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The strange tale of the F5000 Brabham BT43


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#1 MCS

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 20:00

I'm curious about the MRD F5000 Brabham BT43 that first appeared in 1974.

I think I'm right in saying that Martin Birrane drove the car initially in the Euro F5000 series, with subsequent one-off appearances from Brett Lunger and Chris Craft.

But was there only one car built? And, if so, what happened to it between 1974 and 1978, when it appeared in TNF newcomer Kevin Bartlett's hands? Welcome KB :up:

Did it find it's way to America?

And where is it now?

Thanks
Mark

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#2 EDWARD FITZGERALD

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 21:28

I WAS TALKING WITH MARTIN SOME YEARS AGO ,AND HE SAID HE WOULD LOVE TO BUY IT BACK , BUT COULD FIND NO TRACE OF IT,

#3 Twin Window

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 21:50

Martin had a DNS with it at Mallory Park 1974...

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...and Brett Lunger shunted it at Brands in 1975.

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#4 kevinbartlett

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 21:57

The BT43 was in my hands for a few years in Aust. Owned by Chuck Jones in the U.S.A. I took a deposit on the car in '79 and raced it for the supposed new owner at Sandown, crashing the lovely little 5000 in a big way when a rear wheel centre (Dymag) collapsed. I had the car under a bond and whilst I was convalescing Customs demanded the duty be paid or the car exported. The prospective (dep. paid) new owner sent the car back to U.K., "freight on" to a pal of his who refused the bill. U.K. customs or the forwarder dumped it at docks. I didn't get paid, Chuck only got deposit. A bad scene all-round. No trace on it succeeded unfortunately. KB

#5 Ray Bell

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 22:03

Sounds like a nasty bit of dudding...

That was a lovely car, KB. Or was it? How did it compare to the contemporary Lolas you'd driven?

#6 Mac Lark

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 23:02

Kiwi F5000 fans welcome KB to The Nostalgia Forum!

I always warn anyone about this place before handing over the site address - it can be addictive...

#7 Twin Window

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 23:08

Originally posted by Mac Lark

Kiwi F5000 fans welcome KB to The Nostalgia Forum!

Make that 'worldwide F5000 fans' Mac! :up:

#8 MCS

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Posted 13 October 2004 - 19:20

Originally posted by kevinbartlett
The BT43 was in my hands for a few years in Aust. Owned by Chuck Jones in the U.S.A. I took a deposit on the car in '79 and raced it for the supposed new owner at Sandown, crashing the lovely little 5000 in a big way when a rear wheel centre (Dymag) collapsed. I had the car under a bond and whilst I was convalescing Customs demanded the duty be paid or the car exported. The prospective (dep. paid) new owner sent the car back to U.K., "freight on" to a pal of his who refused the bill. U.K. customs or the forwarder dumped it at docks. I didn't get paid, Chuck only got deposit. A bad scene all-round. No trace on it succeeded unfortunately. KB


Well, well, well. Curiouser and curiouser. Thanks for the note, Kevin.

Wonder where it is then... :confused:

As somebody used to say: "Everything has to be somewhere" :smoking:

Mark

#9 Allen Brown

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Posted 13 October 2004 - 21:42

Originally posted by MCS
As somebody used to say: "Everything has to be somewhere" :smoking:

At the bottom of the Thames in the case, so the story goes...

#10 Twin Window

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Posted 13 October 2004 - 22:03

Really? :eek:

Pray tell us more, Allen...

#11 Allen Brown

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Posted 15 October 2004 - 18:55

Originally posted by Twin Window
Really? :eek:

Pray tell us more, Allen...

I wish I knew more.

The fourth-hand or fifth-hand story I received agreed with what Kevin says above but with the addition that the car was pushed off the side of the quay into the Thames to avoid paying the duty.

I've no idea if it's true.

Anyone got a dredger?

Allen

#12 Doug Nye

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Posted 15 October 2004 - 20:10

Kev - was that the Sandown shunt you told me about at Adelaide in which you formed a lifelong bond with that marshal who stood fast, prepared to pull you out should it ignite?

Or was that a different car?

DCN

#13 kevinbartlett

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Posted 15 October 2004 - 23:51

Yes Doug, However I've lost the fiery's name and address (senior moment I think) It was that BT43. I am still fuming about the circumstances of its end. I'm told that the addressee passed away quite a few years ago. A blank wall descended after that. No use suing because the person in question has no conscience, or, more to the point no money KB

#14 Ray Bell

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Posted 16 October 2004 - 03:55

Colin Bond also drove that car, didn't he KB?

A great little car, so different to the others it ran against...

#15 MCS

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Posted 16 October 2004 - 07:29

Originally posted by Allen Brown
I wish I knew more.

The fourth-hand or fifth-hand story I received agreed with what Kevin says above but with the addition that the car was pushed off the side of the quay into the Thames to avoid paying the duty.

I've no idea if it's true.

Anyone got a dredger?

Allen


This really is an awful ending to the story.

My initial curiousity - full of hope - was that in the usual TNF way somebody would quickly report back that, yes, it's now in so and so's hands, etc.

What a shame :cry:

Mark

#16 cosworth bdg

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 07:22

What was the Designation of the F 5000 chassis that was built by Brabham cars in the UK in the early 1970's.. I think one was written off @ Sandown Park , Melbourne Australia , when it hit the old Dunlop bridge .

#17 petefenelon

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 07:48

BT43/1, Kevin Bartlett drove it Down Under.

#18 Eshe

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 08:55

From the archives, a shot of the Brabham BT43 at Oran Park, NSW, Australia in Feb 1978. Can someone identify if that is Kevin Bartlett or Colin Bond at the wheel?

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#19 Ray Bell

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 12:05

KB at the wheel there, Eshe...

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#20 cosworth bdg

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Posted 15 December 2006 - 02:57

Thanks to all posters for the in formation on the BT-43-----------------------

#21 normbeechey

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 08:20

Here's another pic of the car: http://members.tripo...Park_C.1978.jpg

(Better late than never, as they say in the classics)

#22 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 14:44

As usual, all we get is the tripod logo...

#23 GeoffE

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 15:35

Originally posted by Ray Bell
As usual, all we get is the tripod logo...


Copy and paste the link into your address bar.

#24 David M. Kane

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 16:54

That is one ugly airbox.

#25 MCS

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 14:51

Originally posted by GeoffE
Copy and paste the link into your address bar.


I can't get to this and it's driving me mad!

(I'd love to see it).

#26 Rob Ryder

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 19:14

Originally posted by MCS


I can't get to this and it's driving me mad!

(I'd love to see it).

For those having problems with the normbeechey link...

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#27 Piston Broke

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Posted 16 March 2007 - 19:23

Originally posted by Rob Ryder

For those having problems with the normbeechey link...


Mr Ryder, you are a gentleman and a scholar . Thanks . I had heard of it but never seen it. :up: :clap:

Chris Anderson

#28 275 GTB-4

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 00:51

Originally posted by David M. Kane
That is one ugly airbox.


Tis...but look at todays Honda F1....similar aperture....maybe they were on to something :up: Honda however, have transferred the fugly part to their livery :

#29 Ray Bell

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 21:19

And here it is, effectively the day it died...

Perhaps KB will return and explain the changes they made and how effective they were?

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#30 Thundersport

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 22:44

I assume if it "appeared" now there would be a issue over ownership and for that reason I expect if it is out there no one is going to admit to owning it.

#31 Ray Bell

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 00:20

Kevin earlier forgot the fire mashal's name... so to bring this thread up to date, here's what he has to say about this car in F5000 Thunder - The Titans of Road Racing 1970 to 1981:

My last year in F5000 saw me see-saw between the Lola and the little Brabham BT43. Colin Bond and I swapped seats at different meetings. Development of the Brabham took on a similar scenario to that which we had faced with the Lola. Front end grip and unhealthy transition to spectacular oversteer.

Employing what I had learned the past couple of years with HU1, I changed the wing arrangement for better grip. In the process we had to address the location of the radiators and in the time we had just plopped them near the rear bulkhead, not a pretty sight I must admit, but to get the handling spot-on first was the order of the day. Pretty would come later.

But this never came to pass. In a Sandown Gold Star race I had the right rear wheel collapse while entering the bridge turn, in a high third gear, throwing me into the catch fencing at a great rate of knots. No doubt the fencing arrested my speed, but not sufficiently to prevent the abrupt stop against the abutment scuttling the poor BT43 and bending my body in a few places.

One thing I have to say about that crash was the devotion and bravery of the marshals attending the scene, since the race was only a few laps old and those cars carried enough fuel for a 165KM race, the broken tub was like a bomb ready to go off. One “firey” in particular, planted himself above me where the air box had been minutes ago, feet each side of the smoking engine and whilst the crash crew were cutting the car apart to extract me, leant down an said to me “Don’t worry Kev, I’m staying, and if she goes I'll drag you out no matter what” as he grabbed my fire suit lift tabs. Thanks once again, Derek Reed.



#32 arttidesco

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 00:42

Kevin earlier forgot the fire mashal's name... so to bring this thread up to date, here's what he has to say about this car in F5000 Thunder - The Titans of Road Racing 1970 to 1981:


Extraordinary story, well done Mr Reed :clap:

#33 Twin Window

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 00:45

What a superb recollection.

Thanks, Ray.

#34 Ray Bell

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 00:55

The book has a number of these little snippets...

And many photos of the BT43, come to that.

#35 arttidesco

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 02:39

The book has a number of these little snippets...

And many photos of the BT43, come to that.


You forgot to mention "This product is expected to be in stock on Wednesday 29 February, 2012 (Subject To Change). We are taking orders NOW!!! " :up:


#36 ellrosso

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 04:45

Couple more pics from Sandown 1978.79.

Posted Image

Posted Image

#37 E1pix

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 06:53

Couple more pics from Sandown 1978.79.

:up: :up: Cool shots, Ellrosso, of one unique car. Read about it as a kid, it always interested me from across the Big Pond.

And... great F5000 tale, Ray. I'll bet you're almost beside yourself in anticipation. :eek:

#38 xj13v12

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 07:43

:up: :up: Cool shots, Ellrosso, of one unique car. Read about it as a kid, it always interested me from across the Big Pond.

And... great F5000 tale, Ray. I'll bet you're almost beside yourself in anticipation. :eek:


Actually Ray is one of the main writers of the book. Having seen some of Tony Loxley's other publications I think people will be very impressed. This is the large well informed, interestingly written, photo laden and full of inteviews book that F5000 fans have wanted.

#39 RonPohl

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 01:59

So, where will the book be sold?


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#40 sandy400e

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 17:23

I can resolve the mystery of what happened to the BT43. I've only just realised what I had, as a result of finding a pair of radiators in my loft this afternoon, that I've had for 30 odd years, and trying to decide what to do with them after a bit of internet browsing.

 

In 1980 (I think it was), I was working in the import department of Overseas Containers Ltd (OCL), at Barking in Essex. I overheard a conversation on the desk that dealt with shipments from Australia and New Zealand, about an abandoned "old racing car" lying at Orsett Containerbase, that had been sent back to the UK for repair. As it had not been collected by the importer, despite several attempts to get him to collect it, and had been around for some months racking up huge storage charges, it was going to be disposed of, as ownership had passed to OCL under the terms of the contract. I mentioned it to the Import Manager, who said that, yes it was being disposed of, probably for scrap, but if I was interested, I had better go and look at it quickly.

 

I had visions of perhaps some pre or post war "old racing car", so was surprised and not too impressed by what I found. It was in a rather battered crate, with significant damage to offside front, and definitely not complete. It looked like there could be some useful bits, so I went back to the office and asked how much had been offered as scrap. I was told £25, and that if I wanted it, I would have to make a "substantially increased offer". I offered £30, and was told it was mine. I was told that it had to be shifted by the end of the following week, or I'd start incurring storage charges. As OCL owned Orsett Containerbase, the manager could simply write off the storage charges already run up, which were thousands of dollars. There was no issue with Customs, as I was told the car had been built in the UK, so no import duty to pay as it was returned British goods.

 

A pal and I went to collect it, in his Transit van, and we humped the tub into the back, plus the engine, and anything else we could find, and took it to a lock-up I was using, for closer inspection. Bearing in mind I new nothing about racing cars at the time, (still don't know anything really), we really did not know what it was. I had been told it might be a Lola, but there was nothing to indicate manufacturer. The tub was black, and on the end plates of the rear wing was a logo that we found was the Australian TV Channel Nine logo, plus a drivers name which I seem to recall may well have been Kevin Bartlett. At this point it was pretty clear that there was a lot of car that was missing. Memory here is not so good, but it was definitely missing the transaxle and brake calipers, plus the fuel pump and some other bits and bobs. I can't recall if the drive shafts were there, but I suspect not. I am not sure if the car had been shipped that way, or if there had been a bit of parts "evaporation" at the hands of the dockers at the container depot, which was quite likely.

 

I had plans on using the engine in a road going van, but with no transaxle and no money to buy one, it was a non-starter. The engine also looked like it had had a problem internally, with one con rod either broken or missing, but the crank, block pistons and heads seemed all good.  Anyway, at the time, this car just seemed to have no value, having seemingly been dumped by the owner, so it got broken for spares. The chevy engine went to a guy who was into american cars, wheels went to another guy, suspension uprights to a chap wanting to build a hill climb car, and so on. I kept all of the rose joints, some of which were surprisingly slack, and used them on various projects over the years. I also kept the radiators, which looked like they might be handy one day. The basic tub was no use, so it just got weighed in for scrap. All I have left are the pair of radiators, which are still in very good condition, but surprisingly heavy, being steel framed. They weigh over 5kg each! They still bear the makers tags marked "Made in Australia, NEWCELL, radiators and cores, NPN 879". They do not look particularly like the ones attached to the car in the photo above, on the day it got bent, seeming somewhat smaller. Perhaps they are the ones that were replaced for the last race.

 

I think this can at last end this story. I'm sorry Kevin Bartlett lost out over this, but at the time it was just another abandoned bit of cargo. Had I known it was a Brabham, and potentially historically significant, then I might have tried to find a suitable home for it, but hindsight is a frustrating thing. Meantime, the radiators are no good to me, and will be appearing on a well known internet auction site in the not too distant future.

 

Please - no hate mail. I was young and ignorant.



#41 Librules

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 19:26

No hate mail from me.   A great yarn and it's better to know what happened to it, despite its fate, than live in ignorance. 



#42 Ray Bell

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 21:43

I await KB's response...

 

No doubt he'll be shaking his head as he reads this!



#43 arttidesco

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 21:54

Great for the mystery to be finally put to bed, I'm sure there are plenty of cars out there that have been rebuilt from less than an original pair of radiators, what internet auction site might that be then  ;)



#44 275 GTB-4

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 23:01

 

Please - no hate mail. I was young and ignorant.

 

Thank you very much Sandy for solving the mystery....although can I suggest you please wait a little while before disposing of the radiators...one or both might look good in KBs den (...he said conspiratorially :cool: ) 


Edited by 275 GTB-4, 17 September 2013 - 23:02.


#45 kevinbartlett

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 00:29

I can resolve the mystery of what happened to the BT43. I've only just realised what I had, as a result of finding a pair of radiators in my loft this afternoon, that I've had for 30 odd years, and trying to decide what to do with them after a bit of internet browsing.

 

In 1980 (I think it was), I was working in the import department of Overseas Containers Ltd (OCL), at Barking in Essex. I overheard a conversation on the desk that dealt with shipments from Australia and New Zealand, about an abandoned "old racing car" lying at Orsett Containerbase, that had been sent back to the UK for repair. As it had not been collected by the importer, despite several attempts to get him to collect it, and had been around for some months racking up huge storage charges, it was going to be disposed of, as ownership had passed to OCL under the terms of the contract. I mentioned it to the Import Manager, who said that, yes it was being disposed of, probably for scrap, but if I was interested, I had better go and look at it quickly.

 

I had visions of perhaps some pre or post war "old racing car", so was surprised and not too impressed by what I found. It was in a rather battered crate, with significant damage to offside front, and definitely not complete. It looked like there could be some useful bits, so I went back to the office and asked how much had been offered as scrap. I was told £25, and that if I wanted it, I would have to make a "substantially increased offer". I offered £30, and was told it was mine. I was told that it had to be shifted by the end of the following week, or I'd start incurring storage charges. As OCL owned Orsett Containerbase, the manager could simply write off the storage charges already run up, which were thousands of dollars. There was no issue with Customs, as I was told the car had been built in the UK, so no import duty to pay as it was returned British goods.

 

A pal and I went to collect it, in his Transit van, and we humped the tub into the back, plus the engine, and anything else we could find, and took it to a lock-up I was using, for closer inspection. Bearing in mind I new nothing about racing cars at the time, (still don't know anything really), we really did not know what it was. I had been told it might be a Lola, but there was nothing to indicate manufacturer. The tub was black, and on the end plates of the rear wing was a logo that we found was the Australian TV Channel Nine logo, plus a drivers name which I seem to recall may well have been Kevin Bartlett. At this point it was pretty clear that there was a lot of car that was missing. Memory here is not so good, but it was definitely missing the transaxle and brake calipers, plus the fuel pump and some other bits and bobs. I can't recall if the drive shafts were there, but I suspect not. I am not sure if the car had been shipped that way, or if there had been a bit of parts "evaporation" at the hands of the dockers at the container depot, which was quite likely.

 

I had plans on using the engine in a road going van, but with no transaxle and no money to buy one, it was a non-starter. The engine also looked like it had had a problem internally, with one con rod either broken or missing, but the crank, block pistons and heads seemed all good.  Anyway, at the time, this car just seemed to have no value, having seemingly been dumped by the owner, so it got broken for spares. The chevy engine went to a guy who was into american cars, wheels went to another guy, suspension uprights to a chap wanting to build a hill climb car, and so on. I kept all of the rose joints, some of which were surprisingly slack, and used them on various projects over the years. I also kept the radiators, which looked like they might be handy one day. The basic tub was no use, so it just got weighed in for scrap. All I have left are the pair of radiators, which are still in very good condition, but surprisingly heavy, being steel framed. They weigh over 5kg each! They still bear the makers tags marked "Made in Australia, NEWCELL, radiators and cores, NPN 879". They do not look particularly like the ones attached to the car in the photo above, on the day it got bent, seeming somewhat smaller. Perhaps they are the ones that were replaced for the last race.

 

I think this can at last end this story. I'm sorry Kevin Bartlett lost out over this, but at the time it was just another abandoned bit of cargo. Had I known it was a Brabham, and potentially historically significant, then I might have tried to find a suitable home for it, but hindsight is a frustrating thing. Meantime, the radiators are no good to me, and will be appearing on a well known internet auction site in the not too distant future.

 

Please - no hate mail. I was young and ignorant.

Well that story solves it for me. Just one word could describe my feelings about this episode in my life. Starts with F----. Such a shame a fraud was perpetrated on Chuck Jones and myself. You say broken engine, no transaxle, surprisingly slack rose joints :rolleyes:  and I would say many other proper pieces missing that, at a guess, would have found homes locally. That car was prepared for it's last race by a well known preparer and  I'm sure he had done a proper job. I know the cracktests had been done in a proper manner and the the wheel collapse came out of the blue.



#46 Piquet959

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 02:45

Hi Kevin,
You don't know me from a bar of soap as the saying goes. Could I ask if you have any memory of any accent that Derek Reed may have had in these words spoken to you when stuck and being rescued.

I am a member of the Historic Touring Car Association of Victoria and I know a Derek Reed down here in Melbourne who has been a fiery and all sorts of things in Melbourne for a long time. It sounds like the sort of thing that the person that I know would have done and said. If it is the same Derek Reed that I am thinking of he has a Pommy accent not sure which part of Great Britain he comes from. But I could put you in touch if you would like.

Regards
Peter Sneddon

#47 kevinbartlett

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 04:27

Hi Kevin,
You don't know me from a bar of soap as the saying goes. Could I ask if you have any memory of any accent that Derek Reed may have had in these words spoken to you when stuck and being rescued.

I am a member of the Historic Touring Car Association of Victoria and I know a Derek Reed down here in Melbourne who has been a fiery and all sorts of things in Melbourne for a long time. It sounds like the sort of thing that the person that I know would have done and said. If it is the same Derek Reed that I am thinking of he has a Pommy accent not sure which part of Great Britain he comes from. But I could put you in touch if you would like.

Regards
Peter Sneddon

Thanks for the thought Peter. Derek and I were reunited at an MG Car Club night a few years ago and I see him at the Sandown Historics each year. Yes (Australised) :wave: pommie accent. Top man.



#48 Supersox

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 07:56

Thank you very much Sandy for solving the mystery....although can I suggest you please wait a little while before disposing of the radiators...one or both might look good in KBs den (...he said conspiratorially :cool: ) 

Plenty of historic cars racing today which have been wonderfully restored from less than a couple of radiators.



#49 sandy400e

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 12:19

Hello Kevin

 

I can imagine this episode does not sit well in the memory. I must admit to some feelings of, if not guilt, but regret, but then for the last 33 years I was under the impression the car had not been anything significant.  Also, there would have been no way of knowing who else had any stake in the car, other than the guy it was addressed to in the UK. I don't think I ever knew who that was, as it would have served no purpose, and it was not on my desk anyway. We regularly used to get items of cargo abandoned, especially if they were "freight forward", and the recipient was not expecting a large bill, so it was not out of the ordinary.

 

As for the state of the rose joints, as I mentioned, having slept on it, I seem to recall that the ones that seemed to be less than perfect were the smaller ones on things like the throttle linkage, clutch (did it have them on the clutch cable?) and gear linkage. They were still good enough to use on a couple of vehicles I modified back in the day. The important ones such as on the suspension, even on the damaged corner, were all pretty good, so it would not be appropriate to criticise the guy who prepped it. As for the radiators - do they sound like the ones fitted to the car at the time of the accident, or are they earlier ones? Do you want them, or will they just be a reminder of an episode you want to forget? I'd stick a photo of them on here, if I could work out how!

 

Also, thinking further on the engine, if I recall correctly, there was a small amount of damage to the bottom of one of the bores, where it looked like a daylight seeking conrod may have made a failed escape bid. the damage was very minimal, and would have just needed tidying up, to be good to go again. I suspect it  must have happened at very low revs somehow. Maybe it was old damage. I still cannot recall if there was a damaged rod with it, or a missing rod, but there was not a full useable set. I do recall that the crank and cam etc. were fine. Where all the missing bits went, I really cannot guess. I don't know if any of the dockers were racing car fans, and knew where to shift some of the bits, but I doubt it. Maybe it didn't go in the crate complete. Perhaps some of the parts are still racing in Australia? I note you say that a rear wheel centre failed on you. When I got hold of it there were certainly two good condition 13 inch diameter by 15 inch wide rims, no tyres,  which went to a mate who said he was going to cut treads in a pair of racing slicks, and fit them to a road car! I think the fronts were there, but won't swear to it. There seems to have been a certain amount of mix and match going on somewhere.

 

I know that cars have been re-created from less than a pair of rads. The old joke about there being 15 survivors from the 12 made comes to mind, but if somebody can make good use of them, I will hang back on putting them on ebay or similar.

 

Sandy



#50 Mallory Dan

Mallory Dan
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Posted 18 September 2013 - 12:25

Sandy, I and am sure others, thank you for your honesty. A really good story, if not the ending Kevin may have wanted to hear. I guess from your descriptions you're involved in the Motor industry somewhere, are you involved in racing at all?