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Personal photos of Australian motor racing '50s to '70s


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#1901 Ray Bell

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 09:01

Got the news...

How's this for a start? From Peter Button, his grandfather's photos... so the credit goes to Ron Eaton. I'd reckon this is Wahgunyah, three A-model Specials leading the line. Where is Terry Cornelius?

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Does anyone remember this Renault 750-based car? Obviously on the grid at Albert Park, I think it's 1958:

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Wait, there's more! Later tonight I'll post some.

Any information anyone can provide about these pics will be warmly welcomed. And while we're asking for answers, does anyone know if there was an official Creswick Hillclimb in the mid-fifites?

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#1902 Terry Walker

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 09:09

There's a colour photo of that amazingly ugly special further back in this thread.

#1903 David Shaw

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 09:16

Yes, I just went looking for it. Page 12, post 471. "Sabrina"

#1904 David Shaw

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 09:44

I've just noticed that this thread had its first anniversary yesterday, so 1900 posts is pretty good going.

#1905 John Ellacott

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 09:56

Another photo from Mt. Druitt 1958 of Frank Gardner and his D Type showing a few different cars in the background.
Kevin, you are most welcome to pass onto Frank.

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#1906 Catalina Park

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 10:07

Originally posted by David Shaw
I've just noticed that this thread had its first anniversary yesterday, so 1900 posts is pretty good going.

1000 posts about cars and 900 from Stan complaining about cars. :lol: Keep up the good work everyone, I am having a great time watching at this thread.

#1907 John Ellacott

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 10:16

Mt. Druitt November 1957, Tom Sulman Aston Martin chases Frank Gardner C Type Jaguar.

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#1908 Catalina Park

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 10:22

Fantastic photos John. When I was a kid I played footy at Whalan Reserve and never knew it was formerly Mt Druitt race track.

#1909 David McKinney

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 10:32

Originally posted by Ray Bell
I'd reckon this is Wahgunyah, three A-model Specials leading the line

What's a Wahgunyah?
I trust the blokes are on their way to an event - or are they actually racing in this photo?
And - when(ish)?

#1910 Tim Murray

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 11:23

Originally posted by David Shaw
I've just noticed that this thread had its first anniversary yesterday, so 1900 posts is pretty good going.

And I know I'm not the only 'foreigner' who is finding some of these photos absolutely fascinating. Please keep them coming.

#1911 bradbury west

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 11:57

[i]Originally posted by Tim Murray And I know I'm not the only 'foreigner' who is finding some of these photos absolutely fascinating. Please keep them coming. [/B]

Well said. It is brilliant stuff, and, apart from at the Warwick Farm opener, the sun always seems to shine.
BTW, what is the little blue soft top, second from left in the Gardner D pic, with the chap standing alongside? It looks on blowup to be a Berkley.
Roger Lund.

#1912 Ray Bell

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 12:32

Originally posted by Terry Walker
There's a colour photo of that amazingly ugly special further back in this thread.


Repeated here, for clarification:

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Thanks, Terry, for saying what you have... I've just received an e.mail from Peter, whose attention I've drawn to this thread, it's probably good that you said 'amazingly ugly' as it kind of takes the sting out of my 'butt ugly' comment.

Sorry, Peter, but one of the things we do appreciate about those old Specials is that there were the good, the bad and the ugly. And all had their place. What I didn't appreciate (but should have) when I wrote that was it was rear engined, of course, which explains a lot about the shape.

Just so you guys see what this thread can do, here's some of Peter's message to me:

"Just had a look at the thread. I saw the post about th colour pic. Just about brought tears to my eyes. After nearly thirty odd years of stories 'it was green etc etc' to see a colour pic of it, and captioned as R. C. Eaton's Renault Special has been mindblowing. No one in my family ever had any colour photo of the car, quite amazing."

I'll put Peter in touch with Kevin so he can make arrangements, perhaps, to get that pic in a nice hi-res form and get prints done etc.

Now, down to business:

Originally asked by David McKinney
What's a Wahgunyah?
I trust the blokes are on their way to an event - or are they actually racing in this photo?
And - when(ish)?


I'm not sure that Wahgunyah isn't still running... an outlaw (non-CAMS) dirt track. Referred to previously, but only in passing, I don't know much about the place at all. It's just across the Murray from Corowa, on the way to Rutherglen. Here's a scene in the pit area, seems that all these pics are mid to late fifties:

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And in another pit area, at Albert Park in December, ...

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Just about everyone will recognise Alec Mildren awkwardly climbing into his car, Glenn Abbey hogging the camera, the V8 Maybach behind them and then the Bob Jane Maserati 300S. KB, I think you can feel free to forward this pic to Glenn... I'm sure Peter will be happy with that, and Ron would have been no doubt.

Now... Ron's hat... Peter wants to know if there's any information available about the helmet because he's had it passed on to him. Let's see what you blokes reckon:

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A nice keepsake, I'd say. He hasn't told me who the girl wearing it is, perhaps it's his mother?

Now for another one, this looks like Ron again, but in a different car. Hepburn Hillclimb:

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...and a couple of Derek Jolly and his Lotus 15:

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Interesting, isn't it? Someone who kaydee photographed at Albert Park in '58 may well have here photographed kaydee pushing or hanging around the Lotus 15 at the same meeting!

#1913 Stan Patterson

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 22:43

Sorry Ray,

That is the ex-Mckay DB3S in the background of the Mildren T43 pic - not a 300S.

The car was bought by Stan Jones after its 1958 TT win and both he and Otto Stone drove it at the 'Lake in 1958.

The car was wrongly geared and bellowed around very ineffectively although, after Otto got at it, it sounded magnificent.

David McKay later wrote that Stan was very unhappy with the purchase and to my knowledge SJ never raced it again.

Stan

#1914 Ray Bell

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 22:59

Good to see you contributing again, Stan...

Now, how about this one? I'm sure you know who put a Corvette into a Cooper Bristol!

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Again, the Lake in 1958, thanks to the roving box Brownie (or whatever...) of Ron Eaton and the generosity of his grandson.

Another for you:

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Treat that one nicely and I'll give you a Stillwell car... and one of Patto's...

#1915 Stan Patterson

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 00:22

Strike 2 Ray !


That Cooper looks very much like Ray Gibb's very effective Cooper Holden...a very quick car which Ray always seemed to get to get go like a rocket at Fishermens Bend. I think the Cooper Corvette atrocity occurred a little later.

Indeed, we have already seen a Stillwell car with the 250F visible in the background of the colour pic showing that french special and as a bonus, with what looks like the maestro himself, Doug Whiteford, peering into the cockpit.

Splendid !

Stan

#1916 kevinbartlett

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 01:04

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By kevbart


I have just found my (actual) Box Brownie shots from Albert Park 1958.I remember being quite close to the action, after looking at the pics I'm glad I was young and spry.
As soon as I scan and cattledog them I will post in dribs and drabs. I have a couple of specials for Stan as well.

#1917 Ray Bell

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 01:22

Originally posted by Stan Patterson
Strike 2 Ray !

That Cooper looks very much like Ray Gibb's very effective Cooper Holden...a very quick car which Ray always seemed to get to get go like a rocket at Fishermens Bend. I think the Cooper Corvette atrocity occurred a little later.

Indeed, we have already seen a Stillwell car with the 250F visible in the background of the colour pic showing that french special and as a bonus, with what looks like the maestro himself, Doug Whiteford, peering into the cockpit.


Yes indeedy... that does look like the great man himself in jeans back there...

According to the AGP book, 1958 had seen Tom Hawkes put a Corvette into a Cooper Bristol chassis, so I assume this is that car.

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Old Ron certainly got around, didn't he? And yet there's more...

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Hepburn Hillclimb again, the Decca. And once more I ask, was there an official Creswick Hillclimb in the mid-fifties?

You want more? Back to Wahgunyah then, to the true 'grass roots'... or is that 'tree roots'?

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What do you reckon, KB? You'd like to have a blast on that around the dirt track? And did you send that pic to Glenn? Good reflexes with your Box Brownie, by the way!

#1918 Stan Patterson

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 01:25

Kevin's pic -

Shows Bob Jane on a very steep learning curve on the 300S Maserati.

I remember seeing the car after the event with dents and buckled bodywork on all four corners.

Still what better way to learn how to be a racng driver than to buy a 1.5 year old Ex-Works, ex-Moss, 2 seater Grand Prix car and race on a circuit like Albert Park???..!!!!

Stan

#1919 kevinbartlett

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 01:46

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By kevbart


This is a teaser for Stan. Specials later

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#1920 Stan Patterson

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 02:10

Ray,

That last pic of Wahgunyah is so incrediberly primitive it is hard to believe that it is really the 1950's.

I must say while looking at it, I was reminded of a saying my mother often used to say when i was a lad...

"Stanley.....men never really grow up..."

It reminds me of a bunch of boys will billycarts

Stan

#1921 Ray Bell

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 03:50

I'm fairly sure that's an FJ Holden in the background, Stan...

That means it's post '53 at least! And Terry Cornelius talked of racing his A-Model Special and a Jeep Special there and at Bright in the sixties, I'm sure. One night they had trouble with one of their towmasters on the way home... somewhere I have a picture...

#1922 Stan Patterson

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 04:20

Thank you Kevin,

That is no teaser..that is just magic.

That picture, old and faded as it is, somehow still captures the authority and special magic that Whiteford and the 300S were able to create.- those who never witnessed it missed something special.

And...it has to be said , the late 50's sports racng cars, Masers, Ferraris, D types and Astons were among the most beautiful racing cars ever built.

Thanks
Stan

#1923 Gordon Graham

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 05:42

Thanks to all concerned for those wonderful photographs. And I think Stan's right about that being the Gibbs Cooper - it appears in the Blanden books with that paintwork and that number. Perhaps the label on that pic is wrong.

#1924 David McKinney

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 07:22

Yes, the Ray Gibbs car
It did get a Corvette engine later, I believe - in Bob Punch's ownership

#1925 Stan Patterson

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 08:38

I have always wondered why, when Frank Gardner rebuilt the C Type, he made that ugly radiator grille and didn't copy the original pattern.

As a teenager , it upset me that it didnt look like a C Type

Stan

#1926 cavvy

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 08:38

The Creswick hillclimb? I have been chasing the location of the Hepburn hillclimb, can anyone help?

#1927 john medley

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 08:42

The Wahgunyah pics are the first I have seen of that circuit, and forcibly remind me of at least one story told to me by some of the regulars there long ago.

Just one: "Ricketts" Jackson was just a local lad off the farm, so nicknamed because of his unfortunate build and posture. He was invariably so dirty and unwashed that after one accident that hospitalized him, one observer told me that "when the nurses finished scrubbing his back, you know the last thing they found? His old schoolbag. They reckon it was still there"

Ricketts raced a bare chassis like some in the photos, and was envious of those who had real racin' bucket seats -- so being just a lad off the farm, he built his own. He diagonally cut a 44 gallon drum, and used gutter bolts to attach seatbelt to the new seat, and the new seat to the chassis.

At, not unexpectedly, a particularly inopportune moment, the gutter bolts holding seat to chassis gave up the ghost. This sent Ricketts on a scuttling run down the dusty circuit, still attached to his racin' bucket seat. "He looked like the Hunchback of whatever that place was" reported another admirer of Ricketts

But that's not all: Ricketts built up a racing sedan of some sort, and cut out the front crossmember to better accomodate the HUGE engine he then installed. "You had to see the front end misbehaving to believe it" said one of the observers. "How Ricketts controlled it for as long as he did is hard to believe. Pity about the tree" Ricketts scored the big tree on the circuit at Bright(where, it should be pointed out, the laprecordholder on the oiled dirt was an Elfin Mono) head on. The nurses at the hospital in Bright then scrubbed his back

#1928 Ray Bell

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 09:33

I assume they're Wahgunyah, John, because they are labelled 'Corowa'... which isn't very far away...

I recall you telling that 'Ricketts Jackson' story before. I wonder what Terry Cornelius could tell us about some of these cars?

While we're here, we might look at some of the other Wahgunyah-type cars, this one is a Ford 10 two-seater:

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And another A-Model, I suspect, rear view only:

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That's all of the Wahgunyah-style stuff. There's some more Hepburn and Albert Park, and some from Creswick, but I'm reluctant to post them if it wasn't an official hillclimb.

#1929 275 GTB-4

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 09:47

Originally posted by Ray Bell
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This shot is so early, Porsche didn't even have the c in their name! or is their more to the story?

Excuse my ignorance, but is the N Hamilton the father of Paul?

#1930 Ray Bell

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 10:08

Originally posted by 275 GTB-4
This shot is so early, Porsche didn't even have the c in their name! or is their more to the story?

Excuse my ignorance, but is the N Hamilton the father of Paul?


Good catch!

No, there is only one Hamilton family that's synonymous with Porsche in Australia, isn't there? Norman Hamilton fathered Allan Hamilton, they were Porsche Cars Australia until the parent company changed their arrangements.

#1931 Stan Patterson

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 10:12

Nice to see u back

Yes Norman Hamilton and his Porsche RS were a formidable class competitor in our glory days...always a gutssy performer ...

It was driven at Longford by the elusive Bruce Walton with great verve ....

but was never followed up by a fair dinkum RSK

Hamiltons were the Victorian Porsche distibutors..but the Lotus Elevens were better and so we went back to mythology etc


Stan

#1932 Ray Bell

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 10:36

Speaking of Bruce Walton, is this his car?

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And Ron was a bit of a Porsche perve (actually, Stan, Hamiltons were the Australian distributors) :

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At least he balanced that with a look at some well-developed race cars:

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#1933 David McKinney

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 10:42

Originally posted by Stan Patterson
Norman Hamilton and his Porsche RS were a formidable class competitor in our glory days...always a gutssy performer ...

Did he ever drive it in competition himself?
Just about everyone else did - did any car ever have so many different drivers in such a short space of time? I can think of more than a dozen before the car passed from Hamiltons to the ill-starred Reg Smith:
Stirling Moss
Jack Brabham
Stan Jones
Frank Kleinig
Les Murphy
Ted Gray
Aussie Miller
Ern Tadgell
Bruce Walton
Eddie Perkins
Otto Stone
John Sawyer
A Williams
Who have I missed?

#1934 Ray Bell

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 10:49

I certainly can't say, but with a list like that I'd have expected to see Dougy on it...

#1935 eldougo

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 10:57

Originally posted by Stan Patterson
I have always wondered why, when Frank Gardner rebuilt the C Type, he made that ugly radiator grille and didn't copy the original pattern.
Knowing Frank i guess it came down to $$$ Stan,they would not have been a off the shelf item in Oz those days
As a teenager , it upset me that it didnt look like a C Type

That statement really shows that you like every thing to be prim & proper even as a teen and nothing has changed
Stan

:up: :up: :up:

#1936 GeoffR

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 11:00

Fascinating pics of some of this 'old stuff' running on tracks near the mighty Murray - ie Wahgunyah, I recall in my younger days at Mildura that they used to give river levels from Wahgunyah, & no one really knew where it was!
Was the Bright circuit they raced on back then the same as we used as a special stage on the Alpine rallies of the '80s?

#1937 Ray Bell

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 11:09

Yes, it was, though it might not have been the full circuit...

My brother actually scored fastest time on that stage in one Alpine. His true moment of glory, the scabby Escort having done the job for him. Of course, the reporters all thought there was only one 'Bell' in the event, so the reports didn't give him the credit.

#1938 Stan Patterson

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 11:19

I want the Austin Truck and the Zephryr Zodiac


And our lost heritage

Stan

#1939 GeoffR

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 11:25

My brother actually scored fastest time on that stage in one Alpine.



Wayne??

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#1940 bradbury west

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 11:52

Excellent stuff, Ray, and so clear, very much appreciated over here as an archive . Pls thank the chap who made them available
Roger Lund

#1941 Stan Patterson

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 12:00

Prim and Proper?

Does that mean "how we were given it to us by the Brits?"'

I have no issue with that, and I find Jeremy Clarkson refreshng.....pity more Mac aussies "I need a mansion and a japanese AWD imitaion Range Rover to show that I am a winner " think that is all that life offers.

Please Explain
Stan

#1942 seldo

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 13:55

Originally posted by Stan Patterson
I have always wondered why, when Frank Gardner rebuilt the C Type, he made that ugly radiator grille and didn't copy the original pattern.

As a teenager , it upset me that it didnt look like a C Type

Stan

Probably because it was prone to overheating with the original grille aperture....

#1943 Ray Bell

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 17:21

Originally posted by GeoffR
Wayne??


No, poor Wayne is no relation...

My brother is Bob, who privately rallied a 2-litre Escort. Wayne was credited by the report as they only looked at the surname, Bob did the time and missed out on the glory.

Roger, I have more pics coming, so I'll clear the decks of the first lot, first there's the Paul England Ausca:

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Then to show it was the Melbourne Grand Prix meeting, held in late 1958:

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Brabham's Cooper - Moss's Walker Cooper - Arnold Glass' Ferrari

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Stan Jones' 250F - Alan Jack's ex-Patto Cooper - the boys at work on the Renault Special

Finally, the last of the first batch... a Sprite when Sprites were very new:

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Without the frogeyes ...and another of the Decca at Hepburn Springs:

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Roger, Peter is looking in and will see your comment. He's sent me the remaining pics despite some poorer quality because he is happy to see you guys enjoying these. Some interesting stuff still to come, thanks again to Ron Eaton and Peter Button.

#1944 Stan Patterson

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 20:00

Sorry to be pedantic Ray,

That is the 1958 Melbourne Grand Prix meeting - held in November - Moomba was in March. There were no Moomba races in 1958 because Bolte and his cronies were already starting to stir up trouble over car racng at Albert Park.

Patto raced the ex-Stillwell Cooper open wheeler at the meeting, although mechanical problems prevented him from starting in the Melbounre Grand Prix.

The bobtail Cooper pictured at that stage would have belonged to Alan Jack who raced the car for many seasons thereafter.

Stan

#1945 Ray Bell

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 21:54

Pedantry appreciated, Stan...

Items mentioned have been corrected.

Now for a bit more Wahgunyah... with a surprise, perhaps!

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Now isn't that a long way removed from the kind of thing you'd associate with the name 'John Blanden'? It does look like the John we all knew, but is it?

These cars are going, as it says in the clip, to Corowa. In other words, I'm concluding, Wahgunyah. So let's have more Wahgunyah, especially to stir David McKinney's emotions:

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The first is obviously at speed, the second clearly not. But at speed there were apparently perils in the bush:

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The background to this crashed car looks like photos I've seen previously from Wahgunyah, undoubtedly in Terry Cornelius' scrapbook or something.

Some went to more trouble than running a mere flathead engine there too, however the ubiquitous Customline towmaster is still side-valved:

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There's still a bunch more, some hillclimb stuff which I'd like to confirm the identity of, so again we owe a debt of gratitude to Peter for sending Ron's pics through.

#1946 ken devine

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 23:00

These are great photos of our early motorsport history Ray,again showing the great Australian Inguinety
in building racing cars.Thank god for the Box Brownie.

#1947 Dale Harvey

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 23:34

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John Harvey's Brabham being returned to the pits after its unfortunate crash at Bathurst.
I am not too sure on how to do this picture posting thing properly yet. More to come when I can get it right.
Dale.

#1948 Ray Bell

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 23:42

Originally posted by ken devine
.....(you were right again Ray).

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Actually, it's not the pic...

And I don't think the bloke in the hat in the framed pic is Norman Howard either... he must have been further to the left, or even a bit to the right, but more likely the left.

Anyway, I remembered where the picture I'm talking about was... in my RCN story about that race. And, like I said, wouldn't it be wonderful if we had a stack of Norman Howard photos in this thread!

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Good to see you're getting there, Dale...

#1949 ken devine

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 23:44

As we have been discussing Allan Tomlinson this one is Bunbury 1938.standing beside the car is Clem Dwyer
dont know who the other one is.




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#1950 john medley

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 23:59

Not sure, but perhaps Eric Coleman or Toleman?