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Elfin 400 - Matich SR3


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#1 Leo D

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Posted 23 December 2006 - 07:59

The discussion on the Niel Allen thread about the first of the Elfin 400 series has made me wonder…..

How much of the original Elfin Traco was Frank Matich, and how much was Garrie Cooper?

Did the Matich Elfin differ much from the following 400’s produced (leaving aside the power plants) other than in the body shape?

I only ever saw the SR3 run in Repco V8 powered form. But I believe that it was originally oldsmobile powered as was the Elfin?


There appears to be two variations of the rear bodywork on the SR3. I have pictures from Calder when I saw the car run in Repco trim, and the rear bodywork appears to be different to the rear bodywork that Keith Berryman currently runs on the car in Oldsmobile trim. Were there two versions of the rear bodywork?

How many SR3’s were produced?
I seem to think there were at least two?
One went to the USA on a Can Am trip prior to the SR4 coming into the picture?
Is the Keith Berryman version the only one left?

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#2 275 GTB-4

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Posted 23 December 2006 - 08:48

All good questions Leo...I seem to remember an SR3 in the National Motorsport Museum in addition to one being regularly raced by Keith Berryman.

....thread also discussing some of these questions...
http://forums.autosp...736#post2585736

#3 Leo D

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Posted 23 December 2006 - 09:03

Originally posted by 275 GTB-4
All good questions Leo...I seem to remember an SR3 in the National Motorsport Museum in addition to one being regularly raced by Keith Berryman.

....thread also discussing some of these questions...
http://forums.autosp...736#post2585736


That was the thread I was refering to in my first post Mick.... I thought that a "dedicated" thread might bring some extra info to the surface... :)

BTW.... I think they were great cars to watch.... love to see them run again

#4 Ray Bell

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Posted 23 December 2006 - 22:01

Initially, I suspect, the frames were very similar... but one day I'll ask Bobby Britton...

Later I personally watched as Matich added additional triangulation to the outriggers around the cockpit area, so they definitely differed there.

I believe there would have been five built. Three, from memory, went to the USA (Kent Price, Matich's own and another one sold there) and Matich had two here. One of these went to Don O'Sullivan.

Do you count the MRC as well? Lionel Ayers had Britto knock up a chassis for him to finish of, he copied the body too, pretty well, and raced it under his MRC name.

#5 RA Historian

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Posted 23 December 2006 - 22:16

Originally posted by Leo D

One went to the USA on a Can Am trip prior to the SR4 coming into the picture?

Frank Matich drove a green SR3 at the Road America Can Am in September, 1967. I believe that it was powered by a 4.2 (?) Repco V-8.

#6 Milan Fistonic

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Posted 23 December 2006 - 22:48

I photographed these two cars in a museum in Tasmania in 1989. They were side-by-side.



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#7 Ray Bell

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Posted 23 December 2006 - 23:01

That's the SR4 and a slightly altered Elfin 400, Milan...

#8 GreenMachine

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Posted 24 December 2006 - 10:33

The clearance above the Elfin's RF wheel can't be right ... can it?

Launceston? When I was there a couple of years ago, I don't remember the Elfin being there - need to check my photos ...

#9 Ray Bell

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Posted 24 December 2006 - 10:46

No, that's not normal road clearance height... and it's not the right tyre profile either...

What I do like here is the correct colour on the SR4.

#10 Leo D

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 08:56

I didn't know these cars were on display in Tasmania.... looks like I should have got out of the house more often back in 89 ... :(

Interesting to see that Elfin 400 in the shot.... Which one is that?
I don't know chassis numbers... I only know them as..
1.... Frank Matich/ Niel Allen Car
2.....Bob Jane Repco Powered version
3..... Noel Hurd Globe Products
4..... New Zealand car

Not very technical I know...

Interesting to hear 5 cars in terms of SR3's Ray.... Were the USA cars other than Franks own car just rollers? I thought there was only 1 SR3 here, which I thought was the car Don O'Sullivan purchased. Is there a story behind the 2nd car?

Does anyone know which car is the one Keith Berryman has now?....

The colour of the SR4 in the pic is definately close to the original... I never saw those splitters on the front guards or the rear wing when I saw it run though... Does anybody know where it appeared on the track with those?

#11 Vicuna

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 09:01

I found a programme for a meeting at Warwick Farm, Spet 8, 1968.

Are you interested in the entries for the sports car race?

I 'm talking only the big capacity cars - i think there were 4 or 5.

#12 Leo D

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 09:10

Originally posted by Vicuna
I found a programme for a meeting at Warwick Farm, Spet 8, 1968.

Are you interested in the entries for the sports car race?

I 'm talking only the big capacity cars - i think there were 4 or 5.


I'm interested in anything to do with these cars Vicuna.... :)
I'm tipping that the following are in that list though..
Frank Matich.... Matich SR3
Niel Allen..... Elfin TRaco...
Bob Jane (Ian Cook?)... Elfin 400/Repco..
Peter Macrow?.... Argo Chev..
That's as good a guess as I could have though...

I'm also willing to guess that Frank Matich won in the SR3, and probably lowered the lap record in the process.... that's what he usually did :)

#13 Ray Bell

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 09:29

Originally posted by Leo D
.....Innteresting to hear 5 cars in terms of SR3's Ray.... Were the USA cars other than Franks own car just rollers? I thought there was only 1 SR3 here, which I thought was the car Don O'Sullivan purchased. Is there a story behind the 2nd car?


Matich built a new car when the Repco engine became available...

.....The colour of the SR4 in the pic is definitely close to the original... I never saw those splitters on the front guards or the rear wing when I saw it run though... Does anybody know where it appeared on the track with those?


I would suggest that it never ran the splitters... but it did run a rear wing. Bathurst, 1969, for instance. But it was much higher.

#14 Leo D

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 09:48

Originally posted by Ray Bell


Matich built a new car when the Repco engine became available...


So the other car the 1st car would have been the Oldsmobile powered car that Keith Berryman now runs?


Originally posted by Ray Bell


I would suggest that it never ran the splitters... but it did run a rear wing. Bathurst, 1969, for instance. But it was much higher.

You're right Ray... I meant to say with that wing configuration... I think he ran the high wing at the Warwick Farm Tasman Round... Sandown Tasman Round.... and Easter Bathurst... But 1969 was also the year they banned high wings?... Graham Hill had his "High Wing" collapse at the Lakeside Tasman round as I recall...

#15 Ray Bell

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 12:17

During the race, yes... but IIRC, both he and Rindt suffered collapses there in practice...

Like the Lotuses, the SR4's rear wing was suspension-mounted.

#16 Joe Bosworth

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 12:36

Probably too big a turn of subject for this thread but I can't help myself.

Ray bring up the Kent Price name above relative to an SR3 raises a subject that I have had in mind for a long time.

I believe that Kent Price, (Ken Milburn), is one of the quickest drivers ever from the 1960s in Oz and one who never gets a mention when the quick guys are discussed. I seriously doubt that anyone was quicker in an open wheeler during his brief sojourn in Australia.

Besides, he has an interesting history.

Regards

Joe B

#17 Ray Bell

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 13:11

Obviously, Joe, he's just the kind of person you'd have struck up the odd conversation with when he first arrived...

To be honest, I don't remember much about him. He certainly wasn't a tail-ender, but was up amongst the front runners in the 1100cc cars... and him with a Lotus 20 against Lotus 22s and Brabhams. And, of course, I remember him having that shunt at Bathurst.

The other thing I remember about him was that he gave the Matichs a present. Or his wife did. You possibly knew they were close socially? Anyway, the Prices gave the Matichs a can of chocolate coated ants.

The truth about his name came out when he hit the fence at Bathurst. You would realise, no doubt, that he raced under the Milburn name here to avoid upsetting his 'amateur' status when he went back to America.

#18 Vicuna

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 23:12

Originally posted by Leo D


I'm interested in anything to do with these cars Vicuna.... :)
I'm tipping that the following are in that list though..
Frank Matich.... Matich SR3
Niel Allen..... Elfin TRaco...
Bob Jane (Ian Cook?)... Elfin 400/Repco..
Peter Macrow?.... Argo Chev..
That's as good a guess as I could have though...

I'm also willing to guess that Frank Matich won in the SR3, and probably lowered the lap record in the process.... that's what he usually did :)


I'll go dig it out Leo - give me a couple of hours.

#19 Ray Bell

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 23:25

Originally posted by Leo D
I'm tipping that the following are in that list though..
Frank Matich.... Matich SR3
Niel Allen..... Elfin TRaco...
Bob Jane (Ian Cook?)... Elfin 400/Repco..
Peter Macrow?.... Argo Chev..
That's as good a guess as I could have though...

I'm also willing to guess that Frank Matich won in the SR3, and probably lowered the lap record in the process.... that's what he usually did :)


No idea who's in the list... but...

Matich didn't win. He didn't turn up as he'd blown his engine at Surfers.

Niel Allen wasn't actually racing at that time. Fred Gibson was getting all the drives as Niel took a little sojourn after that Lakeside inversion six or seven weeks earlier. Yes, the Traco was there.

This was actually the race in which Doug Macarthur's Elan erupted skywards over the Northern Crossing and demolished itself. Gibson looked an all the way winner, but his engine went, so Bob Muir won in the ex-Niel Allen 23B.

No other V8 cars turned up!

I'd agree that the entries would have included Matich, Gibson and Jane's car. Who else... we await Vicuna's list!

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#20 Leo D

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 01:33

Bill Brown in the P4 Ferrari?.....

#21 Ray Bell

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 02:01

I think it had gone by then...

On the other hand, maybe the Barracuda was still around!

#22 Vicuna

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 02:27

Event 9 - 10 laps, 22.5 miles

1. F.Matich Matich-Repco SR3 V8 4400 Green

2. F.Gibson Elfin-Chev V8 4998 White/red

3. (B.Jane) Elfin-Repco V8 4200 Red

40. D.O'Sullivan Lola T70 Mk 2 Ford V8 4700 Blue/yellow




The reason I've put Jane's name in parentheses is because the car was entered by him - Bob Jane Autoland - with the driver being the legendary 'T.B.N'

#23 Ray Bell

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 03:13

1. F.Matich Matich-Repco SR3 V8 4400 Green ..... as mentioned, blew up previous weekend.

2. F.Gibson Elfin-Chev V8 4998 White/red ... blew engine in race

3. (B.Jane) Elfin-Repco V8 4200 Red .... crashed in practice*

40. D.O'Sullivan Lola T70 Mk 2 Ford V8 4700 Blue/yellow ... never appeared at Warwick Farm, to my knowledge, at all.


Originally posted by Vicuna
The reason I've put Jane's name in parentheses is because the car was entered by him - Bob Jane Autoland - with the driver being the legendary 'T.B.N'


* actually slated for Allan Moffat, but he put it into the Causeway fence in practice. Damage was light, but they didn't bother repairing it for race day.

The following weekend, Moffat had a major one in Jane's Brabham at Sandown.

#24 Leo D

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 19:55

Thanks for the list Vicuna....... It was interesting to see who was there.

I think Matich's non appearance was interesting. You mention engine failure Ray.... Was that at the 6 hr - 12 hr race that was at Sufrers? Speed Week?.... He shared the car with Don O'Sullivan?

I really don't recall Matich having any DNF's in the SR-3..... He usually dominated his class and most of the time was the fastest car at the meeting ......

#25 Ray Bell

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 21:36

Surfers 6-hour... Matich and Glyn Scott doing a bolt until a conrod let go...

#26 Leo D

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 10:53

Did Don O'Sullivan ever do the Surfers event with Matich?.... Maybe when O'Sullivan owned the car?.... or am I off course here.....

#27 Ray Bell

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 11:20

Right on course, Leo...

O'Sullivan entered his SR3 and his T70 in the 1969 race, the SR3 retiring at half distance with its starter failing. It was actually disqualified for being push started, but the clutch was also failing so it wasn't going to finish anyway. Howie Sangster drove but a half hour in the Lola before retiring with gearbox ills, depriving Henk Woelders of a drive.

Matich had a comfortable lead over the Nissans when he retired.

Matich and O'Sullivan also teamed up in a Caversham 6-hour that same year, winning it in the Lola.

#28 Leo D

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 12:15

What led me to connect the Matich/O'Sullivan equation, was that I remember Don O'Sullivan running the SR3 at Calder... Frank Matich would have been runnig the SR4 at the same meeting...The number on the SR3 included an "S" which was I think from the Surfers event.... Somewhere here, I've got a 35mm slide of the car in the Calder pits with the "S" on it ...

#29 Ray Bell

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 15:42

And can you explain why you haven't yet posted that pic on this thread?

I just knew you weren't to be trusted...

#30 Leo D

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 21:36

Originally posted by Ray Bell
And can you explain why you haven't yet posted that pic on this thread?

I just knew you weren't to be trusted...


Posted Image

Um...er..... :wave:

#31 Ray Bell

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 22:44

Isn't that Matich's name on the door?

And that's not how the car appeared at Surfers anyway. It had a band across the nose and I suspect it was painted dark blue. Maybe this is from '69?

But all of this raises the question... if it was O'Sullivan's car, why did the Farm report say that Matich's entry had blown up at Surfers?

Nice pic, by the way, thanks for posting it...

#32 275 GTB-4

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 23:55

Originally posted by Leo D
What led me to connect the Matich/O'Sullivan equation, was that I remember Don O'Sullivan running the SR3 at Calder... Frank Matich would have been runnig the SR4 at the same meeting...The number on the SR3 included an "S" which was I think from the Surfers event.... Somewhere here, I've got a 35mm slide of the car in the Calder pits with the "S" on it ...


or Sandown??? could the S have been the class in an all in endurance race (clutching at straws).

Lerve the hint of 160HP monster beside the SR3 :smoking:

#33 Ray Bell

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 01:36

They're poorly clutched straws, Mick...

No endurance races at Sandown included sporties before the eighties.

#34 David Shaw

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 01:50

Wasn't the Surfer's race run during Speedweek in winter? (I could be right off the mark here) If
that is the case, and this photo was taken shortly after, I think it is looking too sunny and dry for Melbourne in winter.
From what date was advertising allowed on the cars in Australia? Was it July 1968?

#35 Ray Bell

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 03:18

Originally posted by David Shaw
Wasn't the Surfer's race run during Speedweek in winter? (I could be right off the mark here) If
that is the case, and this photo was taken shortly after, I think it is looking too sunny and dry for Melbourne in winter.
From what date was advertising allowed on the cars in Australia? Was it July 1968?


Earlier than that... I think... for the advertising...

Speedweek certainly started out in the August school holiday time, but moved to a date later in the year after a couple of years.

But main reason I'm posting here is that I've solved this riddle:

Originally posted by Leo D
Posted Image


Calder, August 4, 1968.

This was the famous meeting where Janey set the racing car outright record during a mixed event that was, IIRC, some kind of a demonstration or celebration for or of Repco engines.

Note the splitter across the front and the little winglets on the sides? I see them in no photos in reports of other meetings prior to this one. Most it's too hard to say, but you can say for sure they weren't there in the February Tasman support races. Also, it was a bright sunny day at Calder that day.

But the '3S' number is the giveaway. It's to distinguish between Frank's car and some racing car bearing the number 3 in those combined races that day.

Frank then ran the car one more time... Surfers Speed week, first weekend, set a new lap record again (as he had done at Calder). The fact that the car in the 6-hour the next week was in O'Sullivan colours and that Matich was entered in his own name and car the week following that seems to me to establish for sure that O'Sullivan had an SR3 at the same time Frank did.

Frank first ran the SR4 at the Farm on December 1 that year.

#36 Formula 5000

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 04:56

Calder August 4 1968 .... yes I think that was when Bob Jane and Ian Cook took turns in the Brabham and the Elfin 400 in subsequent races. Ian Cook did a mighty standing start burnout in the Elfin that we thought would get him the sack. In the race Jane caned the Brabham with a lurid lockup into the corner entering the main straight (old circuit remember). He was " on it" and in his day was fast, aggressive and unsmooth.

In the later race Jane drove the sporty and did a burnout to put all to shame. So obviously it was the way to start an Elfin 400 4.4 litre Repco.

O'Sullivan drove the SR3, more or less midfield with many crunches to the gearbox as he downchanged. Either something wrong with the gearbox or the driver. He was no match.

My hazy memory says fine weather and large crowd

#37 Ray Bell

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 05:31

No mention whatever of O'Sullivan in the reports, F5000...

But it does mention what a good job Cooky did holding station between Geoghegan and Jane for six laps before Bob got through. And also Janey's drive in the Elfin in the handicap, which must have been the one you mention.

RCN photos and report say fine weather and large (20,000+ by Adrian's exaggerated count) crowd.

#38 Leo D

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 10:11

Didn't someone say that if you remembered the 60's your probably weren't there.... I think they may have been right!

Thanks to my fellow TNF's for their interest in this thread.....
The more I read and think about the Repco meeting conection to my pic the more it makes sense..... especially if you also look at the pics that I posted of the Brabhams on the Bob Jane thread ....

Having said all of that, here is .... Don O'Sullivan......
Posted Image

This was obviously 1969.... early in the year, because it looks warm and sunny.... I've also got a nice snap of the SR-4 coming in off thrack at the same meeting....

#39 Ray Bell

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 13:34

I forgot to mention about that Repco meeting...

Janey entered Bevan Gibson in the BT11A with Climax and a strict rev limit.

Too late now for me to check and see when the Don ran that car and Frank ran the SR4, Leo. But thanks for the pic, and keep 'em coming!

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#40 Leo D

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 14:44

Ray... Unfortunately I don't have any records to match my pictures, as I took them when I was about 14 years old, so my memory is the only record I have so to speak....

The 1968 reference seems to tie in well with the picture of the SR3 when it had the "S3" number...

As to Bevan Gibson, this also ties in..... A sunny day, but notice the winter clothing on the people..
Posted Image

Moving onto the SR3 when it had the number "4" on it, I'm still sticking with 1969... although it could have been late 1968, but I didn't think the SR4 ran before 1969....

And speaking of the SR4, this is how it really looked.... correct colour... correct bodywork... notice no rear wing.. no splitters.... did I mention the functioning ducts on the tops of the side doors...
Posted Image

Of course, when you have a car that looks as good as the SR4, you need some serious "GRUNT" ! :)
Posted Image


#41 Ray Bell

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 21:51

Calder, 19 January 1969. Matich lowered the lap record, and for the record, Jane beat Allen in the Elfin 400s, O'Sullivan followed them home.

So this is where O'Sullivan ran the SR3 at Calder.

Matich ran again with the car in this guise at Catalina a week later, the infamous scrap in which Allen tried so hard to keep up he left black lines through Pilot Curve each lap.

The outright lap records fell to Matich on each of these occasions, though at Warwick Farm he'd lost his chance due to the track being slippery that meeting. Only a 1:29.3, his best SR3 time was 1:27.3, which Rindt was about to nonsense.

The car then ran in practice at the 'Farm, but withdrew from the race when it went boating on the warm up lap and spun uncontrollably. The race was run in such conditions it appeared that Glyn Scott would win in his 23B, but O'Sullivan came through for his second win in two weeks. Matich hadn't been at Lakeside. The next week at Sandown was the dramatic occasion when Frank arrived at Peters with throttle jammed open and front wheels locked, smoke everywhere. Even so, with just one flying lap, he'd reduced the sports car record, but was still 2.3 seconds slower than his practice time.

All of this was with the car appearing to be unmodified. With a gap to April 7 for the next outing, Frank had time to fit the high wing to the rear and some winglets to the outsides of the front guards. Then he had the persistent misfire that led to the death of Bevan Gibson.

Matich pulled out of that race after that, and he hadn't even set fastest lap, so the record went to Gibson on 2:16.9.

The wing was still in place for the RAC Trophy at Warwick Farm on May 4, a win at the slowest possible place would be a good description as he did only 1:28.1 in practice and 1:29.7 in the race. O'Sullivan (also with a high wing!) was second and Allen third after O'Sullivan was able to outbrake Niel on the final run into Creek.

Then the high wing ban came in following the Barcelona shambles. Surfers on May 18 saw Matich dice his, but O'Sullivan ran his as the ban wasn't yet in effect here. It was another Matich/O'Sullivan 1-2 ahead of the Lotus 23s as Allen had bailed out of the series. Oh yeah, this was the ASCC series, the 'Farm first round, then Surfers.

Calder a week later saw the SR4 with a new record, almost a second under his previous best as he won two sprint races. July 13 was the next outing and the outright Warwick Farm record fell at 1:26.9, though this was still three seconds away from Rindt's bewinged Lotus 49 practice time.

The strange thing is that I can't find the rest of the ASCC races that year!

And I think I've earlier confused myself about the O'Sullivan 6-hour thing... that was a year after Frank blew up at Surfers.

I'll have to come back to this...

#42 David Shaw

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 22:21

Probably not an ASCC race, but there was a 10 lapper on the AJC Trophy meeting at the Farm on July 13, O'Sullivan and Harvey didn't front, awaiting engines from Repco, and Matich dropped the record to 1:26.9

Matich then drove with O'Sullivan in the Lola T70 in the 6 Hour at Wanneroo which they won, and I can't find any further reference to O'sullivan over in the eastern states

#43 275 GTB-4

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 22:29

Originally posted by Ray Bell
All of this was with the car appearing to be unmodified. With a gap to April 7 for the next outing, Frank had time to fit the high wing to the rear and some winglets to the outsides of the front guards. Then he had the persistent misfire that led to the death of Bevan Gibson.

Matich pulled out of that race after that, and he hadn't even set fastest lap, so the record went to Gibson on 2:16.9.

I'll have to come back to this...


Ray, I thought Bevan got airborne on one of the humps on Conrod and that was that.......what has a misfire got to do with his fatal accident?? are you saying it was conclusively proved that a misfire at an inapproriate moment caused the nose to rise and allow air under the tray??

#44 David Shaw

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 23:21

Matich had fuel pressure problems, which allowed Gibson a rare sniff of victory over Matich. Gibson then had his unfortunate accident over the last hump as he was having a real go at Matich.

#45 Ray Bell

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 23:34

...and, if you read The Rise and Fall of Peter Brock you'll find the detailed explanation in there about how he was told to back off after discovering the front of the car was aviating in practice.

He was something like three seconds a lap faster in the race.

Remember, too, that he'd been on a roll in this car, winning race after race.

#46 Formula 5000

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Posted 31 December 2006 - 04:12

This thread is very interesting and slowly our memories are being put into perspective.

Interesting that you say Bevan Gibson was on a roll in the Jane Elfin 400. He was; he beat John Harvey in the McLaren M6b at Calder when it had engine trouble?

The January 1969 Calder meeting where you say Ray that Jane beat Allen both, in 400's, emphasises my previous point about Jane on his day being so good (though I don't think he ever had a fan club). You also provide a different version of my observations of O'Sullivan. His results speak for themselves and maybe show the SR3 took a little getting used to.

Most important is we all seem to remember the speed and action of those fantastic machines even though they were eventually beaten to a championship by an Elfin 350!

Great reading.

#47 Ray Bell

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Posted 31 December 2006 - 04:45

Originally posted by Formula 5000
This thread is very interesting and slowly our memories are being put into perspective.

Interesting that you say Bevan Gibson was on a roll in the Jane Elfin 400. He was; he beat John Harvey in the McLaren M6b at Calder when it had engine trouble?


I'm not sure about that, but I know some of his wins were due to non-shows and unreliability of other cars. At Sandown, for instance, he was the one who was left to profit after Matich had the sticking throttle and nearly buried the car in the sleepers at Peters Corner.

.....The January 1969 Calder meeting where you say Ray that Jane beat Allen both, in 400's, emphasises my previous point about Jane on his day being so good (though I don't think he ever had a fan club). You also provide a different version of my observations of O'Sullivan. His results speak for themselves and maybe show the SR3 took a little getting used to.....


Here we might speak about the differences between two real estate developers out there in similar machinery.

Allen was fast, really fast. His car was older than all of them and in those races at Calder he spun. Actually I was surprised at how many times he left the road in the races I quickly scanned as I went through this stuff.

O'Sullivan didn't do that so much. But he diced with Lionel Ayers. Niel Allen was never slow enough to dice with Lionel Ayers.

As for Don's results, they aren't all that oustanding. Seconds to Matich when he had the best car there, and only once did he overtake Allen to get that second place... in fact, Allen wasn't there for the second race in which he attained second place.

I think you could say that the old Traco, and the guys running it, had kind of lost their way a bit. Molloy I recall so well at that Catalina meeting complaining about the uncompetitiveness of the car, but Allen drove the ring out of it all the same, and I wouldn't be surprised if everyone there remembered those black stripes through Pilot Curve.

By the way, do you know which is Pilot Curve? That might make a big difference to your appreciation of this statement.

And there's one more thing. Matich worked closely with O'Sullivan as some WA money was trickling into the Matich coffers at this time. There were developments happening to the SR3 to keep Don up there, and I'm sure to his driving as well.

But what of Allen? Matich told me his view of Niel, and it went like this:

"I could never work out how he was so fast," Frank said, "he was a very busy man working long hours in his business, then on the weekend he'd come out and be a racing driver. He'd be fast right away, he seemed to be able to put all his worries and concerns about the business into the background and concentrate fully on sorting and driving the car. I don't know how he did that."

Compare, for instance, Greg Cusack. He was often said to have lapses caused by the fact that he couldn't do this.

Food for thought?

.....Most important is we all seem to remember the speed and action of those fantastic machines even though they were eventually beaten to a championship by an Elfin 350!


Is that bait?

When the pointscore favoured consistency and when the points were virtually equal for class placings, it's no surprise that Woodward won the title that year. He had no consistent opposition and a car bound to have greater reliability. All he needed to do was pick up a few positions in the outright places when the big cars dropped out.

And it only happened once!

#48 Formula 5000

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Posted 31 December 2006 - 04:56

Now Ray don't go to hard on me. I am old and infirm.

It was a small bait but I think you bit hard.

More importantly about Bevan Gibson " on a roll " I was actually agreeing with you. Perhaps I was not clear but I meant he was winning due to circumstances and this could have made him a trifle too brave.

Intersting your point about WA money trickling into Matich coffers. I had heard similar.

Wish I had two hands to belt out a reply as quick as you can. Very impressive.

Sad that such a well loved period of history, so well supported fell apart so throughly.

#49 Ray Bell

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Posted 31 December 2006 - 05:08

Don had the money and Frank had the experience, ability and resources... it was all a natural...

Yes, indeed, that well loved period was well supported. But it fell from favour in the quarters that mattered... with the CAMS and the sponsors.

Things will never be as good again.

#50 cosworth bdg

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Posted 31 December 2006 - 06:15

Well there is a car no one will probably ever see again , that is the ELFIN 350, a real crying shame....... :up: