Friday, October 30, 2009

4 Datsuns and a mystery man.

At Collingrove the other day, here's that Datto 1600 mentioned earlier. It's Haydn Clark. Boy, was he quick! You'd have to be to beat Peter Hall.
And here's Peter, going about his business.
Here's Kevin Mackrell. How do you beat him and his 6585cc (that's a lot more than 2600) Chev powered Z? Not allow his time for taking out the white posts at turn 1, that's how. I don't like this white post business. They didn't have them in my day. Do you remember them, Wayne? What's wrong with clipping the grass a bit? Remember Stan Keen?
And this is the 240Z shared by Chris Ferguson and Andre Lukasz. They're getting quicker and quicker too.
Who's that hiding under his Clipsal bucket hat and dark sunnies - going incognito? It's Trevor Unsworth. Who's he hiding from I wonder? Got to wave the red flag at least a couple of times.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Collingrove, Oct. 2009. A walk around the paddock - part 2.

This Formula Ford was amazingly quick and shares a shed at Woodside with a blue Ikara. It's Jason Ratsch's Van Dieman.
This is Geoff Redin's 1180cc bike engined BAE Mk II, mentioned briefly in my earlier Lobethal report.
This is worth a closer look, a Nissan block made from a lump of aluminium.
The DBR replica.
And a red and white 100/4. You can tell I'm a Healey fan.

50 sexiest cars.

Peter G emailed me this:-
"The original Nagari was 26th out of 50 World's Sexiest Cars - Muira No.1, GTO No.2 & GT40 No.3, only 3 Aussie cars mentioned, Charger E49 at No.43 & A9X at 48.
Luckily they didn't include the Ikara in the Ugliest 10."
Well....... what can I say, Peter. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I'm beholding and I think Ikaras are lovely. They wouldn't make such a list because they're too nice.
Did you notice they've turned the Nagari inside-out and made it left hand drive?

A page from the Nov. 2009 Australian Classic Car.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Collingrove, Oct.2009. A walk around the paddock - part 1

Let's start with the tin-tops and let's start the tin-tops with a few rotors. That should make the odd family member happy. This beautiful little R100 was there by default and at the discretion of the stewards. It belongs to Chris Redin (Geoff's son) who managed to do something terminal to his 998cc Cooper Special on the Saturday and brought the Mazda along as a replacement the following day. And what a tidy unit it turned out to be, both in appearance and on the hill.
The RX2 is the familiar Sports Sedan of Dave Cundy's. He doesn't half get stuck into it.
The RX3 of Pascoe Ayling's was also entered as a Sports Sedan. That's a great little car too, complete with flared guards. No flares on the R100 you'll notice.
This immaculate normally aspirated Datsun 1600 was so quick it beat Peter Hall's 260Z. That would have upset him, he's usually the benchmark for Datsuns. The other Z (240 version), jointly driven by Chris Ferguson and Andre Lukasz didn't quite reach him though. I wonder if Peter knew Kevin Mackrell was coming, although there's not much Datsun left in that monster.
This rotary powered Anglia sports sedan should be familiar to many. It went like hell on the day in the hands of Sergio De Luca. In the 80s it was one of the very fastest Sports Sedans at AIR, driven by Luigi De Luca.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Gee, this new Lexus sports looks nice.


The rollbar on the Mk.4 is taking shape.
I think it looks good. Just the right height.

The 1932 MacDonberg Special

This very attractive car was a genuine original Lobethal competitor. It had a side valve Ford V8 motor with pipes down each side and sounded lovely.
I was rather attracted to the independant rear end. Look at those massive wishbones. They'd be good on a tractor.Here's a little synopsis from its present owner, Keith Roberts.
The MacDonberg Special was built in South Australia by the McDonough brothers during the 1930s to specifically race at Lobethal meetings. It was based on a 14hp Amilcar chassis and running gear plus a Wizard Smith Essex motor, and sported a most attractive Monoposto body.
At the end of WW2, after a rather unsuccessful racing career and a change of interest by the McDonoughs, the car was sold in a dismantled condition to John Opatt who rebuilt it; but again, it was no world-beater. The next owner solved the performance problem by replacing the Essex engine with a more powerful side valve Ford unit.
After passing through numerous hands, all the time being "bastardised", including a conversion to a two seater sports with disc wheels, it finally ended up in the late 1950s lying in a Victorian farmer's paddock, who had bought it solely for the V8 engine.
The present owner stumbled across the remains forty-plus years later and spent an arduous eight years bringing it back to original pre-War configuration, but retaining a V8 motor.
2009 Historic Winton was the first public outing for the MacDonberg Special in more than fifty years.

Lobethal and Bolwells

In case you were wondering about the lack of talk regarding Bolwells, it's because there was no place for them in the scheme of things which appeared to have a cut-off date around the 1960 mark. You may well ask what the sprinkling of late model Ferraris etc. were doing there then. Well it had something to do with some sponsorship from the Ferrari/Maserati dealer. They, and the small number of group N touring cars did seem rather inappropriate, but the way their owners went mad out on the road may not bode well for them in the future. Anyway, a number of us were spectators and it just so happens that Jon and Lisa live right on the main street. Their front verandah was an excellent viewing platform and the back yard a very good car park. Here's a few Bolly members' cars in the said back yard.
Thank you Jon and Lisa for your hospitality and the sausage sizzle and the Coopers. Late in the afternoon Joan Shearer came struggling up the hill pushing Kevin in a wheelchair. They stopped for a chat and for Joan to catch her breath and I'm proud to say that the pushers for the rest of the trip to the top of the hill were Emily Baxendale and her young cousin of the same age. It was a great day for everybody. The plan was to go and familiarise ourselves with the Stafford Ridge stage while we were in the area. Dino knew all the spots and he was riding shotgun with Norm so I was to follow them to the first spot. There is no way a humble campervan can keep up with a potent clubman with the driver's eyes glazed over with red mist so where they went I have no idea. They were probably parked behind a rock somewhere laughing at me while I drove around looking for them.

A few photos of the Metallic Orange "Chassis No. 001" at yesterday's Healey/Bolwell Show 'n' Tell.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Alfas at Lobethal

The P3 Alfa Romeos were certainly the highlight of Lobethal this year. Add to that half a dozen GP Bugattis, the Delahaye, MGK3 etc. etc. It doesn't get much better. The Hipkins 30/98 was back again plus a sprinkling of decent Bentleys. Wow! Just imagine with only 6 of these P3s in the world, not one, but two of these cars are at Lobethal and neither of them are the ex-Doug Jarvis one that lived in Adelaide. Peter Giddings tells me that one is now in Germany.
The two P3s, both built in 1934, are not identical twins, however. Take the front ends for example. No.31 had an attractive beam axle with semi-elliptic springs and Hartford friction shockers........
.....but take a look at No.12. No springs. No shockers. The beam axle is rigidly mounted.
And while on the subject of springs, I had to show you the rear ones on Neville Crighton's 1921 Alfa G1. Two rows of cantilever springs. It wasn't just Bentley that made very fine trucks, Ettore!
And here's the two P3s looking quite at home in their tent.

Speed on Tweed 2009.

Just arrived by email and via toroartzzz is this great shot of John at Speed on Tweed in my old favorite Nagari No.26. I had to share it.

People you'll know at Lobethal.

This is Peter Strauss, belted up and waiting to get out on the track in the XK140. Peter, as you know, has the beautiful black ex-Webb/Kluver Nagari roadster and the Elva BMW waiting in Europe for him to come and race. These events at Lobethal are not races but "spirited demonstrations" and to keep a lid on things they have the odd radar out. On the Sunday, I did hear that it was a deep red XK140 that fell foul of the radar traps. Not sure what speeds were clocked. Not sure which XK Jag it was either. Only noticed one deep red one though. It can happen to anyone. It was Smeetsy in the Milano last year.Ken Messenger was there in the DBR2 replica again. He was a bit "out of control" too but you know Ken.
Trevor Lambert had the old Overland record breaker there. It didn't put a foot wrong all weekend, except for throwing a tread on one of those ancient tyres. Bit of a learning curve for Trevor and Roger Trethewey on tyre changing from the 20s. The wheel doesnt come off, just the rim. Not as quick as the Elfin or the Bolwell but it accounts for itself pretty well nevertheless.
Here's TC disappearing out of the frame with his mate from Sydney. It was a real Alfa weekend and I'll show you the 2 P3s later.
Here's Geoff Redin contemplating his navel or falling asleep in Ral Rainsford's Uffindel Austin. Geoff built, and still drives (occasionally) a very nice Cobra replica (his son built one too) and also rebuilt the body for this very famous Austin 7 which is a credit to him. With the lack of grunt by today's standards in the Austin 7, which is very much original, I'll bet Geoff was glad to step into his bike engined BAE Mk.II at Collingrove the following weekend.

Still going strong.

For all you previous owners I just wanted to let you know that the 351-Monster goes as hard as it ever did - again.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mark 7 on ebay.

Everyone has probably seen the Mark 7 on ebay at the moment. Below is the 1978 calendar shot of that very car.
This photograph was taken at One Tree Hill when Bernie Van Elsen had the farm up there. It was owned by Geoff Mann at the time. He was the one who painted it metallic blue. One of the pictures on the ebay site (the one where it's on the back of the truck) shows the electric blue bonnet with the forward facing scoop and the recessed blinkers on each side of the mouth. This same car was Murray Willmott's first race car (the orange one). I see the roll bar is no longer in the car. Avid readers may recall this car being the subject of "where is it now?" when we were wondering what happened to it after it moved to Western Australia. Now we know.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Radical Marcos

Below is a "normal" Marcos. We actually have a yellow one like this in our club. No, not the "Mens Health" tarmac rally one, another one. Looks like the deep yellow is a popular colour with the "Marcos marque" as well.However, here are a few examples of the racing version. Somehow, Bernie Van Elsen's Nagari doesn't look so outrageous any more.
The difference with Marcos compared to Bolwell is that these cars are all factory racers rather than customers like Docker and Van Elsen creating their own monsters. Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that Bolwell should have gone motor racing (although the Canon car was a factory race car in a way). Racing programs cost heaps and it's a good way for a small operator to go broke. Marcos began in 1959 and went out of business in 1970, 2000 and 2007 that I know of, each time being ressurected by well off enthusiast investors. I don't recall Bolwell ever going bankrupt despite press reports along the lines of "ADRs send Bolwell to the wall" etc. I wonder what wall they were talking about.

Drewer sets sights on Le Mans in 2010.

Datsuns at Birdwood and other Datsun stuff.

This year there were the usual "Z"s on the run, all pretty smartly presented like this one.But in addition to that, I noticed at least three 120Ys and only one of them was the hatchback coupe version. Datsuns are cult cars, there's no escaping it, right down to the 120Y. The other day there was a 180B SSS on ebay in Adelaide and the Historic Rally fans were all falling over themselves to get a bid in. Same thing with Datsun 1000 and 1200 utes, everybody wants one.

This phenomenon is not just limited to Australia. Japanese Datsun enthusiasts are coming to Australia to buy nice old Datsuns because they've crushed all theirs. And have a look at this "ordinary" old RHD 1968 Datsun Bluebird. It's unrestored but in good nick and a dealer on the East Coast of America has taken the trouble to import it from New Zealand and put it on the market for about $10,000. I haven't noticed how easy it was to sell. Might be a bad time. There's no money left in the US these days is there?
It was, however, a very low-mileage unit, see speedo.
It's nothing to do with the rarity of the car either - it's a Datsun! This Skoda, below, which is much more well known in Australia than in USA, couldn't get a bid and has apparently been for sale for a year.