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Frank Gardner biography is underway


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#1 M bennett

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 12:02

The Frank Gardner biography is underway, the collection of information, interviews and photographs has been underway for a year. However the reach of TNF needs to be harnessed to make the FG story complete and do justice to Frank, one of the great racing drivers.
The message below from the author is self explanatory:
" Tony Whitlock, an Australian Motoring journalist, has approval from Gloria Gardner to write the definitive Frank Gardner biography. Frank was adamant that no such book should be written while he was alive, but as one of motor racing's great characters and story tellers we now have the opportunity to do him justice. Tony is seeking input by way of anecdotes and photographs from those who can add to the FG story. In particular we are seeking to hear from people who were involved with Frank in the early years in Australia and the UK

Tony Whitlock is particularly interested to talk to Jon Leighton, Jim Russell, Roy Salvadori, Jackie Oliver, Malcolm Guthrie, Mike de Udy, Brian Redman, Sam Posey & George Bolthoff. Would also be extremely interested in speaking to anyone who worked closely with Frank Gardner that he has not spoken to which could include Aston Martin in the last '50s & '60s, The Jim Russell Driving School & anyone who may have had contact with him or raced against him during the 1970s in the UK & Europe. Equally of course anyone who wishes to contribute can do so via this thread or contact Tony directly on autofax@fastmail.fm "
[/b]


To add to Frank's early years I have asked David Beard to post some photographs from Frank's first trip to the UK in 1959 I believe. These photos taken by Len Deaton have been provided by Rik Deaton.
Regards Mike Bennett Adelaide

Edited by M bennett, 25 March 2012 - 12:03.


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#2 Ray Bell

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 16:48

I certainly hope he gets some good and accurate information...

Frank's life was interesting, varied and full of tales worth telling. He certainly was a character and he did make a huge success of his career if you look at what was basically a tier below F1 level.

Such a book has the potential to give the facts about Frank and overcome the more highly visible 'legendary' aspects if the writer is sufficiently diligent to dig deeply enough.

#3 Doug Nye

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 19:20

It would be a pity if Frank's biographer permits too many good stories to be spoiled by slavish accuracy. That's something that Francis seldom did. Striking the right balance will be the key...

DCN

#4 Gary C

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 19:25

do they need photos too?

#5 Giraffe

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 20:35

Tony Whitlock pictured interviewing Sid Taylor at his home in Birmingham for this project in Feb 2011....

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By giraffe138 at 2012-03-25

#6 David Beard

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 11:35

To add to Frank's early years I have asked David Beard to post some photographs from Frank's first trip to the UK in 1959 I believe. These photos taken by Len Deaton have been provided by Rik Deaton.
Regards Mike Bennett Adelaide


First one...
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#7 David McKinney

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 11:57

Can't be 1959 if there are Lotus 18s on the trailer :)

#8 Cirrus

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 12:45

A superb picture anyway. I'm hungry for more!

#9 David Beard

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 15:50

Can't be 1959 if there are Lotus 18s on the trailer :)


I should have spotted that. And I wonder what's in the box?

#10 Glengavel

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 16:28

I should have spotted that. And I wonder what's in the box?


Vegemite and Fosters?


#11 David McKinney

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 16:58

I should have spotted that. And I wonder what's in the box?

His Lotus 12 - en route to Len Deaton?


#12 ensign14

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 17:19

Can't be 1959 if there are Lotus 18s on the trailer :)

Somehow I see Chapman saying "no, these are not 18s, these are prototypes that we will be selling next year, after we've raced them this year to iron out the faults...no, your 12 is not out of date..."

#13 Doug Nye

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 17:25

A superb picture anyway. I'm hungry for more!



Me too - SUPERB photo! Frank's first trip to the UK would surely have included his brief period with the Aston Martin competition department. As Dave points out the JRRDS period with that canary-liveried Lotus 18 came later. Phil Hill used to talk about his apprentice training period in England being as either "the 1949 trip" or "that 1950 stay" when in effect they were one and the same, through a winter from one year to the next. All quite confusing...

DCN

#14 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 18:02

Super photograph I agree. But I think it is 1961. The FJ results for 1960 on http://www.formula2.net list Frank in a Cooper T52..no mention of JRRDS. But from the beginning of '61 he is listed in a JRRDS type 18.

Edited by Andrew Kitson, 26 March 2012 - 18:03.


#15 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 18:18

Just a thought...did Frank or Jim Russell ship some cars down to Melbourne at the end of the season? The box looks like it is port bound, Frank in the van drivers seat with a farewell glance. The yellow 18 appears to have the same address written on the side as on the box, perhaps with ship name too..a three car shipment and a box of spares?

#16 David Beard

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 19:10

Servicing the transporter...

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#17 David McKinney

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 19:21

Super photograph I agree. But I think it is 1961. The FJ results for 1960 on http://www.formula2.net list Frank in a Cooper T52..no mention of JRRDS. But from the beginning of '61 he is listed in a JRRDS type 18.

No-one said it was 1960 :)
Frank stayed on as a JRRDS employee for some years, I believe, and the school raced 18s until at least 1962


#18 David McKinney

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 19:26

Just a thought...did Frank or Jim Russell ship some cars down to Melbourne at the end of the season? The box looks like it is port bound, Frank in the van drivers seat with a farewell glance. The yellow 18 appears to have the same address written on the side as on the box, perhaps with ship name too..a three car shipment and a box of spares?

As mentioned, Frank shipped his personal Lotus 12 to Australia in 1960, and three 18s were acquired from JRRDS by Jon Leighton for his Birchwood School in Australia some time later. There were of course other FJ 18s in Australia, but I'm not aware that any were ex-JRRDS

#19 David Beard

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 19:42

His Lotus 12 - en route to Len Deaton?


Would have to be less wheels and suspension?

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#20 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 19:52

Is it the same box Burt Munro used for his Fastest Indian? ( if you've seen it you'll know where I'm coming from ! )

#21 David McKinney

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 21:19

Would have to be less wheels and suspension?

And lying on its side....

#22 David Beard

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 21:20

We seem to have a budding Ned Kelly in this shot?

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#23 E1pix

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 21:50

Great images, David, just as nostalgic as they could be! :up:

#24 David Beard

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 01:19

Great images, David, just as nostalgic as they could be! :up:


They certainly are, but I'm only the poster of them, of course! Perhaps it should be stressed that the copyright is with Rik Deaton. ("Rik" is the correct spelling, Mike?)

The bus is I believe the ex Team Lotus / Cliff Allison transporter.

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Edited by David Beard, 27 March 2012 - 01:29.


#25 M bennett

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 10:07

They certainly are, but I'm only the poster of them, of course! Perhaps it should be stressed that the copyright is with Rik Deaton. ("Rik" is the correct spelling, Mike?)

The bus is I believe the ex Team Lotus / Cliff Allison transporter.

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Yes the transporter is the ex Team Lotus Bedford, built originally by Cliff Allison with a bus I presume from the family business in Cumbria and taken with him when he joined Lotus. The swing out crane on the side was Cliff's way of being able to lift out engines etc at the circuit. When I showed the pictures to Cliff he exclaimed "thats my bus!" The Lotus 18s on their way to the docks is taken with the Shepparton Film studios behind the wall During the 1959 trip the Deatons and FG acquired three cars, the Lotus 12, a Lotus Eleven and a Cooper FJ (which in fact was an ex Rob Walker 2 litre Climax car raced by Moss and converted back to FJ before sale) All three of these cars found their way back to Australia, the Lotus 12 and Lotus Eleven are still here. The Cooper I believe is in the USA.
The picture of the bus with Frank underneath had no notation as to where it was in the UK. Two years ago I was on the South Circular and glimpsed the block of flats, took a photo and low and behold I had found the exact spot The only difference is that the block of flats now sprouts many satellite dishes.
The photgraphs were taken by Len Deaton using a Leica that Rik Deaton still has.

#26 nicanary

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 13:47

Is it the same box Burt Munro used for his Fastest Indian? ( if you've seen it you'll know where I'm coming from ! )



I know that this is off-topic, but my daughter watched the above film and assumed it was a Hollywood "story". I had to force her to Wiki the evidence.
It almost beggars belief. You have to ignore the little stories of events leading to his arrival at Bonneville, but what a story! A man of real soul and passion, and no mean engine tuner.

#27 Doug Nye

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 19:39

During the 1959 trip the Deatons and FG acquired three cars, the Lotus 12, a Lotus Eleven and a Cooper FJ (which in fact was an ex Rob Walker 2 litre Climax car raced by Moss and converted back to FJ before sale) All three of these cars found their way back to Australia, the Lotus 12 and Lotus Eleven are still here. The Cooper I believe is in the USA.


Not just an ex-Rob Walker Cooper but almost certainly THE Stirling Moss 1958 Argentine GP-winning car. Later involved in a freak fatal accident in Australia, in which it sustained little damage. Today in the Collier Collection, Naples, Florida.

And yes - these photos are simply wonderful, a joy to behold.

DCN

Edited by Doug Nye, 27 March 2012 - 19:40.


#28 Ray Bell

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 20:57

They have me wondering, however...

Who are the everpresent children? I'm pretty sure Frank didn't have any.

Undoubtedly Frank's story is one that needs to be told. And yes, Doug, too great an adherence to accruacy in some of his tales might detract from them. But in my experience this is not the usual, fact often being just as humorous as fiction.

#29 Lola5000

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 21:11

I remember a certain Lola T430 owner/driver,telling me of his year of work experience in the early 60s under Frank in the UK.Working on a Brabham and a Lola V8 sports car.
Frank "Not another bloody Australian over here ,wanting to race cars" or similar to that.


#30 Doug Nye

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 21:29

Frank "Not another bloody Australian over here ,wanting to race cars" or similar to that.


I remember we Poms saying the same... :cat:

DCN



#31 Lola5000

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 22:07

Difference being Doug,that the OZ and NZ mechanics worked,were as the local ones wanted to down a warm ale.And talk about there "Darling Harold W"

#32 Gary C

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 22:38

'The Lotus 18s on their way to the docks is taken with the Shepparton Film studios behind the wall During the 1959 trip the Deatons and FG acquired three cars,'
Blimey, I live about a mile from Shepperton Film Studios, I'm going to try and suss out where that photo was taken from....maybe even tomorrow.

#33 David Beard

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 05:43

'The Lotus 18s on their way to the docks is taken with the Shepparton Film studios behind the wall During the 1959 trip the Deatons and FG acquired three cars,'
Blimey, I live about a mile from Shepperton Film Studios, I'm going to try and suss out where that photo was taken from....maybe even tomorrow.


Looks to me like you will need to point the camera out of someone's bedroom window?


#34 E1pix

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 05:50

They certainly are, but I'm only the poster of them, of course! Perhaps it should be stressed that the copyright is with Rik Deaton. ("Rik" is the correct spelling, Mike?)...

Whoops, missed that part. :) :blush:

Then... Great photos, Rik! Always fun to reminisce, even vicariously, having not been to a non-US event (yet).

Edited by E1pix, 28 March 2012 - 05:52.


#35 Cirrus

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 07:16

'The Lotus 18s on their way to the docks is taken with the Shepparton Film studios behind the wall During the 1959 trip the Deatons and FG acquired three cars,'
Blimey, I live about a mile from Shepperton Film Studios, I'm going to try and suss out where that photo was taken from....maybe even tomorrow.


It's just before the right hand bend by the reservoir. I must admit I hadn't realised it was Shepperton either until I looked closely.

#36 M bennett

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 11:33

It's just before the right hand bend by the reservoir. I must admit I hadn't realised it was Shepperton either until I looked closely.

The children are Rik and Ti Deaton. It appears that Len Deaton, wife Veda and Rik and Ti took off with Frank to try their hand in the UK firstly in 1959. Frank had been running the Mobil service station at Whale Beach north of Sydney. Len Deaton had been calling around to put fuel in his motorbike and a friendship grew. It seems that Len funded much of the process of getting them all to the UK. The photo of the Lotus 18 export business was from the Deaton's second trip to the UK in 1961.
Refering to notes from my meeting with Rik Deaton, the Lotus Eleven had previously been raced in the UK by Bob Hicks and David Piper.
After the Deaton's daughter was born Len used to say "lets go off to the hospital to see "IT," since a name had not yet been chosen. One day "IT" became "TI" for life! ,
I believe that FG and Len bought the ex Team Lotus Bedford transporter, not from Lotus but from John Campbell Jones at the 'Cornwall Garage and Engineerng Co' who acquired it from Team Lotus earlier.
These photos are from quite a number taken by Len Deaton in colour with his Leica in 1959 and 1961, good quality colour photos are rare from this era, especially behind the scenes of these "Aussie invaders"
Mike Bennett

#37 David McKinney

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 11:53

...the Lotus Eleven had previously been raced in the UK by Bob Hicks and David Piper

...not to mention Jimmy Blumer and, once, by Richard Utley who - like Piper - is still active in historic racing today, as is Hicks's son


#38 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 12:08

The photo of Frank and the bus with the little kid wearing the red bucket is I think Mallory Park. The old timekeepers/commentary box and startline spectator bank opposite.

#39 Doug Nye

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 19:13

These photos are from quite a number taken by Len Deaton in colour with his Leica in 1959 and 1961, good quality colour photos are rare from this era, especially behind the scenes of these "Aussie invaders"
Mike Bennett


Both the quality and content of these photographs are superb. Thank you for posting them Mike.

DCN

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#40 ed holly

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 07:35

This photo is one of John Ellacott's - John has asked me to post it here for him.

Len Deaton - Lotus Eleven - Warwick Farm July 1961

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#41 Jagracer

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 12:07

Hi I had the great pleasure of working for Syd Taylor in 1969 & Frank drove for us several times & I have a few tales to tell, so please get in touch with me anytime on 07711725044 or E Mail phil@jagracer.wanadoo.co.uk & I will gladly tell you what I know

Thanks Phil Bradford

#42 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 12:12

Glad to see that John is still looking in...

I guess he's lost his password or something?

#43 cheapracer

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 06:57

First one...
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Amazing picture that could have been taken with a modern electronic camera.

The 'box' carried Gardener's stories around obviously.


#44 Tony Matthews

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 17:00

It's a publicity shot for the new Ron Howard movie - "Frank Gardner, Racer and Raconteur"

#45 Alan Cox

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 18:48

Amazing picture that could have been taken with a modern electronic camera.

I didn't think it was that bad, actually :lol:

#46 D-Type

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 21:36

Coming back to the book - I would love to be able to see the manuscript before the lawyers edit it. I know - phrases about porcine avionics spring to mind.

#47 Ray Bell

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 00:18

And Porche aluminium chassis building?

One of Frank's good stories...

#48 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 12:48

Some Mike Dixon photos of Frank & Brian Redman's shunt in F5000 at Snetterton in August 1971. They tripped each other
up at the end of the Home Straight. Both unhurt. I can put the author in touch with the photographer if photos are required for the book?
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#49 Alan Cox

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 16:13

It was another age, wasn't it? - Nice to see that Gardner and Redman were happy to show respect to each other and to walk back to the pits together without resorting to threats and abuse which we have come to regard as par-for-the-course these days.




#50 Doug Nye

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 17:08

It was another age, wasn't it? - Nice to see that Gardner and Redman were happy to show respect to each other and to walk back to the pits together without resorting to threats and abuse which we have come to regard as par-for-the-course these days.


MEN.

DCN