Tuesday, 25 March 2008 13:29

Bugattis at Phillip Island

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Text and Photos: Martin Stubbs Dacre Stubbs Collection
Bugattis at the Island
 Above: A holdup at the start of the Cavalcade

We have just experienced a wonderful 'Phillip Island Classic'. This is an annual event, this time including the Cowes Cavalcade to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the first Australian Grand Prix. For those who don't know, Phillip Island is located 1 1/2 hours driving time south east of Melbourne and was the site of a Grand Prix in 1928. In those days competitors cars had to be lifted aboard a ferry to get to Cowes, the main town on the Island. The 10km rectangular track used dirt roads adjacent to the Cowes township and the event was won by Captain Arthur Waite in an Austin 7 prepared specially by the factory in England. A holdup at the start of the Cavalcade. In the foreground of our lead photo  is Tom Roberts' 1926 Bugatti Type 37. This car, chassis No: 37146, arrived in Australia from London in 1926 and competed in various event driven by Dudley Barnett. The car later achieved an excellent second in the 1929 Australian Grand Prix driven by the second owner, Reg Brearley. After a number of other owners Tom purchased it from Ian Ferguson in 1958 which makes it 50 years in his ownership. Behind Tom's car is the David Hands Bugatti.
 Kent Patrick of South Australia,
1929 Bugatti Type 37A GP.
 Ex-Lou Molina Bugatti Brescia  David Hands of the UK, 1925 Bugatti
Type 39, this cars remarkable original
condition is due to the long period it
spent in Australia on a rural property
in New South Wales, before being
shipped to England in 2005
 George Hetrel, 1927 Bugatti
Type 35C. George drives this car at
every opportunity and is the most
regularly seen Grand Prix Bugatti
in Australia.
 Bob King's 1925 Bugatti Type 35.
This is Bob's latest project and the car's
first outing. Built on chassis No: 4450,
(which was used by Lynden Duckett
for his Bugatti Anzani), this car has
been restored to how it was when in
Glen Kidston's hands, it finished 5th
in the GP de Provence in February
1925. The yellow band across the
bonnet signifies that it ran in the 2
litre class
 Frank Wetton of New South Wales,
1926 Bugatti Type 37. The darker
blue suits this car
  The Cowes Cavalcade was assembled on the Saturday, the middle day of the three day historic motor racing celebration, in a special display area adjacent to the current Grand Prix circuit. Eighty historic racing cars gathered, representing the type of entries which would have been present at an early Australian Grand Prix. Mid-afternoon the cars departed with a police escort to control the intersections on the public roads. We did 1 3/4 laps of the original circuit, urged on by waving groups of the island's residents and tourists, before entering Cowes main street which was closed so the Cavalcade could park, this allowed visitors to mingle amongst the cars and talk to drivers.

For those of us that appreciate vintage and post vintage racing cars, to be in the company of five Bugatti GP's was a rare treat. To be followed by the David Hands' Type 39 and being able to listen to the mechanical symphony, brought back memories of riding as a child in the Peter Dale Type 51A in the early 1950s.

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