three AGP’s in it- at Bathurst in 1952 and at Albert Park in 1953. Click here for a piece on Doug’s TL’s;

https://primotipo.com/2015/06/09/fill-her-up-matey-lago-talbot-t26c-melbourne-1957/

The purchase of the second T26C (photo above) wasn’t quite so smart though. An earlier chassis ‘#110002’ but later spec mechanically than ‘#110007’ sounded ok but the game in Oz had moved on- he needed something more modern and competitive.

Whiteford was a consistent third in the ’55 AGP at Port Wakefield behind Brabham and Hunt but by ’56 it was simply not on the pace. Still, his bankroll was more modest at the top level than most. A shame, as Doug, 42 then and as vastly experienced and tough as they come didn’t give a yard to any of the locals. Whiteford in a 250F or something of that performance envelope would have been worth travelling a few miles to see. Its a shame he bought a 300S off Maserati after this meeting rather than a 250F.

Reg Hunt made everybody take notice in his ‘Flying Bedstead’ Hunt JAP Spl in hillclimbs and on the circuits in the late forties/early fifties and then refined his craft with a season racing a 500 F3 Cooper machine in the UK in 1954.

On his way back to Oz he acquired a superb Maserati 250F engined Maserati A6GCM chassis ‘#2038’ (above with Kevin Neal at the wheel) with which he belted the locals in 1955.

Only mechanical failure kept him from the ’55 AGP won by Jack Brabham’s Cooper T40 Bristol. Hunt ordered a 250F for ’56, he was allocated a rebuilt 1955 works machine chassis ‘2516’ with Melbourne haulier Kevin Neal- who had also raced an ex-Hunt Cooper T53 Bristol the purchaser of the A6GCM.

Neal had a shocker of an AGP bending the car severely and injuring himself late in the race when he lost the car in the greasy conditions. I wrote a long feature about the A6GCM not long ago;

https://primotipo.com/2017/12/12/hunts-gp-maser-a6gcm-2038/

Lineham’s colour photos show fine taste and focus on the single-seaters- but who can fault his choice of Stan Coffey’s Ferrari 750 Monza sportscar (below) for his final colour snap. He raced the car in the Australian TT the weekend before, DNF in the classic won by Moss from Behra and Ken Wharton’s Ferrari Monza.

Its a rare, clear shot of the man, now whatever became of him? There is an obscure article topic, he raced a few interesting cars too, Cooper Bristol etc…

Entry List…

(B Moyle)

Bibliography…

 8W.forix.com on Maser 250F chassis numbers, oldracingcars.com

Photo Credit…

James Lineham- State Library of Victoria, Simon Landrigan, Brian Moyle Collection, Gordon Dobie Collection

Tailpiece: Oopsie, not quite, snapped too soon! Its the i dunno Maser 250F…

Easy i thought its #2 but that’s Reg Parnell’s Ferrari 555- the car is a 250F. Which one though? Not Moss, Behra, Hunt, Jones or Wharton all of which/whom are eliminated by virtue of number, colour or nose treatment. Hmm. Maybe its the works spare ‘2507’ carrying what looks like #2 whilst either Moss or Hunt did a few laps. Anyway that’s my story, but i’ll entertain other theories.

Finito…

 

 

 

 

 

moss parramatta

Stirling Moss being briefed by Jack Myers about his Cooper/WM Holden before lapping Cumberland Park Speedway, Parramatta, Sydney, November 1956…

The WM Holden is the prototype ex-John Cooper/Mike Hawthorn/ Bernie Ecclestone/Stan Coffey Cooper T20 Bristol # CB/1/52 acquired damaged by Myers, rebuilt, fitted with a Holden 6 cylinder ‘Grey Motor’. The standard OHV iron head was replaced by an alloy DOHC, head developed by incredibly talented Sydney engineer Merv Waggott- and then renamed WM (Waggott Myers) Holden.

Moss was in Australia to race factory Maseratis’ in the Australian Grand Prix carnival at Albert Park in Melbourne, a two week event during which Moss won the AGP in a 250F and Australian Tourist Trophy in a 300S. Quite how he came to drive Myers car at Cumberland Park in Sydney is a bit of a mystery but was perhaps part of a fuel company promotion, I am keen to hear from any reader who knows the story.

Moss didn’t race the Cooper but did a number of demonstration laps around the quarter mile speedway on the outside of Cumberland Park, which was also used for cricket and rugby.

Jack Myers also contested the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park, the WM finished 12th lapped several times by the Moss 250F.

moss on circuit parramaat

A tad too much understeer or neutral steer on the oval!? Moss Cumberland Park

WM is Waggott/Myers…

The cylinder head was initially fed by 6 Amal carbs but these were later replaced by 6 1 3/4inch SU’s. The engine developed around 197bhp at its peak making the car an outright contender in its day.

‘Grey Motor’ was the colloquial name of these engines which, painted grey, were first fitted to the ’48-215′ or FX Holden, General Motors first Holden sedan built in Australia. Later iterations of the Holden OHV straight 6 were ‘Red Motors’ and ‘Black Motors’ as the blocks were, you guessed it, painted red and black. The standard ‘Grey’ displacement was 132.5 cubic inches or 2170cc- the 6 cylinder OHV, 7 main bearing, single Stromberg carb engine produced 60bhp in standard form.

The Waggott engine’s block, crankshaft and conrods were made by GMH (General Motors Holden) but the head, pistons, dry sump lubrication system and other components were made by Merv Waggotts’ business. Capacity was increased to 2440cc with the camshafts driven by chain from the crank.

Six or seven heads were built in total, the engine won the Australian GT Championship for Queenslander and later ‘Bathurst’ winner John French in his ‘Centaur’ in 1962. The market for the heads essentially dried up when the new touring car/sedan racing regulations of the day, ‘Appendix J’ did not allow changes to cylinder heads other than modifications to standard heads. Waggott built modified Holden heads to these rules as well.

The WM/Cooper used an MG TC gearbox with specially cut gears, the differential was initially a Holden ’48-215′ unit but this was later replaced by a Ford V8 component. Suspension was standard Cooper, most of the damage to the car was to the body hoops and the body itself which was repaired by the talented Myers.

wm holden t druitt 1958

WM Holden engine bay, Mt Druitt May 1958…plug change by the look. The neat alloy DOHC, chain driven head on display. Holden ‘Grey Motor’ cast iron block, capacity 2440cc. Circa 200bhp at its peak. Myers did a 15.01 second standing quarter that day. (John Ellacott)

Jack Myers raced the car very successfully…

It reapppeared after repair and installation of the Holden engine at Bathurst in October 1956. In November he attacked the Australian Land Speed record setting a new mark for Class D at 25.46 seconds for the standing kilometre. Moss ran the car at Parramatta shortly thereafter and the week after that Myers finished 12th in the AGP at Albert Park. Moss and the car were reunited many years later.

agp 56 jack myers

Doug Whitefords’ Talbot Lago passing Myers in the WM Holden during the 1956 AGP at Albert Park. They finished 8th and 12th respectively in the race won by Moss’ Maser 250F. This is the second of Dougs’ Lagos, the ’12 plug head car’ still in Australia and owned by Ron Townley. (Unattributed)

 

Jack at Caversham during the 1957 AGP (K Devine)

The car overheated in the scorching hot 1957 AGP at Caversham WA, the chassis was replaced after an accident at Bathurst in 1957 when Jack bounced the car from bank to bank going into Forrest’s Elbow.

This time the car was rebuilt from scratch, the team constructing a new tubular frame to replace the original box-section chassis. John Blanden records that Myers had completed the rebuilds of the McMillan Ferrari Super Squalo and Jack Davey D Type Jaguar chassis and incorporated some ideas from those experiences including lowering the engine by 3 inches. The suspension was re-designed but still used many Cooper parts, a quick change diff was built by Myers and D Type clutch incorporated.

wm holden bathurst 1959

1959 ‘Bathurst 100’ qualifying heat front row. Myers on the left in the distinctive yellow and black T Shirt he always wore beside the WM, Stan Jones #1 Maser 250F and Kiwi Ross Jensen similarly mounted. Myers completed 24 of the 26 laps the race won by Jensen. (Myer family)

The WM was immediately successful, going even faster still when fitted with disc brakes, it finally ‘met its maker’ at Bathurst in October 1960 when Jack ended up in a ditch on the way into The Cutting escaping injuries but the cars chassis and suspension were badly damaged. The WM was split up and its core components sold.

wm holden bathurst

Jack Myers returns to the Bathurst paddock, AGP Meeting 1958. WM Holden. (Kevin Drage)

Myers was sadly killed in a race at Catalina Park, Katoomba, in the Blue Moutains outside Sydney not long afterwards.

In 1962 Syd Fisher bought the remains of the car and fitted a Chev Corvette 283cid engine, Alvis gearbox, Halibrand type quick change rear axle to which a ZF limited slip diff was fitted, achieving 7th in the Victorian Road Racing Championship in 1963.

The car passed through others into the caring hands of John Emery and then to Gavin Sandford-Morgan in 1972. There it was rebuilt by a dedicated team of volunteers at the Birdwood Mill Museum outside Adelaide to its Jack Myers spcification including the Waggott engine, the car making its debut at the 2000 Australian Grand Prix where it was driven by Stirling Moss, exactly as it was at Parramatta in 1956.

Merv Waggott developed his own 4 cylinder, DOHC four valve, fuel injected engine in the late ’60’s…in capacities of 1.6, 1.85 and 2 litres, the smaller engines used Ford Cortina blocks, the 2 Litre used aluminium bespoke crankcase and cast iron block developed by Waggott Engineering.

mildren sub and merv waggott

Merv Waggott fettling one of his jewel like aluminium 2 litre 4 valve engines, here mounted in Kevin Bartletts’ Mildren Racing Mildren ‘Yellow Submarine’ Waggott. Engine produced circa 260bhp with a usable rev band of 6800-8750rpm and weighed circa 230lb. Wigram, NZ Tasman 1970. (The Roaring Season)

These engines won many races and championships including the 1969, 1970 and 1971 Australian Drivers Championships, the ‘Gold Star’ for Kevin Bartlett, Leo Geoghegan and Max Stewart in the Mildren ‘Yellow Submarine’, Lotus 59B and Mildren Waggott chassis respectively. I will write about this engine in detail at some point.

Waggott Engineering still exists however Merv Waggott died in an ultralight plane accident in 1992.

Cooper T20 Bristol Chassis # CB/1/52…

coper bristol cutaway

Cooper T20 Bristol drawing. 1971cc Bristol/BMW 6 cylinder engine circa 130bhp and Bristol 4 speed ‘box. Steel box section chassis with tubular reinforcements, aluminium body. Lockheed hydraulic drum brakes. Suspension front and rear lower wishbones and upper transverse leaf springs with Armstrong shocks. (Unattributed)

Doug Nyes’ research for the book ‘Cooper Cars’ found this car to be the prototype T20 which was shown to the press in January 1952. John Cooper drove it on its debut at Goodwood on 14 April 1952. It was also driven by Reg Parnell, Mike Hawthorn- whilst he awaited delivery of his own T20 and Bernie Ecclestone before being sold to Fred Tuck, a Brit who raced the car in the New Zealand Grand Prix in 1954.

During that trip the car was sold to Sydney’s Stan Coffey who raced the car as the ‘Dowidat Special’, in deference to his sponsors, a manufacturer of hand tools. Amongst Coffey’s competitors was Jack Brabham in the ‘Redex Special’, a Cooper T23 Bristol.

The Coffey ‘Dowidat Spl’ at Gnoo Blas Orange circa 1955 (K Devine)

Coffeys results were not startling but he finished 8th in the 1954 AGP at Southport, Queensland. He raced the car little in 1955 but contested the AGP at Port Wakefield, South Australia, Brabham winning the race in the Cooper T40 Bristol ‘Bobtail’ he had built in time for the ’55 British GP. Coffey rolled the car halfway through the race, the car left the track and ‘tripped’ on the grass verge. Stan broke his nose but was otherwise uninjured selling the car to Myers in ‘as is’ condition. The car was taken to Myer’s, Maroubra, Sydney workshop where its rapid transformation to Waggott Holden power was completed.

The Cooper Bristols were built as 2 litre European F2 cars, the engine was the BMW 328 6 cylinder design, which fell into Bristols’ hands as part of WW2 reparation compensation and was further developed post war by BMW designer Fritz Fiedler. The 1971cc engine developed circa 127bhp @ 5800rpm.

myers maroubra workshop

Jack Myers working his magic on the ‘WM’ in his Maroubra, Sydney Southern Beaches workshop. The Holden ‘Grey’ block is at left, the long studs to retain the deep head. The cast aluminium engine/gearbox adaptor is still attached to the block. Diff initially Holden but later Ford, uncertain of which here. MGTC ‘box is in front of the bench. Standard T20 suspension, chassis box section can be seen in th shot as well as ‘body hoops’.

Etcetera…

Cooper T20 Bristol-Stan Coffey

stan coffey cooper

Stan Coffey in the Cooper T20 Bristol ‘Dowidat Spanners Special’ at Mount Druitt, date unknown. The wind on Coffeys large body must have been incredible and top speed limiting! (Ivy & Jack Carter)

WM Holden-Jack Myers

Both these shots were taken in 1957 at Caversham during the AGP weekend. The Holden engine installation was very neatly and professionally executed by Myers, whilst the machine was called the WM Holden, Cooper Holden was perhaps more indicative until the chassis was substantially changed by Jack and his team. Carbs on the engine are Amals at this point, 6 1 3/4 inch SU’s later fitted.

wm in paddock

(MrFire)

waggott 6 engine in wm

(MrFire)

waggott 6 on SU's

Another shot of the engine bay and Waggott DOHC head, this time with 6 SU’s. Car here, above, at the Birdwood Mill Museum in SA, restored. (Unattributed)

WM Holden-Stirling Moss

moss from the outside parramatta

Scratchy unattributed shot of Moss circulating in the WM at Cumberland Park, fashions of the day to the fore!

Credits…

Myer Family Collection, John Ellacott, MrFire, Ivy & Jack Carter, The Roaring Season, Kevin Drage, Ken Devine Collection, John Ballantyne

John Blanden ‘Historic Racing Cars in Australia’, Doug Nye ‘Cooper Cars’, ‘Memories of Jack Myers’ aussieroadracing.homestead.com

Tailpiece: WM Holden by John Ballantyne, beautiful work…

Finito…