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Rennmax - and their creator, Bob Britton


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#51 Ray Bell

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 06:49

The advent of the 'International Series' at the beginning of 1961 brought new opportunities to Bob...

Instead of relying on pictures from magazines, here we had real cars. And with Warwick Farm opening, they were effectively at Bob's doorstep.

With camera in hand he went out to the practice days and captured images...

lotus18andcooperwfarmpitlane.jpg

...like a Lotus and a Cooper, and there were BRMs as well. A veritable feast, but for Bob the main interest was in the detail, so he took lots of those photos too:

lotus18rearhubcarrier.jpg

Rob Walker Lotus or Works Lotus, none escaped his interest or lens:

lotus182_5frontsuspandupright.jpg

Perhaps his thoughts changed then about building a 500cc F3 car? The Formula Junior movement was starting to roll, so more scientific approaches were gaining popularity. And Lotus seemed to be the cars leading the way.

"Like everyone, I saw Lotus as the new standard," Bob says. "Colin Chapman was miles ahead of everyone else with suspensions..."

Of course, Ron Tauranac was still to arrive in England at this stage, Lola were still front-engined and Lotus were prominent.

In 1962 Bob took notebooks and a tape measure instead of a camera, one car he measured up was the Rob Walker Lotus with the newer rear suspension.

Edited by Ray Bell, 27 April 2018 - 03:16.


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#52 TerryS

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 06:16

Here are some points picked up today...

As we all know, the 'BN' numbering sequence is not of Britto's doing. He feels sure it was Bob Muir who started all of that, but he now goes along with it. He only numbers the models he designs and builds under the Rennmax name.


I asked near the start of my post #19 what the "BN" model prefix stood for. I have had no response.

I surmise the B was for Britton, but what was the N for? Someone must know.

#53 GazChed

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 07:23

N wouldn't just stand for number as in Britton Number 1 ?

#54 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 08:38

Or was it BrittoN as there was no partner in the business as there was with Brabham and Tauranac?

Not that Bob was always a total loner. Charlie Ogden had been guiding him after Bob found his way to Charlie's place where the former Lionel van Praag mechanic built engines and, indeed, motorcycles for many like the Hintons and speedway riders.

"This gave me some direction," Bob says, "rather than just being one of the boys riding around on motorcycles creating some kind of havoc." Bob had a Douglas twin and a BMW, "Don't flatten it!" his father told him.

Just as the Ogden workshop was a kind of 'Mecca' to racing people of all kinds, there were people he met in the 500cc movement. Bob Joass, Ron Ewing, Peter Graham, Ron Tauranac used to give them talks about design, and (as it turns out importantly) Fred Dolson. Another to play with 500s was a school mate, Rob Kirkby, who ran a Cooper 500.

Bob had gone to Homebush High School, in his year there were five others who would be seen in motor racing circles:

Paul Bolton, who ultimately raced in the Tasman Cup.

Bob Cutler, who very nearly won the first race at Warwick Farm in his long career in Austin Healeys.

Ralph Bellamy, who went to England to pursue a career and accidentally fell into motor racing circles there.

Rob Kirkby, abovementioned F3 Cooper racer.

Frank Kleinig Jr, builder and racer of Formula Vees, also raced Minis.




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Edited by Ray Bell, 02 March 2017 - 15:46.


#55 TerryS

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 00:40

Or was it BrittoN as there was no partner in the business as there was with Brabham and Tauranac?

.


Ray with the greatest respect I am disappointed you do not know the answer.

I humbly thought you were the guru on all things Rennmax / Britton

#56 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 01:52

The problem, Terry, is that Bob doesn't know!

The designations were dreamed up by others, he thinks it was possibly Bob Muir. And remember how long it took me to refer to Bob Muir the last time there was a question about him...

In the meantime, by the late fifties Bob was working for a company named 'Welded Products' and taking in his Technical College courses in between satisfying his infatuation for mechanical things and racing things. At Tech he would doodle in a notepad with ideas for a 500 car he wanted to build, when time permitted he would haunt Charlie Ogden's and spend time with these people in racing.

Peter Graham was building his Delta cars and needed help with the welding of the chassis, so Bob welded up several of those. This started him down the course of making bits for others, repairing bent wishbones. And he started making wheels.

Here Fred Dolson played a major role. Fred worked for engine reconditioners Kirby's by day and taught welding at Tech at night. "Fred told me about nickel-bronze," Bob recalls, "and so I started using nickel-bronze."

Fred was also related to the Hall family from Woolgoolga on the North Coast of NSW. Ossie Hall and his son, Noel, who were operating a Ralt-Vincent and also a KM 200 with a Holden engine.

"One day we all went out to Castlereagh dragstrip with the Ralt and they were driving up and down," says Bob. "And they asked me if I wanted to have a drive. So I climbed in and took off up the strip, turned around and drove back. But they said, 'Go round again!' so I did several laps, it was great!"

There were more connections in that quarter of Sydney. Ron Ward, who was involved with Jack Brabham in his Speedway days, Jack himself and Bill Armstriong, a machinist. "Bill did a lot of machining for me before I got my own gear," says Bob.

So this was the atmosphere in which Bob was living, the atmosphere which led to Rennmax Engineering in that back shed in Croydon Park.

The life was at that time going out of the 500s and moving rapidly towards Formula Junior. Even cars like Phil Boot's supercharged Cooper-BMW were going to lose out as more scientific progress was being made with the new English cars designed for the new category. And when Warwick Farm opened it was possible for Bob to get a close look at the very latest.

lolafrontsuspensionoilclrsteering.jpg

lotus18juniorenginegearlinkageetc.jpg

Ideas were running through Bob's mind. He was making wheels, he was making suspension bits, he had welded up chassis. A Formula Junior would seem to be the next step.

Could the association with the Halls lead that way? They by now had a Cooper-Climax. And fate stepped in.

Noel crashed the car. Bob had been talking about how much better the Lotus handled, even the later Coopers had an advantage over their leaf-spring version, they could see that going forward would be better in a new car.

"Let me build you a Formula Junior," Bob suggested.

"Do you think you could make a replacement for the Cooper instead?" Ossie asked.

With Bob giving an affirmative answer, the next pronouncement was, "You go ahead and build it, boy!"

Not a 500car, not a Junior, Bob's first complete car would be a Formula One.

Edited by Ray Bell, 27 April 2018 - 03:21.


#57 DanTra2858

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 08:55

Ray what is the story of the 2 photo,s.

No.1 would that be the Lola FJ ?

No.2 looks to me like a Lotus 18 FJ ?

Bet I am wrong on both accounts, so what else is new 😂

#58 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 10:13

Just to show the kind of photos Bob was taking at the time, Daniel...

He was looking carefully at how cars were put together, how their suspensions were designed. He was arming himself with ideas and knowledge so he could build his own cars.

You're right, Lola FJr front and Lotus 18 FJr rear.



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Edited by Ray Bell, 03 March 2017 - 10:16.


#59 Wirra

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 01:48

... In the meantime, by the late fifties Bob was working for a company named 'Welded Products' and taking in his Technical College courses in between satisfying his infatuation for mechanical things and racing things. At Tech he would doodle in a notepad with ideas for a 500 car he wanted to build, when time permitted he would haunt Charlie Ogden's and spend time with these people in racing....

 

Bob would have worked at Welded Products' O’Riordan St, Alexandria site.
They amalgamated with All Purpose Engineers and E W Bliss (American company) to form Bliss Welded Products at their new premises at Milperra
Can’t remember if Charlie Ogden was the owner of Welded Products, or the son of the owner. There was a “Pop” Ogden in their somewhere
Note: All Purpose Engineers was run by Arthur Bishop of Bishop variable steering fame.



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#60 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 08:57

Bob told me about Charlie Ogden as a racing contact, a person he was introduced to and spent time with outside his work...

No relationship with Welded Products was mentioned.

#61 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 13:12

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:

0217fr_RBrennmaxnose.jpg

This was the only 'Rennmax' identification on the car. Bob was yet to have an artist design his proper badge.

0217fr_RBrennmaxcockpit.jpg

Almost like a time capsule, isn't it?

0217fr_RBrennmaxtail.jpg

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.




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Edited by Ray Bell, 27 April 2018 - 03:26.


#62 DanTra2858

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 20:31

Ray how much quicker was the Hall Rennmax than the original Cooper car, also it appears to be very much lower in body height than the Cooper,s of the day, are there compatible lap times of the two cars?

#63 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 21:22

I'll check race reports when I get home, Daniel...

#64 SJ Lambert

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 23:02

At the Easter 1962 Bathurst meeting, event one over three laps had an ET of 11.55 at 113 mph, with Cusack's Cooper Climax ET being 11.08 and Matich 10.31. Presumably there was a problem with the Renmax. Stilwell set fastest lap of 2.27.2 @ 168.22 mph which I gather was a better time than any set in the Gold Star race, event 8.

 

Sorry Dan, this doesn't answer your question, but is interesting all the same.  Noel's motor was the smallest capacity Climax motor at that meeting too, by the looks of the entry list in John Medley's Bathurst Cradle' book.


Edited by SJ Lambert, 04 March 2017 - 23:05.


#65 cooper997

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 05:56

I hope someone gives part of the original red body colour a polish to get a true colour match for its respray. Also correct dimensions / placement of the original signage before any further stripping/painting takes place.

 

Here's the Easter 62 Bathurst entry list.

Bathurst_Easter_62_Event_8.jpg

 

Stephen



#66 Ray Bell

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 14:24

My checks have been fairly fruitless...

At Warwick Farm in January '61 he practised at 1:57.1, but that was clearly not his true pace as he was running with competitors who did 1:51 in the race. Best race lap was 1:49.5.

At the March Farm meeting you could estimate that he did a 1:49 or so, though his times are not recorded. Actually did 1:47.6.

Bathurst Easter saw him doing 2:37.5.

Over five laps at the Farm in May 1961 he had a race time of 8:57. 1:45.7 was his best race lap that meeting.

Catalina in mid-'61, 1:06.0 in one race, possibly (estimated) as quick as 1:03+ in a later race.

Warwick Farm in September he did 10 laps in 18:08. Best lap 1:46.6.

Bathurst in October '61 he did 2:38.4 and went as quickly as 146.36mph on Conrod.

Hordern Trophy of 1961, his last lap was his best at 1:45.1.


Enter the Rennmax... The only Warwick Farm outing with this car was at the wet Hordern Trophy of 1962, 1:52.4.

The only report I've found with anything even remotely like conclusive shows a top speed at Bathurst at Easter 1962 of 127mph, the car had springs which were too soft.

I'll look later for '63 results, but as time progresses tyre technology will be helping too.

I would like to know where John Medley's comments come from...




Fresh information edited in using italics.

Edited by Ray Bell, 10 July 2018 - 14:08.


#67 Dick Willis

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 04:54

Just to confuse the issue Noel lapped in 1.49.5 in the Cooper at the 1960 AGP at Lowood with the Cooper entered as 1965ccs ( source AGP book, the 50 year history) and at the 9/6/63 Lowood meeting his best lap was 1.48.4, presumably then the Rennmax was displacing 2180ccs, ( times from the official result sheets from that meeting )



#68 DanTra2858

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 08:07

Dick is a 1 second improvement in lap times with a larger motor a true indication of the difference between the Rennmax / Cooper, the other factor would be differance in weather & road surface.

#69 Ray Bell

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 08:36

Road surface was definitely a factor...

McKay in his old Cooper in 1962 had done a 1:45.9, while dicing with Noel in 1963 he did a 1:47.5, the report mentioning that he was dodging bumps and taking it easy in the braking areas because of the surface being so bad. Other cars were slower because of this too, but Noel was passing McKay under brakes only to watch as the 2.7-litre engine took the Brabham away from him down the long straight.

Further to that, Greg Cusack won the '62 Gold Star race at Lowood with a best lap of 1:49.2 in a McKay Cooper.

I wonder if anyone does have a result sheet from an appropriate Catalina Park? I know I saw the Rennmax there, so he must have raced it there in 1963.

His final outing in the car was at Lakeside in September (or August?) 1963, the Gold Star meeting of that year. He did 1:04.5 in practice, which was pretty slow in that company and to me indicates problems with the car. This is further indicated by the fact that he was being lapped for the second time when Lex Davison climbed over his wheel on the drop into Hungry and had a monster crash. It was that incident which spelled the end of the enthusiasm for racing in the hearts of the Woolgoolga sawmillers.

The car was put in a shed, Graham Wood came along later and bought the Cooper components and eventually the rest was sold off to finish up as a project for Richard Bendell.

He was always up against it with engine size, there's no doubt, but there are reports on many race meetings where he diced with Arnold Glass in the BRM and even Alec Mildren's Cooper-Maserati. There's no doubt that Noel gave the cars he drove plenty of curry, that dice with McKay was serious stuff.

Unfortunately there are never any times given for him in those reports!



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Edited by Ray Bell, 06 March 2017 - 08:38.


#70 cooper997

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 09:44

Ray, if you mean Davo's crash in the Repco Brabham, then that was 13 September 1964 Lakeside GS meeting.

 

Stephen



#71 Ray Bell

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 10:28

Yes, that's the one Stephen, thank you...

And I missed the fact that I actually had noted down that date. I was getting used to undated reports in AMS while that one was in RCN.

#72 Ray Bell

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 12:17

A brief word on the bodywork of the first Rennmax...

During the time of Bob's association with the Halls and their Cooper, it was suggested by Peter Graham that they should take a mould off the body in case it got damaged, so a fibreglass replacement could be easily made up.

"Good idea!" said Ossie, "You do that boy!"

Britto was delegated to oversee this operation, somebody with a bit of fibreglass experience was called upon and the job commenced.

"We didn't know then," Bob remembers, "that Cooper used a lot of bog (body filler) on their alloy bodies. The heat of the curing fibreglass took all of this off the alloy and it made a real mess of the body."

Not only that, Bob was at work in the drawing office at Welded Products when Ossie saw that mess. "He called me at work, everyone in the drawing office could hear him swearing at me and making it plain he wasn't happy at all."

By the time the first Rennmax was being built, Bob was in touch with J & S Fibreglass, later to build the nice Hunter cars, and a nose was made from that buck and cut about and changed to create the final shape for the nose of the Rennmax.

A Lotus cockpit surround was adapted to it so in the finish it owed little to the Cooper.

In later years Frank Kleinig Jr needed a body for his first Mako Vees and took a nose from the Rennmax mould at J & S, modifying it substantially to get what he needed for the Vee.

So that's why there's a tinge of Cooper shape in the Mako Vee nose...

#73 Ray Bell

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 12:25

Some sad tales...

J & S were later to suffer a fire in their workshop and the mould for the Rennmax nose was among the many things destroyed.

But other moulds Bob had used were safely in the backyard of a former J & S employee's grandmother. Also stored in this capacious backyard were forgings Bob had made.

These forgings were done at a suggestion from John Bruderlin, who had a lot of MG TC gearboxes left over from the MG wrecking days. He had proposed to Bob that they join forces to make a transaxle using the TC gears.

Unfortunately the grandmother died and the property was sold. It was in a prime redevelopment area and before Bob could do anything about it machines had been in to demolish the house and put everything in the yard into tip trucks for removal.

A Lotus 15 body mould was among the losses and I'm guessing that the BN1 body moulds were there too.

#74 Ray Bell

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 04:06

originally posted by Wirra
.....There was a “Pop” Ogden in their somewhere.....


I checked with Bob, no relation...



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Edited by Ray Bell, 07 March 2017 - 04:06.


#75 Ray Bell

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 12:36

After the first Rennmax came the first of the BN1s...

This car was ordered by Geoff McClelland, who'd been racing an air-cooled car and wanted to step up into a FJunior. Bob was in the process of creating a Lotus 20-style car with somewhat different bodywork. But not totally.

As mentioned earlier, Bob had not yet been able to get enough detail from a Lotus chassis to be exact in his replication. McClelland thought he could do better with a Brabham and sold his 'project' to Laurie Ellis, who then sold it to Des Gay, who finished the car and fitted it with a Lotus 20 body. This led to some confusion later as it was believed by some to be a Lotus 20.

Which has its ironies as Bob then got the job of building a replica chassis for Phil Boot, who had bought a car and didn't want to be caught out if he crashed it. Therefore, all succeeding BN1s were more accurately following the Lotus 20 dimensions.

Apart from the one built for Barrie Garner (see pic on previous page), they all had bodywork designed by Bob, which was substantially different to the Lotus 20 bodywork.

Rear uprights were castings made from the modified Lotus 18 pattern Bob had on hand.

One of these cars was at one time owned and raced by TNFr Erol Richardson. It was the Warren Small car, Erol thinks it was the last one built. It then passed to Hunter and Delbridge and Erol bought it from Percy Hunter.

Perhaps Erol can tell us more about his experience with that car?

#76 TerryS

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 03:40

As noted previously the early Rennmaxes were based on the Lotus 20 from which Bob Britton had lots of photos and cut away drawings.

When Leo Geoghegan appeared with his Lotus 22 Bob was surprised at how much better it went. As Geoghegans was the only Lotus 22 in the country Bob was frustrated in his attempts to get intricate details.

A story I was told at the time was the Geoghegans as Lotus agents were anxious to sell new 22's, and did want anyone becoming able to update their Lotus 20's.

Somehow Bob got access to the Geoghegan 22 surreptitiously without the Geoghegans knowledge and was able to unlock its secrets.

He then modified his new and existing models to this spec. That is why most 20.s in Australia are called Lotus 20/22.

The changes between models included 4 wheel disc brakes, the engine canted over, a top link in rear suspension and rubber donuts in rear suspension.

#77 TerryS

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 05:48

A short article on Max Stewart's Rennmax BN2

https://primotipo.co...-bathurst-1968/

#78 Ray Bell

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 10:07

Originally posted by TerryS
As noted previously the early Rennmaxes were based on the Lotus 20 from which Bob Britton had lots of photos and cut away drawings.

When Leo Geoghegan appeared with his Lotus 22 Bob was surprised at how much better it went. As Geoghegans was the only Lotus 22 in the country Bob was frustrated in his attempts to get intricate details.

A story I was told at the time was the Geoghegans as Lotus agents were anxious to sell new 22s, and did want anyone becoming able to update their Lotus 20s.

Somehow Bob got access to the Geoghegan 22 surreptitiously without the Geoghegans' knowledge and was able to unlock its secrets.

He then modified his new and existing models to this spec. That is why most 20s in Australia are called Lotus 20/22.

The changes between models included 4 wheel disc brakes, the engine canted over, a top link in rear suspension and rubber donuts in rear suspension.


I'll have a chat to Bob about all of this...

But looking at that shortlist of changes, 4-wheel discs would have been previously taken care of, and a top link was a feature of the change from 18 to 20. As for the rubber donuts, they came and went, simplicity and cost would have favoured them more than anything.

The canted engine bears looking at. At this time I can only see two reasons for doing that:

1. To bring the carburettors out of the airstream, at least to some degree.

2. To provide more room for bracing the top of the engine bay section of the chassis.

#79 rms

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 20:27

Ray ..... I will post some thoughts on my Rennmax when I can find a bit of time ........ meanwhile ....... the Lotus 20 and 20b used the halfshaft as the top suspension link ..... it was the 22 that introduced the tubular top link along with 13" rear wheels ...... but my Rennmax had 15" rear wheels off a Lola !



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#80 GMACKIE

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 20:35

Erol, were the rubber 'donuts' fitted to avoid the sliding splined drive-shafts, that tended to 'lock up' under load ? I seem to remember Jack Bono telling me that.



#81 Ray Bell

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 21:13

My mistake, Erol...

Look forward to your comments. As for the donuts, there is every likelihood that some binding of sliding splines could have been happening and the donuts were a way out, a way out that was less expensive than roller splines or splines of a better design.

Going back to the pics on the previous page, you see that none of Bob's early cars had donuts or used the driveshafts as top links. When I asked him about donuts, he simply said, "I hate 'em!"




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Edited by Ray Bell, 15 March 2017 - 03:06.


#82 TerryS

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 05:42

I'll have a chat to Bob about all of this...

But looking at that shortlist of changes, 4-wheel discs would have been previously taken care of, and a top link was a feature of the change from 18 to 20. As for the rubber donuts, they came and went, simplicity and cost would have favoured them more than anything.

The canted engine bears looking at. At this time I can only see two reasons for doing that:

1. To bring the carburettors out of the airstream, at least to some degree.

2. To provide more room for bracing the top of the engine bay section of the chassis.


Ray, the last sentence of my post #76 was about the changes between the 20 and 22.

There was no top link on the 20, and 4 wheel discs were only on the US Formula B Lotus 20B

Other changes included
- more reclined driver
- thicker gauged tubing in space frame
- double skinned bulkhead
- more streamlined body

This is all disclosed in the following

http://www.motorspor.../130/lotus-2022

http://www.conceptca...us-Type-22.aspx

#83 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 06:50

To gain perspective here, let us look at the situation regarding other makes when Bob got the BN1 chassis run underway...

The principal source of competitive cars was from England. Lotus had done fairly well with Lotus 18 and 20 sales in the Formula Junior class while Cooper - largely through Jack Brabham's efforts - had sold many pre-1961 F1 and F2 cars and were still selling 'Intercontinental' cars through to the 1962 International races.

Lola arrived with a front-engined car in 1960, probably somewhat neglected because of the engine placement, while Ausper had a car here in early 1961 and Gemini a little later.

Local cars were more prolific. Nota had followed the front-engined route in 1960 and rear-engined cars came from Jolus, Elfin and Lynx by the end of 1961.

Just what is missing in all of this?

Brabham. The MRD was yet to arrive, the bigger Brabhams didn't get here until the end of 1962. Once they did it was a whole new ball game.

Just look at what happened to Lotus open-wheeler sales...

Lotus 18 - 3 plus about four imported privately in 1961/2
Lotus 20 - 7 plus two imported privately in 1961/2
Lotus 22 - 1 - for Leo Geoghegan to drive
Lotus 27 - 3 - one for Leo Geoghegan to drive
Lotus 32 - 1 - for Leo Geoghegan to drive

The next new Lotus open-wheeler to enter the country was the 59, specifically imported for Leo Geoghegan to drive.

There were, meanwhile, new Brabhams coming every year. Essentially they took over the market until the arrival of F5000.

One has to say that Australia was always a limited market, so some ventures would fail. Lynx went in other directions, Bob Joass found other things to do than build his Joluses, within just a couple of years there would only be Elfin and Rennmax, and of the two Elfin would always be the stronger.

#84 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 10:21

Originally posted by TerryS
I asked near the start of my post #19 what the "BN" model prefix stood for. I have had no response.

I surmise the B was for Britton, but what was the N for? Someone must know.


And from post #2:
 

Originally posted by DanTra2858
Thank you for putting up Bob's site, I was lucky enough to have visited the original Factory many times during the late 1960s when I was Boarding with Stan Smith.

From working in the very structured AIS Machine Shop (BHP) to seeing & touching sheer magic emerging from an old lean-to garage was beyond belief.

There were metal plates welded upon other metal plates which looked to me like SCRAP, BUT THEY WERE JIGS which assisted in the building of some of Australia's most famous Competition cars.....

.....During these days Bob if my memory is correct had Stan and an Apprentice working for him, my last days in the Rennmax workshop was when Bob was building the first set of Alloy spun wheels.

So much MAGIC from a very humble workshop, THANK YOU Bob.


There's the key...

Stan Smith was helping Bob in the times when Bob Muir was a regular visitor. Bob raced Rennmaxes from his Vee days through until he ran the BN7, so he would have worn a path between his place and the Croydon Park workshop.

He tells me that Stan had a nickname that began with 'N' and that was the 'N' in 'BN.

And yes, those metal plates used for wishbone jigs are still around.




.

Edited by Ray Bell, 15 March 2017 - 10:28.


#85 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 22:45

Jigs for steel framed cars always look like scrap, and often live in the weather. As well as have mods and refinements for either a better car or ease of build.



#86 TerryS

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 01:49

Ray, the last sentence of my post #76 was about the changes between the 20 and 22.There was no top link on the 20, and 4 wheel discs were only on the US Formula B Lotus 20BOther changes included- more reclined driver- thicker gauged tubing in space frame- double skinned bulkhead- more streamlined bodyThis is all disclosed in the followinghttp://www.motorspor.../130/lotus-2022http://www.conceptca...us-Type-22.aspx


So Ray do you agree the Lotus 20 did not have a top link in its rear suspension

Also you say there were 3 Lotus 27 sold in Australia, I thought there were 4.

#87 Ray Bell

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 02:50

I actually posted about that, Terry...

That was in post #81, where I said it was 'my mistake' to Erol, who had also pointed this out.

According to both my memory and Marc's book, there were three Lotus 27s imported here in period:

One for Leo to race (with 1475cc pushrod engine), later sold to Les Howard, then Ian Fergusson and written off at Catalina.

One for Glynn Scott (1475cc pushrod, soon changed to twin-cam), it went to Bruce Peters, Derry George, Tony Farrell and a string of owners.

Finally, the Arnold Glass car, this came with a twin-cam, went to New Zealand and finished up back in England.

With regard to other points, I'm fairly sure that Britto never built a car with drum brakes, or without top links in the rear suspension.

#88 TerryS

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 05:41

I actually posted about that, Terry...

That was in post #81, where I said it was 'my mistake' to Erol, who had also pointed this out.

According to both my memory and Marc's book, there were three Lotus 27s imported here in period:

One for Leo to race (with 1475cc pushrod engine), later sold to Les Howard, then Ian Fergusson and written off at Catalina.

One for Glynn Scott (1475cc pushrod, soon changed to twin-cam), it went to Bruce Peters, Derry George, Tony Farrell and a string of owners.

Finally, the Arnold Glass car, this came with a twin-cam, went to New Zealand and finished up back in England.

With regard to other points, I'm fairly sure that Britto never built a car with drum brakes, or without top links in the rear suspension.


But I don't understand post #81, and where does "Erol" fit in

#89 Ray Bell

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 05:57

It was post #79 where Erol repeated your point about top links on Lotus 20s...

Erol, of course, was a Rennmax owner at one time.

#90 Paul Hamilton

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 21:12

And from post #2:
 

There's the key...

Stan Smith was helping Bob in the times when Bob Muir was a regular visitor. Bob raced Rennmaxes from his Vee days through until he ran the BN7, so he would have worn a path between his place and the Croydon Park workshop.

He tells me that Stan had a nickname that began with 'N' and that was the 'N' in 'BN.

And yes, those metal plates used for wishbone jigs are still around.




.

Yes, indeed!  The BN Rennmax type prefix which Bob Muir thought up to put some order into what was coming out of Britto's workshop was simply derived from B for Britto and N for Nurge, Stan's nickname.



#91 Paul Hamilton

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 21:19

I actually posted about that, Terry...

That was in post #81, where I said it was 'my mistake' to Erol, who had also pointed this out.

According to both my memory and Marc's book, there were three Lotus 27s imported here in period:

One for Leo to race (with 1475cc pushrod engine), later sold to Les Howard, then Ian Fergusson and written off at Catalina.

One for Glynn Scott (1475cc pushrod, soon changed to twin-cam), it went to Bruce Peters, Derry George, Tony Farrell and a string of owners.

Finally, the Arnold Glass car, this came with a twin-cam, went to New Zealand and finished up back in England.

With regard to other points, I'm fairly sure that Britto never built a car with drum brakes, or without top links in the rear suspension.

The two survivors have now been turned into Formula Juniors and we therefore have no remaining 27's from the ANF1.5 litre formula where they made their Australian history.  Some of the remains of the Ian Fergusson car were incorporated in his replacement Bowin.



#92 SJ Lambert

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 23:04

Do either of them see track time these days Paul?

Has the Scott car remained in Australia?

#93 TerryS

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 00:05

The two survivors have now been turned into Formula Juniors and we therefore have no remaining 27's from the ANF1.5 litre formula where they made their Australian history.  Some of the remains of the Ian Fergusson car were incorporated in his replacement Bowin.


I always thought the Les Howard 27 was a new one, maybe because it ran an 1100 engine. That was my 4th 27, so I was wrong.

Was the Howard's Lotus 23 a new one? What happened to it?

#94 TerryS

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 00:09

For interest the attached includes a drawing of a Lotus 20 rear suspension. Just go down.

http://colinchapmanm...k/?page_id=2102

#95 Ray Bell

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 00:56

Originally posted by TerryS
I always thought the Les Howard 27 was a new one, maybe because it ran an 1100 engine. That was my 4th 27, so I was wrong.

Was the Howard's Lotus 23 a new one? What happened to it?


The 23 was an 1100, but the 27 remained a 1500 after purchase from the Geoghegans...

At some point early in the Howard & Sons ownership it was changed to a 1500 twin-cam. The 23 went through a succession of owners and in 2010 was in the hands of Alan Telfer in Queensland. Curiously, this car got the twin-cam engine, wheels and brakes from Glynn Scott's 27 when owned by Dick Heales.

All of which is getting a little away from Rennmax...

#96 Paul Hamilton

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 01:40

Do either of them see track time these days Paul?

Has the Scott car remained in Australia?

 

I have lost track of the Arnold Glass car in recent times, James, but when last I heard it was in Europe in FJ spec.  A good 27 is hot property in FJ events and I expect that whoever has it now would be using it in that form.

 

The Scott car is now owned by Marty Bullock from Perth but spends most of its time running in various FJ races internationally.  It did come back home for the Australian rounds of the current FJ Jubilee Tour late last year at Barbagallo, Sandown and Eastern Creek but then went on to NZ and would now be on its way to the USA for events there later this year.  As it never ran in FJ form 'in period' it is eligible for an Australian CoD only with the bigger engine but it does have an FIA HTP as a Junior and our regulations do allow it to run here based on that documentation.  Marty has told me that he would like to put the twin cam back in the car one day which would be nice given its history in that form but, for now, he is having a good time with it in FJ spec.



#97 SJ Lambert

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 01:59

My Mono's been mistaken for a 27 on at least one occasion!

#98 TerryS

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 02:28

The 23 was an 1100, but the 27 remained a 1500 after purchase from the Geoghegans...


Just had a quick look and at May 1965 the 27 was running as 1098cc. That's why I thought it was new.

I think they switched the 1098 engine from the 23 after putting the Smedley down draft 1098 engine in the 23.

#99 Ray Bell

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 14:05

Bob Muir phoned me to tell me about Stan Smith's great abilities...

"I was over at Bob's at Croydon one day and Frank Gardner arrived with the Mildren Submarine," he told me. "Bob and Stan came out to look at the car and Stan went into near-hysterical laughter at the newly-fitted high wing."

Apparently Stan composed himself enough to tell Frank the wing would fall off. During Warwick Farm practice that weekend it did indeed collapse!

On an earlier occasion, Bob was assembling bits of his ex-Allen/Geary Lotus 23, which had been repaired by Bob after Paul Bolton crashed it. "I was about to mount a front caliper and the bracket fell apart in my hands," Bob explained. "Stan looked at it, got a couple of bits of steel, dug a hole in the ground and melted some aluminium into this improvised mold. Soon he was machining and drilling it to fit the caliper."

Bob Britton also recalls this incident. "He was a genius, but really he was just showing off."

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#100 TerryS

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Posted 25 March 2017 - 05:13

I was always interested in what became of Noel Hall’s first Rennmax, and by accident came upon a post by Dick Willis in 2010 on another TNF Thread:

“ The Noel Hall Rennmax claimed the engine, gearbox, brakes and wheels from Hall’s Cooper T51, but was wrecked at Lakeside in the early sixties. It was partially rebuilt in a locally (NSW North Coast) built chassis similar to a Lotus 20 but never completed. In 1970 I was looking for another racing car and learnt that the latter was for sale for $1,500 so we went to the Halls’ timber yard near Woolgoolga where it was located in a lean to beside a small shed. Deciding it needed too much work to be completed I passed it up much to my eternal regret in later years.”

Does anybody know anything later on this ?

Edited by TerryS, 25 March 2017 - 05:14.