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Mentioned in Passing


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#51 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 08:33

Guy, your loss is, in a small part, our loss... for it's just as this quote says:

Originally posted by Great Zapper
My great uncle, Peter Cooper, second in the 1954 RAC rally and later on MSA Chief Executive, died peacefully on Saturday.

A lovely chap, if a bit of a rogue sometimes... I never really got him to sit down and talk about all his scurrilous memories of a golden age, which I regret now, but it was always good to chat with him about racing stuff.


And to you, no amount of hand-wringing will make up for what you neglected to do... so don't dwell on it, see if some of his friends are still around and talk to them.

My condolences to you both.

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#52 raceannouncer2003

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 04:52

Former NASCAR West champion Jack McCoy passed away on Tuesday. More info here:

http://www.usatoday....971215401_x.htm

and here:

http://localracing.n...r.com/node/2516

By the way, isn't this thread the same as "Gone, but not forgotten..."? Should they be merged?

Vince H.

#53 Ray Bell

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Posted 10 June 2009 - 14:23

That grand icon of Bathurst, George Reed died two weeks ago...

Just got an SMS message from Max Stahl about the sad event. I feel sure he was 96 this year too, though his various ailments left him somewhat more than distorted in the face and his sister in law was committed to a nursing home over a year ago to leave him at home alone.

George was severely hit by the loss of his wife Norma several years ago, but his memory of events of the past never dimmed and his ability to (with stilted speech) tell tales about the doings of the twenties and thirties enthralled anyone who had the time and patience to listen to them.

His father was an early motorist and George was a spectator at the Hundred Miles Road Race at Phillip Island in 1928. That race later became known as the 1928 Australian Grand Prix, but George never accepted that name for it and always spoke of it as the 'hundred miles road race.'

By the late thirties George was racing and tuning all manner of vehicles, but in particular the Ford V8 came to be his power unit of choice. He lamented the passing of the era of the large-engined and standard-chassised Specials for over fifty years, but he was also among the first to see that their day had come.

As the builder of one of only two Specials to win the Australian Grand Prix, he has a special place in racing history in this country, but that pales alongside his place in the minds and hearts of the motoring enthusiasts of his home town.

George continued competing at a lower level after giving up racing in the fifties. Into the seventies, perhaps the eighties, he was running a supercharged Torana in sprints and other events and showing the youngsters that his day was not yet spent.

I'm sure John Medley could add a lot more to this sad notification of the loss of one of the great men of our sport... and others who might choose to post as well.

#54 terry mcgrath

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Posted 11 June 2009 - 12:44

George Reed certainly had done it all
he drove the western australian built Cranston Ford V8 special (that ran in the Victor Harbour AGP) at 1938 AGP Bathurst.
In early 1950 he purchased the second RHD XK120 660002 and went onto buy another XK120 in mid 1951.
He ran in 1951 AGP at Narrogin and came back for the 5oth anniversay.
A long innings but sad to see him go
terry

#55 Ray Bell

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Posted 11 June 2009 - 13:36

Unfortunately the one member here who could really offer some insight into George's exploits over the decades, John Medley, is unable to post because of password issues since the software change...

But I can add a little more.

George came very close to becoming an AGP winner at Narrogin. His self-built Monoskate duelled with the younger driver Warwick Pratley for lap after lap, though not obviously as they were running from a handicap start in a race where the result was determined on scratch times. But with two laps to go the magneto failed and he had to retire. A week later Pratley won the main race at Bathurst in the Monoskate with the same magneto.

If he had won, he would have been the second (and second consecutive...) AGP winner to win driving a car of his own construction. As it was, he built the winning car but watched it come home victorious from the sidelines.

George's relationship with Pratley was interesting. Pratley he clearly regarded as an exceptional driver and one who both appreciated the need to look after the car and knew how to make it go quickly enough to win. But George was less enamoured with 'Pratt's' involvement with women.

"I remember once he was involved with a married woman and he ran across several backyards, scaling paling fences, to get away from the irate husband," he once told me.

I was fortunate over the past few years to spend a fair bit of time with George. His home in Bathurst became a stopover for me on my sales rounds once every two or three months, I would arrive late in the afternoon, talk to Jean and George well into the evening (sometimes he had material prepared for my next visit) and then sleep in their 'guest accommodation' in the garage.

Still capable of remembering things, particularly mechanical things, in great detail, he would tell me stories of things that might have taken place in the twenties or in the eighties... even in the nineties... where he had played a central role in events.

Today I mentioned his passing to Damon Beck, who had obtained John Medley's Bathurst book at its release. He had George autograph it... and the autograph read 'George Reed, 1911 - "

I'm fairly sure that George's birthday was in February, so that would have made him a grand old 98 when he died.

#56 David McKinney

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Posted 12 June 2009 - 09:09

Obit in today's Daily Telegraph for Turner exponent W/Cdr K W Mackenzie
http://www.telegraph...-Mackenzie.html

#57 Ray Bell

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Posted 12 June 2009 - 09:31

Seeking to find the true age of George Reed, I tried googling the Western Advocate and came up with something from late 2000:

George Reed honoured
BY TONY RHEAD
30/11/2000 10:22:04 AM

A man who in 1928 as a 17-year-old began driving an Austin 7 in social events at car clubs and went on to build and race some of the most successful cars seen at Mount Panorama has been awarded an Australian Sports Medal for his services to motor sport.

George Reed, who will turn 90 in January, has added the medal to trophies and memorabilia collected over a lifetime in the sport as a competitor, car builder and official.

Struck in 2000 to commemorate past and current contributors to sport in Australia, the medal came with a certificate signed by the Governor General Sir William Deane and Prime Minister John Howard.

"I got quite a kick out of it when I received the package through the mail," Mr Reed said.

After first getting behind the wheel of the Austin 7 in 1928 Mr Reed went to Sydney in 1932 where he served an apprenticeship as a mechanic. By 1938 he had returned to Bathurst and was offered a competitive drive by the local Ford agents.

From his business in Piper Street, Mr Reed began building the first of five Reed Specials.

Sydney drivers began coming up to Bathurst for car trials which were becoming increasingly popular and Mr Reed became part of the growing sport of car racing.

By the 1940s CAMS was overseeing an expanding sport. Mr Reed was assuming regular duties as clerk of the course at tracks in Orange, Parkes, Forbes and Dunedoo.

He was track steward at Warwick Farm for an international championship featuring motor racing greats Stirling Moss and Grahem Hill.

When Australians watched newsreel highlights of the famous Redex round Australia reliability trials in the 1950s chances are they saw George Reed. He competed in three trials and in 1957 he drove ahead of the field laying out the route.

In the 1960s Falcon GTs came to racing at Mount Panorama and Mr Reed raced them for four years.

But he could see "the pitfalls" in the cars and began buying production cars like his famous "Yellow" Falcon to modify.

He later turbo charged a 4.1 litre Falcon and a 202 Holden. They were both capable of 140 miles per hour.

Today George Reed has no cars - just memories - of unofficial weekend practice sessions on the dirt circuit at Mount Panorama, reliability rallies, economy rallies around circuits in Sydney, racing at scores of tracks, including The Mount.


So he turned 90 in January 2001, that means he was 98 when he died... true to the note in Damon's Bathurst book.

#58 Ray Bell

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 16:23

Not a driver, or at least not to my knowledge, but well known 'by association'... yesterday we lost Margaret-Anne Ayers...

I'm told she was looking very frail at Frank Gardner's funeral and now Lionel is left to carry on without her. Margaret-Anne was a great hostess, a big supporter of her husband's racing (from the TC days, I must add) and a contributor to the aura of female support for the competitors at Lakeside and other Queensland meetings.

To their children and to Lionel I offer my condolences.

#59 Ellis French

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 09:07

Vale Bruce McPhee...........

Sadly Bruce passed away 8am 22/9/09 after suffering ill health for some time.

Bruce was well known in his green FE Holden in early days and the Silver Fox GTHO Falcon at Bathurst in 1969 and
as a Ford works driver in the Orange GTHO2 Falcon in 1970 where he also finnished 2nd outright.

A tribute to him was provided at Eastern Creek Historic meeting this year with a line up of Silver Fox GT/HO's.

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#60 Ray Bell

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 10:56

Thank you, Ellis...

Bruce was something of a legend to many of us as we watched the tintop races of the early sixties. He did many things differently to others, but each difference showed his intelligence and native understanding of engineering and automotive design.

He could have, and should have, passed Moffat at Bathurst. His car was fine, he was catching him hand over fist, while Moffat's points were closing up and he was down on power. True to his integrity, he lived with the team orders to slow down... later I believe he regretted doing that.

He will always be remembered, however, as the driver who took Holden's first ever win in 'the Great Race'. Not only that, but he did it as a 'loner', a total privateer.

Born in February, 1928 and married for many years to Alma (who died in 2006), he suffered from a declining memory for over a decade. Though he could tell the stories of his lifetime of great experiences and adventures, he couldn't always accurately place them in time. For some time now he's been beyond wanting to go on.

To his family I offer my condolences. Also to his good friends of his racing years, in particular Max and Des.

In notifying many of the sad passing this morning, Anne said that Bruce ".....crossed his last finish line
at 8.30 this morning, peacefully and with a light smile on his face".

Edited by Ray Bell, 22 September 2009 - 11:01.


#61 Ray Bell

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 11:51

Another to add...

My nephew hails from Grenfell in Central West NSW and a few weeks ago went there for his grandfather's funeral. For years he's been wanting to catch up with an 'old bloke' in town who used to race... Tom Griffiths.

"I was going to ask dad to take me round to meet him when I was there for the funeral," he told me, "but I forgot to do it."

It turns out that Tom, who raced during the fifties, had died two or three weeks before Ben's grandfather.

His entries at Bathurst, stretching from 1950 to 1957, were in 'Skate 3', the 'white car' built by George Reed; a Jaguar XK120; the 'Nuttbug' and a Triumph TR2.

#62 cooper997

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 06:56

Vale Bruce McPhee...........

Sadly Bruce passed away 8am 22/9/09 after suffering ill health for some time.

Bruce was well known in his green FE Holden in early days and the Silver Fox GTHO Falcon at Bathurst in 1969 and
as a Ford works driver in the Orange GTHO2 Falcon in 1970 where he also finnished 2nd outright.

A tribute to him was provided at Eastern Creek Historic meeting this year with a line up of Silver Fox GT/HO's.


Sad to hear Bruce has passed away. I never met him, but certainly wish I had.

He was well known for his Holden and Ford exploits, but less so of his races in Mini Coopers. The second one he raced being his wife's shopping trolley. That just happened to be a Cooper S. He also played a part in the iconic 1966 Bathurst 500 when the first nine places were taken out by Cooper S. With the late Barry Mulholland doing his mandatary 1 lap stint (because Bruce was paying the bills), Bruce took third place that day.

So it would appear that with Bruce's passing his little privateer team is reunited. Give those works boys their monies worth Bruce...

My condolences to his family.

Stephen

#63 Ray Bell

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 10:44

Bruce's Bathurst enduro results were:

1963 (Cortina GT) - 3rd, one lap down
1964 (Cortina GT) - 7th, four laps down
1965 (Cortina GT500) - 2nd, on lead lap, 1m 43s down
1966 (Mini Cooper S) - 3rd, two laps down
1967 Not entered
1968 (Holden Monaro GTS 327) - 1st
1969 (Ford Falcon GT HO) - 2nd, 44s down
1970 (Ford Falcon GT HO) - 2nd, 39s down
1971 (Holden Torana GTR-XU1) - 13th, 3 laps down
1972 (Holden Torana GTR-XU1) - DNF at 66 laps when gearbox locked up
1973 (Holden Torana GTR-XU1) - DNF at 41 laps with clutch failure
1974 (Holden Torana L34) - DNF at 19 laps with oil pump failure

I don't think he entered any of the races from 1975 onwards. He probably should have bowed out when the rules changed in 1973, at which time he was 43 years old anyway and he hadn't raced in any events other than these enduros (and a few South Pacific races when with Ford) since 1965, if I'm not mistaken.

His regular racing career was cut short by two factors... the change of regulations that basically called for much newer cars than his FE Holden was; and he was invited to drive a car owned by a paraplegic driver in Orange at the Towac circuit. Bruce unfortunately rolled this thing and subsequently gave the FE to the owner. It was fitted out with his hand controls and raced a few more times.

Bruce was a late starter in the sport, entering in rallies, IIRC, some time in the late fifties.

#64 275 GTB-4

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 11:04

Vale Bruce McPhee...........

Sadly Bruce passed away 8am 22/9/09 after suffering ill health for some time.

Bruce was well known in his green FE Holden in early days and the Silver Fox GTHO Falcon at Bathurst in 1969 and
as a Ford works driver in the Orange GTHO2 Falcon in 1970 where he also finnished 2nd outright.

A tribute to him was provided at Eastern Creek Historic meeting this year with a line up of Silver Fox GT/HO's.


A true hero of the iconic early Bathurst production enduros....certainly someone who I admired greatly....so long Bruce :|

#65 cooper997

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 12:26

Bruce was also first in class with his 997 Mini Cooper at the Bathurst 6 hour in Sept 1962. The precursor to the Armstrong 500 taking the October date at Bathurst the following year. This being the event the Geoghegan brothers won outright with the Daimler SP250.

Stephen


#66 Ellis French

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 06:58

Bruce in June this year when the GTClub Inc and some Monaro Club members gave a timely BBQ at Bruce's family property to honor his career and he was made Honorary Member No. 327 of the GTClub Inc....

Posted Image

and

A tribute Holden displayed at the Masters ......

Posted Image


He spoke fondly of the Monaro win and with his regret at not passing Moffat in 1970.
I was at the 70 Bathurst and have fond memories of Bruce at work on Mountain.




#67 Ray Bell

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 12:51

Did he mention sorting out the 'handling problem' the first HOs were finding at Bathurst?

Yes, the HO would be less than totally predictable at times, good at others, as they flung them around the Mountain. The cause was the fuel tank, 36 gallons IIRC, and the fact that the fuel level made a huge difference to how much it sloshed around in corners and gave rise to sudden and unexpected oversteer.

#68 Amaroo Park

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Posted 25 September 2009 - 20:07

Sincere condolences to Bruce's family and friends. RIP Bruce

#69 ReWind

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Posted 26 September 2009 - 06:54

Only recently did I learn that Ron Tauranac's younger brother Austin died in February 2009.
[Source (page 4 of 6)].

Anyone from the southern hemisphere with exact dates of his birth and death?

#70 Ellis French

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Posted 27 September 2009 - 22:18

Vale... John Youl

John passed away 27/9/09 aged 77 years.
A notice is in the Tasmanian Examiner newspaper (Page 2) today.

#71 cooper997

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 07:14

Vale... John Youl

John passed away 27/9/09 aged 77 years.
A notice is in the Tasmanian Examiner newspaper (Page 2) today.


More sad news...

The passing of John makes it 3 of Australia's motor sporting elders in the space of a month - Frank, Bruce and now, John.

And with John's passing a major player in early Tasmanian motor sport leaves a large gap in its history.

It also leaves a very thinning number of contemporary Cooper drivers left.

My condolences to the Youl family and friends.

Stephen



#72 Ray Bell

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 04:43

Geoff Smedley sent me something about John's death that I can't access via webmail...

A true gentleman, a great competitor who, despite appearances, raced on a budget. He deserved every win and place he got, and he often got those due in large part to Geoff's efforts of course.

With Gavin gone some years ago, it's a generation missing altogether and it's up to us to keep the memories alive.

#73 Smedley (Geoff)

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 08:24

More sad news...

The passing of John makes it 3 of Australia's motor sporting elders in the space of a month - Frank, Bruce and now, John.

And with John's passing a major player in early Tasmanian motor sport leaves a large gap in its history.

It also leaves a very thinning number of contemporary Cooper drivers left.

My condolences to the Youl family and friends.

Stephen



The funeral of John Youl was held in Launceston on the 1st Oct. 2009 followed by a large gathering of friends and family to celebrate the life of a remarkable

bloke.

Held at the family homestead Symmonds Plains, it was great to catch up with just some of the dwindling number of famous faces of 50-60 years ago that made

the pilgrimage to share the sorrow of John's passing, but the memories of those unique racing days will always remain special Smed.

#74 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 12:52

Geoff, considering the close relationship you had with him at the peak of his career, I'm sure you were especially touched by any mention of his racing days...

We're all getting to be surrounded by people who aren't here any more.

#75 eldougo

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Posted 03 October 2009 - 06:39

Sad news indeed of his passing he was 82 y/old and the first man to win in a Holden Monaro those were the real Bathurst racing days .

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#76 cooper997

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 09:25

I was at Tony Johns motor books yesterday (10/10/09) when news came through that Ian Wells had passed away.

Probably best recalled as a commentator at Melbourne's Sandown circuit. He also had an involvement with the Austin Seven club back in the early 1960's, raced Hillman Imps and in the early 1980's an Mitsubishi Colt in Australian Group C Touring Cars (IIRC). It was also mentioned that he'd had some involvement/ownership with what became the Leech Brothers collection Cisitalia single seater.

My condolences to his family and friends.

Stephen





#77 Ray Bell

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 16:52

Another one?

I'll pass that news on to Max in the morning...

#78 Ray Bell

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 20:59

Originally posted by Smedley (Geoff)
The funeral of John Youl was held in Launceston on the 1st Oct. 2009 followed by a large gathering of friends and family to celebrate the life of a remarkable bloke.

Held at the family homestead Symmons Plains, it was great to catch up with just some of the dwindling number of famous faces of 50-60 years ago that made the pilgrimage to share the sorrow of John's passing, but the memories of those unique racing days will always remain special.


An incredible thing has come to light as a result of Geoff's visit to Symmons Plains after the funeral...

See this post for more details.

In the meantime, to satisfy the curiosity that I had (and no doubt others may have had or still have) about why John gave up racing so suddenly in the middle of the 1964 season... it was because his father, Boyce, took ill and died unexpectedly.

Geoff Smedley tells me that John was in a position where he had to run the family property, "Symmons Plains", and so that responsibility came before any desire to chase Gold Star Points. He retained an interest in racing of course, and the circuit of the same name was to continue on the property.

Geoff went on to say that he was later in a position to offer John a drive that didn't require any real time off from the farm, a drive where he would fly to South East Asia occasionally and race the ex-Mildren Brabham Geoff prepared for its owner (P H Wong?), who was always looking for a driver.

Imagine that! The old team of Smedley the spannerman who kept the Cooper so reliable and John at the wheel could have been together again!

It seems, however, that the farm still came first. This was also about four years after his retirement, so maybe he felt he'd be out of practice etc.

#79 David Shaw

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 08:14

Sadly Ray Bell (who is offline at the moment) informs me that commentator Adrian Ryan has passed away, aged 76.

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#80 cooper997

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 04:53

Sadly Ray Bell (who is offline at the moment) informs me that commentator Adrian Ryan has passed away, aged 76.


Another member of the Sandown commentary team gone, plus early Racing Car News contributor and Ford Australia historian.

My condolences to his family and friends.

Stephen

#81 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 05:36

You know, I never did like Adrian's style of commentary, when he tried to make a close race out of a procession, or his glossed-over race descriptions in RCN that reduced a ten lapper at Winton to five or six lines...

But you could never doubt his enthusiasm or knowledge of the people and the cars racing, particularly in Victoria. I don't remember exactly when or where I last saw him, but I know I was looking forward to catching up with him again.

#82 cooper997

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 09:59

Adrain had been selling off his collection of literature a few years ago. I stumbled upon him and his wife, with what was probably Ford's Transit lwb press vehicle chock full of brochures and press kits at Bendigo swap in 2005 I think. Lots and lots of Ford stuff, I do recall procuring one of the Owen Organisation BRM booklets from him.

If I'm getting my facts right he had a fair bit to do with the Ford museum in Geelong.

He hailed from Shepparton didn't he?


Stephen

#83 Nestora

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 12:06

Very sad to hear about the passing of Adrian Ryan. I met Adrian late last year when I went to his house to purchase some motor racing posters - while I only met Adrian once he did seem like a truly nice man and for his age was most spritely and ebullient.

He loved cars and motor racing, particularly anything bearing a blue oval badge. Indeed, Adrian was the foremost source of Ford historical information in Australia having worked at Broadmeadows for many years in PR and lately contributed his services as a historian. I can recall being ushered into Adrian's garage and being very impressed by the state of Adrian's XP Falcon Squire station wagon and '67 Mustang, and this as someone who has no interest in such vehicles.

I was actually planning to catch up with Adrian again some time to purchase some more of his great motoring memorabilia and to hear his stories from commentating the old Tasman Series races or his memories of Bill Patterson dancing his Cooper across Skyline and down into the esses at Mount Panorama, but sadly not to be.

My condolences to Adrian's friends, family and wife Claudine. May he now rest peacefully.

#84 Ray Bell

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Posted 28 October 2009 - 01:35

Partially bringing a topic over from the Australian pics 50s to 70s thread:

Originally posted by Guy Miller

Posted Image

Does not look like 178MPH


So we set the scene for a bit more of an Aussie Miller tribute.

Originally posted by Guy Miller
On behalf of the Miller family I would like to thank you all for your kind words and reccolections of Aussie in his racing days. He was put to rest on Tuesday with an excellent gathering of friends and family and with the fly past of two Stearman radial engined aircraft. A fitting way to end a remarkable life.


Guy is not the only one who had a close relationship with Aussie...

Geoff Smedley sent me these words and pics:

From Geoff Smedley
Aussie was a good friend of mine and he is one bloke in Australia who should go down in history as one of the greats of the sport.

I first met this infectious character in the mid fifties when he turned up to race at Longford and ran into problems with his car (the Miller Special) which was a 1500 Cooper Climax brought into the country in boxes labeled as crop spraying equipment.

Two cars arrived together, Austin drove one and the second was a Lotus owned by business partener Ernie Tadgell with modified bodywork, this car eventually took Ernie's life.

In 1958 Austin moved to Launceston and opened the Hotel Monaco which quickly became the hub of petrol heads for the whole state and perhaps changed the motor sport scene in Tasmania to a perspective never seen before or since, good days of can do and restriction free challenges.

At that time Austin was obsessed with breaking the Australian Land Speed Record recently set by the Tornado Special at Coonabarrabran, but of course the funds weren't there for us to think of purchasing the right equipment for the task so if this dream was to become a reality it meant working around the items at hand.

It was in a loft building next to the Monaco that Aussie's then pride and joy, a type 51 2.2 Cooper Climax previously owned by Stan Jones, went under the knife to be transformed into a record holder in the true belief "yes we can".

I had to dedicate my full time to this project and the task was far more involved than first thought, the car was really not the basis for the desired outcome eventhough a 400HP Corvette engine now replaced the demure looking Climax. A suitable transmission was then the big worry, how to get that power to the wheels.

The original gearbox used by Cooper was a Citroen light 15 and could be likened to perhaps a singer sewing machine, but nevertheless a bird in hand is better than nothing so with a lot of cross-bolting of the case and I hand-made suitable wide gears to produce just a 2 speed box that would theorectically give a result of some 205 MPH at around 6,500RPM. To be driven by such enthusiasm from Aussie, how could we fail?

Anyway it all came together in 1961 when after long and tedious preparation demanded by CAMS we did break the record on Bakers Beach on Northern Tasmania in late 1961, a feat that only Australia's very first loveable larrikin could pull off.

It was said after the event that higher speed than the 164 mph average may have been even greater had Aussie not been so weighted down with all the screws and plates he carried due to his many crop spraying mishaps over many years but nothing could dampen his sense of adventure. Seeing I was born on Austin's birthday we always kept in touch on that day, but for some reason his age never past 35 and I recall on reaching that age I was able to send a telegram saying (caught up to you ya Bas..d) as it was always his story that if he spoke to the car in this way he could always gain another 500 revs or so.

A man of his time, even played a stand in driver for the film "On The Beach" for Fred Astaire but he couldn't dance....

Smed.


Thanks for that, Geoff... now the pics:

Posted Image
A very early run with the streamlined top on the Cooper at Bakers Beach.
The top became detached and blew off prior to the main runs being done.

Posted Image
Geoff (before John Youl and Frank Matich caused him to lose all his hair)
with Aussie and the Cooper at Bakers Beach.

Posted Image
I'll have to post this in the On The Beach thread too...
Aussie Miller in Fred Astaire's car ready to stand in for the Hollywood
dancer and actor.

Posted Image
Aussie with Fred Astaire, looks like it's at Phillip Island?

Edited by Ray Bell, 28 October 2009 - 01:40.


#85 Milan Fistonic

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 04:04

I'm sure the Kiwi members of the forum will remember Phil Ornstien who died suddenly on the 28th of October, aged 85 years.

David will be able to fill in more about Phil's motor racing career but I remember him from the Ardmore and early Pukekohe days driving Humber 80s. When rallying became established in the late sixties and early seventies he became a regular competitor in that branch of the sport.

#86 Vicuna

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 04:13

I'm sure the Kiwi members of the forum will remember Phil Ornstien who died suddenly on the 28th of October, aged 85 years.

David will be able to fill in more about Phil's motor racing career but I remember him from the Ardmore and early Pukekohe days driving Humber 80s. When rallying became established in the late sixties and early seventies he became a regular competitor in that branch of the sport.


Did he also do FF?

#87 David McKinney

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 07:24

Thanks, Milan

Phil Ornstein was the Todd Motors (Rootes importers) dealer in Pukekohe, and as Milan said was best-known for racing Humber 80s (badge-engineered Hillman Minx), especially at Ardmore and Ohakea. In 1960 he was second in the handicap race at the GP meeting and then won in 1961. The next year he raced a Hillman Husky, and I think (from memory) won at Wigram. He later raced a Sunbeam Alpine in club events and when long-distance production-saloon racing came was a regular class winner in Hillman Imps. I'd forgotten his rallying career until Milan mentioned it - ISTR he shared a Hillman Avenger with his son Tony

But I'm sure he never raced FF

Another link with the past broken

Edited by David McKinney, 31 October 2009 - 07:24.


#88 maoricar

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 06:47

Ornstien and Greenwall (sp ?) in West St Pukekohe. Phil was a fast driver and fostered talent at his own dealership; 'Rusty' ( Ross) Blake comes to mind, also in a Humber 80.
For a small country town (approx. 5000 pop.) Pukekohe had 6 franchised dealerships, all involved in racing in one form or another as far back as the 1920's.
Phil was probably a tad on the tall side to fit into an open wheeler; from memory he scaled back his circuit activity, somewhat, after the 60's, in order to develop his dealership.

#89 hiteknz

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 07:40

Ornstien and Greenwall (sp ?) in West St Pukekohe. Phil was a fast driver and fostered talent at his own dealership; 'Rusty' ( Ross) Blake comes to mind, also in a Humber 80.
For a small country town (approx. 5000 pop.) Pukekohe had 6 franchised dealerships, all involved in racing in one form or another as far back as the 1920's.
Phil was probably a tad on the tall side to fit into an open wheeler; from memory he scaled back his circuit activity, somewhat, after the 60's, in order to develop his dealership.


He did race a Titan Formula Ford at one stage ,sorry I can't place a year on the date at the moment ,there was a mention and a photo of the Formula Ford at the funeral last Saturday and yes Nev ,Rusty was there,it was a fitting tribute to a great person
Bob

#90 vc1954

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 07:43

Alan Puckett passed away recently aged 87......A fantastic artist and an absolute gentleman. He is sadly missed.

#91 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 07:56

And had some very nice cars over time...

Most memorable, perhaps, being the LM 20 (CML 720?) Aston Martin.

#92 maoricar

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 22:51

Gary Tierney and David Carra died after their Porsche Carrera RS hit a tree in the Adelaide Hills during the Adelaide Classic.
Condolences to the family and friends of both Gary and David.

Eerily similar to a previous death a few years back.....also a Porsche, also a tree and also in the Adelaide Hills

#93 scooperman

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 15:58

Michael Amalfitano, race car enthusiast and collector, of Amalfi Racing http://www.amalfiracing.com passed away Dec. 13. He was a friend of a friend of mine, I only met him a couple of times, but he always seemed to be enjoying life, a friendly and funny guy.

#94 B Squared

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Posted 15 January 2010 - 18:18

From Robin Miller on the Speedtv website. Longtime open wheel stalwart, Bob Higman, passes away on Wednesday, January 13. Brian

http://auto-racing.s...-higgys-legacy/

#95 Ray Bell

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 11:19

Nobody's mentioned it, which is a real indictment of those who knew... but Bill Patterson, winner of the CAMS Gold Star award (and he thoroughly deserved it) in 1961 died over a week ago on January 10.

I visited Bill just a few short months ago, early October from memory. I asked him to autograph the 1957 AGP start photo and he simply couldn't make his hand do the job. I realised he wasn't going, as he said he was, 'home in a couple of weeks' and that the nursing home would see him out soon.

This might well be the last photo taken of a man who was a mere shadow of his former self:

Posted Image

Edited by Ray Bell, 19 January 2010 - 11:20.


#96 Terry Walker

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 11:32

Patto at his peak, in his Gold Star year, with the Cooper Climax, at Caversham, 1961? (Not certain, pic is undated BP publicity shot).

Posted Image

#97 David McKinney

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 16:05

That's certainly more the shape I remember

Was he the last of the late '50s/early '60s "stars"? Stillwell, Jones, Davison, Lukey, Whiteford, Mildren, McKay...

I'm sure that few in the Northern Hemisphere - and perhaps not many Australians either - remember that he had a pretty successful season in European F3 in 1951, highlighted perhaps by third place in the Grenzlandring race in Germany



#98 Ray Bell

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 23:28

Indeed that has been the subject of a thread here, David...

Probably six or seven years ago, maybe even eight! Grenzlandring was mentioned too, that would be a key to finding it through the search facility.

And for my part, Bill loaned me a book covering the F3 season in which he competed.

He had trying times in his final years. He'd been convicted of Paedophilia and released into the custody of his wife, whose newspaper connections had helped keep the whole thing low key and gave her some credibility when it came to ensuring he wouldn't re-offend.

This followed a financial collapse after selling out of his huge car dealership empire and going into an air service venture servicing the Bass Strait islands.

His heart was always in his racing, however. He cherished his Gold Star, though he remarked on how small and insignificant the bauble itself was, and over his years in retirement sponsored several drivers. The obvious ones were John MacDonald, Henk Woelders (whose family had helped him out after his Lakeside crash) and Peter Brock. He even had a part in Brock's initial European foray with the BMW through his BMW franchise.

A few years ago he proudly showed me his Holden ute. He'd sneaked the purchase of this while his wife wasn't looking, I gather, and it had one of those fibreglass covers over the cargo area with gas struts to help lift it. From my brief discussion with his wife the day before I visited him at the Nursing Home I understand he had a couple after that, each purchased without her knowledge and probably arousing her anger.

But the long and the short of it is that his final years were spent in relative destitution. He was weak from medical problems even those first times I visited him and he made it clear he had no money. Of course, when you're going out and buying $20,000 Holden utes, that's a relative thing. He lived fairly comfortably all the same in the home he shared with his chain-smoking wife.

I think I've related before that I only ever saw him race a couple of times, and then he was in an outclassed car in International events. So even if he'd been doing spectacular things, he wouldn't have been noticed.

But one day, when he was driving down the main straight at Sandown and looked up and saw a plane travelling a parallel course, and when he kept watching it and almost didn't get around Shell corner because of it, he realised he had to retire.

#99 cooper997

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 10:15

It's sad to see the passing of yet another of Australian motor sport's 1950's/60s identities. There's a couple left that cross from the 50 to 60s. But I dare not want to put a jinx on them by naming them. But one drove for a Surbiton concern with a bit of success and the other was out and about in a D Type, the odd Lotus and Brabham, etc.

Apart from Bill's racing, internationally and locally, of early aircooled Coopers, Bill Patterson ‘Grand Prix Service’ in South Melbourne was the Victorian Distributor for Cooper racing and sports cars around 1953.

The Cooper-Climax's he used during his Gold Star chase stayed with him a long time. It was probably the 1978 'Fangio' meeting at Sandown, being the last time he actually used a Cooper. I know that at the time be borrowed some Cooper / Climax bits from my uncle to get the car going again. Of course Murray Richard's ended up buying a 'job lot' from Patto in about 1987. This included the car Rod Jolley has (or last I knew of still has), the wreck from Lakeside and the WB Holden ute. It's few years since I've seen the Richards boys, but they had the wreck and the WB then.

Ray mentions he sold out and lost his money in aviation. As far as I understand (and I'll use - apparently), Patto's problems weren't able to be hushed up from the Holden management. Relieving him of the franchise ownership rights. The simply answer to this is they were probably connected. Based on a "Sell up or lose the franchise" ultimatum. Perhaps with some irony, his name is still associated with the current business. Going by a former work colleague of mine (who did an apprenticeship at Patto's in Ringwood) he used another name for his extracurricular activities. Whether that was simply Gerald, his first name, I'm unsure though.

In happier times of course, Holden had enough faith in him to let his Ringwood dealership 'finish off/modify' the A9X 'Bathurst' Torana road cars. So the race teams had the ‘goods’ for racing..

Rest peacefully Patto, you did a lot for Australian motor sport over the years. Rumour has it Brock’s looking for some sponsorship…

Stephen


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#100 David McKinney

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 11:52

There's a couple left that cross from the 50 to 60s. But I dare not want to put a jinx on them by naming them. But one drove for a Surbiton concern with a bit of success and the other was out and about in a D Type, the odd Lotus and Brabham, etc.

I was referring to the big names in national (Gold Star) racing in that period :)