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Edenvale, Ontario, Canada: the full story

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#1 Rupertlt1

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Posted 20 April 2022 - 03:58

AND while writing of sports car racing,

it is worth noting  that Europe is not

the only country to indulge in this esoteric

game. In Canada, also, there is a strong

corps of sports car enthusiasts. At Eden-

vale, near Toronto, Ontario, on August 3,

the Sports Car Club will run its big

meeting of the year. During the morning

and afternoon sports cars will be put

through a variety of events. These include

production car races, class events, and

even a one-hour "Le Mans" handicap.

Edenvale, incidentally, is an airfield cir-

cuit—with all the space in Canada it seems

one cannot still escape them. A meeting

there on May 25 (organized by the British

Empire M.C.) was won by Fred Warner,

who, in the words of a spectator, "burned

up the angular airport track" with his


Autocar, 20 June 1952, Page 777


This circuit operated, on and off, 1950-1959. This thread aims to tell the story.

The meeting previewed above took place on Saturday August 2nd, 1952.



Edited by Rupertlt1, 20 April 2022 - 04:18.


#2 Rupertlt1

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Posted 21 April 2022 - 08:27

Let us wind the clock back to Edenvale, 25 June 1950.

Arguably where post-war sports car racing started in Ontario, a modest start at that.

[Previously Beamsville Fair Grounds, 28 May 1949; Rattlesnake Point Hill Climb, B.E.M.C., 7 May 1950.]

The British Empire Motor Club improvised a run-what-ya-brung event, 2 races, 16 entries:

#1 David H. Knight, Toronto, Standard Vanguard Sedan

#2 Dean Gooderham, M.G. TD

#3 Alice Fergusson, Fiat 500

#4 Jim Fergusson, M.G. TD

#5 Peter Dillnutt, Morris Minor

#6 George Barrett, Galt, M.G. TD (S/C), green

#7 James L. Cooke, Toronto, Jaguar XK120 roadster, probably light blue

#8 Dr. Ross Rogers, Huntsville, MG Y-type Tourer, green

#9 Reg Ogilvie, Ottawa, M.G. TC, light colour

#10 Peter Hayes, Toronto, M.G. TC

#11 Charles Wheaton, Bentley 4¼ saloon (1938), black

Chassis # B171KU, Body # 3608, 4-Door, 4-Light Sports Saloon by Vanden Plas, Reg # ELC309, May 1938. First owner: Jack Olding and Co Ltd.

#12 Knudson, M.G. TD (unknown, possibly Knudsen)


#14 Ronald Earle, Mercury Sedan (1949)

#16 George Kipps, Brantford, Austin A90

#18 Kirkman, Singer Roadster (thought to be Roy Kirkman)

#20 T. R. 'Tom' Pearce, Toronto, M.G. TD



Edited by Rupertlt1, 23 April 2022 - 05:25.

#3 GazChed

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Posted 21 April 2022 - 09:00

MG TDs were the car to have in that first meeting at Edenvale with George Barrett winning the main event after a second in the preliminary race and Jim Fergusson third in both races, with James L Cooke and his XK120 winning the preliminary race and finishing second in the main race.

#4 Rupertlt1

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Posted 23 April 2022 - 04:57

Edenvale, British Empire Motor Club, 25 June 1950: 

Race One: 5 laps, 7.25 miles, 16 cars. 

1. #7 James L. Cooke, Jaguar XK120 

2. #6 George Barrett, M.G. TD (S/C) 

3. #4 Jim Fergusson, M.G. TD 

4. #11 Charles Wheaton, Bentley 4¼ (1938) 

5. #10 Peter Hayes, M.G. TC 

6. #9 Reg Ogilvie, M.G. TC 

7. #12 Knudson, M.G. TD 

8. #20 Tom Pearce, M.G. TD 

9. #14 Ronald Earle, Mercury Sedan (1949) 

10. #16 George Kipps, Austin A90 

11. #2 Dean Gooderham, M.G. TD 

12. #8 Ross Rogers, M.G. Y-type Tourer 

13. #5 Peter Dillnutt, Morris Minor 

14. #3 Alice Fergusson, Fiat 500

15. #1 Dave Knight, Standard Vanguard Sedan

16. #18 Kirkman, Singer Roadster


David Knight scratched his Vanguard for the 20-lap event, saying he

felt too much like "a mobile chicane". 


Race Two: 20 laps, 29 miles, 12 cars, "Le Mans"-type start, compulsory pit stop for a wheel change.

1. #6 George Barrett, M.G. TD (S/C)   

2. #7 James L. Cooke, Jaguar XK120   

3. #4 Jim Fergusson, M.G. TD

4. #11 Charles Wheaton, Bentley 4¼ (1938)

5. #12 Knudson, M.G. TD

6. #10 Peter Hayes, M.G. TC

7. #20 Tom Pearce, M.G. TD

8. #9 Reg Ogilvie, M.G. TC

9. #2 Dean Gooderham, M.G. TD 

10. #8 Ross Rogers, M.G. Y-type Tourer

11. #5 Peter Dillnutt, Morris Minor

12. #18 Kirkman, Singer Roadster 

(No other starters)



Edited by Rupertlt1, 23 April 2022 - 05:07.

#5 Rupertlt1

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Posted 24 April 2022 - 03:34

B.E.M.C. Edenvale, Sunday 3 September 1950, entries:

#1 David H. Knight, Toronto, M.G. TC, green

#2 J. R. Peck, Montreal, M.G. TC, cream

#3 W. R. Rogers, Huntsville, Ontario, M.G. Y-type Tourer, green 

#4 T. R. Pearce, Toronto, M.G. TC, green

#5 T. W. Reynolds, Toronto, Jowett Javelin, black 

#6 R. S. Boyle, Toronto, Jowett Javelin, black

#7 W. Russell, Toronto, M.G. TC, green

#9 J. E. Burnett, Montreal, M.G. TC, green

#10 Charles Wheaton, Toronto, 1938 Bentley 4¼-litre saloon, black

#11 M. J. Goldman, Detroit, Michigan, M.G. TD 

#12 Charlie Davison, Birmingham, Michigan, Jaguar SS-100 3½-litre, English reg #DWU 834, white 

#14 Robert Collins, Elyria, Ohio, M.G. TC, white

#15 R. S. Rea, Kitchener, M.G. TC, dark

#16 E. Knudsen, Owen Sound, Morris Minor

#17 J. H. Cane, Toronto, Morris Minor

#18 James L. Cooke, Toronto, Jaguar XK120 roadster, light 

#19 M. Doyle, Toronto, Riley 2½-litre, white with black fabric top 

#20 Neil Kennedy, Toronto, Lincoln Convertible 4,800 c.c., black

#21 Peter Hayes, Toronto, M.G. TC, cream 

#22 P. W. Dillnutt, Toronto, Morris Minor 

#23 A. Holland, Toronto, Citroën 15 traction avant, maroon 

#24 Jim Fergusson, Toronto, Morris Minor-M.G., 1,250 c.c., grey 

#25 B. W. Richardson, Toronto, Jaguar XK120 roadster, red  

#26 O. R. Earle, Toronto, M.G. Y-type Tourer S/C, red

#28 George Barrett, Galt, M.G. TD S/C, light green 

#29 Rowland H. Keith, Peace Dale, Rhode Island, M.G. TC S/C, black 

#31 R. Eastman, Toronto, M.G. TC, cream



Edited by Rupertlt1, 24 April 2022 - 03:49.

#6 Rupertlt1

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Posted 25 April 2022 - 07:58

3 September 1950:

Edenvale Sports Car Grand Prix. Although a shadow was cast over the event

by the tragic accident to Bob Collins, the first Edenvale Sports Car G.P.

will go down in club history as a most outstanding occasion.

Plans were drawn up months ahead of time and frequent progress meetings

were held to determine the state of arrangements. The race committee

worked with a will and a great number of the club members were called

upon for assistance. The results, we feel, more than justified the work


We should like to mention in particular the senior officials who contri-

buted so much to the success of the event. Doug Crambclerk of the Course-

organisation and control of event. Peter Millardsenior pit marshal,

Bill Coopersenior course marshal, Bob Evischief timekeeper, Terry Simkiss

-Hugh Younglap scoring, Bert Punshonstarter and flagman, Jack Gillies

secretary of meeting, Joan RolfeLap score boards, Ken Rolfe, Bill Quennell

and Ron Whiteflying motorcycle squad. We should also like to express

our thanks to the many others who acted as course marshals, pit marshals,

timekeepers, lap scorers etc. etc.

The weather was kind to us and even the newspaper write-up Globe & Mail,

Mon.4 Sep.--didn't even sound like a newspaper write-up.

We were pleased to receive several entries from the U.S. and several

others from out of town members.


Event No.1. — Lodge Challenge Trophy

Class 1, 0-1100 c.c., 5 laps.

1st. E. Knudsen, Owen Sound, Morris Minor, No.16, 49.7 m.p.h.

2nd. P.W. Dillnutt, Toronto, Morris Minor, No.22, 48.6 m.p.h.

3rd. J.H. Cane, Toronto, Morris Minor, No.17, 47.3 m.p.h.

Event No.2. — Anthony Foster Challenge Trophy

Class 2, 1100-1500 c.c., 5 laps. 

1st. Jim Peck, Montreal, M.G. (TC) No.2, 57.7 m.p.h.

2nd. Jim Fergusson, Toronto, Morris Minor Special, No.24, 57.1 m.p.h.

3rd. Peter Hayes, Toronto, M.G. (TC) No.21, 57.0 m.p.h.

4th. Robert Collins, Detroit, M.G. (TC) No.14, 57.0 m.p.h.

5th. R.S. Rea, Kitchener, M.G. (TC) No.15, 56.9 m.p.h.

6th. T.R. Pearce, Toronto, M.G. (TC) No.4, 56.9 m.p.h.

7th. D.H. Knight, Toronto, M.G. (TC) No.1, 54.1 m.p.h.

8th. W. Russell, Toronto, M.G. (TC) No.7, 54.1 m.p.h.

9th. R. Eastman, Toronto, M.G. (TC) No.31, 53.9 m.p.h.

10th. M.J. Goldman, Detroit, M.G. (TD) No.11, 53.3 m.p.h.

11th. J.E. Burnett, Montreal, M.G. (TC) No.9, 52.7 m.p.h.                

12th. W.R. Rogers, Huntsville, M.G. Tourer, No.3, 49.7 m.p.h.

13th. R.S. Boyle, Toronto, Jowett Javelin, No.6, 49.2 m.p.h.

Retired: T.W. Reynolds, Toronto, Jowett Javelin, No.5.   

Event No.3. — Kendall Oil Co. Challenge Trophy

Class 3, 1501-3000 c.c. and 1101-1500 c.c. supercharged.

1st. G. M. Barrett, Galt, M.G. (TD S/C), No.28, 60.0 m.p.h.

2nd. Rowland H. Keith, Peace Dale, Rhode Island, M.G. (TC S/C), 57.1 m.p.h.

3rd. M. Doyle, Toronto, Riley 2½-litre, No.19, 56.5 m.p.h.

4th. A. Holland, Toronto, Citroën 15, No.23, 54.5 m.p.h.

5th. O.R. Earle, Toronto, M.G. Tourer S/C, No.26, 54.2 m.p.h.

Event No.4. — Trophy to be decided.

Class 4, 3000 c.c.—Unlimited.

1st. B.W. Richardson, Toronto, Jaguar (XK120), No.25, 59.5 m.p.h. 

2nd. James L. Cooke, Toronto, Jaguar (XK120), No.18, 59.1 m.p.h. 

3rd. C.H. Davison, Detroit, Jaguar (SS.100), No.12, 59.1 m.p.h.  

4th. C.F. Wheaton, Toronto, Bentley 4¼-litre, No.10, 58.5 m.p.h.  

5th. J.N. Kennedy, Toronto, Lincoln, No.20, 56.6 m.p.h

Event No.5. — J.L. Cooke Road Racing Challenge Trophy

10 laps for the slower 50% of the entry.

1st. D.H. Knight, M.G. (TC), 51.5 m.p.h., pit stop 1.03 min.

2nd. A. Holland, Citroën 15, 51.2 m.p.h., pit stop 1.19 min. 

3rd. W. Russell, M.G. (TC), 51.0 m.p.h., pit stop 0.98 min.

4th. O.R. Earle, M.G. (Tourer S/C), 49.0 m.p.h., pit stop 1.57 min.

5th. M.J. Goldman, M.G. (TD), 46.7 m.p.h., pit stop 2.81 min.

6th. P.W. Dillnutt, Morris Minor, 45.6 m.p.h., pit stop 1.18 min.

7th. J.E. Burnett, M.G. (TC), 45.6 m.p.h., pit stop 2.04 min.

8th. M. Doyle, Riley 2½-litre, 43.7 m.p.h., pit stop 1.21 min.

9th. R. Eastman, M.G. (TC), 42.2 m.p.h., pit stop 5.00 min.

Event No.6 — Dunlop Challenge Trophy.

Edenvale Sports Car Grand Prix for the fastest 50% of the entry.

1st. James L. Cooke, Jaguar (XK120), 56.5 m.p.h., pit stop 1.41 min.

2nd. Rowland H. Keith, M.G. (TC S/C), 54.4 m.p.h., pit stop 0.88 min.

3rd. B.W. Richardson, Jaguar (XK120), 54.2 m.p.h., pit stop 1.76 min.

4th. Peter Hayes, M.G. (TC), 53.6 m.p.h., pit stop 0.80 min.

5th. J.R. Peck, M.G. (TC), 53.2 m.p.h., pit stop 1.23 min.

6th. J.W. Fergusson, Morris Minor Special, 53.2 m.p.h., pit stop 0.89 min.

7th. Charles Wheaton, Bentley 4¼-litre, 53.1 m.p.h., pit stop 1.42 min.

8th. Tom Pearce, M.G. (TC), 52.3 m.p.h., pit stop 1.45 min.

9th. J.N. Kennedy, Lincoln, 51.0 m.p.h., pit stop 2.25 min.

10th. G.M. Barrett, M.G. (TD S/C), 50.2 m.p.h., pit stop 1.80 min.

British Empire Motor Club Bulletin, September-October 1950



Edited by Rupertlt1, 25 April 2022 - 08:08.

#7 Rupertlt1

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Posted 09 May 2022 - 07:22

The Toronto Star, Tuesday, September 5, 1950, Page 12.

“At Edenvale, Robert Collins, 24, of Elyria, Ohio, was killed Sunday night when his English racing car overturned during a trial run.”

Robert Collins drove the white #14 M.G. TC. Sadly he died when a wire wheel collapsed and his car turned over. The concrete surface was notoriously hard on tyres. This was in the days before roll bars, seat belts or mandatory crash helmets.

GM Engineer

Killed in Race

Robert Collins, a research engi-

neer in the General Motors Re-

search Laboratories, was killed

Saturday while taking part in a

midget auto race at Lake Simcoe,


Collins of 3210 Pembroke raced

midget cars as a hobby. He died

when the rear wheel of his car col-

lapsed and the vehicle overturned

on him.

His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Paul

Collins, and two brothers, all of

Elyria, O., survive. Services and

burial will be Wednesday in Elyria.

Detroit Free Press (Detroit, Michigan) Tuesday 5 September 1950, Page 15


A turn at Edenvale circuit was, by 1952, named Collins Corner, presumably the scene of the accident.



Edited by Rupertlt1, 10 May 2022 - 05:25.

#8 Rupertlt1

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Posted 12 May 2022 - 06:43

1951: This has to be something of a placeholder. We know the newly-formed Sports Car Club (Toronto) held a race meeting at Edenvale that year — we don't know the date and we only have fragments of the results. Tommy Hoan, black M.G. TC, won the 'formula race', a one-hour handicap event, after a battle with the B.M.W. of Ed 'Tobe' Tobin. (E. J. Tobin competed at Giants' Despair, in a red B.M.W. from 1939, 12 May 1951, 4th in Class 4, 1:24.9; Glenwood Hill Climb, New York, Sunday 19 August 1951, Tobe Tobin, driving a B.M.W. was first in class B with a time of 53.1 seconds.)

Brad Richardson rolled his M.G. TD at Edenvale. (Is he the same man who drove the red Jaguar XK120 in 1950?)

Peter Dillnutt set a lap record in his Cooper MkIV-J.A.P. "Lap 1.75 miles. Time 1m. 41 secs. September, 1951."
(1952 Cooper Yearbook. See also Palm Beach Shores programme.)

Any information about this event much appreciated?

The British Empire Motor Club held a sprint at Edenvale on 22 July 1951. See:


The British Empire Motor Club held a hill climb at Rattlesnake Point, 18 August 1951.



Edited by Rupertlt1, 04 June 2022 - 06:21.

#9 Rupertlt1

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Posted 21 May 2022 - 05:51

Edenvale, British Empire Motor Club, 25 May 1952

Part entry list:

FWD-Miller, white with red wire wheels, driver Bill Milliken

#9 M.G. TD, dark

#18 Morris Minor, dark

#20 M.G. Special, alloy body

#24 Morris Minor convertible, split-screen, dark

#27 M.G. TC-Ford V8 60 flathead, red/alloy bonnet, driver Jim Fergusson (car built by Neil Bryson)

#31 Sunbeam-Talbot "90", 4-door, light metallic, driver likely John T. Panks

#55 Allard-Cadillac, blue with red wire wheels, red upholstery, Jim Warner, Detroit

#85 M.G. TD, dark

#114 Jaguar XK120, light blue, registration DN100, driver likely Bill Robinson



#10 Rupertlt1

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Posted 26 May 2022 - 03:25

Edenvale, Sports Car Club (Toronto), 2 August 1952

Entry list:

#1 Sunbeam-Talbot "90" saloon, John T. Panks

#2 M.G. TD, dark, W. Huffman

#3 Sunbeam-Talbot convertible, Paul Lee

#4 Sunbeam-Talbot convertible, red, N. D. Durie

#5 Siata, red, Max Goldman

#6 Siata, two-tone grey/blue, E. Glowacke

#7 Standard Vanguard, dark, W. H. Greason

#8 M.G. TC, T. P. O'Reilly

#9 Riley 1½-litre, whitewall tyres, Al Pease

#10 Jaguar XK120, J. C. Mueller

#11 M.G. TC, cream, Cecil Bovaird

#12 M.G. TC, black, Tommy Hoan, Hamilton

#14 M.G. TD, R. J. Rush

#15 M.G. TC, W. R. Morrison

#16 Singer Roadster, red, Bernard Kerner, Detroit

#17 Jaguar XK120, light blue, red upholstery, Gisbert von Boch, Ecurie Tortue

#18 Aston-Martin DB2, metallic blue, Charles Wheaton, Ecurie Tortue

#19 Morris Minor, black, Fred Mallard, Ecurie Tortue

#20 Morris Minor, black, split-screen, Peter Templar, Ecurie Tortue

#21 Morris Minor, black, Peter Dillnutt, Ecurie Tortue

#22 M.G. TD, Bob Hanna, entrant Jack Wheeler

(above in programme)

#25 Sunbeam-Talbot saloon, whitewall tyres, likely "Thompson"

M.G. TC, Peter Hayes

Hillman Minx, Ian Garrad

Nash Rambler, Jim Fergusson

Parked prominently near the startline was the red Dellow Mk 2 of newly-arrived-from-England Autosport correspondent Roderick J. Thurgood. First mention of this meeting came in Autosport, 15 August 1952, with an unattributed photograph. Caption:

CANADIAN WIN: At the race meeting at Edenvale, Toronto, on 2nd

August, John Parkes (sic) won the over 1,500 c.c. production-car race with a

Sunbeam-Talbot "90". Here he receives trophy and congratulations from  

Douglas Cramb, S.C.C. of Toronto President.

The driver in the photograph is John T. Panks.

A belated race report appeared in Autosport, 3 October 1952, byline R. J. Thurgood.

From the programme notes:

JOHN PANKS—John will be driving his well known,

factory tuned Sunbeam-Talbot this year. An official

driver for the Rootes Group, he has competed in the

Monte Carlo Rally. It will be a pleasure to see the

best prepared Sunbeam-Talbot in Canada drifting

around Brad's Bend again.

(Here we have John T. Panks and Ian Garrad together, many years before they collaborated on the development of the Sunbeam Tiger in California. Ian Garrad was the son of Norman Garrad, the Rootes Coventry competitions' manager, and elder brother to Lewis Garrad, also associated with the team.)



Edited by Rupertlt1, 02 June 2022 - 13:12.

#11 Rupertlt1

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Posted 31 May 2022 - 04:26


You can't imagine the interest R. P.

Gordon Jones's article, "Mostly Frazer-

Nash," in MOTOR SPORT for April, 1944,

caused here in Burma. As a matter of

fact I was the proud owner of the "Leaf"

he mentioned would do "97 on its P. and C.

radiator thermometer"! However, that

is beside the point.

It is remarkable, though, here in

Burma, with the war over five years old,

that an article such as this can stir up

such interest in the Sport. I have many

a friend here, scattered about in different

formations, who manages to drop in and

discuss all the articles in MOTOR SPORT

each month, the Jap permitting!

Congratulations to your staff for keep-

ing such a high standard of publication

going in these hard times.

A point of interest to 3-litre Bentley

owners. I fitted modified Lancia

"Lambda" front suspension to my

"Red Label" before the war, after much

hard work, with really outstanding results.

I am, Yours, etc.,

J. PANKS (Major).

S.E. Asia Command.

Motor Sport, October 1944, Page 217


When did Panks appear on the Monte Carlo Rally?



Edited by Rupertlt1, 31 May 2022 - 04:29.

#12 Rupertlt1

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Posted 04 June 2022 - 05:48

Calendar for 1953:

Saturday 4 July 1953: B.E.M.C. races
Saturday 18 July 1953: Edenvale Sprints, B.E.M.C.
Saturday 8 August 1953: Sports Car Club (Toronto), Trophy Races
Racing Sports Cars has another meeting on 23 August — confused with 8 August?

Edited by Rupertlt1, 04 June 2022 - 05:49.

#13 Rupertlt1

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Posted 06 June 2022 - 05:32

The B.E.M.C. Bulletin, Vol 5, Issue 10, October 1952.

Page 17


One night last winter some of the local MG types were

gathered around, talking over the usual subject of MG

owners. “How to make an MG go faster”. All the usual

methods were discussed, and while blowers raised com-

pression and tuning gives very good results, these modif-

ications did not seem to be the answer to me. About this

time in one of the American sports car mags. were photos

of an MG TC powered by a Ford V8 60 engine. This sounded

like a good method of increasing the torque and power due

to the much larger capacity of the Ford engine.

One of my ideas, which made things quite a bit more com-

plicated, was that the MG transmission must be retained,

since the gearbox is one of the best attributes of the

MG. Work was started in January at the north garage of

Scarboro Beach, where Jack Barr undertook to match MG

gearbox to Ford block. After a large number of ideas

were proposed and rejected, both mine and others, Jack

found the answer which sounds simple, but nevertheless

took a lot of thought and knowledge of component parts of

various cars and other little known things, such as

American car parts that match MG parts. A steel strap

was bolted to the inside of the V8 block and lugs were

brazed on wherever necessary. To take care of the in-

creased torque a larger clutch was thought necessary.

This was taken care of by a 9" Land Rover pressure plate

which just manages to swing inside the MG clutch housing

by dint of some judicial filing. The driven plate is

Dodge and fits very neatly both the Land Rover clutch and

the MG clutch shaft. Other necessary alterations were

new front motor mounts, moving the steering box 3" rearwards,

modifying the rad for twin water lines. The engine

sump was modified to hold 2 extra quarts of oil. The 12

volt electric system was retained, using MG generator and

Ford starting motor which performs with great gusto on

12 volts. Special equipment includes 9 to 1 heads, dual

manifold, no.87 Ford carbs. and a Weber camshaft. The

output is in the region of 90 HP at 5000 RPM.

The performance is very satisfactory, though the car is

now grossly low geared. Starts are made in second gear.

Page 18

Over 6000 RPM is possible without valve bounce. The

new engine does not weigh any more than the MG engine,

leaving the weight of the car at 1850 pounds with 55%

of this on the rear wheels. At present the problems

of the low axle ratio and the high engine temperature

dampen enjoyment of the car on the highway, but it

certainly makes a grand hill climb special.



[Comment: The author of this article is likely Neil Bryson, who set the hill record at Rattlesnake Point Hill Climb, on June 7, 1952, driving a red MG V8-60, with alloy bonnet. The car also set FTD at Rattlesnake on August 9, 1952, driven by brother Dave Bryson. Not everybody was thrilled with these developments, as the stock MG boys were put in the shade.

This shows the early influence of engine swaps. Jim Fergusson, Morris-FM and Mother Goose were others.] 



Edited by Rupertlt1, 06 June 2022 - 06:31.

#14 Rupertlt1

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Posted 07 June 2022 - 05:47

[This article appeared in the S.C.C.A. Western New Yorker in the 1960s. U.S. material often the best source on Canadian topics.]


by Bill Close

#30 - Mother Goose

Once upon a time, there were no Austin Healeys,

Triumph TR's or Morgan Plus Fours. That meant

there were no relatively inexpensive sports cars

with performance capabilities of over one hundred

miles per hour. So if you wanted to go fast cheaply,

you took an MG and put a bigger engine in it. The

most popular conversion was to replace the 1250 cc

four cylinder standard unit with a souped up Ford

V8-60 motor thus increasing the power available

from 54 HP to 85 HP or more. Other motors were

tried too but I think the most remarkable conversion

was a car named "Mother Goose".

"Mother Goose" was created by Jim Fergusson

of Toronto. An ex-racing motor-cyclist, Jim was one

of Canada's pioneer sports car race drivers. In

1950, he installed a Morris engine of the same basic

type as the XPAG MG unit in a Morris Minor, thus

creating the F-M (Fergusson Morris). Jim drove the

F-M to eleventh over-all position in the Sam Collier

Memorial Six Hour Race, the first ever run at Sebring.

But, though the innocent looking F-M was fairly

fast and much fun to drive, Jim hankered after more

performance and when the opportunity arose to buy a

damaged MG-TD, he set to work to build up the

"Mother Goose". For power, he chose a six cylinder

G.M.C. 270 truck engine, coupled it to a Ford 3-

speed transmission and used a Ford rear axle with a

3.78/1 ratio. Of course, the Ford axle had to be

narrowed in tread and its torque tube shortened in

order to fit under the MG. The greater length of the

G.M.C. engine was accommodated by tucking it into

a bulge in the bulkhead, without sacrificing leg

room or moving the foot pedals.

Bumpers, heavy front fenders and other weighty

items were stripped off. Even so the total weight

was 2350 lbs. The 4410 cc engine was modified

considerably. The head was planed to give 8.5-1

compression ratio, a Spalding 3/4 cam installed a-

long with changes in the valve operating train. Three

S.U. carburetors, two-inch diameter inlet valves and

inlet ports opened out improved the breathing so that

the power output was probably close to 175 HP. The

result was the fastest accelerating car in Canada.

In the 1953 Edenvale Sprint trials "Mother Goose"

covered the quarter mile from a standing start in 15.78

seconds. At the Le Mans start of another race, Dean

Gooderham made a spectacular getaway with spin-

ning, smoking, tires leaving two black streaks of

rubber for many yards.

Alas, the brakes were inadequate for the in-

creased performance and were prone to fading easily.

Even so, Jim Fergusson finished 3rd in the 1953

Edenvale Grand Prix having driven almost the whole

race without brakes. "Mother Goose" was relegated

to hill climbs with some success. A new record at

Rattlesnake Hill, third fastest at Hockley Valley

without any prior practice, tied for first in class at

Giants Despair, these were some of the "Mother

Goose" achievements. But Jim Fergusson was not

satisfied and the MG-GMC passed to a new owner

when Jim became enthusiastic about an Austin

Healey with a double overhead camshaft head de-

signed and built by Harold Hunter of Kitchener.


Does anybody have any more of these Western New Yorker newsletters?

(#24 Scrapbook Memories featured Kenny Ahr — to follow.)


See also Autosport, 11 June 1954, Page 756. 



Edited by Rupertlt1, 08 June 2022 - 05:06.

#15 Rupertlt1

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Posted 08 June 2022 - 05:03



by bill close

No. 24 - Kenny Ahr

The Kenneth Ahr Memorial Trophy awarded

each year at the Lake Erie Invitational Races

perpetuates the memory of Kenny Ahr, a

Western New York Region member, whose

death on 16 May, 1955, at the age of 47,

ended a racing career spanning twenty-five


During the nineteen thirties, Kenny raced

big cars and midgets on many dirt tracks all

over the Eastern USA and Canada. According

to hearsay, Kenny even qualified a car at

Indianapolis one year but was bumped from

the starting line-up by a later and faster

qualifier. His first contact with road rac-

ing was accidental, for, while returning

one time from racing in upper New York

State, Kenny heard of a race about to be run

through the streets of a small town. This

was one of the events put on by the Ameri-

can Racing Drivers Club, a predecessor of

the SCCA, and the town was Alexandria Bay,

New York. Kenny saw the event, and his

interest in road racing and sports cars com-


Kenny joined the SCCA in late 1945 when the

Club had less than ninety members. He was,

in fact, the third member from Western New

York. In those days membership was limited

to owners of sports cars and Kenny's car

was a 1937 Type 327 BMW cabriolet. Sev-

eral years later, he acquired a MG-TC and

with it commenced SCCA racing in 1951.

Two years later, the MG was replaced by the

Crosley engined Siata Spyder shown above;

this car was raced in many events during

1953 and 1954. Much of the engine tuning

experience applied to this car was gained

some years earlier when Kenny raced a Cros-

ley sedan in the winter time races run in-

side one of the Buffalo Armories.

In 1951, Kenny and Mr. Charles Jones es-

tablished the sports car business now

known as Ahr & Company Sports Cars, Inc.

The first location on Hertel Avenue be-

came a sort of unofficial club room for all

sports car enthusiasts. There, one could

find information about sports car events

both local and national. And when not

selling cars, Kenny, between cigar puffs,

would regale one with tales and anecdotes

from many years of racing.

Kenny was not a spectacular driver of

sports cars. He raced for his own enjoy-

ment and had long learned the truth

of the drivers' saying, "There are reckless

drivers and old drivers, but no old reck-

less drivers." Very much a lone operator,

Kenny prepared his cars himself and would

drive several hundred miles alone to com-

pete in a race. He enjoyed successes

with the Siata such as many class HM

prizes or the Sports Car Trophy which he

won at Edenvale in 1953. He also accept-

-ed his failures philosophically and never

seemed to be rattled. I remember con-

versing with him after the 1954 Queen

Catherine (sic) Cup Race on the second Watkins

Glen Circuit. A brake line had failed on

the Siata at the end of the long, fast,

downhill straight leading to the sharp

Townsend Corner which had no escape road.

Downshifting at astronomical engine revs,

he finished up in an orchard, without run-

ning into the spectators. Kenny laconical-

ly said, "It was most disconcerting".

Kenny entered a Triumph at Sebring in 1955

but was on the reserve list. He practiced

for the race but officialdom failed to tell

him whether to start or not. So Kenny lin-

ed up, started and was quickly flagged in.

Two months later he took his final check-

ered flag after a short illness. His pass-

ing left a void which I for one, feel has

never been filled.

[The Siata arrived in Buffalo in late 1952. It was painted red with green seats. "It has quick-change wire wheels, a special five-speed gear box, a spare tire behind the two small seats, and a windshield only ten inches high. The engine is specially built and specially tuned for the sports car race at MacDill Field, Tampa, Fla., on February 21st in which the owner will drive."]



#16 Rupertlt1

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Posted 29 June 2022 - 08:47

1951: This has to be something of a placeholder. We know the newly-formed Sports Car Club (Toronto) held a race meeting at Edenvale that year — we don't know the date and we only have fragments of the results. Tommy Hoan, black M.G. TC, won the 'formula race', a one-hour handicap event, after a battle with the B.M.W. of Ed 'Tobe' Tobin. (E. J. Tobin competed at Giants' Despair, in a red B.M.W. from 1939, 12 May 1951, 4th in Class 4, 1:24.9; Glenwood Hill Climb, New York, Sunday 19 August 1951, Tobe Tobin, driving a B.M.W. was first in class B with a time of 53.1 seconds.)

Brad Richardson rolled his M.G. TD at Edenvale. (Is he the same man who drove the red Jaguar XK120 in 1950?)

Peter Dillnutt set a lap record in his Cooper MkIV-J.A.P. "Lap 1.75 miles. Time 1m. 41 secs. September, 1951."
(1952 Cooper Yearbook. See also Palm Beach Shores programme.)

Any information about this event much appreciated?

The British Empire Motor Club held a sprint at Edenvale on 22 July 1951. See:


The British Empire Motor Club held a hill climb at Rattlesnake Point, 18 August 1951.




B.E.M.C. Bulletin, December 1951 - January 1952

A random review of 1951 with the following quotes:

Roy Kirkman putting his A90 through paces which make M.G.'s sit up and take notice.

David Knight in the 500 c.c. class.

Alice Fergusson, not only saying that the Distaff side of the club

should compete in events but proving her point by doing so.

Peter Dillnutt, Jim Fergusson, Tommy Hoan, Chas. Wheaton and George Barrett competing against

the best this continent has to offer - Bill Russell doing one of the

sweetest bits of driving that we have ever seen at Edenvale.

Tommy Hoan doing Edenvale in true Nuvolari style.


Was Tommy Hoan's M.G. TC the ex-Rowland Keith/George Barrett car that ran at Edenvale in 1950?



Edited by Rupertlt1, 29 June 2022 - 09:52.

#17 Rupertlt1

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Posted 12 July 2022 - 06:14

Edenvale, 14 August 1954, Sports Car Club (Toronto). 1.7 mile circuit

Erwin Goldschmidt, red #99 Ferrari 4.5, said to be the first Ferrari to race in Canada.

"Erwin Goldschmidt recently shattered the record for the Giants Despair hillclimb in Pennsylvania with the same car."

See ROAD & TRACK, December 1954, article by F. A. Hislop



Edenvale Aug 16-A crowd of

5,000 fans watched A.E. Gold-

schmidt's 4.5 Ferrari win the

Le Mans one hour unlimited

handicap race here Saturday at

the meet sponsored by the Sports

Car Club of Toronto. A total of

90 entries representing most of

the top-ranking European cars

took part in the seven-event



Classes G and H, 750, 1100cc, 5 laps

1. Ken Ahr (USA) Siata, Average 57.5 mph

2. Jock Campbell (CAN), Buckler MkV, 1,100 cc, (Fitted Buckler-tuned linered-down Ford Ten engine). Winner Class G.

3. G. Schon, Morris Minor  

Class F, 1100cc-1500cc

1. Fred Allen (USA), MG Motto special, Average 62.8 mph

2. Bill Klinck (USA), M.G. TC

3. R. Davison (USA), M.G. TC


7. W. James (USA), Porsche

12. H. Dahl, Siata

Class E, 1500cc-2000cc-6 starters

1. Frank Hooper (aka Fred Hayes), Triumph TR2, Average 63.0 mph

2. G. Dempsey, Triumph TR2

3. Dean Gooderham, Triumph TR2


Morgan, DNF

Class D 2000cc-3000cc-14 starters

1. Jim Fergusson, Austin-Healey, Average 65.4 mph

2. Phil Stiles (USA), Austin-Healey

3. Alan Miller, Austin Special 

Class C, 3000cc and above-19 starters

1. Gisbert von Boch, Jaguar, Average 67.7 mph

2. Vern Jeffries, Jaguar

3. R. Bucher (USA), Jaguar


6. M. Hamblin (CAN), Austin Healey

Production cars up to 1500cc

1. Jim Fergusson, Nash Metropolitan. Average 55.7 mph.

2. Morris Minor-MG

3. Peter Dillnutt, Austin A30

Le Mans-type One hour handicap-41 starters


1. #99 A. E. Goldschmidt, Ferrari, average ??? mph

2. Fred Allen, MG Motto Special


1. Fred Allen, MG Motto Special

2. Ken Ahr (USA) Siata,

3. A. E. Goldschmidt, Ferrari

4. Jaguar

5. M.G. TC

6. Gisbert von Boch, Jaguar


11. Peter Dillnutt, Austin A30



Edited by Rupertlt1, 12 July 2022 - 06:15.

#18 terry mcgrath

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Posted 02 August 2022 - 00:43

great research as usual thanks terry