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The Australian constructors


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#1 Falcadore

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Posted 26 April 2003 - 11:21

Birranna, Cheetah, Elfin, Jabiru, K&A, Matich, Richards, Spectrum, TAFE/Shrike, why did they disappear....

Just which of them knew what they were doing? Who were dreamers? Who just built for themselves and sold off when they needed a new one......

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#2 Paul Newby

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Posted 26 April 2003 - 15:30

Wow! Your expecting a 1000 word response from Ray aren't you :lol: :lol:

Working maily from memory here, and I've got to say right off I don't know anything about Jabiru.

As for the others I would think that only Ian Richards built a car for himself and his 201 model won the 1983 F2 C'ship so it was a professional effort.

K & A (Harry Aust and Dale Koennecke) from SA were responsible for the awesome Veskanda that John Bowe used to win the 1986 Aust Sportcars C'ship and set outright lap records which stood for years. K & A also worked fairly closely with Elfin and built Tony Edmondson's Alfetta GT sports sedan amongst others.

Birrana was another SA firm owned by Malcolm Ramsay which made top quality monocoque F2 and F3 cars designed by Tony Alcock (who was later killed in Graham Hill's plane crash.) Those cars wre too expensive to make and F2 was then a series in decline.

Cheetahs were made by Brian Stead and enjoyed plenty of success in the VW Golf F2 era.

I don't think that Elfin or Matich need much discussion this in this forum, many of their cars were world class, though I don't know why Matich stopped making cars. Ask Ray.

The TAFE/Shrike was an interesting SA project making aluminium Formula Brabham / Holden cars (although I don't know how many. Competitive with the similar Ralts but not the latter carbon fibre Reynards.

I can't recall who the guy is who makes the Spectrums, but their 06 won a Aust Formula Ford C'ship with Adam Macrow (whatever happened to him?) in 1998. I think they're still making bespoke F Fords, although that may change if F Ford becomes a one make series like everything else.

I think that is the point - single seater categories in Aust are no more than nursery categories for our touring car / production car series that predominate. To my knowledge no one here has ever designed a carbon fibre car, and why would you when year old F3 (and in the past F3000) cars are cheap and come with comprehensive spares packages. Only F Ford is non carbon fibre and its possible to build a car here, but then Van Diemen go to the bother of producing a car just for us which makes it hard for Spectrum.

But anyway Mark, you know all this, I'm sure! You're just stimulating discussion aren't you.;)

#3 Falcadore

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Posted 26 April 2003 - 16:24

Maybe. :)

#4 Falcadore

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Posted 26 April 2003 - 16:28

Mike Borland builds the Spectrums, and Spectre Formula Vee's too. On that subject, Jabiru is a FVee.

#5 Allen Brown

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Posted 26 April 2003 - 21:59

Matich retired, so that's why he stopped building cars.

Can I add a few more to the list:

Adams: the GA1 was a one-off F5000 built by Graeme 'Lugsy' Adams. According to Ray, 'it was largely made up of Lola bits, one is tempted to think 'lifed' Lola bits, and had a unique tub etc. It achieved very little ...'. Adams wrecked it testing.

Mildren/Britton: the first Mildren was built by Britton and based on Brabham's BT23C spaceframe F2 car.

Mildren/Bailey: the second Mildren was a monocoque car designed by Len Baileyand built by Alan Mann.

Mildren/Palliser/Franklen: the third Mildren was originally Frank Gardner's Ford-powered 'Franklen' F5000 project taken ober by Palliser and later sold to Mildren for the 1971 Tasman season.

Rennmax: Britton's 1600cc and F2 cars.

Bowin: I won't steal Ray's thunder.

Cicada: several 2.5-litre and F5000 one-offs appeared from the Fraser family using this name.

Gardos: a sports car and a F5000 car already discussed at leenth on TNF.

Jane: see Bowin.

Polley: Ed Polley's baffling F5000 car - was it a Lola T332?

Allen

#6 dmj

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Posted 26 April 2003 - 23:23

In the road cars area, I never understood why Bolwell didn't make it. Nagari looked great and apparently it had pace to match the looks. Probably another victim of fuel crisis/more strict safety laws of early Seventies...

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#7 Bernd

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Posted 27 April 2003 - 01:07

Elfin is still going strong building 'Seven' style Clubmans. They've recently been very helpful to me regarding my website.

Did you forget Lynx?

#8 eldougo

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Posted 27 April 2003 - 02:03

:)
Quote ( dmj )

Probably another victim of fuel crisis/more strict safety laws of early Seventies.

N ow that is the truth i know from personal experience that car manfactures in this country
have been driven to the wall ,buy rules makers we have out here an their narrow minded
goverment officials who seem to think that if we can make cars we must have a bottomless pit
of money an be able to afford time an lots of money into / crash testing/ an emission controls. an then getting all the various State bodies to agree on little things like the position of lights /height from the ground/ it took 2 years to get that from them, an lots of little things that make it very very impractical to produce cars to a very small market that we have out here. NO WONDER they give up :mad:

_______________________________

To Allen Brown .... that is the 2nd time you have had a go at the way the GA-1 obtained it parts
an to put the record STRAIGHT they where all bought for, an some given to him from his friends
in the f/5000 family we had out here in oz mostly because he was a guy who wanted to give it a GO unlike some people who sit on the fence an DO NOTHING with there life. :up:

#9 Falcadore

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Posted 27 April 2003 - 09:10

Originally posted by Bernd
Elfin is still going strong building 'Seven' style Clubmans. They've recently been very helpful to me regarding my website.

Did you forget Lynx?


It was hardly meant to be a comprehensive list, just a starting point for a discussion on what was once a burgeoning, but now all but dead industry.

We should probably also include the Warnambool based Cool and Bundaberg/Brisbane based Cheetah (not related to Brian Shead's Cheetah) who make Sprintcar chassis. Good to see some Australian cars running in Sprinters - five Oz built cars running in Briz in Queensland cars 5, 8, 14, 28 & 32.

#10 Bondy

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Posted 27 April 2003 - 10:55

I always loved the Richards 201, i think there was 3 built in the end, a 201, a 201B and a 201C, drivers included Richards, Steve Noble, Michael Lock and Craig Sparks, im pretty sure Sparks took over the 201 of Steve Noble. As for one offs, i always like the HTG that Hugh Gartley built for ANF2 and the PBS that Peter Beehag built, went pretty good as i recall, not that it raced much. There was also the Liston Fisher group that produced a few Clubmans, F2's, a Formula Pacific which i think later became a Formula Holden.

The Kaditcha's were around a fair old while, Barry Lock building some very nice and effective cars, namely the Kaditcha line of ANF2 cars which Bob Power was very effective in, the car he built for Romano was pretty awesome as well as the other sporties, i always thought the SR781 Sportie that Jeff Harris raced was a good looking gadget, the original owners name escapes me, he was a Queenslander who ran a Rennamx BMW before buying the Kadiitcha.

Still on sports cars, the South Aussie Norax's were pretty neat, not highly successful though, i believe 3 were built by Ian Davis???? who also built the IDS. And then there were the ASP's cant remember who built this, i can see i better do some homework, lol. They mainly built Clubman type cars but did produce a F3 come F2 , i think it was a 330????. Chris Ahyee Sirch's were always a neat device, first the little Renault Sportie in the mid 80's then some neat F2's in the 90s. Ok my memory is dead now, more later, lol

#11 Bruce Moxon

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Posted 27 April 2003 - 11:25

Mako - Frank Kleinig's Formula Vees. Then there's Guy Buckingham's Notas - lots of single seaters and the unique Fang.

There were also the Milano GTs of the sixties - glass-bodied coupes with MG running gear early on and Holden sixes later.



Bruce Moxon

#12 Bondy

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Posted 27 April 2003 - 11:40

Bruce you have inspired my Memory, the Concept Formula Vee of Greg McCombie, i never actually saw it close up, but it looked very much like a scaled down F1 car of the early 80s, even had full length sidepods. Also on Vee's i remember Derek Fry's Nimbus brand, mainly cos my brother was the ummmmm Proud???? owner of one many, many years ago. A guy up the road from me builds a neat Vee, hes built about 3 from memory, nice little car.

#13 Bondy

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Posted 27 April 2003 - 11:45

Allen, just on the Polley, wasnt he American????? it was a Lola T332 copy as i recall (i asked my bro, he went to each round of the series in 77) Im sure i have pictures of it somewher, i will see if i can locate them for you.

Curt

And on the Bolwell, is that the John Gourlay car???? if it is, it still kinda races in spirit today in the shape of a Black saab sports sedan.

#14 Catalina Park

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Posted 27 April 2003 - 11:54

Originally posted by Bondy
Bruce you have inspired my Memory, the Concept Formula Vee of Greg McCombie, i never actually saw it close up, but it looked very much like a scaled down F1 car of the early 80s, even had full length sidepods. Also on Vee's i remember Derek Fry's Nimbus brand, mainly cos my brother was the ummmmm Proud???? owner of one many, many years ago. A guy up the road from me builds a neat Vee, hes built about 3 from memory, nice little car.

The Concept F Vee was an interesting car with the driver sitting so far up the front with his knees apart and a big nothing between the seat and the engine (about 1 foot of nothing) and the ground effect sidepods! Very different!

#15 cm50

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Posted 27 April 2003 - 13:05

Does anyone remember the Brolga?


Getting back to the original question "Why did they disapear".

While I dont know any of the people invoved, from experience I would say that in most cases it was a simple case of economics and I imagine the market for an Australian built car today is the worst it has ever been, just ask Mike Borland.

Really, the absolute minimum to break even is about 6 cars with 10 being worthwhile. With Australia so tied to V8 racing and Ford not making a decision on the future of FF (it must have been 3 years ago that Ford said it was going to go one make) what other class is there that would make a rational commercial case. A great pity for our budding engineers and the industry as a whole.

#16 Allen Brown

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Posted 27 April 2003 - 13:21

Originally posted by Bondy
Allen, just on the Polley, wasnt he American????? it was a Lola T332 copy as i recall (i asked my bro, he went to each round of the series in 77) Im sure i have pictures of it somewher, i will see if i can locate them for you.

Curt

Curt

Could be. He raced a Lola T332 in the US a couple of times in 1976 and that could be the same car as the 'Polley EP1'. It is also said that he built two replica T330/332 tubs to rebuild other cars in Australia.

Pictures of the Polley would be great!

Thanks

Allen

#17 Allen Brown

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Posted 27 April 2003 - 14:32

Originally posted by eldougo
To Allen Brown .... that is the 2nd time you have had a go at the way the GA-1 obtained it parts
an to put the record STRAIGHT they where all bought for, an some given to him from his friends
in the f/5000 family we had out here in oz mostly because he was a guy who wanted to give it a GO unlike some people who sit on the fence an DO NOTHING with there life. :up:

Hi eldougo

I had quoted directly from an old Ray Bell post on this car and I did not see the quote as "having a go" at the way Adams acquired his Lola bits. I think all Ray is saying was that the car used Lola components rather than manufacturing unique components. I am still trying to find out more about the car - can you help?

Allen

#18 Paul Newby

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Posted 28 April 2003 - 03:24

One constructor which hasn't been mentioned is Elwyn who constructed Formula Fords in the '70's and '80's. My old boss Don Grieg brought an Elwyn (003?) in about '81 and ran it for years, infact he still has the Elwyn and it now has an historic logbook. Its still in pieces though and requires a rebuild. Don occasionally drops in to see Elwyn Bickley at his workshop in (I think) Mittagong.

As for the Brolga, I recall it made the cover of Sports Car World in 1968. Having seen a live brolga (a bird from the wetlands of far north Queensland) in captivity, never has a more inappropriate creature been used to name a sports car. :lol:

#19 john medley

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Posted 28 April 2003 - 04:47

Several of the makes mentioned above would see themselves as still in business, despite suggestions to the contrary. Certainly Chris Buckingham ( son of Nota founder Guy whose first Australian Nota can be seen as Col James' single seat Barclay MG of 1955-56) still calls himself Nota Products and still sells a car or two, so continuing nearly 50 years of Australian racing/sporting car construction.
And Elwyn Bickley is likely to do likewise. I was standing with him 2 years ago at Wakefield Park when one of his Elwyn cars crashed in front of us. Bystanders expressed real concern, particularly when Elwyn expressed great joy : " keeps me going in the repair business" was his reply
Brian Rawlings ( Bulant) went out of business because he worked out after many years and many cars that he'd been seriously undercharging... but again, Bulant Engineering lasted on less the a shoestring for more than 20 years.
There were some nice Asps too, built by Ray Lewis in South Australia if only briefly.
Ditto Gosford's John Wright who built an Avanti or two and a JWS or two,is currently restoring the Milano he built and raced when he was an apprentice, but spends much of his time these days keeping others' cars going including Ray Hanger's Rennmax and my Nota. AND he's worked recently on other Australian cars like Elfin, Birrana, Hooper, Sam Johnson's creations....-- keeping them all going long after they apparently went out of business.

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#20 Bruce Moxon

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Posted 28 April 2003 - 11:14

Thank God you're here John, a real expert!

Greg McCombie's (with Steve Cramp) Concept Vees were good bits of kit. They used a modified Rennmax chassis design (Bob Brittain even lent them his jig) and had some success.

I forgot Jason and David Cutt's Jacers, very neat Vees with some inspiration from the USA's "zero roll" cars. Jason is now only building Formula First cars - with the bigger 1600 engine and disc brakes.

Bruce Moxon

#21 Paul Newby

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Posted 28 April 2003 - 12:47

This is slightly OT but here goes anyway. :)

At the end of 1991 a friend and I went to look at a 1975 Piper yellow Alfetta 1.8 sedan (on Momo wheels.) It was advertised by a guy called Anderson who raced Mazda RX3s and lived in Middle Dural (Sydney). My friend was interested in the Alfetta but the guy decided not to sell so that was that.

About a year later I noticed the car parked in Hornsby near Chevron Publishing (publisher of The Great Race, MRA etc) and I left a note under the windscreen (silly me :smoking: ) I got a phone call from the owner Steve Normoyle, editor at Chevron who had brought it from his mate Anderson, and, you guessed it, he was interested in selling it as he was buying a house! My friend and I test drove it and it dindn't feel quite as good as we remembered so it went no further. Not long after that I brought a similar red Alfetta. At the time I was working for Stephen Knox at Motor Books Cremorne and bumped into Normoyle one day. I told him I had brought another Alfa and he asked why I had never called back! My memory gets s little foggy from here (as I saw the yellow Alfetta a used car dealership in Thornleigh) but I think Normoyle sold it to a dealer who sold it to a young kid who got hit up the back the day after he brought it. It then sat forlornly at a service station when an Alfa club member (who races a green Alfetta sedan) brought it, fixed it up, tweaked the suspension and even sprinted it. 10 years later his son still uses it. :)

What's the connection? Well Normoyle was mates with Anderson (the previous Alfetta owner) who lived next door to Chris Buckingham of Nota fame in Middle Dural (Sydney.) Normoyle wrote a story on the history of Nota in Australian Sports Driver No.7 in 1990 which I have just re-read.

Its interesting to note that, until only recently, the Nota sign was still sitting outside Buckingham's driveway off Old Northern Road. I used to see his Nota F1(?) the Toyota V6 engined Fang driving around the area as well.

#22 Falcadore

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Posted 28 April 2003 - 12:52

Originally posted by Catalina Park

The Concept F Vee was an interesting car with the driver sitting so far up the front with his knees apart and a big nothing between the seat and the engine (about 1 foot of nothing) and the ground effect sidepods! Very different!


The Concept is still running here in Queensland. Although I believe it has been modified with a more conventional seating position.

The Nota Fang is also in Queensland and is also seeing regular action. Until recently it lived a few streets from me and I never knew.

#23 Ray Bell

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Posted 29 April 2003 - 07:42

Mention of Stephen Knox brings to mind Prad... and the car Steve Normoyle had was the Nota Fang, definitely not intended as a racer.

I don't think Birranas went out of business because of price or loss of formula (well, maybe a little of the latter...) but mainly because when Malcolm and Tony went to England with the Bob & Marj Brown car (Bob Muir driving) it led to Tony staying and going on to work for Hill... hence no more leading designer.

Later, of course, Malcolm resurrected the name as it suited him. His choice... Birrana does a lot of prototyping and exclusively difficult manufacturing of mining equipment these days. Occasionally Mal decides to go racing. Nice way to be...

Lynx died as a car because Lynx as a business was more important.

Nota's days were numbered when Guy went back to England and left his son with the business of making the cars continue.

Rawlo and the Bulants also suffered as Brian had a schizophrenic side and periodically had to disappear for rehabilitation. When he was offered money for his business he sold out to Rob Rowe.

Nobody has mentioned Centaur, the lovely devices for Clubman and sports car racing that emerged from Queensland. Nor the similar but later cars built by Ian Peters called Auscams.

Then there was the Hustler name, from the pen of Tony Simmons, which gave way to the Seca (a kind of a breakdown of SC, for Sports Car). There were two Hustler SC1 Clubmans and a Seca 3, while in between came the Formula Ford. Emerging from all of that, which kind of grew out of importing U2s anyway, is the Simmons Wheels business.

The Brolga was another that wasn't built as a race car, by the way. Mawers were, built by Dave Mawer with much help from Elwyn Bickley in the FF project, but the Clubmans were Dave's own doing (I think...). Another Clubman was the SHW (?) of which six were built by sedan racer Barry Sharp, while Jeoff Turner and Alan Henry had a run of Argus Clubmans and the Argit came from Harry Lefoe.

Yet another Clubman was the Robin, built by Robin Medcalf in Newcastle, initially as a hillclimber.

Bowin... somebody mentioned Bowin?

John Joyce returned to Australia from a stint with Lotus and built a range of cars... I have the type numbers somewhere, but they intermingled touring car projects with real racing cars. What I can bring to mind at the moment are: P2... monocoque F2 car. P4... FF. P6f... FF car, P6... F2 car, P8... F2 and F5000 monocoques. P6 and P8 all had rising rate suspensions.

#24 eldougo

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Posted 29 April 2003 - 09:10

:)
( quote) Allen Brown

Adams: the GA1 was a one-off F5000 built by Graeme 'Lugsy' Adams. According to Ray, 'it was largely made up of Lola bits, one is tempted to think 'lifed' Lola bits, and had a unique tub etc. It achieved very little ...'. Adams wrecked it testing.
____________________________

Adams GA-1 .A self built LOLA based car began 1976 1st race Surfers Paradise
raced 4 times then crashed in practise for a Goldstar round.1978 Oran Park.
The tub was made buy Graeme Adams based on a T332 at his workshop in Silverwater
in Sydney using parts from W .Brown --- Bruce Allison--- Max Stewart,s LOLA,s that where
all involved in accidents (wrecks) .An new parts bought from GlenAbbey the lola Agent
here in Australia at that time.It had a Peter Molloy prepared Chev v8 an following the shunt
it was stored at his home for nearly 20 years ,before it was acquired by Graham Bristol an
old employee of Mr Adams. and is currently restoring it in the sydney area.

___________________________________ :up:

#25 Bruce Moxon

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Posted 29 April 2003 - 09:42

Oops. Forgot another Formula Vee.

Anyone else remember the Porter? So bad only one ever made it to a race track, and it was sent home by the scrutineers. A total of six were sold.

The chassis jig was a pair of saw horses. The body mould was a hole in Jack Porter's backyard lined with concrete. The fibreglass bodies actually had indentations from the bits of blue metal in the concrete. The steering wheel was oxy-cut from a piece of steel plate, then trimmed with split garden hose.

Apart from that, it was terrible.


Bruce Moxon

#26 Allen Brown

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Posted 29 April 2003 - 11:49

Originally posted by eldougo
:)
( quote) Allen Brown

Adams: the GA1 was a one-off F5000 built by Graeme 'Lugsy' Adams. According to Ray, 'it was largely made up of Lola bits, one is tempted to think 'lifed' Lola bits, and had a unique tub etc. It achieved very little ...'. Adams wrecked it testing.
____________________________

Adams GA-1 .A self built LOLA based car began 1976 1st race Surfers Paradise
raced 4 times then crashed in practise for a Goldstar round.1978 Oran Park.
The tub was made buy Graeme Adams based on a T332 at his workshop in Silverwater
in Sydney using parts from W .Brown --- Bruce Allison--- Max Stewart,s LOLA,s that where
all involved in accidents (wrecks) .An new parts bought from GlenAbbey the lola Agent
here in Australia at that time.It had a Peter Molloy prepared Chev v8 an following the shunt
it was stored at his home for nearly 20 years ,before it was acquired by Graham Bristol an
old employee of Mr Adams. and is currently restoring it in the sydney area.

___________________________________ :up:

Hi eldougo

That's perfect! Thanks very much :up: :up:

Do you know anyone who would have pictures of the car?

Allen

#27 Ray Bell

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Posted 29 April 2003 - 20:28

Racing Car News ran a story with pictures...

Back to listing the defunct makers of Australian cars... an interesting one, though not a name, was the series production line set up by Eldred Norman some time around 1949 or so.

It started with one of Eldred's meetings with Steve Tillett for lunch just around the corner from Norman's workshop in Adelaide. It seems that Eldred often kept Steve waiting, as many of Steve's stories began with "...while I was waiting for Eldred I saw..."

For instance, once he was browsing while he waited and found a supercharger in a shop window nearby. Telling Norman about it later led to Norman buying it and making up the missing parts to complete the supercharger, and in turn contributed to Norman going into the Supercharger business, which his son still carries on (to a very limited extent) today.

This time what he saw, or found out about, was that Motors Ltd had six Morris Z rolling chassis for sale. This was the basis for the Morris Z utility, using the 8hp side valve engine, four speed gearbox and a lower differential ratio than the 8/40 sedan.

"I told Eldred about this, they only wanted (some low price) for them, and I told him I felt they'd make a perfect basis for a little racing car. The rear axle ratio was right and so on..."

"By late that night, Eldred had bought them, had the first chassis shortened and other work had been done, and he had arranged for a body builder to start work on a little racing car body for it."

The problem here is that Eldred Norman essentially built 'Specials' and didn't actually have a name for his cars. Well, the scout car chassis with the pair of Mercury V8s was the 'Double 8' and the car we now know as the 'Eclipse Zephyr' was called that, though in the family the name was 'Norholfordor' to include all the makes from which came the major components.

Whether or not he gave this series of Morris Specials a name or not I simply don't know, nor do I know how many were actually built. But one of them went on to start something really big...

It became the Cooper-Butler, leading to the first Elfin.

#28 mickj

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Posted 30 April 2003 - 10:36

Nimbus FV's from SA.

#29 eldougo

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Posted 01 May 2003 - 08:21

:wave:
To Allen
___________


That's perfect! Thanks very much

Do you know anyone who would have pictures of the car?-------------I will see if i can get one from
LUGSY.

#30 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 May 2003 - 10:36

Originally posted by mickj
Nimbus FV's from SA.


As I recall, the Nimbus Vees were virtually Mk 1 Elfin Vees with a different body... is that not right?

They went very well, had quite a few cars on the circuits across three states.

Hey, Dougo... if you see Lugsy, say 'hello' to him for me!

#31 Steve Williams

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Posted 02 May 2003 - 12:39

A question for all the board in general, but for Ray B in particular - does anyone remember the Bulant Clubman built at Amaroo Park???

#32 Allen Brown

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Posted 02 May 2003 - 20:01

Originally posted by eldougo
:wave:
To Allen
I will see if i can get one from LUGSY.

eldougo

:kiss:

Allen

#33 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 May 2003 - 21:19

Originally posted by Steve Williams
A question for all the board in general, but for Ray B in particular - does anyone remember the Bulant Clubman built at Amaroo Park???


It's been mentioned several times in this thread...

Brian Rawlings was the builder, starting early in the sixties, even earlier with his own cars perhaps. You are probably referring to the latter generations, the tiny ones with 10" wheels and A40 rear axles, or the later more successful versions, Mk7 I think they were, such as Les Rose and others found to be a great little car.

Along the way there was the road-going Bulanti, a Mini power unit in the rear of a fibreglass coupe.

#34 Catalina Park

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Posted 03 May 2003 - 08:05

I remember the Bulanti, I nearly bought one.
There were three built, the first had an aluminum body and the second and third had fiberglass bodies.
I would not be able to drive one now due to size 13 feet!

#35 Paul Newby

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Posted 03 May 2003 - 13:22

Originally posted by Steve Williams
A question for all the board in general, but for Ray B in particular - does anyone remember the Bulant Clubman built at Amaroo Park???


I recall a solicitor I know by the name of Adrian Walmsley showing me the photos of the Bulant Clubman that he owned in the '60's (brought or built up new?) about 10 years ago. Adrian got into Lancias and Abarths in a big way and is involved in the Classic Rallly Club. He brought back his original Bulant at about the same time and I believe still owns it :)

#36 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 May 2003 - 20:50

That might be the one that Frank Cuttell owned in the early sixties and then restored in the seventies or eighties after repurchasing it...

#37 john medley

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Posted 03 May 2003 - 23:22

That IS the one: Brian built and used it ( it had a strange leaning back nose on it then, the car in bare aluminium),sold it to Adrian Walmsley , then Frank Cuttell bought and raced it ,then sold it on and lost track of it till later finding the chassis rusting away in the Mona Vale area, rebuilt it nearly 30 years after his original ownership, and sold it to Adrian. I remember a blast around the public roads near Amaroo early 1990s, a much more alarming experience than a more recent blast around the public roads near Winton in Frank's most recent toy, the Cirrus aero engined beast. Come to think of it, Frank would almost qualify as a Constructor.

#38 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 May 2003 - 08:40

Strange, John...

I would have thought you'd come back from the Cirrus passengering episode as somewhat of a basket case.



Especially with Frank (I can stand up and set the tappets - I couldn't wind it right out in second gear with the 1.5:1 diff - 5.7 litres and lots of torque) Cuttell at the wheel.

#39 Karen Hyland

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Posted 05 May 2003 - 04:48

Originally posted by Ray Bell


As I recall, the Nimbus Vees were virtually Mk 1 Elfin Vees with a different body... is that not right?

They went very well, had quite a few cars on the circuits across three states.


I think that might be right Ray...

My mother's first race car was a Nimbus FVee. IIRC these were a kit car, and Keith Poole had something to do with them.

Ours was a *little* heavier than the original specs would indicate, my grandfather (who built it), beefing it up in different areas to make sure that it would be safe in case of an accident :lol: I am sure it weighed more than a tank by the time he finished it :p

Our No22 was burnt orange and black in colour (good 1970's colours, eh ;) ). I don't know what happened to it when we bought the Elfin Mono... Must ring mom and find out.

If anyone is interested I can track down a photo to post here.

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#40 mickj

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Posted 06 May 2003 - 03:51

There was a kitcar builder in SA who made a gull winged car called a Nimbus, I was under the impression that he made the Nimbus FV's.


Queenslands Lionel Ayres MRC race cars, how many were made and who built them. I remember a sports racer and single seaters.

#41 Ray Bell

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Posted 06 May 2003 - 05:11

All, or all but one, of the Ayers MRC cars were Rennmaxes with another name...

'MRC' stood for 'Motor Racing Components' and I think it was all a tax dodge for Lionel. Bob Britton was happy enough to supply the cars under these arrangments. He still got paid, and anyone that mattered knew he built them...

#42 mickj

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Posted 07 May 2003 - 04:42

Thanks Ray. I was not aware the MRC were built by Bob Britten.

#43 David McKinney

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Posted 07 May 2003 - 05:23

I may be displaying my ignorance here, but weren't the first MRCs Lotus copies?

#44 Ray Bell

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Posted 07 May 2003 - 07:57

Yeah, sure... Lotus 22 copy and Lotus 23 copy...

A lot of Britto's cars were copies. The 'Brabhams' he built are almost uncountable... but it doesn't mean he didn't build them just because they had MRC or Mildren on the badges.

The later car was a genuine Britto design from the ground up, of course, the 5-litre sports car that won Lionel the Australian title.

#45 David McKinney

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Posted 07 May 2003 - 10:40

So even the Lotus copies were built by Britton? Is that what we're saying?

#46 Ray Bell

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Posted 07 May 2003 - 11:03

Yes, the first MRC was the same as several other Lotus 22 copies, but the others were called Rennmaxes...

I can think of Kingsley Hibbard's for one...

And Britto had a Lotus 23 jig made up very soon after the second or third such car entered the country. I think you'll find that the Paul Bolton Sterling was the first chassis out of that jig.

While I'm here editing out a bit of an error I made, I'll add yet another name to this list...

Dolphin.

Don Baker built these Brabham replicas. 'Dudder' (as he's known) worked for Qantas and I think he had some advantage there when it came to bringing various bits and pieces into the country.

#47 mickj

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Posted 08 May 2003 - 03:30

Ted Proctors Manx's, Daimler, Rover and Alfa powered, plus the Coupes on VW chassis.

#48 Dick Willis

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Posted 09 May 2003 - 03:08

DOLPHIN, I,m the proud owner of one of those , I've had it for about nine years, raced it a lot in the Eastern States of Australia, have filled up a logbook, and even managed to capture a few class lap records although it is usually outgunned by BDA engined cars for outright honours. Mine is fitted with a Lotus Ford Twin Cam and FT200 and was originally, in 1976 , raced by the late Max Stewart and Andrew Miedecke who came fifth in the 1976 AGP at Sandown in it, admittedly after a lot of the F5000's had retired.
Don Baker had apparently gone to England in the early 1970's and bought enough bits to build a Brabhamn BT36, back in Australia he then produced three cars from these components, all having some of the genuine Brabham bits. I saw one of the others at Oran Park a few years ago raced by Dean Hefren, who I think still has it, the third car originally went to Victoria and was the famous Werner Rodkin hillclimb car powered by a BMW engine, but I,m not sure whether this was the car he was killed in and where it is now and its current condition.
Can anyone fill in the gaps in its history. Incidentally the cars were usually known as Brabham BT36 in their heyday much to the current consternation of CAMS.

#49 Ray Bell

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Posted 09 May 2003 - 03:22

Wonder of wonders! Dick Willis found the TNF front door!

Glad to have you around Dick... your level of knowledge and enthusiasm should help out in a lot of these Australian issues...

#50 Brian Lear

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Posted 09 May 2003 - 12:02

Welcome aboard Dick!!!

Good to see that you have progressed from the "lurking" stage.
We look forward to your enlightened views on many of the topics
discussed on this site.

Now what was that you were telling me about the fate of the
John Hough Cooper Maserati ?

Brian Lear