Since leaving Bob's place last week I've put some effort into learning more about the first Rennmax...
I phoned Richard Bendell, the current owner. He has Mike Borland working on the rebuild and sent through a couple of interesting photos:
This was the only 'Rennmax' identification on the car. Bob was yet to have an artist design his proper badge.
Almost like a time capsule, isn't it?
The tail section is alloy, and there's nothing like the Cooper's transverse leaf suspension there.
As mentioned, Bob was enamoured with the performance of Lotus' suspension. When the time came to build this car he was in a position to use dimensions and layout from the Stirling Moss Lotus 18/21 which was at the Farm in 1962. The success of this build became evident in Hall's increased competitiveness, but this comment posted by John Medley last week is telling:
.....On another matter, the original Rennmax: In the days when MGTCs used to crash from crag to crag up the hill at Bathurst, Coopers doing it markedly better, that first Rennmax was really surprising, its handling and suspension a minor wonder, its performance visually being as big a gap from the Coopers as the Coopers were from MGTCs.
Remembering that the first Brabhams had yet to arrive in Australia, it's natural that Lotus was the make to set the pace. And now Rennmax was as good as anything out there. Noel, in fact, told Bob how good it was in glowing terms.
It occurred to me that Bob later fabricated uprights out of steel, but the earlier cars had cast alloy uprights. So I asked what was the story about how they came about.
A story ensued about a broken Lotus 18 upright and included the name of Bruce Coventry of Texas in Queensland, nobody else seemed to know he came from Texas. Now, Texas is a long way from any motor sporting activity, or it was back then, but it's not that far from my place and I checked the local phone book.
I checked and phoned someone named Coventry and soon had the phone number of Bruce. He didn't recall the incident at all, he never had any need to replace any damaged uprights but admitted it was all a long time ago.
But the other Lotus 18 which lived away from the big cities and in that general direction was that of Harry Cape, and Jim Wright had crashed that one quite badly late in November, 1961. That was at Lakeside and Coventry was at that meeting too.
The outstanding feature was that Britto, who had no other dealings with Bruce Coventry, knew that he lived in Texas. And associated that fact with the casting of a replacement upright for a Lotus 18.
My suspicion is that Bruce, knowing that a replacement was being made for Jim Wright, got a spare made for his car at the same time.
However it happened, Britto had a damaged Lotus 18 upright from which he made a pattern for replacements. And he tacked bits on to enable the uprights to be made with top links for the Lotus 21 and 20 style of rear suspension.
That alloy work in the rear bodywork is nice. Not Bob's work, that's not his forte, he had a hearse builder 'just around the corner from Rookwood Cemetery' do that job.
The fact is that Bob had very little of his own equipment at this stage. Machining was done on other peoples' lathes and mills, or was jobbed out. Much of it on Charlie Ogden's machines.
But, even without a 'BN' number, even without a 'Rennmax' badge, this car is a Rennmax. The first Rennmax.
Edited by Ray Bell, 27 April 2018 - 03:26.