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


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#101 Derrwint

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Posted 30 June 2014 - 21:41

Great shots of the George Kahler RX-2 Coupe, and whilst I never really thought about R100/RX-2/RX-3/RX-4/RX-5 rally cars, any info on them is most welcome in this thread.

 

In fact GeoffR, can you elaborate on the ex Kahler RX-2 being written off, how badly was the shell damaged, and do you know what happened to it from there?

 

Out of interest, the ex Leon Prgomet Road & Rotary RX-2 Coupe that campaigned in the 1979 Souther Cross is currently being restored. Pic of it back then courtesy of Autopics.com.au

79955a__90475.1371885108.1280.1280.jpg?c 

 

Pic of it in the late 80's in Club Car spec with Leon driving it at Oran Park.

Ozy01.jpg

 

And as it sits now.

cA3t5.jpg

 

Cheers

Darren



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#102 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 00:35

I think I said that RX2s benefited greatly from the use of Konis...

That is correct. No gas those days for Koni, either.

Yes, Tokico and Kayaba sold well in this market, but the winning cars used Konis. Robert Beson made sure that first Bilstein and then de Carbon were heavily marketed too.

Konis [special D] in that period were never gas. A top product overshadowed these days. Though I believe still available in many older fitments. 

Many Mazdas used Tokico, the Jap hot up stuff was Tokico. Though again it is up to the individual driver and car.

I feel horses for courses. My old Torana 2E car has them in the back and work well though those same shocks were useless in the Sports Sedan. And Koni on the front! Hard to get better for a direct fit replacement shock for that application. Many GpNs are using them.



#103 Ian G

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 03:44

OT & not that it matters but we had Koni's on the rear of our Datsun's mid to late 1970's.Custom Agent friend imported them direct from the States(they were made there) and i'm sure they were Gas but i just did a Google and the earliest Ad i can see for Koni Gas was 1981 which seems strange as the Bilstein patent run out in 1971. Bilstein's were not widespread,at least in NSW Rallying,as they were just too expensive.  



#104 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 05:07

Konis are made in Holland...

There were two Australian distributors for them by 1970.

#105 275 GTB-4

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 07:06

Yes, Proven Products those Koni's...(somebody get their RCNSs or SCWs out and thumb through them)



#106 GeoffR

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 07:18

In fact GeoffR, can you elaborate on the ex Kahler RX-2 being written off, how badly was the shell damaged, and do you know what happened to it from there?

 

 

Cheers

Darren

 

Hi Darren, I was referring to the green RX2 in the post above the Kahler pics, not the Kahler car.



#107 Derrwint

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 07:23

Ahhh I see, sorry Geoff, my bad!



#108 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 07:39

Konis are made in Holland...

There were two Australian distributors for them by 1970.

I think that Konis are made in several countries. But it is/was a Dutch company.



#109 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 07:40

Yes, Proven Products those Koni's...(somebody get their RCNSs or SCWs out and thumb through them)

Top Performance are / were sellers and repairers too. Not certain about these days. I am getting a bit out of touch these days



#110 lyntonh

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 07:42

153_zpsa4d6ed9b.jpg

Warwick Farm Practice 6th September 1969



#111 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 07:57

153_zpsa4d6ed9b.jpg

Warwick Farm Practice 6th September 1969

I presume by the pea shooter exhaust that is the piston engined version, not a R100?



#112 lyntonh

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 08:15

I presume by the pea shooter exhaust that is the piston engined version, not a R100?

That's why I asked.........



#113 Derrwint

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 09:16

100% sure that's an R100, definitely an R100 grille and bonnet which is different to the 1200 model, and they look like the 14" R100 wheels as well.

 

In std form they did have a small single exhaust, I dare say that one may simply be joined from where the std exhaust has a join mid car. This pis was taken before people realised that they really liked a good full length twin system joingin into a single exhaust after the diff and exiting out the back, not a short side exhaust like pictured.


Edited by Derrwint, 01 July 2014 - 09:19.


#114 Ian G

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 11:12

Konis are made in Holland...

There were two Australian distributors for them by 1970.

An American Co. took then over in the early 1970's,shortly after the Bilstein Patent run out,and set up USA based manufacturing as well,we got ours,along with Heads & Cams direct from a specialist Datsun Performance Co. in California.They were USA built Konis & listed as gas,and had listings for 1600,710 Violets,240/260 Z etc so i don't think they were a specialist build.



#115 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 11:31

That's right, they were bought out by an American company in the seventies...

There is a forum member here who works for them in the USA. I don't think US manufacture happened for a long time, however.

Proven Products had the sole Australian rights, but Topperformance started up as another importer in Melbourne about ten years after Proven began importing them.

#116 GeoffR

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 11:58

A bit OT re RX Mazdas with this but from what I recall by the mid '70s the move, for rally use anyway, was to gas pressure suspension units rather than oil filled units. The Japs were pretty much leading this with Tokiko, KYB versus the hopeless European Bilstein stuff. As previously mentioned Koni were still oil filled units and probably more suited to circuit use where suspension travel was not as important as in rallies.

I put a set of Bilstein strut inserts in my Escort at the time, based on reputation, and they were worse than the standard units by a long way (hence the oft used phrase 'bicycle pumps'). Very quickly replaced with a set of Tokikos!



#117 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 01:01

I just googled Koni, a US controlled [IT&T] company with manufacturing and distribution in Holland, the UK, France, the US, Germany. A major OEM manufacturer plus commercial vehicles and trains.

I feeel that my special Ds are made in Holland. They are about 25 years old.

Gas shocks are not always the be all and end all. In fact some are bloody awfull. Gas pressurised units can kill the ride, handling and on occasion break shock mounts unless the car was built for them.  Some effectivly increase the spring rate about 30lb. Gas bag shocks as most dirt track shocks are do not do this.

There is so many different shock designs these days. All have good and bad points. And this OEM yet alone aftermarket or performance.



#118 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 03:47

Geoff... they are ALL oil filled...

I would seriously doubt that anyone with experience would say Konis are better suited to circuit use.

#119 GeoffR

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 08:45

Just going by my ageing memory Ray, and probably a poor use of terminology, it was almost 40 years ago!! I reckon my mountain bike has the best option, air pressure suspension, adjustable to whatever pressure you want!


Edited by GeoffR, 02 July 2014 - 08:46.


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#120 BRG

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 19:50

A bit OT re RX Mazdas with this but from what I recall by the mid '70s the move, for rally use anyway, was to gas pressure suspension units rather than oil filled units. The Japs were pretty much leading this with Tokiko, KYB versus the hopeless European Bilstein stuff. As previously mentioned Koni were still oil filled units and probably more suited to circuit use where suspension travel was not as important as in rallies.

I put a set of Bilstein strut inserts in my Escort at the time, based on reputation, and they were worse than the standard units by a long way (hence the oft used phrase 'bicycle pumps'). Very quickly replaced with a set of Tokikos!

I think you must have bought those cheapo Bill Stein shockers, made by 'ol Willy Stein in his garden shed, rather than the proper Bilsteins which overnight made everything else in the shock absorber world obsolete.  If you didn't have Bilsteins on your rally Escort, you probably ended up with broken suspension, or upside down in a ditch.



#121 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 06:44

I think you must have bought those cheapo Bill Stein shockers, made by 'ol Willy Stein in his garden shed, rather than the proper Bilsteins which overnight made everything else in the shock absorber world obsolete.  If you didn't have Bilsteins on your rally Escort, you probably ended up with broken suspension, or upside down in a ditch.

A bit over the top! Yes the Bilsteins were a good product, as were several other brands at the time. And some suited some cars better than others. Which is still the case. Look at the money spent on shocks these days. And I could bet that if a control shock [premium quality] was introduced the speeds would still be similar. From memory Supercar now does have a control shock and brake package.



#122 Piquet959

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 10:56

I had some de Carbon for the front of my L34 road car. I bought them from somewhere down Tempe way in Sydney when I was working there in the early 1980,s. The reports were that they were almost as good as the Bilsteins but considerably lower priced for a poorly paid RAN sailor.
I had KYB in the back and it was a really well handling package. Especially after all the rest of the suspension was sorted out.

#123 Ian G

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 11:24

Just going by my ageing memory......... 

Join the club Geoff,i'm 'only' in my early 60's but having trouble memory wise,some events from the 1970's are like they happened last week,others are really faded and vague.The one thing with rear shockers on our Datsun 1600's was they didn't last long,a Rally or 2,3 if we were lucky,if they didn't blow a seal,break or bend, by themselves then there was always a rock or tree branch to help them. We tried just about every brand in the 10 years we ran the 1600's but nothing lasted long.

The front Struts were a different story,local mechanic guy in our club refilled the standard wet strut with heavier oil and along with stronger springs it worked well but they did bend eventually.This led to no front Struts available at Wreckers in NSW by the mid 70's and caused great dramas for the sport & crash repairers.This led to a guy importing a container of 2nd hand Datsun bits from Japan,motors,5 speed boxes,struts etc.and he made a killing,i forget his name but he was the first to try it although many others lay claim to being the first,its still going on Today.



#124 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 01:13

Join the club Geoff,i'm 'only' in my early 60's but having trouble memory wise,some events from the 1970's are like they happened last week,others are really faded and vague.The one thing with rear shockers on our Datsun 1600's was they didn't last long,a Rally or 2,3 if we were lucky,if they didn't blow a seal,break or bend, by themselves then there was always a rock or tree branch to help them. We tried just about every brand in the 10 years we ran the 1600's but nothing lasted long.

The front Struts were a different story,local mechanic guy in our club refilled the standard wet strut with heavier oil and along with stronger springs it worked well but they did bend eventually.This led to no front Struts available at Wreckers in NSW by the mid 70's and caused great dramas for the sport & crash repairers.This led to a guy importing a container of 2nd hand Datsun bits from Japan,motors,5 speed boxes,struts etc.and he made a killing,i forget his name but he was the first to try it although many others lay claim to being the first,its still going on Today.

I though all 1600s used 240K struts and brakes by the mid 70s. I have never heard of them bending. 

That is how Pedders started with rebuilt shocks. And I suspect the heavier oil deal was how they made them stiffer. I used them for 3 years of Rallycross and never had a failure. And in the early days as a Sports Sedan too. Then Konis. Though I tried a few different brands as my sponsor was a wrecker, plus me being a car dealer and I scrounged Tokico [still being used] Bilstein, Monroe and some big body Armstrong adjustables too. Some died, some did not feel right, some I still have! and some found new homes that in turn paid for something else.

Some modern well known brands however do not last very well at all. My Galaxie has killed a couple of sets now of a brand that starts with G. It is now using some Pedders in the back from my race XE and some steel body AFCO speedway OEM mount in the front. Bearing in mind the original front shocks which were still in the car from new were still serviceable at 130000miles it does not reflect well on the new ones. Though the current ones are performing very well. 

The occasional new shocks I fit for customers are KYB and Monroe and I have no comebacks. Though neither are a performance shock. Just a standard replacement.



#125 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 03:30

Originally posted by Piquet959
.....I bought them from somewhere down Tempe way in Sydney when I was working there in the early 1980s. The reports were that they were almost as good as the Bilsteins but considerably lower priced for a poorly paid RAN sailor.....


Like I said, Robert Beson...

#126 Ian G

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 03:34

Just about everything was tried Lee but widespread use of the 240K strut was a late 1970's/1980's thing at least in NSW Rallying,simple reason was they were scarce,if a wrecker had a rear ended 240K writeoff they wanted an arm & leg for the front struts,also for a while there Scrutineers were knocking them back on 1600's for safety issues for some reason,i forget but it may have been rideheight or something. 

 

 

http://www.datsport....onversions.html



#127 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 09:12

Just about everything was tried Lee but widespread use of the 240K strut was a late 1970's/1980's thing at least in NSW Rallying,simple reason was they were scarce,if a wrecker had a rear ended 240K writeoff they wanted an arm & leg for the front struts,also for a while there Scrutineers were knocking them back on 1600's for safety issues for some reason,i forget but it may have been rideheight or something. 

 

 

http://www.datsport....onversions.html

In my experience most 1600s were a little nose up which actually kept the underbody off the ground. Most used std 240k springs and I have never heard of a problem. This from the mid 70s. 510s have not been widely used in rallying since the early 80s after all. Escorts did hang around longer for some reason.

R31 stuff is late 80s on mods. 240k struts were rare but not that rare or expensive. The 510 610 ones were as rare as most were stuffed! That on road cars. I had friends with 1600s when new, fairly tough little car but not without their weaknesses. Front struts was one. As was rust.

My thoughts on scrutineers are well known, the reason many stopped competing over the years. And many still know all,,, f**k all!



#128 GeoffR

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 10:37

My memories of that period revolves around Tassie rally cars in the ,70s to early '80s, where Lancers & RX2s (hence the connection to this thread!) were the 'weapons of choice'. Datsun 1600s / 180Bs were not common then, although they did become more so by the mid 80s. Pretty much all the rally cars that I competed in and had knowledge of, mainly prep'd by Lin Gigney, used Jap gas suspension, often a mixture of Tokiko and KYB. And they worked very well in the Tas rally environment, which was often not very 'smooth'.

@ BRG; my Escort definitely had 'proper' Bilsteins, painted blue with the blue/yellow/black stickers. Didn't make any difference, they were still 'bicycle pumps'!!



#129 stuartbrs

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 10:35

M first ever car, Audi Fox (1976 Audi 80) had a Lin Gigney sticker on the back window Geoff. :) Lovely little car that.



#130 Paul Newby

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 01:43

That's right, they were bought out by an American company in the seventies...

There is a forum member here who works for them in the USA. I don't think US manufacture happened for a long time, however.

Proven Products had the sole Australian rights, but Topperformance started up as another importer in Melbourne about ten years after Proven began importing them.

 

Like many people here, I’ve had experiences with a variety of shock absorbers over the years.

 

For my classic Alfas, rebuilt Konis (yellows at the front and softer reds) at the back were pretty much the way to go. Firmer Bilsteins had a tendency to break the top body mounts.

 

I did have Spax on the front of my Alfetta and they were externally adjustable but not as durable as Konis.

 

My racing Alfetta has Konis rebuilt by Topperformance to a custom spec devised by one of Alfa race specialists. These have worked well in my car over a number of years and I believe a match for the Bilsteins. I did have access (for a while) to some trick double adjustable Koni steel tube shocks that were used by the Group C Alfas of the day. Rare and expensive, you need to access a race engineer to get the most out of them.

 

By Honda Integra has replacement Bilsteins that were put on a shock dyno at Heasmans in order to replicate that factory Showa units – as install the Bilsteins were way too firm at the front.

 

Proven Products is alive and well in Albury. They bought the Koni licence for motorcycle shock absorbers (Koni had stopped production in 2000) and makes these in Albury under their own Ikon brand and export shock absobers to the world. See http://www.ikonsuspe...ion_story.shtml.

 

 A great Australian success story.



#131 Derrwint

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 23:30

Pics of this RX-3 have been floating around for ages, and it appears it was a genuine Group C car, the the ex Lakis Manticas / Alan Grice / Geoff Leeds / Larry Kogge, and is now owned by the Bowden's according to the instagram link, and we assume will be restored.
 
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"The Bowden's most recent acquisition is this very rare Mazda RX3 Group C Racecar. Once driven by none other than Allan Grice in the Japanese Touring Car Championship. A very rare car on Australian shores!"
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Assuming all that info is correct, this would be the car at Sandown in 1977 in Geoff Leeds hands.
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Edited by Derrwint, 15 July 2014 - 23:31.


#132 275 GTB-4

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 23:54

Group C car, the the ex Lakis Manticas / Alan Grice / Geoff Leeds / Larry Kogge, and is now owned by the Bowden's...

I heard that it had moved on from the Bowdens...

#133 Derrwint

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 23:56

Yep that was my understanding too, I was hoping for more info.



#134 GeoffR

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 08:37

M first ever car, Audi Fox (1976 Audi 80) had a Lin Gigney sticker on the back window Geoff. :) Lovely little car that.

Stuart, (and this is OT from Mazdas BTW) my late father in law had a pale blue Audi Fox that fell off a hoist at Lin Gigney Automotive and was written off. It was subsequently purchased by someone and repaired, and was regularly seen on the streets of Hobart for some time. What colour was yours, there weren't a lot of them in Hobart, let alone pale blue.