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Marque and production sports car racing in Australia (merged)


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#1 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 04:52

Due to a clamouring for more from former participants, two of whom are in this painting, here is a thread about Marque (and Production) Sports Car racing in Australia...

Posted Image

So many names could come to light in this... Barry Bassingthwaite (missing from the above pic as he spun early in the event), the Porter brothers, Paul Meyer, Graham Bland, Richard Stiegler, Paul Trevethan, a whole host of them.

So come on Paul Hamilton and Iain (Superbee) Corness, recall the days of your misspent youth!


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#2 Ian G

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 10:17

Thanks Ray, i have a question regarding the Bee,"Doc" has already stated the TC head was grafted onto a 5 Bearing block so it was a Furphy that it was a 3 Bearing block but i was wondering what rear brakes(discs?) and Diff. it was running towards the end of its competition life?.

I was also a member of the original Datsun Car Club(of NSW,folded in the early 1970's) and we used to follow the Datsun 2000 that were racing, Quinn & Wingram(Wigram?)were among the first in the late 60's, fellow club member Lawson Stein raced a MG Midget(Skeltons old car?) and then moved into a Datsun 2000 in the early 70's. Mingay and then the Porter Bros. seemed to be the main front runners,i have some Photo's somewhere of most of the Datsuns that raced,i'll post when i get a chance to scan them.



#3 onelung

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 11:32

Dunno if this is too much off topic, but as the only ever new car I have purchased in my motoring "career" was a 1967 Datsun 2000 sports (the low windscreen model), can someone clarify for me the following ....

Doug Whiteford raced a "Datsun 2000 sports" which, on my sighting at Philip Island, I interpreted as being a Datsun 1600 which had been tricked up to 2000 sports specs.

Any comments?

#4 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 12:54

Well, there's a couple of questions... let's see if we get some answers!

Couple of other names to bandy about. Bob Skelton's been mentioned, but there was also Doug Chivas, I think KB as well, Doug Macarthur, Wayne Myer, Ray Lintott, Noel Riley and Ken Brian (mentioned here a short time ago), Streak reminded me of Jim Quinn running the Datsun 2000 too, wasn't his mate Denis Wigram?

Did the TVR run in Marque? Maybe Pedro driving it in Marque races and KB stepping in for the other races?

And who could forget Ken Ward's Morgan? Or Harry Cape?

#5 D-Type

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 17:09

Before this thread develops too far, could someone enlighten us northern hemisphere folk as to the Aussie definitions of "Marque racing" and "Production sports cars". From what I've seen on the other thread and on the first post here, fairly extensive modifications were allowed.

#6 gkennedy

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 21:10

I can't help you much there, but here's a few more names to throw in:

Bill Hucker - Morgan
Max Brunninghausen - Daimler SP250
Jim Sullivan - Austin-Healey Sprite (bought from Doug Chivas)
Doug MacArthur - also Sprite

..and if you want to go back further, there's a heap of names from MGA days, including Fred Gibson.

Here's a link courtesy of Bill Hucker which should stir a few memories: http://www.morganown...Bill Hucker.htm

BTW, back then I was good friends with Doug Chivas Jnr, and spent a lot of time with the Chivas family. It doesn't seem that long ago, but I still see 'young' Doug occasionally, and looking at him tells me that it really was fairly long ago.

Edited by gkennedy, 03 December 2009 - 21:11.


#7 Ian G

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 21:57

Before this thread develops too far, could someone enlighten us northern hemisphere folk as to the Aussie definitions of "Marque racing" and "Production sports cars". From what I've seen on the other thread and on the first post here, fairly extensive modifications were allowed.


There are others here that know more than me and will elaborate(and clarify) but Marque Sports Cars was a category originally started by Geoff Sykes(ex BARC) who ran Warwick Farm in Sydney,this was adopted by the other Sydney Circuits(Amaroo,Oran Park,Catalina). The Regs. were fairly basic,you had to use the original Block & Crank otherwise it was pretty much open slather although Geoff used to stop some modifications,i think a 5 Speed Box in a 4 speed was one. The Car to beat was a Healey 3000(O/D on every gear i was told) but instead of killing the category it caused the opposite with great spectator interest,Ross Bond's habit of only going fast enough to win probaly helped this.
Dr. Iain Corness's MGB(MGA Twin Cam Head) really livened the Racing up and it got the Marque Sports Car lots of publicity and further elevated the category into main stream.

Early 1970's the governing body in Aust.(Cams) wanted Group D Production Sports Rules(less modifications allowed) adopted for the Marque Cars and started putting pressure on the various State Body's and Circuits,when these new Rules came into effect it had the effect of sidelining some of the leading Cars.

If anything is wrong please clarify(Ray,Iain,Paul !) as i would be interested myself, with the closure of Warwick Farm i lost interest and drifted into Rallying..



#8 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 22:10

Originally posted by gkennedy
.....Doug MacArthur - also Sprite

..and if you want to go back further, there's a heap of names from MGA days, including Fred Gibson.

Here's a link courtesy of Bill Hucker which should stir a few memories: http://www.morganown...Bill Hucker.htm


Yes, Doug Macarthur, whom I'd mentioned. I remembered him because he raced at Lakeside and rolled it there, or is my memory unclear?

Another who had a Lakeside incident, in his first ever race, was Len Searle (TR3?). The Bill Hucker site will get a look later, and there was the Team Party House Morgan too... what was her name? Streak should know!

BTW, back then I was good friends with Doug Chivas Jnr, and spent a lot of time with the Chivas family. It doesn't seem that long ago, but I still see 'young' Doug occasionally, and looking at him tells me that it really was fairly long ago.


You got on all right with Mandy?

If 'young' Doug is like his old man, he'd be gnarled and wrinkled too... 'Dicey' Doug was only in his seventies when he died, I'd thought he was in his seventies when he was racing!

Something I've always wondered about, too... there was a Chivas killed at Amaroo racing bikes. A relation?

Ian G... you've got it all pretty right there. Again, Streak can come in with further information.

#9 SuperBee

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 01:34

Due to a clamouring for more from former participants, two of whom are in this painting, here is a thread about Marque (and Production) Sports Car racing in Australia...

Posted Image

So many names could come to light in this... Barry Bassingthwaite (missing from the above pic as he spun early in the event), the Porter brothers, Paul Meyer, Graham Bland, Richard Stiegler, Paul Trevethan, a whole host of them.

So come on Paul Hamilton and Iain (Superbee) Corness, recall the days of your misspent youth!

Doc here. I'll reply first to the questions on the brakes on Superbee. The rear brakes were standard MGB drums and the front the standard MGB discs. The brakes really were terrible. The fluid would boil and come out the top of the master cylinder and then run down the brake pedal! Castrol imported some LMA which was given to me and Pete Geoghegan, who was also in trouble in the Mustang.
The diff was a standard MGB unit, in the standard rear axle. The diff was a cone type Mike Ryves unit which sort of worked as a slip limiting diff, but could very easily be bluffed.
The gearbox was a BMC close ratio unit which had a very tall first gear, so it would never get off the line, so the first lap was always a bummer.
In 1970 with the pushrod MGB engine, the transmission was all OK, but the T/C engine in 1971 systematically broke everything from the flywheel bolts backwards. No joke. Reliability was dreadful, with a 50% finishing rate. We had everything under control (other than the driver) by the end of 1971 and 1972 was going to be "our" year - and then the CAMS axe fell!
Re Doug MacArthur - yes he went off at the end of the straight at Lakeside in the Sprite.

#10 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 01:45

As did Len Searle...

He told me about it many years later, about driving the car up from Sydney for his very first race and all. "I went off at the Karussell, over the top of the rise and there was a sort of an access road outside the circuit down by the lake. I was headed for that, but there was this enormous mound of cow dung in the way, and I finished up in the middle of that!"

Sid's way of getting rid of the bullshit, obviously.

#11 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 02:08

If anyone hasn't yet read the Bill Hucker story (there's a nice Geoff Smedley story on the same website...), they should...

A very good yarn with a surprise ending. Don't give up halfway.

#12 SuperBee

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 02:22

Due to a clamouring for more from former participants, two of whom are in this painting, here is a thread about Marque (and Production) Sports Car racing in Australia...

Posted Image

So many names could come to light in this... Barry Bassingthwaite (missing from the above pic as he spun early in the event), the Porter brothers, Paul Meyer, Graham Bland, Richard Stiegler, Paul Trevethan, a whole host of them.

So come on Paul Hamilton and Iain (Superbee) Corness, recall the days of your misspent youth!


Let us not forget Les Carne in the Midget, who was also one of Leyland's Young Lions racing team.


#13 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 02:55

Not forgetting that Brian Foley raced a Sprite briefly...

When did Bob Kennedy start out?

Being a class in which you could compete in your road car, it attracted a lot of different people over the years. Niel Allen included. And there was someone ran an XK150 too.

Edited by Ray Bell, 04 December 2009 - 02:56.


#14 Paul Hamilton

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 05:46

There are others here that know more than me and will elaborate(and clarify) but Marque Sports Cars was a category originally started by Geoff Sykes(ex BARC) who ran Warwick Farm in Sydney,this was adopted by the other Sydney Circuits(Amaroo,Oran Park,Catalina). The Regs. were fairly basic,you had to use the original Block & Crank otherwise it was pretty much open slather although Geoff used to stop some modifications,i think a 5 Speed Box in a 4 speed was one. The Car to beat was a Healey 3000(O/D on every gear i was told) but instead of killing the category it caused the opposite with great spectator interest,Ross Bond's habit of only going fast enough to win probaly helped this.
Dr. Iain Corness's MGB(MGA Twin Cam Head) really livened the Racing up and it got the Marque Sports Car lots of publicity and further elevated the category into main stream.

Early 1970's the governing body in Aust.(Cams) wanted Group D Production Sports Rules(less modifications allowed) adopted for the Marque Cars and started putting pressure on the various State Body's and Circuits,when these new Rules came into effect it had the effect of sidelining some of the leading Cars.

If anything is wrong please clarify(Ray,Iain,Paul !) as i would be interested myself, with the closure of Warwick Farm i lost interest and drifted into Rallying..



That is pretty much the way it was, Ian. The written rules were quite basic and were published in the supplementary regulations issued when entries opened for each meeting. They were based around a list of acceptable vehicle types with a pretty broad range of modifications allowed subject to retention of some basic original components such as the cylinder block and crankshaft as you say. There was, however, an unwritten protocol which was strictly enforced by Geoff Sykes to apply specific limitations on individual cars to prevent anyone getting too far in front. A sort of NASCAR style equivalancy formula!!

The base concept was designed to keep pure competition cars out and encourage relatively low cost racing with modified road going production sports cars. Anyone testing the concept too far was simply moved on to run with the sports racing cars (Lotus 23s and Elfins etc.). The type 26R Lotus Elans run by Niel Allen, Fred Gibson and Doug Macarthur fell foul of that soon after they arrived in Australia and the Turner then received the same treatment when Wal Donnelly showed that he could run with them. I think Wal did dominate the marque sports race at one Warwick Farm meeting in around 1964/65 and then found himself running with the 26Rs in the sports racing field. Geoff allowed other slower Turners to stay but Wal was no longer welcome!!

By the time I acquired the ex Donnelly Turner at the end of 1967 it had been out of use for a year or so following Wal's departure to run an F3 car in Europe and it had lost some of its 'go fast' equipment including the trick 5 speed gearbox which Wal used at the 'Farm and some other circuits. Time had also moved on by then and marque sports cars were going quicker so I put the case to Geoff Sykes for my car's return to run with the other Turners in Marque sports events. After much deliberation that was accepted provided I agreed not to refit the 5 speed box which, together with a ZF LSD, had passed from the Turner to Tony Simmons' Hustler clubman car. I had to run my first meeting as a sports racing car at the 1968 Tasman international before Geoff was finally convinced but the Turner then went on to have a very successful career at the pointy end of the Marque Sports field until I sold it at the end of 1971.

The way in which Geoff applied his protocol differently to various cars is demonstrated by his acceptance of the use of a 5 speed Alfa gearbox in the Ross Bond Healey when I was not allowed to have one!! As Ian says, Ross was very good at working the rules (including the Sykes protocol!!) and was able to pretty much dominate the races for many years but without ever getting so far in front as would attract Geoff's attention. Ross' car was prepared by Ken Webb who was a VERY smart man and gave Ross a lot of extremely astute guidance. Ken also had a very pretty wife, Shirley Webb, who drove an MGTC quite quickly in ladies events at some of the early Warwick Farm meetings.

Although they had their origins at Warwick Farm, Geoff's marque sports rules were adopted by all the other NSW circuits by the late 60's although the Victorians did not follow us (nothing new there!!). The mexicans mostly ran races in accord with the CAMS Group D regulations which allowed greater freedoms for some cars but were generally more restrictive for the more popular cars. That did not matter much to most of us in NSW as people then generally did not travel interstate as much as we now see although Brian Sampson's AMI entered Triumph Spitfire and Doug Whiteford's Datsun 2000 were periodic visitors from south of the border.

By 1970/71 the level of competition created by Geoff's 'level playing field' was producing some very good racing and was attracting quite a lot of attention. CAMS had previously not worried about it all but then decided that we should all play by the rules in their manual. The pime mover on their side was John Keefe, later to become a long standing and sometimes controversial CAMS CEO but then the NSW State Manager for the Confederation. John, to his credit, did first enter into negotiation with the Marque Sports Car Association which had been formed by the leading competitors with Ross as President and me the Secretary. We managed to secure acceptance of some quite significant changes to the CAMS rules before the axe fell at the end of 1971 when the Group D rules were adopted by all the NSW promotors but all the leading cars were still adversly impacted by the rule changes. The Super Bee certainly had the biggest 'hit' with the loss of its twin cam engine but, any of the front running cars wanting to continue in 1972 needed to make significant changes to wheels, tyres and sometimes suspension. Ross would also have lost his Alfa gearbox but he chose instead to retire the Healey and spend his time with the ex Peter Brock A30 and a Bolwell Nagari in which he ultimately achieved sports car successes similar to those he had enjoyed with the Healey.

I too decided to move on at the end of 1971 and purchased my first open wheeler, a move I have certainly never regretted. I did bring the Turner back into compliance with the Group D rules before selling it to Dr Bill Marshall but I never drove it in that form. By the beginning of 1972 the racing was a shadow of what it had been as virtually all the leading runners had moved on including Ross, myself, Iain, David Mingay, Richard Carter, Les Carne and Barry Bassingthwaite. That was a great shame and was certainly triggered by the rule changes but I suspect that it was an era that was ready to end anyway. I know I thought that a repeat of that fabulous 1971 Ron Ward Series was unlikely to be as good again and, after four years in the Turner, I felt I was ready for something else.

#15 Ian G

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 23:55

Very interesting guys,thanks for taking the time to post,Paul,i didn't know about the Alfa gearbox on the Healey, i was told he was using the standard 4 speed with electric O/D,thats what gave him the advantage out of corners with the Healey's engines torque,oh well!,another Myth busted.
Thanks as well to "Doc" for all the info, having owned a couple of MGB's,both with competition pads and linings,trying to do 15 laps around Amaroo(or any circuit with corners) would have been a nightmare,they just didn't want to stop once the brakes warmed up.




#16 Ray Bell

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 11:39

On the subject of that 5-speed gearbox, Paul...

It didn't last very long. I recall Bob Martin coming to a stop on the circuit near our flag point lamenting that it had broken again. It was a 5-speed conversion within the regular 4-speed housing, a Hewland job I think, and it was abandoned after that breakage.

The ZF did sterling service for some time afterwards, probably getting tossed out in the Bill Nibbs ownership of the car when the Clubman Association ruled them out. I remember I sold mine to someone who worked over Marrickville way to go in their Sprite.

Clas Einberg is another name to add to our list...

Edited by Ray Bell, 05 December 2009 - 11:40.


#17 Paul Hamilton

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 20:27

On the subject of that 5-speed gearbox, Paul...

It didn't last very long. I recall Bob Martin coming to a stop on the circuit near our flag point lamenting that it had broken again. It was a 5-speed conversion within the regular 4-speed housing, a Hewland job I think, and it was abandoned after that breakage.

The ZF did sterling service for some time afterwards, probably getting tossed out in the Bill Nibbs ownership of the car when the Clubman Association ruled them out. I remember I sold mine to someone who worked over Marrickville way to go in their Sprite.

Clas Einberg is another name to add to our list...


The 5 speed gearbox was, as you say Ray, a tricky set of Hewland internals in a Ford casing and it was less than reliable which may have been one reason Wal limited its use in the Turner to circuits on which it gave a clear advantage. It probably gave more trouble in the Hustler than the Turner as the car would have had better traction but the reliability factor was one reason I never wanted to push the point of its acceptability in marque sports events. The last I know of it post the Hustler period was when it was fitted to a Ford engined bug eye Sprite owned by John Witten who was known as 'Stork' within Team Partyhouse. I drove that car once or twice but I don't know where it ended up. Dave Mawer may know more as he too had a turn at the wheel of the Sprite and it was based for a while in his workshop during the Lapish Ave Ashfield days.

Clas Einberg ran a Turner with some success. He came on the scene after I had moved on but I did get to know him through the small circle of Turner and ex Turner owners. I think that his car was the very early Ford powered car (chassis no 500) which was originally imported by Dan O'Neil who ran it in partnership with the Jacques brothers. In recent years it has been a front runner in Group Sa historic events in the hands of Les Schwebel.


#18 Paul Hamilton

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 20:31

Very interesting guys,thanks for taking the time to post,Paul,i didn't know about the Alfa gearbox on the Healey, i was told he was using the standard 4 speed with electric O/D,thats what gave him the advantage out of corners with the Healey's engines torque,oh well!,another Myth busted.
Thanks as well to "Doc" for all the info, having owned a couple of MGB's,both with competition pads and linings,trying to do 15 laps around Amaroo(or any circuit with corners) would have been a nightmare,they just didn't want to stop once the brakes warmed up.


I don't know just when Ross put the Alfa gearbox in the Healey, Ian, but I guess it is likely that, prior to that, he was using the normal 4 speed box with overdrive as you suggest.

#19 Ray Bell

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 21:59

I'd think it more likely he ran a straight 4-speed at most circuits...

Like you said, Ken Webb was a very clever man. He would have known what power-sappers those Laycock de Normanville units were and would, like Wal, have only used it where there was a clear advantage.

With the torque spread of the 3.4-litre Healey engine, Ross would get away without it at a lot of places.

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#20 Ian G

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 23:04

Here's a link courtesy of Bill Hucker which should stir a few memories: http://www.morganown...Bill Hucker.htm

.


Very interesting, i guess the original aim of Marque Sports Cars was for road-going Cars that could be raced,a simple Rego. ticket would have kept the category intact but i guess they became too sucessful/popular for their own good.

Another name in early Production Sports racing was Robin Orlando,i don't know how sucessful he was but he had a little engine re-conditioning business on Parramatta Road Annandale(?) in Sydney. He bored out a BMC 1620 block for us in the late 1960's(last year at School and he was cheaper than everyone else) and had a MGA Twin Cam, under a canvas cover in his workshop, that he used to race, he wouldn't remove the cover to let us see the car(sitting high at the front so probaly no motor) but showed us photo's including Bathurst and some of the 1950 Hillclimbs that are mentioned in these Forums. I told my Brother who went out to try and buy it but he refused to sell but i guess someone has it now as Robin was elderly in the late 1960's.

Edited by Ian G, 09 December 2009 - 00:20.


#21 SuperBee

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 07:06

I'd think it more likely he ran a straight 4-speed at most circuits...

Like you said, Ken Webb was a very clever man. He would have known what power-sappers those Laycock de Normanville units were and would, like Wal, have only used it where there was a clear advantage.

With the torque spread of the 3.4-litre Healey engine, Ross would get away without it at a lot of places.

The one and only time I drove Ross' Healey was in a night familiarization session at OP in 1970 and from memory, it was a 4 speed. The opportunity to drive the Healey came because the MGB (pushrod in 1970) broke a rocker arm, and Ross' crew helped mine change it for one from a guy in the spectator area with an MGB. Up till then I hadn't driven at OP at night and it was one of the rules that 'newbies' had to do the night familiarization session. I did not know Ross all that well, and it was most generous of him. He even stood on the pit wall telling me to go faster! It certainly had a ton of torque and also had some weird braking system with a caravan towing valve between front and rear brakes to change the bias. I didn't use it!

#22 seldo

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 13:58

The one and only time I drove Ross' Healey was in a night familiarization session at OP in 1970 and from memory, it was a 4 speed. The opportunity to drive the Healey came because the MGB (pushrod in 1970) broke a rocker arm, and Ross' crew helped mine change it for one from a guy in the spectator area with an MGB. Up till then I hadn't driven at OP at night and it was one of the rules that 'newbies' had to do the night familiarization session. I did not know Ross all that well, and it was most generous of him. He even stood on the pit wall telling me to go faster! It certainly had a ton of torque and also had some weird braking system with a caravan towing valve between front and rear brakes to change the bias. I didn't use it!

..hehe..I used to buy Ross's worn-out Dunlop R7s for 5 quid ea, and then have Marks and Wallings re-groove them....

#23 SuperBee

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 01:34

..hehe..I used to buy Ross's worn-out Dunlop R7s for 5 quid ea, and then have Marks and Wallings re-groove them....

Talking about tyres - I once started a 10 lap race at the Farm, knowing that they wouldn't last the distance. I was "saved" when some poor bugger stuck a Midget into the pit fence and the race was red flagged. Desperate days!
In days even longer ago (1965) when I first began racing in my road MGA (under hire purchase so had to enter with an assumed name) I used to get Glyn Scott's old race rubber - after Ann Thompson was finished with them, who then gave them to Blair Salter (Elfin MG), who then put them on his trailer, and then I got them! I had to go to scrutineering on somebody elses wheels!

#24 SuperBee

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 08:33

Talking about tyres - I once started a 10 lap race at the Farm, knowing that they wouldn't last the distance. I was "saved" when some poor bugger stuck a Midget into the pit fence and the race was red flagged. Desperate days!
In days even longer ago (1965) when I first began racing in my road MGA (under hire purchase so had to enter with an assumed name) I used to get Glyn Scott's old race rubber - after Ann Thompson was finished with them, who then gave them to Blair Salter (Elfin MG), who then put them on his trailer, and then I got them! I had to go to scrutineering on somebody elses wheels!

And talking about scrutineering ..... on our first trip to Warwick Farm, the scrutineer insisted that the MGB had to have quarterlights! We had a full width short screen, and I argued just how ridiculous it would look with two quarterlights sticking in the air. But to no avail - I was allowed to run that meeting, but it had to be fixed before the next one. Fortunately, being the CAMS medicial officer for Queensland I could speak to the chief scrutineer in Brisbane and had the log book 'corrected'. THe next year when we fronted with the T/C head, this was another total hassle, trying (successfully in the end) to convince them that we were within the rules as we had maintained the manufacturers block and crank. The crank even had a false nose which slipped on, driven by the keyway to take the chain for the overhead cams, so it was still the manufacturer's crankshaft, with a removable bit on the nose.
I got to the stage where I refused to go to scrutineering and sent the car with the crew. I am sure all of us have had similar totally annoying items thrown at us.


#25 seldo

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 12:28

And talking about scrutineering ..... on our first trip to Warwick Farm, the scrutineer insisted that the MGB had to have quarterlights! We had a full width short screen, and I argued just how ridiculous it would look with two quarterlights sticking in the air. But to no avail - I was allowed to run that meeting, but it had to be fixed before the next one. Fortunately, being the CAMS medicial officer for Queensland I could speak to the chief scrutineer in Brisbane and had the log book 'corrected'. THe next year when we fronted with the T/C head, this was another total hassle, trying (successfully in the end) to convince them that we were within the rules as we had maintained the manufacturers block and crank. The crank even had a false nose which slipped on, driven by the keyway to take the chain for the overhead cams, so it was still the manufacturer's crankshaft, with a removable bit on the nose.
I got to the stage where I refused to go to scrutineering and sent the car with the crew. I am sure all of us have had similar totally annoying items thrown at us.

You're not wrong! The worst was guy called Don Spinks - The Scrute from Hell... I have no problem with genuine scrutineer issues, but when you get petty and irrational, just because you can, it takes it all to a new level of bullsh...
I also used to send the car to scrutineering with a crew-member... I think they ban you for decking a scrutineer...

#26 seldo

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 12:33

And talking about scrutineering ..... on our first trip to Warwick Farm, the scrutineer insisted that the MGB had to have quarterlights! We had a full width short screen, and I argued just how ridiculous it would look with two quarterlights sticking in the air. But to no avail - I was allowed to run that meeting, but it had to be fixed before the next one. Fortunately, being the CAMS medicial officer for Queensland I could speak to the chief scrutineer in Brisbane and had the log book 'corrected'. THe next year when we fronted with the T/C head, this was another total hassle, trying (successfully in the end) to convince them that we were within the rules as we had maintained the manufacturers block and crank. The crank even had a false nose which slipped on, driven by the keyway to take the chain for the overhead cams, so it was still the manufacturer's crankshaft, with a removable bit on the nose.
I got to the stage where I refused to go to scrutineering and sent the car with the crew. I am sure all of us have had similar totally annoying items thrown at us.

You're not wrong! The worst was guy called Don Spinks - The Scrutineer from Hell... I have no problem with genuine scrutineer issues, but when they they overlook serious issues but get petty and irrational, just because they can, it takes it all to a new level of bullsh...
I'm sure they ban you for decking a scrutineer...So I also used to send the car to scrutineering with a crew-member...

#27 Ray Bell

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 12:53

I used to remove my blue triangle for scrutineering...

The theory was that once they found something to pick on they'd be happy. Worked 99% of the time, too!

#28 Catalina Park

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 09:31

I locked a Victorian scrutineer in the boot of a Holden at Bathurst once. It was her own fault for getting in there in the first place.

#29 eldougo

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 02:57

Some scrutineer where called" little Hitler" and they would give you a good going over I found leaving the battery bracket LOOSE would give them something to pick on.Or in F/Vee leaving the tyre valve cap off they hated that,i take it out of my pocket and hey presto all well.

#30 Haggis 2

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 03:10

Thought I would post from the WA perspective. Sports cars (production based) have always been one of my passions having been brought up from an early age with a collection of them always around, my father having run a sports car repair and tuning business and preparing many cars for racing at Caversham then Wanneroo. Here in the west we never had enough cars of any particular specification to run seperate marque or production sports calsses until only recent years, but there were a coupe of attempts at Cav and the 'Roo to run individual MG/Sprite races in the late '60's and the first year at Wanneroo.

A couple of the significant cars in WA over the years were:

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Don Hall's Lotus Elan

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Grid for MG/Sprite handicap race at Caversham 1968. Off scratch is the Brian Cole Mk2a, Ray Shaws Mk3a (white)
Ray Hadlow number 29 Mk3a (later to run his very fast home built Lowhad sports car), Gordon Mitchell BRG number 37,
and off the back is the awesomely fast MGB of Peter Briggs (no bumpers). My father prepared almost all the cars on this grid
and later built the very quick Mk1 Sprite for Gordon Mitchell and then the very successful Haggis U2 clubman cars, several of
which won WA state sports car championships in the 1980's.

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A few of the Gordon Mitchell giant killing Mk1 Sprite

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Brian Cole's Sprite, later owned by Rob Elliott who later tranferred the mechanicals to his Haggis U2 clubman

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My MGB running as a marque sports car in 2001. Again prepared by my father this car lapped in mid 71 sec
(similar times to the very fastest Cooper S touring cars) and we won the marque sports class of the 2001
endurance event and were 3rd in the sports car silver star series against a predominantly Westfield field
of competitors.

Marque sports was quite popular here form the mid 80's through to late 90's when the class was expanded to
include Westfields and other production clubman type cars. This virtually drove away all the other production
sports cars, which included several MGBs, Midgets, Triumph TRs, Alfas and one or two MX5s, and unfortunately
it became "Formula Westfield".

I now run my MG in 2A sports with a Nissan SR20 turbo, serious brake mods and a modified V8 Commodore
rear axle whith a Kaaz clutch type LSD. Running high 64's (long track) on R spec radials and a standard
engine tune we're building a hot engine and going to slicks for 2010 and hoping to get close to the 60 second mark.
I know it's not marque or production, but the car is still legally road registered and runs with all standard bodywork
so I believe it to be a logical evolution of the theme.
______________
Brendon Hagarty



#31 Ian G

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 23:10

Very interesting Brendon, WA racing doesn't get a lot of coverage in the Eastern States,Thanks for posting.
MGB's were a joke in Car Club circles(at least in 1960-70's Sydney) and copped a pounding by Auto. Journos,and too be fair they didn't stop ,go or handle particulary well in standard trim, but prepared correctly and well driven they could easily be competitive. Andrew Cowan winning the 1969 Southern Cross Rally(SE Qld,Nth NSW) in a Austin 1800 and the 'Docs' Bee astounding everyone ("someone forgot to tell him the MGB is at the wrong end of the field") shortly after gave BMC/BL a bit of brief credability as their Dealer Network collapsed.

Edited by Ian G, 15 December 2009 - 07:33.


#32 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 00:30

Some scrutineer where called" little Hitler" and they would give you a good going over I found leaving the battery bracket LOOSE would give them something to pick on.Or in F/Vee leaving the tyre valve cap off they hated that,i take it out of my pocket and hey presto all well.

Maybe I should have done that, I had more than my fair share of dramas at scrutineering, and they were so inconsistent. They would pick on one car and the car next to it would get pinged for bullshit stuff.
One of the reasons I quit racing in the end.As did others too.


#33 Ray Bell

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 00:46

Paul Hamilton has one of the very best scrutineering stories...

If he's prepared to tell it, of course. It relates to his Elfin 600, however.

#34 Haggis 2

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 13:42

Very interesting Brendon, WA racing doesn't get a lot of coverage in the Eastern States,Thanks for posting.
MGB's were a joke in Car Club circles(at least in 1960-70's Sydney) and copped a pounding by Auto. Journos,and too be fair they didn't stop ,go or handle particulary well in standard trim, but prepared correctly and well driven they could easily be competitive. Andrew Cowan winning the 1969 Southern Cross Rally(SE Qld,Nth NSW) in a Austin 1800 and the 'Docs' Bee astounding everyone ("someone forgot to tell him the MGB is at the wrong end of the field") shortly after gave BMC/BL a bit of brief credability as their Dealer Network collasped.


I think MGBs were harshly treated by the motoring press, both in their day and in in contemporary articles. Bear in mind they were a 1962 model, and had a suspension design which was really only an evolution of the one conceived for the prewar MGY saloon. It was also a softened version of the MGA setup so that their mass market, fat yanks, would be comfortable in them. A few very minor tweaks to damper valving and antiroll bars and they were equal to most and superior to many of their contemporaries in club motorsport. No, they were never perfect, or state of the art, but they were an honest and competent performer much like the modern day MX5 is. And the MX5 is very harshly referred to as a "hairdressers car" for similar reasons today. Right up until the 1990's, 30 odd years after they were introduced, a well tuned MGB was always a front runner in club motorsport in this state driven by, apart from myself, Tim Harland, Peter Harper, Reg Buhler and many others. They were, of course, never in the same league as an Elan or TVR or any of the production clubmen, but against mass produced steel bodied sports cars (even against MX5s when well set up) they have always held their own. Testimony to the adequacy of their design (and Alec Issigonnis genius when he designed it) is that when you add serious power, such as mine with 240 RWHP from Nissan turbo, we have changed nothing else suspension wise from the very mildly modified (spring rates and roll bar - front only - and a couple of degrees of negative) set up we used with the 'B motor in marque sports, yet their are few sports cars, Westfields included, and no sedans - not even the ex-V8 supertaxis - running locally that can out corner me. Also, when in marque sports trim we ran standard MGB brakes front and back with only Mintex 1133 pads on the front and not much could outbrake the thing either, plus they lasted the whole season. So they can never have been as bad as the press tried to have us believe. The only real achilles heal ever was the tractor engine, and even that was adequate when properly built and tuned correctly.

Anyway, I love them....... :love:
__________________________
Brendon Hagarty

#35 Ray Bell

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 14:07

Nahhh... you're confused...

The tractor engines were in TR3s and 100/4s. The B-series never powered any tractors!

#36 Ian G

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 22:37

I can't agree that the brakes were OK, on a open circuit with fast corners maybe, but compared to a contemporary Datsun 2000(for eg) with finned alloy rear drums,i thought they were poor. I agree about the MGB press thing,it just became fashionable to ridicule them,they were a reasonable reliable car. In fact nearly all BMC/BL products got a hiding from the Oz press early 1970's,some deserved some not, i remember Evan Green saying it was a conspiracy to put them out of business as soon as early planning details of the P76 were leaked to Ford/Holden. It didn't stop him accepting a job with Holden a few Years later however.




#37 Haggis 2

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 23:06

I can't agree that the brakes were OK, on a open circuit with fast corners maybe, but compared to a contemporary Datsun 2000(for eg) with finned alloy rear drums,i thought they were poor. I agree about the MGB press thing,it just became fashionable to ridicule them,they were a reasonable reliable car. In fact nearly all BMC/BL products got a hiding from the Oz press early 1970's,some deserved some not, i remember Evan Green saying it was a conspiracy to put them out of business as soon as early planning details of the P76 were leaked to Ford/Holden. It didn't stop him accepting a job with Holden a few Years later however.


I guess we're getting off topic here, so I'll be brief.... The Datsun 2000 sports car (SR311), one of which my father drove to win the 1972 marque sports car series in WA in 1972, then to 5th outright in the 6hr LeMans, had the same front brakes as an MGA and he always complained about inadequate brakes on that car, something he had never done with the 'B. Granted the 'B does suffer from fade but with lots of cooling air (remove the front back plates and drill the rears as well) and hard pads I never had any issues. Wanneroo is a short but fast circuit with several big brake applications per lap.

And yes Ray, I was being cheeky with the tractor engine comment... it was actually had it's design based on a small truck engine according to Clausager's MGB bible and in one form saw service as a diesel unit in the London taxis. Whatever, the design has many flaws for a sports car engine, but it does have the best exhaust note! :D
________________________
Brendon Hagarty

#38 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 01:08

Yes, I would agree that the B-Series had some heritage in the truck engines that became the 100/4 engines...

But they came then via the A40 engine, by which time there were some changes that took it a little away from that style.

I would believe that the taxis, however, had their diesel based on the truck engine, not a B-Series.

#39 SuperBee

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 02:19

I can't agree that the brakes were OK, on a open circuit with fast corners maybe, but compared to a contemporary Datsun 2000(for eg) with finned alloy rear drums,i thought they were poor. I agree about the MGB press thing,it just became fashionable to ridicule them,they were a reasonable reliable car. In fact nearly all BMC/BL products got a hiding from the Oz press early 1970's,some deserved some not, i remember Evan Green saying it was a conspiracy to put them out of business as soon as early planning details of the P76 were leaked to Ford/Holden. It didn't stop him accepting a job with Holden a few Years later however.

I also do not agree that the brakes in an MGB were OK. We had enormous problems trying to pull up. At Bathurst I was putting the brakes on at 300 yards and all the Sprites and things would go roaring past me, to be repassed by the B at 100 yards, with me still pumping the pedal or trying to get the pedal up off the floor. Sometimes I had to hook my toe under the pedal to bring it up. Boiling brake fluid running down the brake pedal making it as slippery as anything.
Regarding suspension, it was far too soft in original form for any real racing, in my opinion. I think SuperBee handled almost as well as the Midgets by mid 1971, but the work that was done to get there was enormous - lowered, rack moved, steering arms bent to stop bump steer. Adjustable camber for front wheels (very sneaky eccentric inner lower suspension bushes). Heavy springs, stiffer shocks, thicker sway bar front and additional sway bar rear with telescopic adjustable Konis and softer rear springs.
As could be seen from the Eastern states, a B could be made competitive, and SuperBee set lap records, but it was the only one at the sharp end. It was also not an easy car to drive, but in those days we were all 10 foot tall and bullet proof!
Incidentally, BMC/BL were tottering by 1971 and pulled out of racing for 1972. P76 bombed. A guy was sent from UK to close Zetland down. All a crying shame.

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#40 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 03:03

My only experience with MG B is in servicing and they flex very badly. Jack them or hoist them and the doors will not open.
Alternatly a bloke I knew had one with a 289 Ford in it and the doors would pop under accelaration. went bloody quick though!!
The true sports car tractor engine is in TR4, the ever faithful Vanguard unit which ofcourse was the basis for a Fergy tractor. Good strong old motor too.

#41 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 03:37

The Vanguard engine is better known for its use in the Ferguson, of course...

But the Austin truck/taxi/A70/Healey 100 engine was used in Nuffield tractors as well as a couple of different 4 x 4s.

#42 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 04:55

The Vanguard engine is better known for its use in the Ferguson, of course...

But the Austin truck/taxi/A70/Healey 100 engine was used in Nuffield tractors as well as a couple of different 4 x 4s.

Thereyou go i have learnt something. Though the A70 engine was a fairly torquey thing for the day it is not all that surprising.I think the only Nuffield tractor I have ever had anything to do with was a diesel and it was pretty terrible compared with Fergys and Fordsons of the day.

#43 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 05:47

Do you remember the Gipsy 4 x 4?

It was the A70 engine, the civilian version of the Champ was the A90/Healey engine.

#44 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 05:54

Do you remember the Gipsy 4 x 4?

It was the A70 engine, the civilian version of the Champ was the A90/Healey engine.

Yes I sort of knew that those engines were used in some odd bod light commercials, just not tractors.I think there was an Austin Van similar to J Vans too in the UK that used the A70 engine.
I grew up around those cars in my early teens but never had anything to do with Gypsys and Champs. Fairly rare even then in Oz

#45 SuperBee

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 09:37

My only experience with MG B is in servicing and they flex very badly. Jack them or hoist them and the doors will not open.
Alternatly a bloke I knew had one with a 289 Ford in it and the doors would pop under accelaration. went bloody quick though!!
The true sports car tractor engine is in TR4, the ever faithful Vanguard unit which ofcourse was the basis for a Fergy tractor. Good strong old motor too.

Quite correct Lee. The jacking point ex factory is around the middle of the door and you can watch the front and rear starting to droop! The drivers door on SuperBee would come open on lefthanders and we "fixed" that by having a leather strap on the outside! Made it from a dog collar!


#46 Haggis 2

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 14:13

Quite correct Lee. The jacking point ex factory is around the middle of the door and you can watch the front and rear starting to droop! The drivers door on SuperBee would come open on lefthanders and we "fixed" that by having a leather strap on the outside! Made it from a dog collar!


Rusty ones flex badly..... and good solid ones flex a bit, but mine has never done any of the things you or Lee speak of - and the doors open just fine when jacked in the middle. I've owned, restored and raced MGB's for over 20 years (glutton for punishment?) and I find myself somewhat surprised at some of the comments from Superbee. Admittedly Bathurst has more severe braking punishment than Wanneroo, but I never got close to boiling fluid with the standard set up. And don't assume the car was not quick enough.... It remains the fastest non lightweight (B series engined) 'B around the 'Roo, and only Peter Harper's lightweight went quicker (by less that a second a lap). We were running an engine bored to 2 litres using Fiat 131 Abarth forged pistons, Wade 140 cam with lightened flywheel and a very well ported and flowed head with huge custom made valves off the old (now unobtainable) Dufor "K" blanks. It was as fast on the long straight as a Porsche 928s running in the class at the time, could outbrake it and was a good half a second a lap quicker overall. Suspension wise, we ran lengthened bottom arms on the front, a 19mm front bar and shorter progressive rate (but slightly stiffer overall) front springs. On the rear all we did was reverse camber the leaf springs (ie concave in lieu of convex) and run longer shackles. By doing this you get the axle moving in a more vertical plane and reduce the built in rear wheel steer which was the main cause of the tendancy to understeer. We still run the same set up with the Nissan turbo engine and it is still stable and progressive. with a hint of turn in understeer which can be more than compensated for by using a slightly aggressive turn in and then throttle steer.

As for lap times, Brock's XU1 and Moffats HO struggled to get under 72 seconds...... the 'B would do high 71's all day. I think that puts it in perspective. Not as quick or radical as Superbee (which by the way Iain, I used to drool over and look for in every contemporary RCN as a kid!) but definitely no slouch either.
_____________________
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#47 Ian G

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 21:57

Sounds like a quick car Brendon and good to see your passion for them but they really struggled to be competitive over here(Eastern States) until the 'Doc's' car came along. I know several guys(i was given several boxes of BMC Competition Parts,MGA & MGB, when the local BMC Dealer closed so was in regular contact ) that spent small fortunes on modifications,Derrington X-flow heads & Webers,Motor bored to 2 Litres with exotic pistons & rods etc but at the end of the Day they rarely could beat a good Sprite/Midget and most ended their lives as Club Cars(Lap Dashes/Hillclimbs) where they did OK in their class but once the Datsun guys started putting the Nissan truck diffs(around 5.1 +/-) in the 2000 they dwindled away to where you hardly ever saw one compete in the early 1970's unless the MG Car Club was invited.
On the body flexing issue that may explain why some early MGB's had a problem where the Gearbox X-member snapped without warning. I couldn't believe such a solid piece of metal could fatigue but once i saw(and heard about others) it happen a second and third time we plated ours.

On the subject of the Vanguard Engine,didn't that also end up in the early Volvo's.






#48 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 22:36

I see no relationship between Volvo and Vanguard engines...

So this was a joke?

#49 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 23:00

I see no relationship between Volvo and Vanguard engines...

So this was a joke?

I am pretty sure that Vanguards were used in Vanguards, Triumphs and possibly some light commercial {UK} and the engine design though not the block was used in Ferguson tractors. But not Ovlov's

#50 Ian G

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 23:27

I see no relationship between Volvo and Vanguard engines...

So this was a joke?


No,Volvo used one of those early Engines,it was the Triumph Motor but i was told it was originally Vanguard,but i may be getting wires crossed.

Edit.. just did a quick Google Ray and couldn't find a link but the Engine in question was the Volvo B-18 series,but perhaps it was the Saab,I better stick to BMC & Datsun Motors. It came from a discussion with a Volvo owner at my Service Station,"it was originally a Triumph Motor,which was originally etc.etc.. ".



Edited by Ian G, 15 December 2009 - 23:48.