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.
Having now checked every reference to Crawford special, Indian Special etc from 1947-1955, the situation appears to be that there were three Indian engined cars in Tasmania in these years (leaving aside the first version of the Kenley) and that there is a strong likelihood they were related.
Car 1. Atherton special, contructed by Harry Atherton along midget speedcar lines in 1949, front engined, using a new Indian 1200cc vee twin sidevalve engine. First appearance at Valleyfield November 1949. Well developed over next 12 months appearing at most Tasmaninan event. Last sighting November 1950. Several good results including FTD at two LCCT Muddy Creek hillclimbs. There are several newspaper photographs of the car, which are not that good but I will work on them to post here in due course. Atherton ran a few different cars after this, settling on a Morgan 4/4 by early 1953.
Car #2. Crawford Special #1. Front engined 1200cc vee twin Indian engine very similar in appearance to the Atherton car, but with fuel tank being low-mounted at front of the transverse engine. Various newspaper articles note that is was imported from Victoria (presumably an ex speedcar) and re-engined by Geoff Crawford with Indian twin. There is a dilemma here: if one believes the story about the base car coming from Victoria, it is a different car to the the Atherton Special, car #1. However, its appearance is so similar (very little difference other than fuel tank shape and position) and as the recorded appearance do not overlap, I believe there is a strong possibility these are the same car, renamed. First appearance Quorn Hall February 1952.There are other 1952 references to Crawford Special, but these need to be viewed after reference to car # 3 below.
The photo below shows car with fuel tank as per the Atherton Special, but driver looks like it may be Geoff Crawford (Atherton was of larger build and facial features). It was captioned Quorn Hall (which looks correct), which was first used in early 1952. So, likely Geoff Crawford in the first Crawford special, and tending to support my view the Atherton and Crawford cars were one and the same.
Car #3. Crawford special #2. There are several photographs of a rear-engined 1200cc Indian car. One of these from May 1954 at Ridgley 1/4 mile speed trials (near Burnie) shows Alan Hale in this car. There is also a February reference to Hale in Indian special at Muddy Creek hillclimb. The May 1954 newspaper articles refer to it as (variously) Indian special and Crawford special. There is a very good photograph on the VCCA(Tas) Picassa site, and shows expatriate pom John Laverick in the (rear engined) Crawford special, at Quorn Hall. I can find no reference to Laverick driving this car, though he had sold his own SS100 Jaguar to Don Elliott sometime in 1954. In theory this (pre 1955) photo is public domain but I an reluctant to repost it here.
Geoff Crawford raced at Longford March 1953 in a Crawford Indian special, and I have other references between mid-1952 and late 1953. I believe that somewhere in this period, Geoff Crawford either modified the front engine Crawford Special to put the engine in the back (lengthened chassis amongst other changes) or transferred the engine to a new car.
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.
I have searched all the newspaper references to this and have found only the following:
A.E.F. Special. Douglas dirt track (flat twin OHV 500cc) engine. Driven by E.J.Walkem Builder unknown.
25 July 1953 Muddy Creek hill climb . E.Walkem, Douglas
19-9-53 Longford Flying mile (Pateena Rd) acceleration test. EJ.Walkem, AEF Special
I very much doubt this is anyway connected with the later (1954) Walkem Special. I have tried to find Tasmanian motor racing types with initial AEF, but have drawn a blank so far. So, I think we are looking at a new car for the list, AEF special, builder unknown. The second half of 1953 would likely co-incide with Walkem's commencement of building the Walkem Manx (that car was so well thought out and constructed it was not a rush job), after he had given up on the cumbersome Jowett Jupiter special that gave him grief at Longford in March. So, a fill-in driving someone else's car is likely.
Edited by austmcreg, 19 November 2011 - 07:12.