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


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#2601 Dick Willis

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 02:58

You guys are going to wish you had never shown me how to post pics, I reckon I have enough here to keep this thread going for years !

I suspect the Collingrove HRG pic is in 1952, Greg first ran the car at a sprint at Port Wakefield in Sept 1951 and he sold it to WA in 1954 according to my notes. AMS April 1952, page 38 has a good pic of it also at Collingrove but with the bonnet fitted. Its a pity this car evolved into something else with the engine, body and chassis all going off in different directions as it had a quite attractive body.

Good pic of it in WA Terry, below is one of it on the vast expanses of Lowood in 1958, the driver I think is J. Edwards and the car is entered as the Godfrey Special, any connection to HRG, H.R. Godfrey from which HRG was named ?





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#2602 plannerpower

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 03:24

"HRG" was derived from Halford, Robins & Godfrey; three different blokes.

Glad to see you have mastered the photo-poster's art, Dick.

But scanning & uploading to imageshack/wherever is time-consuming and unexciting!

It gets "old" after a while.

#2603 Terry Walker

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 03:28

Caversham circa 1956-57

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#2604 Dick Willis

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 04:19

It looks fantastic there Terry, pity what happened to it.

Vanguards are popular there and what's the special in the background with the no. 21 on it.

#2605 Dick Willis

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 04:44

Charlie Smith at the Bathurst 500 in 1963 doing a quick wheel change after co-driver Ron Hodgson had fenced it, no safety cars then !





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#2606 Terry Walker

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 06:06

The brown car is John Metcalfe's Citroen special.

Don Reimann was a fine mechanic, and very meticulous. Among cars he worked on was the ex-Davison Ferrari 500/750 when it was raced by Doug Green over here.

#2607 Ray Bell

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 06:27

Something tells me that a lot of these aren't 'personal photos'... but don't stop!

Great stuff...

#2608 Dick Willis

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 10:33

This is personal, Ray. Me at the Kempsey Hillclimb in the Nota Clubman, ch. no. 31 in 1972.





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#2609 Ray Bell

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 10:40

Well, that one is wider than Collingrove!

Who took the pic, Dick? And what power unit was in the Nota?

#2610 bradbury west

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 11:49

Originally posted by Dick Willis
It looks fantastic there Terry, pity what happened to it.
Vanguards are popular there and what's the special in the background with the no. 21 on it.

If you block off the nosecone it looks Citroen onze/light fifteen-ish. Were they in Australia at that time, possibly pre-War cabriolet with the dropped door capping. But then again, possibly not.
Roger Lund

#2611 Ray Bell

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 11:59

There was plenty of Light 15s in Australia, probably from about 1948...

I'm sure we've had pics posted at other times of the more famous Light 15-based Citröen Special, the one which Bill Buckle started to build and then passed on to Don James.


Edited to correct the name... Don James.

#2612 2Bob

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 20:55

Is this the one Ray? Owned by old mate Bob Winley in 1968. At Hume Wier, Boxing day I think.

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#2613 275 GTB-4

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 23:36

Originally posted by Dick Willis
Charlie Smith at the Bathurst 500 in 1963 doing a quick wheel change after co-driver Ron Hodgson had fenced it, no safety cars then !

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Fabulous Dick...by George I think you've got it!! (please don't add lines below your text mate, one is enough to seperate words and picture ;)

So..that might be Barry Ferguson in the chaffcutter...hmmmm, who is in the other 850? Check out the baldy Charlie is about to whack on the Mini...does anyone know if they shaved tread off in the this era to make a semi-slick?

#2614 Shane Bowden

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Posted 01 November 2008 - 00:12

Originally posted by 2Bob
Is this the one Ray? Owned by old mate Bob Winley in 1968. At Hume Wier, Boxing day I think.

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With the Gibson Lotus 15 Le Mans at the left rear in front of the truck

regards Shane

#2615 Dick Willis

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Posted 01 November 2008 - 02:10

Ray, the Nota had a Datsun 1600 engine aqnd a swing axle rear end which was a bit dicey. I've no idea who took the pic which I've had since 1972.

Mick, re Charlie's Mini pic, at first I thought it was the Ford/Ferguson class winning VW going past which is a story in itself but it is the fifth placed Mackie/White car, thanks for the tip about the spacing.

Good pic of Bob Winley with the Citroen Special, here it is at King Edward Park, Newcastle hill climb, not sure of the year, maybe 1956. It too has to be high on the list of Australia's most notable specials.


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#2616 Derek Pitt

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Posted 01 November 2008 - 03:28

Dick,

Was the owner at the time of the Newcastle hillclimb, a mouseketeer....or was there another reason for those Mickey Mouse Club ears?

Derek

#2617 plannerpower

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Posted 01 November 2008 - 04:05

Stone/mud-guards, I should think. The photo fortuitously shows the front wheel right in-line with the driver's face.

Similar devices, albeit horizontal, can be seen behind each front wheel of many open-wheelers of the era; a reminder that these cars didn't race on the "billiard-tables" we have today and that driver protection was minimal.

Don James/Citroen Special (well, half of it anyway :) ) at King Edward Park 14 Sep 63;

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#2618 Dick Willis

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Posted 01 November 2008 - 04:26

Thanks Kerry, I've been hoping someone could come up with a logical explanation. Nice pic of the backe end of it, here's a pic of the back end of it too, proving that even FWD cars can spin, Bathurst 1956 or thereabouts.

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#2619 plannerpower

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Posted 01 November 2008 - 04:47

It probably didn't have any kind of locked/limited-slip diff; in a tight corner the front wheels would have been at an angle such as that in the photo.

Wheelspin of the inside wheel would have showered the driver with stones etc.

And there were plenty of stones at King Edward Park, esp. around the Pinch!!

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#2620 plannerpower

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Posted 01 November 2008 - 05:31

Is this you, Dick?

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Silverdale 24 Jul 66.

#2621 Derek Pitt

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Posted 01 November 2008 - 05:54

Yup thanks for the explanation.

I should have realised front wheel drive would kick up stones etc..


Derek

#2622 plannerpower

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Posted 01 November 2008 - 06:08

Not only FWD, although that would have been particularly nasty in slow corners such as those found in hillclimbs.

As I commented earlier, many racing cars had "mudguards".

This is an Alfa-Romeo 158 "Alfetta";

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The "wings" can be seen on many GP and lesser cars of the time.

#2623 Dick Willis

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Posted 01 November 2008 - 06:51

I plead guilty Kerry, is that "big tree" corner ? here's the Milano at Silverdale the same year, maybe not the same day, getting a bit of wheelspin.

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#2624 Gordon Graham

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Posted 01 November 2008 - 07:00

Originally posted by Terry Walker
The brown car is John Metcalfe's Citroen special.

Don Reimann was a fine mechanic, and very meticulous. Among cars he worked on was the ex-Davison Ferrari 500/750 when it was raced by Doug Green over here.


Never saw the Ferrari under Reimann's stewardship, but he always had Mike Tighe's Elfin immaculately turned out. That cast rocker cover I think was Reimann's own creation, bearing the name "Reidon". There was one on Owen Stringer's GT Cortina as well.

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#2625 275 GTB-4

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Posted 01 November 2008 - 07:05

Originally posted by Dick Willis
Charlie Smith at the Bathurst 500 in 1963 doing a quick wheel change after co-driver Ron Hodgson had fenced it, no safety cars then !

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This could be an even more dramatic picture than it already looks...according to reports I have read, the Mini and the VW were leading Class A one lap from the finish when the Mini hit the wall at Hell Corner leaving the Bill Ford/Barry Ferguson VW to go on and win. Second was the Vaugh and Lane Morris 850 of Don Holland/Lindsay Little

So...

this great picture could be showing the Class A winners immediately after they have taken the Chequered Flag :up: :)

Heres one of the reports...

http://www.pixelmati...es/bath1963.htm

#2626 plannerpower

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Posted 01 November 2008 - 07:18

I don't think that's Silverdale, Dick; it looks more like Castlereagh dragstrip!! :)

It's actually just after the start at Silverdale, coming-up to the hump & LH sweep before Big Tree; my photos were taken at the Hairpin.

And you are doing what I always did in the Hairpin; too close to the apex.

The fastest way around a climbing hairpin like this was to "roll" around the outside; I could never resist the temptation to take the "classic" apexing line that takes all the weight off the inside driven wheel and leaves you wheelspinning and losing time.

Silverdale was wonderful; and the family Robson, Jim, Paddy & Mark, were wonderful friends to me.

A swim in the dam after a hot Saturday practice was heaven!!

#2627 Dick Willis

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Posted 01 November 2008 - 10:42

Mick, check my post no. 2615, the VW in the pic is 57A whereas the Ford /Ferguson class winning car was 54A, the second placed Mini was white and numbered 55A. At first I came to the same conclusion as you until I double checked.

Kerry, I've been communicating with Jim Robson recently about the Stewart MG which he had a lot to do with, he is now living in Tasmania and sadly lost his wife a couple of months ago.

#2628 rms

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Posted 01 November 2008 - 14:08

Originally posted by Dick Willis
I plead guilty Kerry, is that "big tree" corner ? here's the Milano at Silverdale the same year, maybe not the same day, getting a bit of wheelspin.

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I suggest this is exiting the hairpin, taken from the inside. The background is too steep to be the lower half of Silverdale.

If you are talking to Jim, please pass on my sincerest sympathy on Paddy's passing.

Erol Richardson

#2629 plannerpower

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Posted 01 November 2008 - 20:30

Of course you are correct, Erol (and, since you have probably been up Silverdale many more times {and much faster} than most of us, you would know! :) ).

Very sad to hear about Paddy; she was a nice lady.

#2630 plannerpower

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Posted 01 November 2008 - 20:55

This photo was taken at the same Silverdale meeting as my other photos of Dick and his Milano;

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Bruce Leer (Milano) was also at this meeting; I can't tell whether this is Bruce or Dick.

But it could have been taken seconds after the others at the Hairpin so the chances are that it's Dick "lightin' 'em up".

#2631 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 November 2008 - 21:45

Originally posted by 275 GTB-4
This could be an even more dramatic picture than it already looks...according to reports I have read, the Mini and the VW were leading Class A one lap from the finish when the Mini hit the wall at Hell Corner leaving the Bill Ford/Barry Ferguson VW to go on and win. Second was the Vaugh and Lane Morris 850 of Don Holland/Lindsay Little

So...

this great picture could be showing the Class A winners immediately after they have taken the Chequered Flag :up: :)

Heres one of the reports...

http://www.pixelmati...es/bath1963.htm


At the risk of upsetting someone...

It could not be after the chequered flag for two reasons... even if it was those cars, which it wasn't, as Dick has already pointed out:

1. This photo is in Murrays Corner, before the finish line.

2. The Mini was on its side as the VW crossed the line, it took a little while to get if off its side.

Here's the paragraphs from the site you cited:

As mentioned earlier the battle between the Morris 850 and VW continued right to the finish with both cars "on the limit", the VW going "underneath" the Mini in the braking area at the bottom of Con-Rod Straight only to be repassed going up the mountain.

On the last lap Little rolled the Mini at Murray's Corner while in the lead and with only 100 yards to go to the finish, marking a dramatic end to probably the hardest fought battle in the history of the "Armstrong".


It also explains that there wasn't still a lap to go, they were on the run to the flag.

The cited report also gives a third reason in an ensuing paragraph:

Some minutes after the winners had finished, Charlie Smith limped across the line with the off-side wheel of his Mini Cooper lying out at about a 60 degree angle.


So a picture taken at the end of the race cannot possibly have included all three of these cars.

#2632 275 GTB-4

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Posted 01 November 2008 - 22:22

Obliviously...the cited report is more detailed than the RCN 1964 Annual analysis of the '63 I had in front of me...

#2633 seldo

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Posted 02 November 2008 - 00:53

Originally posted by 275 GTB-4

Check out the baldy Charlie is about to whack on the Mini...does anyone know if they shaved tread off in the this era to make a semi-slick?

No - they didn't do the tread shaving. In fact I recall that Bruce McPhee used to clock up ump-teen thousand road miles on his Michelins pre-race, in order to achieve this effect.
The spare would have been bald because you were obliged to carry a spare (and OE jack and tools) and of course you wouldn't waste a good tyre on the spare because you would never get to use it........ :eek:

#2634 Dick Willis

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Posted 02 November 2008 - 00:58

RMS, Erol, glad to are on the forum, I will certainly pass on your regards to Jim Robson, I'm sure he would be glad to hear from you, send me PM and I'll give you his address.

Kerry, another good Silverdale Milano pic but I'm sure its not me, probably Bruce Leer as his Milano had a bigger back window than mine and no GT stripes on the black car. Bruce and Sam Johnson could never work out why I was quicker than them at Silverdale eventually getting under 40 but after that wheelspinning episode shown in a previous pic I fitted a locked diff which cured that problem but introduced some others.

In regards to the Charlie Smith Bathurst wheelchanging episode Charlie wasn't very happy with Ron Hodgson for fencing the Mini and he never co-drove for him again, Charlie did much better with Bruce Maher, Bo Seton and Don Holland.

#2635 Dick Willis

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Posted 02 November 2008 - 03:50

Another of our great Aussie Specials, the Zephyr Special built by Eldred Norman, here in the mid 'seventies in less than pristine condition. Eldred's son Bill recently told me of all the troubles his father initially had in convincing the scrutineers that the car was safe to race because of its revolutionary construction.

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#2636 275 GTB-4

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Posted 02 November 2008 - 03:54

Originally posted by seldo
No - they didn't do the tread shaving. In fact I recall that Bruce McPhee used to clock up ump-teen thousand road miles on his Michelins pre-race, in order to achieve this effect.
The spare would have been bald because you were obliged to carry a spare (and OE jack and tools) and of course you wouldn't waste a good tyre on the spare because you would never get to use it........ :eek:


Thanks Seldo...yes, thats one of the few things retained in my memory!

However, he might have overdone the "roading" of the XASs as he finished once with "canvas" showing AFAIR...BTW remind me to ask you about painted brake markers in Rose Bay sometime :cool:

#2637 kevinbartlett

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Posted 02 November 2008 - 06:57

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By kevbart


Here's one for Dick and Kerry, Silverdale, maybe Leon Thomas. I'll try to scratch up another I took of John Bruderlin in the cigar TC

#2638 plannerpower

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Posted 02 November 2008 - 07:18

Kevin; a wonderfully evocative photo.

I take it that that is the Hairpin; it looks nothing like the Hairpin that a young bloke like me remembers from the 1970s.

Can you tell us a date or year?

#2639 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 November 2008 - 08:32

That would have to be no later than '56 or so, surely?

Regarding Dick's pic of the Norholfordor in the seventies... surely in Ken Messenger's time? ...it never looked like that again. Wonderful car, nothing in the world like it.

The story goes that when the scrutes said it would break in half, Eldred rolled it under the back of a truck and put a jack on the 'chassis' section, the big tube between the engine and gearbox, and jacked the back of the truck off the ground to prove it was okay.

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#2640 Dick Willis

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Posted 02 November 2008 - 09:04

Does anyone know whose Cigar MG this is andthe location ?

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#2641 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 November 2008 - 09:17

Judging by the fences, Dick, that would be Gnoo Blas...

Was there that kind of slope in the paddock area there?

#2642 seldo

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Posted 02 November 2008 - 13:17

Originally posted by 275 GTB-4


...BTW remind me to ask you about painted brake markers in Rose Bay sometime :cool:

I know nothing.....;)

#2643 kevinbartlett

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Posted 02 November 2008 - 23:27

Originally posted by Dick Willis
Does anyone know whose Cigar MG this is andthe location ?

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Dick I am 90% certain it is Leon Thomas's car. The pit is at Bathurst, 100%. I shall talk with John Bruderlin to confirm the year. Bruderlin and Thomas (pre Lynx) bought the late Jimmie Johnson's cigar body moulds after his demise at Coona'. And Leon drove one for a short while, numbered 132.

#2644 Dick Willis

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Posted 02 November 2008 - 23:40

As referred to by Kevin, Jimmie Johnson's "cigar" bodied TC Special at Bathurst in 1956, note the "mudguards"

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#2645 plannerpower

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Posted 03 November 2008 - 00:19

And with the Aussie equivalent of victory champagne!!


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#2646 kevinbartlett

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Posted 03 November 2008 - 00:29

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By kevbart

Dick, One of Johnno', I took whilst "flagging" in the esses. I think the same meeting as your pic, can see headlights, guards difficult to pick.

#2647 Dick Willis

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 00:11

Another MG Special from the Easter 1956 Bathurst meeting, Holt Binnie's which I think was based on a TD but can someone confirm that.

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#2648 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 01:06

Yes, Dick, a TD... with a clue in the shape of the body...

At the October meeting it was to sprout a Laystall head and 1¾" SUs. Did this car become the Gladiator, or was that another chassis?

Details from John Medley's book, of course.

#2649 Dick Willis

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 02:19

Holt crashed the TD Special in a big way at Mt Druitt and almost finished himself too, apparently he suffered facial injuries when his face scraped along the fence and he always wore a beard afterwards as in the Gladiator pic below which was at the Castlereagh Sprints.

The Gladiator bore no relationship to the TD although it had similar suspension, it was built by/for Barry Taylor and Holt bought it in 1959 and raced it extensively until 1962/3, I have owned it since 2000.

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#2650 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 03:18

I've got a good story about the Gladiator after it blew its engine...

Ray Eldershaw ran a workshop in Holt's servo and did some work on the car. Holt asked him to cobble an engine together but Ray wasn't prepared to do that. "I'll build you an engine, but you have to do it my way, it will be a good engine and it will hold together," Ray told him.

Holt wasn't interested. But as Bathurst got nearer and he observed that Ray hadn't touched the car he backed down. "Okay, have it your way then!"

Ray built as good an engine as he could at the time and in the available time. Holt went to Bathurst and Ray was aghast as he listened to it coming out of Hell Corner. "The clutch won't last another lap," he said to himself. And the next lap it was the same, and the next and the next. When practice finished he rushed over and started talking about changing the clutch.

"Why?" Holt asked, "the clutch is fine, I just can't get it to stop wheelspinning!"

At that point Merv Waggott wandered over. "Seems to go pretty well," he said, "what sort of horsepower do you think it's got?"

"No idea, we've never put an engine on a dyno," said Ray.

"When can you bring it around so we can try it on mine?" Merv asked.

And so the following Wednesday the Holt Binnie engine was out of the car (Holt was delighted, by the way) and on the Waggott dyno. If you knew Ray Eldershaw, the genteel and reserved man that he is, you'd never believe the next bit ot the story happened... but he assures me it did.

The engine came up with 128bhp, IIRC and Merv said it was the most powerful standard headed Holden engine he'd ever had on his dyno. "What was the next best?" asked Ray.

"114 horsepower," replied Merv.

"What amateur built that one?" Ray, in a moment of very un-Ray Eldershaw character, asked.

"Me!" came the reply.

And that's how it came to be that Ray went on to build the Brian Muir engines and ultimately the S4 for Brian. Brian blew the ex-Pete Geoghegan engine and went to Merv for a rebuild, Merv recommended he go to Ray. Ray, having given these engines a lot of thought in the meantime, guaranteed Brian 140hp and 120mph at Bathurst 'or you don't have to pay me'. He delivered on both counts.

Originally posted by 275 GTB-4
Obliviously...the cited report is more detailed than the RCN 1964 Annual analysis of the '63 I had in front of me...


I've been through my '64 RCNs and can't find any such analysis... I must have missed it...

What issue is this in?