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Motorbike-powered race cars in Australia 1950 - 1980


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#101 austmcreg

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 12:38

The Walkem was built by Jock Walkem in Launceston about 1954-55 with Manx Norton engine and later re-engined with Vincent twin but this photo at Penguin Hillclimb circa 1956 puzzles me a bit because it appears to show neither.

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Further scrutiny of a high res original shows that this is a Norton Manx engine, as run in this car from its first appearance in 1954 until sometime late in 1956. The car usually ran with its attractive tail cowling, for which a rear mounting hoop can be seen. We now know that the car first appeared in public in November 1954.

Rob Saward

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#102 Ray Bell

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 14:16

Originally posted by austmcreg
.....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.....


One shortfall with your surmise, Rob...

You don't actually have to wreck a motorcycle to use its engine in a racing car. You can 'share' the engine between the bike and car, bolt it into whichever you want to use this week.

#103 DanTra2858

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 19:30

What was so special about the Vincent motors that caused the top cars/drivers to change from their old power systems to the Vincent, was it capacity or just a more driveable power system.

#104 austmcreg

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 02:41

What was so special about the Vincent motors that caused the top cars/drivers to change from their old power systems to the Vincent, was it capacity or just a more driveable power system.

The Vincent was a much more modern design, probably stronger / high rev capability and most of all was in current (relatively) high volume production. From about 1948 Vincents sold engine units seperately for car use. In Australia in mid 1950s, the attraction was that Phil irving,, the engine designer, was here and available / keen to help with tuning advice. Hence the Irving Vincent engines used by Davison and others, which were tuned and maintained by Phil.

The JAP vee twin was based on a 1920s design, and made especially for these cars in very small numbers - the last production motorcycles to use JAP vee twins were in late 1930s. Yes there a couple of minor post-war exceptions to this but their numbers could be counted on the fingers of one hand.

The JAP twin could be competitive in the right hands (eg Bruce Walton) but my impression is that they were probably harder work. Others here on TNF have hands on experience of this and can comment better than me.

#105 fredeuce

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 03:25

From post 37 by Shane Bowden ; "Was it the Cann VW that Ian Wells hillclimbed? Was this the former Vincent -powered car?

The Cann VW was indeed the updated Cann Vincent that was subsequently owned by Ian Wells. I thought the car was then sold to NSW and always wondered if this then morphed into the Wortmeyer SCV which appeared about this time? Ray Cann lived in the same suburb as we did (Reservoir) and my brother often took me to Ray's house & business - the "Ray Cann Carrying Company". Ray's fleet of vehicles comprised VW Kombis in varying states of decrepitness which provided a ready source of engines for the Cann VW. Ray was instrumental in urging my brother to purchase the Cann BSA from Kurt Seeburg and get into motor sport. Kurt was rechristened by us after he subsequently crashed his Brabham Bt36 at Hume Weir as Kurt Treeburg."


Below is a picture of the Ray Cann car driven by then owner Ian Wells at Collingrove Easter 1971. Soon after Kev Rohrlach took delivery of that car . Very likely after this meeting. Kev is no longer with us however his son Kym is the present owner and also former Australian Hillclimb champ at the wheel of this car. Presently undergoing an engine rebuild.

Posted Image


#106 Terry Walker

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 07:17

I'm not sure if the Great TQ Explosion of the late 50s fits here - they were mostly dirt runners, but there were TQ tracks all over the place for a while. Some graduated to bitumen. This shot, by Ken Devine, shows a swarm of TQs on the Castledare track - also a Kart track - in the late 50s or very early 60s.

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#107 austmcreg

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 12:24

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.

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Graham White, White Vincent, Longford March 1955, Tannery Straight just before the causeway. J.Saward photo.

Rob Saward

#108 austmcreg

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 02:25

Unknown car and driver, believed to be Muddy Creek Hillclimb, Tamar Valley, mid 1950s.

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I can now confirm that this is Lionel Hart in his BMW Special at Muddy Creek. He ran at Muddy Creek (on the West Tamar) a number of times 1952-55, and had at least one FTD there. I cannot pinpoint which meeting this was but likley to be one of the earlier ones c 1953. The LH BMW cylinder can just be seen. This is the only photo I have seen of the car un-clothed; every other photo I have shows it with body in place. There were several variations on that body over the years, including one that is so different I wonder if in fact there were two cars.

A simple, nicely built and probably very light car.

Rob Saward

#109 plannerpower

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 05:59

All the photos posted on this thread are wonderful so I'm reluctant to "score" them but this has to be amongst the best;

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Austerity at the extreme; there is probably no component that could be removed from this car and not prevent it running. :)

#110 DanTra2858

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 20:01

While looking through the History of the Wollongong Sporting Car Club, the entry list for the first Hill Climb at Huntley Hill in December 1953 lists a Manx Norton 500 Special driven by Club Members Clarrie Holmes & Bill Hutton.

Is there any known History of this Car / Drivers or pictures.

Huntley Hill in 1953 was a dirt surface with FTD being 50.6 seconds.

#111 rms

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 21:54

While looking through the History of the Wollongong Sporting Car Club, the entry list for the first Hill Climb at Huntley Hill in December 1953 lists a Manx Norton 500 Special driven by Club Members Clarrie Holmes & Bill Hutton.

Is there any known History of this Car / Drivers or pictures.

Huntley Hill in 1953 was a dirt surface with FTD being 50.6 seconds.


Jack Wortmeyer used to talk about a Clarrie who did a lot of engine work for him. Jack said Clarrie was a motor bike engine expert and built engines for some of Australia's top bike road racers.
Len Atlee may know more about Clarrie.

Erol

#112 rms

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 03:07

I think the name may have been Clem !!!

Erol

#113 DanTra2858

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 04:29

I think the name may have been Clem !!!

Erol


Hi Erol, the Clem you may be thinking off would be the late Clem Daniels of Wollongong.

Clem had his own Machine Shop business which mainly worked on Tailshafts/Driveshafts & Cam Grinding, he was very involved in Motor Bikes espically the 125cc Class.

As a matter of interest Old Jack set FTD at the Huntley Climb back in 1953 with a Stripped down 1250cc MG TC.

#114 DanTra2858

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 20:45

Another owner of the vibrating racing car was Barry Lake, Barry told the story of how the mirrors vibrated so bad that he gave up looking in them, he had a Cooper.

Maybe some one out there has more information on Barry's car.

#115 austmcreg

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Posted 19 November 2011 - 07:10

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.
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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.

Rob Saward

Edited by austmcreg, 19 November 2011 - 07:12.


#116 austmcreg

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Posted 19 November 2011 - 09:07

Car #3. Crawford special #2. There are several photographs of a rear-engined 1200cc Indian car.


I have just found this photo, which I had accidently filed somewhere else, from Quorn Hall. The lead car is the rear-engined Crawford Indian special, leading two of the Ford or Mercury V8 'bedstead' specials (probably Gorringe and Johnston).

Posted Image

Rob Saward

#117 Ray Bell

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Posted 19 November 2011 - 21:34

That is a seriously wonderful photo, Rob!

Those Ford V8s look like real playthings...

#118 DanTra2858

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 06:58

I have just found this photo, which I had accidently filed somewhere else, from Quorn Hall. The lead car is the rear-engined Crawford Indian special, leading two of the Ford or Mercury V8 'bedstead' specials (probably Gorringe and Johnston).

Posted Image

Rob Saward


Car 59 the car on the left is there another car behind it or is there a passanger !!!!!!!

#119 austmcreg

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 09:20

Car 59 the car on the left is there another car behind it or is there a passanger !!!!!!!

Yes, there is a passenger. This was normal in Tasmanian racing at the time (think motorcycle outfit passemger, there to balance the weight and assist(!) in cornering. I am so used to seeing this in Tasmanian photos up to about 1955 that I dont notice or remark on it, but yes it must look strange to mainland eyes.

The production car race at first Longford meeting in 1953 was noted for the passengers hanging out side the windows of Jowett Javelins etc.

We need to understand that beach / road / circuit racing did not start in Tasmania until after WW2, so in those terms it was like the 1920s and early 30s in Vic /NSW when riding mechanics were normal.

Rob Saward

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#120 Ray Bell

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 11:20

The last reference to a 'Riding Mechanic' in the Australian Grand Prix I know of was at Leyburn...

The Wolseley Special of Cyril Tritton, to be driven by John Pike, was to have the apprentice who worked all the overtime to get it ready on time as a passenger. He rode in the car during practice and gave some interesting insight into the speed of the car, but as the car was new and the schrapnel of the surface was tearing the bodywork to bits, they scratched from the race.

For anyone with the AGP book, this is the car that was to have been in the middle of the second row of the grid.

Edited by Ray Bell, 20 November 2011 - 11:44.


#121 David McKinney

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 12:47

Please try to keep on-topic chaps :)

We're trying a bit harder to do that in HR

Feel free to start a thread on bodyless V8 specials or riding mechanics if you wish

#122 David Shaw

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 08:47

Hi D-Type, the Jack Godbehear car was the JGS - Jack Godbehear Special. My late brother used to compete against it in Victorian hillclimbs in the late 60's when it was owned by Ian Speight who by the way still competes in hillclimbs in a 3ltr Capri. At the time it was painted dark blue with white wire wheels.


I too have Godbehear's car listed as Clubman's 500, in appearances at Fishermen's Bend in March 1954, and then Altona that June. Perhaps there were 2 different cars considering the length of time.

#123 austmcreg

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 10:45

I too have Godbehear's car listed as Clubman's 500, in appearances at Fishermen's Bend in March 1954, and then Altona that June. Perhaps there were 2 different cars considering the length of time.

At Calder in 1962 (date unknown) Ray Owen entered JGS 500. Also Bert Flood JGS Norton 498

Also on the same entry list was:
R.Cooper Cascade Special 250
Don Ubergang Linton 500
Garth Rhodes Hireweld Special 499
W.Perry Walton JAP
Brian Pentland BJP Special 497
Alan Staton BRM 500 550
Bruce Walton Walton Cooper 1105

Edited by austmcreg, 21 November 2011 - 10:46.


#124 austmcreg

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 10:58

At Calder in 1962 (date unknown) Ray Owen entered JGS 500. Also Bert Flood JGS Norton 498


Phillip Island December 1956
Entrant J.G.Godbehear, Driver J.Flood, JGS-JAP 497

#125 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 06:59

From post 37 by Shane Bowden ; "Was it the Cann VW that Ian Wells hillclimbed? Was this the former Vincent -powered car?

The Cann VW was indeed the updated Cann Vincent that was subsequently owned by Ian Wells. I thought the car was then sold to NSW and always wondered if this then morphed into the Wortmeyer SCV which appeared about this time? Ray Cann lived in the same suburb as we did (Reservoir) and my brother often took me to Ray's house & business - the "Ray Cann Carrying Company". Ray's fleet of vehicles comprised VW Kombis in varying states of decrepitness which provided a ready source of engines for the Cann VW. Ray was instrumental in urging my brother to purchase the Cann BSA from Kurt Seeburg and get into motor sport. Kurt was rechristened by us after he subsequently crashed his Brabham Bt36 at Hume Weir as Kurt Treeburg."


Below is a picture of the Ray Cann car driven by then owner Ian Wells at Collingrove Easter 1971. Soon after Kev Rohrlach took delivery of that car . Very likely after this meeting. Kev is no longer with us however his son Kym is the present owner and also former Australian Hillclimb champ at the wheel of this car. Presently undergoing an engine rebuild.

Posted Image

I have just learnt something. I was always under the assumption that Kevin built that car. Not that it was originally a Vincent powered car.
That car is BASIC, it still really looks the same but with a big horsepower supercharged VW is very very quick. And very loud, like drag race loud. It has beaten many far more pucka cars in the last 40 years. As for rebuilding the engine I thought that happened after every meeting!!

#126 austmcreg

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Posted 26 November 2011 - 11:28

This wonderful photo from Albert Park 1956 (Under 1500cc race) is one of a collection I acquired many years ago. Photographer unknown. Bill Patterson (Mk V Cooper JAP), Lex Davison (Mk IV Cooper Vincent), Stan Jones (MkIV Cooper JAP). Loks like another Cooper Mk IV on second row but I dont know the identity.
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#127 HiRich

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Posted 26 November 2011 - 13:32

Rob, I believe it's actually 1955. The hidden Cooper should be Jack O'Dea in the ex-Brabham Cooper (11)

#128 austmcreg

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Posted 27 November 2011 - 05:03

Rob, I believe it's actually 1955. The hidden Cooper should be Jack O'Dea in the ex-Brabham Cooper (11)

Yes. I agree about the year. I had doubts about 1956 within minutes of posting it. Thanks for the ID on blue Mk IV.

Does anyone know the details of the Patterson car's history between Bill selling it and it landing in Tasmania with Jock Walkem in late 1957 or early 1958? Blanden says that Arthur Wylie had this car in that period, but is it confirmed it was this car? Blanden appears to have confused the histories of the three Tasmanian Mk Vs, this car (Mk V/41/51), the Brian Mahoney car (Mk V/49/51) and the first Tasmanian Cooper (ex Stephenson MkV L/5/51.

Rob Saward

#129 DanTra2858

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 07:35

1979 Amaroo Park Historic Meeting Jan 27/28

13 Hank Northey 1948 BMW Special 600cc
20 Rob Phillips 1951 Cooper Vincent 998cc
22 Peter Wentworth-Edwards 1952 Ornel 650cc
25 Graeme Snape 1957 Cooper BMW S/C 600cc
35 Stephen Glover 1930 Austin Raliegh 822cc
44 David Medley 1949 Cooper JAP 498cc
134 Todd Hamilton 1960 Ralt 1000cc
141 John Merrick 1958 BB Aerial 520cc

1977 Oran Park Historic Meeting Jan 28/29

13 Hank Northey 1948 BMW Special 600cc Green
20 Rob Phillips 1951 Cooper Vincent 998cc Silver
22 Peter Wentworth-Edwards 1952 Ornel Triumph 650cc Green
25 Graeme Snape 1957 Cooper BMW S/C 600cc Bronze/Silver
45 Greg Lakeman 1955 Berkeley 650cc Red
134 Todd Hamilton 1960 Ralt 998cc Red
141 John Merrick 1958 BB Aerial 520cc Blue
145 David Medley/John Mann 1949 Cooper JAP 500cc Black
147 David Baggs 1952 Scarab 648cc Blue/White


#130 DanTra2858

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 05:17

Take into concideration of the period 1950 - 1980 which would be the best of all the motor bike powered cars to compete in this period, both of the Myers cars plus the Walton & Cann cars must be high on the list but could it be the Ralts, anyway Best Wishes for the Festive Season. Daniel Tracey

#131 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 01:42

Some of the cars listed above are still around, though few run

Owen Tracey ran the Nota AJS which had been Ross "Splinta" Pentecost's, a light if tall beast

The Godbehear car I saw at Silverdale long ago when driven by an ex motorcyclist whose name currently escapes me -- Ray Owen perhaps? Memorable indeed were the two "shoes" vertically above the pedals so his big feet could use pedals w/o fouling the roof of the nosecone

Latest " Loose Fillings" ( gjsimkin@iprimus.com.au dont miss out!) has lovely article by Norman Mortlock about his MB 500 which had a similar problem to the Godbehear so to prevent his feet fouling the underside of the nosecone he cut off the top of the brake pedal. He was impressed when Alec Mildren complimented him on "Not lifting the foot through (Mt Druitt's) Castle Curve" but found much later when he went back down Silverdale Hill that the little car HAD NO BRAKES AT ALL. He said he didnt admit to Alec Mildren that in fact he was leaning very heavily indeed on that short brake pedal through Castle Curve

Kerry, Thanks for the S/C Vincent speedway video. Wangaratta Historic Speedway perhaps 3 years ago there were 4 outfits, all Vincents one supercharged(perhaps that one shown in the video). Though the video doesnt quite capture the wonderful flat blat of the s/c Vincent, the noise(and the smell) of those four that night was brilliant

We appear to have few/ no Victorians here on TNF... but can any recall Bill Balle's "Ball of Fire" which I recall seeing race very effectively at Winton in the early 1970s?

Thats/c Vincent outfit is the ex Len Bowes machine which was very succesful up until retired in the early 70s. And replaced by a 750 waterbucket Suzuki sponsored by Cornell Suzuki.
Mind you that Vincent sat for a lot of years at the Birdwood Museum and was joined by Neil Munroes 73 title winning Vincent. And it looked nothing like it does now, it had about 20lb of Rowley dolomite on it which was soaking up the oil nicely!! About 20 years ago there was a Vincent rally at Birdwood and Neil got the outfit out and was doing laps around the grounds,,, and dug a few big trenches!!
Both of those units are going and do some demonstrations occasionally.
I too have seen all 4 Vincents running together and it is a sight to remember. I also saw a couple of them come unstuck big time at Murray Bridge a few years back. A big ouch for all concerned.
Though I am old enough to remember them in their heyday winning most of the big events.60s and early 70s. And to remember Bob Finlay on his 880 JAP too. A bike that he rode reasonably quickly at a very advanced age at classic events up to about 10 years ago. And that had Rowley mud on it too!

#132 AnnieOz

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Posted 25 December 2011 - 03:25

From post 123
At Calder in 1962 (date unknown) Ray Owen entered JGS 500. Also Bert Flood JGS Norton 498

Also on the same entry list was:
R.Cooper Cascade Special 250
Don Ubergang Linton 500
Garth Rhodes Hireweld Special 499
W.Perry Walton JAP
Brian Pentland BJP Special 497
Alan Staton BRM 500 550
Bruce Walton Walton Cooper 1105

Would anyone have further information about Brian Pentland Pentland BJP Special 499? i am wondering if it is the same Pentland that was Dad's last restoration or if there was more than one Pentland.
Thanks
Annie

#133 austmcreg

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 00:24

From post 123
Brian Pentland BJP Special 497

Would anyone have further information about Brian Pentland Pentland BJP Special 499? i am wondering if it is the same Pentland that was Dad's last restoration or if there was more than one Pentland.
Thanks
Annie

In the 1980s. when Brian Pentland was involved in veteran and vintage motorcycles, he and I had a long conversation at a rally we attended. I am fairly sure he told me than that he built only one racing car. Not sure if Brian is still around, but I think he lived in Ballarat area at that time.

Rob

#134 AnnieOz

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 06:21

Thank you. That fits with what I remember of Dad's research as it was a mate of Pentland who identified the car for Dad.
Any further info would be greatly appreciated, or pictures of the time
Annie

#135 john medley

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 20:58

Hi Annie
Isnt the 500 rebuilt and still owned by Keith Roberts (Victoria) called a Pentland? Mentions in " Loose Fillings" refer to two cars so named


#136 TimR

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Posted 27 December 2011 - 00:03

Motorbike powered race cars played a large part in Australian Motor Sport after WW2 not only in Road Racing but also Hill Climbs & Sprints.

Much is known about the Coopers that ran in their day but what is known of the others that competed during this period, John Medley covers quite a few in his Bathurst Book but there are many more that ran.

The elite of the Motorbike powered cars for me are the two cars ran by the late Jack Myers, but again this is only 2 cars of many, there was a open wheeler running at Oran Park in the 1970's with motorbike power that was still at the sharp end of the field.

What are your memories of this cars.


Gents,

I know little of this topic, but wasn't Murray Rainey a prolific Australian hill climber in his two Coopers, particularly his unique supercharged Mk 9 ?


#137 plannerpower

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Posted 27 December 2011 - 00:40

Murray Rainey's name has appeared in several threads on TNF I think; I will leave the searching to others.

This is a good story;

http://joyrainey.co....cooper_mk9.html



#138 AnnieOz

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Posted 27 December 2011 - 00:57

Hi John
I will check Loose Fillings but Dad got a CofD for the car as a Pentland so somewhere in his files must be a recognized history.
I was unsure if there was more than one car created.
The story as I remember is that a Cooper was near Pentland's garage/shed and a lot of information ie measurements etc were taken and a Pentland was later produced. The man from Victoria, who was there at the build time, that we met at Winton 2009? had some photographs and the unique welding matched the car Dad had restored and was trying to identify. Apart from that, my memory of its story is hazy hence my attempts to add to its story.

#139 austmcreg

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Posted 27 December 2011 - 09:52

Hi John
I will check Loose Fillings but Dad got a CofD for the car as a Pentland so somewhere in his files must be a recognized history.
I was unsure if there was more than one car created.
The story as I remember is that a Cooper was near Pentland's garage/shed and a lot of information ie measurements etc were taken and a Pentland was later produced. The man from Victoria, who was there at the build time, that we met at Winton 2009? had some photographs and the unique welding matched the car Dad had restored and was trying to identify. Apart from that, my memory of its story is hazy hence my attempts to add to its story.

I have received information that my earlier reply about one car from Brian Pentland was not strictly correct. This may tie in with the story above; apparently the first car was built by Brian as the BJP with JAP 500, which has recently been restored in Victoria. The Pentland was a later car which was bought from its constructor (unfinished) and was a near copy of Alan Staton's BRM 500, which in turn was based on the Walton Cooper.

Rob Saward

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#140 john medley

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 08:05

The Keith Roberts restoration is the BJR mentioned above. The Kevin Shearer car is the Pentland ( Google provides a pic at Lakeland Hill 1960s). Brian Pentland now lives in Bendigo, is known to Keith Roberts (who lunched with him pre Christmas, and some years ago invited him to view the BJR restoration), and can be contacted via Keith.

So, Annie if you contact me I will give you Keith 's contact details and he is happy to chase up whatever you need to know
Regards to you, Eric, and Katie ( and all)
JM

#141 tsrwright

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 04:50

Does anyone know the details of the Patterson car's history between Bill selling it and it landing in Tasmania with Jock Walkem in late 1957 or early 1958? Blanden says that Arthur Wylie had this car in that period, but is it confirmed it was this car? Blanden appears to have confused the histories of the three Tasmanian Mk Vs, this car (Mk V/41/51), the Brian Mahoney car (Mk V/49/51) and the first Tasmanian Cooper (ex Stephenson MkV L/5/51.

Rob Saward


As Dave Powell snr was one of the most persistent (racing-wise) Cooper JAP twin people anywhere I have been quite interested in working out who had what car in Tassie but I am not certain the various stories I have had stack up. What I have gleaned solely from others and little original research of my own is as follows re Tasmanian twins (Note we are talking of 4 cars)

Mk5-L5-51
John Crouch (1100 JAP, silver/aluminium) > Don Gorringe (not known to have used) > Bill Stephenson > Lyn Archer > probably Doug Green > Jack Rowe > Jack Ayres > Hilton McGee > Mark Dymond > John Dymond > Penrite Oils (AU)

Mk5-L9-51 Bib Stillwell (1100 JAP) > Dick Cobden (Orange, January 1953) > Stan Mossetter (Leyburn, August 1953) > Ken Richardson (early 1954) > Rex Taylor (late 1954) > Peter White (JAP engine and gearbox advertised AMS June 1958 and sold separately) > probably Brian Mahoney (chassis only, fitted Vincent 1000) > probably Brendan Tapp > Brian Kerbin > Ken Moir > Rob Phillips (AU)

Mk5-41-51
Bill Patterson (UK season 1951 maybe owned by Tom Hawkes with 500 JAP, to Australia first raced Parramatta Park January 1952) >Stan Jones with Patterson driving (1952) >Bill Patterson, (fitted JAP 1000 first event Rob Roy 28 February 1954, later 1954 AHCC, AGP Port Wakefield 1955 with JAP 500) > Ken Wylie (500 Norton and 1000 JAP) > Jock Walkem (1000 JAP) > John Hartnett (1000 and 500 JAP) > Dave Powell snr (1100 JAP maybe and/or Norton 500) > Dave Powell jnr (BSA 500 maybe and/or 1100 JAP) > probably Peter Dobson > Brian Reed (500 JAP) > Peter Harburg (AU).

10-32-49
Supplied to Keith Martin, Melbourne, less body – made in Mk5 style > Lex Davison (1952 not used, sold 1000 JAP engine with view to fitting Vincent) > Reg Smith (1100 JAP, “Warm Rod”) , then less engine to Jack French (1953, Norton 500) > Dave Powell snr (Norton 500 and/or 1100 JAP)20 > Dave Powell jnr (BSA 500 and/or 1100 JAP) > probably Dick Snow > K Holman > Rob Kirkby > John Bodinnar (chassis only) > Ivan Glasby (AU)

What does not seem to be certain is the following:

Q1 Mk5-L9-51: Did Brian Mahoney buy the chassis only from Peter White and fit a Vincent engine this being the car Don Gorringe advertised for sale October 1964 this eventually being the car Rob Phillips now has?

Q2 Mk5-L5-51: Did Lyn Archer sell this car to Brian Mahoney who fitted a Vincent and this became the car advertised by Don Gorringe as above. (this seems less probable than the alternative above

Q3 Which (or was it both) of the Powell cars had the 1100 JAP in it?

It is easier to follow this with a timeline which I will try to post. Any further input would be appreciated to get the Australian side of this sorted.

Edited by tsrwright, 11 January 2012 - 06:06.


#142 tsrwright

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 05:10

It is easier to follow this with a timeline which I will try to post. Any further input would be appreciated to get the Australian side of this sorted.


https://picasaweb.go...feat=directlink





#143 austmcreg

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 08:19

https://picasaweb.go...feat=directlink


There is a lot of effort going in to the Dave Powell cars at the moment. I will be able to add some additional owners and additional detail on Powell cars shortly, but want to verify /discuss what I have with others before I post it here.

There are also additional appearances and probable owners for what is belived to be the Mahoney Cooper Vincent in 1960-61.

I will send you a pm.

Rob Saward

#144 DanTra2858

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 19:42

How can the History of a car be so complicated when there are race reports which indicate who the Driver / Owner is, linking this also to For Sale adds.

Then on the other hand how do you control the History of car sales that are done on a handshake basis, tsrwright I take my hat off to you, what a bag full of whatiffs

you are waving your magic wand over.



#145 tsrwright

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 02:18

How can the History of a car be so complicated when there are race reports which indicate who the Driver / Owner is, linking this also to For Sale adds.

Then on the other hand how do you control the History of car sales that are done on a handshake basis, tsrwright I take my hat off to you, what a bag full of whatiffs

you are waving your magic wand over.



I'll take that as a compliment not a brickbat? Many car histories are difficult to unravel for a variety of reasons:

Memories fade. Drivers, shown pictures of themselves in cars or adverts for them for sale, sometimes can't remember them at all so is it any wonder others can't either.

Programmes and published results are not always reliable. Sometimes cars, even engines are changed. If someone was in an under 1500 race in a Cooper did they have the 1100 engine in it or the 500? Or which of their (possibly) several cars was it?

A very small proportion of meetings let alone events are reported at all; even if they are the report may only be available in a library at the far end of the earth but digitization is magically transforming this situation. However many on-line newpaper libraries eg US Library of Congress and the British Library have barely reached the motoring age yet.

Comprehensive archives rarely exist. For example BRDC, BARC, MAC (apart from a small sample on microfilm) and BOC did not keep entry forms. Even then you cannot always rely on them. In one case (and maybe more for all I know) Peter Collins used his RAC licence number as his chassis number (chassis and engine numbers used to be mandatory on GB entry forms)

Rumour and gossip are often substituted for hard evidence. Authors rarely give any sources at all. I have just got the new Archie Frazer Nash book published by the FN Archive and there is not a single source referenced other than very generally. (But take a bow John Medley - I love the Snow book and not just for this reason)

Sometimes documents are incomplete. For example Eric Fernihough's tuning notebook on his big twin Brough Superior JAP survives but when the loose pages are sorted into the correct order the pages for his world record attempts can be seen to be missing.

Sometimes official records are wrong. The FIM last published a compilation of historical world records in 1979 but there are still errors, even the wrong motorcycle, that goes far back as the 1930s.

For these and many other reasons the degree of confidence in a chain of ownership or provenance can be difficult to determine let alone put into words. One might suggest that any source needs to be verified by another but we'll all be dead first if that rule of journalism were to be applied to what we are doing. But will anything less do? Perhaps not but in the meantime it would be useful to have some simple terminology that represents confidence or reliability. I have yet to get further than "probably" and "possibly" so yes there are plenty of "whatiffs" about.

Perhaps this all belongs in a new thread?

Edited by tsrwright, 12 January 2012 - 02:23.


#146 tsrwright

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 02:30

[quote name='austmcreg' date='Jan 11 2012, 19:19' post='5475445']
There is a lot of effort going in to the Dave Powell cars at the moment. I will be able to add some additional owners and additional detail on Powell cars shortly, but want to verify /discuss what I have with others before I post it here.

I didn't get all of you PM Rob so please just email me direct - see Loose Fillings for example.



#147 austmcreg

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 06:58

How can the History of a car be so complicated when there are race reports which indicate who the Driver / Owner is, linking this also to For Sale adds.

Then on the other hand how do you control the History of car sales that are done on a handshake basis, tsrwright I take my hat off to you, what a bag full of whatiffs

you are waving your magic wand over.


1. Many of the races in the period we are talking about here (1950s and early 1960s) were not reported anywhere.
2. Some race programs, particularly the country circuits, are hard to get. There are very few complete sets about. Most can be found eventually, but it often takes time to track down who has them. How do we know which programs we need to find?
3. Not all sales of cars occurred through advertisement. In my experience with this subject, most sales were done person to person, probably in the pits at race meetings.
4. Many of the people involved with these cars have passed away, so first hand information can be hard to get.
5. Those involved who are still with us are at that stage of life when memories of things that are now un-important are sketchy at best, and often unreliable. Anyone who reports someting they were told as fact, without verifying it from at least one other period source (not memory and definitely not 'internet research') is asking for trouble. I have a case at moment, with early Coopers in Tasmania, where two participants in an event have very different accounts of a particular occurence, which affects the identity of two cars involved and potentailly mixes up the story. Who is right? Maybe neither!
6. Some of these cars have had 20 or more owners in a lifetime, often scattered over wide geographical area. Some owners had multiple cars and it is not unheard of for car identities to get mixed up.

That is how it can be complicated!

Rob Saward

#148 austmcreg

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 09:54

In the hope of encouraging others to commence the same for cars from other states, I offer a list of Tasmanian motorcycle-engined cars

To bring the list of Tasmanian cars originally at post #78 up to date, the following have emerged in recent research:

Piaggio Special. Built by Garth Wigston and Denny Goodsell in Hobart 1961 using a 150cc (Piaggio) Vespa engine/transmission unit. Raced for about 1 year with some (handicap) success. Believed to have been scrapped in 1960s, does not exist now.

Michell 500. Entered by Max Stephens Motors, driver R.Michell, December 1963.
Derek White, BSA Special, 1963.
John Dobie, BSA Special, c1962-63. There are photos of a car in both John Dobie and other ownership which may be the Derek White car but it is likely there was at least one owner before that as the first known photo (as below) dates from c1961. A photo of this same car from 1967 appears on Old Race Photos, so it had a fairly long active period. It has become known to a few of us as the 'lobster crate grille car' becasue of its hideous front panel. Can anyone identify the wheels on the front of this car?
Posted Image

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We also have a photograph from Lindsay Ross' Old Race Photos of a car raced by Allan Davey at Baskerville in 1966 which has not yet been located in a program.

Any information on these or other Tasmanian aircooled cars would be gratefully received by myself or Randall Langdon at CAMS Tas Historic panel.

Rob Saward

#149 HiRich

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 13:35

Rob,
Dutchy always knows these things better than me, but I am almost certain the rims are Fiat Topolino, missing the hub cap. That in turn means it almost certainly had the transverse leaf suspension. Used on the original Cooper 500s (and copied/developed on the production cars).

#150 Dutchy

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 17:08

Rob,
Dutchy always knows these things better than me, but I am almost certain the rims are Fiat Topolino, missing the hub cap. That in turn means it almost certainly had the transverse leaf suspension. Used on the original Cooper 500s (and copied/developed on the production cars).


You are too kind Rich.

That's what I think they are too and the shape of the body inboard of the wheels would indeed suggest a transverse leaf.