Jump to content


Photo

The cars of Cliff Byfield


  • Please log in to reply
38 replies to this topic

#1 ken devine

ken devine
  • Member

  • 744 posts
  • Joined: August 06

Posted 11 February 2012 - 03:16

The Byfield Repco Holden was one of the best sports cars built in WA. It evolved from the very successful open wheel racing cars
the BRM Morgan. However i will let Rod tell the story. I have a lot of photos.

Advertisement

#2 Repco22

Repco22
  • Member

  • 708 posts
  • Joined: February 11

Posted 11 February 2012 - 04:28

I would like more details on the "Repco22". Possibly on it's own thread.

Thanks Ken. David, I was thinking of opening a thread on Cliff Byfield and the cars and bodies he has built. That might be the best. It will include the Repco-Holden Sports.

#3 ken devine

ken devine
  • Member

  • 744 posts
  • Joined: August 06

Posted 11 February 2012 - 09:19

Jack Ayres in the Byfield Holden Sports. First race meeting.





Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

#4 Repco22

Repco22
  • Member

  • 708 posts
  • Joined: February 11

Posted 11 February 2012 - 10:22

Jack Ayres in the Byfield Holden Sports. First race meeting.

Ken, like those blokes in the Le Mans start pic, you've jumped the gun! Nice pic though. Jack copped some flak for those 'whitewash' numbers.

#5 Repco22

Repco22
  • Member

  • 708 posts
  • Joined: February 11

Posted 11 February 2012 - 12:22

QUOTE (David McKinney @ Feb 11 2012, 10:58)
There's now a dedicated Byfield thread in the Historical Research sub-forum

Thanks for that David. And for helping me to expand my consciousness. Good housekeeping! I have a job on at the mo' but will make a start on Cliff Byfield's work in the next couple of days.



#6 Repco22

Repco22
  • Member

  • 708 posts
  • Joined: February 11

Posted 16 February 2012 - 07:24

Cliff Byfield is a legend among car buffs in Western Australia. He commenced a coach-building apprenticeship before the war, joined the RAAF and went to the European theatre of WW2, then on his return, after some architecture study, resumed and completed his apprenticeship. He has run his own workshop, specialising in one-off truck cabs and employing up to fifteen men. Later taught manual arts [ he's equally talented in woodwork] and in 'retirement' has continued, unabated, to make whole cars and panels. It's fair to say Cliff has a true vocation for metal-shaping as he's just as enthusiastic about his craft as he ever was and just as willing to share his skills with anyone with a desire to pursue this age-old craft. He also manages to find time to design and fashion beautiful pieces of furnitue and even a harp.
IIRC the first complete car Cliff designed and built was a coupe made from the remains of a wrecked Citroen. A pic may be posted later. He has had a long love affair with Jaguars and his next creation was the first of three 'Byfield Jaguars'. It was completed, to his own design, in the mid-fifties and when displayed at a major department store, caused a sensation in the backwater that was Perth.
Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us
Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us
Photog unknown
A Jag Mk V motor was used and the car had a removable hardtop. The panels are in steel and it was finished in a metallic mid-green. After passing through several hands, Cliff's son now has the car back in the fold.
More to follow.

Edited by Repco22, 16 February 2012 - 07:35.


#7 Repco22

Repco22
  • Member

  • 708 posts
  • Joined: February 11

Posted 19 February 2012 - 02:58

This is the second Byfield Jaguar, built about twenty years ago.
Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us
Cliff started with a MkV Jag chassis and some body panels, then drew up a design for a sports car. The 'guards and bonnet were modified, the grille shortened and the rest he made to suit. Wooden patterns were made for parts to be cast in bronze, such as the windscreen pillars. Due to the difficulty in getting chrome-plating that will last on steel, Cliff makes parts like the bumpers and the headlight mesh stoneguards, from stainless steel. Not easy to work but it won't rust! A measure of his metal-working skill can be gauged by those pieces of trim on the car's flanks. They are fashioned from brass sheet, are 'veed' in cross-section, taper to a point and of course, describe a beautiful curve. The interior is
trimmed in leather of a soft green shade which contrasts with jarrah ['Swan River Mahogany'] on the dashboard, door trims and self-made steering wheel. The standard of finish inside and out is comparable to a factory-made car. Motor, rear end and brakes are XJ6. The transmission was originally manual but Cliff recently converted it to auto for his wife's benefit. The Byfields enjoy taking the car to shows where, on more than one occasion, they've overheard blokes explain to their girlfriends that "this is a such-and-such model. Only X number were made" etc...

Edited by Repco22, 19 February 2012 - 03:02.


#8 ken devine

ken devine
  • Member

  • 744 posts
  • Joined: August 06

Posted 19 February 2012 - 08:40


I took this shot of the car at British car day 2 years sgo.





Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

#9 Repco22

Repco22
  • Member

  • 708 posts
  • Joined: February 11

Posted 20 February 2012 - 08:10

This is the third Byfield Jaguar, completed about nine years ago. It's a mid-engined V12 and construction is based on a steel, box-section back-bone and is again entirely Cliff's design. He delights in nutting out the various catches, hinges, and assorted trickey bits that make up a car but are often taken for granted. A classic example is the design for a concealed door catch. All that is visible are two small panels that Cliff is operating in the first pic. The top one is spring-loaded. You push it in with one finger and then pull down on the panel beneath it. Voila! Seats rise up to meet occupants and once inside there is, of course, air-conditioning. Naturally the finish is to the usual Byfield standard. The young guy who did the paint job specialises in fancy hot rods and asked if he could enter the car in Perth's big annual hot rod show. Not surprisingly, it won first prize. I don't have a usable pic of the finished car but perhaps Ken Devine can help out.

Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us
Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

#10 ken devine

ken devine
  • Member

  • 744 posts
  • Joined: August 06

Posted 20 February 2012 - 08:46

The Byfield Jaguar MK3 at the festival of speed 2010. The car is now on permanent display at the Motor Museum of WA.




Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

#11 ken devine

ken devine
  • Member

  • 744 posts
  • Joined: August 06

Posted 26 February 2012 - 01:38

The Byfield Jaguar, Gullwing doors open. Note clay model on the stand.







Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

#12 ken devine

ken devine
  • Member

  • 744 posts
  • Joined: August 06

Posted 26 February 2012 - 01:42

Rear view. sorry i couldn't avoid the skylight reflection.






Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

#13 ken devine

ken devine
  • Member

  • 744 posts
  • Joined: August 06

Posted 26 February 2012 - 01:45


Side view. These shots were taken yesterday.




Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

#14 Repco22

Repco22
  • Member

  • 708 posts
  • Joined: February 11

Posted 26 February 2012 - 02:51

Side view. These shots were taken yesterday.




Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

Nice ones Ken. Cliff was fortunate to find a windscreen [ I forget from what] that suited the lines for the rear window.
This cartoon was from a card for Cliff's 80th birthday which coincided with his completion of the car.
Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us
Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us
Below; Restoring the ex Gaze/Davison HWM-Jaguar sports and at bottom; Re-bodying Maybach III after Peter Briggs' horrifying prang at Philip Island. The tail was the only body panel to survive.
Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us
Below; The maestro working on my Healey.
Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

#15 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 53,874 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 26 February 2012 - 06:16

That car is simply gorgeous!

The man was more than a genius, he must have also been a human dynamo to do all this stuff...

I hope I can get over there some time and see it in the flesh.

#16 ken devine

ken devine
  • Member

  • 744 posts
  • Joined: August 06

Posted 26 February 2012 - 08:08

The rebuilt Maybach Corvette being driven by Graeme Cocks at Caversham during the 1957 AGP anniversary festival in 2007.





Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

Edited by ken devine, 26 February 2012 - 08:09.


#17 ken devine

ken devine
  • Member

  • 744 posts
  • Joined: August 06

Posted 26 February 2012 - 08:15

The Byfield bodied MGTC Special of Ron Millar 1963. This is not the original John Walker chassis.




Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

#18 Repco22

Repco22
  • Member

  • 708 posts
  • Joined: February 11

Posted 26 February 2012 - 10:13

That car is simply gorgeous!

The man was more than a genius, he must have also been a human dynamo to do all this stuff...

I hope I can get over there some time and see it in the flesh.

Correction Ray. Cliff "IS" more than a genius. Happily he is still with us and still building cars. In fact, in between working on his latest creation, a Riley-based sports car, he is restoring an MGTD for his wife and a couple of weeks ago changed the auto trans on the second [ two-tone green] Byfield Jag to a different type. Oh yes, and he's looking for a spare Renault Twenty gearbox to make adjustable linkage arms for the yellow car while it remains in the museum.:)

#19 Repco22

Repco22
  • Member

  • 708 posts
  • Joined: February 11

Posted 26 February 2012 - 10:32

The TC special, above with Ron Miller, was one of Cliff's early racing car bodies--around 1955 I guess. The task was to make a monoposto body that could be easily lifted off Johnny Walker's TC and be replaced by the original body. JW, pictured below, was the WA under 1500cc state champion with the car.
Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us
David Van Dal pic.

Advertisement

#20 ken devine

ken devine
  • Member

  • 744 posts
  • Joined: August 06

Posted 26 February 2012 - 22:50

Rod what other racing car bodies did Cliff build? The body on the Mick Geneve was one.

#21 ken devine

ken devine
  • Member

  • 744 posts
  • Joined: August 06

Posted 27 February 2012 - 06:51

Stan Starcevich in the roadgoing version of the Byfield Holden Sports. I beleive John Byfield has the remains of this car in his shed.




Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

#22 Repco22

Repco22
  • Member

  • 708 posts
  • Joined: February 11

Posted 01 March 2012 - 06:33

The Mick 'Geneff' Corvette Special which Cliff originally built as a Dodge truck-engined car. While referred to as 'the Ballot-Dodge', all that remained of the old Ballot were the front wheels.
Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us
Pictured at Caversham in '57 with the Dodge motor.
Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us
Pics-R Waller.

#23 David McKinney

David McKinney
  • Member

  • 14,156 posts
  • Joined: November 00

Posted 01 March 2012 - 06:52

Looks like a touch of the Maybach IIIs around the tail....

And why not?

#24 Repco22

Repco22
  • Member

  • 708 posts
  • Joined: February 11

Posted 01 March 2012 - 07:17

Looks like a touch of the Maybach IIIs around the tail....

And why not?

David, while Maybach III's driving position is slightly offset, Mick sat to one side of the centreline and consequently in cross-section the body was a wider and shallower oval.
But yes, nicely rounded.

Edited by Repco22, 01 March 2012 - 07:21.


#25 Repco22

Repco22
  • Member

  • 708 posts
  • Joined: February 11

Posted 01 March 2012 - 08:49

The Byfield-Ayres Holden Sports.
This was one of Cliff's best known and most admired creations. The basis of the car was a very successful open-wheeler, the BRM-Morgan, which had been designed and built by David Van Dal. Its construction had been commissioned by the Australian Morgan distributor of the mid-fifties, Perth's Bill Richards. BRM stood for Bill Richards Motors and had nothing to do with another constructor of the same name! Richards' idea was, of course, to promote the Morgan brand, David's space frame accommodating parts from a wrecked car. Front suspension, Vanguard motor, Moss box, that long bell-housing with the sliding barrel clutch-release bearing and rear axle [but with coil springs] were all from the Morgan. Steering was by Peugeot rack and pinion.
Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us
Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us
David Van Dal and BRM-Morgan.

David was also a quick pedaller of the car and caused a sensation when he lowered the Caversham lap record by some six seconds. c1959 the shrewd Jack Ayres saw a niche for a good sports-racing car, that class being dominated by production cars like Healeys and TRs. Recognising the potential of the space-framed, Morgan-based BRM, he bought it and with Cliff Byfield's expert help, set about rebuilding it. Cliff lengthened and modified the space frame and designed a body with hints of Ferrari and Lotus but a style of its own. Jack tossed out the Vanguard motor and fitted a modified 'Grey' Holden one. First time out he won the state sports car title and followed it up with a 6-Hour Le Mans win with Lionel Beattie co-driving. Ray Barfield then purchased the ex David McKay DB3S and some close tussles followed, the best resulting in a dead-heat after the lead had changed three times in the last few hundred metres.
The impression the car made on fans gave Jack the idea to produce, with Cliff as partner, a kit-car along similar lines. The pair produced one steel-bodied, road-registered example, [see post 21 above] and another was incomplete when the idea was dropped due to sales tax making the project unviable.
Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us
Jack Ayres' first trial of the sports car. Contrary to constant references, while Jack owned the car it was never Repco-powered. Lionel Beattie fitted a Repco head during his ownership.
Pics from the David Van Dal collection.

#26 ken devine

ken devine
  • Member

  • 744 posts
  • Joined: August 06

Posted 02 March 2012 - 00:06

The Geneve car at Albany hillclimb 1957 by Alf Empsal. There is an interesting story behind why the Ballot was rebodied maybe Rod will tell us.





Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

#27 Repco22

Repco22
  • Member

  • 708 posts
  • Joined: February 11

Posted 02 March 2012 - 11:23

The Geneve car at Albany hillclimb 1957 by Alf Empsal. There is an interesting story behind why the Ballot was rebodied maybe Rod will tell us.





Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

Ken, I guess you're referring to this; There was an occasion when Mick was doing some 'high-speed testing' on public roads near his home in Osborne Park, lost control and was thrown out. The car ended up perched up on some grapevine trellises. But the Ballot wasn't just 'rebodied'. Cliff designed and built a new car with a new frame. As mentioned, I think of the original Ballot, only the front wheels remained. Here's Mick in the number 6 Ballot with Sid Taylor in the TS Special, another car which Cliff has much more recently rebodied during a reconstruction.
Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us
David Van Dal pic.

#28 Repco22

Repco22
  • Member

  • 708 posts
  • Joined: February 11

Posted 04 March 2012 - 08:47

The late Lionel Beattie, who had co-driven the winning Byfield-Ayres sports with Jack Ayres in the 1960 Caversham 6-Hour, bought the car from Jack and raced it very successfully for the next couple of years. Lionel fitted a cross-flow Repco head and also bigger brakes all around. I then bought it from Lionel, through Jack, and ran it in the '64 6-Hour with David 'Rockford'. The following year Lionel came out of retirement for one last drive and shared the car with me in the 6-Hour. He is pictured here in the '65 event, trailing the eventual winner, Spencer Martin, in the Scuderia Veloce 250 LM. We were running in the top six but scored a DNF.
Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us
Pic by Alan Yates.

#29 Repco22

Repco22
  • Member

  • 708 posts
  • Joined: February 11

Posted 10 March 2012 - 01:15

After five years of intermittent racing I sold the above sports car to the late Bob Webb who ran it about three times, including a trip to Queensland with Bob Kingsbury for a Surfers Paradise 12-Hour event--c'69-70. It was then sold to an Italian guy who planned to fit an Alfa motor but ultimately abandoned the idea. The car deteriorated for some years until Neil McCrudden bought the remains for a few dollars and salvaged Cliff's panels. He then commenced the task of rebuilding the rest of the car, starting with a new spaceframe.
Below; the body as found, and bottom; original frame-designer, David Van Dal sits in the reconstructed sports car.
Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us
Below; Waller chauffeurs Van Dal in the reconstructed car at a Caversham reunion.
Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us
Below, ex-owner of the original, Rod Waller, with chassis designer, David Van Dal and bodybuilder, Cliff Byfield at Caversham.
Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us
Pics by Neil McCrudden.

#30 scags

scags
  • Member

  • 405 posts
  • Joined: February 03

Posted 10 March 2012 - 01:58

good to see it back together, as new. (more or less)

#31 Gordon Graham

Gordon Graham
  • Member

  • 100 posts
  • Joined: May 07

Posted 14 March 2012 - 08:42

Some time after the 64 six-hour, the Repco Holden Sports appeared with the nose slightly modified to look like this. Rod can probably shed some light.

Posted Image



#32 Repco22

Repco22
  • Member

  • 708 posts
  • Joined: February 11

Posted 15 March 2012 - 06:49

Some time after the 64 six-hour, the Repco Holden Sports appeared with the nose slightly modified to look like this. Rod can probably shed some light.

Gordon, that pic was taken before the start of the '65 '6-Hour'. My co-driver and ex-owner of the car, the late Lionel Beattie is wearing the short raincoat. He'd driven in June '6-Hours' before! I had Peter Lyons narrow the nose intake a little as I didn't like the look of the full width one. After Neil McCrudden collided with a tyre barrier at Joondalup with the reconstructed car,Cliff repaired it and changed its look once again. It now has a slight 'smile'.
Here's another pic of Lionel and self before the start. Dick Morrow and John Bowles crewing.
Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us
The second pic shows Cliff working on the ex-Gaze/Davison HWM-Jag. His second Byfield-Jag takes shape in the foreground. That brown thing behind him is a 6 foot sheet metal brake which Cliff made from scrap metal from the Midland Railway workshops.
The third pic is from c 1967 and shows me trailing John Glasson in his Rambler V8 special. We shared fastest lap in that race. The field included the O'Sullivan Lola T70 but I have to admit it was not running on 8! There was still life in the old 'Repco' after eight years. :)

Edited by Repco22, 15 March 2012 - 07:01.


#33 Repco22

Repco22
  • Member

  • 708 posts
  • Joined: February 11

Posted 22 March 2012 - 12:16

Jack Ayres winning the '59 WA State Championship on the Byfield-Ayres Sports' maiden outing. Note small rear brakes which were later upgraded. The late Bob Annear follows in his self-built supercharged Holden special.
Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us
Pic by David Van Dal.

Edited by Repco22, 23 March 2012 - 00:55.


#34 cavvy

cavvy
  • Member

  • 170 posts
  • Joined: December 04

Posted 24 March 2012 - 06:27

The Byfield bodied MGTC Special of Ron Millar 1963. This is not the original John Walker chassis.




Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us



So what is the story here Ken, the Byfield body on a 'non John Walker MG chassis'?

The Walker photos bring it back as if it were yesterday.

#35 ken devine

ken devine
  • Member

  • 744 posts
  • Joined: August 06

Posted 25 March 2012 - 03:33

In 1963 the late Ron Miller a friend of mine and long serving official and committee member of the WASCC decided he wanted to go
racing after inquiring about some interstate specials he couldn't find one in his financial range so he decided to build his own.
He heard Bill Strickland had the ex John Walker Byfield body he did a deal with Bill to by an MGTC and exchange that body for the
Byfield body and with the assistance of a friend Bill Harrington they built the MG Special. The car performed quite well but unfortunatly
Ron developed an illness the cut short his racing carreer. He even bribed the handicappers by giving them a drive of the car on a
tuning day it was an enjoyable drive and it is the only open wheel racing car i have ever driven.
I think Jack Ayres son bought the car and converted it to road use. The car now sits in a shed i think in Bicton and has not been used
for years, it was for sale some time ago for a high price.

#36 Repco22

Repco22
  • Member

  • 708 posts
  • Joined: February 11

Posted 25 March 2012 - 05:20

That's right Ken. John Ayres Junior bought the car and, as you say, added lights and cycle guards for road registration. When Jack, concerned about my lack of experience, offered to give some tips at Caversham, I drove the Repco-Holden up--it too was road registered at the time-- and John and his brother, Colin, followed in the MG Special for a look. Jack, who was a committee member of the WASCC, had a key to the lock and chain across the circuit entrance so in we went and had a memorable day. :)
John raced the MG once and Colin laughed when he told how the commentator had given the champion's son a big wrap as he came onto the straight--"Big things were expected of him etc.." Poor John then promptly blew the motor to bits and raced no more! It's interesting to note that here were two Byfield-bodied racing cars, both ex-state champions and both driven to the circuit. It couldn't happen today.

#37 ken devine

ken devine
  • Member

  • 744 posts
  • Joined: August 06

Posted 25 March 2012 - 05:47

Rod to find more history on the car do you what happened to the car after John Ayres had it? i made inquires about it in the 70s
through some MG enthusiasts but nobody had heard of the car. I next saw the car at the York historics about 1986 , Ron made inquires
about buying the car but the price was to high.

#38 Repco22

Repco22
  • Member

  • 708 posts
  • Joined: February 11

Posted 25 March 2012 - 06:14

Rod to find more history on the car do you what happened to the car after John Ayres had it? i made inquires about it in the 70s
through some MG enthusiasts but nobody had heard of the car. I next saw the car at the York historics about 1986 , Ron made inquires
about buying the car but the price was to high.

I can't help Ken, other than to say it was painted green and was occasionally seen on the road.

#39 Repco22

Repco22
  • Member

  • 708 posts
  • Joined: February 11

Posted 15 April 2012 - 14:36

This view of the Repco-Holden sports does justice to Cliff's eye for lines;
Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us