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Mazda R100s, RX-2s & RX-3s in Australian touring car racing


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#1 Derrwint

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 02:34

They often pop up in various threads about Australian Production Car Racing in the late 60's and early 70's, from the Group C Australian Touring Car Championship rounds, AMSCAR races at Amaroo Park, as well as the Sandown and Bathurst endurance races, but I thought a dedicated thread on these early Rotary Powered Mazda's would be great, with as many pictures and information as possible.

 

There is a growing following of this period of racing and these cars in particular, and mostly by people who were too young to see them racing back in the day, and so we rely on the pictures and information from those who raced, reported and photographed them back in the day to get the information we desire.

 

I know from looking through some other threads here that some of the original Mazda Rotary drivers do pop on here occasionally, and their input would be greatly appreciated, especially on what these cars were like to drive back then, the types of modifications they performed, any actual performance or engine power figures, and ideally any pictures of under the bonnets or undersides of these cars showing exhaust and suspension, as these types of pictures are very scarce.

 

A classic example of Amaroo Park action back in the day with numerous RX-3's taking part.

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Racing RX-3's also featured in lots of advertising for the various companies that sponsored, built or raced them, and any of this advertising is also requested in this thread.

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Edited by Derrwint, 28 April 2014 - 07:40.


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#2 Derrwint

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 06:24

Here's a couple of pics of the recently restored Don Holland RX-3 Coupe. I believe there were quite a few owners of this car, and possibly a couple of re-shells using the original mechanicals, a full rundown on this car would make for some interesting reading if anyone knows the full story.

 

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#3 Derrwint

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 06:38

One of the rare RX-3 Sedan's, the John Duggan/Brian Reed RX-3 at Baturst in 1978 I believe.

 

Mazda_RX3_51_John_Duggan_Brian_Wheeler_1



#4 brucemoxon

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 07:33

Bernie Haehnle raced a four-door - I wonder if this was the same car?

 

Lots of people raced RX3s - they were cheap to build and run and performed well. The Don Holland car you pictured above was indeed owned by several people. Tony Farrell first, then Holland, then Terry Shiel, then Ross Burbidge (TNF member). It was indeed reshelled at least twice in period.

 

I had a couple of RX3 road cars, both of which I wrote off (dumb young bloke disease). One of them had some suspicious holes in the parcel shelf and just abaft the B pillar...

 

RX2s were mostly raced in production car form - Bathurst 500s and the like, as were R100s.

 

All three were solid performers in rallying too, although it was soon learned you couldn't run a locked diff in an RX2 - they'd snap driveshafts if you tried. Fortunately Mazda had an optional LSD that was only $150 or so.

 

 

 

Bruce Moxon



#5 stuartbrs

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 08:22

Great little cars. Lots of RX2 (Capella?) in Group Nc these days, usually very quick!



#6 Derrwint

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 20:46

Great little cars. Lots of RX2 (Capella?) in Group Nc these days, usually very quick!

There's a whole bunch of Capella RE's/RX-2's running in the Nc class these days, and they do go like stink. Interestingly both Wayne Rogerson and Alan Mayne who raced together in an RX-2 at Bathurst in 1971 are both racing beautiful RX-2's in the Nc class currently.

 

 

Getting back to the old days though, probably the most infamous RX-3 to hit Bathurst (literally), the Katayama/Leeds Craven Mild RX-3.

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Edited by Derrwint, 27 April 2014 - 21:15.


#7 Derrwint

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 21:19

Bernie Haenhle in his inverted R100 (not unusual for R100's!) at Bathurst in 1969

Haehnle_R100_Bathurst.jpg

 

A couple of RX-2's at Bathurst in 1972.

RX_2s_Baturst.jpg



#8 Derrwint

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 21:22

Article on the Don Holland RX-3.

 

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And another pic from Bathurst 1975.

Holland_RX3_1975.jpg


Edited by Derrwint, 27 April 2014 - 21:30.


#9 Ray Bell

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 01:23

The early R100s looked dreadfully unstable going around the Farm...

Haehnle's 4-door suffered from a smaller rear wheel well.

The cluey blokes used Renault 17 discs on them, by the way.

#10 275 GTB-4

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 01:26

Derrwint, no offence...

 

excellent cutting and pasting work and without using imageshack....

 

but is there a point to all this RX love? Do you have an issue with Don's car that you want to make in a public forum?

 

There is a lot of collective knowledge here to help if you have a problem.... :wave:

 

[PS if its controversial, be careful who you talk to off-line]



#11 Derrwint

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 01:40

HI 275 GTB-4, not sure what you mean?

 

I love the old Rotary Mazda's, and thought maybe other people would be able to share pics information on them?

 

I have no issues with anything or anyone involved with the Don Holland car, it's simply one of the better known RX-3's (a 5th outright at Bathurst is a pretty good reason for it to be popular), so it's an easy one to get some stuff on to post up.

 

I just figured that there might be other people who'd enjoy seeing lots of info in one place on the old Rotary Mazda's that raced in Australia, maybe not?  :confused:



#12 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 01:45

While never a fan of the horribly noisy Mazdas they were quite quick and from all accounts far cheaper to run than a Capri in under 3 litre. There was a lot of stuff homolgated for them too though evidently some was a bit iffy, either in CAMS eyes or maybe in real terms. I do not know.

R100s in standard form are too narrow and too high  and the 10A is a limitation. RX2 and RX3 12A cars though were very good basic cars with decent tyres. They came with 600x13 crossplys standard which were bloody dangerous. Decent radials transformed them [and many other cars in period]

Once the Mazdas got out of their natural enviroment into open class with RX7s they became far dearer to run and it seems were given too many freedoms. Though 13Bs and efi evidently were available in overseas markets on S3.



#13 Ray Bell

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 02:59

Originally posted by Derrwint
Hi 275 GTB-4, not sure what you mean?

..... :confused:


Yes, I think you're right.

#14 275 GTB-4

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 04:19

HI 275 GTB-4, not sure what you mean?
 
I love the old Rotary Mazda's, and thought maybe other people would be able to share pics information on them?
 
I have no issues with anything or anyone involved with the Don Holland car, it's simply one of the better known RX-3's (a 5th outright at Bathurst is a pretty good reason for it to be popular), so it's an easy one to get some stuff on to post up.
 
I just figured that there might be other people who'd enjoy seeing lots of info in one place on the old Rotary Mazda's that raced in Australia, maybe not?  :confused:


No problem then, like I said "no offence"....resume normal transmissions people :stoned:



#15 DavidI

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 04:48

While never a fan of the horribly noisy Mazdas they were quite quick and from all accounts far cheaper to run than a Capri in under 3 litre.........

I had a chat once with a guy who'd run a rotary sports sedan in the 80's, he said as much - previously he'd had a Ford-engined thing that needed a rebuild halfway through the season, the rotary he rebuilt after 2 years.

I've always said from an engineering point of view, rotary engines are great, but as an enthusiast I hate the damn things. Out of the many I've seen racing (mainly improved production in the 90's, when RX-7s were utterly dominant), only 2 stand out as not aurally offensive - one was an imported IMSA car running in sports sedans (the turbo took the harsh edge off the exhaust note), the other was a restored Moffat Group C car (no idea what made the exhaust different but it sounded much nicer than I was used to). The GT-P cars weren't too bad either but were mostly stock and, again, turbo charged.

Not meaning to offend Derrwint, my appreciation is probably coloured a bit by being a Ford fan as a youngster (Mazdas were the enemy!) and living in Ipswich in the '80s and '90s when early RXs were mainly used with an open exhaust and mostly seen turning laps of the town centre on Friday and Saturday nights :)



#16 Catalina Park

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 09:50

I never got to race one but I did do a lot of laps of Oran Park in RX-3s. They were quite impressive and I would have liked to done more in them.



#17 Team Result

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 12:16

Hi Derrwint & others,

I'm having trouble opening those jpeg files of the SCW article, so my recollections of the Don Holland car might not be in sync with what is written there. Anyway, here goes. In 1977? Don and co-driver Tery Shiel were disqualified from 2nd? in class at Bathurst. Though I believe the car had been run in that guise for over a season, they were never the  less outed as the car's engine was found to be fitted with an exhaust manifold & associated parts from a non-emission controlled engine RX-3 (Australian-delivered 12A-engined RX-3s all had the big box-shaped thermal reactor bolted there instead of a conventional cast manifold).

 

Don was not impressed and stopped racing there & then. Terry bought the car and Michael Saad from Penrith Mazda continued to support it. I was racing a less-developed RX-3 in Qld & Amaroo Park around that time. My sponsors, B & J Tyres then bought Terry's car on the condition he partner me in it at Bathurst in 1978. As has happened more than once, Terry rolled the yet-to-be-delivered RX3 at the final Amaroo round at the end of August! He then bought a road car and worked hard to swap all the mechanicals over in a few weeks. Everything stayed bolted on and we came 2nd in class, 50-something seconds behind Steve Masterton's Capri! I was thrilled/p'ssed off to be runner-up to him in the innaugural Bathurst Rookie of the Year award. I'm unsure of the speed advantage over other RX-3's Don's car had back in its non-emmission guise, but I do know the string of  Bathurst successes were largely due to two other factors.

 

Firstly, Don and Terry were both excellent racers & race car developers who had honed their talents in the cut and thrust of Mini racing. Of course, so had Barry Jones. He had a fierce rivalry with Terry which carried over from their lightweight Minis to RX-3s.  In 1978 Barry had the second fastest RX-3 at Bathurst (of course we both had three Capris on the grid in front of us). Anyway, at that stage, our car & team had benefitted from far longer development than Barry's, courtesy of Don Holland and Tony Farrell who had raced it as a semi-works car.

 

The second advantage we enjoyed over Barry and all the other Rx-3s were tyres! Don had several years earlier determined that gearing the Mazda tall for Conrod Straight would negate any disadvantage up the mountain. If you look at any pics of our car at Bathurst you will soon spot the difference. We ran rear Dunlops with a 550mm profile (at other tracks we used 500 or 525). These 550 were special order from Dunlop in Japan and only available in limited numbers. I'm unsure whether any other RX-3 drivers ever tried and failed to obtain them. Scary to think that, thanks to them, we were travelling almost 130mph before pulling up at Murray's Corner with only 9" vented dics with 4-pots on the front & Mazda 808-sized drum brakes on the rear!

 

My next outing in the RX-3 was the following month at Surfers Paradise Raceway for the 500km race, which was part of the Australian Manufacturers Ch'ship. On the opening lap I clashed with the Rod Stevens' Escort RS2000. He turned me around in the fast left hander on the back straight, from where I resumed in last place, determined to make up some lost ground. Unbeknown to me, the nudge had bent over a tyre valve on my left rear tyre, causing a slow puncture. After little warning the tyre peeled off the rim, which subsequently dug in to the track surface just before Reco Hill and over we went. The following week our Team bought a road car and repeated Terry's efforts of several months earlier. :drunk:

 

I hope the above has shed a little light on probably the most significant racing RX-3 in Australia.

 



#18 Derrwint

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 20:42

Hi Ross,

 

Thanks very much for that information, it's greatly appreciated.

 

If you don't mind me asking more questions, in general, what kind of RPM were you running the engines too at Bathurst compared to the shorter races (if any difference at all), and typically what reliability were you getting from the engines?

 

The SCW article shows a 58 DCOE Weber on the Holland car in 1975, did you ever play with different carby combinations? I have a fabricated inlet manifold at home that I was told was fitted to a Group C RX-3 that features twin SU's that mount across the engine which bolts to the standard Mazda inlet manifold, and I know the Barry Jones car at one point used twin 48ida's on the standard inlet manifold, using only one choke of each carby which was interesting.

 

The Barry Jones Twin IDA Weber setup.

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The twin SU manifold I have, I'd love to know what car it was used on.

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Also, here are the plain links to the SCW article, maybe they will work better for you?

 

 

Cheers

Darren


Edited by Derrwint, 28 April 2014 - 20:44.


#19 Derrwint

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 20:46

Also found a pic of the upturned Phil Alexander RX-3 at Oran Park, which shows the long twin exhaust system, rear roll bar and what appears to be a watts linkage.

 

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#20 275 GTB-4

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 22:43

The Barry Jones Twin IDA Weber setup.
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Cheers
Darren


Obviously, looks like a split-weber set-up...whaddya reckon Ray?

#21 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 23:17

That looks strange with two carbs yet only using one throat of each?.  I guess something to do with the touring car rules at the time. 1x48 IDA was pretty much standard fare on Sports Sedan and Club Car /IP for a long time.

 

Rotarys in fairly standard form go ok, but get quite expensive and not very reliable as soon as you mod them much. As do the gearboxes too!

 

I raced against the Moffat RX7 in Matt Wackers hands and it was just another annoying noisy flame spitting thing like all rotarys. The 20Bs though sound a lot nicer. A bit like a very healthy straight 6. There was a couple around in Sports Sedans when I quit in 2000. Turbo engines are less noisy, and seemingly less reliable too. Though give very good performance when going.

 

Especially in modified form exhaust heat was a real issue, nothing unusual to see the muffler glowing red hot so the pipes before it must have been white hot! Exhaust failures in long races seemed to be common. They caused fires with off track excursions and oil leaks became big fires quickly. I can remember Jim Myhill in the under 3 litre class 12A RX7 having quite a serious fire at AIR when the gearbox seal let go, all over the exhaust. And he was far from the only one.



#22 Derrwint

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 00:10

The rules at the time dictated that carby's were basically free, but, you had to use the standard inlet manifold. So typically you had some form of adaptor and then the chosen carby.

 

The 48 IDA gives brilliant flow and tuneability, but as the barrels are a lot further apart than the 4 barrel pattern of the original inlet manifold, running it meant using a very crude adaptor which made the carby sit higher and did not flow so well to boot.

 

Barry Jones got around this by using two 48 IDA carbs mounted so one barrel of each was almost directly over the standard manifold runners, giving much better flow without the height problem. An added bonus was that he now had two float bowls as well, as a very thirsty Rotary at wide open throttle puts big demands on a single IDA's float bowl capacity. The down side of the setup was a nightmare linkage setup as you can imagine.

 

As for unreliable modified motor's, that's only if built by the wrong people. I know that the 12A Bridge Port engine in Wayne Rogerson's Nc RX-2 did about 4 seasons of hard racing (including two Bathurst meetings) before being opened up simply because of an oil control o-ring issue that was causing it to blow smoke. It was then reassembled (with new apex and corner seals and springs but all existing components) and did a further 4 seasons of racing with no troubles at all. Alan Mayne has had similar results from his engine built by the same person, Leon Prgomet, who very sadly passed away a few years ago. If they are built right, have adequate air filtration, are not run out of oil and water and not revved to oblivion, they will be very reliable, much more so than an equal performing piston engine in general. I don't want this thread to go off topic, but I don't know of many front running Nc cars that get 4 seasons from a motor without any form of rebuilding?

 

Exhaust heat is an issue but again using proper materials and and well designed and built mufflers will see no real drama's, and noise is a function of inadequately designed and built mufflers. Unfortunately most people just accept they will be loud and don't spend a lot of time actually trying to get them to sound better or be quieter than necessary. Just like Rotary's, there are some lovely sounding XU-1 6's, and some absolute shockers as well, so it's not all the fault of the base engine. 


Edited by Derrwint, 29 April 2014 - 00:36.


#23 Ray Bell

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 01:49

Now that Leon Prgomet has been introduced to the thread...

I had a problem with my car once and Leon loaned me his RX2 to go home. To Warragamba, from Redfern. It was relatively early in Leon's time with rotaries, but he was clearly getting the hang of building them, I had an indicated 130mph up on Elizabeth Drive out towards Luddenham, it was really cranking, but scary when you looked at the wheels and tyres and needed to get through some bends.

In much later life Leon was very much the guru with them. He didn't take many secrets to the grave, though, I'm pretty sure he trained one or two others in how to make them as good as Wayne's and Alan's became.

A really nice bloke, a pity he got that bird disease that wreaked havoc with his health and ultimately caused his way too early demise.

#24 DavidI

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 03:32

The rules at the time dictated that carby's were basically free, but, you had to use the standard inlet manifold. So typically you had some form of adaptor and then the chosen carby.

 

The 48 IDA gives brilliant flow and tuneability, but as the barrels are a lot further apart than the 4 barrel pattern of the original inlet manifold, running it meant using a very crude adaptor which made the carby sit higher and did not flow so well to boot.

 

Barry Jones got around this by using two 48 IDA carbs mounted so one barrel of each was almost directly over the standard manifold runners, giving much better flow without the height problem. An added bonus was that he now had two float bowls as well, as a very thirsty Rotary at wide open throttle puts big demands on a single IDA's float bowl capacity. The down side of the setup was a nightmare linkage setup as you can imagine. 

I have seen a similar carb setup, albeit side draft, on an MGA for similar reasons, ie better flow.

 

.......noise is a function of inadequately designed and built mufflers. Unfortunately most people just accept they will be loud and don't spend a lot of time actually trying to get them to sound better or be quieter than necessary. Just like Rotary's, there are some lovely sounding XU-1 6's, and some absolute shockers as well, so it's not all the fault of the base engine.

 

Point taken, and indeed to use my earlier example of Ipswich there were more then enough Toranas with crappy sounding engines competing with the rotaries for the title of "worst sounding car" - if it's loud it must have more power,maaaaate!



#25 Team Result

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 06:07

As all have mentioned various carb setups were tried on the RX-3s. Again the Holland car differed from the rest by being  the only one to run a single 48IDF carb. Though not a performance carb like the IDA, its closer throttle body spacing and shorter height enabled a better-shaped inlet manifold adaptor to be used. In truth, there was not much power difference between the various inlet and exhaust setups used. Remember, internally a legal 12A race engine was no different from a standard one! This is because, until 1979, there were no allowances in GpC regs for the rotary engine to breathe better, despite reciprocating engines being allowed freedom with regards to camshaft lift and duration plus also generally fitted with free flowing exhaust manifolds.

 

Due to lobbying (unsure if the bespectacled one had started knocking on Mazdas door, yet?) for the 1979 season, GpC Mazdas were allowed to EITHER machine a narrow bridgeport on the four side housing faces inlet tracts OR enlarge the four existing inlet ports. The first effectively opened the inlet much earlier (hence the rough overlap idle of a bridgeport engine) without greatly increasing the volume admitted while the latter closed the inlet later and admitted possibly a 10% greater inlet charge. Quite a strange compromise and likely due to counter lobbying !  AFAIK, most rotary engine tuners used the big port option.

 

To answer the question re max revs used by us at 1978 Bathurst, I recall it to be around 8,000 rpm through the gears and probably about 7,800 in 4th down Conrod (I still have my hand-drawn gear charts at home in Japan, but am currently in Thailand/Malaysia). From 1979, it would have been only a few hundred more rpm as the engines were still effectively strangled on both the inlet & exhaust sides.

      

 

 

 



#26 275 GTB-4

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 23:03

This one has humbled quite a few....

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#27 Derrwint

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 22:41

Here is an example of "trying to get around" the unreasonable porting restrictions enforced under Group C racing until bridge porting was allowed in 1979.

 

This is from an old Group C motor, apparently of Barry Jones design, where the four diagonal slots were cut to increase the port area, whilst keeping a "single port" as per the rules before bridge porting was allowed.

 

herringboneport.jpg



#28 DanTra2858

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 06:27

Well I be dammed, I purchased those parts from a Mazdz guy in Wollongong around 1987/88 and had him build a motor for me, the first thing that I noticed was the amount of torque that the motor had compared with other Rotaries in fact I passed one Mazda Rx3 Sports Sedan down the Straight at Oran Park which had a 12a ex Moffat Rx7 in it.

It was the best motor that I had in the Cortina. The plates the last I heard of them were with Bill ???? who had a very fast RX7 at the drags, he also did circuit racing.

#29 DanTra2858

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 06:30

Forgot to mention they were known as Herring Bone Porting.

#30 Derrwint

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 09:25

Great to hear that info about that porting and motor.

 

Bill Nabham would be who you are referring too, he was one of Barry Jones's apprentices back in the mid to late 80's, before starting his own workshop, RotorAction, and then later MazSport.



#31 Derrwint

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 09:31

Another typical Amaroo Park meeting with quite a few RX-3's present.

 

Pics by Mick Riordan

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Edited by Derrwint, 02 May 2014 - 09:34.


#32 timbo

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 10:06

Great last photo of Amaroo Park with the crowd (remember crowds?) settled in every nook, cranny and rocky outcrop.

Amaroo Park is still very much missed.



#33 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 13:26

Amaroo was difficult for the RX3s, though...

With their tall first gear and small power band they had a hard time with that uphill start.

#34 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 07:39

Another typical Amaroo Park meeting with quite a few RX-3's present.

 

Pics by Mick Riordan

MR042-3_zps2856e7e0.jpg

mr3314.jpg

mr3235.jpg

Looks like an under 3 litre event. I think that is Bob Holden negotiating the stalled RX7. And he is still racing Escorts!



#35 brucemoxon

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 08:23

That's Paul McDonnell getting around Peter McLeod. And if that's the colour of McLeod's car, then this is 1980. Bob Holden is further up the grid.

Let's see who we've got. That's Terry Daly on the front row, next to Steve Masterton. Graeme Bailey and Colin Bond share row two, then Peter Williamson and Barry Jones. Next are Bob Morris in the Gemini (is that the one Seldo raced?) and one of the Craft family. Then Peter Dane in the RX3 and Bob Holden, Mick O'Hehir (?) in another RX3, Phil Parsons in the ex Lakis Manticas and Terry Shiel Capri, Chris Heyer's Golf, McLeod, an RX3 I don't recognise, Richard Vorst (?) in the ex Haehnle four-door RX3 (again, I think that's the car - the silver and yellow one) and Allan Grice at the very back in the BMW. I don't know who's in the Alfa or the other Gemini.

 

 

 

Bruce Moxon



#36 seldo

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 11:04

That's Paul McDonnell getting around Peter McLeod. And if that's the colour of McLeod's car, then this is 1980. Bob Holden is further up the grid.
Let's see who we've got. That's Terry Daly on the front row, next to Steve Masterton. Graeme Bailey and Colin Bond share row two, then Peter Williamson and Barry Jones. Next are Bob Morris in the Gemini (is that the one Seldo raced?) and one of the Craft family. Then Peter Dane in the RX3 and Bob Holden, Mick O'Hehir (?) in another RX3, Phil Parsons in the ex Lakis Manticas and Terry Shiel Capri, Chris Heyer's Golf, McLeod, an RX3 I don't recognise, Richard Vorst (?) in the ex Haehnle four-door RX3 (again, I think that's the car - the silver and yellow one) and Allan Grice at the very back in the BMW. I don't know who's in the Alfa or the other Gemini.
 
 
 
Bruce Moxon

Yes Bruce - it is the George Shepheard/Suttons Gemini #7 on the left, but with Bob driving that day - (white helmet).

#37 Derrwint

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 05:14

Great to see lots of info on various cars and drivers in this thread, but I have a more in depth question I'm hoping there may be some answers too.

 

Being out at the Retro Speedfest on the weekend to watch the Group N races in particular, I noted many comments from people in the pits, both competitors and spectators alike, showing an intense dislike for the Mazda RX-2's that were racing out there, almost as if they didn't deserve to be there, or were in some way cheating to be going so well.

 

Now there seems to have always been a somewhat pathological hatred of Rotary's in motor racing, more so than just a brand allegiance (Holden vs Ford), motor preference (V8's vs the rest), or even build country bias (Australian Holden and Ford vs the Jap Crap), it just seems to go so much deeper.

 

Was it simply because most people couldn't understand how they worked and thus determined that anyone racing one was cheating, that they defied the laws of physics and somehow were actually some giant capacity motor wrapped in a small package, was it the noise that admittedly can be somewhat annoying if not suitably attended too, or just a combination of all of the above?

 

The flip side of the question is, why then did so many well known drivers flock to race them if there were no up sides to them? Surely if they had no advantages in speed vs cost, power vs reliability etc etc, nobody would have touched them, especially seeing as how the fans obviously didn't think much of them?



#38 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 06:16

That's Paul McDonnell getting around Peter McLeod. And if that's the colour of McLeod's car, then this is 1980. Bob Holden is further up the grid.

Let's see who we've got. That's Terry Daly on the front row, next to Steve Masterton. Graeme Bailey and Colin Bond share row two, then Peter Williamson and Barry Jones. Next are Bob Morris in the Gemini (is that the one Seldo raced?) and one of the Craft family. Then Peter Dane in the RX3 and Bob Holden, Mick O'Hehir (?) in another RX3, Phil Parsons in the ex Lakis Manticas and Terry Shiel Capri, Chris Heyer's Golf, McLeod, an RX3 I don't recognise, Richard Vorst (?) in the ex Haehnle four-door RX3 (again, I think that's the car - the silver and yellow one) and Allan Grice at the very back in the BMW. I don't know who's in the Alfa or the other Gemini.

 

 

 

Bruce Moxon

And why is Gricey in a 3500 BMW doing in a 3 litre race? Practicing?



#39 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 06:32

Great to see lots of info on various cars and drivers in this thread, but I have a more in depth question I'm hoping there may be some answers too.

 

Being out at the Retro Speedfest on the weekend to watch the Group N races in particular, I noted many comments from people in the pits, both competitors and spectators alike, showing an intense dislike for the Mazda RX-2's that were racing out there, almost as if they didn't deserve to be there, or were in some way cheating to be going so well.

 

Now there seems to have always been a somewhat pathological hatred of Rotary's in motor racing, more so than just a brand allegiance (Holden vs Ford), motor preference (V8's vs the rest), or even build country bias (Australian Holden and Ford vs the Jap Crap), it just seems to go so much deeper.

 

Was it simply because most people couldn't understand how they worked and thus determined that anyone racing one was cheating, that they defied the laws of physics and somehow were actually some giant capacity motor wrapped in a small package, was it the noise that admittedly can be somewhat annoying if not suitably attended too, or just a combination of all of the above?

 

The flip side of the question is, why then did so many well known drivers flock to race them if there were no up sides to them? Surely if they had no advantages in speed vs cost, power vs reliability etc etc, nobody would have touched them, especially seeing as how the fans obviously didn't think much of them?

Rotarys never fit in anyware?  They do not seem historic. Though are ofcourse. In their day they were antisocial horrid noisy things, which still applies. In the 80s mufflers became compulsory. Mostly because of the squarking brap braps!

For a while the [then] Club Car rules seemed to be written for them. defenitly not with mainstream cars in mind.

Rotor heads are still often 'different' people.

Though like most things are way out of date these days, whatever people tell you too make big power they cost plenty. And have a short life too. 

I raced against the bigger dollar rotarys in Sports Sedan all the 80s and 90s. Lots of engine rebuilds for them while my Chev just kept going.And going away from them too. Not many left now. Some gained Chevs! One very recently!



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#40 275 GTB-4

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 06:53

Great to see lots of info on various cars and drivers in this thread, but I have a more in depth question I'm hoping there may be some answers too.
 
Being out at the Retro Speedfest on the weekend to watch the Group N races in particular, I noted many comments from people in the pits, both competitors and spectators alike, showing an intense dislike for the Mazda RX-2's that were racing out there, almost as if they didn't deserve to be there, or were in some way cheating to be going so well.


Hah, one of those Matsuda drivers was heard to remark "I love the sound of a Rotary in the morning!" when someone in the pits asked how long the racket was going to last for...

#41 GMACKIE

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 07:13

Who are you calling "someone"!!!!!! :rolleyes:

 

It was a bit much though.......both Wayne and Alan had their engines 'rotating' in harmony[?]. They were OK with my comment [in jest]. I've known both of them for more than 50 years.



#42 DanTra2858

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 08:46

My wife reckons that my Rotary Cortina did not go brap brap but wank wank, still don't know what she ment, ah the sound of a true motor.

#43 GMACKIE

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 09:11

Well, you could expect a Wankel engine to make that sound.  ;)



#44 brucemoxon

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 09:31

And why is Gricey in a 3500 BMW doing in a 3 litre race? Practicing?

 

It was a 3.5 litre series by then, after lobbying from BMW (who promptly swept all before them).

 

The RX2s were welcome in Group N until they got bridge porting allowed. Problem with a rotary is they're either standard or hotted-up to buggery - nothing in between.

 

 

 

 

Bruce Moxon



#45 Derrwint

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 09:43

Heaven forbid an Nc RX-2 get a modification which was not only technology of the time, requires nothing more than a bit of extra porting work with a die grinder, and is in effect no different than changing the cam and porting the cylinder head on a piston engine.

 

The reality is that a motor built as a big extend port (enlarged main port) or a bridge port (an extra slot cut parallel to the main port opening edge) uses exactly the same components, not one single difference, and apart from a couple of hours extra with a die grinder, there is zero cost difference to build one.

 

Not that anyone ever likes to admit how much they spend on motors, but what's a rough guess on what a competitive Escort, Capri, XU-1, Camaro or GTHO engine costs to build and maintain for a season?


Edited by Derrwint, 06 May 2014 - 09:58.


#46 brucemoxon

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 10:39

I was told it's in the region of $12k (Aus) for a 12A.

 

 

 

 

BM



#47 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 22:48

Heaven forbid an Nc RX-2 get a modification which was not only technology of the time, requires nothing more than a bit of extra porting work with a die grinder, and is in effect no different than changing the cam and porting the cylinder head on a piston engine.

 

The reality is that a motor built as a big extend port (enlarged main port) or a bridge port (an extra slot cut parallel to the main port opening edge) uses exactly the same components, not one single difference, and apart from a couple of hours extra with a die grinder, there is zero cost difference to build one.

 

Not that anyone ever likes to admit how much they spend on motors, but what's a rough guess on what a competitive Escort, Capri, XU-1, Camaro or GTHO engine costs to build and maintain for a season?

Again the problem. How many RX2s were raced pre 73 in Oz? None that I know of. And the porting styles of pre73 were different than say pre 80. A lot was learnt about those engines in those 7 years. From what I understand anybody playing with rotarys in the very early 70s were trying to keep seals in them, not changing the ports. And also when did 12A come in? Early RX2s had 10As. From memory up until around 74? 



#48 Derrwint

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 23:18

No RX-2's raced in Australia pre 1973? There were a few at Bathurst alone, and they appeared at other circuits as well.

 

Bathurst 1971

G. Cooke / G. Holmes - Class C winner - Mazda RX2

W. Rogerson / A. Mayne - Mazda RX2 (same two guys running them in the Nc class last weekend in fact)

 

Bathurst 1972

B. Haehnle - Mazda RX-2

G. Garth - Mazda RX-2

W. Rogerson Mazda RX-2

 

No RX-2 ever has a 10A, only R100's and early RX-3's had the 10A motor. The RX-2 had the twin distributor 12A from release in 1970, and in late 73 the pollution spec 12A single dizzy came in.

 

Both bridge porting and peripheral porting were used since the R100 started racing, Mazda had all of the Sport Kit options available, peripheral ported rotor housings, bridge ported side housings, and intake manifolds and carby's to suit. Mazda were using Bridge Porting in their local racing RX-2's from their introduction, and they were much bigger than the thin slot (which can only just go past the rotor housing inner edge) versions deemed legal in Nc, there were what were later called called a monster port, going right back into the rotor housing.

semi-pp_rx-2.jpg

 

Nc is a combination of both Series Production and Improved Production rules, and I don't see any "Series Production" spec Torana's, Capri's or GT's out there at the front at the moment, nor are there to my knowledge a limit on cam specs which limit the valve timing or overlap, which is all adding the extra slot in a bridge port does, extends the port open time in the same way changing the cam does in a piston motor.



#49 DavidI

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 00:16

For a lot of people who followed touring cars in the '80s a lot of the inherent anti-rotor bias is probably more to do with the Moffat RX-7s and the criticisms made by his competitors in the status quo Holden and Fords. As someone who was a impressionable age at that time, I can imagine people in a similar position to me who might still retain that bias - back then I wasn't even keen on KB's Camaro, even though in hindsight it made for more variety and more interest.

Then consider that once Group A started there were no rotaries about in touring cars, there was nothing to maintain longer term interest or to draw people over to the "dark side," particularly from a casual fan's point of view.

And a more serious enthusiast might see club cars/improved production, which for much of the '90s was basically a rotary benefit hence even more reason to dislike them as it removed the variety that "serious" fans generally prefer.



#50 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 01:12

No RX-2's raced in Australia pre 1973? There were a few at Bathurst alone, and they appeared at other circuits as well.

 

Bathurst 1971

G. Cooke / G. Holmes - Class C winner - Mazda RX2

W. Rogerson / A. Mayne - Mazda RX2 (same two guys running them in the Nc class last weekend in fact)

 

Bathurst 1972

B. Haehnle - Mazda RX-2

G. Garth - Mazda RX-2

W. Rogerson Mazda RX-2

 

No RX-2 ever has a 10A, only R100's and early RX-3's had the 10A motor. The RX-2 had the twin distributor 12A from release in 1970, and in late 73 the pollution spec 12A single dizzy came in.

 

Both bridge porting and peripheral porting were used since the R100 started racing, Mazda had all of the Sport Kit options available, peripheral ported rotor housings, bridge ported side housings, and intake manifolds and carby's to suit. Mazda were using Bridge Porting in their local racing RX-2's from their introduction, and they were much bigger than the thin slot (which can only just go past the rotor housing inner edge) versions deemed legal in Nc, there were what were later called called a monster port, going right back into the rotor housing.

semi-pp_rx-2.jpg

 

Nc is a combination of both Series Production and Improved Production rules, and I don't see any "Series Production" spec Torana's, Capri's or GT's out there at the front at the moment, nor are there to my knowledge a limit on cam specs which limit the valve timing or overlap, which is all adding the extra slot in a bridge port does, extends the port open time in the same way changing the cam does in a piston motor.

I have owned a 10A RX2.  I feel it was a 73. And have seen a few others too. 

As a car dealer since the mid 70s I have seen a bloody lot of cars! Not a car that I would usually buy as the public were [rightly] scared of them in the day. And they were a warranty disaster. But I traded a couple cheap and sold them cheap. Later $2999 under the warranty limit] RX7s too in the 90s. At least one ended up as a Formula rotary. [Club Car] to replace a rolled over RX3.