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Nice 'the way it was' story


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#1 Doug Nye

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 14:17

Pete Cramer was for many years a staff photographer with 'Autocar', before moving on to 'Commercial Motor'. We haven't met for years but today we had a natter on the telephone about 'old times' , during which he reminisced about his first-ever Continental Grand Prix - the first he'd covered alone for 'Autocar' - and he recalled the following:

"It was that year it really peed down at Spa and everybody got completely soaked. I'd been sent out to cover it with my old 9 centimetre x 12 centimetre VN plate camera and they'd issued me with 48 plates for the weekend - standard procedure then. I've still got the camera today and it's got a blind you tension against a screw and suddenly I realised the bloody screw had dropped out and I'd lost it - so I was completely stuffed!

"I was standing in the pits at a loss what to do.

"I was babbling 'Oh shit! Oh shiiittt!' and Jack Brabham - who I didn't know - looked up and said 'What's the trouble?'. Amazing - in the middle of a Grand Prix meeting this was...

"And I said 'I've lost this vital screw out of my camera, I dunno what I'm going to do - this is my first Grand Prix too'.

"And he said 'Let's have a look', and I showed him the hole where the screw had fallen out and he eyed-up the thread and then went over to his kit and pulled out an old tobacco tin and produced an exact match to the missing screw - and he said 'There you go, try that'.

"He saved my life.

"And do you know, I've still got that camera today and it's still fitted with Jack Brabham's Belgian Grand Prix screw. What a great bloke..."

DCN

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#2 Ron Scoma

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 15:11

Originally posted by Doug Nye

"And do you know, I've still got that camera today and it's still fitted with Jack Brabham's Belgian Grand Prix screw. What a great bloke..."

DCN


Great story !
One could say that he had the fastest screw in the world, from Jack Brabham no less. Of course it would be better if one didn't say that...

Sorry,

Ron

#3 Mike Argetsinger

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 15:26

Brilliant story Doug! A small window in to the time - very evocative of the way it was then (as you say!), or at least as I remember it. And totally in character for Brabham too.

#4 Dave Ware

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 15:31

That's a great story. The good old days indeed.

Seems to me that someone could put together a book with such short little stories.

Dave

#5 bigears

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 15:37

Wonderful story!

As I am studying photography. I doubt if I am at the paddock or at the pits today, I would look out for someone to help to fix my SLR camera!

It pretty sums up the old times, drivers we can talk to and those old wonderful cameras as well! ;)

#6 D-Type

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 15:45

Doug,

Thanks for sharing the story with us.

Has the Brabham book gone to press yet? (Hint)

Duncan

#7 Doug Nye

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 16:53

Duncan - yes, Australian launch is due for the Australian GP - UK launch around the same time. Generally I think it's OK - but don't really hold your breath... :rolleyes:

DCN

#8 Ray Bell

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 16:57

Originally posted by D-Type
Thanks for sharing the story with us.

Has the Brabham book gone to press yet? (Hint)


Indeed a great story... but from what year?

Surely they weren't using those cameras in 1966?

I seem to recall that the Brabham book will be having a release (with Jack signing copies and all...) some time very soon in concert with the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park... is that right?

And that Jack will be doing similar signing sessions around the country over the ensuing weeks?

#9 Frank S

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 17:29

Originally posted by Dave Ware
That's a great story. The good old days indeed.

Seems to me that someone could put together a book with such short little stories.

Dave

Several years ago I suggested such stories as a monthly feature to editors of a formerly interesting publication. "Half a column would bring such joy to so many, and incent* new subscribers."

The response: "No. We have very limited editorial space, and overfill it effortlessly."


Frank S

* I first saw this usage today. I hate it.

#10 David Beard

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 19:07

Lovely!

I'm wondering what thread you might find used in such a camera that might also be found on a Brabham...or Cooper? Or did Jack's tin contain fasteners from an earlier machine?

UNC
UNF
BA
Bicycle
BSF
BSW
Metric fine
Metric coarse

??????

#11 Ray Bell

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 20:27

I wouldn't put it past Blackie to have simply picked them up off the ground...

More to the point is the size of the screws. The screw, for instance, that fits a camera to a tripod, is proably a quarter inch Whitworth... not a problem. Even if it's a 6mm metric you'd probably make it fit. And it's a size you'd find somewhere on a racing car or engine... even though they'd usually be a UNF thread in those days.

But a screw of smaller size... where might it come from? The points? Fuel injection?

I think you've raised a salient point, David... what sort of screw are we talking about here?

#12 Doug Nye

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 20:34

Originally posted by Ray Bell
I think you've raised a salient point, David... what sort of screw are we talking about here?


My Goooooddddd!

! :rotfl: !

Only on TNF......!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :cat:

#13 condor

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 20:43

:lol: Very funny comment Ray :)

#14 David Beard

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 20:43

Originally posted by Ray Bell
IBut a screw of smaller size... where might it come from? The points? Fuel injection?

I think you've raised a salient point, David... what sort of screw are we talking about here?


My guess is that it was small....and so was probably a BA. You might have found that in a dizzy?

#15 condor

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 20:49

:rotfl: even funnier

David responds with serious comment :rotfl:


btw....I think it's probably just an 'odds' tin of screws.
My tool box has various bits and bobs that might come in handy at a later date :)...screws taken from radiator grilles..door hinges ...and about a thousand other places :)

#16 David Beard

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 20:56

Originally posted by condor
:rotfl: even funnier

David responds with serious comment :rotfl:


And I've not finished yet :)

Doug...is this the camera?

http://www.cape.dirc...ages/linhof.htm

#17 panzani

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 21:20

Brilliant! Both the history itself and the screw stuff...

By the way, which was the tobbaco brand?

#18 dolomite

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 21:27

Originally posted by David Beard


And I've not finished yet :)

Doug...is this the camera?

http://www.cape.dirc...ages/linhof.htm



More likely a Speed Graphic I would have thought. :)

#19 Doug Nye

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 21:48

I must give Pete another call and ask him this time to photograph both camera and screw, he definitely named it VN not VR because I asked him to repeat the initials, it most definitely was NOT a monster Speed Graphic, I'll also get him to photograph the shoes he was wearing at the time, his 'Autocar' issue pac-a-mac, his RAC Belge pass, the lint out of his navel and provide his National Insurance number. Anything else required - like two fish lunches, prawn balls, a T13 and a 54....just ask, I've got naff all else to do...

:( DCN

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#20 Ray Bell

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 21:50

Originally posted by panzani
.....By the way, which was the tobbaco brand?


Undoubtedly the good old Aussie brand that came in a tin... Log Cabin...

Where else would you find a handy screw?

#21 Ray Bell

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 21:52

Originally posted by Doug Nye
.....Anything else required ...prawn balls.....( DCN


Yeah... we could use those...

Also a clarification on the year these events took place. And was the screw an earlier model?

#22 David Beard

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 21:58

Originally posted by Doug Nye
I must give Pete another call and ask him this time to photograph both camera and screw, he definitely named it VN not VR because I asked him to repeat the initials, it most definitely was NOT a monster Speed Graphic, I'll also get him to photograph the shoes he was wearing at the time, his 'Autocar' issue pac-a-mac, his RAC Belge pass, the lint out of his navel and provide his National Insurance number. Anything else required - like two fish lunches, prawn balls, a T13 and a 54....just ask, I've got naff all else to do...

:( DCN


Can't you ask Jack for his recollections of the event, too?;)

#23 VAR1016

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 22:01

Originally posted by Frank S

... and incent* new subscribers."...




Frank S

* I first saw this usage today. I hate it.


I hate it too - not just the usage since I have never seen the word before. The word "impact" is usually used meaning "affect" - that infuriates me.

Sorry - off-topic - apologies

PdeRL

#24 nick stone

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 23:17

I can put a foot in the other boot and tell a story where a bystander in the pits helped Jack Brabham!

It was, I think, 1959 (or 1960) at the Wigram airfield circuit in the South Island of New Zealand. My family was friendly with Pat Hoare who was racing a Ferrari at the meeting and we were with him in the pits - as we were allowed to be in those days. One or two pit bays - well, oil drums with planks on top - along Jack Brabham was working on his car. He walked over to Pat and asked if he might have a small part he needed for his carburettor. Hearing him describe what he wanted, my Mother said she could help!

Jack raced that day - and I think did very well - helped by the hook and eye assembly from my Mother's brassiere!

#25 Eric McLoughlin

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Posted 12 February 2004 - 09:38

Imagine the scene today:

"Oh bugger, my memory chip's just packed up and I haven't a spare. What am I going to do? I know, I'll aslk Juan Montoya if he can help"

"Juan, you don't have a spare memory chip handy do you?"

"F*** off w*****r, f***ing idiot".


As for SLRs, they were around at least from the mid 1950s (Jimmy Stewart uses one in the film "Rear Window" which was made around 1958). There are lots SLRs in evidence in "Grand Prix" as well.

#26 275 GTB-4

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Posted 12 February 2004 - 10:08

Originally posted by David Beard


Can't you ask Jack for his recollections of the event, too?;)

:cool:

"Over the Shoulder Bolder Holders" obviously have lots of uses other than emergency fanbelts!!!! :

TICKETS NOW 70% SOLD
4 WEEKS TO GO
An Evening with Sir Jack Brabham
Tuesday, 9th March 2004
7.00 pm onwards

At the South of Perth Yacht Club, Coffee Point, Applecross, WA

Wonder if he would remember these two marvellous stories?? ;)

#27 Ray Bell

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Posted 12 February 2004 - 10:52

Originally posted by 275 GTB-4
.....At the South of Perth Yacht Club, Coffee Point, Applecross, WA.....


What price a lap of the circuit after the event?

#28 petefenelon

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Posted 12 February 2004 - 11:55

Originally posted by Frank S

Several years ago I suggested such stories as a monthly feature to editors of a formerly interesting publication. "Half a column would bring such joy to so many, and incent* new subscribers."

The response: "No. We have very limited editorial space, and overfill it effortlessly."


Frank S

* I first saw this usage today. I hate it.


It could be worse. "Incentivise"? Which I've seen used quite a lot....

#29 Macca

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Posted 12 February 2004 - 12:08

The year could have been 1963 or 1965, also wet at Spa.....................but I have absolutely no interest in the size of the screw or the colour of blokey's tie! :drunk:

Paul

#30 Barry Lake

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Posted 12 February 2004 - 12:57

Originally posted by Doug Nye
I must give Pete another call and ask him this time to photograph both camera and screw, he definitely named it VN not VR because I asked him to repeat the initials, it most definitely was NOT a monster Speed Graphic, I'll also get him to photograph the shoes he was wearing at the time, his 'Autocar' issue pac-a-mac, his RAC Belge pass, the lint out of his navel and provide his National Insurance number. Anything else required - like two fish lunches, prawn balls, a T13 and a 54....just ask, I've got naff all else to do...

:( DCN



A sock, perhaps!

:lol:










(maybe you have to be Australian to understand...)

It is worth noting that the ability to find a good screw at a moment's notice is a trait that is greatly admired by the average Australian male.

To digress even further; in the 1970s, when I was part of the Mitsubishi rally team in Australia there was a highly skilled and very much liked Japanese mechanic on the service team who was banished from any further trips to Australia because he once couldn't find a screw at a moment's notice. One of the team cars came into the service point in need of a replacement (my memory won't dredge up what it was for at the moment - radiator cowl???? Something like that). The poor man rummaged through toolboxes, tins of odds and sods, boxes, everything, becoming more and more distressed. An Australian mechanic, in the meantime, fixed the problem (I think with lock-wire). Sadly, we never saw our Japanese friend again.

#31 ensign14

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Posted 12 February 2004 - 13:05

Originally posted by Doug Nye
...prawn balls...

Never knew they had any.

#32 Eric McLoughlin

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Posted 12 February 2004 - 13:43

Our honourable Japanese friend probably took the "honourable" way out.

#33 Dave Ware

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Posted 12 February 2004 - 15:19

I think we need to determine not only what size screw it was, but where Mr. Brabham got it in the first place. For all we know, that screw may have come off a car that won a GP!
:lol:
This brings up a host of related issues. For instance, I read that mechanics once plugged Mike Hawthorn's leaky radiator with mustard. Where did the mustard come from? From their own lunch, the lunch of a rival team, or some helpful spectator? Who went without mustard that day so Hawthorn could race?
You have to love TNF!

Dave

#34 RTH

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Posted 12 February 2004 - 15:37

Surely this camera must have been very old at the time (1960's) to have plates instead of film ?

It gives a minds eye image of the sort of equipment that might have been used to photograph Jenatzy and Nazzaro at the turn of the century - on a wooden tripod with the photographer completely covered in a black cotton sheet !

I wonder what sort of motor carriage Doug and company used to travel to the venue - would it have had pneumatic tyres?

#35 VAR1016

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Posted 12 February 2004 - 16:21

Originally posted by Dave Ware
I think we need to determine not only what size screw it was, but where Mr. Brabham got it in the first place. For all we know, that screw may have come off a car that won a GP!
:lol:
This brings up a host of related issues. For instance, I read that mechanics once plugged Mike Hawthorn's leaky radiator with mustard. Where did the mustard come from? From their own lunch, the lunch of a rival team, or some helpful spectator? Who went without mustard that day so Hawthorn could race?
You have to love TNF!

Dave


According to Chris Nixon, the mustard was cadged from local residents.

He adds that for some time the Hawthorn transporter carried the slogan "We use and recommend Colman's Mustard"

PdeRL

#36 Ray Bell

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Posted 12 February 2004 - 17:30

Originally posted.....
A sock, perhaps!

:lol:










(maybe you have to be Australian to understand...)


Shouldn't be... the issue was covered previously, I'm sure.

Further musings bordering on risque
It is worth noting that the ability to find a good screw at a moment's notice is a trait that is greatly admired by the average Australian male.....


And, in a modern world, wherein female mechanics abound, the average female too.

#37 GeoffR

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 04:35

Surely this camera must have been very old at the time (1960's) to have plates instead of film ?


A bit OT here but noted landscape photographer Peter Dombrovskis used a Linhof Teknika 5X4 camera, which took sheet film instead of plates, until his death in 1996. A bit heavier than an SLR to lug around the bush but the print quality is excellent.

#38 dretceterini

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 04:46

As long as we are placing orders, how about... :rotfl:

#39 Tom Glowacki

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 11:27

When the Lotus team came to Milwaukee in 1963, they used the facilities of the factory USAC stock care team; Zecol Lubaid. My brother and I would bicycle over every day and hang out, getting autographs from Chapman, Clark, Gurney and whatever USAC Indy drivers stopped in. One day the mechanics asked us where they could get their coveralls cleaned. We volunteered our mother and biked home with 6-8 sets of greasy BRG coveralls for mom to clean and a generous $5 to pay for it. I've long since regretted brining the cleaned coveralls back. . .

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#40 RTH

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 16:57

Originally posted by Tom Glowacki
When the Lotus team came to Milwaukee in 1963, they used the facilities of the factory USAC stock care team; Zecol Lubaid. My brother and I would bicycle over every day and hang out, getting autographs from Chapman, Clark, Gurney and whatever USAC Indy drivers stopped in. One day the mechanics asked us where they could get their coveralls cleaned. We volunteered our mother and biked home with 6-8 sets of greasy BRG coveralls for mom to clean and a generous $5 to pay for it. I've long since regretted brining the cleaned coveralls back. . .


You have the thanks of the British people for your honesty , generosity, and integrity, and as they say " you will get your reward in heaven" !

#41 Tom Glowacki

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Posted 14 February 2004 - 03:23

Glad to help the Queen and her minions.

#42 VAR1016

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Posted 14 February 2004 - 10:55

Originally posted by Tom Glowacki
Glad to help the Queen and her minions.


Subjects, not minions...;)

PdeRL

#43 275 GTB-4

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Posted 14 February 2004 - 11:32

Originally posted by VAR1016
Subjects, not minions...;) PdeRL


Waaaaal, I went to see the Queen in Sydney Australia, with Union Jack in hand, in 1954!!

Noting that she has not graced our shores since......maybe we need to think about our relationship?

Was it something we said?? :rolleyes:

#44 Roger Clark

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Posted 14 February 2004 - 11:39

Originally posted by VAR1016


Subjects, not minions...;)

PdeRL


Citizens

#45 David McKinney

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Posted 14 February 2004 - 12:02

Originally posted by 275 GTB-4
Noting that she has not graced our shores since......

Well, only 12 or 13 times that I can recall :lol:

#46 Frank S

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Posted 14 February 2004 - 18:52

When the Queen came to San Diego, my friend the (then) City Photographer offered me credentials for the inevitable press conference. On the grounds that the experience would live longer with a younger participant, I passed the privilege to my (then) 18-year-old daughter, along with a nice Canon/zoom combination.

She (my daughter) said she was able to stand on the photogs's platform at the opposite end of a 30-foot-deep room and make photos as San Diego City Councilman Bill Cleator created an international incident by touching Her Majesty as he ushered her along a line of Prestigious Local Personages.

One of the people seen with the Queen was the lady Mayor of San Diego. Shortly thereafter her husband was convicted of some stock fraud and went to prison.

Another person in the photos, Superior Court Judge at the time, became current Mayor, and is under fire for failure to anticipate and properly control resources in the recent conflagrations that burned 1200 homes and killed a dozen people.

Another Council member appearing in the photos resigned when his generous nature and debauchery, paid by a City credit card, came to light.

Nice welcoming committee.


Frank S

#47 Eric McLoughlin

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Posted 14 February 2004 - 22:33

Fairly tame misdemeanours if you ask me. The Queen has been known to meet rulers who ATE their subjects.

#48 D-Type

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Posted 14 February 2004 - 22:53

Originally posted by Eric McLoughlin
Fairly tame misdemeanours if you ask me. The Queen has been known to meet rulers who ATE their subjects.

:rotfl:
Eric this being TNF we must be accurate . You should have said " . . . . rulers whose ancestors ATE their subjects. (I think)

#49 Eric McLoughlin

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Posted 14 February 2004 - 23:20

Sorry, I was taking a bit of a flyer on this one. Did the Queen ever meet Bukasa (Sp?) who was renowned for inviting his political oponents around for dinner?

#50 VAR1016

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Posted 14 February 2004 - 23:48

Originally posted by Eric McLoughlin
Sorry, I was taking a bit of a flyer on this one. Did the Queen ever meet Bukasa (Sp?) who was renowned for inviting his political oponents around for dinner?


That was Bokassa, friend of that murderer, Amin.

Better to ask M. Valery Giscard d'Estaing. The well-known French aristocrat had certain friendly dealings with the late, unlamented "Emperor".

Latterly M. Giscard d'Estaing has been occupying himself with plans further to order us about at the behest and on behalf of the E.U. in which he has assumed what I would call an unhealthy prominence.

In fact I would go so far to say that he is a disgrace to the aristocracy, but then I am a reactionary... :smoking:

PdeRL