Friday, 03 June 2011 10:10

Part 2 of Magnificent Winton

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Magnificent Winton - Part Two 1927 LANCIA MEADOWS single seater  - Rob Harcourt  Great Aussie Special - Car No 87
"The sight of a single seater chain gang Fraser Nash in full flight over the first crest at Collingrove Hillclimb, South Australia in 1961 inspired me to own a vintage racing car.      My dream of owning a Type 35 Bugatti, P3 Alfa Romeo or a Talbot Darraqc was not possible as I was a University student, so I decided to build the next best thing, a 'Vintage Special'.    In 1967 I found a car in Broken Hill called the Meadows Special, and then I acquired aLancia Lambda Special without an engine from Melbourne. I combined the best of each to create the Lancia Meadows and competed at the 1968 Collingrove Vintage Hillclimb.      My goal then was to beat the times of my earlier dream cars.  In the next 3 years I betteredthe times of the Bugatti, Alfa Romeo and the Talbot Darraqc culminating in setting a newhillclimb record at Collingrove for pre-War cars of 39.7 seconds, breaking that illusive 40 second barrier.    Over the past 40 years, the Lancia Meadows and I have travelled the eastern states ofAustralia; sometimes winning, sometimes not, but always enjoying the thrill of competing in a car that I have created.     The Lancia Meadows has competed at Collingrove , Mallala, AIR, Adelaide Grand Prix, Philip Island, Winton, Lakeland Hillclimb, Geelong Sprints, Leyburn Sprints, Mt Tarengarra Hillclimb, Amaroo, Oran Park, Eastern Creek, Wakefield Park, Grafton Hillclimb, Lakeside, Surfers Paradise, Albert Park, Picnic Point Hillclimb, Mt Cotton Hillclimb,Noosa Hillclimb, Rob Roy Hillclimb, Speed on Tweed, a sprint at the old Leyburn Circuit and has held the lap record for Group J at Amaroo, Oran Park, Lakeside and Eastern Creek.    In addition, both my sons have enjoyed competing in regularity events at the various circuits. One year at Philip Island, the Lancia did 256 kilometers in racing and regularity events.     The chassis is 5th series Lancia Lambda  front end, differential, gearbox and brakes are 7th series Lancia Lambda; the motor is a 1923 4-cylinder Meadows of 3.0 litre capacity.     2011 Historic Winton commemorates 40 years of circuit racing for myself and the Lancia Meadows."Dirt-track car once owned and driven by  Sir Jack Brabham (OBE) - Andrew Halliday
 Above: The signwriting on this car tells it all. Rob Harcourt's Lancia Meadows (#87) is  in the background.
.The little yellow car shown above was built in 1947 for American Johnny Schonberg who raced it for a short while before handing the wheel over to Brabham, who went on to race against other "greats" such as Revell, Brewer, Peers, McGovern, Beasley, Playfair, Discombe, Paynr and Bradshaw.    It was also driven to many wins by Len Golding and Murray Hoff. Among Brabham's numerous victories were the New South Wales title (1948/49 season) one Australian and two South Australian titles and even an Australian Hillclimb championship.       Originally powered by a 1000 cc JAP 8/80 it is presentled still as raced in the 50s and 60s with a 1400 cc Brabham copy of an 1100 cc JAP driving through a dog clutch and Amilcar differential.  The body is all steel.      Brabham raced the car at the Sportsground and Showground, Parramatta, Windsor, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and New Zealand.  Brabham in this car held a 12 hp record at the Sydney Showground for several decades.       The car was awarded Vintage Speed car Association restoration of the year 1990.  We were lucky enough to talk to its current owner - Andrew Halliday.    The photo above shows his car alongside Rob Harcourt's Lancia Meadows Special.(#87)Andrew has met Sir Jack, and when Motormarques asked him if he had raced the car himself. He answered that he only demonstrated it these days at vintage speedway meetings and occasional hillclimbs.    Andrew: We travel all over the country - New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, Victoria. We go to Murray Bridge - all over the place.    MM: It's a very unusual looking engine.    Andrew: Yes. It's a 1400 cc engine copied from JAP 1100 cc castings, rocker boxes, etc.    MM: It sounds like it could put out plenty of power. What is its top speed?    Andrew: Oh, top speed is not its main feature - specially with with these small wheels.    MM: The wheels are unusual even for those days - wire wheels with narrow tyres..    Andrew: That and the fact that it was never built for flat-out sprint racing, it would be somewhere around 80 miles an hour. It was designed for dirt track racing. This is the original Jack Brabham car that he used to race before he got into what you might call the big-time when he used to race at Sydney Showgrounds. Car No 133 1932 MacDonberg Special – Keith Robertsmacdonberg_800 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. Chris Terdich
Chris Terdich lives in Mount Eliza. His ‘toyshop’ is an old factory in close-by Mornington where he stores and does maintenance work on his 2 Wanderers (one of which was formerly owned by Lex Davison) and a newly-acquired MGB.      The German firm, Wanderer was established from 1911 as a builder of superb tools, bicycles, motorcycles and cars. In 1924 the firm produced the 1550 cc 4 cylinder car. Its engine had a cross-flow head with roller cam-followers and rockers.      With DKW, Horch and Audi, Wanderer became part of the Auto Union in 1932.      1n 1924 the Wanderer was said to have a top speed of 86 mph. But Chris has no desire to get his car up to more than 90 km/h – due in part to the fact that it has only rear wheel brakes that are 1” wide and 6” round. And despite its technical qualities, it is not what Chris would call a ‘hill stormer’.      Chris: Of course the main thing about maintaining a car like this is that things always need to be tightened. For example, the banjo on the differential came apart. It was quite easy to tighten up, but everything works itself loose.      MM: Is it a car with a lot of vibration?      Chris: No it's not bad actually. It rides surprisingly well. It just doesn't like going over things like potholes and speed humps especially on full lock. It's a good little car to drive but I must admit it has no power up hills.      MM: You mentioned something about an Austrian Alpine Rally.     Chris: Yes I have a book that includes the story of an Italian guy who used to race it in rallies and things like that. And he won an Austrian Alpine Rally which is 1000 km. That was in the early to mid 1920s. In fact the car had quite a racing history. But the history was governed by the fact that it was spend between the two world wars, and did not survive. But this is the only racing Wanderer in the world. It must never be locked away. Vaux3098nSinger_800  End - Magnificent Winton 2011    

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