Jump to content


Photo

Draft Eldred Norman anecdote


  • Please log in to reply
66 replies to this topic

#1 theotherharv

theotherharv
  • Member

  • 60 posts
  • Joined: March 14

Posted 02 June 2014 - 11:12

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

As noted in some of my earlier posts, I am pulling together a Guide for Norman superchargers. Whilst the Guide has a strong technical content, it will also contain a number of Norman supercharger-related anecdotes. I have previously posted two of the stories – one on a twin-supercharged Elfin land speed record holder, and one on speedway Normans. I have also been pulling together an anecdote on Eldred Norman. The information I have below is drawn from a wide variety of online sources, including this forum.

 

I am however very much aware that the information gathered so far is like a patchwork quilt, having been sewn together from disparate sources. It draws stories from nearly a century ago… sorting out the wheat from the chaff can sometimes be a challenge. I am also acutely aware of my own limited knowledge of circuit racing… lots to learn. Any errors in this anecdote are mine. Apologies in advance if I have failed to acknowledge the owner of any of the information – happy to correct (or delete) as requested.

 

I have posted the draft Eldred Norman anecdote here due to the incredible knowledge base that lives on the forum – any corrections or additions to this material are most welcome. In particular, I have big gaps in Eldred’s ownership or driving of the 1950’s Holden, the Singer SM 1500 and race results for the Zephyr.  Once I am more confident in the content I will run this anecdote past Mike, Bill and Bronny for a sense check. The anecdote will finally end up published in my Norman supercharger Guide.

 

So here goes – hopefully an interesting story. Please bear in mind that I have written it for an audience interested in early Holdens, and who (like me) may not know what a monoposto is (I learn something every day).

 

(my apologies for posting this as a link to the SCRIBD site rather than directly to the forum. For some reason, I cannot post photo links via the IMG codes lately despite much faffing around)

http://www.scribd.com/doc/227580801/Eldred-Anecdote

 

Cheers,

Harv (deputy apprentice Norman supercharger fiddler).



Advertisement

#2 theotherharv

theotherharv
  • Member

  • 60 posts
  • Joined: March 14

Posted 02 June 2014 - 20:50

Posting just the text below for those who don't like the SCRIBD site. To see the photos, use the link above (apologies again).

 

Eldred De Bracton Norman was born on the 9th of January 1914 in Adelaide South Australia, second of six children of Australian-born parents William Ashley Norman, solicitor, and his wife Alma Janet, daughter of Daniel Matthews. Thomas Magarey, an Irish-born miller and pastoralist and Member of the South Australian House of Assembly and the South Australian Legislative Council was Eldred’s great-grandfather. Eldred attended Scotch College Adelaide and briefly studied law at the University of Adelaide (his exam results for Greek are still available on the internet). In 1938 he set up an engineering workshop and motorcar-dealership in Adelaide. Rejected for military service in World War II because of asthma, Eldred began to make garden tools and to manufacture charcoal-burning gas producers to power vehicles. In May 1941 he married Nancy Fotheringham Cato, a 24-year-old journalist. Eldred and Nancy had three children in the space of three years – Michael, William and Bronley (Mike, Bill and Bronnie).

In 1946 Eldred was purchasing ex-army vehicles left behind by the Americans and selling them in Adelaide at a profit. While visiting the Australian Territory of Papua-New Guinea (PNG did not become independent until 1975), he acquired a war-surplus Dodge weapons carrier chassis along with a host of Jeeps and Blitz trucks at an auction in Port Moresby. Eldred used the Dodge to construct a race car - the “Double Bunger”, or more commonly “Double V8”. The Double V8, shown below with Eldred in the cockpit, was built from bodywork from aircraft and a tubular steel chassis.

Power came from two Ford Mercury 239ci flathead V8 engines for a total capacity of 7,800cc. These engines were good for 100-110bhp each when run independently, giving Eldred some 200bhp in the Double V8. Engine cooling suffered, with a tendency to overheat on long races. The engines were coupled flywheel-to-crank snout with a four-row chain drive. This large machine had independent suspension and water-cooled drum brakes supplied by two SU fuel pumps. The drum brakes produced spectacular clouds of steam as he applied them, despite being undersized for the task. The rear brake drums were built inboard, operating on the back axle and additionally cooled by a fan worked by the tail shaft.

Being South Australian road-registered, Eldred was frequently seen driving the Double V8 around the Adelaide hills… with trade number plates tied with string or a strap around his neck. Between 1948 and 1951 he drove the car successfully in hill-climbs and various race tracks in three States. The vehicle was also driven long distances to compete at tracks such as Fisherman's Bend, Victoria… a 900-mile roundtrip journey sans mufflers.

The clipping below, from the News of the 19th of April 1949, shows the Double V8 at the Barossa Festival (Nuriootpa circuit, South Australia).

The clipping below is from the News of the 8th of October 1949. The meeting referred to at Woodside, South Australia was the scene of a tragic double fatality during motorcycle races. The car was also raced at Fisherman’s Bend later in October of that year.

In addition to circuit racing, Eldred also raced the Double V8 at Sellick’s Beach, South Australia where racing was undertaken between mile posts. An annual speed trial and motorcycle races were held on three kilometres or more of sand along Aldinga and Sellick’s Beaches up to 1953. The Double V8 won both the unlimited scratch race and over 1500cc handicap race held at the beach by the Racing Drivers Association of South Australia in April 1950. This event drew more than 5,000 spectators. One incident with Harry Neale at the wheel of the Double V8 ended with the Double V8 deposited into the sea, ripping off the bodywork and leaving Harry sitting on the chassis, wet but unhurt – see clipping below from the Broken Hill Barrier Miner of the 2nd of May 1950:

Eldred’s can-do, larrikin spirit was also evident in the way he once retrieved the telephone cables laid out for communication between officials at each end of the Sellick’s Beach strip… by fitting a bare rim to the Double V8 rear axle and firing up the twin V8s to power what must have been Australia’s most powerful fishing reel.

The Double V8 was also campaigned in hill climb service, and was entered in the South Australian Hill Climb Championship at Glen Ewin, Houghton in March 1950. On the day Eldred’s was the fastest car.

The Double V8 marked the start of Eldred’s entries into the Australian Grand Prix. The January 1950 Australian Grand Prix was a Formula Libre motor race held at the three-mile square layout clockwise street circuit in Nuriootpa, shown below:

Formula Libre (or “Free Formula”) allows a wide variety of types, ages and makes of purpose-built racing cars to compete "head to head", with the only regulations often governing basics such as safety equipment. Eldred’s Double V8 retired from the Grand Prix after only two laps. Bear in mind however that only thirteen of the field of twentynine vehicles actually finished.

Eldred entered the Double V8 in the Onkoparinga class handicap at the Woodside circuit in October 1950, coming second place by one minute despite having speeds of up to 120mph on the straight. The Double V8 was also entered (and took third place by 3.6 seconds slower than first place) in the Western Australian Hill Climb Championship at Mundaring in February.

The 1951 Australian Grand Prix was again run as a Formula Libre event in March at Narrogin, Western Australia. The 4.4-mile anticlockwise Narrogin circuit is also shown below:

Eldred entered the Double V8 into the race. While leading on the seventh of twentyfour laps the Double V8 again broke down (this time due to suspension failure), leading to Eldred retiring from the race. The Double V8 is shown at this meeting in the two images below, taken by Len Moore:

 

The Double V8 was sold by Eldred later in 1951 to Syd Anderson. Anderson was proprietor of the Sydney Anderson Automotives used-car dealership in William Street and once Western Australia’s largest hire fleet owner with some thirty cars. During both Anderson’s and subsequent ownerships the car was modified repeatedly. According to legend, Syd swiped a large mixing bowl from the kitchen, cutting it in half to make two air scoops for the Double V8.

Anderson raced the Double V8 extensively, including the following West Australian meetings:

  • The Great Southern Flying 50 meeting at Narrogin in March of 1952, winning the scratch race for over 1500cc (Eldred’s Maserati, see below, picked up the under 1500cc win), and coming eighth in the meeting main race (Eldred came second).
  • The Northam Flying 50 meeting at Northam in April, winning the three-lap scratch race for over 1500cc. Anderson also competed in the five-lap handicap but did not land in the top three positions. He did however place fifth in meeting main race.
  • The Goomalling Speed Classic at Goomalling road circuit in June. Anderson placed fourth in the fifteen-lap handicap for Racing Cars, first in the three-lap scratch race for Racing Cars over 1500cc and first in the five-lap handicap race for Racing Cars. Anderson is shown driving the vehicle at the 2.4-mile anticlockwise circuit in the colour photograph below:

 

The Goomalling circuit layout is shown below.

 

  • The Great Southern Fifty meeting at Narrogin in March of 1953, winning the three-lap scratch race for over 1500cc (Class A).
  • The Caversham Speed Classic in December of that year, winning the three-lap scratch race for racing cars over 1500cc, placing second in the five-lap handicap for racing cars and third in the twelve lap handicapped main event for racing cars.

Anderson also competed in speed trials in the Double V8. At Narrogin Airstrip in February 1954 he recorded the fasted time for the Standing Quarter for Racing vehicles at sixteen seconds, and also for the flying quarter at 8.9 seconds.

Anderson entered the Double V8 in the Johore Grand Prix in Malaya. I suspect this was 1953 as the race was not held in 1954 due to concerns raised by the Johore Welfare Committee, a part of the state government. Unfortunately, he had to retire from the race due to overheating. In one incident during his ownership of the car Anderson was badly scalded when the radiator plumbing in the cockpit let go.

The Double V8 was then sold by Anderson to James Harwood, a navy veteran, musician and motor enthusiast in Perth. Harwood tossed a penny with Anderson to decide the purchase price - either £50 or £100. Harwood won. The vehicle was then towed to a business in which Harwood was a partner - Performance Cars at 173 James Street where Bill Strickland (the renowned sports car and speedway speedcar/modified sedan driver) removed the two Ford V8 engines. The engines were later sold to a speedboat constructor. The Double V8 body was then placed outside James business as advertising, though was removed a few days later at the request of Perth City Council.

The images below show Toby Carboni in the Double V8. In the period of 1955-1957 Carboni raced the car extensively in Western Australia. I’m not sure if Toby is the same person who went on to found Carbon Brakes with Greg Nolan, or the extent of his association with the Double V8 (owner or just driver).

Carboni entered the Double V8 in the following events:

  • The Northam Flying 50 in August of 1955, placing sixth in the seven-lap racing car handicap (Anderson was racing an Austin Healey in that race and came fourth). Carboni also entered the three-lap scratch race for racing cars over 1500cc though did not finish.
  • The Western Australian State Championships in September. In the first heat of Race 1 of the Racing Car Championship, Carboni placed fifth (Anderson’s Austin Healey coming in third). Returning for the second heat of Race 3, Carboni retired after seven laps (Anderson winning this race).
  • The Caversham Benefit Cup in October, placing fourth in the three-lap racing car scratch race.
  • The Spastic Welfare Cup at Caversham in November. Carboni entered the six-lap handicapped Race 2 though retired after two laps. He returned for the twenty-lap handicapped Spastic Welfare Cup for Racing Cars but again retired after ten laps.
  • The six-hour Le Mans Production Car Meeting at Caversham in May of 1956, placing second in the three-lap racing car scratch race and second outright in the fifteen lap Triangle Cup scratch race for Racing Cars (though not in the top four handicapped places).
  • The Australian Grand Prix at Caversham in March of 1957. Carboni entered the class for Racing Cars but did not start.

Keith Windsor bought the Double V8 body (probably in 1957) and installed a V12 Lincoln Zephyr engine, shown below:

Lincoln produced these engines from 1936-1948, ceasing production nearly a decade before Windsor’s repowering of the Double V8. I’m not certain if Windsor used the 267ci, 292ci or 306ci engine (110-130bhp), though in any case was a marked reduction from Eldred’s 478ci (~200bhp) double V8 powerplant. The images below show Windsor and the Double V8 in V12 format.

Windsor debuted the V12 Double V8 in the Christmas Cup at Caversham in late November 1958, competing in the five-lap racing car scratch race for over 1500cc, though did not place in the top three positions. Sadly, Windsor found the V12 vehicle was not manageable and subsequently scrapped it.

The images below are of the Double V8, though I am not sure of the period. The colour image shows the car chasing Sid Taylor (in a TS Special) and Syd Negus (in a Plymouth) off the straight at Caversham.

After the Double V8, Eldred then bought a 1936 Maserati Type 6CM, below during part of it’s life in Europe.

 

6CM stood for 6-cylinder monoposto (monoposto is a fancy Italian way of saying single-seat). The vehicle was fitted with a twin overhead cam 1493cc engine (shown below), with the Roots supercharger driven directly off the crank and being fed by a Weber 55AS1 carburettor. Eldred’s vehicle (chassis 1542), one of only twenty-seven built, had some 175bhp on tap… a power to weight ratio four times greater than an EK Holden.

 

The Maserati had originally been delivered to Franco Cortese in April 1937. It then went to Scuderia Torino and to Ecurie Auto-Sport for de Graffenried and Balsa after World War II. It was later sold in the United Kingdom to Sam Gilbey (1947) then to Colin Murray (1949). Murray raced the vehicle in the Formula 1 class, including:

  • The April 1950 Goodwood circuit race,
  • The June British Empire Trophy at the Isle of Man circuit. He vied against a thirteen car field, though retired after nineteen of the thirtysix laps due to an accident,
  • The August Silverstone race. He again retired, for reasons unknown, from the field of nineteen (which included Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss).

Murray brought the car to Australia in 1951, racing it in the March 1951 Australian Grand Prix. Like Eldred, Murray did not finish the race, completing nineteen of the twenty-four laps against a field of twenty-eight (remember that Eldred, in the Double V8, completed only seven laps during this race).

 

Murray later sold the Maserati to Eldred, who built from scratch a new engine block from steel blocks and welded sleeves with hard chromed liners, cast two new magnesium bronze cylinder heads with hardened steel inserts and revised valve geometry, adapted connecting rods from a Singer 1500 and reconditioned the rest of the engine. This delivered 200bhp at 6,000rpm from the newly engineered engine, four and a half times higher power to weight than our EK Holden.

 

Eldred circuit-raced the Maserati in the 10½ -mile race held at the Woodside closed-street circuit in October 1951. The course route is shown to the right.

 

Eldred finished the Woodside Jubilee for High Powered Cars race in third position. After finishing Eldred stopped in the pits, raised his bonnet, and with a pair of pliers released two tins of pork and beans that had been wired to the exhaust manifold to cook. Eldred’s culinary skills were noted in Adelaide’s News The Odd Spot column. The vehicle was also raced at the Lobethal, South Australia circuit in December.

 

Similarly to the Double V8, the Maserati saw service in a variety of forms of motorsport. In December the Maserati was entered in the 460-yard Glen Ewen hillclimb at Houghton, South Australia recording the fastest time, breaking the previous hill climb circuit record and winning the meeting’s Unlimited class race. The vehicle was crashed in the March 1952 hillclimb at Collingrove, South Australia, stripping the gearbox in the process. This made for hard work in preparation for the Great Southern Flying 50 at Narrogin, Western Australia a week later. Eldred did however manage to get the Maserati back into working order and 1700 miles across to Western Australia. He achieved first place (and fastest lap at 2:27) in the under 1500cc scratch race, third place in the five-lap handicap race (posting both the fastest time and fastest lap at 2:20), and second place in the main handicapped Great Southern Flying 50 race event (again posting fastest time and fastest lap at 2:19). Remember from above that Anderson had also entered the Double V8 at this meeting – see the clippings below from the West Australian from the 14th and 22nd of March 1952.

The Maserati also got a work-out in March 1952 for the public opening of the Collingrove Hill Climb track (see clipping below from the Sunday Mail of March 1952 and track layout below). Eldred posted the fourth fastest time of the day (43.2 seconds), and won the category for Racing Cars over 1500cc and all supercharged.

 

The clipping below is from the News of the 21st of July 1952:

Whilst campaigning the Maserati, Eldred also drive other vehicles. In May of 1952 he won the South Australian Sporting Car Club's reliability night trial in a Holden. Only eleven of the twentytwo starters finished, with Eldred losing 580 points over the ninety-mile course, returning at 1am. In a normal trial of this kind, the winner would have lost 30-40 points and got home by about 10.30pm

Eldred raced the Maserati in the April 1952 Australian Grand Prix. This was again a Formula Libre motor race, held at the 3.8-mile anticlockwise Mount Panorama Circuit near Bathurst, in New South Wales. The course is shown below. Eldred did not finish the race, completing ten of the thirtyeight laps due to engine troubles (the Maserati’s supercharger relief valve had come unscrewed). Eldred’s race-mate, Frank Kleinig, had to retire his Kleinig-Hudson 8 Special after only four laps. Kleinig’s name will be familiar to early-Holden fans as the man responsible for quite an array of grey motor speed equipment. The blurry image below, from the Advertiser of April 8th 1952, shows the Maserati prior to the race.

The noisy supercharged Maserati was never very fast, and had an insatiable appetite for pistons, including melting one out at Sellick’s Beach in October of 1952. The photo to the right shows Eldred racing the Maserati on Sellick’s Beach (alongside T Hawke’s Allard) at this meeting, the first all-car beach program held in South Australia after the war. Bill Norman remembers being employed at age six to tightening the Maserati engine's many inaccessible nuts, one-sixth of a turn at a time.

 

By 1953 the Maserati had been twin-supercharged to 285bhp, with the second supercharger sitting in the cockpit under the scuttle. The first supercharger remained crank driven, with the second supercharger duplex-chain driven off the first (that is one looong drive chain, running the length of the engine).  The car was being tested at the Collingrove hill-climb on Easter Monday. The vehicle would not run under 40mph, was good for 0-120mph in ten seconds, would stay at 120mph at half throttle, got 80mph in first gear and slurped methanol at one mile to the gallon. The power to weight ratio was now six and a half times greater than an EK Holden.  The vehicle returned to Port Wakefield, South Australia for the Anzac Day race of April 1953.

The clipping below is from Adelaide’s Advertiser of the 6th of October 1953, again linking the Maserati to Collingrove hill climbing. Eldred also raced at Port Wakefield Tourist Trophy race that month, snapping the gear lever off the Maserati and finishing in third gear at 9,000rpm (the redline was 7,000rpm…) despite suffering badly from hay fever.

Eldred then sold the Maserati in October of 1953 to Ted McKinnon (a Melbourne motor dealer), who raced it in the 1953 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park, Victoria (again in Formula Libre trim). Ted finished 15th out of the thirtynine car field (Eldred did not enter the Australian Grand Prix in 1953). The vehicle then passed to Eddie Thomas in 1954, possibly for the Seaton brothers, who entered it for Ken Cox the same year. Cox later raced it with a Holden engine from 1957-1959, mainly on Victorian country tracks. The Maserati fell into disrepair, and was sold by Gavin Sandford-Morgan to Alf Blight in 1966. It was restored over many years until it raced at Mallala in 1982. Alf is shown at Amaroo Park in the 1980’s in the image below:

The Maserati passed to the United States, then to Robin Lodge (United Kingdom) in 1987, René Mauriès (France, who held it from 1988-1997, having been sold to him though Christies Monaco sales for $197,000), until sold at auction to Bernie Ecclestone in 1997.

Eldred’s racing interests were diverse, as can be seen in the cutting below from the Adelaide Advertiser of the 21st of October 1952, which shows Eldred winning the Production Car Handicap at Sellick’s Beach:

The vehicle Eldred is driving is a production Singer SM 1500 Sports, with a 48bhp 1497cc engine. In November of the same year Eldred entered the Singer in the Collingrove hillclimb, recording a time of 51.5 seconds in front of the crowd of 4,000 people.

 

Eldred won the South Australian Sporting Car Car Club’s Kennedy Memorial Trophy that year for gaining the most points in all forms of competition.

 

After not competing in the Australian Grand Prix in 1953, Eldred returned in 1954. In the interim he had purchased South Australia’s first Triumph TR2, registered SA 1435 for £1,189 – see clipping below from Adelaide’s News of the 22nd of February 1954:

 

The original disc wheels were replaced with wire wheels, and an overdrive fitted (operated by a lever mounted beside the transmission tunnel). The vehicle had a completely standard white body and red interior, with a passenger tonneau, single aero screen and headlight tape... no roll bar or seatbelt. The Triumph utilized a Standard Vanguard engine, fitted with a 136ci/rev G.M. 2-71 supercharger, driven at 1.1:1 by four A-section belts and producing 12psi of boost. Eldred experimented with home-made fuel injection, eventually returning to a 2" SU carburettor. Engine internals were largely standard but the crankshaft was ground undersize, then built up with hard chrome. Tyres were Adelaide-made Hardie cross plies, similar to those used later on the Zephyr Special.

 

Eldred drove the Triumph 1300 miles to Southport, Queensland, towing a trailer with two 44-gallon drums of methanol racing fuel. The 5.7-mile clockwise Southport circuit is shown below. Winning the Brightways Trophy and Cords Piston Ring Trophy support races on the morning of the Australian Grand Prix gained him entry into the main race, in which he came fourth. By the end of the race the supercharger drive belts had stretched so much that boost had dropped from 12 to 8psi. One of Eldred’s race-mates, (later Sir) Jack Brabham, had to retire his Cooper T26 after only one lap, whilst the 4.3L Maybach Special II of Stan Jones broke in half at two chassis welds, depositing Stan in the scrub at 100mph. The image below shows Eldred in the Triumph at the 1954 Australian Grand Prix:

 

Eldred’s Triumph was driven from the track, and without any rebuild it then towed the trailer, trophies and £600 prizemoney 1300 miles back to Adelaide, rattling gently from cracked pistons.

 

Whilst the Triumph is famous for its Grand Prix performance, it also received a considerable workout in other events, as can be seen by Eldred’s (aquatic) racing in the clipping below from Adelaide’s Chronicle of the 24th of June 1954. The race shown is the mud-trial run by the South Australian Sporting Car Club, in which Eldred took third place. The course included a creek crossing and hill at Brownhill Creek, a narrow hills track at Coromandel Valley, and the crossing of the Finniss River as shown below with a mud slope and sand course. Imagine doing that in a modern Grand Prix car, and afterwards racing in a Grand Prix.

 

The Triumph was also entered in the Collingrove hillclimb of April. In September the Triumph was raced at Fisherman’s Bend, Victoria then at the Port Wakefield races a day later. Eldred was to come fourth in the Churchill Motors scratch event at the latter meeting. The image below, from Adelaide’s Advertiser of the 8th of October 1954 shows Eldred preparing the Triumph:

 

The Triumph was raced briefly by his Eldred’s good friend Andy Brown then disappeared.

 

For the 1955 Grand Prix Eldred assembled a new car in ten weeks. The 2262cc supercharged Zephyr Special was unique in using the engine as a stressed chassis-member. The Zephyr engine was canted 45º to the right with a modified FJ Holden front crossmember bolted to the timing cover. A 6" torque tube bolted directly to the engine extending back to the clutch and gearbox. The body, fuel tank and seat are bolted to brackets welded to the tube and the three-speed ZF transaxle from a Tempo Matador truck with directly attached fabricated rear suspension. Drum brakes were taken from a Standard Vanguard. The engine generates 280 to 300bhp and is good for 90mph in first, 130mph in second and on a long straight just under 160mph in top.

The photo below shows the Zephyr Special in 1955, taken at Port Wakefield. It was then called the Eclipse Zephyr. The name Eclipse came from the Adelaide Ford dealer, Eclipse Motors (Eldred had an engineering workshop and was a motor dealer from 1938). The previous name for the car was a bit of a mouthful - the Norholfordor - because it was built from Holden, Ford and Tempo Matador parts. Before you ask, a Tempo Matador was a VW-powered light commercial vehicle made from 1949 to 1954.

The October 1955 Australian Grand Prix was held at the Port Wakefield circuit, in South Australia. The 1.3-mile clockwise circuit is shown to the right. Refueling during the race was undertaken from a 44-gallon drum pressurized with nitrogen oxide to speed things up. Eldred finished eighth out of a field of twentythree. The race was won by (later Sir) Jack Brabham in a Cooper T40. The Zephyr Special was so unconventional that it was referred to as that "diabolical device".

In 1956 Eldred sold the Zephyr Special to Keith Rilstone. The photo below is of Keith competing in the Eclipse Zephyr at Caversham military airstrip in the Swan Valley, Western Australia in 1961:

 

Caversham became Western Australia’s first dedicated motor racing circuit, and hosted the Australian Grand Prix in both 1957 and 1962. Military needs resulted in the Western Australia Sporting Car Club, the operators of the circuit, moving to their new home at Wanneroo in 1968.

 

The photograph below is from Rilstone’s ownership, and was taken at Mallala Race Circuit South Australia. Note that the carburettor is not one of Eldred’s legendary 3” SUs... this one came from a Maybach.

Finally below is the car in its present form. The Zephyr Special is now owned by Graeme and Robyn Snape of Gundagai NSW.

In 1956 Norman abandoned racing to concentrate on inventing. He built a large astronomical telescope in the property’s tin shed, then a rotating observatory in the "plane paddock" (no property is complete without an old bomber). Scientists from the Weapons Research Establishment would visit to see his home-made automatic telescope mirror-grinding machine complete a cycle, watching as it automatically applied paste, water, rotated, oscillated, separated, etc, grinding mirrors to a tolerance of 0.000003”. Many of his prototypes, including a car tow-bar and a photographic device to capture burglars, never reached the production stage. Eldred also devised a spider trap for the observatory, which required a spider to step onto a steel ring to gain entry. The steel ring was energized, zapping the unlucky arachnid with high voltage.

 

With Nancy, he made a motoring trip in 1961 which took them through seventeen countries, including the Soviet Union, Poland, East Germany, Iran and Pakistan. A sign of the times was ASIO’s interest in Communism. There is a one hundred-page file covering Commonwealth Police investigations into the Norman’s activities. ASIO intercepted the Norman’s mail and recorded telephone conversations leading up to their trip. A confidential memo dated April 1961 to Headquarters ASIO from the Regional Director South Australia, indicates that they have nothing known regarding Eldred, but Nancy's name was linked to others (details blacked out in the public report), was present at a public meeting of note, and had signed a petition organised by 'Overland' (a magazine who’s editor was an ex-member of the Communist Party). The Prime Minister Robert Menzies was well known for his anti-Communist views, and was kept informed by memo of the goings and comings of Eldred and Nancy. The trip was undertaken by shipping a 1961 Ford Falcon station wagon to Spain, complete with oversized fuel tank and camp bed in the back. They applied for passports to go to USSR and China in 1961. This request was vetted by ASIO, as part of their 'investigation' of the couple.

 

Eldred is also renowned for his sliding vane supercharger manufacturing, which started in Adelaide and then continued after the family moved to Noosa in 1966. Eldred manufactured eight different superchargers (the Type 65, Type 70, Type 45, Type 75, Type 90, Type 110, Type 265 and Type 270), and adopted some truly innovated designs, including a supercharger clutch drive reminiscent of Mad Max’s car. Eldred’s supercahrgers ended up on a number of Mike and Bill’s vehicles, including an ex-PMG FE van and Bill’s Bill’s supercharged MGTC, a winner at Lakeview Hill Climb in October 1965. Eldred’s reflections on supercharging were published in his book Supercharge! published in 1969. The image of Eldred to the right, taken from Supercharge! shows Eldred in his forties.

Eldred’s habit of road testing race vehicle continued, with his HD Holden utilitity acting as a test-mule for many of his superchargers. The HD had all drum brakes… interesting to handle given that when fitted with the Type 110 supercharger and Eldred’s own 3” SU it could make 140mph. Eldred’s passion for sliding vane superchargers was taken up by his son Mike. Mike manufactured an improved version of the sliding vane design in Sydney the mid 1980’s, making six models (the 150, 200, 250, 300, 350 and 400).

 

Norman and Nancy pursued a wide variety of interests. Eldred for example had written a six-article series for the Motoring News section of Adelaide’s News in 1952 (including How Compression Operates). Nancy worked as a journalist and art critic for the Adelaide News, and became a poet and novelist. Her most famous trilogy "All The Rivers Run", was published in 1958. The story was adapted to a television mini-series starring Sigrid Thornton and John Waters which ran from 1983 through 1989. Nancy became prominent as a conservationist and Aboriginal Rights activist. An active member of the Sporting Car Club of South Australia, Eldred often took his children to events, leaving Nancy free to write. During construction of the club's 0.4-mile hill-climb track at Collingrove in the Barossa Valley, Eldred used a .45 caliber sub-machinegun to hammer soil in around fence posts. For years the case of hundreds of bullets lay open in the shed for the three children to play with, together with a quantity of dynamite which Eldred finally disposed of when it began to weep nitroglycerine. Eldred was  one of the foundation directors of Brooklyn Speedway, S.A., Ltd, the company which built and operated the Port Wakefield track from early 1953.

 

Stories abound of how Eldred outpaced police as he tested cars on the road between his Adelaide workshop and his Hope Valley home. The police would be on his doorstep moments later, looking to nail him for driving an unregistered vehicle. "Oh, no, it hasn't been running at all... not for a couple of days" he would tell them. Feeling the warmth of the engine cover, the police exclaimed that it retained its heat well and departed. Eldred soon learnt that it wasn’t a bad idea to hose down the bodywork after such a run. His tactics were not always successful though, as the clippings from the 11th of May 1938 and 3rd of October 1946 edition of Adelaide’s Advertiser below show. Eldred was also booked for speeding over an intersection (with fins of £1. and 10/ costs in November 1939), and with driving an unregistered car (no penalty, though slugged with 7/6 costs) in August of that year.

 

In one of the incidents shown above, the Assistant Police Prosecutor noted that “Practically every regulation In the Traffic Act has been broken”. In another incident, when the magistrate shook his head and said, "What will I ever do with you?" he quickly answered back: "How about we start a monthly account?".

 

Eldred was sadly taken by lung cancer on the 28th of June 1971 at Noosa Heads. Nancy, shown below in a beautiful photograph, passed away at Noosa on the 3rd of July 2000.

Both Eldred and Nancy were recognised in a number of ways. Nancy, pictured right, was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in June 1984 in recognition of services to Australian literature. The Canberra suburb of Franklin includes Nancy Cato Street. The Jubilee 150 Walkway is a series of one hundred and fifty bronze plaques set into the pavement of North Terrace, Adelaide. It was officially opened in December 1986 as part of the celebrations commemorating the 150th anniversary of the founding of the state of South Australia. The plaques contain the names and deeds of one hundred and seventy people who made major contributions to the founding and development of South Australia. The plaques are arranged in alphabetic order. Eldred’s plaque, shown above right is located between the Art Gallery Of South Australia and the University of Adelaide.

 

Cheers,

Harv



#3 theotherharv

theotherharv
  • Member

  • 60 posts
  • Joined: March 14

Posted 13 June 2014 - 20:22

Bump.

 

Getting a bit worried - not one bite for the anecdote, though 60-odd people took a read via the link. I'm pretty sure my knowledge of racing history is relatively weak - any corrections to the story appreciated.

 

If anyone has a copy of Vintage Racecar magazine from around March 2007, I'd love to get my hands on a scan or photocopy of the article written about Eldred and the Zephyr Special. Happy to pay for your time and postage, or even buy the whole magazine.

 

Cheers,

Harv



#4 GMACKIE

GMACKIE
  • Member

  • 1,751 posts
  • Joined: January 11

Posted 13 June 2014 - 21:45

Wonderful story, Harv. :up: What a pity we don't seem to have any 'charachters' like Eldred Norman any more.

 

I have been a fan of the Zephyr Special for many years. Graeme and Robyn snape are regulars at GEAR [Golden Era Auto Racing] meetings [Wakefield Park], although it has been a while since the Zephyr Special has made an appearance. For some stange reason, that beautiful roar of the Zephyr engine is 'offensive' to some people. :confused:

 

Cheers,         Greg



#5 cooper997

cooper997
  • Member

  • 825 posts
  • Joined: December 08

Posted 15 June 2014 - 07:33

Harv,

I should be able to help with the Vintage Racecar scans - just need an email.

Are you also aware that issues 35 & 36 of now defunct Motor Racing Australia magazine have Ray Bell's 2 part feature on Eldred. Whether Chevron Publishing still has back copies who knows . You could enquire at www.chevron.com.au

Failing that Ray might have it on file still or I could scan.

Stephen

#6 theotherharv

theotherharv
  • Member

  • 60 posts
  • Joined: March 14

Posted 15 June 2014 - 07:54

Cheers Greg. My son has recently learnt the joy of running engines with open headers on engine cradles... might take him a month or two to stop smiling.

 

Thanks Stephen - PM sent with email address.

 

Regards,

Andrew



#7 kaydee

kaydee
  • Member

  • 341 posts
  • Joined: January 07

Posted 15 June 2014 - 09:30

One of my favourite Eldred stories occurred when I was driving up to a Port Wakefield race meeting at a sedate 70 mph and being passed by a tow car and trailer complete with Eldred sitting nonchalantly on the trailer mudguard doing up the exhaust manifold nuts on his Maserati race car as they whizzed by.

 

 Here are some more Eldred anecdotes put together by Ken Messenger and published in the Sporting Car Club of SA magazine many years ago.

 

Eldred_1.jpg

Eldred_2.jpg

Eldred_3.jpg

 

(I've just changed over from Image Shack to Post Image so I hope that this works and the images are readable)

 

Regards,

Kevin



#8 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 53,966 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 15 June 2014 - 11:51

Come on, Kevin, you don't expect us to believe that, do you?

You do? Okay...

The story needs a lot of work, I have to say. I don't have time to look closely at it all right now, but a few things:

1. The Normans always refer to the Dodge-based twin-engined monster as the 'Double Eight'

2. There was no chain drive, and I suspect that the chain that wrapped around the sprockets at the rear of the front engine and the front of the rear was a double row.

3. The fuel pumps were not SUs, they were an American brand. Please find and read my story on Eldred in Motor Racing Australia for the name.

4. Singer? I'm not sure about this, it was never mentioned to me.

5. A bigger job on the Maserati engine was casting his own cylinder heads in bronze.

6. The Zephyr's tube (not strictly a torque tube) is at least 8" diameter, not 6".

You've undertaken quite a task in all of this, which makes it all the more important to get the details right. Keep up the good work.

#9 theotherharv

theotherharv
  • Member

  • 60 posts
  • Joined: March 14

Posted 15 June 2014 - 20:30

Thankyou gentlemen - very much appreciated.

 

Agree Ray - a good size task, and worth getting right.

 

Regards, and thanks again,

Andrew



#10 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 53,966 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 16 June 2014 - 00:20

It could be said that Eldred also understood his shortcomings as a driver...

When he gave the game away, he called Keith Rilstone and told him, "You'll make this go faster than I ever could." And he did.

The Essex twin-engined car is something I'd have to check on. It's mentioned in my story, I'm sure, but I'm as far from home as possible at the moment (Houlton, Maine USA) and unable to refer to it. I believe he did own it, maybe he also raced it, but I never did find that out.

Like all good ideas (or even bad ideas), the Double Eight was a copy of this idea. And the Zephyr was a copy of the idea brought to fruition by Harold Clisby when he built a hillclimb car using a Douglas motorcycle engine around 1950 or so. But carried to what you might call an extreme level.

Steve Tillet was a great help to me in gathering stories about Eldred, but he's gone now too. But one story that came to light after we published my articles was from a camshaft grinder.

"We went to the SCC meeting and told people we were installing a cam grinding machine," he told me. "Eldred said he had a Holden cam - at a time when it was impossible to get Holden spare parts - and wanted it ground."

The man went to Hope Valley at the appointed time to pick up the camshaft, Eldred started looking for it. As they walked through the house he assures me that Bill, then about three years old, was walking up and down on the piano keyboard. "That kid's got an ear for music," Eldred told him.

Finally, with no sign of the camshaft anywhere it should be, he called out to Nancy and asked if she'd seen it. "Is that that metal stick with the lumps on it?" she responded. "Yes, that's it," said Eldred. "Okay, I was using it to break those rocks out the front..."

Nancy had a pile of rocks she was trying to find gems in or something, so the camshaft was lying covered in dirt in the pile. Eldred picked it up and handed it to the cam grinder, "A bit more lift and a bit more overlap and they'll never catch me in the trials!" he said.

#11 cooper997

cooper997
  • Member

  • 825 posts
  • Joined: December 08

Posted 16 June 2014 - 03:55

Andrew,

 

I've got your pm, but having dragged out the 3 magazines in question - Feb 07 Vintage Racecar (Norman Zephyr special is on the cover) and #35 & 36 Motor Racing Australia's - I need to work out a plan of attack. There's over 20 pages of scanning or photography, then emailling! You did mention you'd be happy to purchase a copy of Vintage Racecar. Can I suggest you first try contacting Patrick Quinn who wrote the feature - pquinn at vintageracecar.com. He may have a copy still in stock. That way I can concentrate on the MRA pages & cut 11 pages of scanning. 

 

The fuel pumps Ray eludes to in his story are listed as "Four US-made Toronto fuel pumps..."

 

The T Hawkes you mention will be Tom Hawkes - usually ran under the banner of 'Ecurie Corio' and a good friend of Bill Patterson. They were both from Geelong, hence Corio Bay or the nearby suburb.

 

The first Port Wakefield programme - 1/1/53 Grand Opening Speed Meeting has him listed in the #5 E DeB. Norman Maserati 6C 1494 and in the #53 Maughan Thiem Motor Co Ltd (Driver E. Norman) Singer 1500 1497. The same programme even has that distributors/dealer's advert with Eldred shown racing the car, having won a race at Sellick's Beach.

 

Stephen



#12 theotherharv

theotherharv
  • Member

  • 60 posts
  • Joined: March 14

Posted 16 June 2014 - 04:28

Thanks Stephen - appreciated. I tried Vintage RaceCar via their website, and they do have back issues. The only drama was the cost... with postage, I'd be up for around $30. I'll try Patrick by email and see what he can do. I do appreciate the work involved in the scanning - many thanks.

 

It's been interesting pulling this info together - lots of little pieces that come together. Kind of like collecting car parts.

 

I love the camshaft story too - I don't know what's funnier, Bill's musical talent or the fact that you can still do that to a grey motor camshaft today and reuse it :rotfl:.

 

Regards,

Andrew.



#13 cooper997

cooper997
  • Member

  • 825 posts
  • Joined: December 08

Posted 16 June 2014 - 04:45

Yes if it's coming from the US it will be exxy, but if Patrick sets up a stand at Australian Historic Race meetings he has sample copies for 2 or 3 bucks each. I may even have a spare myself, because I've been known to stand at said stand scratching my head going "have I got that one" to get home and find yes I have. In the process doubling up.

Anyway, here's the Singer advert.
image.jpg
upload image online

Stephen

#14 kaydee

kaydee
  • Member

  • 341 posts
  • Joined: January 07

Posted 16 June 2014 - 04:45

Another personal Eldred anecdote also comes to mind –

 

I had fitted a supercharger to my Morris Minor and to richen the mixture I had started to fiddle with reprofiling the mixture needle on the SU carburettor.  I did this by marking along the length of the needle at 1/8th inch increments and taking diameter measurements.  I then put the SU needle in a lathe and carefully polished down the appropriate sections with some fine wet and dry to arrive at the “required” diameter and achieve the optimum  air / fuel mixture.

Around the same time Eldred had recently completed the Zephyr Special which of course was also supercharged and fitted with a huge SU carburettor.  I figured that Eldred would have gone through a similar and probably more technical / sophisticated exercise in matching a suitable mixture needle to suit the supercharged Zephyr.

On asking Eldred how he dealt with this he reached into his pocket and pulled out an old tobacco tin, opened it up, and tipped out 3 or 4 of his “mixture needles”.  My jaw dropped as they looked like 3 inch brass nails varying anywhere from hexagonal to triangular in section with very heavy filing marks along the length.  On seeing my surprised look Eldred commented that I needn’t be so fussy as he merely filed another flat on the SU needle about wherever he thought the mixture needed to be enriched….

Regards,

Kevin



#15 theotherharv

theotherharv
  • Member

  • 60 posts
  • Joined: March 14

Posted 16 June 2014 - 20:10

Aaahh... more pieces of the Singer puzzle. The Production Car handicap referred to is Eldred's Sellick's win from the 21st of October 1952. The 2nd place win 10 days earlier is probably his also. Same photo as the advertisement in my draft notes, just cut differently (same mob advertising). There were three Singers in the 1939 AGP referred to (Seville, Pike and Beasley)... all DNF. The 1939 Australian Stock Car Championship was Brady's win at Lobethal.

 

The SU on the Zephyr is a monster... looks big enough to suck in a pigeon. Not one of Eldred's 3" SUs, but apparently an SU from a Maybach.

 

Regards,

Andrew



#16 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 53,966 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 19 June 2014 - 03:21

From the Maybach or from one of the Lago Talbots?

By the way, I'm pretty sure you'll find it's "Scot's College"...

#17 kaydee

kaydee
  • Member

  • 341 posts
  • Joined: January 07

Posted 19 June 2014 - 05:03

Another story re Eldred also comes to mind –

 

After lunch on a particularly dusty Port Wakefield day Eldred’s pit crew desperately tried to push start the Zephyr Special but all to no avail.  They then resorted to towing the Zephyr through the pits.  Finally, with a few pops and bangs it fired up – spitting out flaming pieces of rag out of the exhaust.

 

One of the helpers then admitted he had carefully tucked a piece of rag into the enormous SU before lunch to prevent the Port Wakefield dust from getting into the engine.  This of course was forgotten and upon towing was promptly chewed up by the supercharger and eventually spat out the exhaust…..

 

Regards,

 

Kevin



#18 theotherharv

theotherharv
  • Member

  • 60 posts
  • Joined: March 14

Posted 19 June 2014 - 07:15

According to Mike, the SU was from a Maybach. He thought a tank motor, though some digging shows the Maybach tanks motors weren't running SUs AFAIK.

 

Man, I've run rags through a leaf blower, but it must have taken some effort to get the rags through the Zephyr inlet and outlet valves.

 

Regards,

Andrew



#19 lyntonh

lyntonh
  • Member

  • 805 posts
  • Joined: April 10

Posted 19 June 2014 - 10:36

From the Maybach or from one of the Lago Talbots?

By the way, I'm pretty sure you'll find it's "Scot's College"...

Scotch it is...............http://www.scotch.sa.edu.au/



Advertisement

#20 theotherharv

theotherharv
  • Member

  • 60 posts
  • Joined: March 14

Posted 17 July 2014 - 00:49

Ladies and Gents,

 

My Eldred Norman anecdote is nearing completion, and is almost ready to pass to Mike, Bill and Bron to comment (I’ll also send you a copy for final comment Ray). The research has been interesting, and has unearthed some cool information (for example, I can now confirm that Eldred did indeed own the twin-Essex engined Bryant Special).

I do have some questions though – appreciate if anyone can shed some light:

  1. The images below are of the Double Eight, though I am not sure of the period (the vehicle appears in single seater format, so probably 1950 or later). The colour image shows the car chasing Sid Taylor (in a TS Special) and Syd Negus (in a Plymouth) off the straight at Caversham. Anyone know the owner in either case, or the circuit for the black-and-white photo?

http://i929.photobuc...zpscc2ed98c.png

http://i929.photobuc...zpsf9fbd8b2.png

  1. In the period of 1955-1957 Toby Carboni raced the Double Eight extensively in Western Australia. This period was between Harwood and Windsor’s ownerships of the behemoth. I’m assuming that Carboni owned the car, rather than driving for others. Is Toby the same person who went on to found Carbon Brakes with Greg Nolan?
  2. Does anyone know whether the V12 Lincoln Zephyr engine installed into the Double Eight (making it a Single Twelve J) was the 267ci, 292ci or 306ci engine?
  3. The Zephyr Special was temporarily exported from the country in 2000. Anyone know what event it was exported for?
  4. Does anyone have any information on the ex-Black and White Holden taxi Eldred apparently used in one of the Advertiser 24 Hour Trials?
  5. Does anyone have any information on the Ford Prefect, or Zephyr sedan used by Eldred in trials?
  6. It is suggested the Eldred competed in at least one Redex trial, retiring in a Holden. The closest I can come to finding a link between Eldred and Redex is the advertisement form Adelaide’s Advertiser (3rd of July 1954), which indicates Eldred used Redex but does not list him as a Redex trials entrant (it does however list “Possum” Kipling). Reviewing the entrants lists for the Redex trials (1953, 1954 and 1955), Ampol trials (1956, 1957, 1958, 1964) and Mobilgas trials (1956, 1958) show that a Victorian J.E. Norman entered the 1953 trial in a Morris Minor (DNF), though no other Norman entries. Can anyone shed any light on Eldred’s Redex entry?
  7. There has been some discussion over the Morris 8 van rolling chassis that Eldred turned into a racer, and later sold to Garrie Cooper in 1955. As I understand it, this was to become the first (of three) Cooper Butlers. Is the photo below the Morris-based vehicle, or one of the other two?

http://i929.photobuc...zpsf7dd8518.png

 

I’d also dearly love any photos that may be floating around of the following (I’ve drawn a blank):

  • The twin-Essex engined Bryant Special
  • Bill Norman’s front-engined supercharged Ford Cortina engined U2. The vehicle had previously been owned by Tony Simmons, who crashed and very badly hurt himself at Oran Park circuit (also interested in details of the supercharger on this one if anyone knows).
  • Mike Norman’s Triumph Dolomite Sprint (I currently own the supercharger).

Regards,

Andrew.



#21 HalP152

HalP152
  • New Member

  • 2 posts
  • Joined: August 11

Posted 17 July 2014 - 08:52

Good evening,

I am new to all this but can help with Trials information in relation to Eldred.

Eldred Norman competed on one occasion only in a round Australia trial

1956 Mobilgas Trial Car 54 Ford Anglia 100E, Navigator was racing identity David Harvey  Entry did not finish

The other Norman mentioned was Joesph Norman from Glenhuntly in Victoria. Navigator was Rod Jackson and their Morris Minor car 20 hit a cow at                                                                          

Mt Isa and retired from the 1953 REDeX Trial

Hal

 



#22 theotherharv

theotherharv
  • Member

  • 60 posts
  • Joined: March 14

Posted 17 July 2014 - 21:24

Thanks Hal - very much appreciated (and another piece of the jigsaw).

 

I can see where I made my mistake now - the online info I was drawing from lists all entrants for the Redex trials, but only the finishers for the later trials.

http://www.uniquecar...bilgas_1956.htm

 

Cheers,

Andrew



#23 275 GTB-4

275 GTB-4
  • Member

  • 6,939 posts
  • Joined: February 03

Posted 18 July 2014 - 09:51

Wonderful story, Harv. :up: What a pity we don't seem to have any 'charachters' like Eldred Norman any more.
 
I have been a fan of the Zephyr Special for many years. Graeme and Robyn snape are regulars at GEAR [Golden Era Auto Racing] meetings [Wakefield Park], although it has been a while since the Zephyr Special has made an appearance. For some stange reason, that beautiful roar of the Zephyr engine is 'offensive' to some people. :confused:
 
Cheers, Greg


2010 Nov Yass Motoring Heritage Show

P1030536_zpsc60b270e.jpg

P1030535_zps1a80e3bf.jpg

P1030534_zps955519de.jpg

#24 theotherharv

theotherharv
  • Member

  • 60 posts
  • Joined: March 14

Posted 18 July 2014 - 20:58

Beautiful - thanks Greg!

 

Cheers,

Andrew



#25 GMACKIE

GMACKIE
  • Member

  • 1,751 posts
  • Joined: January 11

Posted 18 July 2014 - 23:18

Andrew, I know it's not me you are referring to, ["Beautiful"].

 

It's Mick you need to thank for the photos.  ;)



#26 275 GTB-4

275 GTB-4
  • Member

  • 6,939 posts
  • Joined: February 03

Posted 18 July 2014 - 23:46

Beautiful - thanks Greg!
 
Cheers,
Andrew


What the Herbie clone? some would say beautiful...others? well...



#27 David Shaw

David Shaw
  • Member

  • 1,724 posts
  • Joined: August 02

Posted 23 July 2014 - 00:19

Aaahh... more pieces of the Singer puzzle. The Production Car handicap referred to is Eldred's Sellick's win from the 21st of October 1952. The 2nd place win 10 days earlier is probably his also. Same photo as the advertisement in my draft notes, just cut differently (same mob advertising). There were three Singers in the 1939 AGP referred to (Seville, Pike and Beasley)... all DNF. The 1939 Australian Stock Car Championship was Brady's win at Lobethal.

 

The SU on the Zephyr is a monster... looks big enough to suck in a pigeon. Not one of Eldred's 3" SUs, but apparently an SU from a Maybach.

 

Regards,

Andrew

The Production Car handicap win by Eldred was on 11th of October 1952, as shown here in the article "Main car race goes to woman "

http://trove.nla.gov...ts=l-decade=195|||l-year=1952

 

October 11 was a Saturday, October 21 was a Tuesday and unlikely to be a day of racing.



#28 john medley

john medley
  • Member

  • 1,167 posts
  • Joined: November 02

Posted 23 July 2014 - 00:44

Dennis Harrison's "With Casual Efficiency" has two pics of the Bryant Special (aka The Bungaree Bastard), only one of those pics being correct



#29 theotherharv

theotherharv
  • Member

  • 60 posts
  • Joined: March 14

Posted 23 July 2014 - 03:45

Thankyou gentlemen.

 

Does anyone have a copy of "With Casual Efficiency" that they would be willing to scan the Bryant Special picture from for me please?

 

Regards,

Andrew



#30 ken devine

ken devine
  • Member

  • 747 posts
  • Joined: August 06

Posted 23 July 2014 - 04:25

Tobi Carboni was Syd Anderson's head mechanic.I am not sure if he bought the car from Syd or just drove it for him.Tobi drove the car several times with some success,but the car was becoming unreliable.To my recollection the car didn't run in 1957 and as mentioned it was sold to Jim Harwood.



#31 theotherharv

theotherharv
  • Member

  • 60 posts
  • Joined: March 14

Posted 23 July 2014 - 05:39

Thanks Ken.

 

Any idea if that is the same Tobi Carboni of Carbon Brakes fame? According to legend, that Carboni is still living in WA, and would be worth hunting down.

 

Cheers,

Andrew



#32 cooper997

cooper997
  • Member

  • 825 posts
  • Joined: December 08

Posted 23 July 2014 - 08:07

The Production Car handicap win by Eldred was on 11th of October 1952, as shown here in the article "Main car race goes to woman "
http://trove.nla.gov...330?searchTerm="sellick's%20beach"&searchLimits=l-decade=195|||l-year=1952
 
October 11 was a Saturday, October 21 was a Tuesday and unlikely to be a day of racing.

And to add to the conflicting date information the November 52 AMS states October 25 at the top of the event report. But turning the page of that issue reveals the SCCSA also running Port Wakefield Speed Trials on the Monday, October 13 of that South Australian long weekend. Eldred ran the Maserati.

In the September issue's coming events info October 11 is the noted date for Sellick's Beach. But the 13th is down as a Collingrove Hillclimb. As far as I'm aware that one was held over until November 29.

Stephen

#33 theotherharv

theotherharv
  • Member

  • 60 posts
  • Joined: March 14

Posted 26 July 2014 - 20:55

Dennis Harrison's "With Casual Efficiency" has two pics of the Bryant Special (aka The Bungaree Bastard), only one of those pics being correct

John,

 

I managed to land a copy of "With Casual Efficiency", and it's in the mail on it's way to me. I'll scan in the photo of the Bryant Special (love it's other name :)). How do I tell which photo is the correct one please?

 

Cheers,

Andrew



#34 john medley

john medley
  • Member

  • 1,167 posts
  • Joined: November 02

Posted 26 July 2014 - 23:34

Hi Andrew

                  Kevin Shearer and I felt we were alone in attempting to find out more about the Bryant Special, built in Clare, named after the man who built it, and used by Peter Hawker ( who died young from cancer) to hold the original 1935 lap record at Buckland Park (beach) circuit, as well as attempting state speed records at around 110 mph on that same beach. Twin Essex engines powered the car

 

                  According to Kevin Shearer, Dennis Harrison came later on the scene, and didn't necessarily know all that he needed to  write "With Casual Efficiency"  I queried the mismatched pictures and we sorted out that the large vintage car towering above the small cars WAS NOT the Bungaree Bastard, rather the narrower agricultural looking offset single seater was.

 

                 You may find more if you research the history of the Hawker family of Clare

 

                                                                                                                                           JM



#35 theotherharv

theotherharv
  • Member

  • 60 posts
  • Joined: March 14

Posted 27 July 2014 - 01:29

Thanks John - appreciated.

 

Regards,

Andrew



#36 john medley

john medley
  • Member

  • 1,167 posts
  • Joined: November 02

Posted 27 July 2014 - 02:00

"Adelaide Advertiser" 28/01/1935 has a photo of the Bryant Special



#37 theotherharv

theotherharv
  • Member

  • 60 posts
  • Joined: March 14

Posted 27 July 2014 - 03:56

You sure John? I checked all 16 pages, and the closest I could get were a drawing of a Dodge (being sold by Waymouth Motors) on page 12, a sketch for car tyres on teh same page and a cool (but unrelated) advertisement for Ethyl fuel.

 

Regards,

Andrew



#38 john medley

john medley
  • Member

  • 1,167 posts
  • Joined: November 02

Posted 27 July 2014 - 21:44

I cant say I am absolutely certain, but that is the date I have hand written on my photocopy of the pic



#39 theotherharv

theotherharv
  • Member

  • 60 posts
  • Joined: March 14

Posted 27 July 2014 - 23:22

Found it!

 

The Advertiser (Adelaide), 29th January 1935 page 20:

BryantSpecial_zps8029bed8.png

 

Cheers,

Andrew



Advertisement

#40 theotherharv

theotherharv
  • Member

  • 60 posts
  • Joined: March 14

Posted 30 July 2014 - 02:42

Another loose end to tie-up please. The photo below I have lifted from the internet (http://www.pbase.com...image/112422226):

 

Caversham_zpsc6e49a71.png

 

The photo is labelled as Narrogin in 1952, and is presumably the Great Southern Flying 50 meeting. Anderson can be seen in the #2 Double Eight to the left of the photo. However, if it is that meeting, then Eldred’s Maserati appears absent. Using Terry Walker's excellent race results data, the driver/car lineup appears closer to Caversham in 1953. Here is where my ignorance lets me down - does the roadway look like Caversham, or Narrogin?

 

Regards,

Andrew



#41 275 GTB-4

275 GTB-4
  • Member

  • 6,939 posts
  • Joined: February 03

Posted 30 July 2014 - 03:44

Another loose end to tie-up please. The photo below I have lifted from the internet (http://www.pbase.com...image/112422226 ):

The photo is labelled as Narrogin in 1952, and is presumably the Great Southern Flying 50 meeting. Anderson can be seen in the #2 Double Eight to the left of the photo. However, if it is that meeting, then Eldred’s Maserati appears absent. Using Terry Walker's excellent race results data, the driver/car lineup appears closer to Caversham in 1953. Here is where my ignorance lets me down - does the roadway look like Caversham, or Narrogin?
 
Regards,
Andrew


Looks like Goomalling from the other pictures I have seen...

Edited by 275 GTB-4, 30 July 2014 - 03:58.


#42 ken devine

ken devine
  • Member

  • 747 posts
  • Joined: August 06

Posted 31 July 2014 - 05:52

Sorry i haven't kept up with this thread, yes Tobi Carboni was Carbon Brakes and is alive and well. The photo as the caption reads is Narrogin 1952

You certainly went to a lot of trouble finding that photo,it along with other photos appeared on TNF sometime ago.


Edited by ken devine, 31 July 2014 - 05:58.


#43 theotherharv

theotherharv
  • Member

  • 60 posts
  • Joined: March 14

Posted 31 July 2014 - 20:50

Thanks Ken - appreciated.

 

I managed to speak to Tobi early last week - very nice gentleman. I've got some more conversation to have with him... should help tighten up the Double Eight part of my anecdote. As a tease, Carboni also routinely drove the Double Eight from work to home (albeit in Perth rather than Adelaide).

 

Also had a good chat with Graeme Snape - another top bloke.

 

Still got some gaps on Eldred's ex-taxi Holden, the zephyr sedan, European tour falcon and Trials Anglia, but getting there slowly.

 

Regards,

Andrew



#44 john medley

john medley
  • Member

  • 1,167 posts
  • Joined: November 02

Posted 18 August 2014 - 00:36

The remarkable Brian Lear found an Adelaide 'Tizer item 13/04/1937 Page 13 which says that Eldred Norman would drive the Bryant Special at Buckland Park 26/04/1937 (but high tides prevented racing after several motorcycle events)



#45 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 53,966 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 18 August 2014 - 07:42

Wasn't there also a Zephyr convertible?

I thought that was the car to which the heat exchanger was fitted to warm up the baked beans...

#46 kaydee

kaydee
  • Member

  • 341 posts
  • Joined: January 07

Posted 19 August 2014 - 06:28

Ray, you are correct  - Eldred certainly did have a Zephyr convertible.

I distinctly remember it as it had the first power operated hood that I had seen.  I reckon the year was around 1954.

I'm not sure if this car was a "baked bean warmer" -  but the Zephyr special certainly was!

Also, the car that Eldred drove in Russia had a hot water tank attached to the exhaust system so that he could stop by the side of the road for a "cuppa".

 

 Kevin



#47 theotherharv

theotherharv
  • Member

  • 60 posts
  • Joined: March 14

Posted 30 August 2014 - 00:45

I've almost got the Eldred Norman anecdote complete, and am hoping to finish it this week and post. There has been some really good information and corrections made of late, with thanks to quite a few from the forum.

 

I do have two last questions though to tie-up the Bryant Special (I still like the name Bungaree Bastard). I have this photo as posted above from the Advertiser:

BryantSpecial_zps8029bed8.png

 

John indicates above that With Casual Efficiency has two photos of the Bryant Special, with one mislabelled. Looking through the book, I can find this one on Page 12:

WithCasualEfficiencyPage12BryantSpecialm

 

The books text would indicate that the vehicle labelled as 5 to be the Bryant Special. I agree with John - it looks nothing like the Advertiser photo above. John indicates that the narrower, offset single seater is the one. I assume this is vehicle 3 or 4? The remainder of the vehicles have headlights, unlike the Advertiser photo. The Advertiser photo has solid wheels though, which 3 and 4 do not.

 

As for the second photo in With Casual Efficiency, I cannot find it. Can anyone point me to the right page?

 

Finally, a last question on Eldred's supercharged Triumph TR2. An online recollection from Bill Norman indicates that once Eldred was done with the Triumph, that it was raced briefly by Eldred’s good friend Andy Brown then disappeared. An image from With Casual Efficiency, shows Brown in a supercharged Triumph TR2 in the fourth row of the starting grid of the third qualifying heat of the Australian Grand Prix at Port Wakefield in 1955. It is likely that this is Eldred’s vehicle, as Eldred had turned his attention to the Zephyr (Eclipse) and Brown had previsouly been racing a supercharged MG TC. Terry Walker's results show that Brown was not successful in the qualifying rounds, and did not proceed to the main Grand Prix event. A post from Ray on this forum, based on The Official 50-Race History of the Australian GP and Blanden's AGP book, indicates Brown as a DNS. Can anyone confirm (or otherwise) that this was Eldred's Triumph? I can find no other results for Andy and a TR2 despite some searching.

 

Regards,

Andrew


Edited by theotherharv, 30 August 2014 - 20:47.


#48 john medley

john medley
  • Member

  • 1,167 posts
  • Joined: November 02

Posted 01 September 2014 - 21:57

Put it down to a vagrant memory: perhaps the TWO pics of the Bryant Special you show above were what I recall. The first later appeared in a book by one of the Brookes brothers and Ivan Hoffman about South Australian competition cars, the second only and incorrectly captioned in "With Casual Efficiency". My apologies for the confusion.

 

Brian Lear's discovery of the 1937 mention of Eldred/ Bryant is important because it puts the two firmly together and completes  a final important link in the puzzle ie that the Bryant Special DID directly influence Eldred's thinking-- because he apparently owned it, not long before Peter Hawker died. Location of  the street photo of the (apparently) single engined version of an early iteration of the Double V8 is also important.

 

I had a recent discussion with Jim Scammell who has owned an Essex Special for decades. This and other cars inherited some Bryant Special bits and certainly some of its thinking. Keith Roberts runs the formerly Essex-engine Mactenberg/ Macdonberg. Both can add to your knowledge. Jim chairs the Vintage Collingrove Committee, Keith calls Eddington (Vic) home 



#49 theotherharv

theotherharv
  • Member

  • 60 posts
  • Joined: March 14

Posted 02 September 2014 - 04:31

Thanks John.

 

An added bit of info that I was keeping secret for the final version of the anecdote - I found another Advertiser article.

 

From the Advertiser on the 13th of April 1937 under the banner “SPEED METING AT BUCKLAND PARK”:

“Anzac Holiday Events

Entries for the Sporting Car Club events at the Anzac Day holiday (April 26) speed meeting arranged by the Southern Cross Motor Cycle Club at Buckland Park will close next Tuesday with the club secretary (Mr. G. L. Morris), or at the club's office in T. and G. Building. There will be two events, a six-mile handicap and a 20-mile handicap. Entrance fee for each race will be 2/6, and all competitors must hold A.A.A. licences. Minimum prizemoney will be: Six-mile, £1 and 10/; 20-mile. £2, 25/. and 15/. It is expected that the Miller car which was imported for the Grand Prix will be raced by its owner. Mr. Eric Morgan, and that the double-engined Essex car, previously owned by Mr. Peter Hawker, will be raced by Mr Eldred Norman. This car holds the fastest lap time ever registered at Buck- land Park. It averaged 71 m.p.h.. at the meeting conducted by the Sporting Car Club in January, 1935.

A post-meeting report from the Advertiser on the 27th of April indicates that tides cut the event short, and reports only results for motorcycle racing.

 

This goes nicely with Brian's find, the text of which is below:

By 1937 the Bryant Special was in Eldred’s hands. As reported in the Advertiser on the 8th of March 1937 under the banner “SPEED RACING AT BUCKLAND PARK”:

“Interesting motor cycle and motor car racing was presented by prominent speedmen at Port Gawler beach. Buckland Park, on Saturday afternoon. The non-appearance of E. Normans 'Bryant Special' robbed the car events of much interest. He had trouble with the car on the way to the beach.”

 

Regards,

Andrew



#50 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 53,966 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 02 September 2014 - 07:40

All of this is very interesting stuff...

Nailing down more information about the Essex especially.

As for Andy Brown's entry in the AGP at Port Wakefield, could it possibly be that Eldred had him enter that car in case he had problems with the Zephyr and needed a backup vehicle?

The Falcon Eldred and Nancy drove 'through Russia' actually traversed 17 countries as I recall. I feel sure that Bronnie told me she would finish her mother's book about that journey.