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Motorbike-powered race cars in Australia 1950 - 1980


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#51 DanTra2858

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 20:37

Just to stir up the mind cells what is the history of the Jack Myers Cooper & where is it now, thanks to all for your inputs keep it going.

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#52 GMACKIE

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 20:48

Thanks for the info gents, I've always liked the photo.

It looks like the car's got some real grunt the way his head's laying back

Or, if it is 250 powered, perhaps he just 'nodded off'? :rolleyes:


#53 Dick Willis

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 20:56

[quote name='DanTra2858' date='Oct 9 2011, 07:37' post='5326439']
Just to stir up the mind cells what is the history of the Jack Myers Cooper & where is it now, thanks to all for your inputs keep it going.

It is now with Andrew Halliday in Sydney, currently has a 500 JAP but he is building up a 1000 V twin for it, it certainly has had a chequered history originally being the car Jack Saywell raced in the early fifties and since then has had a multitude of owners including of course, Jack Myers.

Andrew Halliday and his family also have the ex Jack Brabham midget no. 28 and the Waye 500 which I think was mentioned earlier in this thread.




#54 john medley

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 20:58

The Jack Myers Cooper was originally the Jack Saywell Mk 4. The line of ownership then went (I think) Bill Reynolds, Ron Williams. Jack Myers, Bob Joass, Peter McLeay, then Tony Caldersmith who did a big rebuild then sold it to Matt Segafredo who I think still has the car -- perhaps in Western Australia?

Edit: Oops! Dick beat me to it, and with better info.

Edited by john medley, 08 October 2011 - 21:01.


#55 Dick Willis

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 21:26

Nice to see you up early John, getting ready to add to the Bathurst book ?

#56 Ray Bell

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 22:24

Not much further mention of those F4 cars of the mid-sixties...

Does anyone know anything about them? Any pics? Was the Jabenti intended for that sort of racing?

John's always up early, Dick, especially now he's recovering. It's me who's usually not up until after six.

#57 austmcreg

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 11:29

Not much further mention of those F4 cars of the mid-sixties...

Does anyone know anything about them? Any pics? Was the Jabenti intended for that sort of racing?


I have an article from Sports car World, March 1967 describing Formula 4 as it was being introduced in Australia, based on something that started in Europe (cars had been built by JW in England and Tecno in Italy). The intention was for 250cc two-stroke motorcycle engines, but there was discussion about an offshoot for 650cc 4-stroke engines such as Triumph, BSA etc. I dont know how many were built locally or if there were ever any races for them. The car pictured in this thread which has been suggested as possibly Jabenti, would seem to fit the F4 outline.

If anyone wants me to post the article please ask and I will scan it.

Rob Saward


#58 Terry Walker

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 11:33

In post 39 there's a photo of Noel Clutterbuck's F4.2 (the 650 formula) car which he built in about 1968 and which certainly ran at Wanneroo Park. He even has F 4.2 painted on the side, so that was definitely his target.

#59 DanTra2858

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 20:33

Slightly off line, Dick Shoebridge who Hill Climbed the Voo-Doo now flies RC Model Planes with the same super human effort that he drove the Voo-Doo.

I can the remember the DPR Triumph racing at Catalina in the 1960's & doing quite well in it's races, it was the first race car that I remember that had one quarter of the steering wheel removed to allow room for the driver.

Thanks for the history of the Myers Cooper, sure has been around, are there any pictures out there of Jack & his makeshift lathe that he took to all events so that his SU & Amal Needles were the best for the day, truly a great man.



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#60 john medley

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 20:42

Some Jack Myers memorabilia is in the NMRMuseum in Bathurst, and Jack's daughter Lois Bilby has recently been in touch with Brian Darby whose outstanding speedway website is always worth a look and has a Jack Myers page or two.

Edited by john medley, 09 October 2011 - 20:44.


#61 AnnieOz

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 22:25

As I am not having much luck in the main forum, how about some thoughts on these two vehicles; the John Lugg ERJ 500 and Drue Trottman Vincent 1000 which were entered at the 61 GP at Mallala. No one here seems to have any knowledge.

#62 Terry Walker

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 01:22

The best-known motorbike powered racer in Western Australia is Dick Turpin's Triump 650 powered TQ based road racer. He raced it at Caversham in the 60s, and I think into the Wanneroo Park era in the early 70s, retired it and himself, and then brought it back out when historics started in the late 80s. He still brings it out for historic regularity events. You can see it has been developed onver the years into quite a sophisticated little machine considering its somewhat agricultural TQ dirt-racer genes. Apart from detail changes for current rules, it is still as he raced it in the 60s and 70s.

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#63 austmcreg

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 09:24

A.Harvey, 5 Day Special, Baskerville 1959. I think this car and at least 2 other air-cooleds were built specifically for the 1959 Australian Hillclimb Championship at Hobart's Domain, which was twinned with a Baskervelle meeting next day.


I have results for 1959 AHCC at Hobart Domain.

The aircooled / motorcycle engined cars entered were:
Don Gorringe, JMW, 148cc, 43.53
A.N.Harvey 5 day Special, 200cc, 49.87
P.Abbey, Abbey BSA, 350cc, 45.72
Lionel Hart, Hart Norton Spl, 494cc, 39.17
Dave Powell, Cooper Norton, 499cc, 37.01
Alan Staton, BRM 500, 491cc, 37.04
Lex Sternberg, Whiteford Irving, 1096cc S/C, 36.69
Brian Mahoney, Cooper Vincent, 998 S/C, 37.15
Bruce Walton , Walton Cooper, 1105cc S/C, 33.88

The Gorringe JMW was one of at least 2 of these that went to Tasmania.
Lionel Hart's Hart Norton was a car in its second incarnation. It began life in c1953-54 as Hart BMW special with (I think) 600ss BMW twin engine).
I have no further knowledge of the 5 Day Special other than the photo posted earlier. Same goes for Abbey BSA; I dont have a photo of that.

Rob Saward




#64 Patrick Fletcher

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 10:38

Great subject.
GMackie mentions the Ross Pentecost AJS - this car had a four page write up in SCW August 1959.
Very attractive little F3 with an unusual plan to run cooling ducts from the nose to the usual rear mounted elektron GP. AJS
I found the interesting article & photos while researching my 40 year passion with all about NOTA & Guy Buckingham [who built the chassis for the AJS]
Did the car perform well - is it still around ?


#65 DanTra2858

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 20:40

Great subject.
GMackie mentions the Ross Pentecost AJS - this car had a four page write up in SCW August 1959.
Very attractive little F3 with an unusual plan to run cooling ducts from the nose to the usual rear mounted elektron GP. AJS
I found the interesting article & photos while researching my 40 year passion with all about NOTA & Guy Buckingham [who built the chassis for the AJS]
Did the car perform well - is it still around ?


Patrick, according to info from Graham Howard the Ross Pentecost AJS passed on to Owen Tracey who was from the NSW South Coast, upon completion of Tracey,s racing the car was in such bad state (metal fatigue) that it was scrapped at the local tip, not sure if parts were kept or sold off with only the chassie being scrapped.

Owens Son resides in the ACT he may be able to assist with more information, some one on the Forum will have his contact details.

#66 DanTra2858

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 21:37

For information world wide on motorbike poweredcars go to ... http://www.500race.org/ there are many Australian cars listed, the design concepts of some of these cars are outstanding.

#67 Shane Bowden

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 22:44

Greg Bowden in the Cann BSA (supercharged 500cc BSA) at Lakeland hillclimb near Lillydale Victoria circa 1968

Copyright Shane Bowden

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#68 DanTra2858

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 00:34

Who would have been the First Compeditor to use a Motor Bike powered car in Road Racing style events in Australia.

#69 David McKinney

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 05:54

Probably someone before the First World War :)

And the first of the modern type would have been around 1946 or 1947, I suspect. But, sorry, can't answer your specific question

#70 Ray Bell

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 12:18

As the first 'road racing events in Australia' began in 1927 or so, it's unlikely that they were used quite that early...

The Chamberlain Special was initially motorcycle engine-powered. This was an Indian Daytona, which developed valve trouble and required 'further work.' Fitting Norton barrels was among the changes made before the brothers got more adventurous and built their own engine based on a motorcycle crankcase, that of a 4-cylinder Henderson.

This car's first appearance in the Australian Grand Prix was in 1931.

Edited by Ray Bell, 17 October 2011 - 13:12.


#71 David McKinney

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 12:58

As the first 'road racing events in Australia' began in 1927 or so, it's unlikely that they were used quite that early...

The question isn't about 'road racing events in Australia'
I was hoping my comment might bring out a definition of what DanTra meant by "Road Racing style events". My presumption is that his wording was to exclude speedway midget (or speedcar) racing, but wondered if he wanted to include events at such as Aspendale and Penrith. Only he can answer :)


#72 DanTra2858

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 20:25

The question isn't about 'road racing events in Australia'
I was hoping my comment might bring out a definition of what DanTra meant by "Road Racing style events". My presumption is that his wording was to exclude speedway midget (or speedcar) racing, but wondered if he wanted to include events at such as Aspendale and Penrith. Only he can answer :)


The term that I used "Road Racing style events" would include Road / Circuit Racing, Hill Climbs & Sprints but not Speedway.

#73 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 02:38

That would, then, put the Chamberlain pretty close to being one of the first...

Brian Lear may know more, however, in the realms of hillclimbs particularly.

#74 David McKinney

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 07:14

The reason I mentioned Aspendale is that, although unquestionably a speedway, late ’30s events there also attracted the road-racing fraternity, eg Peter Whitehead (ERA) in 1938 and Alf Barrett (Monza Alfa) and Frank Kleinig (Hudson Special) the following season. On both occasions the road-racing stars were run close by Ted Gray in the motorcycle-engined Male Special

Although Arthur Emerson entered the Conoullty 500 in the 1947 AGP, motorcycle-engined cars made little nationall impact until the appearance of Reg Hunt’s eponymous 500 in 1949 and the Coopers the following year

Victorian 500s which preceded the Hunt 500 were the Ariel-engined car of Bill Low and Bob Lane in 1947 and the Cudmore of 1948, followed by Len Day’s car in 1949

The Hooper and Rose machines had appeared in NSW hillclimbs in 1948, and Ron Tauranac’s first effort the following year

The former Low/Lane car competed in Queensland in 1948, and the Warburton 500 the same year

The Cass 500 appeared in WA in 1949, quickly becoming the Cass 500


#75 rbm

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 17:31

A few more (sorry if they have mentioned earlier)

BJP - Brian Pentland - Victoria
BRM - Alan Staton and Ken Gayfer - Melbourne
Clayton Scott - Sid Clayton
Cudmore - ?
Cullen Norton - ?
Ross - Ed. Ross
Sidney - Len Sidney - Melbourne

does anyone have any further information or pictures that could be used on the 500 owners association ( www.500race.org ) web site ?

Richard


#76 David McKinney

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 19:19

Was there an Australian Cullen-Norton as well as the New Zealand one?

#77 rbm

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 06:56

Was there an Australian Cullen-Norton as well as the New Zealand one?



err... nope looks like it is on the worng list :rolleyes:

#78 austmcreg

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 09:56

In the hope of encouraging others to commence the same for cars from other states, I offer a list of Tasmanian motorcycle-engined cars, leaving aside the various Coopers for another day.

BMW Special, also known as Hart BMW. First reference I have is Valleyfield November 1951. Built by Lionel “Snowy’ Hart, truck driver from Hobart. Car is believed to have been converted to Manx Norton power circa 1958. Also known as Norton Special. Current whereabouts not known.

White Special, also known as White Vincent. Built by ex Vincent motorcycle racer Graham White of Launceston. Earliest reference I have is March 1955, Longford. Last heard of in 1958. Probably dismantled and Vincent engine returned to motorcycle.

JAP Special. Built by Brian Mahoney, Hobart c1954. Later changed to Vincent engine after many reliability problems with the JAP. Known as Vincent Special. The Vincent engine is believed to have been later removed and fitted to the ex Walkem Cooper Mk V by Mahoney in 1958.

Saanen Special. Built by Johnny Watt of Hobart, circa 1957. 500cc engine type not known. Last appeared in 1959. Named after Saanen, a breed of white goat, a bit of an in-joke related to the earlier Watt brothers Ford Anglia and Prefect specials which bore the nickname ‘The Goat’. The car was painted white. Current whereabouts unknown.

Abbey BSA. Built by P.Abbey, Hobart in about 1959 with 350cc BSA engine.. Appeared at several meetings 1959-61 . Current whereabouts unknown.

Five Day Special. A.N.Harvey. Built in 1959 with 250cc BSA engine, just prior to the 1959 AHCC at Queen’s Domain, Hobart. Ran several times in 1959 only. Current whereabouts unknown.

E.A Special. R.Douglas. 249cc, engine type unknown. Ran c1959-61. Current whereabouts unknown.

Kenley. Built c1951 by Geoff Smedley in Launceston with Indian vee twin engine. Re-engined in 1956 with supercharged Vincent. Raced variously by Geoff and Ross Oliver with occasional drives by Arnold Cannon. Sold to Harry Atherton in early 1960s, and fitted with a car engine. Current whereabouts unknown.

Walkem Manx. Jock Walkem, Launceston. Also known as Manx Special and Manx 500 Special. Run with Manx Norton engine 1955-56. Converted to Vincent engine un-supercharged in late 1956. Usually entered as Walkem Vincent. Later supercharged. Sold by Walkem circa 1958, probably without the Vincent engine, as this was believed to have been fitted to Walkem’s Cooper Mk V Vincent raced in 1958. The Walkem re-appeared in 1962 with John Contencin, with 499cc engine (make not known). Later sold to mainland, currently with Paul Zahra in Melbourne.

KY Special, also known as KY Vincent, 1088cc supercharged. Built by Keith Young, Hobart in early 1960s, primarily for sprints. I am not aware that it was ever circuit raced or hill climbed. Still active in 1966. Sometimes driven by Dave Powell. Nowadays believed to be somewhere in NSW???

Crawford Special. Geoff Crawford. Front engined speedway midget type car with transverse Indian 1200cc engine. Also known as Crawford Indian. Raced at Valleyfield, Tunbridge and Longford c1950-53. Origin not clear but probably purchased from Victoria originally. Current whereabouts unknown.

Indian Special. Alan Hale, entered in 1955 events. This may have been the former Crawford Indian, but no evidence available.

Whiteford Irving. Lex Sternberg, Burnie. Often entered by his business Burnie Car sales. First run by Sternberg in 1959. Supercharged Vincent engine was built and maintained by Phil Irving. Converted to Climax FWB engine in 1960. Current whereabouts unknown.

JMW. For a long time I and others believed there were two JMWs in Tasmania, but a review of the evidence last night revealed three, both from entries and reference to three cars coming to Tasmania in article on the Crawford car in AMS February 1964. Likely 'imported' by Don Gorringe, as two of them were in his trademark yellow at 1959 AHCC.
#1. Dick Crawford, c1959-65. Initially 148cc BSA? engine, later changed to 147cc CZ engine. Raced widely at Tasmanian meetings up to about 1965. Initially Yellow, later red with modified bodywork. Current whereabouts not known to me but may still be with Dick Crawford.
#2. Don Gorringe. Raced in 1959 only. Painted yellow. 148cc BSA? engine. Current whereabouts not known.
#3. R.Show. Also entered as CZ Special. Ran at Symmons Plains 1961.

Rob Saward


#79 Ray Bell

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 10:12

Rob, these cars are a long way outside my field of interest, so I'm not volunteering to make up a NSW or Qld list at all...

But I will note that my late uncle, Teddy Moir of Dunedoo, competed at Pound Hill with a self-made car which was motorcycle powered. I'm quite sure his will be among the many dozens of cars that nobody's heard of or remembers today in this broad field of air-cooled endeavour.

Edited by Ray Bell, 20 October 2011 - 01:22.


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#80 HiRich

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 16:30

Rob,
Thank you so much for this. If I can offer two things

Crawford Special. Geoff Crawford. Front engined speedway midget type car with transverse Indian 1200cc engine. Also known as Crawford Indian. Raced at Valleyfield, Tunbridge and Longford c1950-53. Origin not clear but probably purchased from Victoria originally. Current whereabouts unknown.

Indian Special. Alan Hale, entered in 1955 events. This may have been the former Crawford Indian, but no evidence available.

There's an image of the Alan Hale car in the Burnie Advocate, 17th May 1954 - captioned "R Hale, Crawford Special" and described elsewhere in the paper as "A Hale, Indian Special". The one image I have of the Crawford car is bodyless, but it looks pretty close.

Walkem Manx. Jock Walkem, Launceston. Also known as Manx Special and Manx 500 Special. Run with Manx Norton engine 1955-56. Converted to Vincent engine un-supercharged in late 1956. Usually entered as Walkem Vincent. Later supercharged. Sold by Walkem circa 1958, probably without the Vincent engine, as this was believed to have been fitted to Walkem’s Cooper Mk V Vincent raced in 1958. The Walkem re-appeared in 1962 with John Contencin, with 499cc engine (make not known). Later sold to mainland, currently with Paul Zahra in Melbourne.

I have sightings of the Walkem Special in November 1954, with suggestions of some earlier appearances, but was there perhaps an earlier car? In September 1953 he appeared at a sprint in something variously described as "AEF Special" and "Douglas dirt bike engined". I'm pretty sure the mystery engine in your earlier shot isn't a Douglas (which I thought were flat twins). A also presume this AEF is not related to the British 500 of the same name from 1949, but it is quite a coincidence.

#81 DanTra2858

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 23:29

Allan Standfield's BSA Special. An Australian special, rear engined baby D type look a like !

This car was entered in the Bathurst October 1957 Meeting, according to John Medley book it had a 1207cc BSA Motor but was very slow, what else is known about the car/ driver & was this it's only event, did it ever compete in this meeting or just practice.

Photo copied from the Ian McKay Collection on the Aussie Race Car collection by Brian Darby.

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#82 plannerpower

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 23:58

I know little of motorcycles but did BSA have a 1200cc engine in the 1950s?

Were there perhaps two engines in this car?

There were 500cc & 650cc I think but neither of these quite add-up to JM's 1207cc (which I don't doubt).



#83 Terry Walker

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 01:53

The Hall Special, Don Hall's first racing car. Harley engined version; later ran a JAP speedway solo engine ex Chum Taylor. Caversham mid 1950s.

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Taken at the inaugural Port Wakefield meeting:

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One of the Nichols Vincent specials - he raced at least three over a period of years. This may well be No 1 - taken at Caversham:

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#84 Ray Bell

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 01:58

Mention of a Douglas twin engine in one car reminds me that Harold Clisby built such a device...

This was the car that inspired the Eldred Norman Eclipse Zephyr (or 'Norholfordor') because it had the engine in front with a simple tube being the backbone of the chassis, the drive going through that tube to a final drive at the rear.

Surely there are pics of this inventive car around?

#85 Terry Walker

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 01:59

The Cass Spl at Narrogin in 1948. I think a Vincent engine, but am not sure. This car was later scrapped, its engine and box probably going back into a bike. Don Hall salvaged the body panels for his own car.

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#86 austmcreg

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 02:00

I know little of motorcycles but did BSA have a 1200cc engine in the 1950s?

Were there perhaps two engines in this car?

There were 500cc & 650cc I think but neither of these quite add-up to JM's 1207cc (which I don't doubt).

Yes, BSA had only 500cc and 650cc engines. There was a pre-war four cylinder sidevalve light car engine (Daimler designed or derived) but I dont know its capacity offhand and would be very surprised if anyone thought it would make a racing engine! Was probably Ok on the road but as a racing engine it would make a good boat anchor.

Rob Saward

#87 austmcreg

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 02:05

The Cass Spl at Narrogin in 1948. I think a Vincent engine, but am not sure. This car was later scrapped, its engine and box probably going back into a bike. Don Hall salvaged the body panels for his own car.

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You beat me to it - i was just thinking how alike the Hall car was to the Cass, which was well photographed and written up in AMS. Would anyone have been using a Vincent that early? I know the first post-war Vincents came to Australia in 1946, but were initially fairly scarce, and their use in racing cars did not take off untill about 1955 or so, possibly due to Phil Irving's influence and availability locally for advice.

Rob Saward

#88 David McKinney

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 05:40

Yes, BSA had only 500cc and 650cc engines. There was a pre-war four cylinder sidevalve light car engine (Daimler designed or derived) but I dont know its capacity offhand and would be very surprised if anyone thought it would make a racing engine! Was probably Ok on the road but as a racing engine it would make a good boat anchor.

The BSA Scout (car) was 1204cc - near enough? These engines were used successfully in a couple of NZ specials ("successfully") being a relative term...)


#89 plannerpower

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 09:02

Fascinating! There is so much information coming-in.

I have learnt about the BSA Scout; this excellent website is very interesting;

http://www.bsafwdc.co.uk/page11.php#8

So, strictly speaking, Standfield's BSA Special was not a motor-cycle-engined car but, nonetheless, it's extremely interesting.

#90 austmcreg

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 10:47

I have sightings of the Walkem Special in November 1954, with suggestions of some earlier appearances, but was there perhaps an earlier car?


I had not realised that The Advocate was now on Trove, but have now seen the two November 1954 sightings of the Walkem Manx Special, at Muddy Creek Hillclimb and grass track meeting at Deloraine.

Lots of Advocate searching to do now!

Rob Saward

#91 AnnieOz

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 11:23

Interesting that the BSA has come up. HRR of SA was looking at the 61 Mallala entry list last night and it included Ron Guppy driving a BSA - not sure if there is a connection here? It was entered in the Racing and Sports Car field. We are hoping to track down the whole programme so I may be able to add more to that entry info next week.

#92 Terry Walker

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 14:42

I'll have to check back on a report on I saw on the Cass Spl in The West Australian - it mentioned the engine, which was I think was a big V twin - not a Harley or Indian - so my foggy memory inserted Vincent. Get back tomorrow maybe, depending on how hard it is to relocate the mention through Trove. Don mentions in his autmbiography that he recycled body part of the Cass in his build of the Hall Spl.

#93 DanTra2858

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 21:09

A Three Wheeler car is more a motor Bike to me than a car, personal opion.

Attached is an extract from the BSA web site, I seem to remember a write up in one of the Motoring Mags of the time, Sports Car World comes to mind.

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Note the Capicity of the motor.

#94 David McKinney

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 21:39

But the Scout was a four-wheeler ;)

#95 DanTra2858

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 22:09

March 1958, Sports Car World has the following article on the BSA Special, can some one confirm details of the car from this article.

Ingenuity, an old BSA and 500 pounds by Alan Gibbons. "Using an ancient BSA as a basis, Sydneyite Allan Standfield has built himself a unique special..." (4 pages inc. text and b/w photos)

Photo of SCW cover

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#96 Terry Walker

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 01:40

A 1948 report describes the Cass car as the "Cass 500 Special". Not Vincent. What was I thinking?

#97 Terry Walker

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 04:47

In The West Australian, 3 November 1949, the former Cass Spl, now owned by Wal Gibson, is described as being fitted with a 1,000 cc H R D engine.

"Powered with a 1,000.c. H.R.D. motor cycle engine fitted in the rear of an exceptionally light chas sis, the Gibson "special" is the first of its type in W.A. and one of few in Australia. Since the idea of a 1,000c.c. light racing car was first introduced in Eng land, its development has aroused much interest among enthusiasts throughout the world. Wally Gibson, as owner-driver of the Plymouth "special," gained the distinction of winning the Gold Star in his first season."

#98 David McKinney

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 06:33

A 1948 report describes the Cass car as the "Cass 500 Special". Not Vincent. What was I thinking?

According to this site http://www.500race.org/ the Cass started out with a Norton 500

#99 austmcreg

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 07:14

In The West Australian, 3 November 1949, the former Cass Spl, now owned by Wal Gibson, is described as being fitted with a 1,000 cc H R D engine.

"Powered with a 1,000.c. H.R.D. motor cycle engine fitted in the rear of an exceptionally light chas sis, the Gibson "special" is the first of its type in W.A. and one of few in Australia. Since the idea of a 1,000c.c. light racing car was first introduced in Eng land, its development has aroused much interest among enthusiasts throughout the world. Wally Gibson, as owner-driver of the Plymouth "special," gained the distinction of winning the Gold Star in his first season."

This would make it a contender for the earliest HRD or Vincent engined car in Australia. I wonder could it have been a pre-war HRD engine? A B Series (post war) HRD motorcycle was a rare, expensive and quite new thing in 1949, and excepting for an accident damaged bike, I cannot imagine anyone wrecking one for its engine that early. Are there any WA newspaper references which describe the car in any detail?

Rob Saward

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#100 Terry Walker

Terry Walker
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Posted 21 October 2011 - 10:19

In his autobiography, Don Hall recalls that Harry and Wal Gibson were noted motorcyclists right after the war, and that Harry got his Vincent up to nearly 150 mph on Lake Lefroy in the early 50s - unstreamlined. The brothers were great friends with Phil Irving, so it is possible that they were very early owners of a post-war Vincent, and that the former Cass Spl, later known as the Gibson Spll or the HRD Spl used a post-war engine. They were scions of the Gibson Confectionary empire and reasonably well-heeled. Don would probably know.