Friday, September 10, 2021

Friday, August 27, 2021

A great little article from Mark Koennecke.

Mark is Dale's son (the "K" in K and A).
As the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans takes hold this weekend the story of the fastest racecar ever to be designed and constructed in Australia, the VESKandA Group C1 is worth telling. Not only was the VESKandA extremely successful, but it was borne of humble origins and built on a meagre budget, but its story is so obscure that many would have never heard of it. In the late 1970’s in Adelaide South Australia, Dale Koennecke and Harry Aust, who had met through working together in the Rothmans International and Tasman F5000 series at Elfin Sportscars, Australia’s version of Lotus, had decided to leave together and set up their own business, K&A Engineering. Together they designed and manufactured a series of Sports Sedans, which was essentially a no holds barred silhouette sedan formula, and not only won multiple national championships but revolutionised the national championship by innovating their learnings from open-wheelers and building aluminium monocoque mid-engined designs.
In 1983 a client of Dale and Harry, successful local commercial photographer and motorsport enthusiast Bernie Van Elsen commissioned K&A to design, construct and develop an FIA Group C1 in anticipation of entering it in the forthcoming 1984 final round of the World Endurance Championship at Sandown Park in Australia. Totally privately funded by Van Elsen himself, the design resulted in a six litre Chev powered, full ground effects, glass-fibre bodied, aluminium, honeycomb and divinycell bonded monocoque Group C1 they named the Van Elsen Special K and A, or VESKandA. It was realised that it would be critical to the development path of the car on track for Van Elsen to engage a driver capable of not only racing such a beast but to be instrumental in its development and so he approached renowned Australian open-wheel talent John Bowe to drive the car at the suggestion of Dale and Harry, who they both had experience working with during their time at Elfin and were impressed with. The team of Dale, Harry, Bernie, and John soon realised the enormity of the task ahead would prevent them from developing the car in time to be able to compete in the Sandown event, but in early 1985 they realised that they were on to something very special when the development stage of the project turned to track testing and the performance potential of the VESKandA became evident.
Quite soon the performance level of the car increased significantly as they learnt how to tune the mechanical set up to suit the powerful underbody venturis, but disaster struck because the magnitude of rear downforce being created was so high, a rear-wheel suffered collapse failure in a high-speed corner resulting in an accident so severe that the monocoque required a partial rebuild. Nevertheless, after design improvements and a two-month repair period, the team re-commenced testing and finally, the VESKandA made its race debut in 1985 at its home circuit, Adelaide International Raceway in Round 4 of the Australian Sportscar Championship in dominant fashion by finishing P1 in every FP session, starting from pole in both heats, winning both heats by over a lap and setting the lap record in the process. Over the period of the remainder of the 1985, 1986 and the 1987 Australian Sportscar Championship seasons the VESKandA became the 1986 champion and an Australian motorsport legend and folklore as the dominant machine was so fast that it was unbeatable, starting from pole position and winning every race that it was entered in, with the exception of the opening round in 1987 at Calder Park when a ruptured fuel line fire not only forced its retirement from the round but cost the team the 1987 title in what became an unexpected three-round shortened championship. Not only did the VESKandA qualify on pole position for every single Australian SportsCar Championship race that it was entered in, but it also won every race that it finished, set the sportscar lap record at every circuit that it raced at and set the outright lap record at every circuit that it raced at except one, missing out on the record for Adelaide International Raceway that was set by one Alan Jones in Teddy Yip’s Lola T332 F5000 by 0.2 seconds.
Indeed, so dominant was the VESKandA in the Australian Sportscar Championship that when it was announced that the 1987 season would be the competition’s last, many apportioned the root cause to its dominance. Quite obviously it would seem to be a pointless exercise to go to the lengths of building a fully compliant and developed FIA Group C sportscar without competing on the international stage, but with Australia being so isolated and difficulties in finding sponsorship partners to help with the finance required to launch a European competition program due to minimal market penetration of Group C in Australia and the general publics lack of awareness of the class, unfortunately, it never happened. With the final round of the 1988 FIA World Endurance Championship scheduled to be held once again at Sandown Park in Melbourne, the VESKandA finally got its chance to measure itself against the best in the world, entered with Bowe sharing his driving duties with his now Australian Touring Car Championship team owner and boss, Dick Johnson.
Up against the exponentially better funded and resourced Walkinshaw XJR-9’s, Sauber C9’s and privateer 962C’s the minnows qualified an admirable eighth and ran comfortably in fifth during the race, only headed by the Jaguars and Mercedes, until the pre-historic engine management system being used on the VESKandA metred the fuel burn incorrectly, and the FIA penalised the team for exceeding the race fuel limit. Therein ended the story of the VESKandA until the early 2000’s when Van Elsen had the covers pulled off it in its dusty corner at K&A, had it rebuilt and sold it due to its then historic value. In 2012-2013 in the hands-on its new and current owner, another Australian motorsport enthusiast Paul Stubber, the VESKandA finally made it to Europe with an extensive competition schedule in Historic Group C, racing at Donnington Park, Silverstone, Spa, Imola, Nurburgring and the big one, the Group C Legends at Le Mans, making many aware for the first time of this amazing, quirky, and fast machine from Australia twenty-five years after its heyday. Interestingly, the VESKandA was not the only KandA chassis built, as in the early 1990’s a second was designed and built to IMSA regulations for a client who intended entering in the US series, and indeed it was landed on US soil for that purpose, but for several reasons, the entry never precipitated.
A third road car version was built by K&A, but in the early 2000s the client disappeared off the face of the earth with their incomplete project. After its inevitable European tour, the VESKandA was returned to its home soil of Australia and is now a resident at the Western Australia Motor Museum along with Daniel Ricciardo’s first Grand Prix winning Red Bull Racing RB10. If you have any questions that you would like answered directly please feel free to email us via the GP247 contact form and we will endeavour to respond as soon as we can. ********************* This is the 3rd (roadgoing) car in Norm's drive. I believe the owner, Jeff, Ran out of money and the car hasn't been seen in ages.

Thursday, August 26, 2021


Remember Barry Campbell telling us that his introduction to sports car racing and to Bolwells in particular came from his good mate in Sydney who raced a Mk.4? There was also a photo floating around of Barry in his TR3A towing a trailer with the Mk.4 on the back. Well, that good friend was Brian Body and the Bolwell was a serious bit of kit. Here's a couple of photos of Brian and the car at Oran Park in 1970.
Now I wonder where that car is now!

Schuppan 962CR.

 The Porsche 962 is one of the most successful Group C racing prototypes ever built. Following its success on the racing circuit, a number of companies thought it would be a great idea to turn it into a road car as well—in exchange for a few million bucks. After all, it was the 1990s, and pretty much anything seemed possible.

The first to get there was Koenig Specials, who gave their C62s new bodies and engines bored to 3.4 liters, complete with Bosch's latest fuel injection. Then came DP Motorsport, the Switec-Porsche 962C, and the most famous limited edition of them all, the Dauer 962 LM. But it would be rude to forget about the six street-legal 962s built by Australia's Vern Schuppan, since the Porsche Schuppan 962CR represents the biggest departure from the Group C original.

Land vehicle, Vehicle, Car, Sports car, Supercar, Coupé, Race car, Performance car, Ultima gtr,

Schuppan won the 1983 24 Hours of Le Mans driving a Porsche 956. While still enjoying Porsche's support a few years later, he started a business converting 962Rs for road use. With the backing of some Japanese investors, the project soon entered its next phase, with Schuppan developing a road-going 962 from the ground up.

Known as the Schuppan 962CR, the car was designed by fellow Australian Michael Simcoe as a 50-unit limited-run machine, a production number that would have allowed the car to race at Le Mans. Unfortunately, the Japanese economy had collapsed by 1992, leaving Schuppan's investors dry, and forcing his company into bankruptcy after just six 962CRs had been built. Five remain today, as one was destroyed in a fire. The team never made it to the Mulsanne.

Logo, Emblem, Symbol, Font, Graphics, Trademark, Badge, Vehicle, Circle, Car,

This particular example, a "zero-mile" right-hand drive Schuppan 962, was completed in 1993, with a unique body and other subtle modifications in the engine bay. Its dry-sump 3.3-liter twin-turbo flat-six produces 550 horsepower at low boost, 850 for qualification, and can only run on race gas. Yet it has catalytic converters, turn signals, and a passenger seat where the ECU used to be on the racing car, all of which help this wild machine at least try to pass itself off as a street car. The Schuppan-branded Alcon brakes are a nice touch.

Crazy thing is, this car has never been driven before. Soon after UK-based Modena Cars assembled this example, the company's finances went into shambles. A manufacturer of bus windshields was one of Schuppan's creditors; the president of the glass company took this car as partial payment, storing it at his office from 1995 to 2015. Since its reappearance at Daytona in 2015, this one-off 962CR has undergone a complete overhaul, and is currently cared for by Matthew Ivanhoe. And who else could put on the car's first break-in miles than Jay Leno?

From R&T.

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Monday, August 23, 2021

Just in.

 Bay to Birdwood 2021 cancelled.

Hi John

You have probably heard the news this week that we have had to make the difficult decision to cancel the 2021 Bay to Birdwood.  The official communication is below.  Hopefully we will see you in 2022.

The 2021 Bay to Birdwood – one of the world’s great historic motoring events – cannot take place as originally planned this year.  The team at the History Trust of South Australia’s National Motor Museum have worked tirelessly to prepare for a safe, fun and memorable event so we are disappointed that some 1,500 entrants will not be able to participate in the usual 72km journey from West Beach to the National Motor Museum in Birdwood.  We are also disappointed that tens of thousands of South Australians will not be able to line the route to watch these amazing vehicles.

While we are saddened that we will not be able to host thousands of entrants, their families and their friends on the grounds of the National Motor Museum, we understand that helping to keep South Australians safe is our most important job right now. COVID-19 continues to affect how we can run events safely and the Bay to Birdwood is no exception.  New SA Health COVID management requirements mean we expect that the Bay to Birdwood event will be significantly impacted with reduced public and entrant participation. This makes running the Bay to Birdwood unviable in its current form in 2021, particularly at this late stage with only five weeks to go. 

Although we will not have our usual parade of historic vehicles on Sunday 26 September, we are working hard to create an event that still highlights some of the wonderful vehicles that were originally taking part in the 2021 event. We plan to have a range of Bay to Birdwood activities that can be enjoyed from home and all taking place on 26 September.  Visit our facebook page or website in coming weeks to check the online program.

Kind regards


Don't worry Ron.


Lots of people have intoxicated wives from time to time.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Better in red.

 Here is a lovely red Pantera.

In a previous life it was the Edelston car where the good doctor had it painted pink, along with a pink helicopter, to present to the young bride of the time.
There was also a pink one in the US which was a prize for a certain year's Playmate of the Year.

For Sam

 Coming up on the next Shannons on line auction. 4 x 14X6 Ford pattern Globes.

See comment from Glenn on previous post for link.

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Nagari wheels

 This attractive Nagari belongs to Sam in Sydney.

He's looking to fit wheels that are more period correct. With so many Nagari owners updating their wheels, there must be many Ford pattern 14 x 6s around. Can anybody help. Something like this would be nice,

Friday, August 6, 2021

Not a Corvette.


No, it's a Mitsuoka Rock Star from Japan. A Mitsuoka body on MX5 underpinnings. What a great Idea.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

1941 Studebaker.


A striking resemblance to the 48/215 don't you think?